Why Consider Giving Up Gas-Powered Mowers
For years, I used a traditional gas-powered walk-behind lawn mower to cut my lawn. It was loud, smelly, and a pain to maintain. Recently, I started looking into alternatives and discovered there are many good reasons to give up gas-powered mowers.
Gas mowers produce a lot of air and noise pollution. The engines emit high levels of volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides that contribute to smog. They also generate noise pollution that disturbs neighbors.
Gas mowers require maintenance. I had to regularly change the oil, air filters, spark plugs, and sharpen or replace blades. Storing and handling gasoline was also a hassle.
Gas mowers contribute to climate change. A typical gas mower emits as much pollution per year as 11 new cars. Much of this comes from fossil fuels.
Electric and manual mowers are healthier alternatives. They don’t require oil changes or gas and have zero emissions. This made me want to explore greener options.
Choosing an Alternative Mower
Once I decided to ditch gas, it came time to choose what type of mower to get instead. I compared the pros and cons of various options:
- Produce no emissions
- Much quieter than gas mowers
- Just need to charge battery
- Less maintenance than gas
- Limited range per charge
- Batteries lose capacity over time
- More expensive upfront cost
Manual Reel Mowers
- Completely emission-free
- No electricity needed
- Simple and easy to maintain
- Provide light exercise
- Not ideal for very tall or wet grass
- Can be tiring to push
- Limited width compared to powered mowers
- Fully autonomous operation
- Emission-free electric motors
- Handles lawn maintenance for you
- Very high upfront cost
- Installation can be complex
- May require boundary wires
After comparing the options, I decided a manual reel mower was the best fit for my small, flat yard. The light exercise would be a bonus!
Purchasing and Setting Up a Manual Reel Mower
I did some research and purchased a Scotts Classic 20-Inch Manual Reel Mower for around $100. It had good reviews for cutting performance and ease of use.
Here are the steps I took to set it up and get mowing:
- Assembled the handle, attaching it to the mower body with provided hardware
- Added oil to the gearbox per the instructions
- Adjusted the mower height to my desired setting (started at 2 inches)
- Visually inspected for any loose parts or blocking debris
- Read safety guidelines to understand proper operation
With everything ready to go, I was eager to take it for a test run!
Learning to Use a Manual Reel Mower
My first couple times using the new mower definitely had a learning curve. Here are some tips I learned for getting the hang of manual reel mowing:
- Make shorter, lighter passes – Trying to cut too much at once can bog down the blades. Go slower with lighter passes.
- Mow more frequently – Letting grass get too long makes cutting harder. Aim for 1-2 times per week.
- Keep the blades sharp – Sharp blades cut cleaner. I touch them up with a file every month or two.
- Watch your pace – Set a comfortable walking speed. Going too fast reduces cut quality.
- Empty the bag often – Don’t let clippings pile up in the collection bag. Empty when half full.
- Overlap rows slightly – Each pass should slightly overlap the previous to ensure full coverage.
- Sharpen, tighten, and oil regularly – This prevents issues and keeps the mower smooth.
It took 2-3 mows for me to get comfortable with the process, but now it’s second nature.
Discovering the Joys of Manual Yardwork
After ditching my gas mower, I was pleasantly surprised by how much more I enjoyed mowing and other yardwork. Here are some of the biggest benefits I’ve experienced:
It’s peaceful and quiet. No loud engine noise, just the sound of birds and the reel spinning.
It feels good to get some exercise. I get light activity from pushing the mower around.
It’s satisfying to care for my yard manually. I feel more connected to my lawn.
No smelly gas fumes. Just the smell of fresh cut grass.
Less maintenance hassle. I don’t have to deal with oil, filters, tune-ups, etc.
It’s environmentally friendly. I’ve eliminated emissions and gas from my yard care routine.
The simple mower is really reliable. Other than sharpening blades, it just keeps working.
It was inexpensive. I saved money on the mower itself and gas/maintenance.
The overall experience went from being a chore to an enjoyable, relaxing part of my weekend. Ditching gas provided unexpected benefits beyond helping the environment.
Giving up my noisy, smelly gas mower for a simple manual reel model let me save money while also making lawn care more enjoyable and sustainable. The learning curve was brief, and I quickly got the hang of manual mowing. My yard has never looked better, and I feel good knowing I’m reducing my environmental impact. If you’re considering going gas-free for your lawn, I couldn’t recommend it more! Start by researching your options, selecting a mower that fits your yard, and practicing to dial in the right technique. You’ll be surprised at how refreshing manual yardwork can be.