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Choosing a Reel Mower

I have an Agri-Fab 18" Silent Reel Mower and it is excellent.  Like most hand tools from a previous era, cheaply made mowers do not function well.

One very important feature of the Agri-Fab mower is that the two blades (stationary and fixed) do not contact each other. They are separated by just a few thousands of an inch. Since the blades do not touch, the mower is much easier to push and the blades stay sharp much longer. I believe that this feature is key. The adjustment mechanism on the Agri-Fab mower is very good, which makes adjusting that gap between the blades easy and precise.

I would not buy any of the mowers offered at the big box retail stores made by American Lawn Mower Company, Great States, or Scotts. They are all made by the same company and they all use blades that contact each other. Everyone I know who has tried one of those mowers gave up after one season or even one mowing or less. If you really want to use one, then buy one for cheap off of craigslist.

When mowing St. Augustine, the blade height is very important. St. Augustine likes to be very long. The maximum height on my mower is 2.25". I wish it were a little higher. If you have St. Augustine, then blade height rules out Brill mowers, even though they seem to be very well made.

I have never seen one in person, but if I were buying a new mower today to, I would also consider a Sunlawn MM-2. The website has some nice comparison charts.