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Lawn mower recommendation for a small lot.....
Old 08-30-2016, 09:33 PM   #1
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Lawn mower recommendation for a small lot.....

I have a patio home on a lot that is 50'x100'. Of course the house eats up a big chunk of it so not a lot to mow. With my old gas push mower it might take 10 minutes on the front and 15 on the back including the sides. I love small yards . But the mower is on it's last leg and I'm starting to look at my options. Maybe an old fashion reel mower or an electric mower. Although I weed eat with a corded unit and handle the cord fine, I'm afraid a corded mower might be a pain. I have looked at cordless mowers, but poor reviews on battery life gives me pause. Anything you look at has pros and cons however.

I guess my question is.....any one using reel, electrical or battery powered mowers? If so any recommendations? I can always buy a small gas push mower again, but thought it might be nice getting away from oil and gas. At some point I will just hire it out, but I'm still young enough to do it and need the exercise.
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Old 08-30-2016, 10:49 PM   #2
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If you go with gas, get a 4 cycle, so you don't have to mix oil and gas, it works like a car, with straight gas.

I talked to a lady using a battery mower, she said they had an extra battery in the garage that she has to change the battery 1/2 way through doing the lawn, sounded pretty awful to me.
Problem is the battery might start out strong enough to do it all, but after a year or two it cannot hold enough charge.

The fact that you even talk about hiring out the work, suggests to me you would quickly hate a push mower.

If you don't have a bunch of trees planted all over the lawn, electric works fine if you start close to the plug in spot and criss-cross you way away from the plugin spot.

We have lots a trees, and flower spots, so I use a 4 cycle gas mower, end of the season I pour the remaining gas into the car since there is no oil in the gas, that way nothing to store over the winter.
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Old 08-31-2016, 12:24 AM   #3
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I've had a Honda mower for 15 years. Starts on one pull. Never any issues. I wish every product was this reliable. Best value for your $, even with a smallish yard.


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Old 08-31-2016, 03:36 AM   #4
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I have a large lawn, about an acre to mow, so I have a 42" Husqvarna tractor. However there are several areas where it is difficult and time consuming to use the tractor like around the plantings, air conditioner, deck, shed etc. So this spring I bought a Craftsman 40 volt cordless mower. I am very pleased with it. I do the open areas with the tractor and the tight spots with the cordless.

There are trade offs. The negative is your run time is limited. But if you're cutting reasonably high dry grass I don't think you'll have any problem doing your yard on the two batteries provided. If you let it get too tall or mow it when wet you might not. On the plus side its very quiet, you don't have to buy or store gas, and you don't have to tune it up.

I think it would serve your purpose well.
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Old 08-31-2016, 04:57 AM   #5
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1. See what the rates are for a lawn service in your neighborhood. Then you don't need to buy, maintain, or store a mower.

2. You can also offer beer to a friendly neighbor to borrow their mower when needed.

3. I cannot endorse a reel mower. The blades are between the wheels, so when you go over a moist lawn, the wheels push down the grass and about a third of the lawn doesn't get cut. Then, you have to wait for the grass to spring back and mow the lawn you missed the next day.

4. Their are lots of quality and affordable 4-cycle mowers on the market. Honda and Troy-bilt are two brands I'll vouch for. Briggs&Stratton make quality small engines. Check Consumer Reports and what's on sale at the hardware store. I think your chances of getting a real lemon are pretty low.

5. Cordless mowers have gotten better, but you'll be lucky to get 5 years of use out of the battery. And the last few times you mow, you'll do about 2/3rds of the lawn and then wait hours for the battery to recharge before finishing. By then, the model will likely be discontinued and you'll need to junk the whole mower.
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Old 08-31-2016, 05:01 AM   #6
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I have a Sun Joe:
https://www.amazon.com/Joe-MJ401E-14.../dp/B0029TLUOA
It is very light weight yet powerful. Price is right too. I highly recommend it and it works beautifully on my small lawn. I figure even if it lasts 2-3 years only, I got my money's worth. I suspect it will cost more to get it sharpened than buy a new one!
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Old 08-31-2016, 06:07 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunset View Post
I...
If you don't have a bunch of trees planted all over the lawn, electric works fine if you start close to the plug in spot and criss-cross you way away from the plugin spot.

...
I've used electric for much of my adult mowing life - today's are much cheaper and better than 20+ years ago. I see two major advantages: 1) I never have to store/carry/transfer gas, and 2) It is MUCH quieter than any gas mower.

You learn to do the cord dance thing pretty quickly, I've only severed one electric cord in my life.
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Old 08-31-2016, 06:10 AM   #8
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We have a reel mower. It works well on grass but our back yard has a fair amount of crabgrass and other weeds and it doesn't do well on that so I rarely use ours. Perhaps you can find a friend or neighbor who has one and try it out on your lawn.

A friend has a cordless mower and loves it. We previously had a corded electric and they work well but dealing with the cord can be a pain depending on where your outside electrical outlets are and how your lot is configured.

If you do go gas, Honda's are hard to beat albeit a higher initial cost.
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Old 08-31-2016, 06:16 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunset View Post
If you go with gas, get a 4 cycle, so you don't have to mix oil and gas, it works like a car, with straight gas.

I talked to a lady using a battery mower, she said they had an extra battery in the garage that she has to change the battery 1/2 way through doing the lawn, sounded pretty awful to me.
Problem is the battery might start out strong enough to do it all, but after a year or two it cannot hold enough charge.

The fact that you even talk about hiring out the work, suggests to me you would quickly hate a push mower.
I've had several 4 cycle push mowers over the years. Even though you don't mix oil with the gas, you do have to change the engine oil. That's all I meant when I mentioned oil in my original post. I've also read some poor reviews concerning battery charge/life on cordless mowers. A few replies suggest that some people will store the batteries in a cold basement or garage over the winter which will hurt the life of the battery. So simply storing the batteries inside might help the life of them. But whenever you do replace batteries, they are not cheap.
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Originally Posted by cooch96 View Post
1. See what the rates are for a lawn service in your neighborhood. Then you don't need to buy, maintain, or store a mower.



5. Cordless mowers have gotten better, but you'll be lucky to get 5 years of use out of the battery. And the last few times you mow, you'll do about 2/3rds of the lawn and then wait hours for the battery to recharge before finishing. By then, the model will likely be discontinued and you'll need to junk the whole mower.
I mow weekly during the summer so hiring it out is something I want to postpone until I'm unable to do it. I can pay for a new mower quickly doing it myself. Thanks for your comments on the cordless mower. Those are the negatives I am concerned about.
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I have a Sun Joe:
https://www.amazon.com/Joe-MJ401E-14.../dp/B0029TLUOA
It is very light weight yet powerful. Price is right too. I highly recommend it and it works beautifully on my small lawn. I figure even if it lasts 2-3 years only, I got my money's worth. I suspect it will cost more to get it sharpened than buy a new one!
I saw this and other brands that had good reviews. The reason I'm considering a mower with cord is simply because I have a cord out anyway to do the trimming and blowing, so might as well mow my grass with a corded mower. Plus if a mower last as long as my electrical weed eater and blower, I won't ever have to buy another one. These 2 units were owned by my Dad. They have to be 30+ years old. He died in 2003 and he hadn't used them for years due to poor health. I did it for him. Ha. BTW, don't junk your mower when the blade gets dull as you can buy a replacement for $15.
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Old 08-31-2016, 06:55 AM   #10
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I hope to have a really small lawn one day so I can try a Fiskar reel mower. The Best Reel Mower for Your (Small) Lawn | The Sweethome It will be more work than gas, but I need the exercise.

For now, I have a Honda, great mower!
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Old 08-31-2016, 07:41 AM   #11
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I used an electric mower with cord about 20 years ago. It was a hassle with the cord but my yard was larger than yours. But the biggest issue was that the lawn was thick Bermuda grass and the lawn mower did not seem to have enough power to cut the grass so I had to push it very hard. Admittedly, it was my first home and an old home and the grass may not have been de-thatched in quite a while. Who knew that you had to do so many things to a lawn? The electric lawn mower would have worked much better on Kentucky bluegrass or fescue.
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Old 08-31-2016, 08:08 AM   #12
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I have a very small yard and use a reel mower. As long as it is kept sharp and any small twigs are picked up first it does a great job.
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Old 08-31-2016, 08:20 AM   #13
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I use the Ryobi 16 inch battery mower
Ryobi 16 in. 40-Volt Lithium-ion Cordless Walk-Behind Lawn Mower with 2 Batteries-RY40145 - The Home Depot
It is fantastic in cutting and power and with two batteries each mowing pretty thick grass they last 20- 40 minutes each depending on how long and thick you let your grass get. I mow about 1/4 acre lot with the two batteries. It is quiet and a breeze and you never need gas nor need to worry about a cord. Highly reccomended

As to Cooch’s issue that the battery might only last 5 years? Well buy a new one, Ryobi battery changing is EASY, the thing fits in your hand and the battery can be had for $100. So the cost of a new battery over 5 years is $20 a year, compare that to paying someone to cut your lawn. Ryobi batteries fit the whole gamut of Ryobi tools so I doubt the battery is going away anytime soon. It takes about 3 hours to fully recharge a battery.

This review pretty much exactly matches my experience:
Ryobi 20" 40-Volt Lawn Mower - Mower Review | Busted Wallet
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Old 08-31-2016, 08:49 AM   #14
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I quit mowing when I turned 57. Back when I was mowing, I had a 50'x100' lot to mow. I can tell you what NOT to do. I bought a really nice, variable speed, 4 cylinder, self propelled Honda mower like the one my ex and I had for our big yard back in Texas. Top of the line. That is NOT what you want to do, IMO. On a small lot, being self propelled isn't that much help because you are always turning the mower and don't go in a straight line for very long before it is time to turn it again. And a big heavy mower like that, is hard to turn. You really have to horse it around.

I don't mow any more, but if I did I'd seriously consider an electric mower with a cord. It would be quiet, easy to start, and I think it would be a lot lighter than that behemoth Honda.

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I mow weekly during the summer so hiring it out is something I want to postpone until I'm unable to do it. I can pay for a new mower quickly doing it myself.
Thing is, there are a lot more advantages to hiring a lawn guy than not having to pay for the mower.

I am paying $35/mow to my lawn guy, who does a wonderful job. I can sit inside in the AC while he mows (which he is doing as I type this - - I am in the AC, drinking my coffee and enjoying the morning in my sleep clothes). And, I no longer risk dying of a heart attack due to sporadic, once-a-week-only over-exertion in the heat while mowing. I can get my exercise in other, more judicious ways and I am more likely to do so because I am not so wiped out by mowing. I value my life and health pretty highly and I consider hiring a lawn guy after age 57 (in my case) to be a contribution to both.

If I had retired on a shoestring and needed to cut back in many areas to make ends meet, I think dropping my lawn guy would be at the bottom of the list, in the same category as dropping my internet. YMMV
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Old 08-31-2016, 09:11 AM   #15
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I quit mowing when I turned 57. Back when I was mowing, I had a 50'x100' lot to mow. I can tell you what NOT to do. I bought a really nice, variable speed, 4 cylinder, self propelled Honda mower like the one my ex and I had for our big yard back in Texas. Top of the line. That is NOT what you want to do, IMO. On a small lot, being self propelled isn't that much help because you are always turning the mower and don't go in a straight line for very long before it is time to turn it again. And a big heavy mower like that, is hard to turn. You really have to horse it around.

I don't mow any more, but if I did I'd seriously consider an electric mower with a cord. It would be quiet, easy to start, and I think it would be a lot lighter than that behemoth Honda.

Thing is, there are a lot more advantages to hiring a lawn guy than not having to pay for the mower.

I am paying $35/mow to my lawn guy, who does a wonderful job. I can sit inside in the AC while he mows (which he is doing as I type this - - I am in the AC, drinking my coffee and enjoying the morning in my sleep clothes). And, I no longer risk dying of a heart attack due to over-exertion in the heat while mowing. I can get my exercise in other, more judicious ways. Also have you seen lawnmower repair bills lately? Through the roof. And then, lawnmowers don't last forever.

If I had retired on a shoestring and needed to cut back in many areas to make ends meet, I think dropping my lawn guy would be at the bottom of the list, right before dropping my internet.
Last year about this time, I was driving home from work, out of the corner of my eye I see a guy laying down with what looks like a push mower on top of his legs, I turn around pull in the drive, sure enough an elderly gentleman had a heart attack and fell backwards and pulled the mower on top of him, he was dead. I think of that every time I see an elderly person mowing.
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Old 08-31-2016, 09:24 AM   #16
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Last year about this time, I was driving home from work, out of the corner of my eye I see a guy laying down with what looks like a push mower on top of his legs, I turn around pull in the drive, sure enough an elderly gentleman had a heart attack and fell backwards and pulled the mower on top of him, he was dead. I think of that every time I see an elderly person mowing.
My father (who died in 1981) was a surgeon who did some time in the ER. He saw a lot of heart attacks from mowing like that, and said it happens a lot more than you would think. He said that even younger people who mow, should be careful not to immediately chug-a-lug a lot of ice cold icewater right after finishing mowing in intense heat. Yes, drink water, but without ice until after you cool down a little bit.

My lawn guy mows dozens of lawns every week, and has done so for at least 40-50 years that I know of. The exercise is not just a once weekly thing with him and I don't think he even sweats out there. Recently he bought a rider mower, and acquired an assistant to do the edging, so I think that is helpful now that he is growing older.
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Old 08-31-2016, 09:24 AM   #17
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Last year about this time, I was driving home from work, out of the corner of my eye I see a guy laying down with what looks like a push mower on top of his legs, I turn around pull in the drive, sure enough an elderly gentleman had a heart attack and fell backwards and pulled the mower on top of him, he was dead. I think of that every time I see an elderly person mowing.

30,000 people a year perish in auto accidents. Do you think about that every time you see someone in a car?


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Old 08-31-2016, 09:42 AM   #18
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30,000 people a year perish in auto accidents. Do you think about that every time you see someone in a car?
How are you going to avoid ever having to ride in a car again, for $35/week, and yet live an identical version of your present lifestyle but with more free time? Sounds like a great plan.
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Old 08-31-2016, 09:44 AM   #19
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Got a craftsman mower with a honda engine few years back. Very dependable without paying honda prices.
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Old 08-31-2016, 09:55 AM   #20
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+1 for my Honda mower, I've had 2 over the past 25 yrs very reliable always starts one pull
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