Homeowners who want to avoid using gas-powered lawn mowers may choose between electric and reel mowers. Both reel and electric mowers are quieter and pollute less than gas models. Both are relatively straightforward to operate and maintain. Each type has its advantages and drawbacks. Try to test the mower before making a purchase to see how it feels when you operate it.
Electric mowers use a motor while reel mowers are not motorized. When you push a reel mower, you supply the power to turn the blades that cut the grass. For an electric mower, household current supplied directly to the mower through an extension cord or stored in a battery provides the power to run a motor that turns the blades that cut the grass.
The benefit of a reel mower over an electric mower is that you do not need electricity to run a reel mower. Additionally, reel mowers are quieter than electric mowers, allowing you to operate them without disturbing neighbors or irritating your ears. You also need less storage space for reel mowers because they tend to be smaller than electric mowers.
The benefit of an electric mower over a reel mower is that electric mowers cut grass that is too tall or thick for reel mowers. Reel mowers are generally inefficient in cutting lawn weeds.
Reel mowers cut with a scissor-like action. The blades form a spiral pattern in clusters of 4 to 8 blades. Mowers that have more blades allow users to cut the grass faster and easier. When you push the mower, the blades turn and catch the grass between two revolving blades. The sharp blades on the mower snip the top portion of the grass.
Standard electric mowers use blades that spin parallel to the ground. The spinning blades tear the grass.
Avoid using a reel mower on wet grass; however, cutting wet grass is preferable to letting the grass grow too tall. Reel mowers have trouble cutting grass growing on uneven ground.
Electric mowers are better for large lawns than reel mowers because users suffer fatigue from mowing large areas with reel mowers. You can mow with a corded electric mower only as far as your longest extension cord will reach. On cordless models, you can mow an area only as large as the battery will hold a charge.
Generally, you will spend less money to buy a reel mower than an electric mower. It is simpler for the average person to assess the value of a reel mower because the parts are easy to view. Quality of the mower is dependent on the sturdiness of the handles, the material of the blades and the ease of height adjustment. As of September 2010, expect to pay $80 to $190 for a reel mower, according to Seattle Public Utilities.
Electric mowers vary with respect to the number of features they support. Consumers must decide on items such as the comfort of the grip, the horsepower of the engine, the amount of noise it makes and whether the grass clippings discharge from the side or back. In 2010, electric lawn mower prices generally range between $200 and $400, according to a survey by People Powered Machines.