Hand push lawn mowers are a lawn mowing option for some of us, though as we can tell by their overall usage numbers when compared to gas or battery powered lawn mowers, the place and suitability of hand push lawn mowers can be somewhat limited. Manual push mowers are designed in a similar configuration to a reel lawn mower, whereby the mower consists of a ‘cylinder’, also called a ‘reel’, of several blades, which spins as we push the mower forward, the blades on the reel then swipes past a stationary bottom blade, called a ‘sheer blade’ or a ‘knife’, to then cut the lawn in a similar fashion to how a pair of scissors works.
Hand push mowers will sometimes come with a catcher, though not with all models. The catcher isn’t at all necessary as it is always better to mulch mow lawns than to catch the clippings, mulch mowing allows the lawn clippings to break down and naturally and mildly fertilise the lawn. Though for those of us with a lawn close to our home entrance or if we have pets which may bring those grass clippings inside the home, then a catcher may be a better option to use.
Advantages and Disadvantages Of Hand Push Mowers
There are many advantages to using a hand push lawn mower, they are very lightweight and easy to use, very easy to manoeuvre into and around tight places, there are no fuel costs, they are cheap to purchase - even for the better quality models, easy to store, give us exercise, are very quiet, and they give a rather nice flat cut due to their reel mower like configuration.
That all sounds great, and it is, however these lawn mowers are not suitable for all lawns, or even most lawns, they are a niche product which fulfils a specific target market very well.
For most of us who grow warm season grasses, which grow rather quickly in Summer, and which all will thatch quite heavily. Regular lawn mowing with a powered lawn mower removes all this rapid lawn growth rather easily, and keeps the growing thatch layer manageable and under control for most of the year or for several years at a time.
The very light weight and lack of real power in hand push mowers simply will not be enough to manage these tasks for many warm season lawns growing in front and back yards and on verges. They will not keep thatch managed much at all because they only sit lightly on top of the lawn to remove only the weak green top leaf blades of the grass, and they will not have the weight or the power to push down hard enough into the thatch layer to keep it under regular control. This is true for all warm season grasses, though would be more so true for Saint Augustine grass, which entire nature is to grow from its thick heavy thatch layer and its thick stolons.
For these reasons, for most warm season lawn owners, a hand push mower will not be the best solution to our lawn mowing needs for front yards, back yards, or verges.
Which Lawns Are Best Suited To Hand Push Mowers
Small lawns that are easily managed would be best suited for these lawn mower types. Small homes built on smaller land parcels with small patches of lawn are ideal lawn candidates for the hand push mower. In these situations the hand push mower is absolutely ideal, there really is no need at all for a powered lawn mower.
Such lawn areas are most often in partial shade, and as a result the lawns planted in these areas will often be very low in thatch, as thatch is always most prominent in lawns grown in full sun conditions. Even Saint Augustine grass growing in partial shade will have very low thatch levels naturally. And for all smaller lawns in such areas, and even for medium sized lawns in like areas, will be suitable for lawn mowing with a hand push lawn mower.
Likewise any small lawn areas around swimming pools would also be a great worksite for the hand push mower, or little lawn areas on top of stepped areas also. Though just be aware that if these areas are in full sun conditions then we need to keep lawn thatch in mind as it builds up, and as it builds up we may need to use a powered lawn mower to mow these areas every so often to ensure that thatch doesn’t get the better of our lawns. Lawns near swimming pools may need to have a catcher attached to the hand push lawn mower so as to prevent lawn clippings from drifting into the pool.
The Verdict On Hand Push Mowers
Brilliant machines, absolutely, and there are differences in brands of these mowers, so be sure to do your research before choosing a particular model or brand to buy. There is definitely a real and valued place for hand push lawn mowers, and they are a wonderful invention for all the reasons already mentioned. Very worthy of consideration.
And as already mentioned also, their uses are limited for specific circumstances, in which they will excel. Though for many of us who are still lucky enough to have a large and sunny backyard, we must still rely on a powered lawn mower for our needs, either cordless electric or gas powered.
Hand push mowers are also designed by their very nature to be lightweight, and so with some of these mowers we will need to be careful with their use, not to be too rough, and to be always considerate of their light build. Which the same can be said for some of the cheaper powered lawn mowers too, where we can quickly feel and see the flex of the machine due to their lightweight construction also.
There are many of us who could be using a hand push mower and who are not already, and so for those of us who live with small yards in conditions just described, then a hand push lawn mower may well be worthy of considering to replace that old gas lawn mower when its time draws to an end.