Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Reviewing The Benefits and Drawbacks Of A Manual Lawn Mower

manual lawn mower sitting on grass

This is my personal review of our manual lawnmower. Over the years we have had maybe five or six lawnmowers all electric, apart from one petrol powered one.

However, last year we bought a manual lawnmower. I am not really sure why we decided to do that, but I know we were fed up with our electric ones breaking down or cutting the cord accidentally and the whole hassle of fixing up extension leads inside the house as we have no outside power. The one petrol lawnmower we had was very heavy and noisy and really too big for us and our lawn and neither of us liked it.

The electric one had just given up, more expensive to fix than to buy another one and of course, it was at peak mowing time so we needed another one quickly.

Searching For A Lawn Mower

We started trawling Amazon for lawnmowers. We did not want a petrol mower as we do not have a massive amount of lawn and it would have been too much. We were fed up with electric lawnmowers and all the issues we had found with them. 

So we decided to hone in on manual lawnmowers. At first, I was not sure this was a good idea. My husband has health issues and I need to be careful with my back having a history of severe back problems. I wasn't sure we would be able to push it without added power.

I also wasn't sure if it would cut effectively. It felt in this age of technology, powered appliances and high specifications to be a step backward. Yet in a way also felt completely appropriate for our nature-friendly, wildlife garden and for the more power-saving, environmentally aware times we live in.

The manual lawnmower we found had an appealing price point and looked very sturdy and we were fed up replacing lawnmowers too often. So we bought a Bosch manual lawn mower. 

looking down on a manual lawn mower in use
Bosch Manual Lawn Mower

Our First Experience Of A Manual Lawn Mower.

When it arrived I was pleasantly surprised that it was sturdy looking but not too heavy.

Set up was easy with only the long handles to fix to the frame which even for us was easy. We never fitted the grassbox as we intended to cut the lawn often and have always found a grassbox to be an encumbrance. However, the grassbox is there if we ever need it. 

Hubby was the first to try to in the garden. We set the blades on high and he simply pushed it and it cut cleanly and efficiently.  After a few laps he stopped and said it was really easy to push and no more work than our previous electric mowers! In fact, he seemed to be rather enjoying it!

So then I tried it and to my joy, it was indeed easy to push and did not hurt my back that time or any other time I have mowed the lawn.

For some reason I have yet to pin down it always seems more fun to use than our powered ones ever did!  

So after using this manual lawnmower for nearly a year now we have found clear benefits and drawbacks as we see it from our personal experience.

pushing a manual lawn mower
Manual Lawn Mower Is Easy To Use

Benefits Of A Manual Lawnmower

It is easier to push than we expected and no more physical strength is required than with our previous powered mowers

Much quieter than our electric or petrol mowers and it has quite a soothing muted sound

There are no electricity costs and no petrol costs. So we can mow to our heart's content knowing we are not incurring any ongoing financial costs at all! This is great for us as power costs are due to rise by a significant amount, so any savings are good. 

Regarding the environment, there are no emissions from a manual lawn mower so this is all good for our planet.

There is the joy of knowing that never again will we cut through an electric cable!

With no trailing wires, no extension leads required, no outdoor power needed and no wires trailing from the house into the garden, it is an easy-use tool.  

Fewer components mean there is less to go wrong

The manual lawn mower is ready to go as soon as you are! We now have no worries that it won't start or that a component will suddenly go wrong.

manual lawn mower turned over to see the blade
Close Up Of Bosch Manual Lawnmower, blades, wheels and roller

Even with battery lawnmowers you have the battery life or recharging to concern yourself with, while with a totally manual machine none such concerns. 

Significantly better for wildlife. We don't disturb any more wildlife using our manual lawnmower than we would with our presence walking down the garden. 

The frogs, toads,  hedgehogs and birds -especially fledglings - have plenty of time to move away from it and there's no risk if any of them getting caught up by the blades.

baby robin perched on wooden rail
Fledgling Baby Robin 

To us, it does appear to give a better cleaner cut rather than tearing the grass.

It was less expensive than other powered mowers we have purchased in the past.

As it has a smaller footprint than most powered mowers it is easier to store and takes up less space. 

We can carry it easily as it is not too heavy, though it is sturdy. 

The manual lawnmower feels safer around wildlife, pets and children as there are no wires for them to get caught up in or trip over. There is no electricity to worry about and no fast-moving blades. We do take all the usual safety precautions of course. 

hedgehog in the grass
Hedgehog In Our Garden

Drawbacks Of A Manual Lawnmower

I do think that if you have a very large lawn a manual lawnmower will take more time to achieve the task. While it is perfectly possible to cut a large lawn with a manual lawn mower you will need to decide if you wish to do that. 

We find you need to cut a little more often than with a powered mower as it is much easier to cut shorter grass than longer grass with it.

If you attach the grassbox you may need to empty it more often, but I think if you cut more often this would not be an issue. 

Long grass will be more difficult to cut and certainly take more effort. Little and often is easier to cut than letting the grass grow longer which makes it harder to cut and then does require more physical power.

It is not so good at cutting wet grass as it does take more effort and seems to clog up more easily, but we rarely try to cut wet grass anyway even with our powered mowers, preferring to cut it when it is dry.

We will need to sharpen the blades every few years with our size lawn, but given the saving in electricity, this will not be a cost issue.   

Ours does have a roller but many manual mowers won't have rollers, so stripes will be more difficult to achieve. If this is important to you check that you can achieve stripes with it. If you want one with a roller function do check all the specifications. 

If you are considering a manual lawn mower do research properly what is important to you in a lawnmower. We bought a Bosch Manual Lawnmower and there are many more choices that are equally suitable. 

Here are a few available on Amazon to browse. Do consider what you need in a manual lawn mower and read all the specifications carefully.

American Lawn Mower Company 

Great States lawnmower

Happy With Our Manual Lawn Mower 

In summary, we are both really happy with our Bosch manual lawn mower. We have owned it for nearly a year now with no issues at all and are very content that we never need to worry about it breaking down or not starting. 

We don't worry about wires or electricity costs. We have no need to worry about safety with wildlife or pets or children getting caught up in the wires or blades. Obviously, the blades are sharp so you would take all the usual precautions regarding children and any type of machinery. 

We find it a gentle, easy, quiet way to mow our smallish lawn that is environmentally and wildlife-friendly and does not annoy us or the neighbours. 

manual lawn mower
Bosch Manual Lawnmower

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  1. Ah - wonderful review. When we had our first house in Florida oh so many years ago, we had a manual lawnmower and I found it very easy to cut the grass and did so regularly. Eventually we purchased a gas lawn mower and over the years hubby did all the lawn mowing in the many places we lived. As our two boys grew into young teens, they took over the lawn mowing chore. Today the boys are grown with their own lawns to mow and I am back to having to mow. I find that I cannot start my current power mower, so my grandson has been using it. Then I was given a corded electric mower and while I can maneuver it. it is a chore to keep the cord out of my way and it is so large it is difficult for me to turn. I have been seriously thinking of going back to a manual lawn mower because it was the only one I could easily handle. Therefore, I appreciate your article because it has convinced me this is the ideal solution for me. I DO currently have a large yard, but I'm retired so I have time to do a little bit at a time over more than one day. Thanks for your timely article, Jasmine.

  2. Like you Jasmine we have also run the through all the lawnmower possibilities. We went from Electric to Gas powered and finally settled on a "Push Mower" as well. Your reasons are all the same as ours. We were happy with the push mower and would not go back to other types. Now, in our present situation, we don't worry about the lawn anymore, that is my son's job! He still uses the push mower as well. Great Review!

  3. I have never used a manual lawnmower but I'm certainly considering one now! I know I would prefer being able to hear what is going on around me. Not only do I love the sounds of nature, I like to hear if someone calls my name or if someone is approaching me. It would certainly be easier than having to add gas too (a job I always hate). Fortunately for me, cutting the grass is something my husband normally does. When I do help him, I have a riding mower that I enjoy using, but I know I would prefer the quiet of a manual mower. Thanks for the introduction to the manual mower. Without this review, I would never have known the benefits of a manual lawnmower.

  4. Jasmine, I am fortunate that my husband does the lawn mowing, especially since we have a large, sloping backyard. However, I really dislike the loud noise our gas-powered lawnmower makes, especially since it is very difficult to get my husband’s attention, if necessary, when he is mowing. I also worry about the effect of the loud noise on his hearing. I will definitely share your review with him.

  5. If I had a yard, I would be buying the mower you are now using. My acres of land are completely wild. I have left everything natural on purpose (for the wildlife and to eliminate the need for irrigation). I remember this type of manual lawnmower being used at my grandmother's home. I see only positives and congratulate for making this choice. Well done!

  6. Edit: Congratulate _you_ for making this choice.

  7. This brings back so many wonderful memories - I know weird right? A manual lawn mower bringing up memories. I used to spend my summers with my aunt who is my own age, and my grandmother, her mother, and they had a manual lawn mower. I remembered being fascinated by it because ours wasn't manual. I used to LOVE to cut the grass with it. I was 11 years old (or something like that) and remember the great feeling I had doing that grass - it made me feel like I was in control of the look of the grass - like an artists feels when they create something. Weird, I know. Now I want another one for us - oh, and I love the cutting sound it makes too.

  8. This is a brilliant review, thank you. When next we need a lawnmower, we need to consider a manual one. Our yard is not overly big and I expect as long as we don't let it get too long, this would be a great choice for us.


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