Customer Reviews: Fiskars Staysharp Max Reel Mower, 18-Inch
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on February 2, 2011
Review ratings updated 08-27-2012

Forgive the length of this review - it is intended to be what I was looking for (comprehensive information) before I bought my own.

If you're paying attention and have the right wrench, it shouldn't take more than about 5 or 10 minutes to assemble. Adjusting the blades takes another five minutes. Then you can start playing with it. I say playing because this isn't work. It's too much fun to be work. Strange, but true.

I learned quickly that the ease with which it is pushed through and cuts grass depends proportionately on how much of that grass's height you cut at one time. Reviews and research say that you should never cut more than 1/3rd the grass's height at a time. They tell you it's for the health of the grass. It is also for the health of the person pushing the mower. Get the mower set too low, and it's not very easy (or fun) to push. Get it set too high, and it's super easy, but nothing happens. Get it set just right, and there's light resistance, and it's going to town.

A good idea is to set it to cut off between 1/2" and 1/3rd of the total grass height for the first pass, whichever is more. Then keep lowering the cutting height 1/2" to 1" at a time and keep making passes until you get a lot of resistance pushing it when you lower it any further. Then, wait a couple days, and go out again and mow at the height you had trouble with previously. Keep doing this until your grass is where you want it. From there, it's a breeze to keep up with.

I can't believe I was paying $70 a month to have someone come in and mow my lawn when I could have been using this. It's so simple and easy!

Here's my assessment. On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being the worst and 10 being the best:

Is it easy to assemble? Yes. 9/10. Just follow the simple directions. The only way to make it easier would be to have it come pre-assembled, but they don't do that because it makes for a much smaller box if you assemble the handle yourself.

Is the handle comfortable? Yes! 10/10. The design allows you to hold it in various different ways. I like holding it in such a way that I am gripping the vertical part of the handle, which is much more natural, comfortable and surprisingly, less fatiguing than a horizontal handle.

Is it easy to adjust the blades for perfect cutting? Mostly. 6/10. It might take some fine tuning and fiddling to get it just right, and I found this slightly confusing at one point. But when you see your lawnmower slicing paper cleanly without the blades touching, it's pretty impressive and well worth the effort. Which, by the way, you only have to make once a year. I adjusted this down a notch because it can be confusing if you make a mistake. Be careful to follow directions closely.

Is it easy to adjust the cut height? Ridiculously. 10/10. Just reach down and adjust a knob on the right side. It's not even hard to move the knob! No wrenches necessary. It literally takes about 3 seconds. I wish the notches were marked for height.

Is it easy to adjust the handle height? Very. 9/10. (Just be careful not to drop the cotter pins when you're doing it.) You can adjust it super low for the very short, all the way up to comfortable for the very tall. I am 5'8" tall, and the recommended position 3 is where I like it. My 5 year old cousin can use it when it's set to Position 1. (Yes, it really is that easy to push when the grass isn't overgrown.)

Is it easy to push? When adjusted properly for the height of the grass, yes. 9/10. Even if you are small framed and spend your life sitting at a computer doing nothing but typing, you will be able to use this mower fairly easily. The only exception will be if the mower is being pushed through a very deep carpet of grass, which its weight will make a bit more difficult to do because of a tendency to sink into the grass bed.

Does it do a good job in one pass? Yes. 9/10. While you will get more grass that gets cut if you make a second pass, even at the same height, it's not necessary in most cases unless the grass was very tall to begin with. If the grass is more than 2 or 3" higher than the cutting height setting, but still low enough for the machine to mow, a second pass in the opposite or a perpendicular direction is worthwhile. The first pass does almost all the work. When I mowed my grandfather's 1 acre yard, I made one pass, period. He was very impressed with how well it cut through even the thick stuff in one pass, without needing a second pass at all. So was I. Update: You need to have the blades adjusted properly for this to be true. Otherwise it bends some, and cuts some.

Does it cut tall weeds? Usually. 7/10. If the weeds are not more than about 6 to 8" taller than the cut height, and pointed in the right direction (usually straight up or toward the mower), it will usually cut them but may need multiple passes. Taller weeds should be pulled out by hand. I have been pleased with how well it handles 6 to 8" tall weeds in one pass even when set to cut at 1.25".

Is it quiet? Yes. 9/10. It's nearly - but not quite - silent. Front wheels squeak some on mine. When the height is set properly, it can be somewhat louder than you might expect when going through thick spots. Almost silent going through thin spots, or during a second pass - unless you're mulching the previous pass's heavy clippings. I was able to mow an inch off my grass at 9:30 PM without any of my neighbors ever noticing.

Is it a good workout? Yes. 10/10. Not effortless, and not too hard when properly adjusted, this mower will definitely make you work up a sweat (I was mowing in still 70 F air after dark and sweating a moderate amount), but at the same time, it also won't make you feel exhausted unless you have it set to cut too low. And because of how quiet it is, you can mow when it's cool. I have mowed my grass at night or in the evening on a few occasions, and it makes it much more comfortable to mow than in the heat of the day.

Does it handle clippings well? Very. 9/10. The clippings might actually bog down the machine if the grass is thick and you try to cut too much off at once, or make too many passes in the same day while lowering the machine with each pass in overgrown grass. That's why it's suggested that you mow, wait a couple days and mow again a little lower: gives the clippings time to dissipate. As for dispersal, I can not tell where they go after mowing, except when they get in the driveway. They just... disappear. Literally. I love that.

Do the blades stay sharp? Yes. 10/10. This mower will only require sharpening every 5 to 10 years, according to the company, but I am not sure I can see the blades needing sharpening in anything less than 8 years, after taking a close look at how this thing is made. Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if it went for a lifetime without needing sharpening.

Is it good for large (1+ acre) lots? Fairly. 5/10. If you are not trying to mow too much off in a day, and you don't mind spending some time mowing the grass and getting some exercise, there's no reason you shouldn't be able to mow multiple acres with this in a reasonable amount of time. Of course, the bigger your lot, the more obstacles, and the higher/thicker your grass, the longer it'll take. It took me about 75 minutes to mow my grandfather's 1 acre yard, which is 99% St. Augustine grass with a house and moderate number of obstacles. About 2/3rds mowable. One acre a day at that rate, or maybe one in the morning and one in the evening, would make short work of even a four acre plot. But I can see where a riding mower would be popular with more than an acre, since you really need to mow once or twice a week to keep grass under control with a push mower.

Is it fast? Yes! 9/10 I was very impressed with how quickly I was able to mow my yard. It happened so fast I was disappointed, because I was having so much fun doing it. In fact when I mowed my grandfather's lawn, he told me I finished his entire lawn faster with the Momentum than he could with his riding lawnmower, which very much surprised me. Of course this depends on grass height and mower height, as well as grass type.

Is it maneuverable? Quite. 8/10 It's easy to maneuver, but the front wheels do not turn, so you have to lift them up to turn the machine on its back wheels. It does become a bit challenging at times when space is at a premium, such as next to a fence or in a corner, but it is no more difficult than any other push mower, powered or not.

Is it good for edging? For a lawnmower, yes. 8/10 I haven't had any trouble with edging on concrete driveway edges when I overlapped the mower on the grass and the concrete. It's good along fences if you keep it straight and steady and keep the fence to your left. Then again, who tries to edge with a lawnmower? That's what weed eaters are for. I can trim the grass to within 2" of my fence without a problem as long as I keep the fence to the left and the mower straight.

Does it handle different types of grass well? Yes! 9/10 I used it in several different types of grass and weed: Bahia, St. Augustine (Floratam, etc.), Zoisia, Crab Grass, and Bermuda grasses, as well as a type I cannot identify (wide, hairy leaves) and thick clover and dollarweed. It performed flawlessly in each. In fact it's even easier to use in healthy St. Augustine grass because that type of grass is stiffer, which makes for a perfect match to the scissor action of the mower. Update: There is a type of tough, stringy grass that I cannot identify taking over my yard that it does not do well with at the height I cut the rest of my yard. If I raise the height, it's okay, but still not as easy as say Bahia or Bermuda.

Is it fun to use? Yes! 9/10 So much fun that I mowed my own yard three times this week (during winter) and went over and mowed my grandfather's 1 acre yard. Then I mowed my uncle's yard, and snuck over to mow the back yard of the bank-owned house beside mine. It's probably more fun for me than it would be for most people because I work for myself, and I spend all my time in my office, so getting outside is a treat. Still, there's something strangely and endlessly satisfying about seeing the grass pour out the front and just disappear, all without much effort. Kids seem to enjoy using it too. Update: Have since settled into "It's a chore" mode, but it's still enough fun that I don't mind doing it even twice a week during the summer.

Would I buy it again? Absolutely. 10/10.

Is it a good value? Yes! 10/10. So far, I am very pleased with it's build and performance compared to what it cost me. Presuming that it lasts me only 10 years, it really only costs $20 a year to own. However, I fully expect that it will last something more like 80 years, making it's cost per year (if we factor in blade sharpening once every 10 years) about $5 per year. That means that if I cut my grass twice a week, it costs me 4.8 cents per cut over it's estimated lifespan of 80 years. Compare that to the $20 or $30 I was paying someone else per cut previously, and it's not exactly hard to see the value.

Would I recommend it to others? Absolutely. 10/10. Get one for yourself, and start enjoying your lawn mowing. Seriously. I only wish I'd had this when I was a teenager!

How does it compare to other push reel mowers? It is clearly the best-in-class. 10/10. The ever popular Scott's 20" (6/10) can't hold a candle to it. That mower is almost a nightmare to use, adjust and maintain in comparison, between the full-contact blades that make for more resistance, resharpening each year, more noise while mowing, problems with the handle and much less easy adjustment of the mower. The Brill RazorCut 38 (9/10) is a very good mower, and comes close, but is only about 15 inches wide. There is simply nothing that matches this mower in it's class.

Bottom line: I'm not one to really much care how "green" a solution it is. The "green" movement is great and all, but has become too politically motivated in a lot of ways for my taste. I'm a pragmatist. What I like is that it's built well, works well, is easy to adjust, quiet, pleasant to use, does a good job, gets me out of the house, gets me some sunlight (when I mow during the day!) and good, but not unreasonable exercise, saves me a lot of time and money buying gas, danger from storing gas, cleaning from getting gas on me, time and money having the mower serviced, money paying someone else to come mow a 1/4 acre lawn with a riding lawnmower when the grass is only 2" tall to begin with, blah blah blah, yada yada yada. In short, it's a clearly superior solution from a purely practical point of view, whether you're thinking green or not.

Do you want one? If your yard is an acre or less - yes you do. 9/10. Go git 'em. Bigger than that... probably only if you're retired.

UPDATE 03-01-2011: I have learned that set to less than about 3" cut height, pinecones sometimes jam it. At 1.5" to 2", it starts catching larger sticks. At 1.25", it starts catching on smaller sticks and can nick standard garden hoses. At 1", it catches on acorns and will sometimes scalp your lawn if it's not perfectly flat. Places where cars park, in soft soil can become uneven like that. The most useful cutting heights seem to be between 1.5" and 2", unless the lawn is overgrown. Probably most people would be happiest with 2" cut height.

Every time I use this thing, I love it more. I think the only way I could be happier with it is if it had been given to me for free.

UPDATE 04-15-2011: Still thrilled. The amusement factor of using it has balanced out at "I'm cutting the grass", but when I do use it, it makes mowing the grass a truly relaxing experience. People stop and marvel, and nobody can believe how well it works. It's a great way to meet neighbors. I also find it more and more irritating when I hear my neighbors cutting their grass with gas powered mowers now. I wish they'd get a clue about reel mowers.

UPDATE 07-05-2011: I have noticed that for my mower, the blades need adjustment back to optimal for cutting about every 2-3 months, not once a year as I was originally led to believe. They get too far apart and don't cut all the grass blades after that. This wouldn't be a problem, if I could find it easier to adjust. If the adjustment settings were numbered, perhaps it would be easier. As it is, finding a setting that cuts paper on both sides but does not make any contact with the stationary cutting blade is either next to impossible, or I'm thoroughly confused how to do it - which seems preposterous, since it should be pretty simple. I suspect the misalignment happens because of hitting sticks while mowing. Also, I'd like to see the height adjustment notches marked for what height they represent. Otherwise, it's still mowing my yard, my uncle's yard and my grandfather's yard like a champ.

UPDATE 07-25-2011: I have concluded that the difficulties I was having with adjusting the blades were the result of me not reading the directions before attempting to adjust them. There are two bolts on either side that must be loosened before you adjust the cutting blades, which I was not loosening prior. Now it's set just right and cutting like a champ again, although I have two kinds of grass dominant in my yard and they prefer different cut heights, which is making things interesting.

Update 11-07-2011: Just returned home from an unexpected 8 week journey, and found my grass was insane when I got back. I spent some time using this mower to the best of its ability, and it did cut some of the grass, but half the front yard was both ridiculously tall and of that one type of aggressive grass that resists this mower's cutting ability. To mow the majority of the lawn, only took multiple passes. I went across and back four times per swath and that handled the sane grass that was "just too tall". For the resistant grass, which I'll be sodding over soon, and the tall seed pods, I got out my electric weed whacker. I am really surprised how good a job this mower did with such an overgrown lawn, although I do use a special technique to help. You push it over an area, and then drag it backwards. Then some grass will be bent in half, and if you push forward that grass will get cut because of being bent by the mower going backwards. It has to be partially caught under the mower for this to work. Then repeat, repeat, repeat. It's not the fastest way, but it cuts grass much too tall to cut otherwise. Long story short, no borrowing a neighbor's gas mower - but it took a couple days of work with all that weed whacking the ditch area with that horrible new type of grass getting so much water.

Update 08-27-2012: Had the blades jam completely on it a few weeks ago while adjusting it. Contacted Fiskars for how to send it in for adjustment. They sent me a brand new one instead. So... I guess got one for free after all. :D Very pleased with the customer service. I have also updated the ratings to reflect my extended experience.
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on January 23, 2011
I've been using this mower for a few months and so far I've been loving it. No noise and no more fumes. Its nice to be able to cut the grass while talking on the phone or listening to music. I can cut the grass early in the morning before it gets hot without disturbing the neighbors. The mower adjusts from 1" to 4" so I can cut my fescue at 3-3.5" which is higher that my old gas mower could cut. This mower weighs around 35lbs or so, which makes it much heavier than other reel mowers on the market. However the flywheel and the extra heft allows you to easily push it through thick grass. It doesn't produce that perfect cut like a gas mower, so you will have a few stray blades that didn't get clipped, but it cuts the blades so cleanly that its almost like someone cut the grass with a pair of scissors :) I'm amazed at how well it cuts without stressing the grass. My old gas mower is forsale on craigslist and I don't think I'll ever own another gas mower. My yard is roughly 1/4 acre with a fairly steep hill in the back yard and it only takes about 10 mins longer to cut using this mower than my old gas mower. The only downside is that this mower doesn't handle overgrown grass very well. You will have to set it to its highest setting, and make multiple passes, so be sure to cut regularly.

- No Noise
- No fumes
- Can cut higher than most gas mowers
- Only reel market on the mower that can go as high as 4"
- Adjustable handle to suit your height
- Much lighter than a gas mower, so easier to push on inclines
- Cuts grass into confetti/ribbon strips for easy grass-cycling
- Transports easily (handle quickly detaches using 2 cotter pins)

- Very difficult to cut overgrown grass
- Difficult to cut wet grass.
- No way to collect clippings which could be an issue if you have a lot of weeds.
- Would be easier to turn and handle dips if rear wheels were larger.
- Doesn't cut tall/bendy weeds well. They bend under the mower and pop back up.
- Only cuts when moving forward, takes longer to cut around obstacles than it would with gas/electric mower

Spring 2011 Update:
This mower has made me a victim of my own success. The yard looks better than ever but I now have to cut 3 times every 2 weeks to keep the grass in check, and if we've had rain, my tall fescue is on steroids and I get a real workout.

My grass cutting time has increased as tall leggy weeds have popped up in the back yard. They bend and go under the blade and pop right back up. So I have to back up several times to get the head of the weed in the mower just right to cut it. My front yard has few weeds, so this isn't a problem. However its a real pain in the back yard. This will get better as the turf improves. However if you have more weeds than lawn, a reel mower might be very frustrating.

Fall 2013 Update:
I finally gave it up. I've put a lot of work into my lawn over the past few years and it is really starting to thrive. So much so that I don't have the time to cut it every 5 days with the fiskars, and if you ever get behind with this mower, you will regret it. Since I have tall fescue, it can easily grow to 8-9 inches in just over a week.

So I purchased a battery powered mower. I went with the green works 19" lithium ion gmax mower and love it. Much easier to cut tall grass and around obstacles. Cutting the grass is significantly less work now. Only downside, is that even though the green works is quiet, I miss the silence of the fiskars.
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on April 17, 2011
I have used reel mowers for some time. Formerly I had a smaller one and I needed to cover more area, so I bought this one last year. It is expensive for a reel mower, but I read the great reviews and figured it would be worth it. It is a well-made item, but we haven't had the great experience some others had. The mower pushes easily and cuts lower grass well, but even set high it doesn't do higher grass and it just pushes down the tall weeds like dandelions. The worst part for me is that we don't get the 18" mowing width I was looking forward to. The sides push down the grass and leave only a narrow actual cutting width. This annoys my teenage son so much that he actually went back to using the older 16" mower. I still use this one myself, but I agree it mows a super-narrow strip and you have to overlap the strips or you end up with stripes of tall grass. The first few times this happened we couldn't figure it out, but now I know I have to overlap by a couple of inches (which further narrows your mowing area).
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on June 18, 2016
TL;DR: Mower failed after two mows. Fiskars will not honor their warranty, telling me I must be lying about how the product failed.

I really wanted to like this product, and while it was still working, I did!

First, the good: The product feels very well made, and after a somewhat time-consuming adjustment (I wanted to get it just right), it cut my grass really well.

Then, the bad: After mowing my lawn twice with this mower, I started using it for the third time. Each time before I used it, I made sure all the adjustment bolts were tightened and/or set appropriately; I wanted to make sure everything would last. Five minutes into the third mow, one of the bolts that holds the spinning blade assembly in place gave out: without hitting anything in the lawn, the spinning blades and the stationary blade collided hard and put deep gouges into both. A local repair service told me that to grind out the gouges in one spinning blade, they'll have to grind all the blades to match, and that is harder to do on this mower than on other reel mowers.

After filing a warranty claim with Fiskars and waiting three weeks, I was told that Fiskars is assuming that I must have misused the mower, so they won't honor their warranty. I understand that they weren't standing next to me when the mower self-destructed and don't know for sure what happened, but what ever happened to trusting your customers and assuming the customer is always right?

My particular issue with this mower is probably not very common. However, I got two mows out of a $200 mower, then got no support (and in fact some fairly rude emails) from the company when their product failed.
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on April 24, 2011
I definitely would NOT recommend this for everyone. Do see the significant downsides I list as well as my reasons for giving it 5 stars. [See updates below for the reason I am now giving it only 4 stars.]

I chose this mower because I hate the sound and smell of gas mowers, and I have no idea how to tune an engine or change a spark plug, and did not want to be bothered with filling the tank and changing the oil and so on. I have nothing against gas mowers, and am not the eco type, so my decision to buy this was nothing to do with any alleged environmental benefits.

I have used an electric mower in the past and did not have any problem not running over the cable, but that was in a smaller lawn. In the case of my current lawn, an electric mower seemed really not very practical for me because I have an acre, and although at least half of that is not lawn, it seemed very daunting to think about how long an extension cable I would need, and I think it might have been difficult to get around all the trees and beds here without getting the cables tangled up.

I rejected the battery-powered mower idea because apparently they are very heavy, and I'd have to charge the battery, and it probably wouldn't be enough charge for me to mow the whole lawn, and so on. A reel mower, to me, seemed like a better option, because there is less to go wrong and less technical knowhow is needed to operate and maintain it. It is a simpler beast.

I found the videos of this mower in use very persuasive. It looked so easy, quiet and pleasant to use, and, well, more interesting than the other reel mowers available. I did once try another reel mower and it didn't really work at all well. This one does actually mow the lawn.

If you have a very flat, bowling green like lawn, I think this mower would be beyond compare. It is quiet and very pleasant to use on long flat runs. I mowed my lawn at 5.30am recently without disturbing anyone. However, if, like my lawn, yours is hilly, full of landscaped fiddly bits, and not perfectly even, or if you have huge numbers of tall pine trees dropping pine cones and debris, or if you have clay soil that makes part of your lawn waterlogged a lot of the time, as I do, and you don't have the time to check that your grass is thoroughly dry and only mow when it is dry, this may not be the best choice.

Despite the fact that all these reasons not to buy this mower apply to my lawn, I still would still choose to buy this mower again if I had had the chance to try it on my lawn before I bought it. For a start, I think the challenges of my lawn would be challenging with any other mower. Part of the reason I bought this mower was that the lawn service I was using was damaging my lawn by mowing when it was wet, and even when they used a gas push mower rather than a ride-on one, it still damaged it. Why pay $50/week for someone to damage my lawn and no doubt bring my lawn diseases and weeds?

Do note that this mower is not light. I personally like working out, and I use this mower to get a low-intensity aerobic workout. It gives me great pleasure to mow the lawn and get a free workout and save $50 all at the same time. If you have no desire to workout, then unless you have a simple flat lawn like the one depicted in the videos demonstrating this mower, my advice is to get a self-propelled mower of some kind. The workout I get from using this to mow my hilly, complicated lawn is really quite good, because it uses my legs, core, and upper body, shoulders and arms (a bit like the VersaClimber, costing thousands of $$$!). It is a bit of a drag to turn the mower around at the end of each run, unless you think of that as part of the workout benefit of this mower, as I do, but again, that applies to many other mowers too, not just this one.

When the lawn service was mowing my lawn, they would mow it in the same way each time, the easiest, quickest way, rather than taking the trouble to mow it in straight lines parallel to the house one week and perpendicular to the house the next. It is better for the lawn, and looks much nicer, to change directions each time you mow. If I were to mow the lawn the easiest, quickest way instead, it would be a lot easier with this mower, but even doing it the obsessively neat way I do it, it is still very doable for me.

I have tall fescue grass that an expert told me needs to be cut at 3.5 inches. Apparently many mowers can't do that. This one can. I do wonder whether it might be easier to mow if I kept the grass shorter, like on the videos I've seen demonstrating this mower, but on the other hand, with all the pine cones littering my lawn, keeping the cutting height high may be a good idea for times when I don't notice a pine cone and mow straight over it, as has happened many times without any problem.

I go around after mowing and clip the few tall grass weeds that have been missed by the mower. Again, I think it is a mistake to think that other mowers would handle those tough tall bits better. Certainly the lawn service mowing left a few tall uncut stems, and they were using professional equipment.

Call me strange (as my neighbours do!) but I still really like this lawn mower, and actually enjoy mowing the lawn for the first time ever in my life. I am very glad I chose this one despite everyone having told me it would be a huge mistake to get a reel mower.

UPDATE: I recently left the lawn uncut for longer than usual, and many very tall (like 9 inches or more) tall tough stalks were left uncut by the mower. I went around the whole lawn manually cutting all the long tough uncut stems, and it took me the best part of the afternoon to do it, and I was beginning to think maybe the lawn service wasn't such a bad idea after all!! However, the next couple of times I came to mow, there were only a few tall stalks to cut manually and it was easy. I have concluded that it is quite important to cut weekly or more and be sure not to ignore any tall tough stalks left after mowing, if you want to keep the lawn under control and you are keeping the lawn long (3-4 inches).

Finally, while it took me three sessions to mow the lawn the very first time I used the mower, my grass-cutting fitness has apparently improved, because I can now do the whole lawn including manually cutting the tall tough stems in one session that is not too long. It certainly takes a lot longer than the lawn service take to do it, but it is really not too bad, and it is still fun to use this mower. I love the way the grass shoots out the front, and dances in the wind if there is wind. Several friends have offered to GIVE me their mowers, but I (still!) prefer this one even to a free high-quality self-propelled gas one! It is strangely satisfying.

FURTHER UPDATE: I just want to mention, for the benefit of anyone thinking of buying this mower, that the problem identified by some who have given this mower a bad review (one star, for example) is true. It really doesn't cut the tall tough bendy stems. I am currently experimenting with different possible solutions for this problem and will update again when I find a good solution. Currently, I am cutting my grass almost twice a week, and manually cutting those tall stems every time I mow. I do find that if I mow twice a week, changing the direction (from parallel to the house to perpendicular to it, for example) that the mowing is much easier and few tall stems are left uncut. But if I leave it a week, it is a bit of a disaster.

I do one straight row, then turn the mower round and do the next row, using the wheel track left by the previous row. This of course leaves whatever was under the wheel tracks uncut, but I tried mowing between rows and it did not really help because the grass had been flattened under the wheel track so still wasn't cut, and doing that made it take longer too. So I minimise the wheel tracks by using the same track in the next row of mowing, then the next time I mow, a few days later, I go perpendicular to the previous mowing tracks to get the grass uncut in the previous mowing but which has by then risen again. This seems to work well as long as I mow twice every 3 or 4 days or so. But there are still some tall stems.

I have now bought a string trimmer for those times when serious cleanup of tall tough stems is needed after mowing. I do wonder, though, whether my grass is unusually fast growing and tough compared to other grass. I have never seen anything like the tall stems that shoot up in my current lawn.

Despite the need for a string trimmer to trim the uncut stems I STILL like this mower, and STILL would choose it over a gas, electric or battery-powered one, but when I fail to mow for a whole week I do start to question my decision to give up the $50/week lawn service! But apart from the tall stems this mower does do a really good job. I LOVE the look of the neatly-cut rows of grass. I am reducing my rating to 4 stars because the tall uncut stems problem does now seem quite significant, but I still don't feel remotely inclined to switch to another mower, even one of the ones my friends want to give me for free.

FURTHER UPDATE: When my parents were visiting recently, my father took a look at the mower and he said it was a miracle that it was cutting anything at all: the blades were not connecting at all. He said the only way it can have been cutting anything was by ripping leaves of grass as I was running behind the mower. Now that he has made the adjustments (actually easy to do, and he said I should re-adjust it REGULARLY) the mower is less silent than before (more of a chugging noise) but it cuts like a dream. When I heard the chugging noise as my father checked his adjustments before handing it over to me, I was worried that it would be harder to push and that the blades would get worn down. In fact, to my astonishment, even though my father had reduced the cutting height to 2 inches, it was EASIER to push than before, and the grass is being cut into much shorter little pieces somehow. My father said that blades do get worn down, and that there is no way around that if you want a cutting device like this to work, and he said that the same would be true for all other lawn mowers, not just this one. So glad I got this one! I bought an electric leaf blower and already the extension cable has a large gash in it, and I find I am not using it because of the tediousness of hauling out the extension lead each time. So glad I didn't get an electric mower. I am tempted to put my review back up to 5 stars again!
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on January 28, 2011
I have had several reel mowers (scott's, etc.) and found the Fiskar momentum to be the best by far. I have used it for two seasons and it continues to roll easily and cuts evently with little effort. It is heavier than other reel mowers and slightly less maneuverable due to the 4-wheel design. It is perfect for my small, flat yard and my grass is very healthy. Highly recommended.
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on February 8, 2016
I have a 1 acre lawn area on my farm, which includes several hilly and steep inclines. I used to use a powered self-propelled petrol mower. When the grass was thick it took over 3 hours, and the grass would constantly clog the underside of the mower, especially when it was thick and wet.

I ordered this Fiskars mower, and even with the shipping costs to Australia, it has been worth every cent. I love this mower.

It still takes me 3 hours to do the 1 acre. On the flat and downhill sections it is as easy to push as the powered mower. On the uphill bits, it is hard work. I'm a fit guy, almost 50 years old, and this gives me a great workout.

Best of all, it will cut long, wet grass without clogging. That means I can do the lawn in the cool of the morning even with the grass wet from dew. The power mower couldn't do that, and I would have to wait till the sun dried the lawn up, in the hotter part of the day

The quality of the cut depends on how often you mow. If you leave it too long until the grass is high, a power mower will give you a cleaner, neater cut, including seed stalks. The Fiskars mower will not do as neat a job on really long grass. However, if you mow more frequently, the Fiskars will be easier to push and gives very clean cut. Watching the cut grass spew out from the front is very satisfying.

It does need a bit of tuning to get it just right. Requires just a spanner, and a sheet of paper to test the cut. Easy.

Saves fuel
Saves time (if factor in buying fuel, filling, starting)
Pull it out any time for a quick run
Almost silent
Good workout
Very satisfying, almost fun
Should last forever, as the blade does not touch the cutters
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on March 27, 2015
Works great, easy to put together, use the bag with it with no problems with the bag falling off while mowing the rough lawn accounts with my lawn service as long as the clips are tightened so they stay in place and don't slide back.

1) I switched from commercial gas mowers to a traditional reel mower (1950's) so no bag, had to mulch, no adjusting blade so I had one length to cut lawns, much harder to push, harder to steer. It was only good for simple straight cut weekly lawns and never for the first cut of the season.
2) This reel mower simple easy to put together, adujusting it is a breeze, it take the same amount of time as it takes with the commercial gas mowers on flat lawn and slightly longer on steep inclined or rolling lawns.
3) The bag feature is great
4) t's light weight and easy to take apart and put in the back of my truck or tuck the handle up to put in the back of the trailer on a hook so it doesn't roll around
5) Turning around is easier than with commercial gas mowers because the blades aren't cutting when I lift it up and turn it so no turn marks from lifting it too high or angle marks because of the turn. It turns around trees a little wider than my commercial gas mowers, it doesn't do tight corners well, but it does pretty good and it is close enough that it is about where you cut with a trimmer/edger anyway so it's not much more work. I just do more of a square box the first time or two around a tree and the third time is a circle so I am able to mow around it like I do with the commercial gas mowers if it is in my path.
6) It takes less time to load and unload then the commercial gas mowers.
7) It cuts through tall grass without a problem as long as the blades are adjusted properly and you don't have to go very fast for it to cut clean unlike the other one I used (1950's style) where I had to almost jog for a clean cut and it freshly sharpened blades. I can actually walk faster with this than the commercial gas powered lawn mowers because my speed is what turns the blades unlike gas powered if you go too fast the wind from the blades will push the grass down and you'll get patches. You do still want to watch your speed so you don't tip on hills and can move around trees without leaving a huge space of uncut grass.
8) The stationary wheels help keep it straight so if you hit a bump or hole it doens't go all over the place, and just like with commercial gas mowers bumps and holes will effect the cut so becareful and avoid them when you can.
9) I use the plastic gaurd it came with when it is not in use so the blades are not exposed since I don't want it banging around and tearing up my truck or trailer and dulling the blades or anything getting in them. Just gives them a little more protection.
10) It IS a workout. More of a workout than commercial gas mowers.

I think the only way it could be better is
1) If it folded up the handle going all the way down and folded in half and could hang so it was more compact instead of the handle just going straight up
2) The handle would actually lock in place so it would't try to fold up when trying to push from like a wall or fence area.
3) Having a cover that could be pulled down and lock closed over the blades when it wasn't in use so it wouldn't be as much of a worry around children cutting themselves on the blades when it wasn't in use and provide a little better protection for the blades too.

Plus side of the bag
1) It is fully adjustable so that it stays off the ground on the lowest mower setting and doesn't push the ground down and tall enough on the highest mower setting that it catches all the grass clippings.
2) Dumps easily into a lawn bag or right into a large garbage can.
3) Quick and easy to assemble
4) Saves time on accounts that don't want clippings mulched left since I don't have to rake them up and bag them when I am done.

Down sides to the this bag
1) It doesn't have the same capacity as the commercial gas mowers so I could only do 3-4 small lawns without dumping and medium lawns need to be dumped 2 or more times.
2) It isn't enclosed, the top is open so it needs to be dumped between each account so I don't end up with grass clippings all over my trailer.
3) Untightening the stabilizers that keep it from bouncing off and removing the bag then putting it back on and replacing and tightening the stabilizers takes slightly longer than removing dumping and replacing commercial gas mowers bags.
4) I can't get as close to walls, fences, houses for turn around.

Over All the bag and reel mower are well worth it.
Why? It cuts time I'm at an account and since time costs me money, that is a big plus and it is easy to use. The downsides are not even that big of a deal. I just do square pattern instead of circle around the trees and things that are tight and use the trimmer/edger about the same amount, I might go out a little more but not much. Compact fold and hang design and blade cover are not something that it requires for a good perfomence, they are just things that I think would make storage better. Locking handle would make performace a little better but it's not something that makes much of a difference once you get used to the moving handle, which in it's own way is good because it lets some like me who is 5' 2" use it and let an employee who is 5'6" use it without adjusting it. For the ones over 6' it has to be adjusted between me using it and them. Even with my commercial gas mowers I would dump bags between accounts unless it was a tiny lawn with hardly any clippings. The time it saves raking up the clippings is a lot more than the 12 seconds longer it takes me to remove and replace. Lastly I've always gone around the perimeter 3 times unless it was open to ensure enough turn around room and even with the bag on it doesn't really affect my turn around because it is still within the turnaround space.
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VINE VOICEon June 24, 2011
I owned a manual, reel mower years ago and it was horrible. Tall, fine grass and seed shoots would simply be pushed over and I would have to spend even longer with a trimmer knocking them down. For the last few years I had a lawn service but the lawn service was killing my lawn so I decided to buy a mower again. A little research led me to the Fiskars Momentum. So far the kids and I love this mower. It suffers from many of the same problems of other manual reel movers but Fiskars' has innovated a few features that make this the best in class:


- Adjustable up to 4" so will work with St. Augustine and Bermuda grasses
- Cuts very close to edges and walls if you have easy access
- Trim under trees and odd corners if grass not too tall
- Heavy duty build
- Easy to clean
- Fun for kids
- Good for environment, no gas
- Ejects clippings forward for extra mulching

- CHEAP HARDWARE. Cotter pins, bolts and bearings rust quickly (see video)
- Wait too long between mows and you will be borrowing someone's gas mover to catch up
- Difficult to maneuver in corners. You may need a weed whacker
- If you have the odd tall weed or seed shoot, the mower will just push it over
- Impossible to get going if grass too tall in places
- Tricky to adjust blade
- Tilting the handle back even a little will stop cutting action
- Need a large turning radius

(UPDATE) I added a picture to show the difference in how this cuts grass compared to a traditional mower. please look above at the pics.
(UPDATE 2) To stop the rust I bought a can of "Eastwood Rust Encapsulator Paint" and sprayed the metal parts.
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on May 9, 2015
I bought this a couple months ago, still snow on the ground then, so I didn't get a chance to use it til now....I put it together, I made three passes and it worked really well, just as I thought this was going to work out I heard a pop and low and behold the chain popped a link into three idea why, I spent half the day cleaning up the yard making sure there was no debris to stop up the mower, and now I'm stuck with a partially mowed yard while I'm on hold with fiskars trying to get a new chain....if I don't get this matter resolved quickly I would never buy fiskars again, will update when I find out.
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