I have a conundrum. Won't you please help me, oh wise and sage internets?
You see, I find myself searching for a device capable of ridding my property of excess grass. In the past, I've had a riding mower courtesy of Dad G., since we lived next door to each other and all that. I've been cutting a 1 acre lot for 15 years, and in the past couple of years had been cutting my parents' yard, too - for a total of about 3 acres.
One of the things I looked for in Freedom House was a small yard. TheBoy and BabyGirl G. are beyond the "running around in the yard" stage. If they feel an overwhelming need to exercise, they go for a bike ride, grab their scooters, or strap on roller blades. The days of the Power Wheels electric vehicle roaming the back 40 are long behind us.
So, rather than 1-3 acres, I find myself with 0.2. I prefer this greatly.
What this means, and the genesis of this request, is that I'm genuinely puzzled as to what I should acquire for my grass cutting needs. It boils down to one of three options:
Option 1: Standard push mower.
Pros are that I'm familiar with the operation of a standard push mower.
Cons are that I need to have gas/oil/etc. on hand and store an internal combustion engine for the winter.
Option 2: Reel mower.
Pros are that it requires absolutely no additional tools other than a method of sharpening.
Cons are that the lawn must be mowed frequently and the blades resharpened often.
Option 3: Electric mower.
Pros are that it doesn't require gas/oil/etc. like a gas mower.
Cons are that it's not as powerful as a gas mower, and you can run over the cord and electrocute yourself.
Now, granted, my experience with a reel mower comes from a friend who owned one about 20 years ago - however, it's not like the technology has changed for a reel mower. He said it cut grass well, but that it needed frequent sharpening, and didn't work if the grass got too long.That means if we go away for a weekend, or have a rainy spell, or just get lazy for a week, we have to go out and buy something else to cover. The reel mower is the least expensive option - Amazon offered a 20" model with a grass catcher for $95, shipped.
The electric is tempting except for the cord. If I hand over lawn mowing duties to TheBoy, I'm afraid of him electrocuting himself if he runs over the cord. I would assume - and here I mean hope - that there's some sort of shutoff that would prevent him from letting all the electrons out of the house. Barring that, I hope nothing catches fire. However, the bonus of being able to unplug it after the last mow of the season, toss it in the basement in a corner, and forget about it until spring thaw is rather tempting... Electric is middle-of-the-pack, price-wise: Amazon offered a 20" model with a bagger for $130, shipped.
The gas mower leaves me feeling "meh". It's a lot of work to properly care for a gasoline engine, and in this case, there's just not a lot of return on investment. The gas mower is also the most expensive, with the plain model starting at $150, and going up to $250 or so with a bagger attachment. Plus it's the noisiest out of the three options. On the other hand, though, if the grass gets a little too tall, it'll cut through it like a champ.
So, thoughts/comments/etc. are appreciated. If you have experience - good or bad - with reel mowers or electric (I have conservatively 32 years of experience with a gas-powered push mower), I'd welcome the input. Bear in mind that a 13 year old boy with the attention span of a rabid chipmunk will be running whatever rig we get, so safety is paramount (reel mower has the edge there).
No matter what we get, lawn care is going to take a LOT less time, and that is a good thing...
That is all.