While technological advances led to the development of gas-powered lawn mowers in the 20th century, many people continue to use manual reel mowers, which have been around since the 1830s. There are several advantages to using a manual reel mower. For example, they cost no more than $150.00, which is significantly cheaper than the gas-powered mowers that are on the market. Furthermore, traditional reel mowers are easier to maintain, as well as less dangerous to use, than their gas-powered counterparts. Third, by using a manual reel mower, you'll be causing less damage to the environment than if you operate a gas-powered mower.
There's a trade off, however, for all the benefits of switching from your noisy and messy gas-powered mower to a manual reel machine. For one thing, you can expect to put more time and effort into your lawn than you would with a gas-powered mower. This is because a manual mower is powered purely by your physical exertion. Furthermore, you'll have to mow your lawn frequently since it becomes even more of a physical challenge the taller the grass gets.
While reel mowers are an efficient and eco-friendly way to keep up your yard's appearance, they aren't for everybody. Because a reel mower is slower than a standard gas mower, you wouldn't want to purchase a reel mower if your yard is over 8,000 square feet (approximately 743 square meters) [source: Reel Mower Guide]. Still, if you decide that a reel mower is right for you, you can expect to be able to use if for many years. All that's required to maintain a manual reel mower is some basic periodical maintenance, including washing off the grass clippings, cleaning the blades and keeping the machine indoors when it's not being used in order to prevent rust from setting in.