Lil' Red Lawnmower that Could

Category: Tools

I didn't think it was possible, but you really CAN buy anything online these days.

Our Review

When our inherited lawnmower broke a few weeks ago, our backyard began to grow into a tangled jungle until we could fine a suitable replacement. We were tempted to just go out to the closest home improvement store and pick one up, but...well...I am such a research wonk with a jones for the best value.

So I headed to Consumer Reports Online (always worth the subscription fee if you will be doing a lot of home improvement) and looked up some options. Or a trip to your local library will give you the same information at your fingertips for FREE!! We love public libraries.

Our criteria:

-push model
-rear bagging deck
-easy to change wheel height
-relatively lightweight
-easy to maintain

We already knew we wanted electric...we have a relatively small lawn within easy reach of power outlets. Better for the environment, cheaper and easier to run than a gas powered model.

A rear-bagging model was critical for narrow spaces (such as the sides of the house).

To maintain the sharpness of the blade, damp grass should be brushed out of the mower between uses. Which is accomplished pretty easily when the mower is unplugged and lightweight. This also helps you to keep an eye on the sharpness of the blade, which can be easily resharpened with a file. Aaron thinks that I am somewhat of a fanatic about appliances, but I don't like to throw things away! I like to take care of the ones we have and make them last.

The best rating for this type was a Bolen's...but I couldn't find the model listed. (The study featured a model that was out of date.) It outranked and outpriced the Black & Decker model. With a little more research though, I found that the YardMachines made by MTD are an equally interesting choice. Perfect for smaller yards. And available through

I was hestitant to take a chance on buying something as large as lawnmower unseen. But I could not easily find it to buy in person. So I read the reviews, read the spec sheets and pushed that button.

The lawn mower was delivered to our door and was easily assembled. Immediately, Aaron tried it out on our (now) jungle/lawn. We filled up two discharge bags and got a fast even cut.

It was light and easy to turn over and maintain afterwards. Easy to store it away as well.

Quite nice for a small lawnmower that costs a little over $200.

Looking for More?

House in Progress Search for more on 'Lawn Mower' on this site. Search for 'Lawn Mower' on on other houseblogs like this one.
Google Search for 'Lawn Mower' on Google. Search for 'Lawn Mower' on


Been reading this series with interest... what an adventure!

I know it's too late since you've already bought your new electric mower, but did you consider a push (reel) mower?

An electric mower came with our house and after cursing the *#)@ cord as it got repeatedly caught up in the centrally-placed bushes and gardens, I figured there must be a better way.

Like you, I'm a research junkie. I ended up buying a small, light Great States reel mower two years ago. Very easy to push, phenomenally smooth cut (cuts grass like scissors rather than beheading it like a weed eater), easy to clean with a hose.

Cheap too. You can get them for ~$100 USD.

And (believe it or not) it takes *less than half the time* to mow our lawn with the reel mower than it did with the electric.

For those who have a small lawn, give a reel mower a try -- they're way easier to handle than the cast iron monsters that haunted our childhoods!


You BUSTED me! (Good for you.) Truly, I did look at those wonderful rotary lawn mowers. Many folks in our neighborhood have them. They are quiet and clean and kind of fun, truth be told.

On the other hand, there is (gulp) the raking. And because the house needs SO MUCH work right now, any time saved on maintenance work is a big plus. That energy goes right into stripping wood and fixing window sills. I'm ashamed to admit it but an electric mower was a shortcut that I decided to take...having a limited amount of time as well as a limited budget. This round? Time won over money.

Oh, life.

I hear you. We have a manual and I mow every week- it's a workout with the raking, but I think they even have ones that catch the grass behind, though I cannot speak as to how well they work.

Hmmm.... I rarely (if ever) rake after using the manual mower.

I have the mower set to maximum height (4"), and mow our lawns once per week.

We constantly get asked why our lawn feels so good (so spongy).

Maybe the grass that grows where you live is coarser than the grass here (BC, Canada).

Here we grow Kentucky Bluegrass, Creeping Red Fescue and Perennial Rhyegrass and, as long as you're only cutting about 1-1/2" at a time, never needs raking.

Now the turf they grow in California is another story... that stuff is like hay!



Email this Entry to a Friend

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):

Unbiased reviews of tools and resources based on our experiences restoring an old home.

a neighborhood of home improvement blogs

Cabinet Refacing
Cabinet Refacing:
Face Your Kitchen | Your Guide to Kitchen Cabinet Refacing