Product Preview: Fiskars Momentum reel mower

Consumer Reports News: February 18, 2010 06:29 PM

This mower boasts a cutting-edge design.

After Finnish toolmaker Fiskars was founded in 1649, nearly four decades would pass before Sir Isaac Newton would publish his Laws of Motion. But the company claims that centuries’ worth of physics and scissor design go into products such as its new Momentum 317736 reel mower, $200. It’s one of three reel mowers we’ve been testing alongside new walk-behind mowers, lawn tractors, and zero-turn-radius mowers in Fort Myers, Florida for the past five weeks.

Sporting the same orange as the ubiquitous Fiskars scissors, the Momentum includes some innovative features we haven’t seen in other reel mowers we've tested. The positioning of the 18-inch reel in front of the wheels means no uncut strips beneath the wheels. The mower discharges clippings forward rather than backward, resulting in less debris on your feet. There’s also an ergonomic handle we found easy to turn.

We’re still testing the reel mowers, the actual cutting results of which we’ll discuss in a later post. One thing we can say so far, however, relates to Newton’s laws of motion—specifically the one about inertia. As a rule, we’ve found reel mowers to be a real chore to push, even just to lop off the top inch of our test grass. The Fiskars is no exception despite claims of “extra cutting power” that reduces force “by 30 percent in long grass.”

And if you wait longer than four or five days during the growing season, you’ll have even more difficulty pushing any reel mower. Consider it the curse of today’s lawns, which get more water and fertilizer than lawns of a generation ago, before electric mowers supplanted reels as the green mower of choice.

—Ed Perratore

Essential information: Spring isn’t far away, and we’ll be posting our ratings (available to subscribers) of push and self-propelled mowers and tractors by the time you’re ready to shop. Also check out our Lawn & Yard guide for tips on yard care and maintaining your gear.

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