When most people first see a reel mower they are almost always concerned by the fact that it is not powered, they have this mental image of someone working hard just to cut a small patch of grass.
Now I am not saying that using a reel mower isn’t hard, especially when you have let the grass get a little long, or if it is a little wet, but, if you have a well maintained, modern reel lawn mower it is not really any harder to push than one of the heavy, gas powered rotary mowers that everyone else on your street uses.
Electric Reel Mowers
To reduce the amount of effort required to use a reel mower, there are models available that are fitted with a small electric motor and a rechargeable battery to power it. The motor spins the blade reel, which is the part that cuts the grass, and by disconnecting the gearing that normally spins the reel from the motion of the mower being pushed, the mower also becomes easier to push even though it is a little heavier than the non-electric version.
Battery life is most dependant on the length of the grass you are cutting, and how long it is, the harder it is to cut, the less time you will get out of your battery. Most of the current electric mowers on the market use Lithium Ion battery technology, this one of the most up-to-date types of battery, and is the same as the ones used in laptops, and the Tesla electric cars. Lithium Ion is a great fit for electric mowers, as it can provide high power when needed (for the tough, hard to cut sections of your lawn), but is also small and light for the amount of power it supplies (keeping your mower light and manoeuvrable), the only downside is that they are more expensive than regular lead acid or NiCad batteries.
To enable you to continue cutting your lawn if the battery does go flat, most electric reel mowers have a fall back to manual mode, so they can be used as a regular reel mower when the battery is no longer available. It is a feature worth checking for on any mower you are considering, as there is nothing worse than having to wait 45 minutes to cut the last 5 feet of lawn while your battery recharges.