Using a manual lawn mower can be a unique and even a liberating experience.
Electric lawn mowers are often marketed as the environmentally friendly solution, and, while this is true, you can reduce your carbon footprint even further by using a push reel lawn mower.
The American Lawn Mower 1204-14 14-inch Push Reel Lawn Mower is a good option if you like the ‘old school’ method of mowing but want to have the quality that modern materials and design can bring.
The manufacturer of this lawn (the American Lawn Mower Company) is a company with a long tradition, under which a number of brands are promoted. One of them is Great States that is actually the name of another push reel mower that we reviewed in our Lawn Mower Reviews section.
Let’s find out in the review that follows whether this combination of classic and contemporary should be the next investment for your lawn.
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Key Product Features
When you’re looking at a manual push reel lawn mower, you won’t see lots of fancy product features.
Here are the most important ones for the 1204-14 model.
- Hand reel operation suitable for almost any lawn.
- Clean scissor-type cut for healthy grass.
- High impact wheels designed for durability.
- 14 inch cutting width.
- Cutting height up to 1-3/4 inch.
- 19-pound total weight.
Who Is The Ideal Customer For A Push Reel Lawn Mower?
A manual mower like the American Lawn Mower 1204-14 14 Inch Push Reel Lawn Mower will not appeal to every consumer.
If you’re reading this review, then this may even be the first time that you’ve seen a modern reel mower. These mowers, and this American Lawn Mower 1204-14 in particular, are designed for people who want a completely manual solution that doesn’t rely on electricity or fuel.
They’re suitable for small and mid-sized lawns, but can still cut a large lawn if you have the time and inclination to do so. The maintenance is low and the running costs are nil.
If this sounds like something that you’re interested in, then read on to find out how well this model performs.
Power Requirements Of The American Lawn Mower 1204-14 14 Inch Push Reel Lawn Mower
Electric lawn mowers have become more popular in recent years because they’re easy to run and the only ‘fuel’ that you need is the electricity from your house.
However, you’ll still need to keep a battery charged, and there’s a possibility that you’ll run out of juice before your job is over.
With the American Lawn Mower 1204-14 14 Inch Push Reel Lawn Mower, you’re the power supply.
It’s a fully manual mower that relies on your movement to work. If you want to perform some lawn maintenance that is a little bit more engaging and that feels like the work is all your doing, then a manual mower will be fun to use.
It’s not even overly difficult to push one of these units across your lawn, which we’ll explain in the next section.
How Easy Is It To Use And Maneuver?
Usability on a push reel lawn mower is simple to explain. If you can push it, then you can use it.
There are no controls as such, so as long as you are physically able to walk around your lawn, then you’ll be perfectly fine using a push reel mower.
At this stage, you may be thinking that a push reel mower would be physically strenuous, considering that all of the mowing energy comes from the operator.
To put things in context, consider the weight of this mower. It’s just under 20 pounds, which puts it at about half of the weight of a small electric mower. If you’re cutting grass that is not heavily overgrown or contaminated with thick weeds, then you’re not going to have any trouble pushing the mower.
The effort will only be slightly more when compared to an electric mower, and less than a gas mower because of the weight difference. If you are hoping to get a workout from using a reel mower, then you’ll be disappointed.
But, if you’re looking for a leisurely or even a relaxing lawn mowing experience, then you’ll love the American Lawn Mower 1204-14 14 Inch Push Reel Lawn Mower.
To get a better idea of this great tool, you can watch the video of a real user who shows all you need to see, from unboxing and assembling to actually using it outdoors on his lawn.
Is Maintenance Required For A Manual Push Reel Lawn Mower?
With a push reel mower, you have no internal combustion engine, so you won’t have to worry about gas lines, spark plugs, internal components, and general wear that an engine can suffer.
You also don’t have a motor like you would with an electric mower. Instead, what you’re left with is relatively simple.
You have the mower wheels, the rear wheels, a handle, and the blade assembly. Excluding some small connecting components, these make up the entirety of a lawnmower. To say that maintenance is low would be an understatement.
The American Lawn Mower 1204-14 14 Inch Push Reel Lawn Mower goes a step further by using tempered steel blades. This means that you could potentially use the mower for up to two years without having to sharpen the blades.
Even when it does come time to sharpen them, you’ll simply need to use a metal file while following the cutting angle on the blade.
Sharpening is a relatively simple job that can be completed in an hour or so. For something that only needs to happen every 24 months, this is virtually a ‘no maintenance’ tool.
Even cleaning is easy with a rag or even some compressed air. And you’ll simply need to store the mower in a dry place to avoid rusting (parts are treated to inhibit rust, so this is mostly a precaution).
If you’re tired of the maintenance that a gas mower requires, then you’ll love a reel mower like the American Lawn Mower.
What Kind Of Special Features Are Included?
Being a simple lawn tool that is manually powered, you won’t find any special features on this model. It uses a four blade cutting system which is the main feature, but there’s nothing else in addition to that.
Of course, you wouldn’t be looking at a manual lawn mower if you expected a whole range of advanced features, and in the opinion of Power Tools Ninja the excellent cutting power of this mower is a special feature in itself.
Is it Capable of Mowing a Large Lawn? How Good Is The Cutting Performance?
You could mow a lawn of any size using this mower.
For most people, they’ll be mowing lawns of under 5000 square foot, so this covers off the average lawn in the United States. With a larger property, the biggest problem will be the size and the continued push work that is required.
It’s not difficult to cut with this mower, but it does take longer than with a rotary electric or gas mower. The cutting width is also a modest 14 inches, so it will take longer than a larger reel lawn mower of 16 or 18 inches.
We should note that this 14 inch machine comes in two different versions in terms of number of blades it has, four and five. Of course more blades means faster mowing and more precise cutting, so what you should consider when choosing one over the other is how big your lawn is and how precisely you want to cut it against the extra price premium (around $30).
From our personal research and from feedback we got from reviews, we here at Power Tools Ninja have concluded that the extra premium is well worth it, not only because mowing is faster and better but also because the blades are susceptible to less strain, meaning longer life down the road.
For quality of cut, it’s hard to find better than a reel mower. The cut is more of a snip than a rip or tear.
Rotary mowers are typically quite violent on grass blades, which can mean damaged root systems and unhealthy growth. This reel mower won’t give you a fully even cut on your first try, but once you get used to its function it will become easier to get an even surface, and a healthier lawn will mean that it starts to look better.
After using this for a couple of months, it will be hard to look back at a conventional gas or electric mower.
Are Accessories Included In The Package?
There are no accessories included. In the package you will get the mower as well as the push handle which requires some minor assembly.
Pros And Cons Of The American Lawn Mower 1204-14 14 Inch Push Reel Lawn Mower
Because this mower has one simple function and performs it well, it is very hard to criticize the things that it does not do.
Here’s what we liked about the mower, and some things that could be improved with future models.
- Simple to learn and to use.
- No confusing features.
- No fuel required and no emissions.
- High quality steel construction.
- Light weight and sharp blades make manual work easy.
- Blades are tempered to retain sharp edge.
- Cost effective for a small or mid-sized lawn.
- A small catch basket would be a nice accessory to make cleanup easier.
- Can’t cut tall grass over 4 inches.
- Can get stuck on sticks, rocks etc., so lawn needs to be cleared first.
- Small cutting width means more passes.
Where Is The American Lawn Mower 1204-14 Made?
Contrary to what the name implies, the unit is manufactured in China.
Is it Backed By A Warranty?
There’s a one-year warranty included with purchase of the American Lawn Mower 1204-14 14 Inch Push Reel Lawn Mower Review.
Due to the simple design and good construction, failures will be rare (and this is reinforced by the customer feedback.)
Because the unit is so affordable and because generic spares are also affordable, some owners prefer to replace basic parts like the wheels without following the warranty procedure.
Can It Be Purchased Online?
Because of its light weight and easy availability, online purchasing is the ideal way to get your hands on an American Lawn Mower 1204-14 14 Inch Push Reel Lawn Mower.
Thousands of satisfied customers have purchased online and there have been no examples of shipping damage. This is a reflection of the high quality packaging and the fact that the unit is made of high quality parts that would be difficult to damage in transit.
Purchasing online will also mean that you get the best deal on what is already a competitively priced mower. Look for free shipping from an authorized retailer.
Model: American Lawn Mower 1204-14 14 Inch Push Reel Lawn Mower
Cutting Height: 1/2 inch – 1-3/4 inch
Cutting Area Size: 14 Inch.
Number of Cutting Blades: 4 tempered steel blades.
Wheel Size: 8-1/2 inch
What Do Owners Say About This Lawn Mower?
Consumer feedback for this model has been positive, and there are currently more than 1100 online customer reviews, with an average rating of 4.2/5 stars.
Customers love the simplicity, the quality construction, and the eco-friendly design. Customers have also praised the cutting ability.
Almost 80% of all reviews are four and five star reviews, which is further evidence that this is a high quality product that does what it is made to do, without any of the bells and whistles of gas or electric lawn mowers.
How Much Does It Cost?
Perhaps the biggest bonus of this mower is the price.
It’s available right around the $50 price mark, which makes it one of the most affordable lawn mowers that we’ve reviewed. Online prices can fluctuate, but you should expect to pay between $50 – $75 at any time.
Check out the link below to get the latest price and offers on the Amazon product page.
Final Thoughts On Our American Lawn Mower 1204-14 14 Inch Push Reel Lawn Mower Review
Power Tools Ninja recently reviewed the impressive Great States 415-16 Reel Mower.
It has many things in common with this American Lawn Mower 1204-14 14 Inch Push Reel Lawn Mower, including design and overall functionality. However, the Great States mower costs more than twice as much.
With the Great States you get a larger cutting width of 16 inches, and you also get an extra blade for a more precise cut. It’s definitely worth the increase in price, but only if you need the extra size and cutting precision.
We highly recommend the 14-inch American Lawn Mower. It is environmentally friendly, it is affordable, and it is beyond easy to use. It provides good cutting performance and it features excellent high quality steel construction.
If you don’t need a powerful electric lawnmower for your lawn, and like the slower pace of manual cutting, then you’ll enjoy this lawn mower. It’s best suited for smaller lawns, but can still be used on larger properties.
If you’ve been waiting to try a manual reel lawn mower and have been waiting for the right model, then the low price and excellent quality of this one could be the perfect starting point.