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American Lawn Mower 1204-14 Push Reel Lawn Mower Review

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The American Lawn Mower 1204-14 Push Reel Lawn Mower is a great choice for individuals who are looking for a budget friendly, old school style, environmentally friendly mower. Reel mowers are well suited for smaller to mid-sized yards, but they really don't have limitations, other than your own strength and stamina.

If you're considering purchasing a push reel lawn mower, then the American Lawn Mower 1204-14 is well worth being on your short list. This article will help you determine if this is the right mower for you.


Product Showcase

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American Lawn Mower Company 1204-14 14-Inch 4-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower, Red
  • 4-blade reel with a cutting width of 14” and durable 8.5” polymer wheels for maximum maneuverability
  • Mechanical lawn mower with an adjustable blade height of 0.5”-1.75” with scissor action cut
  • Manual grass cutter blades made of heat-treated alloy steel that stays sharp for years
  • Environment-friendly alternative to gas-powered lawn mowers which is pollution-free and noise-free; Low maintenance, lightweight and easy to use
  • Capable of cutting grass up to 4 inches tall

Manufacturing 

Established in 1895 in Indianapolis Indiana, the American Lawn Mower Company is still owned by the family of the founder, William Spencer. In 1936, American Lawn Mower Company acquired another push reel mower company, the Great States Corporation.

Today, they sell push reel mowers under both The American Lawn Mower Company and Great States Corporation brands. In addition, they operate other companies such as, Scotts and Earthwise which has allowed them to expand their product line beyond reel mowers.

Specifications

Model: American Lawn Mower 1204-14 Push Reel Mower

Mower Type: Manual Push

Cutting Path: 14-inches

Height Range: 1/2 to 1-3/4 inches

Blades: 4 reel blades

Wheels: 8-1/2 inches

Weight: 19-pounds


American Lawn Mower Company 1204-14 14-Inch 4-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower, Red

Design of The American Lawn Mower 1204-14

The American Lawn Mower 1204-14 is designed specifically to handle the majority of turf grasses. Cool-season grasses such as bluegrass, fescue and rye are especially handled well by this mower.

The 8-1/2 inch high impact, polymer wheels, and lightweight build (only 19-pounds) makes pushing the 1204-14 with the T-shaped handle easy, and maneuvering around your yard is no problem at all.

Outfitted with four reel blades and a bed knife blade both made from tempered alloy steel, the 14-inch cutting width can be adjusted in height between 1/2 to 1-3/4 inches. 

American Lawn Mower Company 1204-14 14-Inch 4-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower, Red

Power Source

One of the big advantages of a push reel lawn mower is the fact that they're not dependent on fossil fuels or electricity to operate. The only way to cut grass is if you push the mower. You'll never worry about dead batteries, running out of gas, or getting tangled in the power cord.


American Lawn Mower Company 1204-14 14-Inch 4-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower, Red

Operation

Push reel mowers are the oldest mowers around, in fact the concept goes all the way back to the 1800's. The design is simple, and they're easy to operate and maintain. As the mower is pushed over the lawn, the reel blades lift the grass to the bed knife.

When the grass comes between the reel blade and the bed knife it is cut in the same way a pair of scissors cuts a piece of paper. When grass is too tall or you're mowing weeds such as dandelions, a push mower struggles as it is pushed out of the way. This mean you may need to make a second pass over the area.

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Performance

The American Lawn Mower 1204-14 Push Reel Mower does a nice job cutting grass. Since you'll be suppling the power, you'll only be restricted in the lawn size you can mow by your own energy and stamina. As a general rule, reel mowers tend to be a better fit for small to mid-sized lawns for this reason.

The cutting reel is mounted on a 3 spider ball bearing assembly, designed to get the reel spinning quickly and with little effort. But be aware, like all reel mowers, the 1204-14 struggles with longer grass, so you'll want to mow your lawn frequently and not let it get out of control.

Although the 14-inch cutting path is not especially wide, it does make the mower very maneuverable around obstacles, however, it also means you'll need to take more passes to get your grass cut. In addition, reel mowers do not handle yard debris such as sticks and rocks well, these items tend to get caught between the reel and the bed knife blade. It's easy to clear the debris, but it does slow down your mowing.

The mower does not automatically come with a clipping management system, so you'll need to either leave the clippings on the lawn or rake them up once you've finish mowing. You can purchase a bundle that includes a grass collection bag or purchase the bag as an add-on later.

American Lawn Mower Company 1204-14 14-Inch 4-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower, Red

Maintenance

The American Lawn Mower 1204-14 Push Reel Mower requires very little maintenance. After each use, you'll want to hose it down to remove any grass clippings or debris.

The blades are factory set, so you shouldn't need to make adjustments unless they become misaligned. If necessary, re-aligning the blades is relatively easy.

Periodically a lubricant such as WD-40 should be applied to all cutting surfaces, as well as the cutting reel axle shaft and the wheels.

If you keep your push reel mower properly lubricated and adjusted you shouldn't need to sharpen the blades for several years. When the time comes, you can always have someone professionally do it for you, or do it yourself by following the easy step-by-step directions outlined in the owners manual.


American Lawn Mower Company 1204-14 14-Inch 4-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower, Red

Warranty and Customer Service

The American Lawn Mower Company offers a 90 day limited warranty for the 1204-14 Push Reel Mower. The company will replace, free of charge, any part found defective in material or workmanship. A factory authorized service representative needs to inspect the part before the warranty will be effective, and it is only valid for the original owner.

The company can be reached by calling 317-392-3615 or you can contact a representative through The American Lawn Mower Company's website.

American Lawn Mower Company 1204-14 14-Inch 4-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower, Red

Final Thoughts on the American Lawn Mower 1204-14

The American Lawn Mower 1204-14 Push Reel Mower is a good, budget friendly choice, especially if you have a small to mid-sized lawn. It's an environmentally friendly, low maintenance, and easy to use mower.

With that said, if you're looking for a reel mower, you should check out the Great States 415-16 Push Reel Mower. It's also manufactured by The American Lawn Mower Company, but it has a few additional features that set it above the 1204-14. 

The Great States 415-16 has 5 reel blades which translates to more power and a better cut, and a 16-inch cut path. In addition, it comes with a 1 year warranty, and although slightly more expensive, the two models are priced very closely. In our opinion, dollar-for-dollar, the Great States 415-16 provides a better valued lawn mower.

Pros

  • Budget friendly price
  • Lightweight and compact design
  • Limited maintenance 

Cons

  • Only a 90-day warranty
  • Struggles with tall grass

Last update on 2021-01-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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