Wednesday, June 9, 2010

6 Best Hand Push Reel Lawn Mower Stores

Hand Push Reel Lawn Mowers Part 11:  Best manual lawn mower stores

Fiskars Momentum, SilentCut, Scotts 2000-20, Brill 33 and 38, NaturCut Classic, American 1414-16... -what are the best places to buy these manual/ hand push reel lawn mowers and others? In the past few sections, we discussed what  makes for a good hand push reel lawn mower, reviewed contact mowers in Part 2 and Part 3, and no-contact mowers in Part 4, then compared them to each other in Part 5 and finally selected the best small, mid and large yard mowers. Now we discuss where we can find and buy them.

Local dealers

While reel mowers require much less maintenance than other gas or electric powered mowers, it is when you need the support that you realize how important it is... There is no replacement for a good local dealer for the brand reel mower you are buying, when looking at future technical support needs. Most reel mowers will be good for 10-20 years, some for up to 50 years or more - it would be really nice to know that you can drive a few miles away to find or order everything you need. In fact, for some brands which are simply not suet up to support online sales well, we consider than a local dealer is almost a necessary condition to purchase. We put McLane, TruCut, ProMow and McCulloch in this category. Many dealers, by the way, are much more familiar with the power equipment in their line than the reel mowers - make sure that they also know something about their reel mowers before selecting them as your supplier. You may end up paying marginally more for your mower - but you will sleep better at night with a good dealer to support you.

Chain, department stores, super stores

Home Depot, Lowes, Menards, Sears sell hand push reel lawn mowers. Among them, Home Depot, Lowes and Sears are good sources of online customer reviews. None of the local stores carry more than a very small number of different models. We found Home Depot and Menards local staff helpful but not well versed in these mowers. Sears global phone support staff gave us significant amounts of wrong information, while Sears local staff seemed more informed of the mowers they carried in store (a small subset of those shown on the site) - in general the Craftsman brand. We did not do exhaustive tests across the nation, so our evaluation is not representative. In general, however, we can say the the staff from these superstores was not deeply knowledgeable about hand push reel mowers. Based on the contact we had with the staff, we would, in general, advise against buying from these stores locally, because of their lack of product knowledge. The Sears online store carries many hand push reel mowers, and may be a good place to purchase some brands which are hard to find.

Online Stores

Many online stores carry a very small number of commonly available mowers, such as the ubiquitous Scotts 2000-20, or some other American models. Few stores carry a good inventory, and are truly knowledgeable about hand push reel mowers. However, we found several stores that were true experts in manual reel mowers, and whose idea of customer service was excellent. In fact, when we deal with bulky mechanical products such as manual reel mowers, good customer service is crucial. We also found a small number of stores with limited inventory but with access to some difficult-to-find mowers.

Special access online stores

Amazon carries many, although not all of the mower brands and models we reviewed. Not all mowers ship from Amazon - in fact, many models ship from specific retailers, some or all of which may be difficult to deal with on customer support issues, or even impossible to reach. For instance, we found several models on Amazon sold by a company named MowerBuilders, with an online presence, a brick-and-mortar address in Madison, WI, and with an astoundingly broad inventory of reel mowers,  but with no phone number available anywhere, and email as the only way to access customer support. This is one case where we do not recommend Amazon as a supplier if the same mower can be found int he inventory of one of our recommended retailers.

Lowes carries Husqvarna, a hard line to find online, and Greenworks (under the brand name Task Force). There are no Husqvarna or Greenworks hand push reel mowers in our recommended lists.

McLane Mower, the manufacturer itself, one of very few places online to find McLane reel mowers. You will talk to real people on the phone. You can ask hard questions - they will find somebody who has the answers.

Sears  carries, of course, the Craftsman mowers, as well as Gardena, Scotts, and many American models.

TheLawnMowerShop carries one model of the TruCut line. We quoted its owner here.

The best online stores

We have found these stores to have good access to customer support, and a good track record at selling reel mowers. None of them carry any resellerratings reviews. They carry's Seal of Approval.

#6 Mowers Direct. Mowers Direct  belongs to a line of supply stores with a good story and a good customer support reputation. They carry Husqvarna, Promow, American/ Great States, Scotts and Brill. Because they carry many product lines, primarily power oriented, the expertise of the sales force on manual reel mowers is very low.

#5 Eco Outfitter.  Eco Outfitter is a general purpose green gardening shopping site with a very broad inventory, and which carries a good inventory of reel mowers, including American, Brill, McCulloch and Scotts. Their standard e-commerce site layout includes ratings and reviews, although there are very few for reel mowers. The staff does not carry a lot of expertise in reel mowers. Eco Outfitter maintains a lively blog on green gardening tools and tips.

#4 Ecomowers. Ecomowers is dedicated to  manual push mowers.  The site is very web2.0, attractive and well designed, and has large numbers of web reviews. EcoMowers carries some American models, Brill, Fiskars and NaturCut. They have a large number of web resources related to push mowers. They are on Facebook, and carry a blog. They are definitely the more media-savvy reel mower site. They also carry chat - but, surprisingly, they are by far the hardest site to reach. In the many times that we attempted to reach them by chat or by phone, we have been successful less than once out of ten attempts.

#3 Clean Air Gardening.  Clean Air Gardening carries American, Scotts, Brill, Fiskars and Mascot SilentCut. We have had an easy time getting them on the phone as needed, and received friendly support. Because they carry a very broad inventory of ecologically friendly gardening equipment, the staff''s expertise in manual reel mowers can be spotty. The site is a traditionally designed e-commerce site, and includes product reviews, although there are few to be found for reel mowers. Clean Air Gardening sometimes displays videos of how their products are used: they are truly useful. It takes work to put up videos, and Clean Air Gardening deserves to be commended for their willingness to put up knowledge on the web. They carry an entertaining blog of gardening tips. One slightly unpleasant aspect of how they market their site is that they have created a number of resource sites on reel mowers, using different keywords in the site name, all of which reference Clean Air Gardening as a supplier of reel mowers. We find this a touch underhanded, but we we appreciate the knowledge shared in these sites:-)

#1 (tie) Reel Mowers Etc. Reel Mowers Etc is the global distributor for all Mascot SilentCut models (and was instrumental in making the brand possible), and also carries Easun NaturCut, Brill, NaturCut, Promow, American/ Great States, and Scotts. Reel Mowers Etc. focuses on reel mowers and their accessories, with the exception of a small number of interesting gardening tools. The site is old fashioned, 90's type, but offers owners' manuals for all of the equipment on the site. Reel Mowers Etc. is extraordinarily successful at offering great customer pre-sales and support. Margie is very knowledgeable and seemingly always available - they offer outstanding, old fashioned support as if they were your local dealer, and in the best possible manner.

#1 (tie) People Powered Machines. People Powered Machines focuses on human-powered garden tools, although they also carry some electric mowers, a good selection of composters, and some miscellaneous green implements. Their hand push reel mowers constitute the core of their business, and include some American models, Brill, NaturCut, Fiskars, SilentCut and Hudson Star. David has put up an amazing amount of information on reel mowers on the site, which, alone, probably represents enough information that you do not really need to leave the site in the process of educating yourself on reel mowers. Some of that information includes product selections guides, product comparisons, differences between reel and rotary mowers, switching to reel mowers, and much more. The site represents an outstanding reel mower education library. Do note, however, that some of the information is occasionally out of date or refers to obsolete products. The site is well designed, and presents very large amounts of information (more than any other site in the industry) about each mower including manuals. While it is not always possible to get staff on the phone, People Powered Machines customer service, pre- and post-sales, is excellent. The site also carries a very informative and lively blog related to products categories distributed by the site.

Next we review the best online sources on hand push reel lawn mowers... So come back soon!

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