We ended up leaving our gas-powered John Deere mower in Washington. I sulked over that decision for a few weeks before borrowing my father-in-law’s gas mower.
But our backyard is made of clay and a basketball court and our front lawn is very small. It’s maybe a 10-minute job with the gas-mower at most, and that includes moving the mower out of the garage and checking the gas and oil levels. It’s really that small.
So I began researching various mower options online. I looked at electric and smaller gas options first before I began reading reviews on the Scotts 20-inch classic push reel mower which were overwhelmingly positive. They carry Scotts at Home Depot which is close to my home so I stopped by to check it out. Home Depot had a wall of them in stock, all boxed up and ready to go, and it took some time to locate an assembled model on the floor.
I pushed the Scotts mower up and down the aisle a few times and was surprised how loud it was and how difficult it was to push. I wonder now if the demo model wasn’t assembled correctly, but it was enough to keep me searching for the right model.
That night I began researching other reel mowers, and one name popped up over and over: Brill. I watched a number of reviews on YouTube as well as read as much as I could about the Brill Razorcut 38. One feature stood out over the Scotts model: the blades are designed to work like scissors, barely missing the cutter bar by less than a millimeter which makes for a smooth and nearly silent cut. It also means the blade can go years without being sharpened.
I decided to order the Brill from Clean Air Gardening because I liked their video and customer reviews. Plus their prices were lower than Amazon on nearly every model I researched. I did call around to see if I could find the Brill from a local shop, but it was either not offered or a special order.
My Brill arrived a few days later and I’ve had a chance to use it twice on my own lawn and once on my in-law’s grass. It took less than 10 minutes to assemble and attach the handle. If you’re used to pushing around heavy gas mowers the super-light 17 lb. Brill is a gift to your back.
I began mowing my lawn and could not believe how quiet it is. I can barely hear it slicing through the grass. The Brill isn’t a good choice if you’re used to going weeks between trimmings as it handles shorter grass much better than long grass or weeds. If you like to fire up your mower and shred everything in its path including weeds, patches of leaves and small branches then the Brill isn’t for you either.
But if your lawn is fairly flat, your lawn is clear of debris and you don’t mind mowing your grass at least once a week then the Brill is a wonderfully designed mower. I watched my 10-year old son zigzag around the yard today with a smile on his face even though our lawn is thick enough to work up a sweat on his brow. Yes, it takes twice as long and you may work up a sweat but it’s a worthwhile change compared to the loud, gas-sucking, fume exhausting model we owned before.
I’d recommend the Brill even if our yard was 3x as large. It’s been that enjoyable.