Clean Alternatives to Everyday Machines: The Gas Powered Lawn Mower VS. The Push Reel Mower

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Which is better for you and your lawn–the traditional gas-powered lawnmower or the human-powered push reel mower?

Pros and Cons of the traditional gas-powered lawnmower

Pros:

* Consistently cuts everything growing in your lawn, be it grass, weeds, vines, etc…

* Easy to push for long periods of time (ie large lawns)

Cons:

* Air pollution. According to the EPA the average gas-powered lawn mower emits as much pollution per hour as 11 automobiles do during that same time span. Why? The lawn mower engine is a two-cycle engine which pumps out over 90 times more pollution per gallon of gas than any car or truck.

* Noise pollution.

* Recurring gas costs. In case you were unaware–we’re over $4/gallon!

* Maintenance costs.

Pros and Cons of the human-powered push reel mower

Pros:

* Only pollution during mowing is the CO2 that you exhale.

* Quiet.

* The new models have sharp blades and will outperform and outlast the reel mowers your parents pushed around as kids.

* Inexpensive.

* Better exercise considering you aren’t inhaling engine exhaust while mowing.

Cons:

* Does not cut all tall grasses and weeds. After using one for 3 years now. I’d say (as I’ve said to my neighbors) it cuts at about a 93% success rate.

* Not reasonable for large lawns.

The (Unexpected) Outcome

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And the winner is…

…The electric lawn mower!!!

If we consider all the variables; pollution, cutting ability, size of lawn, level of ease to own and operate, this non-contestant has to be the winner (sorry John Henry). As much as I love my push reel mower (which is still the most environmentally friendly mower available), I understand that if I had a larger lawn it may not be the best choice–although, it would still be my choice, but I’m a fanatic. The electric lawnmower is quiet, easy to start, easy to maintain, and costs approximately $5/year for electricity. And I haven’t used one, but I’ve read that the mowing skills rival that of the gas-powered mower.

For what it’s worth, the loser is…

…the riding lawn mower.

The bigger brother of the gas-powered mower sells well in a society full of folks who drive a few blocks to and from various stores each day instead of actually walking or biking.

Pros:

It has a cup holder…

…but I’m thinking of adding one to my push reel mower anyway.

Stay tuned next week for the battle of The Washing Machine vs. a trio of human-powered rivals. You may be surprised when No Impact Man shares his thoughts on this one…

Image credits: Amazon.com


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