Fiskars 17 Inch Staysharp Push Reel Lawn Mower (6208)

Fiskars 17 Inch Staysharp Push Reel Lawn Mower (6208)

Product Description

The StaySharp Reel Mower combines patent-pending technology with superior ergonomics to deliver best-in-class cutting performance without gasoline, oil, charging, the hassle of cords or the noise created by other mowers. It features an InertiaDrive Reel for 50 percent more cutting power than standard reel mowers and a StaySharp Cutting System to eliminate the cost and inconvenience of annual blade sharpening. The combination of these technologies makes the StaySharp Reel Mower 30 percent easier to push than other reel mowers, helping you get more done with less effort.

Amazon.com

The advanced design of our reel mower makes it 30% easier to push and offers an easy way to mow your lawn.30% easier to pushAdvanced design makes our reel mower easier to push than others.View larger.


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I live in San Antonio, Texas and my yard is fairly shaded in the front so I have St. Augustine grass there. However, the back gets full sun so we have planted Bermuda since it likes the sun and is drought resistant. Fine grasses like Zoysia and Bermuda should be cut low and with a reel mower instead of a rotary mower. My first reel mower was the Scotts 20-Inch Classic mower. I loved how quiet is was and it gave my grass a nice, clean cut. When I received my Fiskars mower I never thought that I would love it more than my Scott's, but I was wrong.

The Fiskars has more plastic than the Scott's but it is in nonessential components, like the front housing, which is more for appearance. It was pretty easy to put together, however you will need both an 11mm and an 18 mm wrench or socket. It feels a little "looser" than my Scots but that doesn't seem to be a problem. Between the time that I assembled it and the time that I completed my video review I used the mower over 10 times (I even cut several of my neighbors yards) so that I could give it a fair evaluation. I found that it was easier to push than my Scotts and was even quieter. I hope that this video review is helpful to you!

6/25/2013 UPDATE: I have had my Fiskars for over a year now and it is still going strong. I haven't had to sharpen the blade and it still cuts grass like a champ!

I have been cutting my 1/2 acre lawn (19000 ft2 of actual grass) with reel mowers for 7 years now. Reel mowers make for a healthier lawn since the blades of grass are sheared off rather than bludgeoned off like with a standard gas powered rotorary mower. This results in thicker grass, fewer weeds and fewer bugs. This is why golf courses use reel mowers almost exclusively. I started with the standard Scott's 20" mower from the local hardware store. It worked OK, but it was hard to push because the blades are in contact resulting in a lot of drag even when not cutting grass. And it didn't cut very evenly with lots of little tufts of grass left uncut. The result is that I had to often cross-cut the yard if I wanted it to look good. With this big a yard, even with 20" width that was just not practical.

Next I tried 16" Brill mowers from Germany. These used a non-contact cutting system that greatly reduced the resistance, one because there was no friction with the blades since they don't contact each other but two because the blades are made of harder material and stayed sharp longer. The Brills had two problems. One there were too narrow. They did cut well in one pass, but there were just a lot of passes. And two they didn't cut tall enough. If you have very rich deep soil with frequent rain or where you can water often, then the grass can do very well when cut to the 1"-1.5" height that the Brill can cut. My yard has neither of these things.

Then Fiskar came out with the Momentum mowers (now StaySharp Max) and we got two (my wife and I mow together, which is how we manage such a large yard with push mowers, though I have done it myself on occasion, so it is possible for one person to do it all). These mowers are unique in that they throw the grass clipping forward where they were cut and recut until they were cut into very fine pieces and fall below the level of the cut grass. The Momentum has a non-contact cutting system like the Brill, but it had a much heavier reel which resulted in higher momentum in the reel (hence the original name). This allowed more energy to be stored in the reel which keeps the mower from bogging down in a spot of heavy grass or stalling on a tiny twig. Also this mower adjusted for cutting heights up to 4"! Finally I could cut my grass at the 2" - 2 1/2" it does best at. But, and sadly there is a but, I came to not like the fact that the clippings were being thrown forward. First it tended to mat down the uncut grass resulting is some unevenness in the resulting cut, and two in thick grass it could be very hard to push since you were cutting new grass and recutting previously cut grass several more times. I think that all the recutting of clippings as well as the very large size of my yard resulted in the blades of these mowers becoming dull after just two years. When they first came out Fiskar didn't make a grass catcher for this mower, though there is one now. I am sure that with a smaller yard and the use of the catcher when the grass is very tall or especially thick that the mowers would have gone more than two seasons before becoming dull.

So finally at the start of last year we bought two of these 17" StaySharp mowers. They use the same high momentum reel of the original Momentum, but these discharge the clippings to the rear. The maximum cutting height is 3 1/2" rather than 4", but truth be told I never cut at 4" with the Momentum because the clippings pushed the uncut grass down below the 4" cutting height resulting in many places not getting cut! The 3 1/2" maximum cutting height on the StaySharp should be just fine. I find the mowing effort to be much lower than the Momentum because the clippings are only being cut once and then discharged. Plus the clippings are falling on already cut grass so there is no matting down of uncut grass. The result is more visible clippings on the surface of the grass as one would expect. My solution if the clippings are too thick for my tastes is to take an electric leaf blower and just sweep the airstream over the surface of the lawn. This causes the little clumps of clippings to be broken up and *all* of the clippings magically disappear below the surface of the lawn. I can sweep in 10' - 12' wide swaths, so this doesn't take very long. But I only do this because I am fussy. The clippings for the most part dry up and then disappear below the surface in no more than a day on their own. And lastly if the trick with the leaf blower doesn't work I have a 36" manual yard sweeper that has rotating bristles that sweep the recalcitrant clippings off the lawn and into a catcher. This also fluffs up the wheel marks so I can catch them when I cross-cut if I want a perfectly manicured lawn.

Based on all of this experience, I very highly recommend the StaySharp reel mower.

One last word on reel mowers, I think that anybody without a clear physical disability or more than a 1/2 acre of grass (and really do you need to keep so much in grass? let some of it become meadow) should be cutting their lawn with a reel mower. We all need more exercise. My wife and I try to mow a 1/3 of the yard at a time (about 5000 ft2). For our sized yard and with two of us doing it only takes 20-30 minutes for each 1/3. So at a minimum we get 3 really good aerobic workouts a week. Since there is no fueling or starting, we can just come home from work, jump into our lawn clothes and grab a mower and go. So it isn't hard at all to get in a little mowing each day. In the spring when the grass "explodes" out of the ground, we often need to cut each section twice a week, so our workouts increase to 6 a week. But this is just in time to blow off the rust that has accumulated all winter and lets us get our "beach bodies" back. The best thing is that at the end of our workout we also have our yard cut. If instead we went to the gym and made a treadmill go round and round 3-4 times a week, we would still need to spend 3+ hours on the weekend guiding a hugely noisy gas mower over the yard. So with reel mowers you get the exercise we all really need more of and you don't "harsh the calm" of your neighbors. Viewed as a piece of exercise equipment, the $150 StaySharp is a very cheap investment in your health.

If you have any sort of physical ailment, or think you may have a possible physical ailment, skip this product and order a powered mower. If you are healthy and willing to pour some sweat into your yard, then order away. I have to mow weekly and this is an extremely strenuous workout for me (large grass area with uneven terrain). My only complaint is that it doesn't edge at all, so I edge first, then mow. I find there are some blade marks left in the grass, and I tend to miss a few strips of grass but that is obviously my fault. My lawn grows so fast it really doesn't matter. I'd recommend for small to medium lawns without a lot of uneven terrain and without a lot of curves in the border. Thus cuts best when you are walking briskly in a straight-run.

This StaySharp mower is the budget option of the beautifully-designed Fiskars reel mowers, which aim to revamp and revitalize the old-skool push mowers our grandpas used.

There are three options in this line, the StaySharp (cheapest), Staysharp Plus (mid-range), and the Staysharp Max (which has more premium features to handle tough situations). While the manufacturer's prices reflect these differences, retailers such as Amazon set their own prices, so it may behoove you to check the current pricing on all three to be sure you are making the right choice for your budget and needs.

In this review I will discuss my experiences with the StaySharp Max first since I have owned it for some time, then share what differentiates the three mowers so you can make the best buying decision for your lawn.

I've owned the StaySharp Max (which was previously called the Momentum but has been re-named to fit within this StaySharp line) for over a year now and it allowed me to get rid of my old gas mower, which I absolutely hated. The pull-cord, the noise, the smell, and the mess of dealing with gasoline made mowing an unpleasant task.

Traditional reel mowers are hard to push, a bit on the noisy side, and get rusty and funky fast so need a lot of maintenance to stay in good shape. The Fiskars StaySharp Max, by contrast, is quiet enough that I can have a conversation while mowing. I have not had to sharpen it in the year I have used it.

While it gets my heart pumping, it's more of an aerobic exercise than one that takes muscles or may cause injury. In fact, it's so fun to use that my other half was willing to take on the task of lawn care and mowing! He has neck and back issues but found this an easy and fun way of staying fit and helping around the house.

The benefits of a reel mower are numerous - the blades get a cleaner cut than rotary (most gas) mowers, so no brown tips on your grass, they cut the clippings into much smaller pieces so you can leave the clippings without them chunking up on the lawn and looking messy (I can hardly see the clippings and they compost in very quickly), and you just get a finer look since there are more blades cutting.

Now, the differences:

StaySharp:

The StaySharp is the budget option, and is also the most like a traditional reel mower. It has a rear grass discharge which does sprinkle grass clippings on your shoes. There is a grass catcher available to purchase.

The shield covering the blades in front is good for people who might need to mow close to shrubs and don't want to catch the limbs on the front of the blades. It also prevents clippings from being thrown onto the sidewalk, flowerbeds, or buildings if you approach from the front.

Since the grass catcher is behind the mower in this case, it does not obstruct your mowing view while using it.

The downside is that this mower has less power in the gear system so may need a little more elbow grease on your part than with the other two, it does not have inset wheels for closer edging, and it does not cut as high as four inches like the other models do (it goes from 1.5 to 3.5 inches). Organic gardeners will know that 4 inches is truly an ideal length for preventing weeds and preserving water in the lawn, but 3.5 inches is still better than most mowers.

The verdict: Use this if you have a flat lawn with few weeds (so you don't need power), if you want to use a grass catcher with every mow, or if you are on a budget.

StaySharp Plus:

The Plus has a forward discharge to keep clippings away from users' feet. It does not work with a grass catcher, which is fine for most organic gardeners because it is far better to leave the clippings, and these mowers cut the clippings into tiny pieces.

The Plus has slightly larger wheels and slightly more power than the regular version, so can handle slightly more weeds or a mild slope. It cuts from 1.5" to 4".

Verdict: This is the budget option for those who don't want a grass catching bag. It has slightly better features than the regular version but does eliminate the grass catching option.

StaySharp Max (formerly the Momentum):

The Max has an inset wheel design which gives it a closer cut along the edges of your lawn, and eliminates any areas of lawn that get flattened and then don't get cut. By the time your wheels run over the grass, you have trimmed it. This gives you a better result in the end and makes mowing cleaner and easier to control.

It also has a LOT more power. While I liked using the StaySharp and found it a huge improvement over normal reel mowers, the StaySharp Max felt like a dream to run. It's downright airy! You get it going with a little push and the cutting reels turn and turn with little input after that. It does the work for you! It really feels like there is a lot of technological innovation here, between the chain drive mechanism which makes it easy to push and the way those blades keep cutting after only a quick push.

The Max has a front-discharge, so does not spray grass on your shoes. However, used with the grass-catcher bag, it can obstruct your view of where you are mowing since the bag sits in the front.

The Max is ten pounds heavier than the other two, which sounds bad but actually makes it easier to get momentum and power through tougher weeds. It cuts from 1-4", so it has the biggest range of cut heights. I used it on a slope and found it pretty easy to deal with. My home lawn is bumpy and somewhat weedy and this has no problem, except for very wiry weeds which I just cut with my hedgers or string-trimmer.

The verdict: If you can afford it, this is the mower to get. It has WAY more power to it which makes it impressively easy to push, it has more options (grass catcher, cutting heights), and the features are ones that make mowing more fun. However, if you do plan to use the grass-catcher with every mow and you have a flat lawn with no weeds, the regular StaySharp may be better because the grass-catcher sits in back and doesn't obstruct your view as you mow. Otherwise, the Max is the best mower for eco-friendly lawns, with its ease of use and eco features.

The one downside to every one of these mowers (and the old reel mowers too) is that they do not cut down tall grasses, particularly wiry ones. So you have to keep up with your lawn care and not let it get out of control. A gas mower can chew through some overgrowth, but these just knock it down if it gets really tall and won't do anything to it at all. So if you don't have super-regular habits, I'd pair any of these mowers with a string trimmer/ weed whacker which can double as an edger and be your backup in case you go away and forget to have your house-sitter mow.

I hope this helps you decide which is best for you. While the mower on this page, the StaySharp, has some fantastic features for specific situations (perfect, flat lawns where a grass catcher is needed) and is a huge improvement over Grandpa's push mower, in the average, imperfect lawn, I'd choose the Max.

Comparing a Reel mower to one that uses gas or electric is unfair. Of course the reel mower takes longer to use, and as other reviewers have mentioned it sometimes it misses certain types of weeds. But over all I think it did an excellent job, and has a lot of benefits that a gas mower can't offer. You never have to buy gas or oil. It is practically silent. And it turns yard work into a light workout. Pushing the reel mower will make you sweat, but in a good way. It burns calories, makes you use the muscles in your back and arms, and gets your heart rate up. It's invigorating! We all need to mow are yard, so why not get some healthy exercise at the same time.

I bought this push-style mower because I now have an electric power. I don't like messing with the gas powered ones (noise, fumes, spark plugs, hard to clean the bottom, gas cans in the garage, etc.) but I have a tree in the middle of the front yard that is a pain to mow with the cordon the electric one. The cord itself is a pain to reel back up and deal with while mowing. I grew up with a push mower and being female I don't feel the need for a big noisy he-man mower to support my ego, besides they are heavy to push around the yard.

Pro: Quiet, quiet, quiet!! I love that. I can mow any time of day without worrying about bothering the neighbors. It is really light weight as well. It also did a wonderful job of mowing - the lawn came out so smooth looking. My rotary blade on the electric mower leaves the lawn really choppy and beats up the grass even when just sharpened.

Con: This is a big con I am afraid. The smallest twig brought the mower to its knees. It would just come to an abrupt stop. I even raked the lawn before mowing, but it still came to multiple abrupt stops - then you ave to spin the blades (I did it with my shoe - the blades are sharp I wouldn't suggest using your hands) until you get the twig out of the mower. Another con is that it has these rear wheels that make it harder to turn sharp corners than other push mowers.

Note: I have only used this once - we ended up getting the biggest April snow storm on record, so I don't know how well it will do with thick grass yet.

Fiskar's Staysharp push reel lawn mower is an economical way to handle your lawn mowing that will give you some exercise and will handle most lawns without much trouble. The reel mower gets the blade spinning with a manual push and works well on any relatively flat ground area. The cutting height is adjustable and you can shift the angle of the handle as needed to get the height or leverage you need. These mowers use no motor or electricity or gas and thus make minimal noise and zero pollution. The blade seems designed to last for years with minimal maintenance and this mower is light and compact - easy to store. It will cut through any type of grass and weeds if you don't let them get super high before mowing. It is a great companion to using a weed eater/string trimmer to cover your lawn maintenance needs. There isn't any grass catcher on this, but I don't really need one, and you can buy an optional one if you do require it. This just took a few minutes to assemble (you'll need an adjustable wrench or socket wrenches to tighten the bolts). The directions were clear and easy to follow and everything that you need is included except for a wrench. Now that I have this I don't think I'd want any other type of mower unless I had multiple acres to mow. Fiskar has definitely refined the design of reel mowers and made them efficient and powerful enough for most lawns, meaning there's no excuse to not give these a try if you wish to do away with using gas and/or electricity to cut your grass.

I had a Greenworks reel mower that was getting pretty beat up (husband is always doing projects and leaving stuff in the yard) and needed to replace it. I saw a similar model in store and decided this is what I wanted.

It's very quiet, what I thought a reel mower would be like. My previous mower was noisier.

It's heavier than my last mower, but it helps it from being bounced all over the place and keeps my yard from looking like kids mowed it.

It does fairly well with taller grass and weeds. I tested it in my neighbors yard (grass was 6-8 inches tall), it took a few passes but got it mowed down. I do not recommend letting your grass grow that long, however!

The handle is held on with cotter pins and has adjustments for height, which is awesome. The Greenworks mower relied on tension to keep the handle on the mounts and would fall off every so often, and had no height adjustment.

So far I am very pleased with this mower.

UPDATE TO MY PREVIOUS REVIEW - July 14, 2014

I just received a replacement bolt/nut from Fiskars and installed it immediately. Thanks again!

Meanwhile, my son liked this mower so much that I bought a second one for him, so he will not have to carry it back and forth from his house to mine. He finds that the Fiskars is a lot easier to push than the "American Lawn Mower 1414-16" that we used for the past three years. (And it is of course quieter and better-looking than the noisy tanks my neighbors are using.) Impress the Joneses, get a Fiskars 6208!

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First review - June 28, 2014

Easy to assemble but... one of the four nut-bolt pairs provided for the handle assembly was defective, i.e. the nut could not be tightened on the bolt as it should be (i.e. like the other three); I could screw it on, but I could not tighten it fully.

Paper-cutting test: once I got the knack of it, I was able to cut paper without further blade adjustments.

Lawn mowing: I mowed two strips, just to see. It was easy enough to push (in spite of my age -- 79), but it is my son who does the actual mowing. That will wait until tomorrow.

P.S.-- After posting this "review" I found Fiskar's answer to my e-mail, saying that they would "handle my claim promptly" and that I would "receive a new tool or replacement part in 12-15 business days". Thank you Fiskars!

Most criticism I read are from people who really don't want or should not have a manual push style rotary mower. If you live on a hill then get a self-propelled power mower. If you want to hoover up cut grass into a bag and take it way ... then get a powered mower. If you have an enormous yard then for goodness sake get yourself a powered mower.

For those who really do want a manually operated push style rotary mower then BUY THIS NOW. This is well built, easy to push, and easy to adjust. I mowed all summer with zero problems. Yes, I have to go over my thin wimpy grass a few times because it can't hold itself up to get cut. Yes I have to mow frequently because tall grass just bends and slides below the cutting heads. But that has nothing to do with the design of this unit. That is just how these style mowers work.

I have a small lawn and it takes me just 10 minutes to mow, even going over my yard twice. Love it.

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