Fiskars Staysharp Max Reel Mower Review

Product: Fiskars Staysharp Max Reel Mower – 362050-1001

Cheapest Place to Buy: Amazon (see price below – shows to be available at time of this posting)

Cutting Width: 18 inches

Guarantee: Limited 3-Year Warranty

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5


Note: Fiskars has intermittently shown this product to be out of stock. If you order this product through Amazon or another third party, make sure you know the actual price and make sure you’re looking at the right product number.

The Fiskars Staysharp Max Reel Mower – product overview

My son came over to mow my lawn while I was recuperating from surgery. He took his new Fiskars Staysharp Max reel mower out of the bed of his truck and within seconds was mowing my lawn. There was no need to add gas, check the oil, or pull a cord to start a motor. When he finished mowing, clean-up of the mower was simple – he used my blower to blow off a handful of grass clippings.

Benefits of owning and using a Fiskars mower

The last time I saw and used a reel mower was 45 years ago. I should have known they were still around. They’ve come a long way in technology and design. Here are some other benefits.

Peace and quiet

My son finished cutting the front yard. When he went to cut the back yard, I went inside. After a while, I forgot he was still here – I thought he had left without saying goodbye. Then I saw him cutting the back yard; I just couldn’t hear the mower.

It was mid-July when I recovered from my surgery. My son left his mower at my house so I could try it out. I started early in the morning to beat the heat, and since I didn’t have to worry about disturbing my neighbors and there was no dew on the ground, I began at 8 o’clock. I was able to listen to music from my phone through my Bluetooth headset because the mower is so quiet.

Ease of use

Assembling an out-of-the-box Staysharp Max reel mower is a simple 3-step process:

  1. Use an 11mm wrench or socket to assemble the handle.
  2. Remove the clear, thin plastic shipping shield that extends downward from the grass discharge chute, if present (front of mower).
  3. Remove the two cotter pins from the handle, place the handle in the desired position, and re-insert the cotter pins.

When I first used my son’s mower, I set the cutting height high and tested it on an inconspicuous area. It was too high so I lowered the blade assembly one notch, then another, until it was too low and hard to push. I raised the assembly back up one notch and I was ready to go. (The manual recommends cutting no more than 1/3 of the grass blade height).

I positioned the grass discharge chute to send the grass clippings forward. I then positioned the chute so the clippings landed rearward at my feet. My preference is sending the clippings forward so they can be “mulched” (re-cut), for the most part leaving no evidence of clippings.

I’ve now used the Fiskars reel mower five times. I fertilized and watered my lawn recently, so I checked the cutting height to make sure it was acceptable. As I mentioned already, there was no need to add gas, check the oil, or pull a cord – I simply started cutting.

Oh, wait. I first picked up the pieces of mulch that had washed out of the front flower bed from a recent rain. I would have done the same thing had I used my gas powered mower. Why? Because mulch can dull a blade. It can also be discharged like a bullet, causing personal injury or property damage, though the risk is low if no one is playing in the yard and the one using the mower is properly dressed (safety glasses, long pants, socks and shoes).

Money saver

The Fiskars Staysharp Max reel mower is definitely a money saver. There’s no need for:

  • gasoline or motor oil;
  • cleaning or replacing the filter;
  • cleaning under the deck (motor housing) after every use, which is probably often neglected;
  • maintenance – parts (spark plug, internal parts) and labor are costly;
  • sharpening the blades as often as with a power mower, possibly never over the life of the mower.

Safety

The Fiskars Staysharp Max reel mower is safer than a power mower.

  • Risk of personal injury and property damage is greatly reduced. The blades don’t throw objects as a power mower does.
  • The mower can be stored immediately after use since it does not have a hot gasoline engine.
  • Since the reel mower doesn’t use gasoline, there’s no need to store gasoline.

Time saver

There are certainly pros and cons to using a reel mower, just as there are to using a gas mower. The biggest factor might be whether the time you save maintaining a reel mower will outweigh the time you spend having to mow your lawn more than once a week with the reel mower.

Your climate, whether or not you fertilize, and how often you water your lawn will play a large role in this. During the hot summer months here in Texas, the grass doesn’t grow as fast as during the cooler months, no matter how much we water.

The Fiskars mower description and features

This technologically advanced reel mower with its sleek design is smaller than most, perhaps all, power mowers. It has a number of features, as noted in the Fiskars’ manual:

  1. The “exclusive StaySharp™ Cutting System uses precision ground, hardened steel blades engineered to efficiently cut grass without actually touching, greatly reducing friction and blade wear.”.
  2. The “InertiaDrive™ Reel combines a largediameter cutting reel and thick blades to store energy (like a flywheel) until a burst of extra cutting power is needed.”.
  3. “The VersaCut™ Technology uses a unique front-wheel cut height adjustment to lift the entire cutting system and maintain superior blade positioning to provide maximum cutting versatility for all types of grass and mowing habits.”
  4. The “Inset Wheel Design” cuts closer to foundations and other objects than other reel mowers.

Is the Fiskars Mower right for you?

First, a few tidbits of information – disclaimers, if you will.

  1. I’m 60 years old, in good health and in fairly good physical condition.
  2. I’m self-employed (work-at-home blogger).
  3. My entire lawn is Bermuda grass, except for a few patches of weeds (I’m working on it!).
  4. I live on a corner lot, 10,125 square feet (just under 1/4 of an acre).
  5. For comparison, my gas powered mower is a manual push mower with standard sized wheels, which makes it harder to push than a manual push mower with larger back wheels).

In my opinion, which is based on having used my son’s Fiskars mower five times, this mower is right for you if you:

  • are in good physical condition (or can work up to it), and
  • have a fairly nice lawn (not a lot of weeds), and
  • don’t mind a perfect lawn if you have some weeds or patches of taller grass that don’t cut well, and
  • have a fairly small lawn, let’s say 1/4 of an acre (10,890 square feet) or less, and
  • have time to mow your lawn more often than once a week, depending on your climate and how often you water your lawn.

What I like about the Fiskars Staysharp Max Reel Mower

There are several things I like about this mower, some I already mentioned above.

  1. It’s quiet.
  2. Overall, my lawn looks nicer after being mowed with the reel mower than with my gas powered mower.
  3. There’s no need to buy, store or treat gasoline.
  4. I do not need to wear eye protection or hearing protection, though I always wear safety glasses regardless.
  5. Normal use of this mower requires minimal maintenance, usually once at the end of the season.
  6. I can clean the mower using my blower.
  7. The grass clippings that are discharged forward are mulched, with some exceptions.
  8. The mower takes up less space in my garage than a gas powered mower.

Some disadvantages of the Fiskars mower

As with anything, there are drawbacks. Here are some I’ve come across. Other negative results might be encountered depending on the type of lawn, size, topography and such. For example, my son finds it easier to use his self-propelled mower to cut his back yard because it has a rather steep slope.

  1. In the areas of my lawn that have thicker grass, I have to exert myself more than if I was using my gas powered lawn mower.
  2. The mower does not cut certain weeds or Bermuda grass runners that run on top of my lawn.
  3. I’ve tried two ways of cutting along my sidewalk and driveway – neither way cuts uniformly along the edges.
  4. I can put off mowing a few days if necessary, but I’d probably have to raise the cutting height. This means I’d likely have to mow my lawn again in a few days. This could be a hassle in our rainy season, brief though it is.

Final Thoughts

My son recently took his reel mower back home with him, and I was once again using my gas powered mower. I really enjoyed using the Fiskars Staysharp Max reel mower. The peace and quiet was wonderful, and I did not have to buy or mess with gasoline or spend time cleaning the mower.

I now have to make a decision – continue using my gas mower or buy a Fiskars mower. Ten years ago it would have been an easy decision.

What would you do? Please share your thoughts and/or experiences, along with other pros and cons of using a reel type mower. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

My suggestion for you is, if you’re happy with what you have and not a risk taker, keep using what you have. Otherwise, I think you will enjoy using this mower.

As always, I will reply to comments as quickly as possible.

Best Regards,

Rick

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