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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have Bermuda (tifway 419 to be exact). I currently have a rotary mower that I am using to mow my ~1/3 acre. I mow at roughly 2" which is as low as this mower will go. I'm wanting to try and really thicken the yard up and would like to mow slightly lower (1" to 1.25").

Actual gas powered reel mowers seem to be hard as hell to research as the only thing that comes up in reviews are manual reel mowers basically and they aren't really targeted towards "consumers". So my question is, what are some good brands/models to look into further? I know the things require more maintenance than rotary mowers but would like to start out on the high ground with a good quality unit instead of righty a shitty brand/model. I know they can be pricey but finding a good quality used in one CL would be ideal. Any certain things to look out for or to avoid when buying one?

I know the caveats are that it needs a smooth lawn etc. I think my yard will be okay for it and I'm prepared to do more leveling with sand if needed.

I've seen a decent number of mclane mowers on CL but they range from 300$ to 1300$ (the ones I've seen pop up). I've heard that I really should stay away from belt driven? I assume they mean the belt driving the actual reel? Are the mclane mowers belt or chain driven or does it depend on model?

I know that there is more maintenance than traditional mowers, but other than getting the blades sharpened more and making a few adjustments to the bed over time what else is involved? Given I'm not hitting rocks, tree limbs etc (which i shouldn't be), what other maintenance will need to be done and how often? With my smaller yard would I be able to go a whole mowing season without sharpening?

Currently on CL:

a 25" set propelled mclane for 550, that the guy said he bought new in 2014. Doesn't say number of blades.

A 20" McLane 7-blade reel mower with 5 HP Honda GC160 motor. Asking 500$. Guy also says he got a Tru Cut for sale but doesn't list it. Said it's about 5 years old.

And a John Deere Model 220a greens mower that they are asking 695 for. Doesn't really provide any other specifics.

Only been cranked and ran 3 times. TRU-CUT Front Reel Mower.Honda GC 160 motor Asking: $1,300. No other specifics in the ad.

Would any of those be worthwhile looking at/considering? When someone says a "greens" mower is that a generic term for a reel mower or is that something specific? For example that John Deere says it's a "greens" mower (i know they use reel mowers to mow golf course greens, but wasn't sure if it was referring to something specific). I would say I'm looking for a good "value" and I don't necessarily mean cheap when I say value. I know I can't spend 15k on a reel mower, but if i had a choice of a reel mower that was 300 but had constant problems and a 1300$ reel mower than would basically last me the rest of my life with normal care, I would take the 1300$ mower any day of the week.

Thanks for any information you can provide!
 

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Look around the Atlanta CL's also. Lots of good prices that I have seen. I bought a McLane 20" 7 blade 2 years ago off CL for $1`25.00 and it has transformed my lawn. I'd like to get something larger like a 27" TruCut but this was my first reel mower and I didn't want to invest a lot of money in something I may not have liked. Now I'm addicted but too cheap to buy something bigger and nicer. I'm cutting only my front lawn with the reel which is about 6,000 Sq/Ft but this works for me.
 

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There is quite a bit of difference not only in price but in quality on reel mowers vs. greens mowers. TruCut's/McLanes/Cal Trimmers are all homeowner models with the bigger sized ones focused on commercial use. Greens mowers are to the highest quality and are also easier to work on in my experience. Plus greens mowers have rollers front and rear, no wheels. They will handle the unlevelness of your yard better than anything with wheels. I looked up the ones you talked about

25" McLane $550

20" McLane $500

John Deere 220A $695

The McLane's do have front rollers so that's a plus. If the 220A is in good shape (runs, mows, the reel and bedknife are in good condition) I think it's a no brainer to go with the 220A for $145-195 more.

I have a 220B and love it. You say you want to be around 1 - 1.25". That's going to be the only problem. Mine maxes out around 1.125" I imagine the 220A's would be similar. Believe me once you have a reel you'll want to go as low as you can, it's a sickness.
 

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I would agree with j_nick regarding spending the extra 145 -195 for the greens mower if you were already willing to spend 500 + for a reel mower to try out.

My only point is you may be able to find a reel mower for less than $200 and see if you like it. When I bought my cheap McClane for $125 my plan was to try it out and resell it for an upgrade. It works and I've only had to replace the belt twice which cost $6.99. Not a huge investment for the switch from rotary to reel.

Good luck with whatever you decide !!
 

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Stro3579 said:
I have a tru-cut 20" for sale for $350 on our local marketplace. Doesn't have Roller. They cost like $140. Has been sharpened last week and runs great. Not sure the year of the unit though.
The members here are all spread out, but feel free to post it here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
J_nick said:
There is quite a bit of difference not only in price but in quality on reel mowers vs. greens mowers. TruCut's/McLanes/Cal Trimmers are all homeowner models with the bigger sized ones focused on commercial use. Greens mowers are to the highest quality and are also easier to work on in my experience. Plus greens mowers have rollers front and rear, no wheels. They will handle the unlevelness of your yard better than anything with wheels. I looked up the ones you talked about

25" McLane $550

20" McLane $500

John Deere 220A $695

The McLane's do have front rollers so that's a plus. If the 220A is in good shape (runs, mows, the reel and bedknife are in good condition) I think it's a no brainer to go with the 220A for $145-195 more.

I have a 220B and love it. You say you want to be around 1 - 1.25". That's going to be the only problem. Mine maxes out around 1.125" I imagine the 220A's would be similar. Believe me once you have a reel you'll want to go as low as you can, it's a sickness.
Yup, those are the exact ones I was looking at. So when you are saying rollers, that is in place of wheels correct? That is at least what I have found out looking at them.

What type of maintainance is required on the greens mowers vs the mclane mowers? Typically what is different about them to make them easier to work on? Also is it typical for these to be push or self propelled? I see a lot of the mclane units some say "self propelled" so that gives me the impression not all of them are. Is that s must for the reel mowers or greens mowers?

Hell, I would love to mow down to .5" to make my lawn look like an actual fairway but I said 1-1.25" because I think my lawn would require slightly more leveling in a few places. There are a few places where, when they installed the sod they didn't get the sod close enough together, and that left a bump, there are a few uneven places where they dug up rocks in the yard and didn't level it out completely which i will have to fix but I don't think its major. this is the yard.

How much different would the cuts be in the JD and the Tru-Cut, Mclane? I've heard that I should stay away from belt driven models? Are all JD/Jacobsen chain driven? Are all Mclane/tru-cut belt or does it vary in model?

I was leaning toward the JD as well anyways since that is what everyone really recommended almost like a Tier 1 (JD/Jacobsen), Tier 2 (Mclane, Tru-cut, california). But trying to research everything to find it what are good prices.
 

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kur1j said:
Yup, those are the exact ones I was looking at. So when you are saying rollers, that is in place of wheels correct? That is at least what I have found out looking at them.
A greens mower uses a front roller and a rear drum instead of wheels. They are propelled by large rear drum/drive unit. If you see wheels on a greens mower in a photo, those are just optional transport wheels that are removed prior to mowing.



kur1j said:
What type of maintainance is required on the greens mowers vs the mclane mowers? Typically what is different about them to make them easier to work on? Also is it typical for these to be push or self propelled? I see a lot of the mclane units some say "self propelled" so that gives me the impression not all of them are. Is that s must for the reel mowers or greens mowers?
The maintenance requirements are about the same, but the greens mowers are designed with more frequent adjustments in mind - because they see so many more hours of use on a golf course. As long as you see an engine, it's going to be "self propelled" - same for the McLane and Tru-Cut.

kur1j said:
Hell, I would love to mow down to .5" to make my lawn look like an actual fairway but I said 1-1.25" because I think my lawn would require slightly more leveling in a few places. There are a few places where, when they installed the sod they didn't get the sod close enough together, and that left a bump, there are a few uneven places where they dug up rocks in the yard and didn't level it out completely which i will have to fix but I don't think its major.
Leveling of some sort (whether major or spot leveling) is a natural progression, but you will likely be able to mow lower than you think just by switching from a rotary to a reel mower. The geometry of a front roller and rear drive of a reel mower handles minor dips and bumps better than a rotary mower that is relying on point contact of four individual wheels. The rollers sort of "average" the terrain - if that makes sense. I'll go out on a limb and say I don't see anything in those photos that would prevent you from mowing under 1".

kur1j said:
How much different would the cuts be in the JD and the Tru-Cut, Mclane? I've heard that I should stay away from belt driven models? Are all JD/Jacobsen chain driven? Are all Mclane/tru-cut belt or does it vary in model?

I was leaning toward the JD as well anyways since that is what everyone really recommended almost like a Tier 1 (JD/Jacobsen), Tier 2 (Mclane, Tru-cut, california). But trying to research everything to find it what are good prices.
I wouldn't worry about staying away from one particular drive system versus another. As long as it is adjusted/in spec, you're probably not going to notice any appreciable difference in longevity as a homeowner mowing an average size lawn a few times a week.
 

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kur1j said:
Colonel K0rn said:
Peanut Gallery chiming in... I see a scalped lawn in this man's future :lol:
Why do you say that?
I think he's just saying once you get a reel mower you'll need to scalp it down to reel mower heights. You'd need to scalp it down a little lower than you plan on maintaining the lawn at to reset the growing points of the grass.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
J_nick said:
kur1j said:
Colonel K0rn said:
Peanut Gallery chiming in... I see a scalped lawn in this man's future :lol:
Why do you say that?
I think he's just saying once you get a reel mower you'll need to scalp it down to reel mower heights. You'd need to scalp it down a little lower than you plan on maintaining the lawn at to reset the growing points of the grass.
Ah, yes, I'm looking around for a used one right now so you are right :).

What's is the definition of a "greens mower". What classifies a reel mower as a "greens mower" versus just a reel mower? Other than the manufacturer saying it's a "greens mower" in their advertising. Is the requirement both a front and rear roller?
 

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I'm not sure if there is a requirement or definition but I'll try. Front and rear rollers and precise HOC adjustments are the big 2. Most will have the ability to have a groomer. Most greens mowers you'll see are going to be from 4 companies and I don't think they even make homeowner model reels (besides some old John Deere's that were just rebadged McLanes). The 4 company's are John Deere, Toro, Jacobsen and Baroness. There are other companies but this is what you see the most of.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
J_nick said:
I'm not sure if there is a requirement or definition but I'll try. Front and rear rollers and precise HOC adjustments are the big 2. Most will have the ability to have a groomer. Most greens mowers you'll see are going to be from 4 companies and I don't think they even make homeowner model reels (besides some old John Deere's that were just rebadged McLanes). The 4 company's are John Deere, Toro, Jacobsen and Baroness. There are other companies but this is what you see the most of.
Thanks that makes sense. What is considered a groomer? A roller?

I know it's all about the condition, but I'm having an issue of knowing if I'm looking st a decent deal or I'm getting ripppes off. I can't seem to find enough of them to get an idea of how much I should be paying. Any suggestions on find fair market value for one of these things?
 

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kur1j said:
Thanks that makes sense. What is considered a groomer? A roller?
A groomer is located in between the front roller and the reel. It can either have blades that vertically snip the grass to make new growing points or a brush that will help stand the grass up before it gets cut.



We buy used greens mowers for cents on the dollar. Most sell new for over $10k and we buy them a lot of times for under $1k. So finding one with a groomer is definitely worth a couple hundred more. My 220B didn't come with one and if I bought the parts to put one on it would be more than I payed for the mower.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
J_nick said:
kur1j said:
Thanks that makes sense. What is considered a groomer? A roller?
A groomer is located in between the front roller and the reel. It can either have blades that vertically snip the grass to make new growing points or a brush that will help stand the grass up before it gets cut.



We buy used greens mowers for cents on the dollar. Most sell new for over $10k and we buy them a lot of times for under $1k. So finding one with a groomer is definitely worth a couple hundred more. My 220B didn't come with one and if I bought the parts to put one on it would be more than I payed for the mower.
Ah, interesting. Is it an either/or for the groomer that will stand the blades up or snip the grass to start a growing part? Or will it function as both and just need to switch something?

I'm struggling to find a greens mower around me. Only see the 220a and a toro 1000. Is that a decent price for the JD 220a? Is 900$ decent for the Toro GM 1000? The toro is a 2013 model. Neither seem to have a groomer.
 

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Groomer is to the left with blades. It will vertically snip the grass.

Brush is to the right and it will stand up the blades.

Really as long as it has one or the other it's not too much $ to get he other version.

It's not a deal breaker to buy a greens mower without one. Just if you had the option to have one for a few hundred more it would be worth considering.

As for price I think it's all up to the individual and what you'd be happy with. If you're wanting a reel and the only options available were trucuts or McLane's for around $500 I would rather buy the 220A for $700.
 

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kur1j said:
I'm struggling to find a greens mower around me. Only see the 220a and a toro 1000. Is that a decent price for the JD 220a? Is 900$ decent for the Toro GM 1000? The toro is a 2013 model. Neither seem to have a groomer.
Can you post some photos of the mowers? 2013 is pretty new for a used greens mower. :thumbup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Ware said:
kur1j said:
I'm struggling to find a greens mower around me. Only see the 220a and a toro 1000. Is that a decent price for the JD 220a? Is 900$ decent for the Toro GM 1000? The toro is a 2013 model. Neither seem to have a groomer.
Can you post some photos of the mowers? 2013 is pretty new for a used greens mower. :thumbup:

The John Deere doesn't really have much information other than saying it was serviced, runs great and to call the number.

The ad information of the toro.

This Mower has a very high quality cut and is in excellent condition. The reel is 11 blades and will cut from 5/64" to 1". The engine is 4 hp Kawasaki OHV gas engine. This mower is self propelled. The cut is 21". Comes with Optional Wheel Kit-04123 seen in photos.

The Blades and rollers is are in great shape.
The mower has been professionally used and maintained, came from a upscale GA golf course, purchased from Jerry Pate Turf and Irrigation by me and is serviced by Jerry Pate. It has been used for cutting our Burmuda around pool for the past two years. Very low usage.

1000 Series Specifications*

The Greensmaster 1000 is manufactured
in Tomah, WI ISO 9002 Certified Plant.
GREENSMASTER 1000, MODEL 04052

Kawasaki-4-cycle, 3.7 hp (2.7 kW), air-cooled OHV engine, 3600 rpm. Displacement: 7.57 cu. in (124 cc). Cast iron cylinder sleeve.
Output shaft speed is 1800 rpm. Electronic ignition with integral lighting coil. Maximum noise suppression muffler. 83 dB(A) at
operator's ear.
Fuel Capacity-2.64 quarts (2.5 liters); regular grade unleaded gasoline
Mowing speed: 1.3 mph (2.1 km/h) to 3.5 mph,Transport speed (maximum): 5.3 mph
Cutting Width 21" (53.3 cm)
Height of Cut 5/64" to 1" (2.0-25.4 mm)
Traction:Engine to countershaft drive: two "A" section V-belts. Timing belts from countershaft to differential, drive drum and reel.
Controls: Engine mounted; on/off switch, recoil starter, choke. Handle mounted: throttle lever, traction engage lever, service/park brake lever. Frame mounted: reel drive engage lever. Safety devices: neutral interlock system, servicing/park brake, enclosed drive system. Operator Presence Control.
Bedknife
EdgeMax™ Microcut Bedknife
 
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