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Reel Mower Choices

4442 Views 8 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  J_nick
Looking to get a reel mower before the spring green up. Have been looking on craigslist/facebook for a while. Typically there hasn't been much in my hometown (Huntsville), but several are out there right now. Wanted to get people's opinion on them b/c I"m a complete noob.

McLane 20" ($450) -

Trucut 20" -

McLane 20" ($295) -

McLane 20" ($650, looks to be in better condition, maybe newer?) -

Trucut 27" ($300, looks to be in a little rougher shape) -

Are any of these worth pursuing? I don't think I can spend to get a Toro or JD (yet:)), but I"d like to get into the market w/something for this season. I'm willing to drive the couple of hours to grab one of these if you think they're worth it. Would love to hear any input!
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FOC only gets critical at cut heights under .250" IMO. It matters at all heights, but the effects of having too high of FOC become more superficial as the HOC is increased. Hence why we don't see excessive turf damage mowing with 11 or 14 blade reels at .5"+ HOC. Remember, the finer points of FOC are usually centered around cutting at .140" or lower, ie. golf greens. At those heights, the reel is dropping low enough to contact parts of the plant that we don't want to damage. At a higher HOC, the reel is at worst swatting the same leaves repeatedly, and not likely doing more than superficial damage. I'm sure a rotary mower, even a reasonably sharp one, does far worse.

I have noticed after switching to a 7 blade reel from an 11, that I can mow somewhat taller grass with no problem where an 11 blade would leave a few stragglers behind.
Also worth noting that a Tru-Cut or McLane type mower typically runs a much larger diameter reel than a greensmower (5"). So 10 blades on a McClane is a much lower FOC than an 11-blade greensmower assuming the reel spins at a similar speed. I don't have any first hand experience with a McLane or Tru-Cut, but I'd bet they spin the reels a good bit slower than a typical greensmower.
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