American Lawn Mower 1204-14 Review

American Lawn Mower 1204-14

1110.50
(Rated: 3.6 / 5) Review by Frank Lowery
Noise1110.50
Ease of Assembly11110
Maneuverability11100
Balance And Handling11110
Cut Quality1110.50

These days, homeowners with small enough yards are opting more and more often to switch back to traditional style manual reel lawn mowers for a variety of reasons. It’s not because of a simple nostalgia for the good old days, either. These lawn mowers are able to get the right kind of job done just as quickly as many gas or electric powered lawn mowers, and they can do it without producing any emissions and also at a fraction of the price.

Manual reel mowers like the American Lawn Mower 1204-14 can handle smaller jobs without requiring expensive gasoline, bulky rechargeable batteries or power cords, and minimal maintenance. Instead of having to change spark plugs, clean air filters, and untangle cords, all you have to do to keep a reel mower running smoothly is sharpen it about once a year. If you have the right yard, switching to a manual reel mower may wind up being the best lawn care decision you ever made.

Review Summary

review summaryThe American Lawn Mower 1204-14 is a manual reel mower with a fourteen inch cutting deck that is designed to handle most turf grasses on small yards efficiently. It is designed with durable parts and quality design that make it perfect for the right job. It is environmentally friendly, inexpensive to maintain, and it runs very quietly. In addition it has a number of great features, like its 3 spider reel assembly and high impact wheels that are designed to make cutting the grass easier than ever. And it is compact and lightweight enough that anyone can operate it easily and find storage space for it just about anywhere.

At the same time, the American Lawn Mower 1204-14 is designed with a specific type of lawn in mind, and you may find that it does not perform optimally under certain scenarios. Because the cutting blade is only fourteen inches wide, this mower may not be able to cut average sized lawns as efficiently as you’d like, and the cutting reel might not be able to handle tougher varieties of grass very well. It doesn’t have very many height adjustment options, and it tends to get bogged down in wet grass.

Specifications

review specificationsThe American Lawn Mower 1204-14 is a manual reel mower with a fourteen inch wide cutting deck that has a 3-spider one blade reel. The 3-spider assembly is designed to help you get the cutting reel spinning quickly with just a gentle push, and the cutting blade is made of durable alloy steel for a longer life.

Cutting Width 14-inch
Mower Type Manual Push
Handle T-handle
Cutting System Standard (contact)
Blades 3-spider 1-blade
Cutting Height 1/2- to 1-1/2-inch
Weight 19 pounds
Grass Catcher Optional
Warranty 90 days

The mower’s handle is in a comfortable T-shape that is easy to use, and the handle has sturdy plastic grips. The cutting reel has three height options between 1/2 and 1 1/2 inches that are very easy to switch between. The mower weighs just 19 pounds. It has an optional grass catcher available for additional purchase and a ninety day limited consumer warranty.

Description

review descriptionThe American Lawn Mower 1204-14 is a manually operated reel mower with a fourteen inch wide cutting reel and three height adjustment options between 1/2 and 1 1/2 inches. It is designed to be able to cut most turf grasses, and it is especially perfect for lawns that are planted with cool season grasses like Kentucky bluegrass or Fine Fescues. The mower has a single cutting blade made of durable steel alloy. The blade is designed to not require sharpening more than once a year or so, and you may find that it doesn’t even need sharpening that often.

The cutting reel is mounted on a convenient 3-spider ball bearing assembly. This means that you can easily get the cutting reel spinning quickly enough to deliver a scissor like cut with just a gentle push. And the mower is compact and lightweight enough that you will have no problem finding storage for it and even less trouble maneuvering it around your yard. Its footprint is small enough that you can store it just about anywhere or even hang it on a couple of sturdy nails. And it weighs just 19 pounds, so anyone can operate it easily, regardless of their age or strength level.

There are a few aspects about this mower that make it less than idea for certain kinds of lawns, but none of these drawbacks are serious enough to warrant a poor rating. For the right job, this is a great manual reel mower.

The American Lawn Mower 1204-14 is made from very durable materials so you can be confident that it will last for a long time with the proper care and maintenance. It also is very competitively priced, so most households will be able to afford it without any problems. If you have a yard that is small enough to make using a reel mower the most efficient choice, and your yard is planted with cold season grasses, this might be just the right lawn mower for your needs.

Pros

review prosNot only is a reel mower like the American Lawn Mower 1204-14 good for the environment, because it is the only lawn mower that produces absolutely no emissions, but it’s healthy for your pocketbook as well, since you will never have to spend a dime on fuel or costly engine maintenance and repair. In addition to these basic advantages, there are a number of features that make this mower in particular a really great buy.

  1. Extremely compact and lightweight : The American Lawn Mower 1204-14 has a very small footprint, which means you will never have any trouble finding enough storage space for it in your garage or tool shed. You could even hang it on a tool hook on the wall so that it is completely out of the way. It’s light enough not only for that, but also weighs so little that anyone can operate it with ease, regardless of their age, strength level or body type.
  2. Perfect for cool season turf grasses : This lawn mower was designed specifically with cool season turf grasses like Kentucky bluegrass, Fine Fescues and rye in mind. And because of that, it performs admirably well on these types of grass. If you live in an area like the Midwest or Northeast, where these varieties are most common, this is a great mower for your yard.
  3. 3 spider reel assembly for easier operation : The cutting reel on the American Lawn Mower 1204-14 is mounted on a convenient 3 spider ball bearing assembly. This system is designed to help you get the cutting reel spinning quickly with just a gentle push. That means you will not have to worry about exerting yourself too much to get a beautiful, scissors like cut for your lawn.
  4. High impact wheels and durable cutting blade : The parts on the American Lawn Mower 1204-14 are all made out of very durable materials: the cutting blade is manufactured from steel alloy, so you won’t have to sharpen it as often as you might think. The wheels are designed to be high impact so that the mower can stand up to uneven areas in your yard.
  5. Extremely competitive price : The American Lawn Mower 1204-14 is one of the more competitively priced reel mowers on the market, and its price tag simply blows gas powered and electric mowers out of the water. Not only will you be saving quite a bit of money up front on this mower, but because you never have to spend a dime on gas or maintenance, it will pay for itself more quickly than you think.

These features all help to make the American Lawn Mower 1204-14 a great investment for the homeowner with the right yard. If you have a yard with cold season grasses that is rather small, this could be the perfect reel mower for you. And you will be able to save a lot of money as well as the environment by switching over to it. And that’s money you could better spend on other aspects of keeping your yard looking great.

Cons

review consOf course, because the American Lawn Mower 1204-14 is designed specifically with very small yards that are planted with cold season grasses, you may find that its performance suffers in yards that do not meet this description. Because of that, it’s important to take a look at some of the areas where this mower might not perform as optimally as you might like.

  1. Very small cutting reel width : The cutting reel on the American Lawn Mower 1204-14 is just fourteen inches wide, which is about as small as it gets on lawn mowers these days. If you have a very small yard, this should not be much of a problem, as you will be able to finish the job quickly regardless. But if your yard is average, then a fourteen inch reel may not be efficient enough for your needs.
  2. Mower does not handle tougher grass well : Because the American Lawn Mower 1204-14 is designed specifically to cut cold season turf grasses, you may find that it will struggle with lawns that are planted with warm season grasses like St. Augustine or Bermuda grass. These varieties are thicker and tougher and may need a mower with more blades or more power to get through them.
  3. Height options are rather limited : The American Lawn Mower 1204-14 only has three height options, and they range from just 1/2 an inch to 1 1/2 inches. Now, if you tend to keep your lawn looking like a fairway on a golf course, this might be just right for you. But if you prefer to let your grass grow a bit longer, this height range may not be ideal to keep your lawn looking and feeling its best.
  4. Blades may not cut wet grass : Even with the 3-spider ball bearing assembly and durable steel alloy cutting blade, you may find that the American Lawn Mower 1204-14 struggles with wet grass. Of course, the simple solution to this is to wait for the grass to dry before you cut it. But if you’re someone who likes to get the lawn cut early in the morning while there is still dew on it, this may be a problem for you.
  5. Some assembly is required : The American Lawn Mower 1204-14 needs a bit more assembly out of the box than other manual reels do, so you should be prepared to spend some time putting it together before you use it. If you’re the type of person who enjoys this kind of work, great! But if you prefer your products to be mostly assembled when they arrive, this may be a drawback for you.

None of these Cons really point to flaws in the design or manufacture of the American Lawn Mower 1204-14; they simply describe its limitations in terms of what lawns it is right for and which ones it is not so perfect for. If you have a lawn that is bigger than tiny, and if your lawn is planted with warm season grasses, then this mower might not be right for your needs. The same is true if you like to let your grass get a bit taller than three inches between mowing.

Product Comparison

review comparisonI always recommend to my readers that they do some serious comparison shopping before they make up their minds about which lawn mower is right for their needs. And I certainly won’t start making exceptions in this case. Because manual reel mowers tend to be designed with certain kinds of lawns in mind, I think it’s doubly important to compare similar ones so you can get a good idea of how they stack up to one another. In this table, I compare the American Lawn Mower 1204-14 to the Great States 304-14 and the Gilmour RM30.

  American Lawn Mower 1204-14American Lawn Mower
1204-14
Great States 304-14Great States
304-14
Gilmour RM30Gilmour
RM30
Cutting Width 14-inch 14-inch 20-inch
Mower Type Manual Push Manual Push Manual Push
Handle T-handle T-handle Cushion Grip
Cutting System Standard (contact) Standard (contact) Standard (contact)
Blades 3-spider 1-blade 3-spider 5-blade 5 blades
Cutting Height 1/2- to 1-1/2-inch 1- to 1-3/4-inch 1- to 3-inch
Weight 19 pounds 21 pounds 36 pounds
Grass Catcher Optional Optional Included
Warranty 90 days 90 days 1 year

As you can see, the Gilmour has the widest cutting reel of the three lawn mowers, at a full twenty inches. It also has 5 blades, like the Great States model, and unlike the American Lawn Mower 1204-14, which has only one. The American Lawn Mower is the lightest and smallest of the three. What this tells us is that it is designed for postage stamp lawns, while the Gilmour may be better suited to larger lawns.

Conclusion

review conclusionOverall, there are a number of great features that make the American Lawn Mower 1204-14 the perfect reel mower for the right lawn. But at the same time, there are certain design choices that make it less than ideal for the wrong kind of lawn. Let’s take another look at both the pros and cons of this mower before we close.

Conclusion Pros

  1. Extremely compact and lightweight.
  2. Perfect for cool season turf grasses.
  3. 3 spider reel assembly for easier operation.
  4. High impact wheels and durable cutting blade.
  5. Extremely competitive price.

For a very small yard that is planted with cool season turf grasses like Kentucky bluegrass, fine fescues or rye grass, the American Lawn Mower 1204-14 might be just about perfect. It is compact and lightweight enough that it will be easy to store and use, and the 3 spider reel assembly makes it easy to operate. It’s also made of durable materials, and it has a great price.

Conclusion Cons

  1. Very small cutting reel width.
  2. Mower does not handle tougher grass well.
  3. Height options are rather limited.
  4. Blades may not cut wet grass.
  5. Some assembly is required.

On the other hand, if your yard is at all bigger than very small, the 14 inch wide cutting reel may not be efficient enough to cut it in a short enough time. And the mower may not handle warm season grasses like St. Augustine or Bermuda grass very easily. If you like letting your grass get a bit tall before you mow, it , you may find that this mower struggles. And it has trouble with wet grass.

Final Word

When you have a small enough yard, switching over to a manual reel mower makes a lot of sense. These lawn mowers are good for the environment because they produce absolutely zero carbon emissions, and they are sensible for your wallet because they are affordable to buy and virtually free to operate and maintain. If you have the right kind of lawn and the right sized yard, I can think of almost no reasons why you would not want to switch over to a manual reel mower.

The American Lawn Mower 1204-14 is perfectly designed for the right kind of lawn. Compact and lightweight, it is easy for just about anyone to operate, even if they have a slight frame or are a senior citizen. And because it is designed specifically with cold season grasses like Fine Fescue and rye grass in mind, if you live in an area where these kinds of turf grasses are prevalent, you will find that it delivers high performance over the long term. With a lawn mower like this one, you will never have to worry about gas, changing spark plugs or unwinding bulky electric cords. You just grab it and go, and you will find that lawn chores are a whole lot easier with it.

Best Price

review pricesThe American Lawn Mower 1204-14 is very competitively priced. It is on the lower end of the price range for manual reel mowers, which practically puts it in the basement as far as lawn mower prices in general are concerned. If you are on a budget and have the kind of yard this reel mower was designed to take care of, then you will be able to enjoy considerable savings when you purchase it. And because it doesn’t need the kind of maintenance or fuel that power mowers need, you will find that it will quickly pay for itself, reaping even more savings in the long term.

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