American Lawn Mower 1404-16 Review

American Lawn Mower 1404-16

1110.50
(Rated: 3.6 / 5) Review by Frank Lowery
Noise11110
Ease of Assembly11110
Maneuverability1110.50
Balance And Handling1110.50
Cut Quality11100

There are a number of reasons many homeowners are opting to purchase manual reel mowers these days, but it isn’t because of any nostalgia for mowing their lawns with these machines back when they were kids. It has to do with two simple facts: when you have a smaller yard, you do not need a big power rotary lawn mower to get the job done simply and efficiently. And, when you use a manual reel mower, you are going to save a lot of money. Not only do these machines produce absolutely no emissions when you use them – a claim no other lawn mowers can make – but they also do not need you to spend a dime to run them. In addition, the only maintenance they will ever need is occasionally sharpening their blades. The American Lawn Mower 1404-16 is a great example of an affordable, high quality manual reel mower that can keep a smaller lawn looking great.

Review Summary

review summaryThe American Lawn Mower 1404-16 is a manual reel mower with a sixteen inch wide cutting reel. The cutting reel has five hardened steel blades that are designed to provide reliable cuts without needing to be sharpened too often. The reel is mounted on a 4-spider ball bearing assembly that helps get it spinning quickly with just an easy push. The mower weighs just 25 pounds, which also ensures that just about anyone will find it very easy to maneuver around their yard, regardless of their age, body type or strength level.

There are a few minor drawbacks associated with the American Lawn Mower 1404-16. It may struggle with tall grass and have difficulties getting through denser patches of grass or tougher varieties of grass on the first pass. Its wheels are set a few inches wider than the cutting reel, which means you may have to do some edging against fences or walls after you are finished mowing. And the mower is designed with a T-handle, which is not as ergonomic as loop handles, and may become weakened after a few years of use.

I will go over all of these drawbacks, as well as the areas in which the mower performs well, in the Pros & Cons section. I’ll also compare the American Lawn Mower 1404-16 to two similar mowers so you get a good idea of how it stacks up to the competition, and discuss pricing.

Specifications

review specificationsThe American Lawn Mower 1404-16 is a manual reel mower with a sixteen inch cutting width and a standard cutting system, in which the cutting reel makes contact with the rear cutting blade. The blades on the mower are made of hardened steel and are designed to require less sharpening to keep them performing optimally.

Cutting Width 16-inch
Mower Type Manual Push
Handle T-handle
Cutting System Standard (contact)
Blades 4-spider 5-blade
Cutting Height 1/2- to 1-3/4-inch
Weight 25 pounds
Grass Catcher Optional
Warranty 90 days

The cutting reel has five cutting blades and is mounted on a 4-spider ball bearing assembly that assists with getting the reel spinning quickly and keeps it spinning longer by reducing friction. The cutting height of the reel can be adjusted to several positions between ½ an inch and 1 ¾ inches. The mower weighs just 25 pounds. A grass catcher is optional, and the mower comes with a 90 day warranty.

Description

review descriptionThe American Lawn Mower 1404-16 is a manual reel mower that is designed with smaller lawns in mind. When you have a postage stamp sized lawn, you want a lawn mower that can get the job done quickly and efficiently, but you also do not want to spend a lot of money to do so. This cuts virtually all power rotary motors out of the picture, but it also means you may not need a manual reel mower with a very wide cutting reel, as these can be bulky and difficult to store. The American Lawn Mower 1404-16 has a sixteen inch wide cutting reel that is designed to compromise between the overall footprint of the mower and its ability to cut a small lawn quickly and efficiently.

The cutting reel on the American Lawn Mower 1404-16 has five cutting blades made of hardened steel that are designed to require sharpening less often while still performing optimally. The reel is mounted on a convenient 4-spider ball bearing system. This system makes it easier to get the reel spinning quickly and helps keep it spinning longer because it reduces friction at the point of contact. The cutting reel can be adjusted to a limited range of heights between 1/2 and 1 3/4 inches. As a result, it may struggle with taller grass. That means you should intend to cut your grass as often as once a week or so with this lawn mower.

The American Lawn Mower 1404-16 may have a few other difficulties as well: it gets caught on twigs and other debris rather easily, and it may struggle to cut tougher varieties of grass or get through denser patches on the lawn. But most of these problems are typical to manual reel mowers. Overall this is a solid mower designed for small lawns, and it is priced very competitively.

Pros

review prosThere are a number of features that help make the American Lawn Mower 1404-16 perfect for the right kind of lawn. It has five hardened steel blades, which help leave the grass looking manicured and even. The mower is compact and lightweight. It’s perfect for very small lawns, and it needs very little maintenance to keep it running well. And it’s very competitively priced.

  1. Five hardened steel blades for superior cuts : The American Lawn Mower 1404-16 has a cutting reel with five hardened steel blades. The extra blades help you give your lawn a professional looking cut without having to go over the same area more than once. And they are designed to stay sharper longer without requiring back strapping or sharpening. The blades are mounted on a 4-spider ball bearing assembly. That means it is easier to get them spinning quickly and keep them going, because friction is reduced at the contact point.
  2. Compact and lightweight : The American Lawn Mower 1404-16 has a very compact footprint, which means it will be a cinch to find enough storage space for it in your garage or tool shed. And because it weighs only 25 pounds, it will be very easy for just about anyone to maneuver it around their yard, regardless of their age, body type or strength level. The 4-spider assembly also helps make this much easier, especially when you’re using it on tougher grass.
  3. Perfect for very small lawns : The overall design of the American Lawn Mower 1404-16 is perfect for very small lawns. That is because the cutting reel is 16 inches wide, which is enough to allow it to cut these areas quickly and efficiently, but it is not so wide that the mower is bulky or difficult to maneuver in small spaces. Along with the five cutting blades and the fact that the mower is lightweight, it will be perfect for postage stamp yards.
  4. Requires very little maintenance : Overall, manual reel mowers need a lot less maintenance than gas powered or even electric lawn mowers. They have fewer parts and are less likely to break down or have performance issues. All you have to do is occasionally sharpen the blades. And the design of the blades on the American Lawn Mower 1404-16 makes it so they do not need to be sharpened often to keep them performing at their best.
  5. Competitively priced : The American Lawn Mower 1404-16 is competitively priced. It falls into about the mid range of what you might expect to pay for a comparably sized manual reel mower, and it is much more inexpensive than any power rotary mower I have ever reviewed. Not only that, but because you never have to spend a dime on fuel or maintenance, it practically pays for itself over the years.

If you have the right kind of yard – specifically a very small one that is less than ten or fifteen square yards – a manual reel mower is going to be perfect to get the job done quickly and efficiently every time. And because the American Lawn Mower 1404-16 is designed with this kind of yard in mind, you can count on it to deliver optimal performance over the long term while requiring very little maintenance.

Cons

review consBecause it is designed with a specific sized yard in mind, there are a few limitations as to what the American Lawn Mower 1404-16 can do. Some of these are due to the fact that it is a small manual reel mower, and these machines cannot tackle certain kinds of jobs. Others have to do with its specific design and manufacture. Let’s take a look at the Cons in detail.

  1. May not be able to cut tall grass : This is a problem that is fairly common in manual reel mowers with relatively short cutting height ranges. Because of their design, they tend to struggle with grass that is taller than five inches or so, and this is also the case with the American Lawn Mower 1404-16. Because of this, if you do decide to purchase this mower, you should plan on keeping your lawn fairly short, which means cutting it more often.
  2. Can get jammed by twigs and debris : If it encounters twigs or other large debris in the lawn, the cutting reel on the American Lawn Mower 1404-16 tends to get jammed. Again, this is not uncommon for small manual reel mowers, which do not have the kind of power necessary to cut through this detritus. As a result, if you have trees in your yard, you may have to clear the lawn of debris before you mow it.
  3. May struggle in tougher grass and denser patches : This is yet another problem that all too many manual reel mowers tend to face. Even though it has five hardened steel blades and a cutting reel that is mounted on a 4-spider ball bearing assembly, the American Lawn Mower 1404-16 may tend to get bogged down in denser patches of the lawn. And it will probably have to make several passes to get tougher varieties of grass like St. Augustine or Bermuda grass mown.
  4. The T-handle is not optimally designed : The American Lawn Mower 1404-16 has a T-handle design, which is the traditional style for older manual reel mowers. However, this design is not as optimal as more ergonomically designed handles, such as manual reel mowers with loop handles. As a result, it can be uncomfortable to use, and it also may weaken over time, which could present problems. However if you do not subject the mower to rough use, this likely will not be a problem for many years.
  5. There is a gap between the cutting reel and outer wheels : There is a gap of several inches between the sides of the cutting reel and the edges of the outer wheels. As a result, the mower leaves a gap while you are mowing. This means you have to overlap between rows, which can be a bit frustrating. It also means that if your lawn abuts a fence or wall, you will have to do some edging in these areas after you are finished mowing it.

Frankly, I do not think that any of these issues present the kind of serious problems that would draw a negative review. If the American Lawn Mower 1404-16 is used for the kind of lawn it’s intended for, it will do just fine. That means that it will be perfect for very small lawns that do not have overly dense grass or too much debris in them – especially if these lawns are not flush against a fence or building.

Product Comparison

review comparisonBy themselves, Pros and Cons lists can tell you a lot about a particular lawn mower, but they are best when they are used in tandem with some comparison shopping. Product comparison is the best way to get a clear picture of where a particular mower outshines its competition and in what areas it falls short. The following table compares the American Lawn Mower 1404-16 with two similar lawn mowers, the Fiskars 6201 and the Greenworks 25072.

  American Lawn Mower 1404-16American Lawn Mower
1404-16
Fiskars 6201Fiskars
6201
Greenworks 25072Greenworks
25072
Cutting Width 16-inch 18-inch 20-inch
Mower Type Manual Push Manual Push Manual Push
Handle T-handle Ergonomic Handle Cushion Grip
Cutting System Standard (contact) Contact-free Standard (contact)
Blades 4-spider 5-blade 5 blades 5 blades
Cutting Height 1/2- to 1-3/4-inch 1- to 4-inch 1-3/4- to 2-3/4-inch
Weight 25 pounds 52 pounds 39 pounds
Grass Catcher Optional Optional Included
Warranty 90 days 3 years 4 years

While the American Lawn Mower 1404-16 has the smallest cutting width of the three mowers, this is because it is designed with very small lawns in mind. All three are manual push mowers, although the other two have more ergonomically designed handles. The American Lawn Mower 1404-16 has the shortest height range, but it is the lightest of the three, and the only one with a 4-spider assembly for easier use.

Conclusion

review conclusionThe American Lawn Mower 1404-16 is the perfect lawn mower for homeowners who have very small lawns on their property. If you are such a homeowner, there is no reason you should be spending a lot of money on a big rotary power mower, which will cost you hundreds of dollars up front and requires expensive fuel and maintenance costs. While it has some limitations, the American Lawn Mower 1404-16 has a number of great features that make it just right for a small lawn.

Conclusion Pros

  1. Five hardened steel blades for superior cuts.
  2. Compact and lightweight.
  3. Perfect for very small lawns.
  4. Requires very little maintenance.
  5. Competitively priced.

The cutting reel on the American Lawn Mower 1404-16 has five hardened steel blades and is mounted on a 4-spider ball bearing assembly. This ensures that it will be easier to use. Also, it’s compact and weighs only 25 pounds, which makes it even easier to use. It’s the perfectly designed lawn mower for postage stamp lawns. Other than occasional sharpening, it will never need any maintenance, unlike power lawn mowers. And it is very competitively priced.

Conclusion Cons

  1. May not be able to cut tall grass.
  2. Can get jammed by twigs and debris.
  3. May struggle in tougher grass and denser patches.
  4. The T-handle is not optimally designed.
  5. There is a gap between the cutting reel and outer wheels.

Like many manual reel mowers, the American Lawn Mower 1404-16 does have some limitations. Because its cutting range is so low, it may have difficulty with taller grass. Its cutting reel can get jammed by twigs or other hard debris on the lawn, and it will likely have some difficulty with tough grass and denser patches on the lawn. The T-handle is not the best design, and neither is the gap between the cutting reel and the outer wheels, which may require edging after you have mown the lawn.

Final Word

When you have a very small yard, a compact manual reel mower such as the American Lawn Mower 1404-16 can be just right for your needs. This lawn mower has a wide enough cutting reel that it can handle most small jobs quickly and efficiently, and it is not so bulky that it will be difficult to maneuver around the yard or find storage space for it in your garage or tool shed. While manual lawn mowers like this one have their limitations – they struggle with tall grass and have difficulty cutting through tougher varieties of grass and denser patches on the lawn – they can be great for the right kind of lawn. And because they are the only lawn mowers that are truly zero emissions, they are great for the environment. The American Lawn Mower 1404-16 is an excellent option for homeowners with very small yards who want to reduce their carbon footprint and save money.

Best Price

review pricesAs I mentioned in the Pros section, the American Lawn Mower 1404-16 is rather competitively priced. It falls in the mid range of pricing for comparably sized manual reel mowers. That means it will be considerably less expensive than any rotary power mower on the market today. Not only will it save you a good deal of money on the initial purchase price, but it will also provide recurring savings the more you use it. Because you will never have to spend a dime on gas or electricity to run the American Lawn Mower 1404-16, after about a year or so it virtually pays for itself. This is a frugal homeowner’s ideal lawn mower.

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