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American Lawn Mower 1204-14 Review

A low maintenance manual mower suited to small, tidy lawns
American Lawn Mower 1204-14
Credit: amazon.com
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Price:   $80 List | $75.62 at Amazon
Pros:  Minimal storage footprint, maneuverable
Cons:  Loud, hard to adjust cutting height, no bagging option
Manufacturer:   American Lawn Mower Co.
By Nick Miley and Austin Palmer  ⋅  Sep 1, 2020
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61
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 11
  • Mowing - 35% 2
  • Battery - 25% 10
  • Handling - 25% 6
  • Ease of Use - 15% 9

Our Verdict

Given the right lawn, a manual mower is a good option. If the lawn to be cut is covering even ground and that area is not too large, then this machine is worth a look. However, depending on lawn type, it may not cover the appropriate cutting height as its range is rather limited. If these restrictions do conflict with your lawn type, this machine requires little maintenance, is inexpensive, and has a very small storage footprint.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award  Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award 
Price $80 List
$75.62 at Amazon
$549 List$400 List$90 List$300 List
$238.00 at Amazon
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Pros Minimal storage footprint, maneuverableExtensive runtime, rapid recharge, massive cutting deck widthGreat handling, good at edging, broad cutting deckInexpensive, simple, minimal maintenanceAbove average runtime, descent power, quiet
Cons Loud, hard to adjust cutting height, no bagging optionFairly expensive, more mower than some may needLimited runtime, prolonged rechargingLimited cutting heights, manual powered, relatively loudNarrow cutting deck, not self-propelled, relatively hard to push
Bottom Line A low maintenance manual mower suited to small, tidy lawnsThis long-lasting mower can tackle the biggest jobs without breaking a sweatAn inexpensive mower that delivers above average performance in every category except battery lifeThis compact, manually powered mower is simple and easy to use on even turfThis low-cost, manually-propelled lawn mower has an above average runtime
Rating Categories American Lawn Mower... EGO LM2102SP Ryobi RY40190-Y Greenworks 25052 Greenworks 25322
Mowing (35%)
2.0
9.0
8.0
4.0
4.0
Battery (25%)
10.0
8.0
6.0
10.0
5.0
Handling (25%)
6.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
Ease Of Use (15%)
9.0
8.0
7.0
9.0
6.0
Specs American Lawn Mower... EGO LM2102SP Ryobi RY40190-Y Greenworks 25052 Greenworks 25322
Self-Propelled no yes yes no no
Estimated Cutting Area N/A 14,275 ft² 7,031 ft² N/A 9,196 ft²
Measured Recharge Time N/A 57 mins 250 mins N/A 60 mins
Cutting Deck Width 14" 18 1/8" 17" 16" 13 3/4"
Measured Cutting Gap N/A 3/4" 1/2" N/A 1"
Measured Noise 86 dBa 71 dBa 71 dBa 86 dBa 72.8 dBa
Power (1 - 10) Manual powered 7 7 Manual powered 5
Folding/Unfolding Ease (1 - 10) 10 9 7 10 7

Our Analysis and Test Results

This mower is not for everyone. It has limited cutting heights that favor short grass, making adjustments is difficult and you have to keep up the pace to get it to cut effectively. That said, if you have a small patch of turf to maintain and not much storage space, this machine could be just the ticket. The savings, both in the long and short term, this machine will afford you will be just the motivation needed to host the next garden party in your neighborhood.

Performance Comparison


Manual mowers meet the user in the middle -- the user's effort is...
Manual mowers meet the user in the middle -- the user's effort is the primary limitation.
Credit: Laura Casner

Likes


What we like about the American Lawn Mower 1204-14 is that it's simple, inexpensive and effective. Simply put, it is one of the easiest to operate machines that we've tested. The mower is always ready to go as it needs neither gas nor a battery. There are very few moving parts, so maintenance will be minimal as well. Finally, this model is relatively compact, so it will easily fit in the corner of even the most cluttered garages and sheds.

Cutting height changes require tools to make the adjustments.
Cutting height changes require tools to make the adjustments.
Credit: Laura Casner

Dislikes


What we don't like about the American Lawn Mower is that it has very limited cutting heights (1/2" to 1 3/4") that are on the shorter side and not good for many grass varieties. These cutting heights are relatively hard to adjust as the mower requires that bolts be loosened to do so. Additionally, the model does not come with a bag so you'll be left to leave the clippings or rake them up. Finally, it is pretty loud at 86 dBa though taller grass has a dampening effect of the noise.

The narrow cutting height options limit this mowers usefulness.
The narrow cutting height options limit this mowers usefulness.
Credit: Laura Casner

Value


By comparison to other models and their performance in out evaluation, we think that the American Lawn Mower is appropriately priced and thus offers consumers a fair value.

Conclusion


If you have a low-maintenance lawn and you don't want to fuss with batteries or gas to power your mower, this affordable machine is worth a look. It's not for everyone, but if you don't mind working up a bit of a sweet in the yard, you might find the American Lawn Mower to be a good fit for your garage, lawn and pocket book.

Nick Miley and Austin Palmer