The Fiskars StaySharp Max 6201 has a solid reputation for being well built, safe and manageable. The innovative position of the five-blade reel in front of the large wheels allows for a wider, more powerful cut than other manual mowers.
Efficient manual power. According to reel mower comparison tests, the Fiskars StaySharp is tougher than other manual reel lawn mowers and is able to tackle taller and thicker grass. It "cuts extremely well and the mower blades are sharp," writes one user at CleanAirGardening.com, a retail website that carries environmentally friendly mowers. Experts say it uses its 52-pound weight (which is heavier than other reel mowers) to its advantage, giving it more cutting power for tougher grass varieties.
One of the StaySharp's biggest disadvantages is the tendency to bend over thicker stalks, which pop up uncut after the mower passes. "It cuts about 90 to 95 percent of the rye and blue grass on the first pass. You have to make a second and sometimes third pass to get a perfect trimming of the grass," explains one owner at Amazon.com, adding, "The zoysia (common softer grass) is another story. This mower makes the zoysia look like a manicured golf green."
In contrast to most manual reel mowers, the StaySharp Max throws clippings in front of the machine, and many appreciate that it doesn't spray their feet with grass. When mowing near pools or decorative beds, however, a few owners say it can be difficult to keep cut grass from messing up landscaping. An optional bagger is available, clipping to the front of the mower, but it does not receive favorable reviews. Many owners call it awkward and say it doesn't attach well to the StaySharp Max.
Comfortable. In comparison to other manual reel mowers, users say the StaySharp is easy to manage. It's "not as tough as your grandpa's old reel mower," says an owner at HomeDepot.com.
Of course, it does require some effort to push the mower, but most owners say they appreciate the aerobic exercise it offers. Carol Michel, horticulturist and author of MayDreamsGardens.com, writes the StaySharp "took just a little more 'oomph' than the self-propelled mower, but was easier to push than an old spare bottom-of-the-line gas powered mower that I also have."
The handle adjusts to different heights, and users find the padded grip is comfortable and steers the reel mower well. The handle folds for storage. A one-touch lever adjusts the cutting height from 1 to 4 inches. Because it cuts higher than many other reel mowers, owners say it can easily cut tall grass with just one pass. Finally, the StaySharp is protected with a three-year limited warranty.
Safer than gas and electric. With no motor or engine powering the blades, the reel stops spinning when the mower stops moving forward. This also makes it nearly impossible to catch your fingers in moving blades when removing caught debris. Additionally, reel mowers like the StaySharp are not prone to ejecting rocks and debris while mowing, leaving several users comfortable enough to mow near pets and children. Several owners say the StaySharp is safe and stable enough even for their children to use, though Fiskars only recommends use by kids older than 12.
Cut any time of day. With no motor or engine, this is the quietest type of lawn mower to use. Many owners say they are free to mow any time of day (or night) without disturbing the neighbors. The StaySharp Max 6201 is exceptionally quiet because the blades don't touch each other during mowing, creating only a whirring noise as it moves. With zero noise, some users even call mowing their lawn "relaxing." No hearing protection is required while mowing with a StaySharp Max.
Editors at ConsumerReports.org don't include reel mowers in their most recent lawn mower report, but do test a variety of low-emission and zero-emission mowers in 2010. They include the Fiskars StaySharp Max 6201 under its old name: Fiskars Momentum 317736. Two other reel mowers are included in their analysis.
Review: Lawn Mowers & Tractors, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not dated
The StaySharp Max has an average 4.2-star rating at Amazon.com, with about 530 reviews. Most say it works but caution others not to confuse it with the effectiveness of a gas mower. Some owners aren't as satisfied with its performance, saying it can leave behind uncut grass and weeds, while others contend this is to be expected.
Review: Fiskars 6201 18-Inch StaySharp Max Push Reel Lawn Mower, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of June 2013
Together, about 200 owners give the Fiskars StaySharp Max 6201 mower a good overall rating, with about 85 percent saying they'd recommend it to a friend. The StaySharp receives compliments for being quiet and easy to use.
Review: Fiskars 18-in Reel Lawn Mower, Contributors to Lowes.com, As of June 2013
More than 140 owners rate and review the Fiskars StaySharp Max 6201 here, leaving more comments than any other reel mower HomeDepot.com carries. Owners note it's a bit of a workout to use and it leaves behind uncut weeds and thick grass stalks. Overall this manual reel mower receives a 4.4-star score and almost 90 percent say they recommend it.
Review: Fiskars StaySharp Max 18 in. Push Reel Lawn Mower (6201), Contributors to HomeDepot.com, As of June 2013
In a summary of their 2010 report on lawn mowers, the editors of ConsumerReports.org discuss results from testing three reel mowers: Easun NaturCut Classic, Fiskars Momentum 317736, and Scotts 2000-20. The Fiskars Momentum is the same mower as the StaySharp Max 6201. They say reel mowers only have fair cutting performance in comparison to a top-quality self-propelled gas mower, but many of the 20 user comments disagree.
Review: Inside Consumer Reports Test Labs: Review of Easun NaturCut Classic, Fiskars Momentum 317736, and Scotts 2000-20 Reel Mowers, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, March 8, 2010
Editors don't mention testing the Fiskars Momentum (the previous name for the StaySharp Max 6201) in this free article, but they do talk about its perks and features. Additionally, more than two-dozen owners comment on the Fiskars. Several say it works better than a Scotts reel mower, and few have any issues pushing the mower or complaints on its cut performance.
Review: Product Preview: Fiskars Momentum Reel Mower, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Feb. 18, 2010
This site, owned by ConsumerReports.org, praises the Fiskars Momentum (same as the current StaySharp Max 6201) as a good choice for small lawns. It also notes the cutting quality doesn't equal that of a good gas or electric mower.
Review: Lawn Mowers That Save Energy 8/10, Editors of GreenerChoices.org, August 2010
Here, a handful of owners give detailed but Not dated reviews on the Fiskars Momentum, which is the same as the StaySharp Max 6201. The mower receives a 5-star average rating.
Review: Fiskars Momentum Reel Lawn Mower, Contributors to CleanAirGardening.com, As of June 2013
On his blog Todd Heft talks about techniques for organic gardening and gives tips for other environmentally friendly lawn care practices. He reviews the Fiskars StaySharp (calling it the Momentum), but doesn't compare it to other specific models.
Review: Fiskars Momentum Reel Mower Review, Todd Heft, May 2, 2010
Less than 10 users have reviewed the Fiskars StaySharp Max 6201 (called the Momentum here) at AceHardware.com. Most are pleased with its performance, saying it's easy to push, has a comfortable handle and can change cutting height quickly with the one-touch lever.
Review: Fiskars(R) 18in Momentum Reel Mower (62016935), Contributors to AceHardware.com, As of June 2013
Editors give the Fiskars reel mower one of their 2010 Green Design Awards, praising this mower's innovations. They don't mention any comparisons or say if the product underwent hands-on testing.
Review: 14 Best New Technologies For Greener Homes, Harry Sawyers, April 6, 2010
In this older review, horticulturist and garden writer Carol Michel gives a follow-up review of the Fiskars Momentum (the previous name of the StaySharp Max 6201). "I thoroughly enjoyed using it," says Michel, who reports the Fiskars is easy enough to maneuver with one hand, exceptionally quiet and offers good cut settings.
Review: Fiskars(R) Momentum(TM) Reel Mower Review: Part 1, Carol Michel, Nov. 27, 2009