If you want to have an easier time laying sod, then it is a good idea to rent a gas powered sod cutter. A manual sod cutter is only slightly better than trying to tear your lawn out with a flat shovel. Newer lawns can come out easier with a manual sod cutter, but lawn that were started from seed, will be much more difficult. When you are using a mechanical sod cutter, it doesn’t really make that much of a difference how old your lawn is or how it was planted, it will come out in the same amount of time.
Typically people have less than 500 ft.² of sod, then I recommend that they use a manual sod cutter. They’re fine on taking out more than 500 ft.², then I recommend that they read one. If they have to buy a sod cutter, they might as well rent one because renting a gas powered sod cutter is probably close to the same cost as buying a manual sod cutter anyways.
Manual sod cutter's are pretty hard to use. It takes some strength and determination in order to do a good job when you're using a manual sod cutter to cut out your lawn.