You can’t judge a book by its cover, but you can judge a house by its lawn! 

Clean, well-trimmed lawns are a pleasure to look at, but sadly, we can’t say the same about achieving them. However, if you’ve got a suitable push lawn mower, you may enjoy the process more than you think.

Choosing the right reel mower for your lawn may not be a piece of cake, but reading our article will put you on the right track.

What’s more satisfying than getting rid of thick grass? Doing it in an eco-friendly fashion, of course!

The Best Reel Mower Right Now

Reel mowers are becoming a necessity in most houses nowadays. They’re eco-friendly, highly efficient, and don’t produce half as much noise as alternatives.

We’ve listed the best reel mowers on the market in this article to keep you updated. Keep reading to find all about them.

1. Best Overall: Fiskars StaySharp Max Reel Mower

If you’re all about maximum performance and efficiency, you’re going to like this Fiskars reel mower. 

The Fiskars StaySharp Max Reel Mower is fully equipped with a StaySharp system that limits contact with the ground, preventing quick wear of the mower blades. 

Moreover, you don’t need to worry about stubborn thick grass because the InertiaDrive reel on this mower works on all types of greens. 

Accidents are quite common among reel mower users; if you’re not careful enough, you may injure your feet. To avoid this kind of injury, manufacturers provided this lawn mowing machine with reversible grass chutes. 

The glass chutes can be set up in different directions-preferably away from your feet.

The Fiskars mower is easily the best reel mower on our list.

Pros

Easy setup

Limited 3-year warranty

Quiet

High-quality cutting deck

Easily maneuvered

Cons

Pricier than other mowers on the list

Acts poorly on bumpy lawns

2. Best Budget: Great States 14-Inch 5-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower

For a manicured lawn and a full pocket, you should opt for the Great States 14-Inch 5-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower. It’s the most cost-efficient mower on the list. 

This American lawn mower is manual; it doesn’t need any oil or gas. It’s also equipped with rubber wheels to allow smooth maneuvering. 

You can adjust the reel mower blades’ height according to your grass. The steel blades inside the cutting deck are made of a high-quality alloy that stays sharp for long periods.

Assembling the Great States push reel mower is toolless and quick, which will be helpful if you’re running low on time.

This machine is ready to cut into thick grass with a 5-blade ball-bearing reel, 14″ cutting width, and 8.5″ composite wheels.

Pros

Tool-less assembly

Adjustable cutting blade height

Cost-efficient

Composite wheel for a smooth mowing

Wide cutting width

Cons

Poor cutting of long grass

The smooth handle grips may slip if you’re not careful

3. Blower Included: GreenWorks Reel Lawn Mower

The GreenWorks 16-Inch Reel Lawn Mower is your solid choice if you want to get the job done quickly and efficiently. 

The wide 16-inch cutting path won’t disappoint for mowing short or tall grass. Additionally, the manual mower is provided with four cutting height adjustments. You can adjust it to the preferred height according to the type of grass you have on your lawn.

This push reel lawn mower is provided with 2″ rear rollers and 10″ front wheels to ensure easy maneuvering. It also comes in a vibrant green color to match your clean lawn.

Moreover, the manual mower comes with a 2-in-1 feature for rear bag capabilities and mulching. The grass catcher will keep your feet clean while mowing. Now, you’ll get to enjoy grass clipping simultaneously with fertilizing your lawn.

Pros

16-inch cutting path for efficient mowing

4 cutting height adjustments

2-in-1 feature for rear bag capabilities & mulching

Easy assembly

Cons

Not very durable

Grass catcher may not stay on

4. Most Basic: Scotts Outdoor Power Tools Reel Lawn Mower

With its 20 inches cutting width and 5-blade, ball-bearing reel, the Scotts Outdoor Power Tools Reel Lawn Mower easily comes in our top choices for a manual mower.

The push reel lawn mower’s handle is ergonomically designed to allow for a comfortable tight grip while grass cutting. Furthermore, it allows for quick-snap cutting height adjustments to help with taller grass.

If you’re worried about back pain, we’ll put your mind at ease! The Scotts reel mower falls in the lightweight category. No useless effort is exerted here. 

Regarding the cutting deck, the blades on this manual lawn mower are made of a heat-treated alloy that stays sharp for as long as you need it.

Pros

20 inches cutting width for efficient grass cutting

Ergonomically cushioned handle

Adjustable cutting height

Easy assembly

Cons

Medium quality wheels can wear easily

The handle may break if you’re not careful

How to Choose a Reel Mower

There are a few factors you should consider when buying a reel mower. We’ve listed them here to keep you on the right track.

How to choose the best reel mower.

Blade Cutting Height

Some push reel lawn mowers are designed to work with grasses of any height; some aren’t.

If you have grass of variable heights on your lawn, you’ll need to purchase a mower with adjustable cutting height. This way, you’ll have the freedom to adjust the blade height according to the length of grass you have.

Manual reel mowers usually come with non-adjustable 1-2 inches cutting height. If this works fine for your lawn, save the money and get a mower with a pre-adjusted blade cutting height.

Swath Width

It’s no secret that lawn mowing is a tiring experience. For less exerted effort, look for mowers with 15-20 inches swath width, so you won’t have hard times pushing the manual mower around.

If you’re willing to put in some effort in exchange for a perfectly trimmed lawn, look for wider cutting widths. Wider swath means you’ll cut more grass with each pass, but the mower will be harder to push around. No pain, no gain here!

Number of Blades

Manual American lawn mowers usually come with 4-7 blades. When you have a mower with more blades, you can cut more grass, thereby getting a better-trimmed lawn. However, more blades mean more effort pushing the mower around.

For average-sized lawns, you can settle on 4 or 5-blade mowers. This will help you have a well-manicured lawn and a healthy back!

Blade Durability 

If you constantly mow your lawn, you may face the issue of dull blades. Blades that are used frequently may lose their sharpness with time and become useless.

In general, any blade you deal with will need to be sharpened after a time of use, but some blades take more time than others to reach a dull condition.

To prevent this issue, look for reel lawn mowers with heat-treated, high-quality blades. Alloy steel blades are the best on the market right now. They take longer to wear and won’t corrode when cutting wet grass. 

Slope

Most American lawn mowers are designed to go over bumpy lawns smoothly, but some aren’t. If you have a leveled smooth lawn, you have more freedom of choice.

This isn’t the case if you have a bumpy lawn, though. You have to choose a push reel mower with adjustable angles to prevent multiple passes on the same area.

On top of that, try to look for a reel lawn mower with high-quality wheels. If you constantly go over bumpy grounds with your mower, your wheels may wear out faster than they should.

Grass Spray

Grass clippings are a headache to deal with after lawn mowing. They’ll most probably cover your feet after the mowing process. 

To take the headache away, you can purchase a reel mower with a grass catcher. It’ll work efficiently to collect the clippings before they hit the ground.

If the reel lawn mower you chose doesn’t come with a bag, you can use a frontal grass spray. The grass will be directed away from your feet while mowing. 

Weight\Easy to Use

If you have a large lawn, you may be tempted to get a heavy lawn mower. This isn’t always ideal. Sure, you’ll be able to mow your lawn faster, but you’ll also be fatigued from pushing the heavyweight around the large area.

Lightweight lawn mowers are much easier to push, and while they won’t be as efficient on bumpy lawns, you won’t sweat much while using them. 

Mostly, manual mowers are easy to use because they don’t require gas or oil, and there are no cords to pull. 

Did you know? Gas mowers used for an hour produce pollution as much as a car that’s been going for 200 miles!

Price

Reel lawn mowers are generally cheaper than gas-powered mowers and electric ones. Most manual mowers will cost you less than $200, and they’ll last a long time. 

Prices differ according to features; high-quality alloy blades and adjustable heights may cost more. You’ll get benefit out of every penny you pay, though.

Maintenance

The most maintenance you’ll need to go through with push lawn mowers is blades’ sharpening. They’re manually powered, so they don’t need oil changes or fuel filling. 

They also don’t need charging, so you won’t face huge electricity bills or wearing out cords.

How often you sharpen your blades will depend on the mower you purchased; heat-treated blades don’t need sharpening as many times as other blades do. 

Reel Lawn Mowers vs. Other Mowers

It’s an ongoing myth among people that eco-friendly choices are less efficient, but is this the case regarding push mowers? Read on to find out why you should opt for a push reel mower instead of gas or rotary mowers!

Reel Mowers vs. Gas Mowers

Cost Efficiency

Manual push mowers are generally cheaper than gas-powered ones. While you can get a manual mower starting from $90, you’ll rarely find a gas mower at under $200. 

Moreover, gas mowers require more maintenance than push mowers, and they constantly require fuel. These are all extra costs that you can avoid if you purchase a manual one. 

With push reel mowers, simplicity is the key to a healthy wallet!

Eco-Friendly

People often overlook that owning a gas mower is as damaging to the environment as owning a car-maybe even more. 

It’s been estimated that using a gas mower for an hour straight causes an emission of unhealthy gases as much as four cars going at an average speed.

Many oil spills occur while fueling the gas mower. You may think this is no big deal, but the fuel releases volatile organic compounds in the air, which may cause pollution when exposed to sunlight.

These accidents are all avoidable if you’re willing to exert a little effort pushing a manual reel mower around. 

Peace & Quiet

If you have a neighbor who owns a gas mower, you’ll know every time they cut their grass. On the other hand, you’ll only see the clean resulting lawn of a neighbor with a push reel mower.

Motors on gas mowers cause a noise that can be disturbing to many, especially if your lawn is large and you take a long time to mow it.

It’s often hard for early birds with gas mowers to mow their lawns early in the morning because they would wake up the neighborhood. If you like freedom of choice of when to cut your grass, get a reel mower!

You’ll only hear a soothing snip-snip sound of cutting grass, and your neighbors will thank you!

Healthy Physique

If you hate to exercise but would like to have healthy sweats every couple of days or so, you’ll love the manual reel mower.

Gas mowers do most of the work on their own as they’re fuelled. On the contrary, push mowers will depend on you to move them around. 

You probably won’t get muscles from lawn mowing, but exerting effort will eventually get you a healthier body.

Reel Mowers vs. Electric Mowers

Small or Large Lawn?

Electric mowers are equipped with long cords, but are they long enough? If you have a large lawn, it’s probable that your rotary lawn mower won’t allow you to go any further.

As a replacement, some people buy power mowers that run on batteries. But here’s the catch; those batteries stay up to 60 mins max. If your lawn requires a longer time, you’ll need to recharge the battery.

Manual American lawn mowers will prevent you from going through this hassle. The only factor you’ll need to consider before lawn mowing is your stamina.

Safety

While electric mowers are more eco-friendly than gas ones, they can still serve as a safety hazard. 

It’s common knowledge that you shouldn’t use electric mowers on wet grounds, so if you live in a rainy area, you’ll have to wait a long time before you can mow your lawn. 

Cords attached to power reel mowers are deemed a tripping hazard. If you have children or pets running around, electric mowers may not be the best idea. 

On the other hand, manual mowers are very safe, and they don’t pose any hazards. They can also be more enjoyable as you’ll feel a sense of achievement with every snip-snip you hear of grass cutting.

Cost Efficiency

While you won’t face the problem of damaging the environment if you own an electric mower, your wallet may not be a fan.

To purchase a cost-efficient electric mower, you’ll need to spend much more than $200. Electric mowers are even more expensive than gas ones. 

On top of that, maintaining a perfectly working electric mower may cost you some money. If your motor or battery needs maintenance, you’re going to spend much more money than you would for sharpening the blades of a manual mower.

Terrain Shape

Bumpy lawns are a headache to deal with and maintain. The grass grows unevenly, making it challenging to mow it properly. As a result, electric mowers may not be the best choice for a bumpy lawn.

The electric mower will need to exert more power when going over a rough area; thus, more battery charge is used up. In a corded electric mower, the cord may not reach these areas if not long enough. 

On the contrary, manual mowers mainly depend on your push to mow. If you push a little harder, they’ll trim the bumpy ground just fine.

Frequently Asked Questions

These are the most common questions that people have.

Do Reel Mowers Cut Better?

The reel mower’s cutting technique is simple. Its blades spin horizontally on a central axis. As you push the mower around, the reel spins, cutting thick grass in the process.

This technique provides a clean cut of grass while allowing the plant to keep its natural moisture, making it more resistant to diseases and insects.

On the other hand, motorized mowers rip grass apart instead of snipping it. This causes grass to eventually become weak and damaged. So, yes, reel mowers do cut better.

How Often Should You Mow With a Reel Mower?

During peak grass growth seasons, you should mow your lawn every five to seven days. Cutting too often will result in weakened grass.

If you like to keep your grass at a specific height, you should follow the ‘one-third rule.’ Simply put, if your lawn cutting height is set to one inch, then you need to mow your lawn before grass height reaches one and a half inches. Therefore, you’ll cut one-third of the grass blade.

How Long Do Reel Mowers Last?

If you use your mower carefully and sharpen the blades regularly, most reel mowers will last for ten years or even more.

They come with a 2-5 years warranty, so you don’t have to worry about replacing them if there’s a faulty part.

Pushing the handle too hard or stubbornly maneuvering the mower can lead to the handle falling apart. Try to be careful if you want to avoid the hassle of replacing the reel mower every few years.

Can a Reel Mower Cut Wet Grass?

Living in a rainy area and keeping a clean lawn is still possible with a reel mower. They work well on wet grass, and they don’t damage the ground as much as motorized mowers do.

For an efficient cutting of wet grass, you need to keep your blades sharp. Also, try not to mow in a regular pattern. Wet ground is mushier; it may become unleveled if you go over it in the same pattern many times.

A wide cutting width will cut more grass each time. So, you won’t have to run the mower repeatedly over the same area.

Did you know? Rain increases chlorophyll production in the grass, which gives it its green color. After mowing in the rain, you’ll notice green stains everywhere!

Can a Reel Mower Cut Tall Grass?

Most manual reel mowers can cut grass up to six inches. If your grass falls under that number, you have nothing to worry about.

Reel mowers with adjustable blade heights will come in handy if you have different grass heights on your lawn.

For maximum efficiency, mow your lawn when the ground is dry and keep your blades sharp.  

Should I Leave Grass Clippings on Lawn?

It’s common knowledge that lawns need to be fertilized for healthier grass. If you’re too busy to buy fertilizer, we’ve got you! 

Leaving the grass clippings on your lawn and letting them decompose will highly benefit your grass. The clippings will release water and nutrients into the soil, leading to thick grass with a healthy look.

Don’t let your grass grow too tall, though. The clippings will take more time to decompose, leading to piles in your lawn.

How Often Should I Sharpen the Blades?

This strongly depends on how often you use the mower. People who use reel mowers frequently have more blades’ sharpening encounters.

You’ll know it’s time to sharpen the blades when you feel like you’re making more effort pushing the reel mower around. You’ll also notice that the grass tips aren’t so neatly cut anymore.

If you have a mower with alloy steel blades, you won’t need to worry about sharpening blades before a couple of years of using them.

Recap

If you want to know our top pick, it’s undoubtedly the Fiskars StaySharp Max reel mower. By buying it, you’ll enjoy: 

  • Efficient grass cutting
  • Easy assembly
  • High-quality blades

If you have a tight budget, head for the Great States mower. You should also look at the GreenWorks one if you’d like a grass catcher.


Photo credit: Gardening Solutions