When it comes to lawn maintenance, a reel mower is still considered as a practical choice. There is no gas engine or battery to prepare to get it run. As long as you have enough patience, a reel mower gets the job done. Environmentally friendly, why not identifying the best reel mower that you can have for your lawn.
Top 5 Best Reel Mowers
Benefits Of A Reel Mower
Nostalgia is a strong factor in explaining the continued popularity of reel mowers. However, there are many other reasons why lawn owners prefer this type over others.
Simple, Safe and Lightweight
A reel mower doesn’t require you to pull any string, store any keys, or prepare any sort of fuel. All you really have to do is to push it. You just have to exert sufficient physical strength. Moreover, the usual weight of this mower just ranges from about 20 pounds to 35 pounds. There is a great deal of safety when using a reel mower. They stop as soon as you stop moving.
Furthermore, the mowing power can’t become too much that rocks and other debris get thrown around your lawn. You can make quick turns without worrying about it tipping over unlike with huge riding lawn mowers. Since it is light, the reel lawn mower can be easily carried for storage after use. The space it will take up in your garage won’t be too much due to the absence of any engines whatsoever. See also the best corded electric lawn mower.
Ease Of Maintenance
Similar to how convenient it is to operate a reel lawn mower, the amount of time you’ll spend for maintenance is effectively reduced. There is no engine or spark plug that needs to be repaired. You don’t have to check for any possible oil or gas leaks. You just have to clean and sharpen the blades from time to time.
Some people might think it’s a bad thing that a reel lawn mower relies on your stamina and strength. However, this can be a good thing since you get to move around and burn some calories. In fact, pushing this type of mower is just as physically intensive as doing some aerobics or playing tennis. Thus, you get the benefit of keeping your lawn well-maintained while getting some exercise.
Affordable And Sensible
Due to its simplicity in both function and performance, a reel mower won’t cost you as much as purchasing a gas-powered or a battery-powered or a corded electric lawn mower. If you have a small lawn, this is a good option. After all, you wouldn’t find great use with a high-powered, high-speed lawn mower if you only have to mow a small area.
Manual mowing with a reel mower produces clean cuts that don’t lead to any sort of ripping or tearing. In addition, the even cuts help the grass blades in keeping moisture while fending off disease. Moreover, the lawn clippings do not clump together due to how the reel mower disperses them. Thus, you have a good source of natural mulch to provide nutrients to your lawn.
Good For The Environment
The absence of an engine of any sort eliminates every likelihood of air pollution. There are no unhealthy, dangerous fumes that will come out during operations. Thus, using a reel mower is beneficial not only for your lawn but also for the environment.
As for the noise, it’s arguably low enough that you can mow the lawn late at night without bothering your neighbors. In addition, you could actually talk to someone on the phone without having any clarity issues. Overall, you wouldn’t need to buy a mask or any form of ear protection while using a reel mower.
How To Use A Reel Mower
Using a reel mower these days is as simple as walking at a steady pace. You only have to go through a section of your lawn once or twice. This is a massive improvement from generations ago when people had to use it in a sawing motion such that they place it back and forth. Now, the sharp blades mean you just have to move forward.
Moreover, you should mower regularly instead of waiting until the grass becomes too tall. You should do it at least once a week. The grass height should not exceed either three inches or four inches. Furthermore, you should only cut down a third of the grass blade each time to prevent any plant shock from occurring.
Another useful method is to overlap your mowing pattern. While this sounds like a waste of energy, this gets rid of any grass that your reel mower might have missed during the first pass. In fact, overlapping is a great solution if your grass ends up being tall.
Factors To Consider Before Buying A Reel Mower
Before you go out and get yourself a reel mower, here are some of the basic aspects that you should take note.
If you are looking for a mower for your landscaping business check out this guide which provides reviews on 10 of best commercial zero-turn mowers for your landscaping business.
Number Of Blades
A reel mower will usually have four to eight blades located on its cylinder. If there are more blades, the reel mower gets an improved cutting power. However, additional blades also affect how easy it is to move the mower because the gears would need to spin more.
So, when do you exactly need many blades? If you have grass types such as St. Augustine grass and Bermuda grass, your reel mower must have at least six blades. These grasses are thick and demand more cutting power. You can still use a mower with four blades, but you’d have to pass through the grass several times to have even cuts.
Cutting Width And Mower Size
The usual cutting width of a reel mower is between 14 inches and 20 inches. When the mower has a wider mouth, it will be able to cut down more grass quickly. For example, your overall mowing time can be reduced by as much as 70 percent if you used a reel mower with a 20-inch mouth width than a model with a 14-inch mouth.
Still, using a reel mower with a relatively wide mouth will require you to exert more physical effort to push or pull it in your lawn. For a mower with a cutting width of 20 inches, it should weigh around 40 pounds. If you are comfortable with handling that weight, you should get a reel mower with a large cutting width.
However, there’s nothing wrong with picking a reel mower with a smaller cutting width. If you are physically better off using a lighter reel mower, you can choose that. While it will take you more time, you won’t have to push and pull hard. A narrow cutting width is also good if you have a small lawn. Otherwise, you should get a reel mower with a long cutting width for a large lawn.
Top 5 Best Reel Mower Reviews
Great States 415-16 Reel Mower
The first reel mower we have has a 16-inch cutting width, which is just right for small and average-sized lawns. A 20-inch variant tends to be on the heavy side while a 14-inch variant can feel too short for some homeowners.
Moreover, the Great States 415-16 Reel Mower has five blades, which should work well for most grass types. All of these blades underwent heat treatment to last long and to generate quality cuts. Specifically, this reel mower has a tempered alloy steel reel and a bed knife blade. These features could make the cuts consistently even.
As for the cutting height, you can quickly change it from half an inch to two and a half inches. To help the reel mower move with ease regardless of the surface, it has 10-inch ball bearing wheels. You even have the option to change the wheel height with the use of three positions.
Maneuvering this variant should not be difficult. To ensure a good grip, the handle had a powder-coated finish that should make it sturdy and resistant to rust. The handle grips are also well-cushioned for sufficient comfort during the cutting operations.
What We Liked
- Lightweight and easy to move around
- High-quality blades that produce even cuts
- Relatively quiet and stable performance
- Assembling takes less than 15 minutes
- Adjustable cutting height and wheel height
What We Didn't Like
- Thick grass like Bermuda grass and St. Augustine grass will usually require more than one pass
- Cutting moist grass might take some time
American Lawn Mower 1415-16 Reel Mower
Similar to the previous reel mower, this one has a 16-inch cutting width to meet the mowing needs of most lawn owners. It is fairly lightweight and poses no problems in taking turns. Another common characteristic is the extremely durable steel side plate to keep the five blades in place at all times.
Also, the tempered alloy steel and the bed knife blade help in providing even cuts. As long as your grasses have a maximum height of four inches, this reel mower should perform well. If there are obstacles such as twigs and branches, the welded shrub bar of the American Lawn Mower 1415-16 Reel Mower can quickly get them out of the way.
Furthermore, this American Lawn reel mower uses 10-inch composite wheels that keep it light yet durable enough. In fact, this reel mower weights just around 32 pounds and assembling it is simple since you only have to attach the cushioned handle.
Moreover, the cutting height can be adjusted from half an inch to 2.25 inches, which makes it just a quarter of an inch shorter than the maximum height allowed for the Great States 415-16 Reel Mower.
What We Liked
- Lightweight and quick assembly
- Welded shrub bar for putting twigs and branches out of the way
- Light yet sturdy 10-inch composite wheels
- Extremely durable steel plate
What We Didn't Like
- Frequently sharpen blades for better experience
- Cushioned handle is not adjustable
Fiskars StaySharp Max Reel Mower
This reel mower from Fiskars utilizes what it calls the InertiaDrive reel that helps in cutting the grass down regardless of its type and thickness. This is made possible by making the blades relatively thick and having a large-diameter cutting reel. If you have dense patches of grass, the InertiaDrive could mow them properly with its doubled cutting power.
Of course, the cutting width also helps in removing even thick grass. Not only is the cutting width 18 inches but the cutting height also goes from a mere inch to four inches. With this cutting width, it’s a good thing to note that the grass chute can be put in various positions. You can put it either on the front or the back.
Also, the Fiskars StaySharp Max Reel Mower has inset wheels that could improve your mowing performance. This essentially extends the thick blades to reach the full 18-inch width. Ideally, this should ensure that there are no grasses at the edges that will be left uncut.
To help it cut fast even with the hefty 18-inch mouth, the StaySharp Max feature employs a chain-drive design. This lessens friction to improve the reel speed. In addition, this means that the blades and the reel do not come into direct contact, which keeps the blades sharp. In turn, you could save time and effort from having to constantly sharpen the blades manually. You can even change the handle height to suit your height.
What We Liked
- Ergonomic handle construction
- Assembly instructions are well-written and assembling only around 30 minutes
- 18-inch cutting width with the StaySharp Max feature
- InertiaDrive for improved cutting power
What We Didn't Like
- Inset wheel design tends to backfire when the edges have slight slopes
- Weeds are not always removed with just one pass
Earthwise 1715-16EW Reel Mower
This time, we have another reel mower with a 16-inch cutting width. The different thing, however, is that the Earthwise 1715-16EW uses seven blades. This should make it readily capable of mowing down dense patches of grass. The blade reels work well against bent grasses such as Zoysia grass, centipedegrass, and St. Augustine grass, among others.
However, Earthwise noted that its seven-blade design isn’t the most efficient in mowing down wet and upright grass types such as bluegrass, ryegrass, and crabgrass. You can change the cutting height from half an inch to two and a half inches. Also, a rugged steel side plate holds the tempered alloy steel reels together.
Similar to the other products, assembling this is pretty fast. Pushing this reel mower could be troublesome for some as it needs to be stopped when there are acorns or twigs. Thus, it’s better to look at your lawn first for any debris before using the Earthwise 1715-16EW. The grass clippings aren’t thrown far away, which makes collecting them easy.
What We Liked
- Works great in mowing bent grasses
- Durable steel side plate for maintaining the position of the reels
- Easy assembly
- Relatively quiet operation
What We Didn't Like
- Requires several passes when mowing upright and wet grasses
- No feature to deal with twigs and branches in its path
Remington RM3100 Reel Push Mower
Lastly, we have another reel mower with a sizable 18-inch cutting width. It uses a 5-blade reel cut with an adjustable cutting height from 0.75 inches to 2.5 inches. There’s a dual lever height adjustment system so you can have a more comfortable handle on the mower. Likewise, the ergonomic handle has sufficient foam cushioning to keep you in control as you push the reel mower.
The 10-inch wheels are quite durable and they have no problems moving on flat terrains and mild slopes. The mowing operation isn’t noisy at all even when you push it fast. As for storage, it has a compact design to minimize the space it takes inside one’s shed.
To make good use of the lawn clippings, the Remington RM3100 Reel Push Mower has a 2-in-1 mulching feature. In other words, the clippings are readily collected to become mulch that will improve the health of the soil. The collection bag is provided by Remington, and you have a two-year limited warranty if there any issues.
What We Liked
- Compact design for easy storage
- Mulching feature for reusing grass clippings
- Foam cushion on the handle provides ample comfort
- Dual level height adjustment feature
What We Didn't Like
- Collection bag cannot be attached securely
- Creates uneven cuts
Best Reel Mower - Winner
Overall, our favorite reel mower is none other than the Great States 415-16 Reel Mower. While some of the entries have an 18-inch mouth, the 16-inch cutting width of this variant makes it useful for small and average-sized lawns. In fact, you can use this for a large-sized lawn if you are willing to exert that much physical effort.
Similarly, the five blades cut evenly on almost all grass types unlike with the seven-blade Earthwise 1715-16EW Reel Mower that is only optimal for cutting bentgrasses. Thus, the Great States 415-16 Reel Mower is a great choice for mowing no matter the grass types you have. In addition, the durability of this reel mower cannot be denied. It has a tempered alloy steel reel, a bed knife blade, sturdy 10-inch ball bearing wheels, and a tough steel side plate.
For comfort, you can adjust not only the cutting height but also the wheel height. The handle is rust-resistant and durable along with its comfortable grip. Finally, it is lightweight, easy to push and pull, and does not take a lot of storage space.
We hope that you learned a lot from our guide on reel mowers. If you have any queries, do give us a comment.
1. How to maintain a reel mower?
- Clean the blades and wheels after using
- You should mow in on a dry day
- Sharpen the blades correctly
2. Is a reel mower superior for all forms of grass?
If you are growing Perennial Rye or Blue Grass, then a rotary mower will do an excellent job with less maintenance. But if you have a more demanding lawn, then a top quality reel mower is worth the investment.
3. What are the cons of a reel mower?
- A Reel mower doesn't like twigs and stones
- Regular maintenance is a must to get the best performance
- It takes longer to use