Top Reel Mowers

A couple of generations ago everyone used reel mowers, but these days most people seem to prefer a rotary gas powered mower.

But, reel mowers, much like wet shaving, are making a resurgence.  Some people are realizing that the quickest way of doing things is not always the best for us, and the things around us.

What Is a Reel Mower?

A reel mower, or push lawn mower is what was used to cut grass before gas powered mowers became popular.  The mower consists of a cylinder made up of blades in a corkscrew type arrangement that spins whenever the mowers wheels rotate.  This means that when the mower is pushed across the grass the cylinder will rotate trapping the grass between the rotating blade and a fixed blade on the mower, cutting it like a pair of scissors rather than tearing the top of the grass using a high speed blade like you would with a gas lawn mower.

Comparison of grass cut with a reel mower and grass cut with a gas rotary mower.

Comparison of grass cut with a reel mower and grass cut with a gas rotary mower.

 What are the Advantages of a Reel Mower?

  • It is better for the grass – As the grass is actually cut rather than torn the grass becomes healthier as there is less damaged area to be attacked by insects and disease.
  • It is better for the environment – Although the engine on a gas powered mower may be small, it actually put out more pollution than the average family car.
  • It is better for your health – Not only are you not having to breathe in the fumes from the gas mower, or have your hearing assaulted by the sound of that engine, you also get better exercise from pushing the mower around your yard.
  • It is better for your neighbors – They will not have to listen to the sound of the engine, and they will get to enjoy a much healthier lawn.
  • It is better for your pocket – A good reel mower costs about the same as an average gas powered mower, but will last longer, need fewer parts, and will not use any gas.

Top 5 Reel Mowers

These are our picks for the top reel mowers available today:

Model Price Width Rating Comments
Fiskars 18 Inch Staysharp Max Reel Mower (6201) $200 18 inches 4/5 Has an improved gearing system to make it more efficient that other reel mowers, and features a blade that only needs to be sharpened every 5 years.
Scotts 2000-20 20-Inch Classic Push Reel Lawn Mower $110 20 inches 4/5 A great first reel mower that will not break the bank, has plenty of adjustments and a 2 year warranty.
Great States 815-18 18-Inch Deluxe Push Reel Lawn Mower $100 18 inches 4.5/5 Very similar to the Scott’s mower above, but not as wide a cut, more people seem to like this than the Scott’s, but it can be harder to find.
GreenWorks 25052 16-Inch Reel Lawn Mower with Grass Catcher $90 16 inches 3.5/5 The cheapest of our recommendations, and comes with a grass catcher, but is only 16 inches wide and only has a small range of height adjustments.
Great States 415-16 16-Inch Reel Mower $100 16 inches 4.5/5 The little brother of the 815-18 above, narrower cut width, but a little easier to find.

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