5 Reasons to Switch to a Reel Mower Vs. a Gas Mower (or Electric). Push reel mower with roller

Reel Mowers

Redefine the way you care for your lawn with the world’s most advanced reel lawn mowers – no gas, no cords, no annual blade sharpening. Fiskars Reel Mowers promote healthier lawns by cutting each blade of grass cleanly – as if with a pair of scissors. While gasoline and electric mowers tear through grass blades, leaving them more susceptible to drying and disease, push reel lawn mowers remove your exposure to exhaust gases, noise pollution and more, providing many benefits to your health, as well as the environment.

What Are Reel Mowers Used For?

Fiskars Reel Mowers are an eco-friendly way to keep your lawn greener and healthier, all season long.

Our StaySharp Reel Mowers offer a cleaner cut without the hassles of gas, oil, batteries, electrical cords or loud engine noise. These mowers feature three amazing technologies that deliver more cutting power, convenient, one-touch cut height adjustment, and the ability to reduce wear on blades for long-lasting performance, as well as superior ergonomics for a push reel mower that is 30-60% easier to push than other reel lawn mowers.

Accessories include a grass catcher that can be hooked onto the front of our push reel lawn mower to capture grass clippings as you mow, as well as a blade sharpening kit. for restoring your reel mower blades to like-new condition after several years of heavy use.

Push Reel Mowers are Cheaper than Gas Powered or Electric

Push reel mowers range in price from 80 to 200. Most are below 125. Gas powered mowers are generally 200 and some of the more advanced push models can be as pricey as 500. Electric range from 300 to 700 for self-propelled versions.

But initial price is not where the costs end. With gasoline, over 4 a gallon, you can expect to pay a significant amount every year for fuel. You will also have to pay for oil to change the oil (and learn how to do that). With electric, you obviously have to pay for electricity and for replacement batteries at some point.

Not only that, but neither gas-powered or electric mowers will last as long as reel mowers. Push reel are cheap due to their simplicity. A lot can go wrong with a gas-powered mower or electric mower – and the motors will eventually die (you will too, but then you won’t need a mower, will you?). The only maintenance cost with a push reel is sharpening it every few years, which you can often times do at home very easily with a 25 kit. There is not much that can go wrong with a reel mower.

Push Reel Mowers are MUCH Environmentally Friendly

Think of the positive environmental impact that would result in everyone driving a bike to and from work vs. driving a Hummer. Everyone switching from a gas-powered mower to a push reel would have no less of an impact.

According to one study, one hour of gas-powered lawn mower use can produce as much pollution as a 300 mile car trip. Have you ever smelled your clothes after a lawn-mowing session? Lawn mowers don’t have the same strict pollution controls in place as automobiles.

On top of that, the EPA has estimated that 17 million gallons of fuel are spilled each year while refueling lawn equipment. That’s more than all the oil spilled by the Exxon Valdez. Not only does this result in groundwater contamination, but spilled fuel evaporates into the air and volatile organic compounds produce smog-forming ozone when combined with heat and sunlight.

Anyone who has ever used a gas mower knows that you come away from using it smelling like gas fumes for the rest of the day. Those fumes are going right in your lungs.

Reel Mowers Require Less Maintenance than a Gas Mower

I alluded to maintenance with price, but there’s also a time saving component that goes into it. No driving to the gas station and back when you run out of gas. No oil changes, and no spark plug changing. You may have to sharpen the blades every few years with a push reel, but you have to sharpen or change blades on gas mowers as well.

Push reel mowers are simpler and easier to maintain.

They also fit in a garage or shed much more easily than a gas or electric powered mower.

Reel Mowers Offer Peace and Quiet

With a push reel mower you can mow whenever you want without disturbing the neighbors. That includes morning or night when it’s typically cooler and healthier for you and the grass.

You can hear birds singing and neighbors when they walk by to say hi. And you don’t feel like that tingling in your arms like they have just been working a jackhammer.

Using a push reel mower is a pleasant and calming experience. Just what outdoor gardening should be.

The Cool Factor

There is not a neighbor that has walked by my house who uses a gas-powered mower that doesn’t stop to ask me questions with curiosity. First, they notice how well the mower cuts. Then they appreciate how quiet and peaceful the experience looks in comparison to a gas mower experience. Then they realize how much healthier it is for them and their lawn.

Somewhere along the way, Americans were convinced that gas-powered mowers were superior to push reel. Maybe they were at one point. But push reel mowers are a lot more advanced these days. It only takes a few trendsetters in a neighborhood to make the whole neighborhood realize it – cutting down the air, ground, and noise pollution for everyone. Why not be the trendsetter?

Are Reel Mowers Really Worth It? Learn Pros, Cons, Cost, and

If you have a small yard to mow and would prefer not to use a bulky, gas-guzzling mower to get the job done, a reel lawn mower might be the better option. These old-fashioned push mowers are quiet and easy to operate, and they produce zero emissions.

They also provide a clean, precise cut, which is better for the overall health of your lawn and grass. Read on to find out more about the benefits of a reel mower.

What Is a Reel Lawn Mower?

A reel lawn mower essentially snips your grass like a pair of scissors would. It doesn’t have a built-in power source; by pushing it, you cause the blades to spin. (Most push reel mowers are manual, although you can also find gas- or battery-powered ones.) Compact, quiet, and easy to maneuver, this type of mower is best for those with small lawns.

Most reel mowers have a long handle and two wheels on a single axle, with either four, five, or seven blades (keep in mind that more blades lead to a cleaner cut). They use these blades to pull grass into the mower so that the cutter bar can snip it. The blades spin vertically, rather than horizontally, using a scissoring action that cleanly slices grass.

The average cost for a new lawn mower is between 80 and 3,200, depending on its type and special features

What Are the Pros and Cons of a Reel Mower?

There are a few key pros and cons to consider when trying to decide if a reel mower is right for you. The biggest advantage of a reel mower is that it provides a cleaner cut, but if you have a massive yard, it might not make sense to use a push mower.

Carefully weigh the following pros and cons before making your decision:


There’s no denying the benefits of a reel mower. Most notably, reel mowers are better for your lawn’s health. They provide a clean, scissor-like cut, which helps your grass heal faster (and also makes for a tidier look).

In comparison, power rotary mowers rip and shred your grass, which can leave your lawn vulnerable to insect attacks and disease.

Reel mowers are also quiet in operation, resulting in a more peaceful user experience. They produce zero emissions, so they don’t degrade air quality like gas-powered mowers do. And, they’re easy to operate, easy to maintain, and affordable.


However, if your grass is too tall and/or dense before mowing, it’ll likely be impossible to cut it with a manual reel mower. In this case, a reel mower will just push the grass down and ineffectively roll over it.

You’ll also need to clean up any debris (twigs, leaves, etc.) from your yard before mowing since reel mowers can’t go over anything that’s not grass. In addition, since most reel mowers are manual, they do require some physical effort to operate, which might not be everyone’s cup of tea.

How Should I Care for My Reel Mower?

It’s important to know what goes into caring for and maintaining your mower, whether you’re focused on regular upkeep or trying to decide whether you should repair or replace your mower altogether.

Luckily, reel mowers require very little maintenance, especially when compared to gas mowers, which require regular upkeep in the form of oil changes, tune-ups, and more.

To ensure your push reel mower stays in tip-top shape, you should lubricate and sharpen the blades every two to three years. And of course, don’t forget to clean off your mower each time you use it. Just hose off all the grass clippings and let it dry.

A little mower maintenance will keep your grass green, short, and healthy

Is a Reel Mower Worth the Price?

Reel mowers generally range in price from 80 to 200, which is more affordable than other types of mowers. You also don’t have to pay for oil or gas like you do with gas-powered mowers.

Considering the many benefits of a reel lawn mower, if you have a small lawn and don’t mind the physical act of pushing your mower around the yard, a reel mower is very much worth the price.

That said, if you have a super-spacious lawn, it may not be worth it to purchase a reel mower since this type of mower is designed for small, flat lawns. Also, you have to put more time and effort into cutting your grass than you would with a gas-powered mower.

If you don’t have a ton of extra time to devote to your lawn, a reel mower might not be worth the price—in which case, you may want to hire a local landscaping company to take care of your lawn, so you don’t have to worry about it.

Great States 18 In. Push Reel Lawn Mower

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Great States 18 In. Push Reel Lawn Mower

18 In. mower has a 5 blade, 4 spider ball bearing reel. Tempered alloy steel reel and bed knife blade. Steel side plates and 2 In. welded shrub bar assembly. 1/2 In. to 2-3/4 In. cutting height with adjustable 2-section roller. Cast-iron roller brackets with wing nut adjustments. Wheel height adjustable in 3 positions. 10 In. radial tread tires with composite wheels and 2-3/4 In. molded hubcaps. Chrome-plated loop handle and full length foam grip.

Lawn mower

A typical modern gasoline/petrol powered rotary “push mower” which has self-powered cutting blades but still requires human power to move it across the ground and guide it. Mowers of the type displayed usually vary in width from 20 to 24 inches (51 to 61 cm).

A lawn mower (also known as a mower, grass cutter or lawnmower) is a device utilizing one or more revolving blades (or a reel) to cut a grass surface to an even height. The height of the cut grass may be fixed by the design of the mower, but generally is adjustable by the operator, typically by a single master lever, or by a lever or nut and bolt on each of the machine’s wheels. The blades may be powered by manual force, with wheels mechanically connected to the cutting blades so that when the mower is pushed forward, the blades spin or the machine may have a battery-powered or plug-in electric motor. The most common self-contained power source for lawn mowers is a small (typically one cylinder) internal combustion engine. Smaller mowers often lack any form of propulsion, requiring human power to move over a surface; “walk-behind” mowers are self-propelled, requiring a human only to walk behind and guide them. Larger lawn mowers are usually either self-propelled “walk-behind” types or more often, are “ride-on” mowers, equipped so the operator can ride on the mower and control it. A robotic lawn mower (“lawn-mowing bot”, “mowbot”, etc.) is designed to operate either entirely on its own or less commonly by an operator by remote control.

Two main styles of blades are used in lawn mowers. Lawn mowers employing a single blade that rotates about a single vertical axis are known as rotary mowers, while those employing a cutting bar and multiple blade assembly that rotates about a single horizontal axis are known as cylinder or reel mowers (although in some versions, the cutting bar is the only blade, and the rotating assembly consists of flat metal pieces which force the blades of grass against the sharp cutting bar).

There are several types of mowers, each suited to a particular scale and purpose. The smallest types, non-powered push mowers, are suitable for small residential lawns and gardens. Electrical or piston engine-powered push-mowers are used for larger residential lawns (although there is some overlap). Riding mowers, which sometimes resemble small tractors, are larger than push mowers and are suitable for large lawns, although commercial riding lawn mowers (such as zero-turn mowers) can be “stand-on” types, and often bear little resemblance to residential lawn tractors, being designed to mow large areas at high speed in the shortest time possible. The largest multi-gang (multi-blade) mowers are mounted on tractors and are designed for large expanses of grass such as golf courses and municipal parks, although they are ill-suited for complex terrain.

History [ edit ]

Invention [ edit ]

The lawn mower was invented in 1830 by Edwin Beard Budding of Stroud, Gloucestershire, England. [1] Budding’s mower was designed primarily to cut the grass on sports grounds and extensive gardens, as a superior alternative to the scythe, and was granted a British patent on August 31, 1830. [2]

An early cylinder (reel) mower, showing a fixed cutting blade in front of the rear roller and wheel-driven rotary blades

Budding’s first machine was 19 inches (480 mm) wide with a frame made of wrought iron. The mower was pushed from behind. Cast-iron gear wheels transmitted power from the rear roller to the cutting cylinder, allowing the rear roller to drive the knives on the cutting cylinder; the ratio was 16:1. Another roller placed between the cutting cylinder and the main or land roller could be raised or lowered to alter the height of cut. The grass clippings were hurled forward into a tray-like box. It was soon realized, however, that an extra handle was needed in front to help pull the machine along. Overall, these machines were remarkably similar to modern mowers. [3]

Two of the earliest Budding machines sold went to Regent’s Park Zoological Gardens in London and the Oxford colleges. [4] In an agreement between John Ferrabee and Edwin Budding dated May 18, 1830, Ferrabee paid the costs of enlarging the small blades, obtained letters of patent and acquired rights to manufacture, sell and license other manufacturers in the production of lawn mowers. Without patent, [ clarification needed ] Budding and Ferrabee were shrewd enough to allow other companies to build copies of their mower under licence, the most successful of these being Ransomes of Ipswich, which began making mowers as early as 1832. [3]

His machine was the catalyst for the preparation of modern-style sporting ovals, playing fields (pitches), grass courts, etc. This led to the codification of modern rules for many sports, including for football, lawn bowls, lawn tennis and others. [5]

Further improvements [ edit ]

Manufacture of lawn mowers took off in the 1860s. By 1862, Ferrabee’s company was making eight models in various roller sizes. He manufactured over 5000 machines until production ceased in 1863. The first grass boxes were flat trays but took their present shape in the 1860s. James Sumner of Lancashire patented the first steam-powered lawn mower in 1893. His machine burned petrol and/or paraffin (kerosene) as fuel. These were heavy machines that took several hours to warm up to operating pressure. After numerous advances, these machines were sold by the Stott Fertilizer and Insecticide Company of Manchester and Sumner. The company they both controlled was called the Leyland Steam Motor Company.

Around 1900, one of the best known English machines was the Ransomes’ Automaton, available in chain- or gear-driven models. Numerous manufacturers entered the field with petrol (gasoline) engine-powered mowers after the start of the 20th century. The first was produced by Ransomes in 1902. JP Engineering of Leicester, founded after World War I, produced a range of very popular chain-driven mowers. About this time, an operator could ride behind animals that pulled the large machines. These were the first riding mowers.

The first United States patent for a reel lawn mower was granted to Amariah Hills on January 12, 1868. [6] In 1870, Elwood McGuire of Richmond, Indiana designed a human-pushed lawn mower, which was very lightweight and a commercial success. John Burr patented an improved rotary-blade lawn mower in 1899, with the wheel placement altered for better performance. Amariah Hills went on to found the Archimedean Lawn Mower Co. in 1871.

In the United States, gasoline-powered lawn mowers were first manufactured in 1914 by Ideal Power Mower Co. of Lansing, Michigan, based on a patent by Ransom E. Olds. Ideal Power Mower also introduced the world’s first self-propelled, riding lawn tractor in 1922, known as the “Triplex”. [7] [8] The roller-drive lawn mower has changed very little since around 1930. Gang mowers, those with multiple sets of blades to cut a wider swath, were built in the United States in 1919 by the Worthington Mower Company.

Atco Ltd and the first motor mower [ edit ]

In the 1920s one of the most successful companies to emerge during this period was Atco, at that time a brand name of Charles H Pugh Ltd. The Atco ‘Standard’ motor mower, launched in 1921 was an immediate success. Just 900 of the 22-inch-cut machines were made in 1921, each costing £75. Within five years, annual production had accelerated to tens of thousands. were reduced and a range of sizes were available, making the Standard the first truly mass-produced engine-powered mower.

Rotary mowers [ edit ]

Rotary mowers were not developed until engines were small enough and powerful enough to run the blades at sufficient speed. Many people experimented with rotary blade mowers in the late 1920s and early 1930s, and Power Specialties Ltd. introduced a gasoline-powered rotary mower. Kut Kwick replaced the saw blade of the “Pulp Saw” with a double-edged blade and a cutter deck, converting the “Pulp Saw” into the first ever out-front rotary mower. [9] One company that produced rotary mowers commercially was the Australian Victa company, starting in 1952. Its mowers were lighter and easier to use than similar ones that had come before. The first Victa mowers were made at Mortlake, an inner suburb of Sydney, by local resident Mervyn Victor Richardson. He made his first model out of scrap in his garage. The first Victa mowers were then manufactured, going on sale on 20 September 1952. The new company, Victa Mowers Pty Ltd, was incorporated on 13 February 1953. The venture was so successful that by 1958 the company moved to much larger premises in Parramatta Road, Concord, and then to Milperra, by which time the mower incorporated an engine, designed and manufactured by Victa, which was specially designed for mowing, rather than employing a general-purpose engine bought from outside suppliers. [10] Two Victa mowers, from 1958 and 1968 respectively, are held in the collection of the National Museum of Australia. [11] The Victa mower is regarded as something of an Australian icon, appearing en masse, in simulated form, at the opening of the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000. [12] The hover mower, first introduced by Flymo in 1964, is a form of rotary mower using an air cushion on the hovercraft principle.

Types [ edit ]

Cylinder or reel mowers [ edit ]

A cylinder mower or reel mower carries a fixed, horizontal cutting blade at the desired height of cut. Over this is a fast-spinning reel of blades which force the grass past the cutting bar. Each blade in the blade cylinder forms a helix around the reel axis, and the set of spinning blades describes a cylinder. Of all the mowers, a properly adjusted cylinder mower makes the cleanest cut of the grass, [13] and this allows the grass to heal more quickly. The cut of a well-adjusted cylinder mower is straight and definite, as if cut with a pair of scissors. This clean cut promotes healthier, thicker and more resilient lawn growth that is more resistant to disease, weeds and parasites. Lawn cut with a cylinder mower is less likely to result in yellow, white or brown discolouration as a result of leaf shredding. While the cutting action is often likened to that of scissors, it is not necessary for the blades of the spinning cylinder to contact the horizontal cutting bar. [13] If the gap between the blades is less than the thickness of the grass blades, a clean cut can still be made. If more, however, the grass will slip through. Reel mowers also have more difficulty mowing over uneven terrain. There are many variants of the cylinder mower. Push mowers have no engine and are usually used on smaller lawn areas where access is a problem, where noise pollution is undesirable and where air pollution is unwanted. As the mower is pushed along, the wheels drive gears which rapidly spin the reel. Typical cutting widths are 10 to 16 inches (250 to 410 mm). Advances in materials and engineering have resulted in these mowers being very light and easy to operate and manoeuvre compared with their predecessors while still giving all the cutting advantages of professional cylinder mowers. Their distinct environmental benefits, both in noise and air pollution, are also strong selling points, something not lost on many international zoos, animal sanctuaries and exclusive hotel groups. The basic push mower mechanism is also used in gangs towed behind a tractor. The individual mowers are arranged in a “v” behind the tractor with each mower’s track slightly overlapping that of the mower in front of it. Gang mowers are used over large areas of turf such as sports fields or parks. A gasoline engine or electric motor can be added to a cylinder mower to power the cylinder, the wheels, the roller, or any combination of these. A typical arrangement on electric powered machines for residential lawns is for the motor to power the cylinder while the operator pushes the mower along. The electric models can be corded or cordless. On petrol machines the engine drives both the cylinder and the rear roller. Some variants have only three blades in a reel spinning at great speed, and these models are able to cut grass which has grown too long for ordinary push mowers. [13] One type of reel mower, now largely obsolete, was a powered version of the traditional side-wheel push mower, which was used on residential lawns. An internal combustion engine sat atop the reel housing and drove the wheels, usually through a belt. The wheels in turn drove the reel, as in the push mower.

Professional ride-on mower with 4 raisable reels, clearly showing the cylinders of helical blades and the bed knives

  • Blade reel/cylinder: Consists of numerous (3 to 7) helical blades that are attached to a rotating shaft. The blades rotate, creating a scissor-like cutting motion against the bed knife.
  • Bed knife: The stationary cutting mechanism of a cylinder/reel mower. This is a fixed horizontal blade that is mounted to the frame of the mower.
  • Body frame: The main structural frame of the mower onto which the other parts of the mower are mounted.
  • Wheels: Help propel the mower in action. Generally, reel mowers have two wheels.
  • Push handle: The “power source” of a manually operated reel mower. This is a sturdy T-shaped, rectangular, or trapezoidal handle that is connected to the frame, wheels and blade chamber.
  • Motor: The power source of a reel mower that is powered by gasoline or electricity.

Rotary mowers [ edit ]

A rotary mower rotates about a vertical axis with the blade spinning at high speed relying on impact to cut the grass. This tends to result in a rougher cut and bruises and shreds the grass leaf resulting in discolouration of the leaf ends as the shredded portion dies. This is particularly prevalent if the blades become clogged or blunt. Most rotary mowers need to be set a little higher than cylinder equivalents to avoid scalping and gouging of slightly uneven lawns, although some modern rotaries are fitted with a rear roller to provide a more formal striped cut. These machines will also tend to cut lower (13 mm) than a standard four-wheeled rotary.

  • Cutter deck housing: Houses the blade and the drive system of the mower. It is shaped to effectively eject the grass clippings from the mower.
  • Blade mounting and drive system: The blade of a rotary mower is usually mounted directly to the crankshaft of its engine, but it can be propelled by a hydraulic motor or a belt pulley system.
  • Mower blade: A blade that rotates in a horizontal plane (about a vertical axis). Some mowers have multiple blades. The blade features edges that are slightly curved upward to generate a continuous air flow as the blade rotates (as a fan), thus creating a sucking and tearing action.
  • Engine/motor: May be powered by gasoline or electricity.
  • Wheels: Generally four wheels, two front and two rear. Some mowers have a roller in place of the rear wheels.

By energy source [ edit ]

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Reel Lawn Mower Basics Finding the best Reel Push Mower for your needs

The great sense of nostalgia only a push mower can provide.4. Push mowers start every time.3. Small lawns don’t need a power mower to make them look good. 2. Better for the environment. 1. Get a great work out while caring for the lawn!

Pros: Blades really cut the grass (instead of breaking off the grass blades like rotary mowers do), environmentally friendly, great source of exercise, the easiest mower to store in your garage.

Cons: Sharpening costs tend to be higher, mulching is not an option, a certain degree of physical conditioning is needed to get the job done, lawn debris ( twigs) can get caught in the mower blades and cause sudden stops.

Features available: Rear bagging grass catcher ergonomic handles

The Reel Push mower were made for those folks that take their lawns seriously. very seriously! Consider all the golf courses around use a power reel mower to trim the putting greens. Maybe you want your lawn to look as good as a putting green, too.

What makes this mower so unique? The rotating blades of the reel traps the grass, and cleanly shears every blade against the bed knife the same way scissors cuts through paper. This cutting action is much more efficient than a rotary mower, where the grass blades are often “broken off” by the spinning blade under the mower deck. The result is a much more professional looking lawn.

The first truly mechanical mowers were of the reel design, so the idea has been around for more than 100 years. The push mower of the post World War II era was durable, affordable, and a fixture in almost every American home with a lawn. Many of these decades-old machines can still be found in garage sales and in storage sheds, and still perform admirably with a little maintenance.

Although the reel push mower was once an American Standard, it has fallen in popularity. There are few manufactures of these great machines left. Sears remains a great place to find reel push mowers at a good price.

At the heart of any reel push mower is the cutting blades on the reel. As a rule, the more blades on the reel, the more expensive the mower. The range for blade number is 4 to 10. Are more blades always better? Not necessarily. A higher number of cutting blades allows for more grass to be cut as the mower moves forward. The more cutting blades, the faster the mower can move, and still cut the grass properly. blades also translate into smaller areas of grass trapped between the blade and the bed knife as the blade turns. This should provide a more even cut.

This is accomplished by moving the rear roller ( or rear wheels) up or down. As the roller is moved lower, the bed knife is lifted farther off the lawn, cutting the grass higher. Most reel mowers cut as low as one quarter inch, with some models adjustable to 3 inches high. In many wetter parts of the country, a low cut lawn thrives well. For those living in a dryer climate ( like the Rocky Mountain west) the Kentucky Bluegrass prefers to be longer, since a short trimmed lawn will need to be watered much more often to keep its good appearance.

Behind the cutting blades of any reel mower, you will find either a roller or set of wheels. This serves to give the mower balance, and allows an adjustment to set the cutting height.

Traditionally, rollers were used. Stable, simple, and durable, the original rollers were made out of hardwood. The newer designs incorporate a hollow plastic or composite roller, which helps reduce weight. The majority of push mowers continue to use this design.

Some models ( such as the Scotts Classic) have abandoned the roller for a set of small wheels in the back of the mower. On theory, this could allow for better maneuverability, and reduce the weight even further.

A push reel lawn mower is designed to either have slight contact between the rotating cutting blades on the reel, or have no contact.

The ‘no contact’ mowers allow the cutting blades to come within a whisker of the bed knife. This allows the efficient cutting of the grass, while allowing several benefits in the process. The mower may be a little easier to push, since there is reduced blade friction. The mower is generally quieter ( hence the name ‘silent’). The blades generally last longer between sharpenings, since there is no metal to metal contact.

In contrast, ‘contact’ mowers tend to be less expensive, are a little harder to push, and need more frequent sharpening.

Eventually, even the best reel push mower will need some basic maintenance, to include blade sharpening. A reel mower is a complicated thing, in a way. All of those spinning blades that come in contact with the bed knife are a bit intimidating. This is definitely not a job for a hand file or a bench grinder!

The professionals sharpen the reel and the bed knife using a specially designed grinder. The cutting reel is removed from the mower, and each blade is ground to a sharp edge. The design of the grinder ensures each blade has the same amount of metal removed as the other blades on the reel. In this way, a smooth consistent lawn is assured.

Professional sharpening is usually not for the homeowner. There are few shops around in most areas that have the type of equipment needed to get the job done. Cost is also a factor, since sharpening a mower this way is very labor intensive.

There are many sharpening kits designed for the weekend warrior. All have one thing in common. the reel us turned backwards as an abrasive compound is applied to the cutting blades. The dull edge of the blades is gradually removed by the abrasive compound, and the critical spacing between the cutting blades and the bed knife is maintained.

Once the blades are deemed sharp, the abrasive compound is washed off, and the reel is adjusted and oiled if needed. The mower should be ready for several more seasons of trouble free lawn mowing.

Now that the basics of Reel Push mower design have been covered, it is time to find the best reel mower for your needs and budget. The lower priced machines may require more maintenance in the long run, due to cutting blade design.

Reel Mower Guide

So you’re thinking about buying a reel mower, or maybe you’ve already got one. First off, congratulations! You’ve taken the first step toward a better looking yard, a much more enjoyable mowing experience, and cleaner air.

I bought my first reel lawnmower in 1997, when I moved into a rent house in South Carolina that required me to cut the grass myself. I wasn’t about to buy an expensive Toro gas mower for a house that I didn’t even own, so I headed over to a local home improvement store to see what my other options were.

I spotted a couple of different models of reel mowers in the store and was surprised. I didn’t even realize that anyone still made push mowers. The cheapest manual mower model was under 100, so I picked up the box and headed home with it. It took about half an hour to assemble.

I started pushing it around the yard, and I was blown away. The mower not only worked, but it worked pretty well, and it wasn’t even hard to push. “Why don’t more people know about this?” I wondered.

That first one I ever used made quite an impression on me. To borrow a saying of the guy from the Remington Shaver commercials, “I liked it so much, I started my own company!”

Over the years, I’ve sold thousands of reel mowers, as well as other lawn and garden supplies, to people all over the country. As you can imagine, I’ve dealt with just about every reel mower issue that you can think of. I thought it might be helpful to people who are interested in reel mowers to write down some of this knowledge and share it. So here it goes.

Picture the pleasure of using a manual mower. The smell of fresh air, the pleasant mechanical sound of the blades cutting the grass, the feel in your hands of of the handle as you push the lightweight mower around the yard. You’ll feel a sense of satisfaction from getting a bit of exercise while knowing that you didn’t burn any gas, or use any electricity to keep your yard looking neat and trim.

They’re light. 2. They’re quiet. 3. They’re environmentally friendly. 4. They’re better for your grass. (Rotary mowers tear the grass. Reel mowers cut the grass like scissors, leaving a fine spray of cuttings as mulch for your yard.) 5. They’re maintenance free. 6. They’re as easy to push as much heavier motorized mowers. 7. They don’t blow exhaust into your face while you’re mowing.

But wait! Aren’t reel mowers hard to push?

No, they really aren’t. This is one of the biggest misconceptions about reel mowers. In fact, as soon as you tell a friend, a relative or some guy at the hardware store that you want one, they’ll probably say something like, “Don’t get one of those! They’re way too hard to push!”

These people mean well, but the truth is, they probably have never actually used a manual mower at all. Or they used an old beat up 50 pound rusty antique model 40 years ago when they were 10 years old. Hmmm, could this be why they recall that it was difficult?

Modern reel mowers are lighter, better designed, easier to push, and cut better. Take it from me, I know. I’ve sold thousands over the years, and even with a 60 day no-questions money back guarantee, we get a return rate of well under 3 percent. If they’re so hard to push, then why do we get so many testimonial letters from people who love them and so few returns?

There are of course some disadvantages to using a manual reel mower, which I’ll get to later. And they do take some effort to push. They aren’t magical. But honestly, they aren’t any harder to push than an 80 pound gas mower that isn’t self propelled. And since you don’t deal with the loud noise, the vibrations or the dirt, leaves and exhaust that get blown out from a gas mower, it’s a much, much more pleasant experience to mow.

The Myth of the Three Inch Cutting Height

I get emails and phone calls on a weekly basis from people who absolutely insist that they need to keep their grass cut at least three inches high. The fact is, there are only about one or two varieties of grass that actually need to be kept this tall. If your preference is to keep the grass taller, then it’s not going to hurt the lawn. But it isn’t a requirement.

All grass is not the same. If only it were so simple to arbitrarily pick one height that works for all different grass varieties!

Here is a link to a site that lists the cutting ranges for different types of grass. These cutting ranges have been carefully researched by experts, and are recommended by the association of companies that make their living selling sod. Do you think they’d recommend a cutting height that would hurt the product that they sell for a living?

With a hand mower you may always cut to the lowest recommended height. Current higher mowing height recommendations are based on the requirements of the default choice, the rotary power mower (90% of all the mowers in use in the U.S.). Rotary power-mowed lawns must be mowed higher to compensate for the repeated disturbance to the lawn as well as to avoid browning and scalping injury. Mowing heights for reel mowers have been proven over 200 years of worldwide use.

Regularity is the key to effective mowing. The rule of thumb is to reduce the height of the grass by one-fourth to one-third. If you mow to 1.5 inches then at about 2.25 inches it’s time to mow again – usually a week or so.

Strategies for getting your best cut with a manual reel mower

With a manual reel mower, YOU are the engine. Just like your car will stall if you don’t give the engine enough power when you take off, a reel mower will also tend to bind up and skid if you walk at a snail’s pace. The faster you walk, the faster the blade turns. So get moving at a comfortably quick walking pace, and you’ll get the best results.

This means that when you are mowing back and forth across the lawn, slightly overlap the row that you already mowed. This will make the mower a bit easier to push because you’re mowing less grass, and it will also help catch any spots that you might have missed on the last row where there’s a little bit of grass left over.

Experiment with different mowing patterns. Different types of grass and different lawns have different growing patterns, and different types of grains of growth. So the direction in which you mow can make a difference in the quality of the cut. So mess around with it, and see if mowing in one direction versus another gives you a better cut.