Greenworks electric reel mower. Greenworks 48V 20-inch Cordless Push Lawn Mower Review

Greenworks 48V 20-inch Cordless Push Lawn Mower Review

Greenworks was formerly the norm to use gas-powered lawn mowers with pull-start motors that required as much effort to get started as internal combustion. In today’s world, there are more possibilities than ever before. There are a few things to think about before purchasing an electric lawn mower if you’re not familiar with them. Electric mowers provide a number of advantages, but they also have a few drawbacks that you should be aware of.

DIY Battery powered electric reel mower (Greenworks 18″ reel mower 20v Max power)

When looking for a new lawn mower, self-propulsion may be one of the characteristics you’re considering. Alternatively, The problem is, you’re not sure whether Greenworks a need or a frivolity. Self-propelled lawn mowers have both advantages and disadvantages that I’ll go over in this post so you can decide whether you want to invest in one or if Greenworks’s just an expensive add-on that doesn’t make much of a difference to your mowing experience. Lawn mowers make your life easier.

Brand Greenworks
Power Source Battery Powered
Item Dimensions (LxWxH) 61.81 x 20.87 x 40.16 inches
Material Alloy Steel
Color Green
Style 2 x 4.0Ah
Item Weight 67.9 pounds
Cutting Width 20 Inches

Why is a Reel Mower Necessary for Your Garden?

Because they are so common, rotary mowers are what most of us image when we think of mowing the grass. There are no engines in reel mowers, although there are in rotary mowers. In the 19th century, Edwin Budding invented a device that uses rotating blades to rake grass. The machine is not self-propelled; instead, Greenworks are driven by humans.

greenworks, electric, reel, mower, 20-inch, cordless

Despite Greenworks dated design, reel mowers have many uses. Reel mowers are preferred by environmentalists over gas-powered rotary mowers. Mowers that use reels make less noise than those that don’t. Reel mowers are safer as the blades stop when you stop pushing. In addition, they’re less expensive to purchase and maintain than gas or electric lawn mowers. Modern models are nimbler than their predecessors because of the use of lightweight polymers and metals.

Disadvantages of reel mowers include: The blades get clogged with twigs and must be manually cleaned out. Raking twigs before mowing adds extra time and work. Using fall reel mowers as leaf-shredders is not possible. Greenworks are critical for homeowners who do not mow often to use a rotary mower since it is better at cutting thick grass.

For small urban homes and energetic persons, reel mowers are the ideal option. If you have a small yard, a reel mower is ideal. Excessive use of gas, oil and noise is not what you would expect from a little town. Rechargeable battery-powered mowers are another alternative for small lawns. This lawnmower has a low maintenance need.

Easy to Use
Gives Better Shape
Machine May Break
Needs Regular Maintenance

Features of Greenworks 48V 20-inch Cordless Push Lawn Mower

1- Easy to Use

Easy to Use ????? 4/5

Greenworks are quite simple to use. The majority of the time, a self-propelled mower will be powered by gas (although battery mowers do offer this feature too). Mowers powered by gas are hefty machines!

When you don’t have the physical strength to push a big mower over a large lawn, Greenworks may be quite a workout. While using a self-propelled mower, you don’t have to lift a finger. As long as you’re careful around corners, you’ll have no problem driving your lawnmower in the proper direction for most of the time.

If you’re worried about the weight of the mower you’re considering, this is a huge help. You won’t have to take a sleep after mowing the grass if you use this technique. It’s simple to move and I can hoist it up the few stairs to our front yard and it takes up very little room in the garage. All the power Greenworks consume comes from your legs and arms moving this machine. I couldn’t even get the old machine up the stairs, so I had to walk around the back and be clever. The little sticker on the side warned that Greenworks may sever my arm in two.

2- Practical

Practical ????? 5/5

Greenworks 48V 17′ Cordless Lawn Mower Review, Easy to setup and use Greenworks mower

Lawn mowers are very practical to use. Greenworks aren’t essential for a tiny lawn. Because reel or electric mowers are more than adequate and considerably lighter, you’re unlikely to use a large, heavy mower in a tiny yard.

Another big benefit of self-propelled push lawn mowers on medium-sized lawns is the time they save. Greenworks take more time and effort to mow a wide area manually than Greenworks do to use a ride-on mower. I’m not exaggerating when I claim that switching to a self-propelled mower has made mowing my lawn at least 30% faster.

When it comes to saving time, I am a bit of a control freak. Therefore, every chance I find to do so is one I should take advantage of. However, mowing a tiny lawn will not save you much time since

a) Greenworks take less time to mow small areas and

b) There are more turns in a smaller yard.

Using a self-propelled lawn mower in large areas will save you the most time. A level lawn is a luxury not enjoyed by others. In many cases, homeowners must contend with slopes, dips, and even hills. Self-propelled lawn mowers are a great option if that describes you.

3- Gives Better Shape

Gives Better Shape ????? 4/5

You may wonder what the self-propel has to do with the cut’s quality and smoothness. In fact, quite a lot. As it turns out, if you get a lawn mower that is a little too heavy for your needs, you’re going to have a difficult time moving it around the grass.

In the beginning, when you’re bursting with vitality, it may not be necessary. When you are tired or are having trouble pushing the mower up a hill, you’re more likely to struggle against its weight, take longer and more pauses, and adjust the pace at which you’re pushing the mower.

A less consistent cut is the outcome of all of this. In a perfect world, you would run the mower over your grass at the same pace on every section. The key to success here is maintaining a high level of consistency in all aspects of your life. Self-propelled mowers can help you achieve this consistency. Greenworks lawn mower don’t matter whether your lawn is half an acre or three acres, level or full of hills and dips, you can operate your mower at the same pace with this. As a result, the finished product will have a more polished look.

4- Emissions of Carbon Dioxide

Emissions of Carbon Dioxide ????? 4.7/5

Regular mowing in the spring, summer, and autumn is critical to the health of a lawn. A dependable lawnmower is the tool of choice for many gardeners who trim their grass as often as once a week. Greenworks are simple to presume that a gas-powered example would be the most appropriate. Electric lawn mowers, on the other hand, are the preferred option for those with some of the most meticulously maintained lawns.

To understand why, Greenworks lawn mower are vital to analyze the pros and drawbacks of each kind of mower. We’ll also go further into the reasons why electric lawn mowers are becoming more popular while gas push lawn mowers are falling out of favor.

Reduced carbon emissions are another perk of using an electric lawnmower. An electric lawnmower is less polluting than a gas-powered one since Greenworks don’t consume any fossil fuels. Greenworks are a little amount of gasoline compared to driving a vehicle or truck on petrol, but as more and more people transition to electric, every little bit helps.

Greenworks do not cause the emission of harmful gases to the environment. In this way, Greenworks protects the environment and nature. It is very important for a more livable environment. In short, it can be said that Greenworks lawn mower are environmentally friendly.

Final Verdict

Every push lawn mower has its advantages and disadvantages. Lawn mowers that operate on their own power are no exception. Certain conditions call for Greenworks lawn mower usage, while others consider Greenworks an unnecessary extravagance. The comparison of a push lawn mower and a self-propelled mower should be done before anybody invests in one. Is one something you should think about getting? Maybe. Mowers powered by electricity provide a number of advantages. They’re quieter than gas versions, and they also don’t produce any harmful pollutants. To top Greenworks all off, there’s no need to adjust spark plugs, oil, or replenish gas tanks with electric lawn equipment.

However, this does not mean that electric mowers are without their problems. As you may anticipate, battery life affects performance. Power reduces when the battery is depleted. Having to stop and recharge the battery halfway through a big yard (at least half an acre) may be source of frustration (or swap in a backup). Keep in mind that mowing slopes depletes the mower’s battery quickly. Ideally, you want a small, level yard.

You may also be interested in:

Greenworks Lawn Mowers Are Great For Clean, Green Gardening

If you want to go green with your gardening, you need to take a look at Greenworks lawn mowers. The Greenworks Tools Company makes eco-friendly mowers and other gardening tools. Every product they manufacture is powered by electricity, not gas. Keeping gardening green and clean is important for a lot of people (maybe you?), and if you can get some gardening job like cutting the grass done in a way that is better for the planet, for you and for your kids, why not go that way?

Our Top Greenworks Lawn Mower Choices

Unfortunately, it is believed that about 90% of homeowners use a gas-powered model. [1]

They argue that electric corded and cordless mowers don’t have near the power of gas lawnmowers. This is sometimes the case. You can spend a lot of money on a traditional mower that has some serious horsepower. Just remember that the more power your gas-powered mower puts out, the more money you are going to spend on fuel to run it.

Along with that high-power engine comes high-power sound. You and your neighbors can expect a lot of deafening noise from a powerful mower that runs on gas. As far as cost is concerned, a lawnmower that runs on gas will cost you between 3 and 3.50 per acre on your fuel bill.

Use an environmentally responsible electric Greenworks lawnmower instead and your cost is going to be somewhere between 0.20 and 1.00 per acre, depending on whether you get a cordless or corded model. (Those estimates were figured in 2019, and take into account average electricity and gas costs across the United States.)

Aside from spending more money (don’t forget you need to change the oil in gas-fueled mowers regularly as well), using a gas-powered lawn mower creates exhaust and pollution that simply doesn’t exist with a Greenworks electric lawnmower. Check out these disturbing stats from the EPA. [2] (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) …

FACT: About 54 million US residents cut their lawns each weekend, and they burn up 800 million gallons of gas when they do.

FACT: Speaking of gas, more than 17 million gallons of fuel (which is mostly gas) are spilled every year in the US just while refueling lawn equipment like lawn mowers. That is 54% more than every drop of oil spilled by the Exxon Valdez in the Gulf of Alaska in 1989. That spill cost 7 billion to clean up, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) estimates that 250,000 birds, 2,800 sea otters and 300 harbor seals lost their lives because of it.

FACT: Lawnmowers and other garden equipment that run on gas put out extremely high levels of volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and other pollutants. This is enough to make up a full 5% of all the air pollution in the United States.

Simply put … gas-powered gardening is harmful to the environment. Mowers running on gas make it difficult for you to create a safe area for your kids to play and for you to host parties or just walk around in your yard.

Are Greenworks Lawnmowers Powerful Enough?

The number one knock on electric lawnmowers and other kinds of gardening tools is that they lack the power of their gas-guzzling counterparts. This is sometimes true. You may not get the same power out of the 40V to 80V cordless and 10 to 13 amp corded Greenworks lawn mowers as you will a gas-powered model with similar features.

Here’s why that probably won’t matter.

The Greenworks company works hard at making lawnmowers and other gardening tools that are friendly to both the environment and your book. The result is that their lawn maintenance products are high quality and very good at their jobs. Whether you decide on a Greenworks cordless mower or a corded model, they have been designed to get the maximum power out of their engines.

The company does not do this at the cost of quality. Purchase any Greenworks electric mower and you receive a 4 year warranty against any and all defects under normal use. What do other electric mower companies offer in the warranty department? The industry standard is 2 years. So you get double the average warranty for a similar machine, because Greenworks lawnmower parts are high-value and low-maintenance.

greenworks, electric, reel, mower, 20-inch, cordless

While we are talking about guarantees, the company also backs their lithium-ion batteries and chargers with a 2-year warranty, and sealed lead acid batteries are protected for 1 year. By the way, those standards are as good as or better than parts warranties offered by other electric lawnmower companies.

According to Greenworks, Up to 55% of U.S. Homes Only Need One Battery Charge to Get the Job Done

Extra batteries

GreenWorks 29472 G-MAX 40V Li-Ion The folks at Greenworks understand you don’t want to spend your time switching out batteries when you’re cutting your yard. That is why most of their machines, like the 40V 20-Inch Dual Port Battery Lawn Mower, have been engineered to use electricity very efficiently.

Take your fully charged battery out of your charger and place it into your mower and odds are you can cut your yard in one go. What happens if you have a bigger yard? What happens if you have been a little lazy (I am guilty of this too) and your grass has grown long and thick? The company sells batteries and chargers individually, and the mower just mentioned comes with a dual port charging unit.

This means you can charge two batteries at the same time.

If you have a large or difficult lawn to mow and your first battery doesn’t get the job done, simply swap it out for the fully charged second battery and you are back in business in a flash.

By the way, I can remember times when I had to stop what I was doing to refill the fuel tank on a gas-powered mower more than once. A lot of those machines have way more horsepower than the job requires, and this means they can quickly go through a tank of gas.

Greenworks lawn mowers sip electricity like they are not thirsty at all, and you don’t have to worry about getting gas on your hands, your clothes or your yard and lawnmower. If you can’t tell, I am a big fan of this company and its gardening products. I enjoy my time in my garden and my yard communing with Mother Nature, but I don’t want my love of the great outdoors to harm the environment. Greenworks electric lawn mowers are eco-friendly, and that allows me to keep my yard beautiful and my grass healthy and lush without nature paying the price.

How Are Greenworks Lawn Mowers Made?

It’s not like this company uses magic material and secret manufacturing processes that other electric mower manufacturers don’t have. A Greenworks lawnmower battery, charger, mower and all the smaller parts and pieces the company uses are similar to those offered by other companies.

What Greenworks does so well is they look at the complaints people have about electric and gas-powered mowers, and they work to answer those complaints. For instance, they stress user-friendly designs. The easier it is for you to operate, handle, store and maintain a Greenworks lawn mower, the more likely you are to buy one.

This means you get a product that is easier to use and lighter than similar mowers. It’s really nice and convenient to just push one button to get the motor going. The battery housing is conveniently located where it is easy to reach. Snapping a battery in and out is not difficult. Once you get your cordless or corded mower going, guess what? The machines are made to be lightweight but durable, which means they are easy to handle.

If you want to take grass cutting comfort to another level, why not purchase a powerful, wide-path product like the Greenworks V60V 21-inch Self-Propelled Brushless Lawnmower? The machine comes with 7 different cutting heights you can change with the simple switch of a single lever, the machine can be stored vertically in your garage to take up less space, it offers an extremely quiet operation, and the self-propelled speed control means you can be pulled around your yard at whatever pace you like.

I don’t know about you, but cutting the grass shouldn’t feel like lifting weights to me! These mowers don’t feel like that.

Where Do the Clippings Go?

Greenworks makes a line of eco-friendly mowers they call their Reel series. The Reel Lawn Mowers they offer come in 16, 18 and 20-inch models. If you remember the old person-powered push mowers of a bygone era, that’s what these mowers are. They have no motor of any kind (unless you count yourself, that is), and cut grass is expelled directly to the rear of the machine.

With these mowers you can decide to attach a bag that collects the clippings, or you can simply let the cut grass fall back onto your lawn as mulch.

With many of the corded or cordless electric Greenworks lawn mowers, you enjoy 3-in-1 discharge. That feature allows you to bag your clippings in the rear of the machine, mulch the cuttings back down into your yard, or discharge cut grass to the side. This versatility is sure to match your personal preference, wherever you decide you want your clippings to go.

Greenworks Lawn Mower Maneuverability Loves a Difficult Yard

You can get machines with wheels as big as 7 or 10 inches. There are different wheel configurations that allow you to place your front and back wheels in different positions and heights so that you can cut even the most difficult yard.

For instance, the G-MAX 40V 19-Inch Cordless Lawn Mower allows you to choose from 7 different cutting heights. This means one machine could cut your yard and several others, and you can easily handle the job if your grass has grown very tall or is relatively short. The wheels on this Greenworks electric lawn mower are 7 inches tall in the front. This is a lot taller than some similar mowers offered by other companies.

The rear wheels are 10 inches in height. If this sounds like that configuration is too high to keep your grass manageable, that is definitely not the case. Those higher wheels allow you to raise your cutting blades if you need to do so for whatever reason. You may have to cut really thick grass that hasn’t been mowed in a while. There may be weeds in that yard, and that could also make the job difficult.

In that situation you can change the height of the mower by moving a single lever, so you can raise the blade to its maximum height. Once you get the yard under control, then you can easily and quickly drop the blade as low as you would like. This quick-change feature of the large wheels coupled with a Smart physical design makes this mower and other Greenworks machines easy to maneuver.

This means no matter how many trees, bushes and other obstacles you have to move around, it is easy to do so.

Greenworks Lawn Mowers Have Smart Engines

These battery-powered or cord-powered mowers have been given what the company calls Smart Cut technology. This is a feature I really like. One of the biggest reasons to choose an electric mower over a gas-powered model is to take care of our planet. This is a practice that puts no exhaust, fumes or pollution into the air. When you cut your yard, you don’t have to worry about gas and oil liquid and fumes getting into the ground or the air you breathe.

Noise pollution is decreased considerably. When you get your hands on an electric corded or cordless mower that is extremely efficient with its fuel source, like the Greenworks models, you use as little electricity as you possibly need. All of these eco-friendly features make this company one I would recommend for your yard cutting duties if you care about the environment and want your family to be safer and healthier when gardening and landscaping.

One of the reasons these nature-loving mowers cost you less on your electric bill than many other products you could buy is because they know how much energy they need to do the job.

A Greenworks lawnmower will automatically increase or decrease the speed of its blade whenever more or less power is required. This is an outstanding feature. It means when you keep your yard trimmed and looking good, you are going to spend less time and money cutting your yard and paying for a battery charge.

But life happens. Sometimes we all let our gardening tasks and landscaping duties get a little out of control. No problem. If that is the case and your grass grows to epic heights, your mower will automatically increase blade speed so that you don’t have to struggle with the task of cutting your yard. In other words, your Greenworks lawn mower actually knows better than you how much power and blade speed is required to cut your lawn!

Final Thoughts on Greenworks Electric Lawn Mowers

Not happy with just reducing air pollution for your living area, the Greenworks products also limit the noise created by their powerful engines. You reduce your carbon footprint, save money, and you don’t have to buy and store any gas and oil.

These mowers are lightweight and maneuver easily. By the way, they don’t break the bank either. I was pleasantly surprised the first time I checked the price on Greenworks lawn mowers. I had read somewhere that going green with my lawn cutting would mean spending more money on a mower, and that is definitely not the case.

By the way, WiseBread figures that operating a gas-powered push mower vs a cordless electric push mower for 10 years is 50% more expensive [3] (gas 725 vs cordless electric 506)! Get a corded Greenworks mower and your 10 year operating cost drops to around 359.

Thanks for taking the time to visit with me. I really believe we can have fun in our gardens and yards while also thinking more about how our activities might be hurting the environment. It is my heartfelt feeling that Greenworks lawn mowers are a Smart and eco-friendly way to cut your yard, and you save some money vs the eco-unfriendly, gas-powered alternative.

The Best Reel Mower for Your (Small) Lawn

We’ve reviewed this guide, added competitors, eliminated older models, and reconfirmed our decisions on our picks.

Reel mowers aren’t for everyone. They’re designed for small, flat lawns, and they take some effort to push around. But they provide exceptional cut quality and a completely unplugged mowing experience, so they offer things no other mower can. We think the best one is the Scotts 2000-20 20-Inch Classic Push Reel Lawn Mower.

For the healthiest grass

The Scotts makes the cleanest cut, has the widest cutting path, and jams the least of any reel mower, and its unusually tall 3-inch max cutting height makes it more versatile for different grass types.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 145.

During initial tests with a golf course grounds crew and in years of follow up use, the Scotts-branded mower has the best cut quality of any of the mowers we’ve tested, and its unusually tall maximum cutting height of 3 inches makes it a versatile choice for different types of lawns and grasses. It has a 20-inch cutting swath—the widest available—and at 34 pounds, it’s light and easy to maneuver. It was also the only mower in the group that didn’t jam during testing.

Good cut, less elegant

This mower cuts almost as well as our main pick and has a taller cutting height, but it’s bulkier (making it harder to turn around) and more expensive.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 250.

If our main pick is sold out or otherwise unavailable, we also really like the Fiskars 18-Inch StaySharp Max Reel Mower. Its a solid mower with a 4-inch cutting height is higher than any other reel mower’s. In testing the Fiskars cut well, but it wasn’t on par with the Scotts and didn’t handle tall grass quite as well. It’s also heavier and bulkier, making it more of a chore to turn around, it also costs more than the Scotts.

For the healthiest grass

The Scotts makes the cleanest cut, has the widest cutting path, and jams the least of any reel mower, and its unusually tall 3-inch max cutting height makes it more versatile for different grass types.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 145.

Good cut, less elegant

This mower cuts almost as well as our main pick and has a taller cutting height, but it’s bulkier (making it harder to turn around) and more expensive.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 250.

Why you should trust us

We spoke with Jason Kruse, assistant professor of environmental horticulture and turfgrass specialist at the University of Florida. As his bio states, Kruse’s responsibilities include “managing the University of Florida turfgrass Envirotron teaching and research facility, planning and implementing turfgrass educational field days and leading the statewide turfgrass teaching design team.” The guy knows a lot about grass.

For testing, we enlisted the aid of the grounds crew of the Diamond Hawk Golf Course in Cheektowaga, New York, a bunch of people who are serious about mowing. While using the mowers, they picked up cut blades to carefully examine how cleanly the mowers cut; they also bent down to compare the color of the turf after each one made a pass, and pushed all the mowers around on various lengths of grass.

Here at Wirecutter, we’ve been covering lawn equipment since 2014. As for the specific topic of grass-cutting implements, we’ve written extensive guides to both lawn mowers and string trimmers in addition to reel mowers.

Since the first version of this guide, we’ve recommended the Scotts as well as the runner-up Fiskars, and we’ve continued to use both models in assorted locations, paying attention to their long-term performance and any ongoing maintenance needed.

Who should get a reel mower

Before getting a reel mower, you should be aware of their pros and cons. Simply put, a reel mower is not a direct replacement for a regular mower.

As one of our long-term testers said, “I love [my reel mower]. It makes mowing feel more like a pleasant way to spend time outside and less like something I need to grit my teeth and power through.” On the other hand, a second long-term tester stated that he regrets purchasing a reel mower and has “frequently considered selling it to get a cheap electric mower.”

Reel mowers are better for the lawn’s health. They snip the grass blades like scissors, while rotary mowers tend to shred grass blades. According to University of Florida assistant professor of environmental horticulture Jason Kruse, “The scissor-cutting action of the reel mowers results in less damage to the leaf tissue, which in turn puts the plants under less stress.” He continued, “They lose less water, are less susceptible to disease, and generally look better when cut with a reel mower.”

Reel mowers are also good for the operator’s health. Because you hand-push the mower and it isn’t motorized, it takes effort to use, especially if you have a large lawn. Keep in mind that the turning wheels are what rotate the blades, which adds to the resistance. So the task is not as simple as, say, pushing an empty furniture dolly, where you’re pushing the wheels and nothing else. According to a article, (which in turn credits Harvard Medical School, among others) a person weighing 175 pounds would burn approximately 251 calories by pushing a reel mower—which the article refers to as a hand mower—for 30 minutes. This is 51 calories more than someone weighing 185 pounds pushing a mower with a powered blade for the same amount of time.

Reel mowers also require minimal maintenance and are much, much quieter than regular mowers. Aside from lubricating and sharpening the blades every few years, you don’t have a lot of upkeep to do on a reel mower. As for the noise, many users of reel mowers cite the gentle snipping sound the tool makes as a key benefit. Gas mowers, on the other hand, require gas, regular tune-ups, oil changes, and winterizing. They’re also noisy and smelly. As one of our long-term testers said, “I love [my reel mower]. It makes mowing feel more like a pleasant way to spend time outside and less like something I need to grit my teeth and power through.”

But for a reel mower to be practical, you need a fairly small lawn. Anyone with more than a quarter acre (roughly 10,000 square feet) will find weekly mowing with a reel mower exhausting. One long-term tester stated that he regrets purchasing a reel mower for the size of his lawn and has “frequently considered selling it to get a cheap electric mower.”. In contrast, another of our long-term testers has approximately 1,000 square feet of lawn, and mowing takes her about 20 minutes.

A reel mower works best with a strict adherence to a regular cutting schedule. If grass gets overgrown, a reel mower will merely push it down and roll right over it, so if you tend to go a while between mowings, you should stick with a regular push mower. One long term tester had to wait so long for the reel mower to arrive that once it got there, the grass had grown so high they needed to hire someone to cut their grass. And the necessary diligence goes beyond the schedule: Reel mowers can’t mow over twigs and leaves as gas mowers can, so additional attentiveness to pre-mow lawn cleanup is required, as well.

Reel mowers are troublesome on sloped or bumpy lawns. The torque that turns the blades comes from the wheels as you roll them along the ground. On an uneven surface, the wheels lose contact with the ground as they bounce or as the weight shifts on a slope. As one of our long-term testers put it, “Small dips can lead to grass getting missed, so I often end up mowing from two or three different angles to try and get it all.”

In fact, the results in general may not be what you expect. One of our long-term testers said that their mower “often totally misses taller strands of grass” and that they “have to go back and snip those with a pair of shears.” Also, on most reel mowers, the blades are inboard of the wheels, so you’ll have a wider gap of unmowed grass against a fence or a stone wall.

How we picked and tested

To figure out how to pick the best reel mower, we spoke to Scott Dunbar, superintendent of Diamond Hawk Golf Course in Cheektowaga, New York. He explained that reel mowers can cut much closer to the ground than rotary mowers. At the golf course, the crew uses reel mowers to cut greens and approaches but uses gas-powered rotary mowers for the rough. But the average homeowner isn’t cutting the lawn for use as a putting green—in fact, cutting your lawn too low is terrible for its health. Turf experts suggest never cutting off more than a third of your grass’s length; cutting too close to the ground can cause the grass to dry out and get scorched in the summer. This means that a mower’s minimum cutting height isn’t a useful measurement, since you’re unlikely to use that setting.

The maximum cutting height was a crucial detail. We used this spec as our primary factor in eliminating mowers from contention. Few reel mowers are able to get above 2½ inches, which may not be good for your lawn. “[Cutting height] is one of the primary complaints I have against the majority of reel mowers that are marketed for home use. Most residential grasses (both cool- and warm-season) have recommended heights of cut that are at the upper limit or even exceed the height of cut that is possible with some of the mowers,” said University of Florida turfgrass specialist Kruse. “While it would be possible to use the mower, the long-term health of the turf could suffer significantly,” he continued.

Other factors were also important:

  • How easy is the mower to adjust?
  • How hard is it to push?
  • How wide is it?
  • How much does it weigh?
  • What have other reviewers said about it?

We took our final four mowers to a golf course. There the grounds crew helped us adjust the blades to the exact same standard they used on their mowers so that the blades could cleanly slice a piece of paper. Over the next three hours, we pushed all four mowers back and forth on different-height grasses. On hand were course superintendent Scott Dunbar, a member of the grounds crew, a mechanic who maintains the course equipment, and an equipment salesman who happened to be at the course that day. These guys are all turfgrass experts who deal with grass and mowing equipment every day. They really took to the task of comparing these mowers, examining every aspect closely and answering all our questions about turf and cut quality.

Our pick: Scotts 2000-20 20-Inch Classic Push Reel Lawn Mower

For the healthiest grass

The Scotts makes the cleanest cut, has the widest cutting path, and jams the least of any reel mower, and its unusually tall 3-inch max cutting height makes it more versatile for different grass types.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 145.

The Scotts 2000-20 20-Inch Classic Push Reel Lawn Mower is the reel mower to get. Of the tested mowers, it offered the cleanest cut and the easiest adjustments, and it was the only one that didn’t jam. It also has a wide, 20-inch cutting swath—the widest we found—as well as height adjustments between 1 and 3 inches, which is a more versatile range than we saw on almost all of the other available reel mowers. At 34 pounds, it’s light and easy to turn around at the end of each mowing row, but it’s heavy enough that it doesn’t bounce around on slightly uneven turf.

The quality of the cut excelled against the competition. When our lawn experts were going back and forth with the mowers on a variety of grasses and lengths, they noticed that the Scotts model would leave a swath of totally trimmed grass with each blade snipped evenly across, no ragged edges to be seen. In contrast, the other mowers would leave a bunch of blades sticking up like chimneys after a house fire, requiring the testers to back up and go over the area again. The Scotts mower also never jammed up during testing, whereas all of the other mowers did.

The Scotts 2000-20 also snipped a wider path than most of the others. The Scotts is a 20-inch-wide mower, the widest size available (the measurement refers to the blade width, not the overall width). We tested another 20-inch model, the Lee Valley 20″ Mower, but that one was harder to push, and its cut quality was worse.

Our testers also gave the Scotts 2000-20 high marks for overall usability. At 34 pounds, it lands in the middle of our test group in weight but manages to hit the sweet spot between maneuverability and stability. The Fiskars StaySharp Max is heavier and harder to turn around at the end of a mowing row; by contrast, the lighter Lee Valley model bounced around on uneven ground and left a ragged cut as a result.

All of the adjustments on the Scotts mower are easy to make. For cutting height, it has two levers, one for each wheel. One other model we tested, the 16-inch Great States 415-16, required us to unbolt it each time we wanted to change the cutting height. Also, the height settings on the Scotts model are accurate; the 1-inch setting on the Fiskars, in contrast, actually cut much lower, practically scalping the lawn, before we readjusted it to a higher setting.

The Scotts 2000-20 has a cutting range of 1 to 3 inches. The vast majority of reel mowers top out around 2 inches, so we appreciated the ability to go taller, either for the health of the grass or for a less manicured look. A DIY Network article lists the ideal cutting heights for a variety of warm- and cool-weather grasses, and the capabilities of the Scotts land nicely in the strike zone for every grass mentioned. Our runner-up, the Fiskars StaySharp Max, has an even higher maximum cutting height at 4 inches, but it’s a much heavier mower with more difficult maneuvering, and it doesn’t cut as nicely.

The Scotts is easy to assemble, and doesn’t require any tools. The bolts that attach the handle have large plastic wing nuts, so tightening by hand is simple. If you ever need to take your mower apart—to fit it into a compact space like a car trunk or a small storage area—we found that the Scotts was easy enough to disassemble, too. You might need pliers to remove the small C-clips that attach the handle to the body of the mower, but otherwise it shouldn’t be a hassle.

Scotts stands behind their products. Erin Price, then Wirecutter’s Audience Development Manager, had a wheel fall off her Scotts push mower and the company replaced the entire mower for her. She told us, “I love my reel mower and perhaps love it even more now that the company was so helpful.”

It has performed well in long term testing. Two other Wirecutter staff members, who both happen to be women, also have Scotts Classics in their personal tool sheds, and they appreciate the mower’s simplicity and ease of use. Senior Photo Editor Rozette Rago had never used a reel mower before picking up the Scotts for her small, flat yard in LA, and found it quick to get used to. It was easy to figure out for two people who have never used it before. Wirecutter Producer Beth Niegelsky, who has used both the Fiskars and the Scotts, prefers the latter, “ I actually like the Scotts significantly more because it is SO much lighter.” She explained, “With the Fiskars, I basically couldn’t mow the hill of my front yard without feeling like I was doing something dangerous. It’s basically no problem with the Scotts.”

Senior Software Development Engineer Joshua Brewer had the Scotts for three years and recently replaced it for our lawn mower pick. Throughout his three years of usage, he highlighted that the Scott was “kinda fun to use.” He appreciated that it was easy to storetash, didn’t require fuel, and was quieter than a traditional lawn mower. However, the Scotts did squeak despite thorough maintenance, required multiple passes on his lawn, and his foam handle disintegrated after the first year. Overall, Brewer says The Scotts 2000-20 worked, but was much more laborious to use with a lush and dense lawn and worked a lot better when the lawn was more sparse. He’s much happier with the Ego LM2135SP now.

Supervising Editor Josh Lyon also has a Scotts and said there are bumpy parts of his lawn that he needs to go over one or two additional times, but that “the mower is so light and has such a smooth roll that even with the extra passes it takes half the time to do our entire lawn than with the gas-powered mower we used to have.” Overall, Lyon is very happy with the Scotts and says he’ll never go back to a gas mower.

Finally, even though it wasn’t a major factor in our decision, testers liked how the Scotts looked better than the other mowers (some found the Fiskars model’s oddball form to be off-putting). The Scotts 2000-20 is covered by a two-year warranty, and user reviews suggest that the manufacturer, American Lawn Mower, issues free replacement parts whenever a problem crops up.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

We analyzed the negative Комментарии и мнения владельцев at Amazon and found that most of the complaints center on the aluminum handle breaking, a plastic gear in the mechanism stripping out, or simply the realization that a reel mower is not the right choice for the owner’s particular lawn.

We investigated the plastic-gear complaint by removing the wheel of the Scotts mower and taking a look at the gear. As you can see in the photo above, it’s a pretty robust gear with deep teeth, and it interfaces with the teeth on the inside of the plastic wheel. The wheels turn as you push, and those teeth turn the plastic gear, which rotates the blades. Stripping it out is an issue to be aware of, but under proper use, the gear shouldn’t be a problem. And if it becomes one, replacing the gear is a 10-minute repair job. While it would be nice if both the wheel and the gear were made of metal, such a design would likely add money to the price tag and a significant amount of weight to the mower.

One of our long-term testers also noted that when the Scotts arrived, many of the screws holding the handle together were loose and fell out within a month. Once they were replaced, no further problems surfaced.

A close reading of the user complaints suggests that owners who were using the Scotts mower on tall or tough Southern grass had the most problems, but such difficulties are likely to be common among all push mowers and not just the Scotts.

Lawn mower technology has advanced in the past few decades, but there are still many reasons to opt for a reel mower. Read on for top recommendations and tips on navigating this mower market.

By Glenda Taylor and Mark Wolfe | Updated Apr 20, 2023 12:27 PM

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Quiet in operation, simple to maintain, and largely affordable, reel lawn mowers can be Smart options for yard maintenance. Taking up about a third of the storage room needed by a traditional mower, they’re easy keepers.

Reel mowers also might be better for a lawn’s health than standard mowers. They make a sharp cut along the top of the grass blade, similar to the way scissors cut. Traditional rotary mowers have blades with a tendency to tear the grass, which causes ragged brown tips and increases the risk of disease.

While all reel mowers function similarly, there are differences among the options. We tested the following models to find out how blade width, mowing height, handle design, and other details affect performance in different settings. Keep reading to learn what to look for when shopping for a reel mower, and find out why the following models are among the best reel mower options available.

  • BEST OVERALL:Great States 18-Inch 5-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower
  • BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK:Great States 16-Inch 5-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower
  • UPGRADE PICK:Fiskars StaySharp 18-Inch Max Reel Mower
  • BEST FOR SMALL LAWNS:Great States 14-Inch 5-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower
  • BEST FOR TOUGH GRASS:Earthwise 16-Inch 7-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower
  • BEST LIGHTWEIGHT:American Lawn Mower Company 14-Inch 4-Blade Mower
  • BEST WITH GRASS CATCHER: Greenworks RM1400 14-Inch Lawn Mower
  • ALSO CONSIDER:Greenworks 16-Inch Reel Lawn Mower

How We Tested the Best Reel Mowers

We tested these mowers in a Georgia backyard in the middle of winter. That meant a combination of dormant warm-season grasses (some Bermuda grass and some centipede grass) along with a few areas infested with cool-season weeds like annual bluegrass, chickweed, henbit, dandelion, and wild onion. The test areas included a combination of flat, sloped, and uneven lawn.

We divided the lawn into test plots so that each mower would have a chance to prove its capability under a variety of conditions. For inclusion in this article, each mower had to effectively perform the basic function for which it was built: mowing to reduce the grass height by approximately one-third. Then, beyond basic weed-free lawn mowing, we also tested each mower on the tougher conditions of overgrown and weed-infested grass. All of the mowers included in this guide easily passed the basic functionality test and earned bonus points by tackling one or more adverse conditions, noted in the reviews.

Our Top Picks

Using a reel mower is an environmentally friendly way to mow the lawn and get a bit of fresh air and exercise at the same time. We tested these manual models on our lawn to find out which would be the best reel mowers for different users and circumstances. Learn about the performance details in the reviews.

Great States 18-Inch 5-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower

Those wanting a wide swath on a reel mower may want to consider the Great States 18-inch five-blade mower that cuts a hearty swath to reduce mowing time. This reel mower is simple in design and allows for adjusting mowing height from as low as 0.5 inch to as high as 2.75 inches. It comes with 10-inch composite wheels and back stability rollers.

The blades are made from heat-treated alloy to retain their sharpness longer, and the handle comes with nonslip cushioning to help reduce blisters and to improve grip. The loop-style handle folds down for easy storage, and the mower weighs in at 27 pounds.

In our backyard test, this mower worked quickly, quietly, and easily. It was pretty easy to push in all but the thickest grass but was abruptly stopped by twigs or debris thicker than a pencil (as were the rest of these mowers). We liked the padded wide-loop handle that gave it the familiar feel of a conventional gas mower. Sharpening the blades—a task that most users would require once or twice a season—requires disassembly of one wheel to access the blade drive mechanism. The process is typical of these mowers and was only slightly complicated.

Product Specs

  • Wide swath cuts down mowing time; great for larger yards
  • Loop handle increases user comfort and control
  • 10-inch wheels roll easily over uneven terrain
  • Alloy steel blades stay sharp longer; less maintenance required
  • 3.5 inches from blade edge to outer edge of wheels means more edge trimming
  • Sharpening, when necessary, requires disassembly of the drive wheel
  • Hard plastic blade height bracket seems like it may wear out prematurely

Get the Great States 18-inch reel mower at Amazon or The Home Depot.

Great States 16-Inch 5-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower

For affordability and mowing ease, this five-blade reel mower is a worthy option. It features a smooth cutting operation and a cushioned T-handle that makes it easy to maneuver around corners. Its 16-inch swath width makes the mower relatively simple to push, and it features back rollers for added stability.

This reel mower’s five heat-treated alloy blades resist dulling, and blade height is adjustable from 1 inch to 2.5 inches, making it optimal for mowing short grass species, such as buffalo or zoysia. At just under 25 pounds, it’s also easy to maneuver.

We found this 16-inch mower to be a good “middle of the road” option: narrow enough to move well through thick grass but still wide enough to get the job done quickly. Its T-style handlebar grips gave it a more “articulate” feel that was comfortable and easy to maneuver. The 16-inch blade moved slightly easier through dense grass than the 18-inch model but still cut a generous swath.

Product Specs

  • Lower profile for easy storage; great for busy gardeners with lots of tools to store
  • Comfortable handlebar style grips; ideal for prolonged use
  • Easy to use screw-knob-style height adjustment
  • Cuts too low for taller grasses like fescue
  • Sticks, acorns, and pine cones stop the blades abruptly
  • Does not cut to the edge; may need a trimmer tool

Get the Great States 16-inch reel mower at Amazon or The Home Depot.

Fiskars StaySharp 18-Inch Max Reel Mower

The saying “You get what you pay for” rings true with this reel mower from Fiskars. Boasting high-quality StaySharp blades that reduce the need for resharpening, this model also includes two small front rollers to help balance and stabilize the mower. It also features InertiaDrive, a design that allows the mower to power through thicker grasses.

At around twice the price of the others we tested, the Fiskars Stay Sharp Max mower delivered performance to justify it. Weighing in at a hefty 52 pounds, the build feels heavy duty but works smoothly and efficiently. The ergonomic handle was extremely comfortable, and the machine moved almost effortlessly over all but the roughest ground. The only criticism we had was that the 8.5-inch drive wheels felt somewhat undersized. Unlike other reel mowers, the wheels are offset in a way that prevents them from flattening the grass before it is mowed and allows the mower to cut within an inch of the edge rather than 3.5 inches from the edge like other reel mowers. The toolless lever height adjustment worked with one hand, in seconds. It was a pleasure to mow with this tool, and the completed cut was clean and even.

Cutting height is adjustable from 1 to 4 inches, and there’s an adjustable chute so the clippings can be directed to fall in front of the mower or behind it. The Fiskars mower cuts a generous 18-inch swath, making it well suited to mowing small and medium-size yards. An optional grass catcher can be purchased separately.

Product Specs

  • Heavy-duty construction can last for several years
  • Ergonomic design feel comfortable to use
  • Easy to adjust and maneuver with oversized wheels
  • Cuts closest to the edges so users can skip the trimmer
  • Twice the price of other reel mowers
  • than twice the weight of other reel mowers
  • Bulky design takes up slightly more storage space

Get the Fiskars StaySharp reel mower at Amazon or The Home Depot.

Great States 14-Inch 5-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower

With just a 14-inch swath width and a ball-bearing reel, this little mower is just right for a small lawn and more petite users. This narrower-than-most reel mower is easy to maneuver around trees and corners, and it comes with a back roller for added stability. The blades are made from a heat-treated alloy to help reduce dulling, and it comes with a low adjustable cutting height from 1 to 1.75 inches, making it best suited to short grass species.

A narrow overall body width of just 20 inches, 8.5-inch rubber tires, and a traditional handlebar with padded grips makes this mower easy to maneuver in tight spaces, and it takes up minimal storage space. At just under 20 pounds, it is even light enough to hang on a wall hook. It is essentially a scaled-down version of our 16-inch Best Bang for the Buck pick, with similar height and blade adjustments. Unfortunately, this smaller model requires a wrench to adjust the height instead of using screw-knobs. However, the narrow body was even easier to push in dense grass but took almost twice as long to mow the same amount of space when the imperfections of walking a straight line, additional turnaround times, and overlapping edges are factored in. This could be a good pick for mowing a small grass patch around a townhouse or condo.

Product Specs

  • Compact size makes this easy to maneuver in small spaces
  • Lightweight and low profile for easy storage
  • No frills gardening tool makes for low maintenance
  • Does not cut close to the edges (3.5 inches from blade edge to outer wheel)
  • Too lightweight for mowing sloped areas
  • Height adjustment requires a wrench

Get the Great States 14-inch reel mower at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Northern Tool Equipment.

Earthwise 16-Inch 7-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower

The Earthwise Reel Lawn Mower comes with seven blades—two more than most reel mowers—giving it extra oomph for powering through dense grass. The Earthwise mower cuts a 16-inch swath with its steel alloy blades that are designed to stay sharp longer. The grass-cutting height is adjustable from 0.5 to 2.5 inches, suitable for a range of grasses, including St. Augustine, buffalo, and Bermuda.

Weighing in at 26 pounds, this reel mower comes with a T-handle that makes it easier to maneuver around the corners of houses and trees, and the handgrips feature nonslip cushioning to reduce hand fatigue and blistering.

In our tests, this seven-blade mower gave the cleanest, most consistent cut. We even used it to scalp a section of dormant centipede grass, where it left a smooth, even finish. Unfortunately, the additional blades offered more resistance, making it a little harder to push than five-blade models. Because it has height adjustments ranging from 0.5 to 2.5 inches, a good strategy would be to mow regularly at 1 or 1.5 inches and leave a little room to move higher if the grass gets ahead of you.

Product Specs

  • 7 alloy steel blades are great for mowing coarse grasses
  • Easy-to-use height adjustment screw-knobs
  • Cleanly maintain dense grasses at low height
  • Harder to push than 5-blade models
  • Does not work as well if grass grows extra long between cuts
  • Not suitable for taller grasses like fescue

Get the Earthwise reel mower at Amazon.

American Lawn Mower Company 14-Inch 4-Blade Mower

With a total weight of just 20 pounds, this 14-inch American Lawn Mower is the lightest reel mower in the lineup. It features four cutting blades made from heat-treated steel alloy to reduce dulling and has 8.5-inch polymer wheels and rear rollers to increase stability.

This smaller American Lawn Mower is well suited to mowing a small lawn, and its light weight makes it simpler for more petite users to operate. It comes with a T-handle and cushioned nonslip grips for comfortable mowing. The handle on this lightweight, low-maintenance reel mower folds down for storage, and it is light enough to be hung on wall hooks in the garage if desired. Cutting height is adjustable from 0.5 to 1.5 inches.

With only four 14-inch blades slicing against the bedknife, this mower offered the least resistance of all the mowers we tested, making it the easiest mower to push. However, fewer blades meant a less consistent finish in dense or overgrown grass. Overall the ALMC 14-inch four-blade reel mower felt strong and durable and was easy to use, but it required a second pass to clean up some of the more difficult areas. It’s probably a good choice for keeping up with pathways in the veggie garden or other secondary grassy areas.

Product Specs

  • Very budget-friendly compared to similar options
  • Easy to push, even in overgrown or dense grass
  • Durable construction yet still a lightweight and maneuverable design
  • Fewer blades produce a less thorough cut
  • Requires a wrench for height adjustments
  • 8.5-inch wheels do not roll as well over rough ground

Get the American Lawn Mower Company reel mower at Amazon or The Home Depot.

Greenworks RM1400 14-Inch Lawn Mower

Bagging grass clippings is a cinch with the Greenworks Reel Mower. The mower cuts a 14-inch swath, and the mowing height adjusts from 1.06 to 2 inches, making it well suited to most low-growing lawn grass species. It comes with a T-handle that makes it easy to mow around tree trunks, and it features nonslip cushioned grips for comfort. The handle folds down for convenient storage.

The Greenworks mower comes with a handy grass catcher that connects to the rear of the mower for collecting grass clippings, and the mowing reel has five heat-treated steel alloy blades designed to remain sharp longer. The mower weighs 24 pounds.

In our trials, the Greenworks RM1400 was easy to push and maneuver, thanks to its lightweight frame, narrow wheel base, and T-style handlebar. The mowing height is easy to adjust with spring pins but only varies within a narrow 1-inch range. The sharpening process is similar to other reel mowers, with the exception of the bedknife mounting system. Where most manufacturers use pairs of set screws on both ends to adjust and hold the angle, Greenworks uses single spring-loaded bolts at the ends to hold the proper angle. The system seems less complicated but could offer less durability—only time and extended use will tell.

Product Specs

  • Grass catcher included; no mess left behind after use
  • Lightweight and easy to push; great for larger yards
  • Provides a clean, consistent finish
  • Full grass catcher makes the mower difficult to maneuver
  • Components feel less durable than other models
  • Wheel assembly is more difficult to disassemble for sharpening

Get the Greenworks 14-inch reel mower at Amazon or Greenworks.

Greenworks 16-Inch Reel Lawn Mower

With a slightly wider swath than the other Greenworks mower in the lineup, this 16-inch reel mower deserves a look. The wider swath means fewer passes when mowing, and the 10-inch front wheels make the mower easier to push. This Greenworks model also comes with two rear wheels for stability, and it features a detachable grass catcher for collecting clippings when desired.

This Greenworks reel mower offers an adjustable mow height from 1.125 to 2.25 inches, and it comes with a cushioned ergonomic loop handle that folds to take up less storage space. The mower weighs 26 pounds.

Built on the same platform as its 14-inch sibling, this Greenworks 16-inch reel mower boasts a wider range of cutting heights and a comfortable ergonomic loop-style handle. In our tests the loop handle made it much easier to push and maneuver the mower, especially as the grass catcher filled. The swath size and five-blade configuration hit the sweet spot, balancing the ability to mow tall and dense grass without causing user fatigue. However, a few design features appear less durable, including lightweight plastic rollers and a two-bolt adjustment system for the bedknife. This one would make a good pick for regular use on an otherwise well-maintained lawn.

Product Specs

  • Handle folds down for compact storage
  • Easy-to-use spring-pin height adjustment
  • Comfortable ergonomic handle is ideal for prolonged use
  • Lightweight bedknife-adjustment system
  • Grass catcher may be somewhat undersize
  • Construction feels less durable than the competition

Get the Greenworks 16-inch reel mower at Amazon.

What to Consider When Choosing a Reel Mower

For any home with a lawn, mowing is a fact of life that is required in most neighborhoods. To cultivate a lush green expanse, regular mowing is essential. When mowing is done correctly—frequently enough to remove no more than one-third the height of the grass—it promotes dense, uniform growth.

Manual vs. Powered

Unlike standard mowers, the majority of reel mowers are manual, although consumers can find a handful of gas-powered and battery-powered models.

  • Manual: Everything old is new again—or so it seems with more of these old-fashioned mowers popping up in home improvement centers and online stores. One of the drivers of the manual mower’s resurgence is its eco-friendliness. No fuel to store, no fumes, and no pull cord that can cause a struggle. The downside to mowing with a manual lawn mower is the near impossibility of cutting the grass if it’s allowed to grow too tall before mowing, especially if the lawn is dense. The thickness and coarseness of the grass helps dictate if it is too tall, but if the grass is twice as tall as its recommended cutting height, it usually can pose a problem for a manual reel mower. For the best results with a manual reel mower, cut the grass more often during fast-growth periods, such as in early spring and the rainy season.
  • Powered: Like traditional rotary mowers, reel mowers may be powered by either gas or a battery, which makes it immeasurably easier to mow dense or tall grass. Some gas and electric reel mowers also include self-propulsion, which virtually eliminates the need to push the mower—the user needs only to guide it. While gas reel mowers are just as noisy as their traditional counterparts, electric mowers are not as noisy as gas mowers. However, they still have a motor and will produce more noise than a manual reel mower. Opting for either a manual or powered reel mower is mostly a matter of personal choice. For those with large lawns, a gas reel mower or an electric reel mower might make better sense.

Blades and Cutting Height

Reel mowers feature between four and seven steel blades. On some models, the blades are treated with a nonstick coating for easier mowing. blades lead to a cleaner cut because the grass blade doesn’t bend as far before it’s severed. For most lawns, mowers with four or five blades work well. A few reel mowers have six or seven blades, which makes them ideal for getting a uniform cut on dense grass. Reel mowers also are suitable for lawn striping, a mowing technique that leaves an attractive alternating pattern in the grass.

The blade cutting height is preset on a few reel mowers, often at around 1.5 to 2 inches, which is well suited to short grasses but not tall-growing varieties, such as fescue. Other models offer adjustable cutting heights. Consider your grass type and its optimal growing height. If yours is a tall variety of grass, opt for a reel mower that will adjust to the best mowing height for the grass.

Swath Width and Grass Type

North American lawns feature a multitude of grass varieties. Easy-to-cut grass types include perennial rye, Kentucky bluegrass, and fescue, and these are suitable for cutting with wider mowers. On the other hand, thick grasses, such as Bermuda, St. Augustine, and zoysia, are better suited to mowing in narrower cutting widths (swaths). In either case, mowing frequently will make using a manual mower easier.

The swath width of a reel mower and the type of grass the yard contains influence usability. Standard swath widths on reel mowers range from 14 to 20 inches. While a wider swath means you won’t have to mow as many passes, it also makes the mower more challenging to push because more grass means more resistance.

Additional Features

Reel mowers don’t come with many bells and whistles, but a few added features can enhance the mowing experience.

  • Grass catcher: Some prefer to allow grass clippings to settle back on the lawns. The clippings act as a mulch that biodegrades to offer organic nutrients to the soil. For those who prefer bagging grass clippings, look for models that feature a rear-mount grass catcher.
  • Padded handles: Nonslip, padded foam handles make it easier to grip the mower handles and reduce the risk of blisters.
  • Rollers: Reel mowers have two sizable front wheels, but some come with additional back rollers or front rollers that add stability to the mower and help the user maneuver the mower near borders and edges for clean cutting.

The Advantages of Using a Reel Mower

Reel mowers are almost always powered manually. The physical pushing of the mower turns the blade cylinder, which in turn cuts the grass. Since they’re push-powered, reel mowers excel when cutting fine, straight-growing grasses but can bog down in coarse, wiry grass. The following are some of the advantages of using a reel mower.

  • Avoid diseases. A clean cut helps grass avoid diseases such as “brown patch,” which can leave a lawn pockmarked with areas of dead grass.
  • Affordable mowers. While pricing varies based on quality and design, expect to pay about half the cost of a powered push mower.
  • Low maintenance requirements. Manual reel mowers only require occasional cleaning and blade sharpening. A gas reel mower requires the addition of oil, draining fuel over winter, and other maintenance tasks.
  • Relatively compact and lightweight. Many reel mowers weigh around 20 to 30 pounds, and they often feature fold-down handles for easy storage.
  • Free of exhaust and fumes. Breathe the aroma of freshly cut grass rather than toxic exhaust fumes.


With no toxic fumes, no need to store fuel or charge batteries, and quiet operation, the reel mower is making a comeback. This eco-friendly mower will reduce your carbon footprint while offering some physical exercise. For those thinking of investing in a reel mower, a few questions are to be expected.

Q. Is it hard to push a reel mower?

Manual reel mowers are easy to push in thin sparse grass, but it takes more force to move one through tall, dense, or coarse grass.

Q. Can you mow wet grass with a reel mower?

Although a manual reel mower can easily cut through wet grass, doing so frequently is not advisable. As with other mowers, clippings will clump and look unsightly. Wet clippings that stick to the mower increase rust formation, dulling the blades prematurely.

Q. How often should you mow with a reel mower?

Mow as often as is necessary to keep from removing more than one-third of the grass’s blade. This may mean mowing two or more times in a week during the fast-growing grass season.

Q. When should I sharpen my reel mower?

In general, it’s a good idea to sharpen the blades on a reel mower after 20 to 25 hours of use. For some users, this may be once a year; others may need to sharpen blades two or more times in a season.

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