7 Best Reel Mowers for Your Lawn in 2020

If you want to keep your lawn well-manicured and your grass healthy, it’s time to invest in a reel mower. Using a push lawn mower is the perfect way to snip your grass without damaging it. Above all, it’s eco-friendly!

If you’re looking for a reel mower for your yard, here are our top recommendations. Read further for more in-depth information on choosing a reel mower as well.

Product Features
Great States 5-Blade Reel Lawn MowerBest OverallGreat States 5-Blade Reel Lawn MowerBest Overall
  • 16" Swath
  • 5 Blades
  • Durable Blades
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Scotts Outdoor Power Tools Reel Lawn MowerBest ValueScotts Outdoor Power Tools Reel Lawn MowerBest Value
  • 20" Swath
  • 5 Blades
  • Cushioned Handles
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Fiskars StaySharp Max Reel MowerBest PremiumFiskars StaySharp Max Reel MowerBest Premium
  • 18" Swath
  • 5 Blades
  • 60% Easier to Push
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American Lawn Mower Co. Push Reel Lawn MowerDurableAmerican Lawn Mower Co. Push Reel Lawn MowerDurable
  • 14" Swath
  • 4 Blades
  • T-Shaped Handle
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GreenWorks Reel Lawn MowerBlower Incl.GreenWorks Reel Lawn MowerBlower Incl.
  • 18" Swath
  • 9 Adjustable Positions
  • 7-Amp Blower Included
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Sun Joe Manual Reel MowerSmall YardsSun Joe Manual Reel MowerSmall Yards
  • 18" Swath
  • Cheapest On Our List
  • 6.6 Gallon Catcher
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Earthwise Push Reel Lawn MowerTough GrassEarthwise Push Reel Lawn MowerTough Grass
  • 16" Swath
  • 7 Blades
  • Good for Tough Grass
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Best Reel Mower Reviews

1. Great States 5-Blade Reel Lawn Mower

Great States 415-16 16-Inch 5-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower, 16-Inch, 5-Blade, Silver
  • Manual push reel lawn mower features quick,...
  • 16" cutting width, 5-blade ball bearing reel, and...
  • Blades of the manual hand push reel lawn mower are...

The first on our list is the Great States 415-16 push reel lawn mower, known for its excellent cutting power. With an adjustable blade height of 0.5-2.5″, this mower does a fantastic job of manicuring your lawn.

We chose it as our top pick due to the blade quality – constructed with heat-treated alloy steel, the blades retain their sharpness for a long time, making this reel mower a quality long-term investment. The sharpness of the blades allows you to create neat borders along your lawn. The mower comes with a cushioned and comfortable grip that is easier to push, even on the most overgrown lawn

All it needs is one push to get it started, making it a no-hassle manual lawn mower. The Great States 415-16 reel lawn mower is also lightweight, making it easy to maneuver across the yard.

The reels snip the grass off without any ripping or tearing, resulting in a well-trimmed, smooth lawn. And, if this wasn’t enough, the mower is also easy to store. You can hang it on a wall or tuck it in the corner of your garage.

Pros:

  • Blade height adjustment of 0.5”-2.5” for clean grass cut 
  • 16” cutting width with 5-blade ball bearing reel
  • Smooth, composite wheels are easy to maneuver across the yard

Cons:

  • Struggles to cut grass taller than 3-4 inches
  • Soft handle grips can slide a bit

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2. Scotts Outdoor Power Tools Reel Lawn Mower

Sale
Scotts Outdoor Power Tools 2000-20S 20-Inch 5-Blade Classic Push Reel Lawn Mower
  • Classic Scotts 20 inch push no-motor manual reel...
  • Quick-snap 1"-3" cutting height adjustment for a...
  • Blades on the Scotts classic hand push reel rotary...

Our pick for the best-value reel mower for healthy, precision cutting is the Scotts 2000-20. They’ve really outdone themselves with this one. With a 20” cutting swath, the mower efficiently snips off grass in one single go without any tears or rips. You won’t ever have to run Scotts 2000-20 mower over your yard multiple times.

The blades are constructed with heat-treated alloy steel that stay sharper for longer and cut the grass with amazing precision. Blades can be adjusted from 1-3″ inches. The dual-tracking wheels enhance maneuverability on the lawn, allowing you to create a smooth green carpet.

Scotts 2000-20 Outdoor Power tools mower does its job exceptionally well. It mower features ergonomic, cushioned handles that ensure proper posture as you mow the lawn. Assembly is easy and quick with no additional tools needed. This lawn mower is one of the best manual lawn mowers on the list at its price point as it’s easy to operate, store, and use.

Pros:

  • 20” cutting width allows less passes over your lawn
  • Blade height adjustment from 1-3″ inches for a precision trim
  • Cushioned, ergonomic handle for easy grip
  • No-tool assembly 

Cons:

  • Wheels can degrade quicker than other models
  • Blades degrade quicker than other higher-priced picks

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3. Fiskars StaySharp Max Reel Mower

Sale
Fiskars StaySharp Max Reel Mower, 18 Inch (362050-1001),Black
  • Make lawn mowing enjoyable with an advanced reel...
  • InertiaDrive reel is designed for all grass types,...
  • New reversible grass chute can be positioned to...

Fiskars has re-defined reel mowers for lawns. With an 18-inch cutting swath, this reel mower takes only a few minutes to get the job done.

The quality of the StaySharp Max reel mower blades allows you to cut grass for years without ever needing re-sharpening. Fiskars mower blades cut without any unwanted contact with the grass. This means there are no rips or tears, making for a smooth lawn-mowing experience.

The Fiskars StaySharp Max is really easy to push and maneuver across the yard. With its InertiaDrive reel, Fiskars performs with a superior cutting power to trim down tough spots without any damage to the grass. Fiskars also features a reversible grass chute that works amazingly to direct the clippings forward and prevent any mess. The cutting height is adjustable from 1-4″ inches, which is ideal for trimming down thicker tufts of grass. 

The only possible drawback is that Fiskars is slightly heavier than other mowers. At 51 pounds, you will find it tedious to push it across the yard after a while. You might also want to store it in your garage instead of hanging it on the floor. Finally, the Fiskars StaySharp Max Reel Mower also comes with a 3-year warranty should anything go wrong.

Pros:

  • StaySharp cutting system ensures long-lasting blades
  • InertiaDrive reel delivers superior cutting power and easily cuts through thick grass
  • Inset wheels that allow blades to work across the mower’s full width
  • Limited 3-year warranty 

Cons:

  • At 51lb it’s heavier than other models
  • Doesn’t perform well on a grade, common of all push mowers

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4. American Lawn Mower Co. Push Reel Lawn Mower

American Lawn Mower Company 1204-14 14-Inch 4-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower, Red
  • 4-blade reel with a cutting width of 14” and...
  • Mechanical lawn mower with an adjustable blade...
  • Manual grass cutter blades made of heat-treated...

The 4-blade classic push reel lawn mower by the American Lawn Mower Company is a fantastic, durable choice. With its 8.5” composite wheels, this mower is easier to push on a big yard. It comes with an adjustable height of 0.5”-1.75” for optimal grass-cutting. The blades are built from heat-treated alloy steel, which keeps them sharp for a long time.

This is a low-maintenance mower and an eco-friendly alternative to electric-powered mowers. The high-quality 4-blade system can snip various grass types, like bluegrass, rye, and fescue with supreme versatility. 

The machine also has a T-shaped ergonomic cushioned handle that allows for an easy, comfortable grip. All in all, this 4-blade push reel lawn mower does a super-efficient and quiet job at cutting the grass with zero hassles. 

Pros:

  • Efficient scissor-like grass cutting action 
  • 4 smooth-spinning blades that snip the grass without damaging it
  • Height adjustability of 0.5”-1.75” for optimal grass-cutting 
  • Easy-roll wheels make the mower easy to push and maneuver

Cons:

  • Difficult to snip a lush, thick turf
  • Might have to go twice over a piece of ground for proper grass cutting 

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5. GreenWorks Reel Lawn Mower

Greenworks 18-Inch Reel Lawn Mower with Grass Catcher 25062 + 7 AMP Blower 24012
  • 18" Cutting path gets the job done quicker and...
  • 2-In-1 feature provides mulching and rear bag...
  • 9 position height adjustment offers a range of...

Next up is the 18-inch reel lawn mower by GreenWorks. This one has simple and practical features to get the job done quickly. The wide 18” cutting path will allow you to snip the grass more efficiently and in less amount of time. The mower also comes with a 2-in-1 feature with rear bag and mulching capabilities. This can serve as a lawn fertilizer while protecting you from the mess as you mow the lawn.

GreenWorks also features a versatile height adjustment with a cutting height between 1.75-2.75″ inches. This range can cover almost every grass type without running the mower over it multiple times. However, the main reason why this manual mower stands out is its dynamic wheel system. With 10” forward wheels and 4” rear wheels, this mower makes maneuvering across the thickest tufts of grass a breeze. They also toss in a 7-amp blower at the same price, making it an absolute steal.

Pros:

  • 18” cutting path with fast scissor-cutting action
  • Rear bag and mulching features to fertilize the lawn while clipping
  • Dynamic 10” wheel and 4” rear wheels

Cons:

  • Build quality isn’t durable over 3+ year unless you’re careful
  • Not good for thick, tough lawns

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6. Sun Joe Manual Reel Mower

Sun Joe MJ501M 18-Inch Manual Reel Mower w/Grass Catcher, Green/Black
  • REEL MOWER: Powered with a push, this manual...
  • ADJUSTABLE: 9 position manual height adjustment...
  • RAZOREEL: 5 durable steel blades swiftly slice...

The Sun Joe manual reel mower is ideal for small lawns and yards. It is also the best reel mower for creating aesthetic borders around the boundary of your lawn. Its easy height adjustability and lightweight quality allow precision-cutting in a short amount of time. Built with a rust-resistant deck, the mower will remain in pristine quality for a long time.

It also has a grass-catcher that can hold up to 6.6 gallons of lawn waste and can be detached easily for a quick clean-up. With two large 10” wheels and two smaller 6” wheels, this reel mower makes maneuvering on the lawns extremely easy. The comfortable foam grip and manual height adjustment make the Sun Joe Manual reel mower a good pick at the cheapest price on our list.

Pros:

  • Excellent for small lawns
  • Comfortable foam grip to make pushing easier
  • 10″ forward wheels and 6″ rear wheels
  • Grass catcher that can hold 6.6 gallons of waste
  • Rust-resistant deck and lightweight  

Cons:

  • The front wheels aren’t as durable as other models
  • Height adjustment a bit too low
  • Noisier than expected

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7. Earthwise Push Reel Lawn Mower

Earthwise 1715-16EW 16-Inch 7-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower, Gray/Silver/Green
  • 16" Cutting width, 7-blade ball bearing reel, and...
  • Ideal for cutting bent grass- Bermuda, Zoysia,...
  • Blades are made of Alloy Steel for staying sharp...

The 16-inch Earthwise push reel mower offers some real advantages to gardeners. Earthwise has really outdone itself with this low-maintenance and zero-hassle machine. Perfect for both small and big yards, all the reel mower needs is a nice push to get started. If you’re ready for some exercise, mowing the lawn with this machine is going to be a wonderful experience.

But perhaps what truly makes it the best is its easy usage and storage. The lightweight build makes it super easy to move around and maneuver over the thickest of grasses. You can park this reel mower in a garage or hang it over a wall until the next use.

With the 7-blade ball-bearing deck, this reel mower is perfect for cutting through grass with precision in a short amount of time. You can cover large areas in one single sweep without having to run the mower multiple times. Blade quality is also quite nice at this price point.

Pros:

  • 16” cutting width with 7-blade ball bearing reel
  • 10″ composite wheels with a side steel plate
  • 0.5-2.5” adjustable cutting height

Cons:

  • The rollers on the blades can cause the mower to lock up sometimes
  • Height is adjustable but requires unscrewing the wedges

What Is a Reel Mower?

Slicing through blades of grass with a reel mower.
Get a reel mower with extremely sharp blades for easy pushing. Source: theotherlinh

Reel mowers feature a cutting reel that comprises 3-7 blades and a bed knife. They’re built with either two or four wheels to allow for noiseless, fast-cutting mowing of a lawn. When the mower is pushed forward, the blades begin to spin vertically. The motion causes the mower blades to lift the grass between themselves and the bed knife, in turn clipping off the grass blades in a scissor-like action.

Compared to cylinder reel mowers used in the past, these new models are easier to push and result in a cleaner, healthier lawn. The biggest benefit with reel mowers is that they don’t tear or rip the lawn during the cutting process. Like rotary mowers, reel mowers don’t hurt individual grass blades. 

Are Reel Mowers Effective?

Reel mowers or push lawn mowers are effective as they improve the health of your grass, but they aren’t as powerful as electric or gas-powered mowers. The mower blades use a scissor-like cutting action that doesn’t tear up the grass blades.

The snipping action of a reel mower allows the grass to retain its natural moisture, thereby making it more resistant against insects and diseases. Grass blades become weak and vulnerable to diseases when they’re habitually torn or ripped apart like they would be with a traditional lawnmower.

Above all, reel mowers are noiseless and extremely easy to use. All they require is a push to get the cutting started on the lawn. They are also economical and are relatively low maintenance. They don’t even require any gas or oil for power, resulting in zero fuel costs. Easy to assemble and lightweight with lots of bonus features, a push lawn mower is a great one-time investment for your lawn.

If you live in a close-knit neighborhood, the grinding sounds of a rotary mower can quickly annoy people…trust me! Push mowers, on the other hand, only make a gentle ‘snip-snip-snip’ sound and before you know it, the job is done.

Lastly, push mowers are excellent for the environment. They don’t use any fuel and hence, don’t contribute to pollution. Push mowers are simple, practical, and hassle-free machines for modern gardeners.

Features of Reel Mowers

A throwback to older times, reel lawn mowers are efficient and cheap
A throwback to older times, reel lawn mowers are efficient and cheap. Source: Scott SM

To determine the best reel mower for you, it’s important to analyze their different features. There are many things that constitute a high-quality reel mower. Here we’ve explained the major features of a reel mower.

Blade Cutting Height

A reel mower usually has an adjustable cutting height of a few inches, usually 1-3 inches. Staying in these parameters allows the blades to neatly cut the grass without harming it in the long term. Adjusting the blades at a proper height depends on the length of your grass blades. 

By setting the right blade cutting height, your grass remains more vigorous and healthy.

Number of Blades

The number of mower blades greatly influences the performance of the machine. The number indicates how many times the blades can cut through the grass within a meter-long span. For example, a 5-blade reel with a high number of revolutions will result in cleaner and well-trimmed grass as compared to a 10-blade reel with a low number of revolutions.

A high revolution count can easily damage the blades with aggressive cutting. This can also influence the service life of the reels and the quality of their sharpness. The ideal rule is to ensure a high-quality cut with a moderate number of blades, somewhere between 4-7.

Blade Durability

The blades of a rotary mower can be aggressive and therefore, not that durable. The rough cutting motion causes the blades to lose their sharpness quickly. When buying a reel mower, always make sure that the blades are constructed with high-quality material, preferably alloy steel.

A reel mower whose blades are heated with alloy steel tends to stay sharper for longer. Alloy steel has an extremely high tensile strength, which makes the blade resistant to corrosion and extremely durable over many uses. 

Swath Width

The standard swath width of a good reel mower ranges from 15-20 inches. A wide swath width would mean that you have to mow more frequently. This can also make the machine difficult to push because the grass can become resistant. Therefore, a good swath width is around18 inches, which will help you use the mower blades to their maximum capacity. 

Slope

If you have a uniform and level lawn, you can use any reel mower. However, if your yard is bumpy or slightly sloped, you should look for a reel mower that can cut across different angles. This way, you won’t have to run the mower multiple times across the same path. 

Grass Spray

All the grass a reel mower cuts will eventually have to go somewhere. If you don’t want to be covered in the clippings, you can use a frontal grass spray to keep your feet away from the mess, or select a mower with a grass catch.

Weight

It’s important to choose a lightweight reel mower as the weight can be a huge problem the longer you push the mower. You might be tempted to choose a heavy reel mower for a big lawn as it’s easier to push over a large area. That’s not a bad idea, provided you won’t fatigue. Lighter machines are easier to push, but can also not adhere as well to the ground over bumpy surfaces.

6 Factors to Consider When Buying a Reel Mower

Reel mower with a T-shaped handle
The T-Shaped hander is a simpler, more classic design. Source: Mark Sardella

There are many factors to consider when you are looking for the perfect reel mower. When choosing a reel mower for your lawn, you need to inspect its effectiveness, affordability, maintenance, and price. Here’s a quick guide to help you choose a reliable reel mower – one that your lawn will love. 

Effectiveness

The best reel mower will quickly prove its effectiveness on the lawn. Choosing a manual mower over the electric-powered one helps reduce carbon emissions. It also eliminates a major concern of damaging the grass due to tearing and ripping.

A high-quality reel mower should have an excellent cutting height and durable blades to be effective on different grass carpets.

Affordability

The best reel mowers offer great cutting power at an affordable price. Most budget models don’t cost more than $70, while premium ones are usually around $200. But perhaps the biggest financial benefit of reel mowers is that after the initial investment, they’re virtually cost-free. There are no fuel charges or replacement costs involved.

Limitations

Reel mowers are essentially built for mowing short grass. So, yes, you may face limitations with mowing grass taller than 4 inches. You will need to go over a few passes initially. However, maintaining the lawn is usually easy after that. 

But keep in mind that due to their manual nature, even the best reel mowers are only practical for small or medium yards that are less than 3000 sq ft. Anything larger than this will require an electric, gas, or sit-on-top mower.

Price

One good thing about a reel mower is that it’s far more affordable than ones powered by gas or electricity. Most of them usually cost under $200 and have zero maintenance or operating costs. A reel mower is truly a one-time investment for your garden. 

Maintenance

The greatest benefit of a reel mower is that it’s maintenance-free. It doesn’t require any fuel, which means no oil-changes, charging, refueling, or replacement parts. All you have to do is sharpen the blades once every few years.

Size of Your Lawn

Again, reel mowers are suited for small and medium-sized yards. This is because the average cutting width of these mowers is usually 14”-20”. Pushing them across a large-sized lawn will make the task extremely tedious.

Using a Reel Mower

The best reel mowers are those that are easy to use. Since the entire exercise is manual, a high-quality reel mower should offer easy maneuverability on the lawn. Here’s a quick guide to help you use your reel mower.

Sharpening Reel Mower Blades

The most major maintenance of a reel mower is sharpening its blades. Thankfully, you don’t have to sharpen the blades often as alloy steel doesn’t dull very quickly. They retain their sharp cutting edges for a long time. However, after a few years, it’s time to give them a quick sharpening.

Start by checking the alignment of the reel. If it’s fine, then sharpen the blades. You can do this with a backlapping sharpening kit. The kit usually offers a sharpening compound with a handle. Attach the handle to the driving gear of the reel mower and use a normal brush to put the sharpening compound on each of the blades.

Now, twist the mower in a reverse direction so that the blades can scrape each other down and become sharp again. While this is the best way to sharpen the blades, you can also do the job using a power drill with a sharpening attachment.

Cutting Tall or Thick Grass

Even when reel mowers are excellent for maintaining healthy and well-hydrated grass, they can get blocked while operating in overgrown lawns with thick or tall grass. It can be hard to push them forward. If your grass is taller than 4 inches, you can still use a manual lawn mower, but you will need a little patience.

The best technique is to mow by overlapping. What this means is that once you’re done mowing one row, you should turn back with your mower and start clipping while overlapping the previously mowed ground by a few inches. This will ensure that there are no high streaks of grass between each mowed row.

You can also do the job using the checkerboard pattern. Mow the lawn twice, except the second time, mow in the opposite direction. The crisscross pattern will ensure that there are no thick tufts of grass remaining. 


Using a reel mower is the easiest way to turn your overgrown lawn into a healthy, green carpet. Use the guide above to choose the best mower that fits your yard’s needs. 


The Green Thumbs Behind This Article:

Kevin Espiritu
Founder

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Last update on 2020-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API