The Best Reel Mower for Your Lawn This Summer

In need of a new lawn mower? Ditch the hassle of a gas-powered mower in favor of something old-school. With a reel lawn mower, you can enjoy a well-manicured lawn, healthier grass, and get in a bit of exercise— all while saving the planet!

In this guide to reel mowers, we're breaking down everything you need to know about these manual mowers and highlighting the best reel mowers on the market in summer 2021.

What is a reel lawn mower?

A reel mower is a two-wheeled mower equipped with three to seven blades that spin vertically to create a scissor-cutting action. This seals the grass blades after cutting to lock in moisture and keep pests and diseases at bay.

Unlike a gas or electric mower, a high quality reel mower relies on manual pushing power instead of a motor. Because they don't require gasoline or battery power and don't release any pollution, reel mowers are the most eco-friendly type of lawn mower.

Plus, they're one of the lowest maintenance and most user-friendly mowers on the market. The only maintenance required is to sharpen the blades or re-grease the wheels from time to time. Blade sharpening is relatively quick and easy. These days, a number of blade sharpening kits are available for purchase online and at home improvement stores.

Do reel mowers cut better?

While gas-powered lawn mowers offer speed and convenience, reel lawn mowers offer superior cutting abilities. Their signature scissor action won't rip or tear the blades of grass, unlike rotary mowers, leaving them better protected from dry conditions, diseases, and organisms. As a result, you can enjoy a greener, healthier lawn after every mow.

Plus, reel mowers make for great cardiovascular exercise! The average person can burn up to 300 calories in an hour of mowing with a manual lawn mower. While it does require a bit of effort to push the mower, most mowers are lightweight with an ergonomic design that makes them easy to push.

Additionally, push mowers are far safer than traditional gas-powered mowers. Unlike other mowers, they stop easily and don't kick up rocks, bark, and debris. But remember, reel mower blades are still incredibly sharp. Be sure to wear closed-toed shoes and keep your fingers and any curious paws clear during operation.

Because they require manual power, reel mowers are best suited for smaller lawns. They don't always work well on bumpy lawns, steep hills, tall weeds, and thick vines. For maximum pushing power, look for mowers equipped with large wheels made of a durable material that's easy to maneuver across uneven ground.

How often should you mow with a reel mower?

To keep your lawn well-manicured, you should use your reel mower about once a week during peak growing season. But with that being said, you won't want to let your grass height get too tall. Cutting grass that's taller than 4 inches will require some extra time and effort, so you'll ideally want to snip your lawn when it's between 2.5 and 4 inches high.

What is the best reel lawn mower?

With a wide range of products and prices to choose from, finding the right model can feel like a bit of a challenge. Here are a few things you'll want to keep in mind when choosing between the reel mowers feature:

  • Lightweight design— Stick with a lightweight option that requires less effort to push up hills, over bumpy surfaces, and to and from your garage or storage shed.
  • Price— Compared to other models, reel mowers are one of the most budget-friendly mowers on the market. There are plenty of great products in the market for around $100.
  • Grass catcher— Some reel mower models come with grass collection bins attached for easy clean-up and mulching.
  • Cutting deck width— Smaller cutting widths make for compact storage and a lighter-weight product that's easy to fit in tight spaces. Alternatively, you may want a wider cutting width if you have a large yard.
  • Ergonomic handles— Most reel lawn mowers come with cushioned pads that help to reduce hand soreness and provide a sturdy grip during mowing.
  • Adjustable cutting height— The best reel mowers come equipped with an adjustable cutting height that allows you to customize your cut.
  • Handle height adjustment— For added ease and comfort, many push mowers ergonomic handle height adjustment to reduce back and shoulder strain during mowing.
  • Durable Blades— Reel mowers multiple cutting blades. Most reel mowers have five to seven blades. While seven-blade mowers can provide a smoother cut, those with fewer blades will be lighter and more compact.

So without further ado, let's take a look at the best reel lawn mowers on the market this summer.

Best Reel Mower Reviews

American Lawn Mower Company 104-14 5-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower

This 14-Inch Push Reel Lawn Mower from the American Lawn Mower Company is an affordable reel mower that can really get the job done! With a bit of cardio, it can tackle all grass varieties measuring up to 4 inches tall and comes equipped with an adjustable blade height for a customizable cut.

The mower's five heat-treated alloy steel cutter blades stay sharp through years of cutting. Plus, the T-shaped handle—equipped with padded handles that reduce hand fatigue— and 8.5-inch polymer wheels offer maximum control and maneuverability on uneven ground. All for less than $100!

Cutting Width— 14 in.

Cutting Height— 1- 1.75 in.

Weight— 21 lbs

Scotts Outdoor Power Tools 304-14S 5-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower

Scotts is one of the most trusted brands in lawn care, and for a good reason too! Their high-quality outdoor tools, gardening supplies, and lawn care products offer the perfect balance of versatility, functionality, and durability at a price point that's hard to beat.

The 304-14S Push Reel Lawn Mower from Scotts Outdoor Power Tools is one of the best reel mowers on the market. It's reliable, user-friendly, and surprisingly lightweight, making it a great choice for first-time reel mower users. The heat-treated alloy steel blades with adjustable cutting height and 8.5-inch composite wheels allow for increased maneuverability and a smooth cut.

Cutting Width— 14 in.

Cutting Height— 1- 1.75 in.

Weight— 19 lbs

Greenworks RM1400 Lawn Mower

Mowing day has never been easier thanks to this affordable Greenworks Reel Lawn Mower! Its 5-blade, ball-bearing steel reel uses a scissor-like motion for a precise cut that keeps grass healthy. The comfortable T-style handle is fitted with cushioned grip pads to prevent hand fatigue and increase control during mowing. Plus, the classic push reel mower comes complete with a rear bag for grass collection, mulching, and easy clean-up after mowing. Thanks to its lightweight design, compact size, and easy assembly, it's incredibly user-friendly!

Cutting Width— 14 in.

Cutting Height— 1.06- 2 in.

Weight— 24 lbs

Great States 415-16 5-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower

If you're looking for a low-maintenance reel mower, you can't go wrong with this classic Push Reel Lawn Mower from Great States. Unlike other mowers, it doesn't require any gas or oil and is virtually maintenance-free. The reel mower is fitted with five alloy steel blades that are heat-treated to stay sharp and rust-free through years of use. 10-inch composite wheels and a T-shaped handle provide added control and maneuverability through thick grass and uneven terrain.

While the reel mower can be purchased on its own, Great States also offers three convenient bundles: reel mower and grass catcher, reel mower and sharpening kit, and reel mower and shrub rake kit.

Cutting Width— 16 in.

Cutting Height— 1- 2.25 in.

Weight— 25 lbs

Earthwise 1715-16EW 7-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower

This 7-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower from Earthwise offers an eco-friendly alternative to electric mowers. But don't underestimate this compact mower because it runs solely on push power! Its seven sharp blades and 10-inch composite wheels with durable steel side plates are built to last. Plus, the ergonomic T-style design features cushioned handles for a comfortable grip while you push. The adjustable cutting height and powerful cutting reel make it the perfect choice for cutting a small lawn full of St. Augustine, Seashore Paspalum, Centipede, Zoysia, or Bermuda grass.

Cutting Width— 16 in.

Cutting Height— .05- 2.5 in.

Weight— 20 lbs

Fiskars StaySharp Max Reel Mower

According to Fiskars, their 18-inch Stay Sharp Manual Reel Mower is 60% easier to push than other manual lawn mowers. Thanks to an ergonomic design with easy handle height adjustments and adjustable cutting heights, it's easy to customize your mowing experience to fit your needs. Fiskars' Inertia Drive Reel offers twice the cutting power, making it easy to tackle tough spots of all grass types, even thicker grasses like St Augustine, Zoysia, Bahai, and Bermuda.

The inset wheels on the Fiskars StaySharp Max Reel Mower allow the manual grass cutter blades to extend the full width of the power to prevent uncut strips, edges, and fence lines. Plus, the reel mower comes equipped with a reversible grass chute that can aim clippings forward and backward, helping to limit messiness and keep unsightly grass clippings off your walkways and flower beds.

Cutting Width— 18 in.

Cutting Height— 1- 4 in.

Weight— 51.7 lbs

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