Switch to a Reel Mower for a More Evenly Cut, Healthier Lawn

reel mowers
Courtesy of Amazon

Given the number of outstanding gas and battery-powered lawn mowers available, it would seem like a strange decision to switch to a grass-cutting device you have to push yourself. But what if we told you that these human-powered mowers actually result in a healthier, more cleanly cut lawn? Read on to discover more about the best reel lawn mowers and several reasons you might want to consider switching to one.

What Is a Reel Mower?

Even if you are not familiar with reel mowers by name, we’re sure being asked to conjure up an image of an old-fashioned, push-along lawn mower gets you to the right place. These once outdated devices lost out to gas and battery-powered lawn mower alternatives because they were energy-sapping and weren’t worth the energy you had to put in for the results which came out — but now that has changed.

Modern reel mowers still feature the vertical spinning blades which make them so different to horizontal-spinning, rotary mowers. But what makes newer reel mowers so much better than their previous kin is the updated materials and refined mechanisms which make driving and controlling the devices a fraction of the inconvenience they once were. And that’s without mentioning the improved cutting quality.

Below you’ll find our top 10 picks for the best reel mowers available online. We’ve included a range of devices to suit every budget, including one self-propelled reel mower if the manual work of pushing a mower around your lawn isn’t for you.

  

1. American Lawn Mower Company Reel Lawn Mower

BEST OVERALL

With its user-friendly design and sub $100 price tag, this American Lawn Mower Company Reel Lawn Mower keeps things simple. The popular device sports a four-blade reel with a cutting width of 14 inches, making it an ideal choice for small to medium-sized yards. Users can also adjust the heat-treated, alloy steel cutting blades’ height to between 0.5 and 1.75 inches for a truly tailored cut. In addition, the mower features 8.5-inch polymer wheels which provide hard-to-beat maneuverability and are capable of dealing with rougher terrains, too.

reel mowers american lawn mower company Courtesy of Amazon

  

2. California Trimmer Classic Self-Propelled Reel Lawn Mower

RUNNER UP

The only thing which prevents the California Trimmer Classic Self-Propelled Reel Lawn Mower from taking the top spot is the comparatively large price tag, especially when compared to its competitors. However, if you’re looking for outstandingly clean-cut grass without as much of your physical input, this is the device for you. The walk-behind mower features a 20-inch, seven-blade reel which is capable of scissor-like cuts to every blade of grass. Additionally, you’ll find a large capacity catcher to clean up cuttings right away while 15 cutting heights ensure your grass is cut to the exact height you want it to be.

reel mowers california trimmer classic standard Courtesy of The Home Depot

  

3. Sun Joe Reel Lawn Mower

BEST BUDGET

At under $80, this Sun Joe Reel Lawn Mower is the budget-friendly answer to cutting your lawn. Its 14-inch, five-blade reel is ideal for cutting small to medium lawns and lets you choose from nine cutting heights, ranging from 1.1 to 2.9 inches. The eco-friendly device also runs on person-power alone, requiring no electricity or batteries to run. Additionally, the mower’s rugged, all-terrain wheels allow it to take on almost any kind of lawn, not just the beautifully flat kind.

reel mowers sun joe Courtesy of Lowe's

  

4. Remington Walk Behind Reel Lawn Mower

BEST BAGGER

If you’re particularly picky about picking up your grass cuttings, you’ll definitely want to consider this Remington Walk Behind Reel Lawn Mower. This noise-, fume- and mess-free mower comes with a large capacity grass catcher which collects clippings as you go. The mower also features an 18-inch, five-blade alloy steel reel which is capable of cutting through grass with ease. Furthermore, the mower comes with a two-year limited warranty and includes foam on the handles to provide additional comfort during use.

remington manual walk behind reel mower Courtesy of The Home Depot

  

5. Scotts Outdoor Power Tools Reel Lawn Mower

EDITOR’S PICK

This Scotts Outdoor Power Tools 304-14S Reel Lawn Mower is another popular device that ticks all the right boxes. The 14-inch, five-blade reel makes light work of your lawn while its simple yet user-friendly design doesn’t overcomplicate the situation. Its 8.5-inch composite wheels can also deal with your average lawn and rugged terrain to boot. Additionally, the T-style handle features a cushioned grip for improved comfort, while the device’s cut-back design makes it easier to store and transport than most.

reel mowers scotts outdoor power tools Courtesy of Amazon

  

6. Great States Reel Lawn Mower

ALSO CONSIDER

The Great States 815-18 Reel Lawn Mower lets you pick a cutting height between 0.5 and 2.75 inches. Its five-blade reel is also made of high-quality alloy steel to deliver a clean and reliable cut. The 10-inch composite wheels and 18-inch cutting width provide all the maneuverability and cutting coverage you could want for small to medium lawns. It also requires no tools for the assembly process and comes with cushioned grips for a more comfortable user experience.

reel mowers great states Courtesy of Amazon

  

7. Greenworks Reel Lawn Mower

WIDEST CUT

With its 20-inch cutting width, this Greenworks 25072 Reel Lawn Mower offers the largest cutting coverage on our list. This makes it a great option for households looking to cover bigger areas. Handily, the five-blade reel delivers a quick and comprehensive cut, allowing you to focus on achieving those eye-catching lines in your lawn. You’ll also be able to choose from nine cutting heights and find a cutting collector to deal with your cuttings as you go. Plus, the larger wheels at the front of the mower make it particularly easy to maneuver.

greenworks reel mower Courtesy of Amazon

  

8. Earthwise Push Reel Lawn Mower

BEST CUT

Thanks to its seven-blade reel, the Earthwise 1715-16EW Push Reel Lawn Mower offers a scissor-like cut that is hard to beat. The 16-inch width also provides plenty of coverage, too. The mower lets you choose from cutting heights between 0.5 and 2.5 inches, while its large, 10-inch wheels mean it’s a great choice for less even ground. This is a well-reviewed device that allows you to switch to a planet-friendly alternative without sacrificing job quality.

reel mowers earthwise Courtesy of Amazon

  

9. Troy-Bilt Manual Reel Lawn Mower

BEST FOR UNEVEN TURF

This Troy-Bilt Manual Reel Lawn Mower is ideal for taking care of yards less than one-quarter of an acre in size. It also includes built-in rear wheels to help users navigate uneven terrain without a problem. The mower’s heavy-duty, steel frame adds to its durability while the nine available cutting heights ensure your grass is cut to the exact height you want it to be. Furthermore, the device’s blade measures 16 inches across and a soft, cushioned covering on the handlebars provides comfort during use.

reel mowers roy bilt manual walk behind Courtesy of The Home Depot

  

10. Fiskars StaySharp Walk Behind Reel Mower

EASIEST TO PUSH

If your biggest concern is having enough energy to push your reel mower, the Fiskars StaySharp Walk Behind Reel Mower could be the right choice for you. It claims to be up to 60% easier to push than competing devices and well suited to general lawn maintenance jobs. The 18-inch cutting width provides sizable coverage during use and lets you choose grass cutting heights between one to four inches. Plus, the mower’s design includes inset wheels for better control and balance, an adjustable grass chute to direct cuttings and a number of ergonomic features to maximize user comfort.

fiskars lawn mower reel Courtesy of Amazon

  

What Are the Benefits of Using a Reel Mower?

If you’re not fully convinced one of the best reel mowers is for you, here are some of the top reasons to consider switching to one over a gas or battery-powered device. The standout benefits include:

  • Cleaner Cutting – One appeal of the best reel mowers is the clean, scissor-like cut they deliver. As previously mentioned, their blades spin vertically rather than horizontally, meaning each blade of grass is topped in a similar way to one another. This delivers a noticeably different and more aesthetically pleasing look to your lawn.
  • Fuel-Free Running – Investing in a device that runs off your power instead of fuel or batteries ensures you always have a way to cut your lawn. As long as you have enough energy to push it around your backyard, you can cut your grass. Forget about running out of fuel or having a battery run out before you’ve finished.
  • Reduced Soil Compaction – Because most reel mowers include weighted rollers at the back of the cutting blades, the weight of the device is more evenly spread out during the cutting process. This small addition can make a significant difference when it comes to visible soil compaction, especially when compared to weightier gas or battery-powered mowers.
  • Easy to Transport – Reel mowers are compact in size and lack complicated mechanical parts, so transporting them is easy. Whether you’re moving from your front yard to the back or going to cut a friend or close relative’s lawn, portability is definitely a plus for these compact cutters.
  • Easy to Store – In addition to making them easy to transport, reel mowers’ compact size and slim shape make them easier to store, too. Whether it’s between cuts or over the winter when it’s not being used, this handy benefit can be useful for households that are tight on inside storage space or like being able to store items on garage/shed walls.
  • Less Noise – As the majority of reel mowers have no motor, they produce far less noise during use than their fuel-powered competitors.
  

Are Reel Lawn Mowers Any Good?

This is undoubtedly the most common question people ask regarding the best reel mowers. Understandably, if you’re going to be putting your energy into driving the device instead of simply guiding a gas or battery-powered mower, you want to see noticeable results. As mentioned above, there are a wide variety of reasons to turn to a modern reel mower. These include a closer, more precise cut, reduced soil compaction, the ease of portability and storage and the lack of reliance on a finite power source. It’s also worth mentioning that many professional groundskeepers in a variety of sports, including golf, soccer and football, choose motorized reel mowers to produce the standout results you see on TV. When it comes to finding the best reel mower, a good approach is to check the wealth of accompanying ratings and reviews. All devices included on our list are tried and tested and popular with users.

  

Review: Do Sunday’s Smart Lawn Care Plans Work? I’m 100% Convinced They Do