Gardening tools

How to choose the best reel lawn mowers in 2024?

Reel lawn mowers, also known as manual or push mowers, are traditional lawn care tools that utilize a rotating cylinder of blades to cut grass. Unlike gas or electric-powered mowers, reel mowers are entirely human-powered, relying on the operator’s push to drive the blades.

As the mower moves forward, the rotating blades trap and cut the grass against a fixed cutting bar, resulting in a clean and precise cut. Reel mowers are typically lightweight, quiet, and environmentally friendly, making them a popular choice for eco-conscious homeowners.

Importance of reel lawn mowers for large and small yards

Reel lawn mowers offer several benefits that make them particularly well-suited for maintaining large and small yards:

  1. Efficiency: Despite being manually operated, reel mowers can cover large areas efficiently, especially models with wider cutting widths. With proper technique and regular maintenance, reel mowers can mow large yards just as effectively as gas or electric mowers.
  2. Environmental friendliness: Reel mowers operate without gas or electricity, producing zero emissions and minimizing their environmental impact. For homeowners with expansive lawns, using a reel mower can significantly reduce carbon footprint and contribute to a healthier environment.
  3. Quiet operation: Unlike gas-powered mowers, which emit loud noises during operation, reel mowers operate quietly. This is advantageous for homeowners with large yards, as it allows them to mow their lawns without disturbing neighbors or disrupting the peacefulness of their surroundings.
  4. Low maintenance: Reel mowers have fewer moving parts compared to gas or electric mowers, resulting in lower maintenance requirements. They don’t require oil changes, spark plug replacements, or engine tune-ups, saving homeowners time and money in the long run.
  5. Precision cutting: Reel mowers deliver a clean and precise cut, thanks to their scissor-like action. This promotes healthier grass growth and reduces the likelihood of brown tips or uneven patches in the lawn, resulting in a more attractive and well-manicured yard.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Reel Lawn Mower

Cutting Width

  • The cutting width refers to the width of grass that the mower can cut in a single pass.
  • For large yards, a wider cutting width is generally preferred as it reduces the number of passes required to mow the entire lawn.
  • Reel mowers typically range in cutting width from 14 inches to 20 inches, with wider widths being more suitable for larger yards.

Cutting Height Adjustment

  • Adjustable cutting height allows you to customize the length of your grass according to your preferences and seasonal conditions.
  • Look for a reel mower with multiple height settings to accommodate different grass types and growth patterns.
  • For large yards, a mower with easy-to-use height adjustment mechanisms can save time and effort when switching between cutting heights.

Durability and Build Quality

  • Durability is essential for a reel mower intended for use in large yards, where it will encounter varying terrain and grass conditions.
  • Choose a mower made from high-quality materials such as steel or aluminum for long-lasting performance.
  • Consider the overall construction, including the strength of the cutting blades, frame, and wheels, to ensure the mower can withstand frequent use and rough terrain.

Ease of Maneuverability

  • Maneuverability is crucial, especially for large yards with obstacles such as trees, flower beds, or garden borders.
  • Lightweight mowers are generally easier to maneuver, but ensure that lightweight construction doesn’t compromise durability.

Grass Catcher Capacity

  • If you prefer to collect grass clippings for easier cleanup and a tidier lawn, consider the grass catcher capacity of the mower.
  • Larger grass catcher capacity means fewer stops to empty the clippings, which can be beneficial for mowing large yards efficiently.
  • Some reel mowers come with detachable grass catchers that are easy to remove and empty, while others may have built-in collection systems.

Price and Value for Money

  • Consider your budget and the overall value offered by the mower in terms of features, performance, and durability.
  • While reel mowers are generally more affordable than gas or electric mowers, higher-priced models may offer additional features or higher build quality.
  • Compare prices and read reviews to ensure that you’re getting the best value for your money based on your specific needs and preferences.

Additional Features

  • Look for any additional features that may enhance your mowing experience, such as adjustable handlebars, ergonomic designs, or cushioned grips.
  • Features like an adjustable handlebar can accommodate users of different heights, reducing strain during prolonged use.
  • Ergonomic designs can improve comfort and reduce fatigue, particularly important for mowing large yards.
  • Consider any other features that may be important to you, such as a removable grass catcher, folding handle for compact storage, or a warranty for peace of mind.

Top Reel Lawn Mowers in 2024

American Lawn Mower Company 1815-18 18-Inch 5

Built for durability and efficiency, this reel mower by American Lawn Mower Company is designed for large yards, delivering a wide 18-inch cutting swath. Perfect for eco-conscious homeowners looking for precise cutting without the hassle of gas or electricity.

  • Pros:
    • Wide 18-inch cutting swath reduces mowing time for large yards.
    • Five-blade system ensures a precise and clean cut.
    • Adjustable cutting height for customized lawn maintenance.
    • Durable construction built to last through multiple seasons.
    • Environmentally friendly, no gas or electricity required.
  • Cons:
    • May be heavier and require more effort to push compared to smaller models.
    • Not ideal for extremely thick or tall grass.
Buy at Amazon

Fiskars StaySharp Max Reel Mower, 18 Inch

The Fiskars StaySharp Max Reel Mower is the ideal choice for environmentally conscious gardeners seeking maintenance-free cutting. With its StaySharp cutting system, it’s perfect for medium to large yards, delivering powerful performance without the need for blade sharpening.

  • Pros:
    • StaySharp cutting system eliminates the need for blade sharpening, reducing maintenance.
    • Wide 18-inch cutting width for efficient mowing of large yards.
    • Adjustable cutting height to suit different grass lengths.
    • InertiaDrive reel technology offers enhanced cutting power, even in tough conditions.
    • Eco-friendly operation with zero emissions.
  • Cons:
    • Higher initial cost compared to some other reel mowers.
    • Requires some assembly out of the box.
Buy at Amazon

Sun Joe MJ504M Manual Reel Mower with Grass Catcher, 16 Inch

The Sun Joe MJ504M Manual Reel Mower is designed to provide efficient and eco-friendly mowing for small to medium-sized yards. With its 16-inch cutting width and included grass catcher, it’s perfect for homeowners who want a tidy lawn without the hassle of gas or electricity.

  • Pros:
    • Environmentally friendly, no emissions.
    • Quiet operation.
    • Efficient cutting with adjustable height.
    • Includes grass catcher for easy cleanup.
    • Low maintenance.
  • Cons:
    • Best for smaller yards.
    • Requires physical effort to operate.
    • Grass catcher may have limited capacity.
    • Not ideal for tall or thick grass.
    • Some assembly required.
Buy at Amazon

Scotts Outdoor Power Tools 2000-20S 20-Inch 5-Blade Classic

The Scotts Outdoor Power Tools reel mower combines classic design with modern efficiency. With its wide 20-inch cutting width and ergonomic handle, it’s perfect for tackling large yards with ease. Ideal for homeowners who prefer the simplicity and reliability of traditional reel mowers.

  • Pros:
    • Wide 20-inch cutting width for faster mowing of large areas.
    • Five-blade system provides a clean and precise cut.
    • Adjustable cutting height to accommodate different grass lengths.
    • Ergonomic handle with cushioned grip for comfortable operation.
    • Durable construction for long-lasting performance.
  • Cons:
    • May require more effort to push compared to smaller models.
    • Not suitable for very tall or dense grass without multiple passes.
Buy at Amazon

Great States 415-16 16-Inch 5-Blade

Lightweight and maneuverable, the Great States 415-16 reel mower is perfect for smaller to medium-sized yards. Its efficient cutting performance and quiet operation make it ideal for urban and suburban environments, where noise and emissions are a concern.

  • Pros:
    • Lightweight and maneuverable design for ease of use.
    • Five-blade system ensures efficient cutting.
    • Adjustable cutting height for customizable lawn care.
    • Quiet operation and zero emissions.
    • Affordable price point.
  • Cons:
    • Narrower 16-inch cutting width may require more passes for larger yards.
    • Not suitable for very tall or thick grass without additional effort.
Buy at Amazon

Comparison of the Top 5 Reel Lawn Mowers

Cutting Performance

  • American Lawn Mower Company 1815-18: Wide 18-inch cutting swath and precise five-blade system ensure efficient cutting performance.
  • Fiskars StaySharp Max: StaySharp cutting system offers maintenance-free operation and powerful cutting performance.
  • Great States 415-16: Efficient cutting with a five-blade system and 16-inch cutting width, suitable for smaller to medium-sized yards.
  • Scotts Outdoor Power Tools 2000-20S: Wide 20-inch cutting width and five-blade system provide clean and precise cutting performance.
  • Sun Joe MJ504M: Offers efficient cutting with a five-blade system and 16-inch cutting width, suitable for small to medium-sized yards.

Maneuverability

  • American Lawn Mower Company 1815-18: Smooth-rolling wheels and ergonomic design enhance maneuverability, suitable for large yards.
  • Fiskars StaySharp Max: Ergonomic handle and lightweight design ensure easy maneuverability.
  • Great States 415-16: Lightweight and maneuverable design make it ideal for smaller to medium-sized yards.
  • Scotts Outdoor Power Tools 2000-20S: Ergonomic handle and wide cutting width offer good maneuverability, suitable for large yards.
  • Sun Joe MJ504M: Lightweight and maneuverable, suitable for small to medium-sized yards.

Durability

  • American Lawn Mower Company 1815-18: Durable construction ensures long-lasting performance, suitable for frequent use in large yards.
  • Fiskars StaySharp Max: High-quality materials and innovative design result in a durable and reliable mower.
  • Great States 415-16: Sturdy construction for long-lasting durability.
  • Scotts Outdoor Power Tools 2000-20S: Built to withstand frequent use and rough terrain, offering reliable performance.
  • Sun Joe MJ504M: Solid construction for durability and longevity, suitable for regular use in small to medium-sized yards.

Grass Collection Efficiency

  • American Lawn Mower Company 1815-18: Does not come with a grass catcher.
  • Fiskars StaySharp Max: Does not come with a grass catcher.
  • Great States 415-16: Does not come with a grass catcher.
  • Scotts Outdoor Power Tools 2000-20S: Does not come with a grass catcher.
  • Sun Joe MJ504M: Includes a grass catcher for easy cleanup and maintenance.

Value for Money

  • American Lawn Mower Company 1815-18: Offers good value for its durable construction and cutting performance.
  • Fiskars StaySharp Max: Higher initial cost but offers long-term value with maintenance-free operation.
  • Great States 415-16: Affordable price point makes it a budget-friendly option for smaller yards.
  • Scotts Outdoor Power Tools 2000-20S: Provides good value for its wide cutting width and durability.
  • Sun Joe MJ504M: Offers good value with its included grass catcher and efficient cutting performance.

Some frequently questions

Are Reel Mowers Better For Your Lawn?
Yes, they are. Reel mowers provide a clean cut like a pair of scissors, which is gentler on the grass compared to the tearing motion of rotary mowers. This helps the grass heal faster and retain moisture better.

Are Reel Mowers The Quietest Lawn Mowers?
Indeed, reel mowers are very quiet since they have no motor. This allows you to mow your lawn without disturbing your neighbors, even during early mornings or evenings

Can You Cut Tall Grass With a Reel Mower?
Reel mowers are best suited for well-manicured lawns. They can struggle with tall grass, so it’s recommended to maintain a regular cutting schedule. If the grass gets too tall, you may need to make multiple passes.

Can You Cut Wet Grass With a Reel Mower?
It’s not ideal to cut wet grass with a reel mower as it can clog the blades and be difficult to push. For the best results, mow when the grass is dry

Do Reel Mowers Work On Uneven Ground?
Reel mowers can work on uneven ground, but they are more effective on flat surfaces. If your lawn is uneven, you might need to go over some areas more than once to achieve an even cut

Conclusion

  • If you prioritize cutting performance and durability and are willing to manage grass clippings manually, the American Lawn Mower Company 1815-18 or the Scotts Outdoor Power Tools 2000-20S are excellent choices.
  • For those seeking maintenance-free operation and long-term value, the Fiskars StaySharp Max is worth the investment.
  • Homeowners with small to medium-sized yards who prioritize grass collection and eco-friendliness should consider the Sun Joe MJ504M.
  • Budget-conscious individuals with smaller yards may find the Great States 415-16 to be a practical and affordable option.

In the other hand, we recomend you to consider the best electric lawn mower in 2024.

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