Best Reel Lawn Mowers. Buying Guide.
Here at Green Grass Mower, we understand that not everyone wants to go with riding mowers. Whether you want to save money, or just take pride in doing most of the yard work yourself, reel lawn mowers may be the solution for you. If you’re new to yard care, then you may be wondering if there is any benefit to using such an old-styled device. The truth is that reel lawn mowers are still useful, and many people all over the world use them. To learn everything you ever needed to know about reel lawn mowers, keep reading our guide below.
Recommended Reel Lawn Mower Models
Here are some of our recommended models for those looking to purchase a reel lawn mower:
American Lawn Mower Company 1204
This model is made by the American Lawn Mower company for small lawns. It has a total of five blades for cutting grass with a 14-inch deck size. This is a non-motorized model that relies on your pushing power to mow the lawn. It has quality polymer wheels with a durable 4-blade ball bearing reel, along with 8.5-inch Composite wheels. These parts help to make American Lawn Mower 1204-14 a durable reel mower that will last you for years to come. The height can be adjusted from 0.5 inches to 1.75 inches. This model is made to give you a scissor-like cut each time you decide to mow.
To top it all off, the blades are made of heat-treated alloy steel. This helps them stay sharp and durable against even the most stubborn lawns. The company also takes comfort into consideration by adding on a cushioned grip. The soft grip will allow you to mow for hours at a time without developing painfully sore hands. Best of all, this small but durable mower doesn’t have any gas emissions or noise turning your mowing experience into a more pleasant one. We do recommend this model for anyone with a clean open yard that is rather small in size.
Greenworks 16-Inch Reel Lawn Mower with Grass Catcher 25052
If you are willing to spend a bit more money for convenience, then the Greenworks 16-Inch Reel Lawn Mower may be perfect for you. To begin with, this mower comes with a handy bag attachment. This attachment catches the grass clippings as you mow. This keeps the mowing mess to a minimum, and you simply empty the bag into the trash once you finish. The 10″ front wheels and 2″ rear rollersGreenworks 16-Inch Reel Lawn Mower has a 16-inch cutting deck with three height positions for you to choose from. The mower can be adjusted between 1 1/8 inches to 2 1/4 inches to get the perfect trim for your lawn. This mower is designed to be able to tackle all types of grass.
The Greenworks 16-Inch Reel Lawn Mower has ten-inch front wheels and 2 inch rear rollers for increased movement. The handle of this mower is also made with comfortable material so that you can mow for longer. In addition, this mower only weighs 26 pounds making it a breeze to push around. The model also has foldable handles to make storage after you are done mowing easier. This is a great model for anyone who has a limited amount of storage space in their garage.
Sun Joe MJ500M 16 inch Manual Reel Mower
The SunJoe MJ500M is made to be easy to mow with and maneuver around obstacles. Because of this, the mower makes a great choice for small lawns with decorations and trees. The Sun Joe MJ500M has a 16-inch deck that can help you decrease the amount of time you spend mowing in comparison to smaller models. This mower comes with the ability to adjust the blades to four different height settings. The mower does have a maximum cutting height of 1.81 inches with five different cutting blades. The mower’s minimum cutting height comes to 0.88 inches. The blades of this mower can easily cut through tougher grass, making it perfect for thicker lawns.
In addition, the Sun Joe MJ500M comes with a grass catcher that can hold 6.6 gallons of grass clippings. This makes clean-up easier if you can mow your lawn with the large bag without stopping. When you are done simply empty the clipping into a garbage bag. To help with the durability of the mower, the deck is rustproof. The mower also has Two large 8.8-inch wheels. To top it all off, the mower has a 2-year warranty so that you can replace the Sun Joe MJ500M if issues arise.
Fiskars 17 Inch Staysharp Push Reel Lawn Mower
The Fiskars 17 Inch Staysharp Push Reel Lawn Mower has the largest deck on our list. This mower features a 17-inch deck that can easily help you tackle a standard-sized lawn. In addition, this lawnmower still doesn’t use a motor, but it is 30% easier to push than most other models. This is thanks to the smart design Fiskars used to produce this mower. To top it all off, the mower even has a higher amount of cutting power. Compared to most other reel mowers, this model can cut 50% as much grass. It also has a height range of 1.5 inches to 3.5-inches to choose from.
You should also know that the Fiskars 17 Inch Staysharp Push Reel Lawn Mower is designed to have blades that stay sharper for longer. This is thanks to the design of the mower that keep the blades from touching the grass as you mow. The grass disposal system also works to throw the grass away from your feet. The company also makes a cheap basket to catch the clippings as you mow. Best of all, the mower doesn’t need a mower to reach these amazing results. That means less time spent performing maintenance for you.
Reel Lawn Mower Overview
Reel lawn mowers are simple devices that use a push mower design with rotating blades to cut your grass. The reel lawn mowers often have a short deck and are best used for smaller lawns. While reel lawn mowers can withstand mowing a large lawn, you may find yourself mowing for quite a few hours to finish the job. You should also note that there are motorized reel lawn mowers that propel themselves. These motorized models can make your job much easier if you’re willing to pay the difference.
These mowers are typically used to model smaller size lawns as the biggest deck you can find is usually around 20-inches. If you have a huge property, then it could take several days to mow your lawn without getting fatigued successfully. In addition, some reel mowers aren’t made to maneuver around objects and the ones that have a higher price tag if you’re looking for a strong and durable mower without complicated maintenance though a reel mower will be perfect.
In short, these are simple lawnmowers made for simple lawns that don’t require a ton of work.
If you love your lawn but want to save money, then choosing a reel lawn mower will be perfect for you. Most reel lawn mowers will cost you less than $100, with many models not even hitting the $50 mark. There are some premium models that jump into the hundreds, and the motorized reel lawn mowers will usually cost you around $1000. Of course, this price can go up if you want to add on additional features to your reel mower. In addition, if you want a reel mower with increased maneuverability, then you’re going to pay a higher price.
Environmental & User Safety
If you buy a reel lawn mower without an engine, then it’s the most environmentally friendly lawn mower you can purchase. Reel lawnmowers don’t use gas or oil and put out no hazardous fumes while in use. The only energy they consume is your own and even the propel models have a smaller amount of pollution output than most standard mowers.
As for safety compared to other mowers, it’d be pretty hard to accidentally hurt yourself on a reel lawnmower. Other than the motorized models, you can’t accidentally turn on a reel mower. Unless you are pushing the mower, the blades don’t move. Reel mowers may be safer for some children thanks to this fact, but should still be stored in a safe place since the blades are reachable. If you do choose to get a motorized model, then look for added safety features like a child-proof ignition system. These systems often use a plastic key to turn the mower on to keep kids from bumping into the ignition (here are some lawn games for your little ones).
Reel Lawnmowers are incredibly durable for the most part. Most reel mowers are made out of metals that can easily withstand the bumps in your yard. There are no electronic parts to maintain, or that can go bad unless you get a motorized model. In fact, you may be able to keep a standard reel mower around for longer than any other mower type, given that you store it correctly after each use. Make sure to check the specs of the wheels and the blades to see just how long you can mow before making simple replacements.
When buying a mower for long term use, check the description to verify what materials the body is made out of. You will also want to see if there are any models with a coating that helps you avoid corrosion. If your purchasing a motorized model, then check to see if it has bumpers for shock absorption. Additionally, a motorized model may also have extra protection for the mower’s blades. A guard can keep harmful degrees like rocks from injuring your blades further.
Luckily, unless you once again get a motorized model, you won’t have any noise. These mowers are the quietest model and make little to no noise while in use. If you are sensitive to loud noise, then the reel mower may be perfect for you. If you do decide to go with a motorized model, keep in mind that the noise output can vary greatly.
Choosing a Deck Size
Picking the proper deck size for your yard can be the most important step in any lawnmower. The deck determines how much grass you can mow with each pass. The deck is the width of the blades that determines the overall swath of the mower. If you have a small deck, then the amount of grass you are cutting will decrease. To determine your perfect deck size, you will need to figure out how big your yard is. Is it nice and small, or do you have more than a couple of acres to mow? Keep in mind that a bigger deck size is also going to be directly related to the overall cost of the mower.
Likewise, you should keep in mind that the larger the deck size, the more energy it is going to take to mow your yard. This can be offset if you plan to get a motorized model that propels itself. For standard reel mowers, though, going with a large deck size may prove to be a challenge when you start to mow. On the flip side, if you have a larger property, then you are going to need to go for a bigger deck size. Most reel mowers don’t have huge sizes, to begin with, but the size of the deck will still increase or decrease the price.
When To Buy a Small Deck
If you have a tiny yard, then you may be able to get away with a smaller deck and mow your yard in a normal amount of time. In addition, smaller decks are also great for yards with trees or plenty of yard decorations. The smaller deck size will allow you to navigate around these obstacles easier while still making sure to get a clean cut. Small deck size will also mean that you need less room to store your reel mower when it’s not in use.
Another huge determining factor in deck size is the type of yard you have. Reel mowers, in general, aren’t a good choice for thick yards full of strong grass. Stubborn grass types like Bermuda can stop your mowing in its tracks, leaving you frustrated. If you do have a thick yard, then you will want to grab the biggest deck size you can find.
In addition, each reel mower will have a different amount of blades. The more blades the reel mower has, the more suited it is to cutting large amounts of grass. The lowest amount of blades a model comes with is four; if you feel this isn’t enough, then you can pick up a five-blade model. If you have tougher grass, then jump to a reel model with seven blades. While cost will also go up with the number of blades your mower has, many users will find that the price is worth it to get their yard work done faster.
Push or Propel?
Depending on how much work you are willing or can put into mowing, your yard will determine whether you get a push or a powered mower. Reel mowers come in two models, standard push and motorized. As mentioned above, the push styled mowers are much cheaper but will require you to put in much more work. The motorized models, however, will require less work out will have a much higher price tag. There are a few questions you should ask yourself when trying to pick between these two mower types.
For starters, do you get tired out easily? Pushing around a reel mower, especially if it has a large deck, can put some serious strain on your body. Keep in mind that you will probably be mowing your yard for more than a twenty-minute time period, is this something you can handle without injuring your body? What about your yard size, if you have a large yard, but still want a propelled mower it will be much easier to buy a model with an engine that can assist you while your mowing.
Next, how simple do you want your maintenance to be? Other than basic cleaning, a normal reel mower doesn’t need much care. A motorized model, on the other hand, will likely require gas or power to run. You will also need to check on the motorized part from time to time and the oil levels. Electronic parts will also give out at some point, and you will need to replace them eventually. Other than the blades, a standard reel mower isn’t going to need any major repairs.
Finally, reel mowers are incredibly cheap, attracting many buyers, but motorized ones make the price point jump back up. Are you ok paying hundreds of dollars more for a motorized model, or would you rather keep it cheap?
Next, we need to talk about a feature that rivals the deck size in importance, the height settings. Without proper height settings, you will find yourself in a very strange spot when mowing. Every yard has different mowing needs that can change from week to week, depending on many different factors. One of the common factors for height differences is the amount of rain your area is currently experiencing. Higher amounts of rain will make the grass grow more, meaning you will need a closed cut to get it down to the appropriate size. Likewise, a drought could stunt your yard growth, causing you only to need a small trim.
Most standard mowers will mow no lower than 1.5 inches, as this commonly hurts your lawn. You will want to have a good range of height settings that will cater to your lawn’s various needs. Depending on the reel mower you choose, you may find that it has standard height settings that you have to lower by hand or knobs to help you adjust the mower. You will notice that many reel mowers will have differences in how hard or easy it is to adjust the settings. Simply fold everything up and tuck it into your shed until you are ready to mow again. We do recommend this model for smaller yards as it can take quite a while to mow with a reel mower.
Mowing a Tough Lawn
If you have an especially touchy lawn, then you will want to get a reel mower with several different height levels. Many mowers can have as few height settings as four or as many settings as twelve. A reel mower with a larger amount of height settings is always preferable but will cost you a bit more money. Remember to ask about height settings when you go to buy your reel mower, if your getting your model online, then check the description to see how many different height settings the model has.
No matter what reel mower you go with, make sure always to check your lawn to see if you need adjustments. Keeping your reel mower on the lowest setting can damage or even kill your lawn
Additional Reel Lawn Mower Features to Consider
Along with the primary function to cut grass, you may find yourself needing a little extra with your reel mower. There are several options you should consider when buying both a standard and motorized reel mower. Below are some common add-ons for your reel mower.
While this isn’t as much as an option for some reel mowers, both the standard and motorized models will, of course, have more grass disposal options. Many motorized options will have small bags that you can add on for collecting the grass as you cut it. This can make the clean-up after you finish mowing much easier. Simply remove the bag each time you finish and dispose of it in the nearest trash can. Some more expensive models will also come with the option to mulch the grass as you cut.
Once again, this option applies only to motorized models. Some models are a pull-string start, while others require keys. If you are looking for a model that is harder to access for your children, then buying a mower with a key ignition may be your best bet. You can also buy a model that, as mentioned above, has a plastic key that needs to be inserted in order to turn the mower on. The key ignition models will often be more expensive, but take less energy to start up.
When you’re picking out a mower, safety features are important to consider. For starters, if you have children, then you will want to ensure they can’t accidentally turn the mower on. You will also want to buy a reel mower that has some guards in between you and the blades. For motorized models, look for reel mowers that stop mowing when you stop moving. There are a ton of safety features available that can help make your mowing experience more pleasant.
As mentioned above, reel lawn mowers are typically cheap and don’t have a lot of room for carefully swerving around your yard decorations. If you like this style of mower though, you can purchase some more expensive models that allow you more maneuvering power while you mow. Keep in mind that while reel mowers don’t have a huge deck size in general, going with a 20-inch deck over a 15-inch deck will still make it hard to move around trees.
Proper Reel Lawn Mower Care
Even with the simplicity of a standard reel lawn mower, you will still need to take care of the model to ensure it doesn’t rust away. After each time you are done using the reel mower, make sure to spray it off with a water hose. Leaving debris sitting on the mower can help wear it down faster. You will also want to avoid mowing in the rain; even though a standard reel mower doesn’t have electric parts prolonged exposure to water can quickly rust your model and cause it to deteriorate. A well made reel mower that is put up and cleaned after each use can last you for years.
If you have decided to go with a motorized model, then your care needs will increase. Motorized models will need oil checks and gas checks to ensure that they are performing properly. You will also need to check the motor after each season and do tune-ups to keep your reel mower running well. In addition, keep in mind to have a dry place to store your mower no matter what model you choose to go with.
Consumer Tips for Purchasing a Reel Lawn Mower
When buying a lawnmower, you will want to consider quite a few things before spending your hard-earned money. Lawnmowers, like any other item you can buy, can have several issues or may not be the quality you expected when you placed the order.
Below are some tips to avoid any hang-ups when you go to buy your reel lawnmower.
If you have decided to buy a reel mower online, then the reviews are important. Don’t just go off of the star rating, actually scroll down the page to read other consumers’ feedback. It’s always a good rule of thumb to check the three-star reviews as they usually highlight the good and bad of the mower model equally. This will give you a good idea of how reliable the motor is and any small hang-ups it may have. If you notice that a mower has an overwhelming amount of 5-star reviews or an extremely low score. If you see either of these problems, then you should reconsider buying that model as these are warning signs for a bad mower.
Check The Warranty
A good warranty is the first sign that a company has faith in the product they are producing. If a mower doesn’t even have a limited warranty, the chances are high that it won’t last you for an extended amount of time. Companies who use premium parts and metals can offer a warranty without taking a financial loss because they know their products will stand up to the test of time. Because of this, many mowers come with a limited warranty lifetime warranty on the frames and a three years warranty that covers the whole mower.
Buying a Used Reel Lawn Mower
You may have found a great deal on a used lawnmower. Before you commit to buying it, though, you should ask the seller to let you see it in person. This way, you can check out the mower for any defects it might have. If the seller will let you test the mower out to make sure the blades are in good condition.
Is The Company Reputable?
With the rise of cheap shopping apps, you can get almost anything for cheap. Cheap, however, doesn’t mean that the item is quality made. Reel mowers are easy to recreate and are found in online stores from out of country sellers. Make sure to thoroughly research the brand and the seller before purchasing your reel lawnmower. If you notice it’s shipping from China or the brand is hard to gather any information on, then you should pick another model.