Real Mowers Use Reel Mowers – The Pros & Cons Of Using A Reel Mower

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reel-mower.jpgThe reel mower of the 21st century — it definitely ain’t your grandad’s old rusted out, hard to push, doesn’t really work that well thing of the past.

Nope, reel mowers are the cleanest, greenest, most economically and environmentally savvy way to get that great green and nicely manicured lawn.

As with anything else, there are pros and cons.

So let’s explore them here and see if a reel mower might your next step towards a better lawn, thicker wallet, and cleaner earth.


L Hundley, Chief Gardening Evangelist at Clean Air Gardening says:

“There is a real element of pleasure to using a manual mower…Reel mowers are light, quiet, and virtually maintenance-free. The mowers are environmentally friendly, and also better for your grass.”

Wait, reel mowers are actually better for your grass?

Yup, powered rotary mowers really tear the grass, reel mowers actually cut it — like scissors.


7 Reasons To Use A Reel Mower


  1. They’re light.
  2. They’re quiet.
  3. They’re environmentally friendly.
  4. They’re better for your grass. (Rotary mowers tear the grass. Reel mowers cut the grass like scissors, leaving a fine spray of cuttings as mulch for your yard.)
  5. They’re maintenance free.
  6. They’re as easy to push as much heavier motorized mowers.
  7. They don’t blow exhaust into your face while you’re mowing.


Other Benefits To Using A Reel Mower

Just like with electric push mowers, there are a TON of benefits. Some include:

  • You get to avoid the pollution equivalent to driving 350 miles in a car.
  • You no longer have deal with the obnoxious and deafening noise.
  • You save money by never having to buy gas, oil, filters, or spark plugs again.


Of Course, There Is Always A Downside

What are some of the troubles you might encounter with a reel mower?

  • If you have many mature trees in your yard, a reel mower will bind up whenever it rolls over a branch, twig, or even a large piece of mulch.
  • Grass or weeds that are too tall will have to be passed over 2 or 3 times (but mowing at least once per week should avoid this problem).
  • It takes slightly longer to mow, due to the fact that you must overlap your cutting rows.
  • As with all push mowers (electric, reel, or gas), reel mowers are not recommended for yards over 1/2 an acre.

By the way, reel mowers have height adjustments that range between .4 to 2.8 inches. But don’t let that scare you. The cutting height chart for all of the popular grasses at Organic Lawn Care Tips clearly debunks the 3-inch myth.

In a twitter conversation about reel mowers with one of my followers and blog buds, NashVeggie said that if you keep the blades on a reel mower sharp, the results are actually better than a gas powered mower!


The Bottom Line

A reel mower is cheaper than other electric and gas powered push mowers.

It will:

  • Allow you the freedom to cut your grass at any time of day you choose.
  • Spare your health and the environment by not spewing any toxic fumes from the inefficient 2 stroke engine.
  • Save LOTS of money over the life of the mower (and immediately).
  • Give better end results.

The tradeoff is that it will take a little bit longer to mow, and you’ll have to deal with the mower binding up (which is quickly and easily fixed) if attempting to cut tall grass or weeds or if running over twigs or mulch.

With this being the lawn mowing and buying season, would you consider a reel mower as your next mower? If you already have one, how do you like it?

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