Are Reel Mowers Any Good?


Queries such as do reel mowers work also comes to mind when you are need a mower especially if you don’t want to invest in rotary mowers. The simplicity of reel mowers is one of the things that attract people to them. However, there is more to reel mowers than their simple design, and they may be enough to get one hooked to them or stay away from them.

Reel mowers have also been around for quite some time now. The older versions of reel mowers were relatively heavier and harder to move around. So, some people still believe that all reel mowers possess the above features. However, that is not true as the newer versions of reel mowers on the market today are more modern in design; they are made with lightweight materials which makes them easy to move, and they possess an impressive performance.

They leave a tidy job by sniping through the grass. Reel mowers are employed in some stadium as well as golf courses on a relatively large scale to ensure that the lawn maintains a professional look. Also, reel mowers hardly pollute the environment with fumes, and they do not pose risks to the health of users and the people around.

Reel mowers don’t have motors, and this makes them relatively quiet compared to rotary mowers. The blades of the mower are the main part of the reel mower that needs to be sharpened from time to time. This reduces the cost of maintenance, unlike rotary mowers whose engine has to serviced regularly apart from the parts that also need regular maintenance.

The way the reel mower cut grasses is relatively safer, and it does not send rock particles or sand debris flying randomly; some of which can hit someone when mowing.

Do Reel Mowers Cut Better?

The answer to the above question boils down to personal preferences, and the size of the lawn that needs mowing, and how quickly you want the job to be done. Reel mowers cut grass perpendicularly, that is, from the top to the base while sniping the grass like a scissor. Rotary mowers cut grass horizontally using its blade. The way reel mowers mow lawns help the grasses retain moisture and further strengthens their resistance to insects and diseases.

Like said earlier, these tools have their advantages as well as their disadvantages. We will elaborate more on these pros and cons later in the article. However, it is important to note some distinct features of the reel mower that may not appeal to you. The size of the grasses will determine if a reel mower is ideal or it. Generally, reel mowers are designed for people who tend to their lawns regularly. The same cannot be said for lawns that have been left to grow longer over a long period because it will be relatively difficult and slow if reel mowers are used to clear the lawn.

The main reason for this drawback is the absence of a motor. Motorized mowers such as rotary mowers usually possess a reasonable amount of power, enough to clear lawns with tall grass and a high population of trees. Therefore, it is essential to note that reel mowers are designed for people who mow their lawns consistently or small lawns with little or no trees.

Your muscle and movement are the things that will power your reel mower. As you push it around, it sets to work. It can serve as the perfect tool for a good morning or evening exercise. But they are hard to move about in areas that have plenty of twigs and branches scattered around.

Reel Mower vs Rotary Mower

It is ideal to understand how both mowers, that is, rotary and reel mowers perform in comparison and contrast to each other. Both mowers are designed to mow lawns in the best way possible. Rotary mowers are generally more powerful than reel mowers, and either electricity or gas usually powers them.

The rotary mower blade spins horizontally moving from right to left. It cuts the grass to the preferred height set by the operator.

Rotary mowers are usually heavy and are suitable for overgrown lawns, large lawns, and areas with a relatively high number of twigs and branches laying around. They are fast ensuring that you don’t spend the whole day clearing grass.

However, on the downside, rotary mowers are heavier, make more noise as a result of their motor, and take more storage space. They also release harmful gases into the environment. The way they cut lawns leaves the grasses less resistant to disease and insects.

The cost of operating and maintaining rotary mowers is relatively high, especially those running on gas.

Reel mowers, on the other hand, are lightweight and easy to push around, although you will dictate these pushing. They don’t require much in terms of maintenance. However, the blades tend to get blunt frequently; that is why it is essential to keep them sharp. The sharper the blade of the reel mower, the more efficient it will be in cutting your lawn. They also keep the lawn healthy and do not compromise the defences of the lawn against insects and diseases.

Reel mowers help owners save more in terms of operating and maintenance cost. They are relatively quiet because they don’t have a motor, allowing people to use them at any time of their choice. The compactness of these tools ensures they don’t take up much storage space.

They don’t release dangerous gases into the environment, making them safe and a tool for the future in a world that wants to go green.

There are areas where reel mowers don’t match up to rotary mowers. These areas are in the size of the lawn. Reel mowers are not ideal for very large lawns, especially those with lots of twigs and branches, and trees. They are not also suitable for an overgrown lawn. You will end up spending more power, wasting your time for an undesirable result, when reel mowers are used in areas such as those listed above. The best lawns where this type of mower is suitable for are, well kept small or medium-sized lawns with moderately grown grasses.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Reel Mowers

When you are faced with questions such as, are reel mowers any good? One of the best ways to answer that is to weight the pros and cons against each other, then make a decision. This also comes handy, especially if you intend to get one yourself.

Advantages of Reel Mowers

  • No Pollution: Thanks to the absence of a motor, reel mowers do not pollute the environment. This includes noise and the release of harmful gases. Reel mowers help to reduce these pollutions. So, you can mow your lawn at any time without worrying about your neighbour, yourself, and the environment.
  • It is relatively more affordable: Reel mowers are relatively cheaper than rotary mowers whether it is powered by electricity or gas. The cost of running reel mowers is also little compared to rotary mowers that either need to be charged, plugged-in or filled with gas, all of which are not needed in a reel mower.
  • They are Safer: Reel mowers don’t send grasses and pebbles flying around like rotary mowers. The chances of an accident are higher with a rotary mower than a reel mower. That is why you should ensure that you take the necessary precaution when operating rotary mowers. The pushing action of the operator operates reel mowers; therefore, there is more control.
  • Good Results: The way reel mowers snip grass from top to bottom helps to ensure that your lawn looks neat. It is also healthy for the lawn because the grasses don’t get to lose their natural moisture. This improves the resistance of the lawn to insects and diseases.

Disadvantages of Reel Mowers

  • It is not ideal for large yards: This is mainly because the mowers work relative to your momentum. You have to push the mower yourself. This may not be a problem in a small yard, but in a larger yard, it will be quite problematic. However, this does not mean the reel mower can’t be used in such areas; the major issue is the fact that it will consume more time, and exhaust the operator. Their limitation is also extended to longer grasses as well as lawns with lots of debris on them. It will be harder and slower to push the mower over those grassers while powerful rotary mowers will clear the space with one swipe.
  • Rough Terrain: Reel mowers work excellently on lawns with an even terrain. The same cannot be said on a lawn with rough terrain. The mowers tend to stop working or slow down when they encounter ridges, bumps, etc.


You may be looking to reduce the amount of carbon you release into the environment, then getting a reel mower can help you achieve that to certain degrees because they don’t release gases that are dangerous to humans and the environment. It also a good way to get some exercise while mowing your lawn. However, you shouldn’t be considering them if you have a large lawn, or your lawn is located on rough terrain. Also, you shouldn’t be considering them if you usually leave your lawn to overgrow.

If you are not faced with any of the above limitations, reel mowers will make cheaper, healthy, and quiet option for your small lawn.