The Art of Manliness recently published a very interesting article on the topic of push reel mowers, an old, but not forgotten, landscaping tool. The idea behind the article written by Brett McKay was very simple, it serves the purpose of showing the many benefits of owning and using a push reel mower, and, as it happens, there is a substantial number of them. Some of you might think that a push reel mower is a thing of the past and that the efficiency of a modern lawn mower can’t be easily surpassed. Keep in mind that the combination of old-school design and techniques and modern technology usually yields excellent results. Such is the case with push reel mowers and in hopes of changing your mind, we are going to tell you about these benefits and show you some of the best push reel mowers available on the market, starting from entry level models and working our way up to more high-end push reel mowers.
1 – A Healthy and Good-looking Lawn
The top of the list is reserved for the efficiency of reel push mowers. These mowers don’t cut the grass in the same way a motor lawn mower does. A standard lawn mower uses a rotary blade to chop, tear and pull the grass, leaving it slightly uneven and damaging the grass and in that way leaving it vulnerable to disease. A reel mower has the opposite and beneficial way of working, it cuts the grass cleanly as if it was cut by scissors. The lawn will always be evenly cut, and have that professional-level appearance which everybody wants out of their lawn.
2 – Easier and Safer to Use
Because of the simple mechanism of a reel push mower, it’s incredibly easy to use one. It has no motor and no components which you need to be careful around. All that is required of you is to push it across your lawn. As for the safety side of its use, there isn’t a safer type of lawn mower in the world. Accidents may and have occurred to fuel and electric powered lawn mower users. In fact, they occur quite frequently both because of careless handling and pure accidents. A lawn mower rotor can turn a simple pebble into a projectile which can cause serious injuries to you and the people around you. However, a reel push mower is incapable of such things because as soon as you stop moving the mower reel stops doing its job.
3 – Eco and Wallet Friendly
In this day and age, going green in every aspect of life is more than necessary if we want to protect our environment, and this is where a push reel mower also shines. No motor means no energy required to power it, sustainable or otherwise. Other than the physical effort you put into mowing that is. So far, the benefits of these mowers seem very sound and they will continue to be. One of the most important things about them is their modest price tags. Reel push mowers are very affordable, and when you compare them to fuel powered ones, they don’t come nowhere near them. And when you take into account that you won’t have to buy fuel to mow your lawn, a push reel mower pays for itself.
4 – Low maintenance and noise levels
This is a pretty big benefit and its self-explanatory. There just aren’t that many parts used in a reel push mower that require you to waste time around it. After every third use, check if the blades need to be sharpened and oil the gears which make the reel spin. Oh, and after several years of using it, you might want to check if the rubber wheels have gotten slick and change them if they can’t get traction. No trouble at all, right? Unlike the process of changing oil, fuel and spark plugs, along with sharpening and cleaning of a fuel powered lawn mower. And if you happen to own an electric mower with a cable, you have to check if the cable is damaged because you might get electrocuted. Yup, that can happen. One more thing that the lack of motor brings are extremely low noise levels, which can get very annoying with the motor lawn mowers. Some are more silent than others, and that depends on the design of the reel mechanism.
5 – Using a Manual Mower = Working Out
You won’t be doing yourself any favors by simply keeping the throttle of your fuel powered mower and basically having a light walk around your yard. Especially if you lead a busy life and don’t have the time to exercise frequently and properly. A manual mower would be perfect for you because you get to kill two birds with one stone. A manual landscaping tool such as this will make you work up a sweat and feel genuinely better after each mowing session. Look at it this way, you’re not mowing your lawn, you’re working out and your lawn simply mowed itself. And the heavier your push reel mower is, the better workout you will get out of it. This brings us to our list of the best push reel mowers available today.
1. Great States 204-14 Deluxe Hand Reel Push Mower
The cheapest of the cheap, the simplest of the simple and as every bit as efficient as a standard electric or fuel powered lawn mower. This push reel mower is perfect for any and all who like the benefits and the idea of using a this kind of lawn mowers but are not quite ready to commit entirely. With an alloy steel reel and bed knife blade, this mower can be your landscaping companion for years to come if you follow the aforementioned maintenance advice. Its adjustable 3 section roller allows from 1/2 inch to 1-1/2 inch cutting height which is a pretty standard height for most lawn grass types. The cutting width is 14 inches which may not be ideal for some of you because it increases the number of passes you have to make, but keep in mind that this is an entry level mower.
BUY | $69.99
2. American Lawn Mower 1204-14 Deluxe Hand Reel Mower
In many ways similar to the Great States 204-14 mower, the American Lawn Mower 1204-14 Deluxe Hand Reel Mower features 8.5 inch high impact polymer wheels and a 3-spider 1-blade reel which makes it perfect for most turf grasses. Weighing 19 pounds, this mower won’t cause you issues while handling it but its 14 inch cutting width still means that you’ll have to make a couple of additional passes, which will give it that workout factor which the light weight could eliminate. Also an entry level mower, yet it will do the job properly.
BUY | $70.99
3. Great States 415-16 Full Feature Push Reel Mower
Another excellent and affordable push reel mover from Great States. Although it does fall in this entry level category, this mower has a bit more to offer than the previous two. First of all, it has a 16 inch cutting width, which makes it a bit heavier. However, its cutting height can be adjusted from 1/2 inch to 2-3/4 inches for those of you who like more height adjustability from their mowers. It was also very well-made and it will last you a very long time due to the powder coated finished parts, which won’t rust, and the heat treated blades, which will stay sharper for a longer period of time.
BUY | $88
4. Scotts 2000-20 Classic Push Reel Mower
If you are still with us, then its time for more advanced push reel mowers, like the Scotts 2000-20 Classic Push Reel Mower. This 20 inches wide mower will make mowing your lawn a breeze. It uses rear wheels instead of adjustable rollers found in the previous three mowers, which gives it better precision when handling. It also allows for the utilization of a different height adjustment system. Its quick-snap height adjusters make 9 cutting heights possible, from 1 to 3 inches. This mower’s reel blade has five blades which ensures that the lawn is evenly cut.
BUY | $134
5. Greenworks 25072 Push Reel Mower with Grass Catcher
If your only issue with getting yourself a push reel mower is the lack of a grass catching feature, than the Greenworks 25072 Push Reel Mower is the one you need. Not all push reel mowers come with this feature and it can come in handy especially when the mower discharges grass clippings towards you and not to the front. This mower is also one of the widest ones we will show here. With a 20 inch cutting width, your lawn will look great in no time. It also has 9 adjustable heights, 1-3/4 inches to 2-3/4 inches, so that all grass types can be evenly cut. Like the Scotts 2000-20, this one also has rear wheels, which means more handling precision.
BUY | $75+
6. Brill Razorcut 38
The Brill Razorcut 38 is where the crème de la crème of push reel mowers begins. With a cutting width of 15.2 inches and cutting height from 0.7 inches to 1.8 inches, this mower does not impress at first glance. However, it features a silent cut design, making it the quietest of all the mowers here. This design also reduces friction on the blade and allows the mower to cut with extreme precision and ease. As this design increases the life of the blade, you won’t have to sharpen it for over a decade. Combine that with the sealed bearings of this mower, which require no additional maintenance, and the low maintenance benefit of all push reel mowers gets a completely new meaning. It also has an optional grass catcher attachment, if grass clippings are something you don’t want laying around your yard.
BUY | $119.99
7. Fiskars Staysharp Max Push Reel Mower
Last but not least (not by a long shot), we give you the Rolce Royce of push reel mowers. The people at Fiskars have used an old-school idea and bumped it up to modern day levels. The first thing you will notice about this mower is its inverted design; what are small rear wheels in the previous mowers are front wheels in this one. This allows you to cut even more precisely than with the rest of these mowers. Fiskars has put to good use their patent pending technology, in turn making this mower 60% easier to push across your lawn. The 18 inch cutting width is the optimal width but it gets boosted with its 1-4 inches cutting height suitable for all grass types, even very thick ones like St. Augustine. The precision-ground, hardened steel blades cut grass perfectly and that “Staysharp” in its name isn’t there just for show. Like the Brill Razorcut 38, you won’t have to worry about sharpening this mower for quite a while.
BUY | $190.99
Push reel mowers are an excellent landscaping tool to own and an even better one to use. However, you do have to keep several things in mind if you want to purchase one. If your yard is large, then you’ll probably spend a lot of time mowing it regardless of which push reel mower you have. And if your yard is bumpy all over, then another issue occurs as push reel mowers aren’t that efficient in that area. Other than that, a push reel mower is a pretty smart investment as they can be very cheap, easy to maintain and, most importantly, fun to use.
Subscribe to Jebiga for a dose of the best in gear, design, rides, tech and adventure.