Last Updated: August 1, 2019

The Best Reel Mowers You Can Buy

Ruth Meyer
Best Reel Lawnmowers

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Are you seeking that perfectly groomed lawn? You know what I’m talking about; the trimmed green beauty everyone wants to have on their property to enjoy looking at while sipping on a cup of coffee.

Do you also want to get some exercise while keeping your environmental impact to a minimum? Then a manual reel mower is a perfect choice for you!

Technology has made its impact on lawnmowers, turning them into motorized machines, but the old school push approach is still the go-to choice for many homeowners thanks to their multiple perks that seem to overshadow the need for more power and coverage. So, if you’re planning on joining the club, we’re here to help you find the best push lawn mower you can possibly buy.

 

We compared, reviewed, and tested dozens of push reel mowers to create a list of the top 5 push lawn mowers available on the market. Coupled with our detailed buying guide, you’ll have all the information you need to make the ideal investment. So let’s get rolling!

Kicking off our list with a solid option, a classic reel lawnmower manufactured by a long-established company with over 120 years of experience, the American Lawn Mower Company specializes in manual push lawnmowers. This model is exactly what you want if you’re looking for a simple yet reliable good reel lawnmower.

First, we have 8.5 inches composite wheels moving a reel with 4 blades made of high-quality heat-treated steel alloy to ensure their durability and sharpness for a long time. Those blades offer a clean-cut similar to a scissor action use after use.

The cutting width is 14 inches, enough to handle small-scaled jobs but definitely not the widest compared to other models. The cutting height is adjustable from 1 inch to 1.75 inches, a bit of a disappointment regarding the maximum height.

This lawnmower can take on most types of grass, including bluegrass, ryegrass, fescue, as well as grass mixed with weeds or crabgrass. The assembly is rather simple and requires no tools. If you like straightforward designs coupled with a decent price, the American Push Lawn Mower may be just what you need.

Pros

  • Tough blades
  • Little noise
  • No-tool assembly
  • Works with a variety of grass types
  • Easy to maneuver at 20 pounds
  • Affordable

 

Cons

  • Maximum cutting height at 1.75 inches
  • 14-inch cutting width may be too narrow for bigger yards
  • Doesn’t handle fences very well
  • May get stuck on thicker grass

Next up is a mower that combines convenience as well as coverage. The Remington RM3100 push reel mower is ultra-lightweight, making it a breeze to move across your yard that even a kid can use it without problems.

The cutting width is full 18 inches, which is suitable for finishing all average yard jobs in fewer passes. The blades are sharp and robust for a clean and even cut.

You can’t miss the star feature of the Remington push mower, the 2-in-1 mulching ability that allows you to collect clippings as you’re cutting the grass. The cutting height is also adjustable anywhere between 0.75 inches and 2.5 inches.

The handle has a neat ergonomic design with a comfortable foam grip. There are two sets of wheels, 6 inches at the back and 10 inches at the front. It’s debatable whether this structure actually helps in maneuverability because sometimes it does get kind of awkward to steer.

All in all, there are many plus points in favor of the Remington RM3100, including a fair price, deeming it worth the try.

Pros

  • Dual-action – cuts grass and collects clippings
  • Super lightweight – only 13 pounds
  • 18 inch wide cutting path is perfect for any homeowner
  • Dual-lever height adjustment
  • Comfortable grip

Cons

  • Can be too unstable to maneuver
  • Doesn’t do well on uneven ground

Are you into the whole retro look of push mowers? Well, you’re in luck! The Great States reel lawn mower is a perfect match, giving that traditional feel, red color and all.

Once again, this lawnmower is equipped with five blades made of quality, heat-treated alloy steel to preserve their sharpness for as long as possible. Similar to other push mowers, the slicing action they provide is a lot healthier for your lawn than the tearing effect of powered mowers.

The mowing width on this machine is a decent 14 inches, nothing too big but just enough for small lawns. The height settings are adjustable from a minimum of 0.5 inches to a maximum of 1.75, giving you a bit of a range, but not quite what other mowers can do in our list.

The maneuverability of the Great States push lawn mower is great.  It is a light 21-pound weight with 8.5 inches composite wheels, as well as a T shaped handle. All those features contribute to how easy it is to move and manage this lawnmower. Add in the reasonable price of this unit, and you should have a solid choice to fall back on.

Pros

  • Minimalist design
  • 5 heat-treated alloy steel blades
  • T-style handle adds more control
  • Cuts as short as 0.5 inches

Cons

  • Doesn’t work with all grass types
  • Maximum cutting height of 1.75 inches

The Fiskars StaySharp reel mower represents the high-end of the quality spectrum in the world of push lawnmowers. It comes in packing numerous features for that extra mile in performance as well as convenience.

Right off the bat, you’ll notice the significant difference in weight compared to other mowers on the list at over 50 pounds. However, the folks at Fiskars understand and hence, the InertiaDrive system was designed to make it up to 60% easier to push than other lawnmowers.

The blades are differentiated. This manual mower utilizes the StaySharp system which reduces contact between the blades and any other surface or object other than grass.  The results are longer sharpness, reduced wear, and good reel performance over the years.

One of the handiest features of the Fiskars manual reel lawn mower is the presence of inset wheels.  You’ll gain access to those stubborn turns and zones up against the foundations and borders. The cutting width of 18 inches is a fitting size for small to medium-sized yards. You’ll also find the 1 to 4 inches adjustable height to be very useful in cutting various lengths of grass.

Last but not least, the disposal mechanism of this push lawnmower, which is a reversible chute that you can position to shoot clippings forward, backward, or downward, so you’re in total control of the discharge.

The Fiskars StaySharp reel mower may be too pricey for some people, but the quality you receive in return totally makes up for the money.

Pros

  • Easy to maneuver – claims to be 60% easier to push
  • Adjustable height from 1 inch to 4 inches
  • StaySharp blade system allows for more precision and long-lasting sharpness
  • 18-inch cutting width
  • Inset wheels to deal with tricky edges next to foundations and fences
  • InertiaDrive technology introduces a higher cutting power for thick plants
  • Multi-directional reversible grass chute

Cons

  • On the expensive side
  • Much heavier than competitor push mowers at 51.7 pounds

Wrapping up our list, we couldn’t sign off without mentioning the Scotts Classic push lawnmower. It’s a great balance between simplicity and user-friendliness, making it the right choice for many people.

The five blades made of heat-treated alloy steel are strong and built to stay. The 20-inch cutting width can take care of all your home lawn needs in less time and effort.

The practical “Quick-snap” feature lets you swiftly switch between 1 to 3 inches range of cutting height, a maximum value that’s not very common among push lawnmowers. The extra set of tracking wheels adds extra control and maneuverability across the grass.

This machine is not too heavy, weight 34 pounds, enough to be pushed rather comfortably. What might raise some concerns is the quality of materials used in manufacturing parts other than the essential blades, like the wheels or handle, which seem to lack in the durability department.

Pros

  • 5 dependable steel blades
  • Sizable 20-inch cutting width
  • 10-inch dual tracking wheels for extra control and maneuverability
  • Quickly adjustable cutting height between 1-3 inches
  • Cushioned ergonomic handle

Cons

  • Bolts on handle tend to loosen with time
  • Not great at edge trimming

How does a Push Reel Lawn Mower Work?

Let’s start by breaking down the name. “Push” refers to the power source that operates the mower, aka you. As you push your reel mower, the motion of the wheels causes the blades to turn and cut the grass, a pretty necessary yet useful process.

On the contrary to gas or electric lawnmowers, where the grass is ripped or torn, push lawn mowers slice through the grass in a scissor-like manner. This is ultimately better for the recovery of your grass from getting their top half chopped off.

What Makes A Quality Reel Lawn Mower?

When you’re spending hard-earned money, you don’t want to go in blindly and buy any random lawnmower. You want the best reel lawn mower for your cash, so we’ll be discussing some factors that you should consider to make the ideal choice.

Maneuverability

What you want to take into account here is the actual weight of the mower itself and how easy can you move it across your lawn.

A manual mower that’s lighter in weight is more convenient to maneuver in principal, but in most cases, the lightness is usually a result of a poor wheel design which makes the lawnmower too unstable and the whole pushing action more difficult.

Similarly, a bulky lawnmower would be a pain to push as the extra weight will make it harder to budge.

Ideally, you’re looking for a lawnmower that’s not too light nor too heavy, just down the middle of the road so you can swiftly push it while having it hold its ground. You want less bumping and more even cutting. Keep in mind that you’ll also have to transfer it out and back into your garage, so you don’t need the burden of unnecessary weight.

Cutting Height

This particular feature piques the interest of lots of customers shopping for a push lawnmower, as it should you too! This is because the cutting height is adjustable, and it’s how you get to choose at what height you want your mower to be cutting the grass.

If you look at your machine’s description you’ll find this value represented by two numbers; a bottom and a top number. The farther these two values are, the more variety of length you can choose. Some lawn mowers will let you go as short as 0.5 inches or as long as 4 inches.

Keep in mind two things: first, if you don’t typically mow your lawn too frequently, then you’re better off picking a machine with as tall a cutting height as possible because average push lawn mowers don’t have the best reputation of dealing with tall grass. Second, make sure the switch mechanism between height settings is simple and quick.

Cutting Width

The cutting width refers to how wide of a patch the lawnmower will trim in a single trail. What you want to consider here is the size of your lawn. If you have a large yard and you pick a mower with a cutting width that’s too small, you’ll be forced to go over the same area multiple times, which of course, means more time getting the job down.

For big lawns, a lawnmower with a cutting width around 20 inches would be a good idea. However, if you’re working with a small yard, something close to 14 or 16 inches would do just fine.

Also, don’t forget to account for the design of your lawn as well as your lawnmower and how well they mesh together. If you have any fences or foundations, then you want a mower with inset wheels to be able to really cut right up against edges for a tidy and evenly cut look.

Blade Quality

The blades of a push lawn mower are the core of its work since they do the actual trimming. Therefore, blade quality should be of the highest importance.

You want to keep your mower for a long time, and premium blades will guarantee you exactly that. Look for blades made of tough materials with the ability to retain their sharpness for years ahead. Steel blades are a solid choice to ensure durability as well as efficiency.

Disposal System

You know the drill; you push the lawnmower, it cuts the grass, you get yourself a nice looking stretch of green, but what about all the grass clippings?

The mechanism by which mowers get rid of cutoffs isn’t the same. Some types have collection bags that the blades are funneled into. Other models will shoot off the clippings in a chosen direction, and some just let the grass fall to the ground to wither.

The last type surely doesn’t leave your lawn looking the prettiest, but it’s the cheapest option if you’re sticking to a tight budget. The bag attachment is a neat choice, but it might give you problems staying in place as it gets filled and weighed down. Remember – you are the power source.

Type of Grass

Knowing the type of grass you’re working with helps you make a better decision regarding the most suitable push lawnmower. Specific blades are better fitting for thicker or thinner grass fibers.

Slope Handling

Let’s face it, not every homeowner has a perfectly even straight yard, sometimes lawns are sloped and bumpy with grooves here and there.

This is why a reel mower that’s capable of cutting grass at different angles can be very handy trimming such yards if you’re looking for tight results.

Why Should You Buy A Push Lawn Mower?

Before making any type of investment, you have to ask yourself why are you getting this product? What advantages does it have to offer? Buying a push lawn mower is no different, so here are some points to help you decide whether or not this machine is right for you.

Low Maintenance

One of the greatest perks of push lawn mowers is the low demand for maintenance and cleaning, not to mention how much simpler they actually are to handle than electric or gas-powered mowers.

 

The absence of electric or gas-powered components eliminates the risk of something coming to life while you have your hand close to the blades. You also won’t have to waste any time emptying and refilling oil or gas tanks which is pretty convenient.

The only real maintenance you’ll be doing is the occasional blade sharpening to restore their performance as good as new. As far as cleaning goes, you can use a hard-bristled brush after detaching the blades and any other grass collecting accessories. For maximum safety, make sure you’re wearing gloves to avoid accidental scrapes or cuts.

On the Hush Side

Virtual silence is one of the noted advantages of push lawn mowers over electric or gas-powered mowers. While the latter gas type is notorious for how noisy it gets, getting your neighbors from houses away to complain, the electric models aren’t whisper quiet either.

Reel mowers are the complete opposite. They’re pretty much silent.  Some people even find their low munching sound to be somewhat calming.

Budget-friendly

Let’s face it – reel mowers are extremely inexpensive versus other mowers.  You pay for it in time and effort, not cash.

 

Moreover, there’s no additional cash to spend on gas, oil, or electricity bills as the only fuel required to run push mowers is your muscle power.

Like any other product, you’ll find pricey brands, but rest assured that whatever your budget is, we’ve got something to suit your range on our list.

Workload

If you don’t know exactly what type of lawnmower is enough to take care of your house yard needs, look no further! Because, well, you’re already there.

Push lawn mowers are the ideal choice for handling any small to medium lawn jobs. They’re sufficient for most homeowners with their average grass cutting requirements.

No Pollution

Another top reason for you to consider purchasing a push reel mower is the fact that they’re super eco-friendly.

Push lawn mowers don’t produce any harmful emissions or vapors and they use clean energy to run, not gas, oil, nor electricity. All in all, zero pollution!

Exercise in Disguise

Yes, you read it correctly, push lawn mowers do get you to exercise without you even realizing it, and who doesn’t need that in their busy life? I know I do!

Think about it, you’re walking back and forth, you’re pushing a weight, and you’re working some of those muscles, so, you’re cutting your grass all the while catching a nice light to moderate workout.

Healthier for the Grass

Last but not least, using a push mower is rather healthier for your grass. As we mentioned before, the way push lawnmowers work their blades is similar to a scissor mechanism. This leaves your delicate grass undamaged with a clean-cut which allows for healthier recovery.

How To Sharpen a Push Lawn Mower’s Blades?

We previously talked about the minimal maintenance needed by a push reel mower. Unlike other gas or electric mowers, with push lawn mowers, you don’t have to worry about maintenance being too complicated or too frequent.

The upkeep of a push mower entirely revolves around sharpening its blades when the time comes. Under average use, the edges of these blades don’t dull easily nor quickly, thanks to the scissor-like clipping motion of the blade action. Sure, hitting a few pebbles here and there is inevitable, but this doesn’t normally have any noticeable effect on the blades’ sharpness, which should last for quite a while.

Fast forward several years ahead, the mower’s blades have seen their fair share of thick twigs, rocks, and curbs and these rough contacts have finally started to take their toll on the blades, causing them to lose their slice. You’ll begin to notice a lag in your machine’s run – it’s not moving as smoothly as it used to. Consider this is an alarm for you to check the alignment of the lawnmower and check whether or not it needs to be adjusted.

If all is well aligned but the overall performance is still lacking, then sharpening your blades is due. Now, you can choose between two methods: using a back-lapping sharpening kit or a power drill and a sharpening tool.

Purchasing a back-lapping sharpening kit is probably the easiest way to get the job done. This kit comes with a handle plus some sharpening compound. You need to attach the included handle to the driving gear on your push mower; then you’ll need a paintbrush to apply the sharpening mixture to all the blades.

After coating the blades, you’re only left with the task of cranking the mower in reverse direction, so that the edges are allowed to scrape each other down, restoring their original sharp touch. The sole downside to this method is that you’ll have to break a sweat as you manually crank the handle to spin the mower’s blades.

Next up, using a power drill and a sharpening attachment that fits onto the drill and operates just like a polishing brush attachment would. To sharpen the blades, pull the trigger on your power drill and run the sharpening tool along the edges of the blades so you’re filing them to a sharper state. If you’re planning on going with this method, you should either remove the blade reel or tightly secure it before sharpening, so you avoid any accidental injuries.

All the maintenance you’ll be doing is pretty much summed up in blade sharpening. Even so, most push mowers are equipped with top-notch quality sturdy blades that are designed to keep their sharp edges for many years. However, it’s best if you make the sharpening process an annual habit to guarantee a steady sleek mowing performance. Each time you’re done sharpening the blades, apply a thin coat of vegetable oil over them. This will help protect your cutting surface from rust and corrosion, and at the same time, won’t leave behind harmful residue on your grass.

Wrap Up

When investing hard-earned money in any tool, you want it to do as much as possible and last as long as possible. This is why the Remington RM3100 Push Lawn Mower is the winner in my book. It’s durable, light to push, and packs an 18-inch mowing path that gets my lawn done and ready in record time!

However, if you’re on a bit of a budget and you feel like saving some extra cash, you won’t have to compromise on the quality thanks to the great  American Push Lawn Mower which offers high efficiency at an affordable cost.

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