Which Is The Best Reel Mower for 2019?

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Maybe you have a small yard or patch of grass and don’t need a more powerful mower. Or maybe you want to help protect our environment and don’t mind a little elbow grease when cutting your grass.

You may want to consider a manual reel mower.

Push reel mowers are fairly inexpensive, don’t require any gas to buy or store, require very little maintenance and no batteries to charge.


Quick look: here are the best reel mowers in 2019:


How I Rated The Mowers

In order to provide you with the best information, I left no stone and grass blade unturned to provide you with a great list of choices for reel lawn mowers.

I read hundreds of reviews from all over the Internet – from Amazon, eBay, Home Depot, Lowes, etc. – plus the manufacturer’s pages for Fiskars, Great States, American Lawn Mower, Earthwise, and Scotts.

After thoroughly reading both the positive and the negative reviews, I chose 5 push reel mowers that among the best in the field.

Once the reel mowers were selected, I considered each model individually.

  • What are its pros and cons?
  • What are its average ratings from customers?
  • How reliable is this mower?
  • Does it come with a warranty?
  • Are there any unique features displayed by this mower?
  • How much does it cost, and does its special features and performance rate a higher price tag?

Reliability (Warranty)

It’s important to buy a product with a warranty. All of the mowers I choose have at least a 1 year warranty, some even longer.

Height Adjustment

A necessary feature of any good mower – the mowers I picked have adjustments ranging from .5″ to 4″.

Cutting Width

Reel lawn mowers are available in different widths which range from 14″ to 20″. The wider your reel mower is, the faster it will mow. A 14″ mower will cut your lawn about 30 times slower than a 20″ mower.

Quality of Cut

Several factors may affect the quality of cut, including sponginess of the turf, excessive thatch, or if the user tries to cut off an inordinate amount of grass height at one time.

The lower the cut height, the more probable that you might experience some of the following factors that might affect the quality of cut:

  • Reel or traction speed or cutting unit drop-speed
  • Tire pressure or engine governed speed
  • Reel sharpness and bed knife angle and sharpness
  • Cutting unit down-pressure setting or counterbalance
  • Height of the cut

Ease of Use

A reel mower does not only have superior cutting ability; it is very easy to use.

It starts up whenever you do – no rope to pull, no cord to plug in, no oil or gas to worry about, and no idle to adjust.

A reel mower is lightweight (usually weighing between 19-35 pounds) and is a snap to push or store.

Why Buy a Reel Lawn Mower?

Reel lawn mowers have many fans – eco-friendly environmentalists, those people who love exercise, economical shoppers, and those people who hate noise and/or the smell of gasoline.

There are many reasons to purchase a real lawn mower:

  • Economic – You can buy a high quality reel mower for around $60-$150 – depending on the features you want.
  • Superior cutting ability – A reel mower provides an even, clean cut which seals grass blades to keep out any disease organisms and holds in moisture at the same time.
  • Yields natural mulch – A reel mower disperses clippings via a fine spray that decomposes quickly (no clumping is involved). The clippings can be left safely on the lawn, and provide natural fertilizer.
  • Safety – Reel mowers don’t throw out debris or rocks. They start when you start and stop when you stop.
  • Appeals to many types of users – female, male, suburban, urban, old, young, all income levels, exercise enthusiasts and anyone who is environmentally aware.
  • Nostalgia – Reel mowers bring back memories of times that were simpler.
  • Fitness – A reel mower burns the same amount of calories per hour as downhill skiing, tennis, or low impact aerobics (approximately 400-450 calories)

Pros

  • Low-cost, dependable mowers with very few maintenance costs.
  • Pollution-free – No gas, no engine, no tune-ups, so it won’t be degrading the air quality.
  • Quiet and safe – You don’t need to worry about waking up the neighbors early in the morning.
  • Low maintenance – No spark plugs to replace, no filter that needs cleaning, no oil that needs to be checked or replaced.
  • Lightweight alloys and plastics have decreased the weight of these mowers considerably.
  • Reel mowers start up every single time!
  • A reel mower is better for the health of the grass, unlike rotary mowers which rip off the tips of grass blades and makes them more exposed to diseases. Your reel mower will snip the grass tips and leave healthy trimmings to turn into mulch in the yard.
  • Reel mowers cut shorter and don’t disturb the surface of the soil, and your lawn will be much less welcoming for weeds to grow.
  • Reel lawn mowers are more maneuverable than power lawnmowers.
  • It’s more aesthetically pleasing to use a reel lawn mower. The smell of fresh cut grass (without oil fumes and gas smells mixed in) can be pleasantly intoxicating. It’s so quiet that you will still be able to hear the kids playing or the birds singing.

Cons

  • If you have a lot of trees and twigs in your yard, this mower might not be for you. You’ll have to rake and pick up twigs before mowing.
  • Although many of the newer models are more lightweight, they will still give you and your muscles a good workout.
  • This machine is human-powered, and not the best choice for people with energy or strength deficits or other disabilities.
  • Most reel lawn mowers will need to have their blades sharpened about once a season – but that is true of any mower.
  • Rocks can frequently chip mower blades.
  • Uneven ground can be difficult for a reel mower.
  • You’ll need to trim around sidewalks more if you have a reel mower since they’re set lower to the ground and won’t go over stone paths or sidewalk edges like power mowers can.

Difference Between Cheap and Expensive Models

As with most products, the more you spend, the more features you will get. The same holds true with reel mowers. Less expensive models generally have cheaper components.

Although my top choice is also one of the cheapest on the market. It is a GREAT product but doesn’t have many extra features.

In my opinion, owners of reel mowers, just want something simple that works well with little maintaince. If you need more features, you may want to step up to a self propelled mower.

Best Selling & Top Rated Models

  • American Lawn Mower
  • Great States
  • Fiskars
  • Earthwise
  • Scotts
  • GreenWorks
  • Gardena
  • Husqvarna
  • Sun Joe

How Much Should I Expect To Pay?

The mowers below are normally priced between $50 and $200. It’s hard to get a better cut to price value than with a reel mower.


Reel Mower Reviews

1) American Lawn Mower 1204-14 Push Reel Mower

American Lawn Mower 1204-14 Push Reel Mower

Likes:

  • Just push to start – No cords, keys, or buttons to remember
  • Easy storage – Just hang it on the wall
  • Quiet, engineless, and won’t ever disturb the neighbors

Dislikes:

  • Large weeds and small twigs get caught up in the blades, and you’ll need to stop mowing and remove them
  • Non-adjustable handle

The American Lawn Mower 1204-14 features 8 1/2″ tall impact wheels, a 14″ cutting width, and alloy steel construction.

This very economical machine weighs only 19 pounds, is excellent for cutting very narrow turf strips alongside sidewalks, and cuts each blade precisely (like using scissors).

My pick for the best reel mower!


2) Great States 304-14 Reel Lawn Mower

Great States 304-14 Reel Lawn Mower

Likes:

  • Wheel height adjusts to 3 positions
  • Five heat-treated blades stay sharp longer
  • Quiet and environmentally friendly

Dislikes:

  • Needs lubrication before each use
  • Narrow model, so the number of passes across the yard is increased

The Great States 304-14 features a steel unbreakable side plate, a tempered alloy bed knife blade, and steel reel, cushioned handle grips, a 1/2″ to 1 3/4″ adjustable cutting height, and easy, lightweight maneuverability.

Simple to assemble and use. One of the highest rated by consumers researched.


3) Fiskars StaySharp Max Reel Mower

Fiskars StaySharp Max Reel Mower

Likes:

  • Stationary reel and precision-ground blades never make contact
  • Eco-friendly mower eliminates the need for electricity or gas
  • Special InertiaDrive reel glides through the toughest spots with double the cutting power

Dislikes:

  • Does not corner well
  • Stops if anything other than grass gets in the blades (heavy dead leaves, twigs, etc.)

The Fiskars StaySharp Max Reel Mower boasts twice as much cutting power and is 60% easier-to-push than other standard reel mowers.

It has inset wheels that facilitate super-close edging, an adjustable cut height of 1″ to 4″, a 1-touch handle height-adjustment, and a reversible grass chute.


4) Scotts 2000-20 Classic Push Reel Lawn Mower

Scotts 2000-20 Classic Push Reel Lawn Mower

Likes:

  • Wide 20″ cutting path reduces time needed to mow
  • Smooth ball bearings help blades to spin efficiently
  • Foam grip loop-style handle

Dislikes:

  • Lawn will need to be mowed at least twice a week
  • Won’t mow tall weeds or any other kind of debris

The Scotts 2000-20 has a cutting height of 1″ to 3″, 5 blades, and a QuickSnap height adjuster with 9 positions.

It features a unique rear-wheel design that improves maneuverability and reduces drag. Add to that easy assembly, a welded reel hood, and strong heat-treated blades.


5) Earthwise 1819-18EW Reel Mower

Earthwise 1819-18EW Reel Mower

Likes:

  • No tools required for assembly
  • Sports a comfortable cushioned ergonomic handle
  • Economical and eco-friendly mower

Dislikes:

  • Hard to use if grass is too high
  • After mowing, you’ll need to either use a blower or rake up all the grass

The Earthwise 1819-18EW has an 18″ cutting width, tempered steel bed knife blade and reel, 6″ rear tracking wheels, durable 10″ composite front wheels, and 5 blade ball-bearings.

It’s lightweight, practically maintenance free, is ready to work anytime you need it, and doesn’t leave behind any residue.


Conclusion

After extensive research and reading hundreds of reviews, I choose the American Lawn Mower 1204-14 as the best reel lawn mower for most people.

It is priced very competitively, very easy to use and maintain and has thousands of

It’s powerful, fast, and maneuverable, and perhaps best of all – its blades will only require sharpening every five to ten years!

Own a reel mower? I’d love to hear how you like it and any tips you can share. Please leave a comment below.

Matt Hagens

Matt Hagens

Hi, I’m Matt the owner of Yard Care Life. I love to be outside working on my lawn, planning my next project. I created this website to help people like you find the best products for yard care and great advice. You can learn more about me here.

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