A Reel Mower refers to a mower that its blades spin vertically (up to down). It uses a scissors-like action to cut the blades of grass. This post deals with types of reel mowers based on what powers them. Interestingly, you should know that the following are types of reel mower available:
- Manual (Push) Reel Mowers (generally called Reel Mowers)
- Gas-Powered Reel Mowers
- Electric Reel Mowers
No matter what powers the mower, the quality of their cut remains the same. The cutting part of the mowers listed above remain the same; only their power source differentiates them. All reel mowers utilize the same cutting edge (fast spinning reel of blades) – thus the name ‘reel mowers.’
- Reel Mower Vs. Rotary Mower: Which Is Better for Your Lawn?
- Fiskars Reel Mower Vs. Scotts: What’s the Difference? (2019 Update)
- Best Lawn Striper for Push Mower and Riding Mower: 2019 Reviews and Guide
We like to state here that you should not confuse a gas-powered reel mower with a rotary mower. It is not the gas-power that differentiate them, instead, their cutting blades. While a gas-powered reel mower cuts with a reel of blades, a gas-powered rotary mower cuts with a rotating blade or blades. See the difference between a reel mower and a rotary mower here.
- 1 Advantages of Choosing A Reel Mower
- 2 Top 5 Best Reel Lawn Mowers for Sale:
- 2.1 American Lawn Mower 1815-18 18-Inch 5-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower
- 2.2 Greenworks 16-Inch Reel Lawn Mower with Grass Catcher 25052
- 2.3 Fiskars 17-Inch StaySharp Plus Reel Mower (6207)
- 2.4 McLane 20-5.5 GT-7 20-Inch 5.50 Gross Torque Briggs & Stratton Gas-Powered Self-Propelled 7-Blade Front-Throw Reel Mower with Grass Catcher
- 2.5 McLane 20-Inch Reel Roller
- 3 Comparison: Reel Mower Vs. Gas Powered Reel Mower
- 4 Trade-Offs
- 5 How to Sharpen A Reel Mower
- 6 Methods of Sharpening Your Reel Mower Blade
- 7 How to Cut Tall Grass with A Reel Mower
- 8 How to Take Care of a Push Reel Mower
- 9 5-Blade Vs. 7-Blade Reel Mower
- 10 What of 10-Blade Reel Mowers?
- 11 FAQs:
- 11.1 Q: I wanted to buy a push reel mower but worried about the difficulty in pushing it. What should I do?
- 11.2 Q: I don’t know how to determine if a push mower would be ideal for me and my lawn?
- 11.3 Q: Can I adjust the height of my cutting blades?
- 11.4 Q: Is a grass-catcher necessary for my reel mower?
- 11.5 Q: Why do experts recommend cutting lawns with a reel mower?
- 12 Conclusion
- 13 Why Choose us?
- 14 How useful was this post?
Advantages of Choosing A Reel Mower
The advantages of choosing either a gas-powered, manual, or electric reel mower is not a challenge. What you choose due to time and space we highlight only a few of the advantages below:
- It cuts grasses clean and quiet without destroying the grass blades.
- The manual reel mower doesn’t have an engine and therefore produces no emissions or noise – a plus to the environment.
- It snips the grass, cutting each blade like a pair of scissors leaving you with a healthier and greener lawn.
- It comes lightweight making it easy to handle
- It cuts Bermuda and St. Augustine grasses without hurting them.
- Reel mowers produce fine clippings that act as mulch (equivalent to a free application of fertilizer). The clippings decompose quickly, therefore, releasing nitrogen into the lawn. 
Top 5 Best Reel Lawn Mowers for Sale:
American Lawn Mower 1815-18 18-Inch 5-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower
The American Lawn Mower 18-Inch four spider, five blade push reel mower does wonders to your lawn. The mower is adjustable with varying grass heights from ½ to 2-1/4 inches. Regarding steering, the 1815-18 get to hard to reach lawn areas with the greatest of ease thanks to its 10-inch wheels and radial tires.
It comes with 2-inch welded shrub bar and unbreakable steel side plate for durability. Using the 1815-18 comes with added comfort as a result of its soft foam cushioned handle. It works without gas, fumes or oil – a perfect choice for environmentalists.
- Cutting Width: 18 inches
- Ball Bearing Wheels: 10 inches
- Blade Number: 5 blades
- Reel Type: 4-spider reel
- Height Adjustment: ½ inches to 2-3/4 inches
- It comes with tempered alloy steel reel and bed knife blade
- It comes fitted with 2-inch welded shrub bar assembly
- It comes with cast iron roller brackets with quick-adjust wing nut
- The handle comes in plated loop-type handle with full-length foam grip
- Its lightweight feature makes easy to store
- You can easily handle this reel mower
- It has low maintenance feature
- It offers the superior cutting ability
- You can easily operate it
- It has no engine, thus produce no noise or fumes
- It comes with two years warranty
Order your own here on Amazon:
Greenworks 16-Inch Reel Lawn Mower with Grass Catcher 25052
The Greenworks 16-Inch reel lawn mower comes with grass catcher which gives you the option of rear bagging or mulching. If you need a lawn tool that represents quality, look no further than Greenworks 16-Inch. Also, you can adjust the height of your mower to cut your grasses in four positions ranging from 1-1/8 to 2-1/4 inches.
The cutting range makes for perfect cut on all grass types. It comes equipped with two 10-inch front wheels and 2-inch rollers for easy manoeuvrings across your lawn.
- Cutting Width: 16 inches
- Ball Bearing Wheels: 10 inches
- Height Adjustment: 1-1/8 inches to 2-1/4 inches
- Weight: 26 pounds
- It comes with a 2-in-1 feature which makes for mulching and rear bag capabilities
- It comes with two 10-inch front wheel and 2-inch rear rollers for easy control across the lawn
- It has four-position height adjustment for an excellent and beautiful cut on all grass type
- It comes with a 4-year warranty
Order your own here on Amazon:
Fiskars 17-Inch StaySharp Plus Reel Mower (6207)
The Fiskars 17-Inch StaySharp Plus Reel Mower comes with a combination of patent-pending technology and superior ergonomics. It comes with Inertia Drive Reel which makes for 75 percent more cutting power than standard reel mowers. Fiskars StaySharp cutting system eliminates the cost and inconvenience of annual blade sharpening.
Its special grass discharge chute throws chippings forward and away from the feet of the operator. Based on the advanced technology used in the Fiskars 17-Inch, pushing the Fiskars is 40 percent easier than others. With this reel mower in your custody, you get more lawns mowed with less effort.
- Cutting Width: 17 inches
- Ball Bearing Wheels: 10 inches
- Weight: 41 pounds
- It features a smart design that makes for cleaner cut without stress
- It comes backed with advanced technologies that make it 40 percent easy to push compared to others.
- It comes backed with patent-pending inertia drive reel which delivers about 75 percent more cutting power making it slice grasses, weeds, twigs and tough spots like a hot knife through butter.
- It has an exclusive cutting system that utilizes precision-ground, hardened steel blades to cut grasses without touching. The cutting system leads to the reduction of friction and blade wear making it last longer thereby without the huge cost of annual blade sharpening.
- It has a unique grass discharge chute which throws clippings forward in a clean way away from the operator’s feet
- It cuts all grass types, tough southern varieties like St. Augustine, Zoysia, Bahia and Bermuda cannot stand this bad boy
- It comes with a limited 3-year warranty
Order your own here on Amazon:
McLane 20-5.5 GT-7 20-Inch 5.50 Gross Torque Briggs & Stratton Gas-Powered Self-Propelled 7-Blade Front-Throw Reel Mower with Grass Catcher
If you own a huge lawn and worry about the health and attractiveness of your grasses, we have good news for you. For your large yard, a push reel mower will take too long a time and labor; however, a rotary mower will tear and damage your grasses. What seems to be the solution?
Well, we give you the McLane 20-5.5 GT-7! The McLane 20-5.5 GT-7 20-Inch 5.50 Gross Torque Briggs & Stratton Gas-Powered reel mower takes care of your large lawn without breaking your back. This heavy-duty workhorse will give you all that you need and some.
This self-propelled 7-blade reel mower either throw clipping forward away from the operator’s feet or channel them into a grass catcher. The McLane company only use high-performance engines like Briggs and Stratton or Honda to power their gas-powered mowers, i.e., quality + performance.
- Cutting Width: 20 inches
- Engine: Briggs & Stratton Engine
- Blade Type: 7 blades
- Weight: 130 pounds
- It comes powered with a 5.50 GT Briggs & Stratton engine
- It comes with a grass catcher
- It comes with a self-propel feature for ease of use
- It cuts lawns clean and leaves a healthier and more attractive lawn
- It comes with CARB compliance for sale in California
- It comes with a wide of 20-inch
- It comes with seven blades for clean cuts
Order your own here on Amazon:
McLane 20-Inch Reel Roller
The McLane 20-Inch Reel roller does an incredible job of cutting warm season grasses short making for thick, healthy turf. If you have sloping lawns or uneven soil, flower beds, sidewalks, driveways then your front wheels will frequently fall into these low spots and scalp your lawn. Scalping of lawn does not look good at all, it damages your yard and dulls your reel mower blades.
To help resolve the problem, replace the stock front caster wheels of your reel mower with the McLane 20-inch patented reel roller. The roller keeps your reel mower level at the highest point across your cut resulting in a smooth stripped lawn.
- Dimension: 24 x 5 x 5 inches
- Weight: 12 pounds
- It eliminates scalping of your lawn.
- It creates a smooth-looking lawn and cut
- It is easy to install. You can install the reel in less than 10 minutes
- It causes your grasses to have identical cutting heights
- It makes for easy height adjustment ability
Order your own here on Amazon:
Comparison: Reel Mower Vs. Gas Powered Reel Mower
When the Manual Reel Mower goes head-to-head with the Gas-Powered Reel Mower, the result becomes an eye-opener for us all. Both machines cut grasses at different rates, speed, pace, etc. Let us now analyze the tradeoffs to help your buying decision:
|Reel Mower||Gas Powered Reel Mower|
A manual reel mower refers to the type of reel mower that requires the push of humans to operate. It has no engine and thus very eco-friendly.
A gas-powered reel mower refers to the type of reel mower that has an engine (that runs on gas) attached to it. These mowers are not very eco-friendly.
|Power Source: Man||Power Source: Gas|
|Best Use On: Small Lawns||Best Use On: Large Lawns|
- It requires little or no maintenance - only sharpen the blades when they get dull.
- It has an extremely low annual cost of maintenance.
- The engine of the gas-powered mower requires frequent maintenance to keep it running.
- Its annual cost of maintenance can be extremely high.
It works silently and perfect for neighborhoods with noise restrictions, e.g., hospitals, public libraries, etc.
- It does not generate pollution in the environment, e.g., fumes, noise, oil leakages, etc.
- You can easily transport it from here to there.
- It works best on flat lawns and in small yards.
- It works awesomely on large lawns – no matter the size.
- It cuts extremely thick grasses
- It can cut on uneven terrains
- It can rip any grass type
- It comes loaded with extreme power
- It cuts faster and effortlessly
- It can be tiring to work with it on large lawns.
- It has issues working on uneven lawns.
- It does not mow all types of grasses.
- It can be labor-intensive to use.
- It can be heavy due to the engine attached to them.
- It causes extreme pollution to the environment – noise, fumes etc.
- It affects the ears of the operator.
- The cost of fueling can be quite high.
- It costs more to buy than the reel mower.
By juxtaposing the strengths and weaknesses of these mowers, you will agree that both of them are perfect mowing machines. Whichever one you choose, must be able to do the job assigned. However, before you select any of the two, you must weigh your options adequately. For example, if your yard sits around 8,000 square feet or 743 square meters or less (about 0.18 acres of space), do not waste your money buying a gas-powered reel mower.
On the other hand, you must ask yourself if you are ready to push the mower at least once every week during summer. If you answered in the negative, then a gas-powered reel mower will be your friend. Moreover, for lawns of 10,000 square feet and above, settle for a gas-powered reel mower.
Do let us know which you chose eventually.
How to Sharpen A Reel Mower
The blades of reel mowers are made to retain their sharp cutting edges for a long time. Since nothing lasts forever, the blades eventually wear-out and need sharpening. As you use your mower for a few years, the blade wears and grow dull. When the blades become dull, you will observe that the mower becomes tough to use. 
Some of the causes include pebbles snagging on the blade, steering the mower over curbs, large branches, rocks, and other hard surfaces. There are different ways of sharpening the blades of your reel mower. Importantly, whichever method you choose, ensure you follow the necessary safety precautions below:
- Wear a quality safety glove while you work
- Secure the reel while you execute the task
- Avoid allowing your fingers getting caught in the cutting mechanism
- Avoid direct contact with the sharp cutting edge so that you will not cut yourself
Methods of Sharpening Your Reel Mower Blade
The methods of sharpening a reel mower blade include:
- Back Lapping Sharpening Kit Method
- Metal File Method
- Metal Finishing Sandpaper Method
We shall discuss only the first two methods. i.e., sharpening with a file and sharpening compound.
Method 1: How to Sharpen Your Reel Mower Blade with Sharpening Compound
Equipment: Back lapping sharpening kit (sharpening edge with handle and sharpening compound) and paintbrush
Attach the handle of the sharpening edge to the driving gear of the reel mower.
Use a paintbrush to apply the sharpening compound to all the blades. A sharpening compound refers to a gritty substance that you can apply to the blades. It sharpens the beveled edges of the blades as they brush against each other.
Hold the reel and spin it backward so that the blades brush against each other while restoring their sharp edge. Spin the reel rapidly for quicker results. You can attach a power drill or electric motor to help spin it faster.
Method 2: How to Sharpen Your Reel Mower Blade with A File
Equipment: Coarse metal file, wooden wedge, long piece of wood, lubricating oil, a piece of rag and wire brush or sandpaper.
Rid the reel off dirt and debris by cleaning it with the wire brush or sandpaper. After cleaning, lay the mower on a table or workbench.
With the wooden wedge stop the wheels to obstruct its movement. Insert the long wood perpendicular through the mower’s blade to prevent it from spinning while you file away.
Press the toothed end of the metal file on the bevel edge of the first blade on one side of the mower. Ensure you work on an angle on the same plane with the angle of the beveled edge of the blade. As you touch the file on the blade, scrap it gently yet firmly between 3 to 6 times. Drag the file down towards the tip of the beveled edge.
Continue filling and working your way down the blade repeatedly until you get to the mid-point of the blade. As you work down the twisted blade, stop at the midpoint after a while.
You can now remove the wedge and wooden stop to reposition the reel to reach the rest of the first blade. Remember you are still working on the first blade. Now continue with the same filling motion but starting from the other end of the tool.
After sharpening the entire blade reposition the reel so that you can execute the same action on the next blade. Repeat the steps from the beginning for all other blades till all the mower blades get their share of sharpening.
Once you have completed the process for all blades, spray some lubricating oil on the blade and use the rag to spread the oil on the blade evenly. The oil will prevent rust from forming on the newly filed cutting edges.
Test run your newly sharpened mower blades.
How to Cut Tall Grass with A Reel Mower
You went on a vacation, and when you returned, your whole lawn has gotten overgrown by tall grasses. The rains and lack of mowing led to the thickness of the lawn. In a moment, you stand at a loss not knowing how you can tackle the tall grass with your reel mower. You tried using your mower but due to a clogged mower and momentary stoppages.
Is this situation familiar? Are you presently in the condition and looking for a way out? Relax and read this section to discover how you can conquer tall grasses with your small mower. Here we have simple steps to help you out:
Step 1. Prepare:
Get your equipment ready before facing the challenge ahead by sharpening the reel blade following one of the sharpening methods above. Check to see that the blade edges for damages, however, if very old replace the blade.
Step 2. Survey your lawn properly:
Comb every nuke and cranny for any potential obstacle, e.g., children toys, tree stumps, rocks and so on concealed under the overgrown grass. Remove such objects before starting to safeguard your blades.
Step 3. Trim the grasses:
Use a weed whacker or trimmer to trim the grass to a height of between 4 to 5 inches especially if they overgrow to that length. The trimming might takes several hours depending on the size of your lawn. The trimming – a worthwhile effort, will further protect your mower from damage due to difficult grasses.
Step 4. Set up your mower for the action:
You can set it for bagging or mulching and adjust the blade for the highest setting. Start working in small rows first at a steady, reasonable pace. As you go, stop to clear grasses from the blade when it becomes clogged. Experts at the University of California Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources recommend you mow in rows then overlapping individual pass by several inches to get whole lawn cut.
Step 5. Leave the lawn for two to three days:
After, the third day or so readjust the mower blade to the ideal height then mow the entire yard. For the recommended height of cut, the University of California experts recommend Bermuda Grass cut to ½ to 1 inch while St. Augustine Grass be cut to 1 to 2 inches.
How to Take Care of a Push Reel Mower
Mower care does not require so much, and a well-maintained mower can last for years. Since the mower does not have an engine, then the maintenance needs no hassles, no oil changes, and no tune-ups.
Check the blades:
Examine the blades frequently and wash away excess grass clippings from them.
Check the tires and rollers:
Inspect the tires, and if you found them slick, then you have to do something fast. Slick tires do not get traction which will make the reels not to work effectively. You can either get new tires or get busy. ‘Get busy’ here means putting on your DIY belt. Use a three-corner file to create grooves in the tires to give them traction. It will cause the tires to serve you temporarily before buying new ones.
Clean the grass catcher and chute:
The grass catcher and the chute will have excess grass stuck on them from time to time. Ensure you clean it after every use.
Keep the mower out of rain or precipitation to prevent rusting. Ensure you keep the mower in your store away from rain, dew or moisture because exposure to them will hasten rust.
Lubricate rolling parts:
All rolling part must be kept well lubricated for the mower to continue working at full efficiency. Lack of lubrication leads to friction and eventually hastened wear and tear.
Sharpen the blades:
If the blades become blunt, the mower will no longer cut with effectiveness. In that case, follow our tips of filling the blades under our subtopic: “How to Sharpen A Reel Mower.”
If you follow these few tips, your mower will stay around for decades.
5-Blade Vs. 7-Blade Reel Mower
It can be confusing either to buy a 5-Blade Reel Mower or a 7-Blade Reel Mower. You checked the prices and discovered that the more the blade, the more expensive the mower. Then you asked why in the world should the number of blades matter. Yes, it’s a good question, because of that question we wrote this section.
Reel mowers come with varying numbers of blade – some four, others five, while some seven and some up to ten! The number of does matter and apparently the more the blades, the more cutting power the mower has. Also, the more the number of blades, the more, the more work it will be to get them spinning.
Please note that the number of blades determines the type of grass or condition of lawn the mower will cut. For instance, if you want to tackle tougher and thicker grasses, you need a mower with more blades. On the other hands for finer grasses, you need fewer blades.
As a principle, the tougher the grass and the more elegant the cut desired, the more the number of blades required. Also, the wetter and the taller the grass, the less the number of blades needed. Now, you can read the differences between the two blade types mentioned above. We hope this will help you make some informed decision.
|5-Blade Reel Mower||7-Blade Reel Mower|
|Quality of Cut Produced:|
- It produces regular cuts
|Quality of Cut Produced:
- It delivers finer cuts.
|Best Condition of Use:|
- It works best cutting wet grass
- It cuts taller grass best
- It works best for light grass
|Best Condition of Use:
- It cuts tough grass best
|Grass Type Suited for Cutting:|
- It cuts junky grass well
- It can cut Kentucky Blue Grass and Fine Fescues
|Grass Type Suited for Cutting:
- It works best with Common Bermuda, Hybrid Bermuda, Zoysia Grass, St. Augustine, and Bent Grass
|Maintenance of Lawn to be cut:|
- It will work on lawns not mowed in a long while
|Maintenance of Lawn to be cut:
- It will produce a remarkable result in a lawn regularly cut, e.g., a lawn mowed every week.
Now, which one do you want to buy? What type of grass do you want to tackle? Answer the questions, and you will buy the best blade number mower for your lawn.
What of 10-Blade Reel Mowers?
Now that you know about 5-Blade and 7-Blade mowers, a new trend with manufacturers today happens to be the 10-Blade Mowers. You might be curious to know a thing or two about the 10-Blade Mower; we shall oblige you that fact.
Manufacturers developed 10-Blade Mowers in a bid to get finer quality grass cuts. Their motive was maintaining a putting green or bowling green surface. In plain terms, 10-Blade Mowers will give your lawn the golf course finish. Who does not like to have his lawn looking all green but low? The 10-Blade Mowers will get you that perfect finish without having to mow repeatedly.
Most reel mower manufacturers started making mowers with five blades, but due to aggressive marketing, most of them migrated to 7 and ten blades. If you have the money, get yourself a 10-Blade Reel Mower and use it to beautify your lawn.
Q: I wanted to buy a push reel mower but worried about the difficulty in pushing it. What should I do?
A: Today’s reel mowers do not require strength to push them. The gears of the mowers make their blades turn faster than the wheels which means you do not have to run to speed up the blade. Just supply steady, reasonable pace the mower will continue to cut. Do not worry yourself about the difficulty in pushing; it is not at all.
Q: I don’t know how to determine if a push mower would be ideal for me and my lawn?
A: If you have a lawn as small as 6000 square feet or less, a push mower would be a good choice. Furthermore, if your garden has been overgrown with St. Augustine Grass with thatch, push reel mower might not work for you unless you follow our tips for cutting tall grasses.
Q: Can I adjust the height of my cutting blades?
A: Of course, you can adjust the cutting blade height with ease. Depending on your mower make, loosen the setting knobs and adjust the height using the setting handles. After you have gotten the desired height, tighten knobs. The height range defers from mower to mower; some limit to three settings while other more.
Q: Is a grass-catcher necessary for my reel mower?
A: Well it’s a maybe answer. It depends on you. If you like your lawn looking clean without any grass remains, then get a grass-catcher. You can use the catcher to collect the grass for composting. However, experts recommend that you leave the clippings on the lawn to improve the health of the grass and the environment.
Q: Why do experts recommend cutting lawns with a reel mower?
A: A reel mower provides a superior cutting method for the health of grasses. The reel mower cuts the blades of grass in a scissors-like style to give clean and precise cuts. The gentle cut has a minimal disturbance to the grass plant’s natural growth pattern. After cutting, the blade heals better thus preventing insects or disease attack.
Whether human powered or gas powered, a reel mower delivers perfect grass cutting. Your grass will thank you for that. If you want that golf course-look for your lawn, you cannot do without any of our 2019 reviewed Reel Mower or Gas-Powered Reel Mower.
From our submission, you know it has to do with the size of the job. You cannot use a manual reel mower to mow a large lawn, but for a small yard, it would work perfectly. Be it a large or small lawn; both machines will pamper your garden equally, the difference between the two is power source.
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