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Best Walk-Behind Manual Push Reel Lawn Mowers for 2021

Manual reel mowers are very popular walk-behind, push lawn mowers requiring no gas or electricity. With their scissor-like cutting action, reel mowers are an excellent choice for keeping the lawn neat and tidy.

On the other hand, manual walk-behind reel mowers are not the best choice for tall, tough and thick grass.

Published: April 22, 2021.

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Intro to Walk-Behind Manual Push Reel Lawn Mowers

Manual reel lawn mowers are rather eco-friendly lawn mowers since they require no gas or electricity and thanks to their scissor-like action, they cut the grass accurately without causing any further damage.

Reel mowers can be powered, too, either by gas or electricity, but they are heavier, noisier, more expensive units that are harder to maintain than manual ones.

The basic operation of the walk-behind manual push reel lawn mowers is rather simple - as the reel mower traverses the lawn, its wheels spin and cause blades to rotate.

blades

As the blades rotate, they cut the grass very uniformly and accurately causing very little additional damage - just like cutting the grass with scissors.

The number of blades varies, usually between 4 and 10 blades. Although the more blades the reel mower has, the better the cutting, most reel mowers have 4 or 5 blades, since keeping the number of blades low, leads to simplified but more durable construction and easier maintenance.

The height of mowing is adjustable and usually varies between 1 and 2.5 inches (~2.5 and 6.25 cm), although there are models with an even broader cutting height range.

Push reel mowers usually feature a pair of large(r) main wheels and either a pair of rollers or a pair of smaller wheels. Rollers or small wheels are required for setting (and keeping) the cutting height constant.

grass catcher

Most manual reel mowers don't feature grass catcher bags - grass clippings are left on the lawn where they protect the soil from direct sunlight, preserving the moisture. Also, as the grass clippings decompose, they feed the plants with nutrients.

However, some push reel mowers feature additional grass catcher bag which can be quickly attached or detached from the mower - grass catcher bag allows the user to collect the grass clippings during mowing.

Push reel mower maintenance includes keeping the blades clean and sharp. Also, the whole unit must be kept clean in order to prevent rust.

For exact maintenance procedures, check the Owner's Guide of your reel mower.


American Lawn Mower Company 1204-14 14-Inch 4-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower

american lmc 1204 14

American Lawn Mower Company 1204-14 14-Inch 4-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower is a simple, reliable, and durable manual push reel lawn mower, that also comes at a very acceptable price.

American Lawn Mower Company 1204-14 features a 14-inch (~35.5 cm) swath (cutting width) and 4-blade design.

Blades are made of heat-treated alloy steel, helping them stay sharp for years.

The unit features 8.5 inches (~21.6 cm) main polymer wheels and in combination with a lightweight design (20 lbs, 9.1 kg) and T-shape handle, ensures excellent maneuverability.

Cutting height may be adjusted between 0.5-1.75 inches (1.27 - 4.5 cm).

According to the manufacturer, 1204-14 Push Reel Mower can cut grass up to 4 inches (~10 cm) tall. However, if the grass is thick and tough, the American Lawn Mower Company 1204-14 reel mower may have issues with such grass and require several passes to cut it cleanly.

For the most up-to-date offers and prices, check the American Lawn Mower Company 1204-14 14-Inch 4-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower Amazon link (link opens in the new window).


Great States 415-16 16-Inch 5-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower

great states 415 16

As its label suggests, Great States 415-16 16-Inch 5-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower features 16-inch (40.6 cm) swath (cutting width) and 5 very sharp and durable cutting blades.

Composite wheels are tough and durable and feature a diameter of 10 inches (25.4 cm), allowing this 25 lbs (~11.4 kg) reel mower to traverse even bumpy ground easily.

However, Great States 415-16 is recommended for flat and even terrain, just like other reel lawn mowers.

T-bar handles ensure good control over the unit.

The cutting height is adjustable and ranges from 0.5 to 2.5 inches (1.27 - 6.35 cm), however, Great States 415-16 reel mower has issues when cutting the grass taller than 3.5-4 inches and tough weed.

If required, Great States 415-16 reel mower can be purchased with a grass catcher bag and/or with a sharpening kit. Personally, having an optional grass catcher bag can come in handy, but if the unit is used properly, a sharpening kit will not be required for a long time, thanks to the heat-treated alloyed steel blades.

For the most up-to-date offers and prices, check the Great States 415-16 16-Inch 5-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower Amazon link (link opens in the new window).


Scotts Outdoor Power Tools 2000-20 20-Inch 5-Blade Classic Push Reel Lawn Mower

scotts 2000 20

Scotts Outdoor Power Tools 2000-20 Classic Push Reel Lawn Mower features 20 inches (50.8 cm) cutting swath/width, combined with 5 steel blades.

Also, the unit comes with a pair of 10 inches (25.4 cm) main wheels and a pair of smaller wheels, instead of rollers.

This allows the unit to accurately cut grass and take care even of larger lawns.

On the other hand, 20-inch cutting width makes this reel mower somewhat harder to push, especially if the grass is tall. Also, due to the width, Scotts Outdoor Power Tools 2000-20 reel mower tend to be more difficult to push on the bumpy lawns.

Again, these are not design flaws of this reel mower, these are issues that all reel mowers with such cutting width tend to have.

The loop handle helps with maneuverability, allowing the user to steer the mower accurately.

Cutting height is adjustable between 1 and 3 inches (2.5 - 7.6 cm), which is enough for most of the residential lawns.

For the most up-to-date offers and prices, check the Scotts Outdoor Power Tools 2000-20 20-Inch 5-Blade Classic Push Reel Lawn Mower Amazon link (link opens in the new window).


Fiskars 362050-1001 StaySharp Max 18-Inch Reel Mower

fiskars stay sharp 18 inch

Fiskars 362050-1001 StaySharp Max Reel Mower features an 18-inch (45.7 cm) cutting width and 5-blade InertiaDrive reel, combined with a pair of main wheels and auxiliary wheels ahead of the main wheels.

Also, StaySharp Cutting System keeps the blades sharp for a long time, almost eliminating the need for manual blade sharpening.

Cutting height is adjustable using a single lever from 1 to 4 inches (2.5 - 10.2 cm). Another very interesting feature is the adjustable grass chute, which allows the user to set the unit to direct grass clippings forward or backward.

Thanks to these improvements, Fiskars 362050-1001 StaySharp Max Reel Mower allows the user to quickly cover rather large areas of flat and even terrain.

While four wheels allow the user to mow even across the bumpy terrain, one must be aware that Fiskars 362050-1001 StaySharp Max Reel Mower weighs almost 52 pounds (~23.5 kg), requiring relatively large pushing force to traverse bumpy terrain and slopes.

But, with a 5-blade InertiaDrive reel, 4-inch maximum cutting height, and sharp blades, Fiskars 362050-1001 StaySharp Max Reel Mower is one of the rare reel mowers that can cut tough and tall grass - at least better than most of the similar reel mowers ...

For the most up-to-date offers and prices, check the Fiskars 362050-1001 StaySharp Max 18-Inch Reel Mower Amazon link (link opens in the new window).


Greenworks 25052 16-Inch Reel Lawn Mower with Grass Catcher

greenworks 25052

Greenworks 25052 Reel Lawn Mower features a 16-inch (40.6 cm) cutting width, combined with 5 helical blades and a detachable grass catcher bag.

10-inch (25.4 cm) front main wheels are combined with a pair of rear rollers, helping with maneuverability and even with traversing across the uneven and bumpy lawn.

Greenworks 25052 Reel Lawn Mower weighs 26 pounds (~11.8 kg) which is an acceptable weight for the unit with the 16-inch cutting width. Lower weight also means less force for pushing the unit around.

The cutting height is adjustable between 1 1/8" and 2 1/4" (~2.9 - 5.7 cm), which is enough for most situations, although the cutting height range could be a little bit wider.

Just like many similar reel mowers, Greenworks 25052 Reel Lawn Mower also has issues when cutting 4-inch or taller tough grass - it should be used regularly to accurately trim down the grass, keeping the lawn in perfect condition.

For the most up-to-date offers and prices, check the Greenworks 25052 16-Inch Reel Lawn Mower with Grass Catcher Amazon link (link opens in the new window).


Few Final Words

Reel lawn mowers are zero-carbon, eco-friendly tools that help the user mow the lawn relatively quickly and very accurately.

But, one must be aware that the manual push reel mowers operate using the force of the user to generate spinning motion of the reel blades in order to cut the grass.

If You have a large, uneven lawn with tough grass and You don't have time to mow it regularly, perhaps an electric, cordless or corded, lawn mower would be a better choice.

On the other hand, if You want the mower that will be used regularly, is 'easy' on the grass, it is simple to use and maintain, consider manual push reel lawn mower - they are cheap, reliable, and can last a long time.

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