Best Walk-Behind Manual Push Reel Lawn Mowers
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: November 7, 2022.
On This Page:
- Intro to Walk-Behind Manual Push Reel Lawn Mowers
- American Lawn Mower Company 1204-14 14-Inch 4-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower
- Great States 415-16 16-Inch 5-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower
- Scotts Outdoor Power Tools 2000-20 20-Inch 5-Blade Classic Push Reel Lawn Mower
- Fiskars 362050-1001 StaySharp Max 18-Inch Reel Mower
- Greenworks 25052 16-Inch Reel Lawn Mower with Grass Catcher
- Few Final Words
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.
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.
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 moisture. Also, as the grass clippings decompose, they feed the plants with nutrients.
However, some push reel mowers feature an additional grass catcher bag, which can be quickly attached or detached from the mower - a 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.
American Lawn Mower Company 1204-14 14-Inch 4-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower
American Lawn Mower Company 1204-14 14-Inch 4-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower is a simple, lightweight, and very popular reel mower intended for smaller lawns and yards.
As its name suggests, American Lawn Mower Company 1204-14 14-Inch 4-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower is a manual lawn mower type, requiring no gas nor electricity, it is a lightweight, maneuverable, and a rather affordable unit that can last for years to come.
When the American Lawn Mower Company 1204-14 reel lawn mower arrives, it must be assembled first, which can be done easily in 10-15 minutes, just be sure to follow the instructions.
American LMC 1204-14 reel lawn mower features a cutting width of 14-inches (~35.6 cm), 8.5 inches (~21.6 cm) plastic wheels, and a lightweight design of only ~19 pounds (~8.6 kg), making the unit very maneuverable around the most common lawn and yard obstacles and objects.
The unit's physical dimensions are 20 x 24 x 42.5 inches (~50.8 x 61 x 108 cm), requiring very little storage space.
American LMC 1204-14 reel lawn mower comes with 4 blades made of heat-treated alloy steel, ensuring sharpness for a very long time, even for years.
Note: If the lawn mower is hard to move, or the grass is not cut properly, check the blades and adjust them if needed (on both sides) - for the exact procedure, please check the Owner's Guide.
Cutting grass height can be adjusted from 0.5 to 1.75 inches (~1.27 - 4.5 cm) with the maximum recommended grass height of ~4 inches (~10.2 cm).
Note: To prevent the grass from overgrowing, it is recommended to use reel lawn mowers on a weekly basis.
As American LMC 1204-14 reel lawn mower mow the grass, grass clippings are left on the lawn, which shouldn't be a problem when the lawn is regularly mowed (although the use of the dethatcher and/or scarifier from time to time is recommended).
However, the American Lawn Mower Company also manufactures a grass catcher bag, model GC91416, which can be used on their 14- and 16-inch push reel mowers to catch the grass clippings.
The grass catcher bag is not available by default - it must be ordered separately.
American Lawn Mower Company 1204-14 reel lawn mower comes with a 90-day limited warranty - the warranty could be longer, but if it works properly for 90 days, it will continue to work for many more days/years, just be sure not to push the handles too much, since they can bend if the grass is really too tough or the blades are not set properly.
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
As its label suggests, the 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, the Great States 415-16 reel mower has issues when cutting 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 2000-20S 20-Inch 5-Blade Classic Push Reel Lawn Mower is a very popular manual, walk-behind, push reel lawn mower suitable for smaller to medium lawns.
Scotts 2000-20S reel lawn mower features five blades that cut the grass in scissor-like action, ensuring smooth operation and even cuts.
However, since it is a manual lawn mower, it does require some stamina for mowing the lawn, especially if the grass has overgrown and the lawn is a bit larger.
When the unit arrives, the Scotts 2000-20S Reel Lawn Mower must be assembled, which can be done easily and relatively quickly just by following the instructions.
When assembled, the physical dimensions of the unit are (D x W x H) 26 x 27 x 47 inches (~66 x 68.6 x 119.4 cm).
Scotts 2000-20S Reel Lawn Mower is made of steel, making the unit strong and durable, requiring very little maintenance.
As its name suggests, Scotts 2000-20S Reel Lawn Mower features 20 inches (50.8 cm) cutting width, allowing the user to cover a relatively large area quickly.
The unit features five blades that cut the grass using scissor-like action - cuts are clean and even, as long as the blades are sharp. And the blades are made of durable steel, ensuring sharpness for a long time.
Note: Scotts 2000-20S Reel Lawn Mower is very easy to maintain. Maintenance includes a little bit of oiling, keeping the blades sharp, and adjusting the blades/unit - when the unit arrives, be sure to read the manual to get accustomed to your new lawn mower.
The unit features front 10 inches (25.4 cm) wheels and 6 inches (~15.2 cm) rear tracking wheels - using two sets of wheels increases the unit's maneuverability, allowing the user to mow both flat and hilly terrain.
Note: when mowing hilly terrain, be very careful when traversing slopes and similar uneven terrain.
Although most push reel mowers feature a rear roller, 6" rear wheels found on Scotts 2000-20S Reel Lawn Mower decrease the required push force, decreasing the effort required to mow the lawn.
Although Scotts 2000-20S Reel Lawn Mower is intended for lawns up to 1/4 acre (~1000 m2), mowing such lawn requires the user some time and effort - great as regular exercise and keeping the gardener fit.
Cutting height can be adjusted between 1 and 3 inches (~2.5 and 7.6 cm) which is enough for most lawns.
However, since Scotts 2000-20S Reel Lawn Mower is a manual push reel lawn mower, the height of the grass being mowed should not be over 5-6 inches (~13-15 cm) as it will make the mower more difficult to push around.
Thus, it is recommended to mow the lawn once a week during a period of extensive growth.
By default, Scotts 2000-20S Reel Lawn Mower doesn't feature a grass catcher bag, but if required, it can be ordered separately from Scott's official website or other online shops.
Scotts 2000-20S Reel Lawn Mower comes with a 3-year limited residential warranty.
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 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 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 the 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 a mower that will be used regularly, is 'easy' on the grass, it is simple to use and maintain, consider a manual push reel lawn mower - they are cheap, reliable, and can last a long time.