Things to know about reel lawn mowers

Things to know about reel lawn mowers

As mentioned before, there are two basic types of lawn mowers – The reel mower and the rotary mower. The reel lawn mower is the favored choice for cutting grass for most people. They come in basically two forms (battery powered or manually pushed), are lightweight, easy to operate, and don’t cost a bomb. As opposed to the gas powered rotary lawn mower, reel lawn mowers require no extra parts or add-ons, and hardly much maintenance either.

The reel lawn mower normally comes with 3 to 7 blades (typically 5), and is manually pushed around the lawn. The 6-7 blade ones are used to cut low grasses like Bermuda grass. How they cut grass is when they are being moved forward; the blades rotate downward and cut the grass in a scissor-like fashion by wedging them between a stationary bar located underneath the reel mower. In battery powered reel lawn mowers, there is an engine that drives the wheels/blades, making uphill cutting easier.

You don’t have to worry about diesel spills or engine maintenance, as in the case of rotary lawn mowers. It could cost anywhere between $5-10 a week to buy fuel for the rotary mower, whereas for reel mowers, it’s totally free.

reel lawn mower

The push reel lawn mower might seem heavy to push around, but in fact it is surprisingly lightweight. For lawns below 8000 sq feet in size, push reel mowers are ideal; larger lawns may require battery powered reel mowers because of the time and energy savings they afford. Nonetheless, manual reel mowers are light enough even for older kids to push around the yard.

reel lawn mower in action

Reel mowers are of course much safer than rotary mowers too; you can control the pace and direction of the mowing, but with a rotary mower, it takes strength to hold it steady and control its direction. Gas powered rotary mowers are dangerous; make no mistake. The stones and wood chips thrown out by them can easily cause injuries, even fatal ones. Also the sound emitted by all these powerful lawn mowers may damage hearing, but not so with the manually pushed reel mowers.

Reel lawn mowers do not damage the environment because they emit no carbon dioxide or any fumes, and pushing them around the yard is one sure way of getting exercise and a breath of the fresh outdoors.

reel lawn mower

A few tips on using manual reel lawn mowers

  • Push the mower at a steady, but comfortable pace. Not too slow or too fast.
  • Reel lawn mowers are not too good for cutting tall grass, so if you want to mow down an abandoned yard full of tall weeds, use a small grass cutter/motor scythe instead.
  • Practice with different grass heights to get a feel for your reel mower’s capabilities
  • Practice with different patterns for mowing, because all grasses have different growth, root, and stem patterns.
  • Each time you mow, alternate the routes or directions; that may help you find out which route gives the best results and least amount of clipped grass.
  • The best time to mow the lawn is during the evening or on cloudy days, when the grass is dry, and nobody is around.
  • The “ideal” grass height to mow is something between 2.5 – 3 inches, and they should be trimmed around 1/3 the height of the grass blade. Don’t cut the grass too short, as it tends to weaken the existing crop and will encourage weeds to take over.


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