Best Reel Mower for 2018
If you are tired of polluting the air with a gas-powered mower or tired of tripping over the cord of a corded electric mower, it's time you considered the tried and true (but updated for the 21st century) manual reel lawn mower.
For starts, they're better for the health of your grass - power mowers tear and chop the grass, but a reel mower snips each blade cleanly. A cleanly cut lawn is much less open to attacks from insects and disease. Second, your lawn will look much more attractive, like you have just carefully cut the grass with a pair of scissors. Third, these mowers are blissfully quiet - you'll be able to mow the lawn at 5 a.m. if you wish, and not one of your neighbors will care! Fourth, you will now own a green machine - no oil or gas fumes ever. Fifth, reel mowers are simple to operate. All they need is a push, and they're ready to go - no engine priming, pull cords, plugging in, oil, gas, or spark plugs ever. Sixth, they're great for exercising. Seventh, they're much safer than any power mowers could ever hope to be. Finally, a push reel mower is cheaper - no gas to buy, no electricity to use, and no maintenance costs.
Please read on to find out which of the 5 mowers selected by our editor is the right choice for you.
Summary: Here are the best reel mowers in 2018:
Fiskars StaySharp Max Reel Mower: best overall reel lawn mower
Great States 415-16 16-Inch Reel Lawn Mower: best for high quality cuts and thick grass
American Lawn Mower 1204-14 14-Inch Push Reel Mower: best for smaller spaces and lawns
Earthwise 1816-18EW 18-Inch 5-Blade Reel Mower: most comfortable handle and ergonomic grip
Scotts 2000-20 20-Inch Classic Push Reel Lawn Mower: widest cutting width or models reviewed
Top Recommended Reel Lawn Mowers
- Eco-friendly lawn mowing enjoyable with an advanced reel mower that's 60 percent easier to push than...
- InertiaDrive reel is designed for all grass types, delivering twice the cutting power to glide...
- New reversible grass chute can be positioned to direct clippings forward, away from your feet, or...
- Inset wheels allow the blades to extend across the mower's full 18 inch cut width and cut height can...
- 16-inch cutting width, Easy height adjust from 1/2-inch to 2-1/2-inch. Keep in mind that the same...
- 10-inch ball bearing wheels.Tempered, alloy steel reel and bed knife blade
- Easily maneuverable, perfect for ecofriendly small lawn owners.
- Powder coated finished handle lasts longer and prevents rust
- Deluxe hand-reel mower ideal for most turf grasses
- Provides a clean, precise, scissor-like cut.Rear grass deflection
- Tempered Alloy Steel Reel and Bed Knife Blade. Smooth-spinning blades, easy-roll wheels, and height...
- 8-1/2-inch diameter high impact, polymer wheels With a 4 Blade Reel
1" - 4"
5 out of 5
Great States 415-16
1/2" - 2 1/2"
4.5 out of 5
American Lawn Mower 1204-14
1/2" - 1 3/4"
4.5 out of 5
1" - 3"
4 out of 5
1" - 3"
3 out of 5
HOW WE RATED THE MOWERS
In order to provide you with the best information, we left no stone and grass blade unturned to provide you with a great list of choices for reel lawn mowers. We 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, we chose 5 push reel mowers that he felt were among the best in the field.
Once these 5 reel mowers were selected, we considered each model individually.
Please read on to discover the comparative features and pros and cons of these 5 models. A star system was used to rate the reel mowers, with 5 stars denoting the highest possible rating. We hope that our investigation of the merits of each machine will be a help to allow you to determine which machine is best for you.
Push reel mowers are well known for their performance, price, and reliability. The Fiskars StaySharp Max Reel Mower not only comes with a limited 3-year parts warranty, but its blades are so sharp that they will only need sharpening approximately every 5-10 years. It also has something called Inertia Drive technology which guarantees twice the cutting power of other reel mowers. The Great States mower only comes with a 1-year warranty on defective parts and manufacture. This compares to our least expensive model, the American Lawn Mower 1204-14, and our midrange mower, the Earthwise 1816-18EW. Finally, the Scotts 2000-20 comes with a 2-year warranty.
A height adjustment on a reel mower is a great and essential feature. The Fiskars 18" Reel Mower provides a 1-touch patent pending height adjustment called VersaCut that promises a clean cut from 1" to 4" for all types of grass. The Great States 415-416 mower offers a height adjustment of 1/2" to 2 1/2" that must be implemented on both sides of your mower. The American Lawn Mower 1204 offers a cutting height adjustment of 1/2" to 1 3/4". The Earthwise 1816-18EW provides cutting height adjustments from 1" to 2 1/4", and the Scotts 2000-20 offers quick-snap height adjustments of 1" to 3".
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. The smallest cutting width on the reel mowers reviewed today belongs to the American Lawn Mower 1204-14, which provides a 14" width. The largest cutting width among our 5 contenders belongs to the Scotts 2000-20 which features a 20" width. The Fiskars 18" Staysharp Mower features a unique inset wheel design which lets blades extend completely across the entire mower width and eliminates uncut strips underneath the wheels, permitting the mower to edge closer to fences, borders, and foundations.
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:
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. The Scott 2000 weighs in at 34 pounds, the Earthwise 27 pounds, the American Lawn Mower weighs 19 pounds, and the Great States weighs 25 1/2 pounds. The only exception is the Fiskars Staysharp, which weighs 51.7 pounds but is still a superb reel mower that is easy to use.
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:
- 1Very low-cost, dependable mowers with very few maintenance costs.
- 2Pollution-free - No gas, no engine, no tune-ups, so it won't be degrading the air quality.
- 3Quiet and safe - You can carry the baby strapped to your back while you mow.
- 4Low maintenance - No spark plugs to replace, no filter that needs cleaning, no oil that needs to be checked or replaced.
- 5Lightweight alloys and plastics have decreased the weight of these mowers considerably.
- 6Reel mowers start up every single time!
- 7A 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.
- 8Reel mowers cut shorter and don't disturb the surface of the soil, and your lawn will be much less welcoming for weeds to grow.
- 9Reel lawn mowers are more maneuverable than power lawnmowers.
- 10It'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.
- 1You'll need to mow about twice a week to keep the lawn in check.
- 2If 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.
- 3Although many of the newer models are more lightweight, they will still give you and your muscles a good workout.
- 4This machine is human-powered, and not the best choice for people with energy or strength deficits or other disabilities.
- 5Reel lawn mowers will need to have their blades sharpened about once a season.
- 6Rocks can frequently chip mower blades.
- 7Uneven, broken ground can be a nightmare for a reel mower.
- 8You'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
The editor's choice, the Fiskar StaySharp Mower, is the most expensive of the models reviewed here today, and with good reason. The cutting reels turn with the slightest of pushes. It discharges clippings in front so you won't get any grass spray on your shoes. It is 10 pounds heavier than our other models, but that really helps to create momentum when you're cutting taller and more robust weeds. It also features an inset wheel-design that allows edging and cuts every area of your lawn.
Our second most expensive model is the Scotts 2000-20 Classic Push Reel Lawn Mower. It has a number of worthwhile features, including a 20" cutting deck, 9 separate height-adjustment modules, dual-radial tires, and five tough stainless-steel blades which reduce friction.
The Earthwise 1816-18EW 5-Blade Reel Mower holds third place in cost. It has a ball-bearing 5-blade reel which is best suited for cutting thin, fine grasses, and it is easily adjustable. It does have some cons - it comes to a dead stop if it encounters the smallest of twigs. It also has trouble cutting the occasional dandelion or other stray weeds.
The Great States 415-16 Reel Mower is the second least expensive mower reviewed here today. For its modest price tag, this mower offers 25 pounds of tempered-alloy steel, easy roll wheels, and 3 adjustable height positions. The top height adjustment of 2.75 is a tad short of optimal.
Last but not least, our least expensive model is the American Lawn Mower 1204-14 4-Blade Push Reel Mower. Yes, it has a smaller cutting width, and height adjustments ranging from 1/2"-1 3/4" - but other than that, this mower is extremely dependable. You push it, and it cuts. It is simple to maneuver, lightweight and features 8 1/2" wheels and a T-style cushioned handle.
BEST SELLING & TOP RATED BRANDS
HOW MUCH SHOULD I EXPECT TO PAY?
The mowers that we have reviewed here today fall between $55 and $185. All of these mowers have excellent qualities, but the old adage also applies to push reel mowers - you get what you pay for.
After extensive research and reading hundreds of reviews, we choose the Fiskars Staysharp Max Reel Mower as the best reel lawn mower in the marketplace today and give it a rating of 5 out of 5 stars. It has twice the amount of cutting power than its competitors, it sprays the grass directly in front of you, and it's approximately 60% simpler to push than most other manual mowers. It's powerful, fast, and maneuverable, and perhaps best of all - its blades will only require sharpening every five to ten years!