You’re here to check out the Best reel mowers in 2019 right? So picture this, you’re sitting out on your porch on a beautiful day, sipping your favorite drink along with a good read, and you look up to see a gorgeous stretch of green lawn, the same lawn you just mowed with one of the Best Reel Mowers you’ve ever used.
Ok, cue the cameras – but honestly, as anyone who’s used a push reel mower knows; your grass has a totally different look after using a reel mower vs. a typical rotary lawnmower. It’s actually “greener” – not kidding, but we’ll get to more on “why” later.
Most homeowners share similar pride in having a great-looking, well-kept yard. And since you’re here, this means you’re planning on joining the club and trimming your grass to perfection. You’ll also be pleased to know, that today you will find the best-rated reel mowers you can get your hands on.
In a hurry and would like to know the Editors Choice for the “Best Reel Mower” – Than check-out the amazing Fiskars “Stay-Sharp” Reel Mower
Push Reel lawn mowers have been around for quite a long time, in fact, the first one was patented way back in 1830, almost 72 years before the gas-powered mower was invented in 1902. Many years later came electric extension cord type lawnmowers, which were soon followed by battery-powered or “cordless” lawnmowers.
While newer versions of the lawnmower continue to evolve, many people still lean towards the old standby manual push reel mowers for a few reasons. They always work – Require little maintenance, and are perfect for smaller yards.
Why is your grass greener – on “your side”? The fact is those push reel mowers by design actually “sheer” the grass with razor-sharp blades vs. the “tearing” or ripping of grass blades cut with a powered rotary mower. The results are perfectly cut blades of grass that don’t have those tell-tale brown tips from being torn. It really does make cut grass look way better – and greener!
Don’t be fooled. The best reel mowers made today, are not your “Grandpa’s” mower. In fact, our number-one rated mower from Fiskars might even look a little “space-age” to him 🙂
So, If you’re on the hunt for an efficient reel mower, we’ve got you covered. With our detailed guide and list of the 7 best reel lawn mowers sold at Amazon, you’ll have all the information you need to make a perfect choice. Without further ado – let’s get to it!
Quick Look: Best Choices in 2019
|Editor’s Choice||Runner Up||Best Value|
|Fiskars 362050-1001 StaySharp Max Reel Mower, 18 Inch, Black||Great States 815-18 18-Inch 5-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower||Scotts Outdoor Power Tools 2000-20 Classic Push Reel Lawn Mower, 20-Inch|
|Buy on Amazon||Buy on Amazon||Buy on Amazon|
Editor’s Choice: Kicking off our list is a real crowd-pleaser, and our personal favorite; the highly efficient Fiskars “StaySharp” Max Reel mower. Right off the bat, this mower promises incredible ease of use, 60% easier to use than other brands to be exact.
Because of its patented “Inertia-Drive” reel design, this mower smoothly pushes through the trickiest spots with twice the cutting power. The unique “StaySharp” system technology allows for highly precise cuts, eliminating unwanted contact and in return, extended blade sharpness and performance.
The Fiskars “StaySharp” also features a reversible, adjustable grass chute so you can direct the clipping any way you like. The inset wheels are just what you need to get those strips near fences and foundations while allowing the blades to extend across the 18-inch cutting width fully.
Moreover, you can simply and quickly set the Fiskars Reel Mower cutting height from 1 inch all the way up to 4 inches.
The Fiskars StaySharp reel mower may be a little on the pricey side, but in our opinion, it is well worth the extra money, and easily earns our vote for Editor’s Choice.
Key features of this model include:
- Easy to push
- Adjustable cutting height
- 20” Wide – StaySharp blade system
- Customizable grass chute
- Simple assembly
- Works great on sloped yards
- Heavier compared to some other models
- May clog with very thick clippings
- Maybe a bit expensive to some users
- The grass catcher is not included – $37 extra on Amazon
Here’s a great video of the Fiskars Push Reel Mower In Action:
This is the most popular Reel Mower on the Market
Sok If you don’t want to guess if your local hardware store has the Fiskars in Stock:
Runner- Up: Right on the Fiskars tail, the Great States reel lawn mower is another excellent more affordable choice for your mowing needs. It has a cutting width of a good 18 inches, which means a larger area to cover and a faster job to be done.
Why this model really deserves a spotlight in our reel mower review, are the five top-quality heat-treated blades which guarantee long-lasting sharpness when it comes to grass cutting. You can also swiftly adjust the cutting height anywhere between 0.5 inches and 2.75 inches.
The powder coated finish on the Great States reel mower helps extend its life, preventing rust from forming. It’s also relatively lightweight with a compact design for easy use and convenient storage.
Key Features of this model include:
- Very easy to maneuver
- Works for bigger yards with an 18-inch cutting width
- 5 high-quality heat-treated blades
- Handles sloped and bumpy ground easily
- Very budget-friendly
- Limited height adjustment, only raises up to 2.75 inches
- Rear bag not included – $30 add – on Amazon
- The handle isn’t as substantial as we’d like
- Not the best with very tall grass
Our “Best Value” ranking goes to the very impressive Scotts 20-inch reel mower.
Best Value doesn’t always mean “best price,” the Scotts mower fills that role by being well priced – but with a lot of inherent “Value” other reel mowers don’t have. This lawnmower requires no tools for assembly and is built with a lightweight frame to keep maneuverability the most natural.
The ergonomic handle design provides comfort and is very sturdy.
The large dual 10-inch wheels, with quad wheels in back, provide tracking technology to further improve the movement of the mower. It also features the Quick-snap height adjustment option, so you can choose between the 1 inch or 3-inch cutting height rather easily.
What really sets the Scotts reel lawn mower apart is the unmatched 20-inch wide cutting width, reaching the upper limit of the scale for push lawnmowers. The 5 heat-treated blades are designed with precision-blade engineering, and a ball bearing reel to achieve consistent cuts for each use.
Key Features of this product include
- 5-blade reel
- Dual 10-inch tracking wheels
- 20-inch cutting width
- Extremely quiet
- Height adjusts at 3 inches
- Handle bolts tend to loosen (use Loctite during assembly)
- Could be a little more sturdy
- Doesn’t do as well on uneven terrain
Best Push Reel Mower 16″ Cutting Width: If you’re searching for push lawn mower with a narrower cutting width of 16 inches, is easier to store, and won’t break the bank, you should definitely consider this model by the American Lawn Mower Company, known for its quality yet reasonably-priced products.
It comes with 5 blades made to last using premium heat-treated steel that’ll remain sharp cut after cut. Thanks to its 10- inch composite wheels and a ball bearing reel, you’ll quickly push through your yard, always seeing a flat grass trail left behind. You can adjust the cutting height from 0.5 inches to 2.25 inches according to your preference.
With this reel mower, maintenance requirements are kept minimal, and the innovative T-shaped handle cushions your grip for extra comfort. If you’re into the more classic feel of a push lawnmower, this all-American product may be just it.
Key features of this model include
- Durable blades
- Easy to move around
- Suitable for almost all house yards jobs
- T-style handle
- No-tool assembly
- 2.25 maximum cutting height
- Struggles with fences and foundations
- Cuts only going forward
Best 20” Reel Mower with Grass Catcher “Included”: Going for a reel lawn mower with a catcher for grass clippings is the right move for all people concerned with leaving trails of clippings in their yards. With that same mindset, we reviewed the popular MJ502M reel mower manufactured by Sun Joe.
This push mower features a 9-point manual height control system reaching up to 2.44 inches, and It also carries 5 steel blades cutting through a 20-inch wide cutting path that can handle just about any type of grass.
The handy grass catcher bag is located at the rear end of the machine to collect clippings and debris, keeping your landscape neat and tidy. The Sun Joe MJ502M simply offers an affordable solution to otherwise messy cutting jobs.
Key features of this model include
- Handy grass catcher bag
- 5 steel blades
- 20-inch cutting width
- 9 position manual height adjustment
- Materials don’t appear as durable as higher priced models
- Not as easy to maneuver with the grass bag attached (Editor’s note: this is a common occurrence with reel mowers)
Best Reel Mower with “Leaf Blower” Included: Another superb push reel mower and popular among lots of homeowners is the GreenWorks 18” reel mower. Not only does it include a built-in rear bag designated for catching cut grass thrown by the machine, but this particular deal also includes a very efficient leaf blower. The blower is “corded”, which means it runs on A/C electricity, but it provides air velocity of 160 miles per hour, making for powerful performance.
Going back to the lawnmower, it provides a cutting path of 18 inches wide, enough for light-medium workloads. It has a set of double 10-inch front wheels and 2 rear rollers to deliver extreme maneuverability rather than stability. The cutting height is customizable, ranging from 1 1⁄8-inches all the way to 2 1⁄4-inches. Combining sturdiness with a 4-year warranty, and you’ve got yourself one of the best reel mowers on the market.
Key Features Include:
- Leaf blower included
- Rear rollers great maneuverability
- Grass collecting bag to keep the yard clean Wide handle for better control
- The grass catcher is a little flimsy
- Not quite as easy to push with bag collection onboard
- Repeated mowing required for longer grass
Best 14” Reel Mower with “Quad Wheels”: If stability paired with precision is what you’re aiming for, you won’t need to look beyond the Sun Joe MJ503M push reel mower. Here, you’ll find a jagged quad-wheel design that works for all-terrain types; straight, bumpy, and rock, delivering what you need in terms of balance as well as maneuverability.
It’s also rather lightweight, less than 25 pounds, deeming it easy to push. The 14-inch cutting width and the 5 steel blades allow for ideal grass cutting in smaller lawns. You also get to personally adjust the height at 9 different levels from 1.1 to 2.9 inches. Along with a padded non-slip handle, you should be all set.
Key features of this model include
- Really suitable for light work
- Includes 5 steel blades
- Maximum height of 2.9 inches
- Rugged quad wheels for stability
- 14” cutting path good only for smaller yards
- Not for large yards or heavy-duty jobs
- Material if pushed to hard prone to bending
- Requires assembly
Why should you get a Reel Mower?
Whether you’re switching to a push reel mower or choosing it as a first destination, there are several benefits you should know before making that purchase.
The difference in the maintenance and cleaning requirements between gas or electricity-powered lawn mowers and push lawn mowers is pretty huge.
Without any electric or gas parts, or spark plug to change, the risk of something breaking down is almost impossible. You won’t be needing to do any real maintenance, except for occasional blade sharpening and some simple cleaning with a hard-bristled brush to clean the blades occasionally.
You also won’t have the inconvenience of emptying and refilling oil or gasoline since all reel mowers need to do their job is a little muscle.
The actual total cost of owning a reel lawn mower is far less than one running on gas or electricity. Although some higher-end brands offer more expensive reel mower models, the average version reel mowers are way more affordable than the powered ones.
Additionally, as you’re manually operating them, it’ll do its job no matter what. You won’t be needing to spend any extra cash on fuel or electricity for your lawnmower to work.
If you’re pro-environmental behavior, which we all are, push lawn mowers are your way to go. They give off zero harmful vapors or emissions as opposed to gas mowers. They also run on clean power, sourced from you, not electricity.
Gas-powered lawn mowers are notorious for the noise levels they produce, heard from a couple of houses over, and electric lawn mowers are better but still make some noise.
With reel push mowers, you have nothing to worry about as they’re practically silent workers. You might even find their quiet sound soothing.
Push reel lawn mowers are perfect for small to medium scale yard jobs. You’ll find them more than capable enough for an average household’s mowing needs.
Gets you moving
It might not cross your mind, but using a conventional reel mower can be a rather good workout. The pushing action as well as walking back and forth gives you some good exercise all the while cutting down your grass at the same time.
Better for the grass
The mechanism by which the blades run through your lawn is a scissor-like action that leaves your turf with a sharp, clean-cut which is ultimately healthier.
What to look for When Buying a Reel Mower?
Now that you know what advantages a push mower offers, it’s time to learn about some features that’ll help you pick the most suitable reel lawn mower for your needs.
What we mean here is how easy can you push and turn your lawnmower. On the other hand, a heavier mower has a better ability to stay on the ground. This means less bumping up and down on rough rides as well as more evenly cut grass.
Some of the push reel lawn mowers we tested are considered lightweight machines and would be a breeze to push. However, the less expensive models may lack better and larger main wheels or additional rear wheels that improve turning and maneuverability.
Blades are the most vital part of a reel lawn mower, after all, they do the actual cutting. This is why it makes sense to have them top your priority list of things you should check. Make sure the blades are of a premium quality material, sturdy and capable of keeping its sharpness for years to come. Also, going for extra blades equals faster, more efficient mowing.
What you need to consider here is the size of your lawn and how that correlates to the cutting width specified in the product’s description. You need to make sure both are a good fit. A good Reel mower with 14 or 16-inch cutting width is perfect for small yards.
However, If you’re working on a big lawn, you should go with a larger cutting width, something around 18-20 inches would be just fine. If you choose a smaller cutting width, you’ll need to pass over the same patch multiple times, and consequently, spend a longer time mowing your grass. A reel lawn mower with 14 or 16-inch cutting width is perfect for small yards.
Another thing to keep in mind is the layout of your lawn. If you have fences and turns, you might want to choose a lawnmower with inset wheels to get at the grass against those edges for a clean tidy even cut.
If you browse through our best mower reviews, a neat feature you’re guaranteed to find is the option of adjusting the height at which a mower cuts the grass. This is usually presented on mowers as a minimum and maximum height numbers, offering lots of variety for the user.
Some machines allow you to go as short as 0.5 inches or as long as 4 inches, depending on your preference, so the further the lowest and highest settings will go, the more choices you have. This will also get you out of a bind if you happen to let your grass grow longer than usual.
It’s important to know what kind of grass you’re working with to pick the most fitting push reel mower. Grass-types like Rye or Kentucky Blue are very fine-bladed grasses, while southern states with grass like St. Augustine grass are a much thicker/sturdier bladed grass type. In this case, choose a model like the Fiskars, which has the better/best blade system.
Well, where will all the grass clippings go? That’s what you should be asking yourself to get a sense of what you like.
For example, some lawn mower models are equipped with bags for collecting cutoffs, while others shoot grass in a pre-specified direction. There’s also a type that mulches leaves and grass clippings to fall and decompose on the ground. This disposal method is the cheapest and easiest to employ.
Remember that bag catchers will weigh down your mower as they get filled up, and make pushing more difficult as it gets full.
Last but not least, a reel mower with the ability to cut grass easily on sloped lawns, and can be super helpful if your yard is bumpy and is also sloped.
After you’ve checked out these amazing Reel mowers – Head on over to our essential guide for the Best Cordless String Trimmer & Leaf Blower Combo Kits
When it comes to investing in household tools – versatility, durability, and of course price, are the main aspects I consider. This is why the Fiskars StaySharp reel mower makes the Editors Pick for the Best Reel Mower. Granted, it’s not the cheapest choice, but it makes up for it in quality, reliability, and practicality. However, if you’re looking to snatch a bargain, consider the GreenWorks 16″ reel mower for a pretty sweet deal as well.
References & Further Reading
- Gas vs. Battery Powered Lawn Equipment – Which one is Right for You?
- How to Use a String Trimmer Video – From This Old House!
- How do you tell if a lawn mower spark plug is bad?