Best Reel Mower Review: Top 5 Manual Lawn Mower for Small Yard

Products
EDITOR'S #1 CHOICE
Great States 415-16 16-Inch 5-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower, 16-Inch, 5-Blade, Silver
#2nd Best Choice
American Lawn Mower Company 1415-16 16-Inch 5-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower, Gray
#3rd Best Choice
Earthwise 1816-18EW 18-Inch 5-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower, Grey
Name
Great States 415-16 16-Inch 5-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower, 16-Inch, 5-Blade, Silver
American Lawn Mower Company 1415-16 16-Inch 5-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower, Gray
Earthwise 1816-18EW 18-Inch 5-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower, Grey
Prime
-
EDITOR'S #1 CHOICE
Products
Great States 415-16 16-Inch 5-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower, 16-Inch, 5-Blade, Silver
Name
Great States 415-16 16-Inch 5-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower, 16-Inch, 5-Blade, Silver
Prime
#2nd Best Choice
Products
American Lawn Mower Company 1415-16 16-Inch 5-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower, Gray
Name
American Lawn Mower Company 1415-16 16-Inch 5-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower, Gray
Prime
-
#3rd Best Choice
Products
Earthwise 1816-18EW 18-Inch 5-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower, Grey
Name
Earthwise 1816-18EW 18-Inch 5-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower, Grey
Prime

Let’s agree on one thing…

Nothing is more serene and inviting, like a lush green lawn. Not only does it improve the aesthetic factor of your home, but it makes the whole place look great for taking photos or even relaxing with the family.

It is easy to have a well-manicured lawn if you have the perfect tools in place, like the best reel mower that will help you deliver gentle, precise cuts.

We all want to have a beautiful, eye-catching lawn at home, right? But there’s one small catch. We’re not that handy or mechanical enough to know the best manual lawn mower on the marketplace.

And the experience of buying one always turns out to be worse and costing us money and time in the end. It is either you have a poorly manufactured motor-less lawnmower, or you don’t achieve the fine cuts.

But I won’t let that experience happen to you. Not under my watch. Today you’re going to learn which 5 reel lawn mowers deserve a spot and which one of the 5 best push reel mowers deserves a place in your lawn care checklist.

The best part?

By the end of this post, you’ll be a lawnmower light expert. You’re going to get:

  • A checklist you need to have before you buy a manual mower
  • The best reel push mowers on the market (and why they are the best)
  • Why you need to buy a reel mower (even if you have a budget for a powered mower)

And many more questions at the end. Ready, let’s dive right in.

Best Reel Mower – Reviews & Buying guide for 2021

  1. Great States Reel Mower With Heat Treated Blades
  2. American Hand Push Reel Mower
  3. Scotts 14-Inch 5-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower

1. Great States Reel Mower With Heat Treated Blades

Editor’s #1 Choice

Great States 415-16 16-Inch 5-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower, 16-Inch, 5-Blade, Silver
  • Manual mechanical mower with a quick, adjustable cutting height of 1"-2.5"...
  • Lightweight lawn mower has 16" cutting width, 5-blade ball bearing reel,...
  • Push blade mower with high-quality heat-treated alloy steel blades that...

Specifications

  • Weight: 26 pounds
  • Cutting width: 16-inch
  • Height adjustment: ½ to 2 ¾ inch
  • Blades: 4-spider, five blades 
  • Handle: T-handle

Anytime I use the Great States reel mower in my backyard, I Imagine the reel mechanism rotation. It works perfectly with the cutting blades leaving a clean, precise, scissor-like cut.

Like any other manual reel mower, it takes time before you get used to it. The advantage of no gas refill, zero noise, and no carbon footprint is what makes it a significant investment.

This reel mower is ideal for cutting short grasses.

Most reel mowers I’ve used in the past had the norm of not maintaining consistent cuts. With the Great States reel mower, this is not the case because it rarely bumps or jingles on uneven terrain, leaving you with a perfectly manicured lawn.

Weighing only 20 pounds, it is easier to think that it is heavy, but I was wrong at first. It’s relatively easy to push around with little pressure and effort.

Let’s talk about its’ blades?

It features a cutting reel with five blades mounted on a 4-spider ball, which means you only need to give it a gentle push, and you have the cutting reel spinning.

The great States delivers gentle and scissor-like cut leaving you with a well-manicured lawn on a Saturday morning. Built on tempered-alloy steel to withstand durability and test of time. Perfectly made to work on a small to medium-sized lawn.

PROS

Very easy to maneuver around
5-blades on a four-spider ball which makes it super easy to push

CONS

Does not do well in super tall grass. Best for regular cuttings


2. American Lawn Mower Hand Push Reel Mower

Sale
American Lawn Mower Company 1415-16 16-Inch 5-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower, Gray
  • 5-Blade reel with a cutting width of 16” and durable 10” polymer wheels...
  • Mechanical lawn mower with an adjustable blade height of 1”-2.5” with...
  • Manual grass cutter blades made of heat-treated alloy steel that stays...

Specifications

  • Weight: 25 pounds
  • Cutting width: 16-inch
  • Height adjustment: ½ to 1 ¾ inch
  • Blades: 4-spider, five blades 
  • Handle: T-handle

Quick question if I may….Do you have a small backyard, and you’re looking for a budget-friendly lawn mower?

Perfect!!! Because the American lawnmower 1415-16 is the right mower for you.

Let me walk you through the exciting features you’ll find.

It comes with five hardened sharp steel blades that provide reliable cuts without much effort.

Look, the reel is mounted on a 4-spider ball bearing, which makes it spin quickly with a single push with just a little bit of torque.

Because of its sharp blades, the lawnmower does an excellent job of cutting the grass in record time. If you’ve thick or tall grass in your yard, you’ll have to make several passes with this lawn.

During the dawning operation, I noticed that the blade made slight contact giving it a bit of whoosh sound.

Apart from that, you can adjust the reel’s cutting height from ½ inch to 1 ¾ inch. Overall, I love the American lawn mower’s compact design because it cuts my small yard to the precise level I want.

What’s more, it is 16 inches wide, enough to cut all the areas fast and effective while at the same time never causing a problem when it comes to maneuvering.

​The American Lawnmower is built on unbreakable steel side plates to deliver long-lasting years of work. The mower snips and cuts the grass with less emission and zero noise, leaving you with a healthier and green lawn.

PROS

Compact design is easy to maneuver
Wide 16 inch cutting area
5-blade reel to cut almost anything

CONS

For small backyards only


3. Earthwise 18-Inch 5-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower

Earthwise 1816-18EW 18-Inch 5-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower, Grey
  • 18-inch push mower cutting width, 5-blade ball bearing reel, and 10"...
  • Manual lawn mower with an adjustable cutting height of 1"-3" for precise...
  • High-quality 18" reel mower blades made of heat-treated alloy steel that...

Specifications

  • Weighs: 27 pounds
  • Cutting width: 18 inches
  • Height adjustment: 1-3 inches
  • Blades:  5-blade ball bearing reel makes it easy to cut grass

It comes with an elongated design with both vertical and horizontal sides, making it easier for you to push it around with little effort.

If you’re a seasoned buyer of a reel mower, you’ll notice that most of the previous models you’ve used have only one horizontal handlebar.

The handlebar’s vertical side is ideal for cutting thick grass, while the horizontal side of the handlebar gives you excellent traction when you want to cut short grass.

You and I know that fixing electric and gas-powered mowers is “a big pain”. That said, the only maintenance you’ll ever face with this mower is the periodic sharpening of the blades, which you can do it once after every two years.

Besides that, other simple tasks won’t eat your time like oiling and replacing some parts.

Budget-friendly. In other words, you won’t break the bank owning this reel mower. Besides that, it competes well with other high-end reel mowers having poor features. Trust me. This is a worthwhile investment you’re making to manicure your lawns.

The Earthwise reel mower slashes through thicker grass with excellent precision. It delivers more cutting power than the standard reel mower.

Downside to this reel mower is that it doesn’t cut super low.

PROS

Budget friendly
Trusted name in Earthwise, so there will be good customer service
Relatively heavier to other models, but still very maneuverable
Easy setup. Add handle bars and you are ready to go

CONS

Doesn’t cut low enough for some customers

A Simple To Use Checklist For Choosing The Best Reel Lawn Mower

Using Reel Lawn Mower

Anyone that has a bought a manual lawn mower before will tell you that it is quite a task. There are lots of reel mowers on the market today.

Some come with excellent features. Others come with inadequate features and are marketed to be premium.

The good news is, I’ve developed a checklist for filtering out the chaff from the wheat. In other words, anything that does not pass the benchmark, you need to leave it.

To create an excellent checklist for you, there are some questions that you need to answer because they will guide you.

That’s why I tried to come up with the easiest understand and most comprehensive buyer’s guide to reel lawn mowers that you’ll ever read.

Enough of the introduction. Let’s dive right in.

Number Of Blades

Chances are, if you’re buying a reel mower for the first time, you may be tempted to go with lots of blades without knowing the pros and cons of each. Let me explain.

More blades mean more cutting more, but it could also say that you’ll need lots of torque to maneuver and to get the blades spinning. Typically, most reel mowers have between 4 to 8 blades.

You’ll benefit greatly from having more blades if you’ve thicker and tall grasses in your backyard because you’ll achieve the precise cut you need. And you won’t need to do many passes to have even cutting.

Fewer blades are great for short and thin grass. You’ll maneuver fast and quickly, creating a precise and consistent cut on your lawn. Before you consider the number of blades, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do you have tall and thicker grass or short and thin grass?
  2. Do you have the stamina and strength required to operate the reel mower with lots of blades?

Understand your needs before considering the options available in the market.

Width And Size Of The Mower

A Simple To Use Checklist For Choosing The Best Reel Lawn Mower

The standard cutting width of a reel mower ranges between 14 to 20 inches. A mower that’s 20 inches wide cuts grass more quickly than a 14-inch mower.

That said, using a wider mower will need you to use extra strength to push and maneuver with it around. And expect a mower with a 20-inch width to weigh more than 40 pounds.

If you’re comfortable moving around with such weight, then go for it. Likewise, if you go for a 14-inch mower, you’ll have an easy time pushing it around.

Seriously, should you buy a manual lawn mower with a wider mouth?

Not necessarily. Yes, it might make you cut grass more quickly, but it will cost you time.

You’ll struggle to maneuver around with it, which cuts on the time you’ll spend on your lawn when you’re using a 14-inch mower.

You’ll end up using more energy. Alternatively, it will only work best for you if you’re handy and can maneuver with it well. So, before you buy a reel lawn mower with a large mouth, ask yourself:

Can you move around with 40 pounds of weight?

Adjustability

There are lots of manual reel mowers that come with several adjustable heights. The question is, do you need all that?

Or, better, when should you use a reel mower with several adjustable heights and when should you not.

If this is still an issue, let me explain.

Ask any landscaping professional who will tell you that the grass’s height needs to be more than ⅓ before you cut.

Cutting your grass shorter makes it susceptible to diseases and weed invasions, leading to the death of grass in hot or dry weather.

You don’t need to buy a reel lawn mower with lots of height adjustments. On that note, you only need to have one that has four or five adjustable heights ranging from 1 to 4 inches.

Rarely will you’ve grass growing past 8 inches, and you never want to cut a grass that is ½ inch?

Silent Cut Or Contact Mower: Which One For You?

Man Showing Reel Lawn Mower

Manual reel mower falls into two broad categories:

  • Silent cut mower
  • Contact mower

With a silent cut mower, the blades rarely contact the bed knife, which makes them super quiet when you’re mowing your lawn.

In most cases, the silent cut mower is quiet than the contact mower.

Alternatively, silent cut mowers require little effort to push around, and they provide high precision in cutting, eliminating the need for cross-hatching or back lapping.

Apart from that, silent cut rarely needs spacing between the blades but will require you to sharpen the blades after 5 or more years to come.

On the other hand, the contact mower doesn’t have adjustable heights, but you’ll need to sharpen the blades often. With the contact mower, the blades are in contact with the bed knife, which means you’re likely to hear some little noise.

But the noise is not that loud like what you’ll find in a gas-powered or electric power lawnmower or even electric grass shears. Unlike silent cut mowers, contact mowers need back lapping once a year.

Before you think of buying either a silent cut or contact mower, ask yourself these questions:

  1. How quiet do you want the reel mower to be?
  2. How often do you want to service your mower?

Those questions will help you decide if you need to go with a silent cut or contact cut mower.

The Reel Difference (Why Should You Buy)

The Reel Difference

Electric or gas-powered mower. The absence of this engine makes them compact and more comfortable to store. I need to make sure that I’ve enough oil to make sure that the moving parts run smoothly.

You won’t find a lawnmower clumping or sucking up your leaves only to leave them dry and susceptible to diseases. You’ve every reason to own a reel mower.

There two most questions I hear about lawnmowers are:

  • Why should I buy the manual reel mower?
  • Why don’t I just get the electric or gas-powered mower?

Today, I’ll cover the first question, why should you buy a reel mower in the first place? In other words, how will they transform your lawn to the level of cutting you want?

Completely Free And Safe To Operate

Reel mower runs on clean energy. You don’t need to oil or use electricity to operate them. A single push with a little bit of torque on your side is enough to spin the blades for precise cutting of the grass.

What’s more, most reel mowers weigh around 20 to 35 pounds, which is enough weight to maneuver about with it without feeling like you’re tired.

Secondly, they make a quick stop when you stop unlike most electrical or gas-powered mower that keeps operating even after you’ve finished. 

Since it is light, it can be stored in the garage or even at the back of your car.

In other words, they don’t take more space in your garage like the 100 lb.

Easier And Cheaper To Maintain

I love the convenience of owning a reel mower. I don’t have to look for gas or changing parts like a carburetor in a gas-powered lawnmower.

No engine or spare parts that need periodic repair. A great thing to know is that you don’t even have to check for oil leaks.

The only thing you’re required to do is replace the blades, an operation you can carry out after every two years. Sometimes you can choose to sharpen the blades so that they are sharp for long-term use.

A Great Form Of Aerobic Exercise To Burn Calories

Woman Using Reel Lawn Mower

Did you know that owning mowing your compound is an excellent form of aerobic exercise?

I know it may sound like a bad thing for some, but using a reel mower relies heavily on your stamina and strength.

It is a good thing because you’ll burn many calories as you push around mowing your yard. I see mowing as a great way of keeping your lawn well-manicured and keeping fit on a Saturday morning.

Budget-Friendly Compared To Gas Or Electric Power Lawn

A manual reel mower is so compact and light in both functionality and performance. That means you won’t spend much getting one in the market today.

Most of the gas or electric power lawn’s price can make you cringe your face despite them emitting lots of emission and noise.

If you’re a small lawn, you don’t need to spend lots of money on a gas or electric-powered lawn when you can go with a cheaper option. And you’ll find it to be comfortable and simple to use.

Clean Precise And Scissor-Like Cut

It is the dream of every homeowner to have a clean, precise, and scissor-like cut. The bad news is that the level of precision rarely happens when you have a gas or electric lawnmower.

Picture it like butchering your grass, leaving it with no nutrients for growth. Thanks to the reel mower, you can cut clean without affecting the health of your grass on your lawn.

Environmentally Friendly

It is your duty to take care of the environment. I love using a reel mower because it has no engine, which means that there is zero emission of gasses that pollute the air.

Gas-powered lawn mowers leave unhealthy, dangerous fumes in the air, which can affect your lungs during operations.

That’s why you’re always advised to have an air mask at all times when you’re working with a gas-powered lawnmower.

Second, you also need an earplug because the noise it emits can make you deaf or impair your hearing judgment.

Thanks to the reel mower, you won’t have to worry about that. You even won’t have to incur the cost of earplugs or mask for work.

A Manual Lawn Mower Guide – Frequently Asked Questions

A Manual Lawn Mower Guide: Frequently Asked Questions

How much is a Reel lawnmower?

The manual lawn mower can cost anywhere from $50 to $200. The price of the mower will always depend on your financial situation.

Alternatively, never opt to buy the cheapest mower on the market because it’ll cost you a lot in other areas.

You may end purchasing a cheaply and poorly manufactured mower that won’t even deliver an excellent cut of your lawn. And it may cause you to spend more time mowing your lawn to have fine cuts.

Buying an expensive mower does not always translate to an excellent lawnmower. Always invest in a mid-price lawn that will not compromise on quality and savings.

How do reel mowers work?

Reel mowers have a collection of blades that spin manually when pushed forward. As you move forward, blades of grass fall between the blades and the bed knife. It makes the mower cut the grass in a scissor-like fashion.

The reel mowers are a great alternative to powered mowers because they have minimal maintenance and low cost.

Before using a reel mower, the first thing you’ll always do is adjust the cutting height between 1 ½ and 2 ½.

When you’ve set the height correctly, you’ll move the mower forward at a walking pace to allow for the rotating blades and knife to do their work.

You’ll walk in a straight line from one end to another. You’ll always do some passes if the place that you’re cutting doesn’t have even cuts.

How often do I need to mow with a reel mower?

It will depend on how fast the grass grows and the amount of rainfall in your area. If I lived in an area experiencing rain, I would always mow after 1 or 2 weeks.

Remember that if you want to grow a lush green mow, you must always cut the grass according to its growth.​

Do I need a grass catcher for a reel mower?

Using Grass Catcher on Reel Lawn Mower

It depends. If you want to have a healthy growing lawn, it is advisable to leave your lawn’s clippings. Besides, they will dry and disappear in two days.

Leaving the clippings is one way of recycling, which adds nutrients such as nitrogen into the lawn.

You only need to use a grass catcher under two conditions. If you discover your lawn has diseases and want to prevent it from spreading to other areas.

Two, when you want to make sure that your lawn is clean and well-maintained.

How often do the blades need sharpening?

If you’re using a lawnmower to do household duties, you may need to sharpen after one year. But if you’re a Professional Landscape Designer, you’ll always do it every week.

Can you replace the Blade?

Yes, you can replace the blades. If your blades are dull or butcher your grass, it makes them susceptible to diseases leading to brown patches.

When in doubt, always check your lawn after mowing. The presence of brown-tipped grass is a sign that you have a dull blade that needs replacement.

Conclusion (My thoughts)

Anyone that has bought the best push mower in the past will tell you that they are obsessed with the smell of freshly cut grass on a Saturday morning. Not only does it soothe the heart, but it elevates your outdoor living as well.

In other words, you get to spend more time with nature. A well-manicured lawn is the dream and pride of every homeowner.

That dream is only possible if you have the best reel mower in the first place.

The good news is, this article gave your every information you need to select a manual reel mower that suits your need.

You can now look forward to mowing your lawn every Saturday morning without disturbing your neighbors while they are sleep.

Trust me.

You won’t regret investing in a reel mower because apart from being a blogger, I’ve used these mowers as a commercial landscaper.

EDITOR’S #1 CHOICE

Great States 415-16 16-Inch 5-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower, 16-Inch, 5-Blade, Silver
  • Manual mechanical mower with a quick, adjustable cutting height of 1"-2.5"...
  • Lightweight lawn mower has 16" cutting width, 5-blade ball bearing reel,...
  • Push blade mower with high-quality heat-treated alloy steel blades that...

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