The Best Reel Mower Reviews in 2018 – Mowing without Gas or Electricity

Some people find mowing the lawn to be a tiresome chore and something that takes up too much time – to the point where they pay others to do it. For me, it’s a largely relaxing experience and something I enjoyed doing since I was a kid. At the time, powered mowers were not widespread, so I used a manual reel mower – something I still do to this day. Most people don’t understand why and think that powered mowers are better in every way – but that’s not the case. That’s why I wrote this article – to show off the benefits of the best reel mowers that are undeservingly being looked over in recent times.

Why Buying a Reel Mower?

Electric and gas-powered mowers are everywhere these days, and almost every household has one, as they are not as expensive as they used to be. However, that doesn’t mean that manual reel mowers are rendered obsolete – far from it. In some areas, they are even better than most powered mowers can be.

For starters, let me explain a thing or two about reel mowers, as people these days might not be very familiar with them.

There are a few benefits to manual mowers when compared to powered ones. First off, they are cheaper – both up-front and long-term, as you don’t need to shell out money for gas or electricity. In addition to that, they are easier to maintain – taking them apart and cleaning them takes almost no effort and replacement parts are cheap and simple to install. Then, there’s my favorite part about reel mowers – they don’t do any damage to the environment or your lungs, while also offering a great, light afternoon exercise.

Of course, they have their downsides as well, starting with what I just mentioned – they require actual effort to operate. For some, like me, that’s a boon, but other people might not like it or might be unable to put in the effort required. Moreover, cutting extremely tall grass with a manual mower is exceptionally taxing on your body, so you’ll have to cut it more often unless you want to exert yourself.

Buying a Reel Mower

Reel Mower Requires Actual Effort to Operate

If you’re still not sure about the benefits of reel mowers compared to powered ones, this article might dispel some of those doubts.

While they have existed since the 18th century, and the mechanism at the base of a reel mower is still pretty much the same as it was back then, modern variations trying to improve upon it do exist. Some succeed, while others do not, and all of that makes picking the best reel mower a daunting task. But fret not – that’s why we made this detailed comparison of three great products and included some user feedback – to help you make the right choice. Let’s check it out.

Meet the Best Reel Mowers

Great States 415-16 16-Inch Reel Mower Standard Full Feature Lawn Mower With T-Style Handle And Heat Treated Blades

The Good:  Great deal for the price and has adjustable cutting height.

The Bad: Doesn’t mow well around fences or walls.

The Bottom Line: Overall a great deal for the price with some nifty features and only one significant downside

Sale
Scotts 2000-20 20-Inch Classic Push Reel Lawn Mower

The Good: Comfortable to use with a huge cutting width and adjustable height.

The Bad: Not very maneuverable and difficult to push.

The Bottom Line: The width that makes it great also slows it down, but it’s still useful.

Sale
Fiskars StaySharp Max Reel Mower

The Good: Great innovative design with nifty features and finely adjustable height.

The Bad: Not able to cut tall and thick grass.

The Bottom Line: While the design is great, it’s also difficult to use and can’t deal with higher grass.

Covering everything about these products in such a small table is impossible – so, for more info, check out the rest of this article below.

All of the Factors Considered

As reel mowers are complex machines, there’s plenty that needs to be taken into consideration before buying one. Not doing so might cause you to regret your purchase, and returning the product is not always an option. So, here are some of the most important aspects of a reel mower you need to think about while shopping for one.

The Materials

When you buy a reel mower, you want to get years of work out of it. To avoid buying a product that will break in a couple of weeks or months, you need to think about what it’s made of. Plastic and aluminum are more prone to breaking than steel or titanium. Even so, the type of steel it’s made from is also important – carbon steel will last more than a cheaper alloy, for example. This is especially important when it comes to the blades as they are liable to run into branches or small rocks on a regular basis.

Number of Blades

This is important because it decides what kind of grass you can cut with your reel mower. The most common number of blades is somewhere between 4 and 8. Mowers with a small number of blades are better suited for cutting thinner and finer grasses, such as Rye Grass, Kentucky Bluegrass and so on. Those with a higher number of blades are intended for cutting heavier grasses, like various Bahia sorts, for example.

Cutting Width

The wider your mower is, the larger the area it can cover in one pass. Thus, it makes sense that a wider mower will help you finish mowing your lawn faster. However, a very wide mower also has its downsides, as it is heavier and less maneuverable. If your law is of non-standard size and has a lot of tight nooks and crannies that a wide mower can’t get to, you need a

Cutting Height

The cutting height of a mower is the height that it cuts grass at. Depending on your needs and how high you want your grass to be, or how often you want to cut it, you want either a higher or lower cutting height. Some mowers have a fixed cutting height, while some can be adjusted, whether with or without using tools.

Additional Features

Besides the standard features all reel mowers have, some offer other benefits – whether it be safety features, added comfort features like adjustable handle length or rubber grips and even things like additional wheels for rough terrain. While these are things that might not be necessary, they can be extremely useful and might be just what you need.

In-depth Reviews of 3 Reel Mowers

Great States 415-16
Summary
With a great price, sturdy construction and a really good cutting width, this mower instantly appeals to the buyer. When you add in the adjustable cutting height and how quiet it is, it looks too good to be true. Well, that’s why it has one big downside that might not affect everybody but is significant.
Materials95
Number of Blades85
Cutting Width90
Cutting Height95
Additional Features85
What We Like
Adjustable cutting height
Reasonable price
Easy to assemble
What We Don't Like
Handle height isn’t adjustable
Doesn’t mow well around obstacles
Blades need to be sharpened too often
90
Great

Key Features

Cutting Width of 16 Inches

With a great cutting width, this mower allows you to go over your lawn very quickly, while still being maneuverable.

Five Blades Cut Grass Cleanly

With five not-rotary blades, this mower ensures cleanly cut, good looking lawns.

Three Height Options

With an easily adjustable cutting height, coming with three different options – from half-an-inch to two and a half inches – this mower allows you to cut your lawn to just the height you want.

Alloy Steel Construction

Made from a tough steel alloy, this mower is guaranteed to last you almost a lifetime.

Customer Reviews

I adore this product! I've had no experience mowing lawns, so there’s no way for me to know how this compares to a gas mower or an electric one. Regardless of that, I do enjoy the fact that fussing with oil and gas changing or long cables is not something I have to deal with while mowing.

It's surprisingly efficient and cuts grass rather cleanly and evenly, even on the bumpier parts of my yard. It was amazingly simple and easy to assemble, took me only a few minutes; the only part I had trouble with was the e-rings that didn’t want to snap on correctly. In the end, I just took up a hammer and tapped them into place with a few light hits.

Mowing it for the first time, it took me about an hour, but the grass was really tall – now, it takes about 15 minutes once per week. For people with small yards like me, I can recommend this mower. The only real issue is that it can get stuck on twigs from time to time, but they’re really easy to remove, and it doesn’t damage the blades.

I’m really in love with it! This mean, green machine glides smoothly across your lawn while making a satisfying tick-tack noise and it doesn’t dull even after repeated use. It performs very well when used on shorter grass or weeds, but does a worse job when they get five to six feet tall. It was also easy to assemble, and I put it together in around thirty minutes with no problems.

You should pay close attention to the instructions, and don't start tightening the handle pieces before getting the blade in. That way you can get the blade into position easier than you otherwise would have, after which you can tighten the handles all the way.

I have a large, hilly yard and I've gone through 1 gas lawn mower and one electric lawn mower before they both broke, not to mention the super heavy cord on the electric lawn mower. My yard is huge and full of hills and bumps all around. I’ve used a gas mower on it and an electric one as well before they broke down. I didn’t like using the electric one especially, because of the long, unwieldy cord, so after it broke, I finally decided to try a manual mower instead.

So far, I like it. I can push it with ease, and it performs decently on the uneven terrain and the hills. Not having a cord or a bag weighing it down makes it so much simpler to use. It’s just as simple to use as it was to assemble – took me less than ten minutes, and I could use it straight away. Overall, a quality product that is fit even for use in larger yards.

Who Should Buy This Product

This one is clearly made for people on a budget, but it should work for pretty much anyone with a smaller yard as it is just great value for the price. The adjustable cutting height makes sure it will satisfy plenty of different users.

What to Watch Out For

If you have a lot of fences and walls around your yard, you should take care with this mower as it can’t get close enough to cut properly. There’s a big gap between the wheels and the cutting reel, which causes this problem. It’s not really fixable, and it’s the only big downside to it.

The Conclusion

Overall, a great mower that’s more than justifies its price with all the different features it offers. Pretty much anyone should be able to get a lot of quality use out of it. The only problem is the fact that it can’t cut very well on areas close to some obstacles, so that’s something to take into consideration. Otherwise, this is a fantastic product.

Scotts 2000-20
Summary
The huge cutting width of 20 inches as well as the amazing versatility that it offers, with nine different cutting width options, is what makes this mower stand out. However, that width might be its downfall.
Materials85
Number of Blades80
Cutting Width90
Cutting Height90
Additional Features90
What We Like
Huge cutting width
Nine different options for cutting height
Comfortable handle
What We Don't Like
Not very maneuverable
Doesn’t cut tall grass well
Hard to push on hills
87
Great

Key Features

20-inch Cutting Width

With a huge cutting width of 20 inches, this mower ensures that you’ll get the job done in no time.

9 Cutting Height Options

With a cutting height that can be adjusted from 1 to 3 inches in 9 different degrees, this mower is fit for any yard.

5 Heat Treated Steel Blade

The five durable blades ensure clean cuts while not being easy to dull or break on rocks and other debris.

Dual Wheel Tracking

With two added tracking wheels, this innovative design ensures good maneuverability, eliminating drag and making it easy to push the mower.

Customer Reviews

This fantastic mower is easy to maneuver with and makes clean cuts – no mess here. It’s easy to see the difference to other mowers, even from a distance, let alone up close. It also requires no more effort to use than a gas mower, while producing no noise and no exhaust – while not shredding the grass like mowers with rotary blades often do. Pretty simple to assemble as well – when I got the right parts, that is. At first, it came missing a part, but the company that makes it responded to my call and sent me a new one immediately. Then I got it assembled within a few minutes. Great stuff all around.
After years of borrowing an old Scotts mower from a friend that has had it for more than five years, I decided to stop bothering her and purchase one for myself. Naturally, I chose the same brand, and I was not disappointed. It took me less than ten minutes for assembly while following the instruction manual. It’s got a sturdy, heavy frame that seems like it’s sure not to break, while also being light enough to carry around while mowing the yard.

Another thing I like is the multiple settings feature, which helped me a lot. The blades are also very sharp, and even though I have been told to sharpen them every few months or so, I had no real need to do it as they still cut well. Overall, this is a great product, and I look forward to using it for years to come.

After reading several reviews I wasn’t sure what I was getting, but it turns out this mower is really, really good! It’s easy to use, steady and smooth and feels sturdy. After many years of grooming the yard I got sick of it and am thinking of replacing with creeping thyme or something else, but now I needed something to keep it in shape. This mower made me reconsider replacing my lawn, as it was great and fun to use.

Sure, it took some effort to clear out everything, but that’s part of what I liked about it! It really gave me a great workout! My yard is very uneven and oddly shaped, so I did have to take a lot of different turns and change angles all the time, but I got it all, and this mower is maneuverable, so it wasn’t a big problem. This seems to be the right mower for me right now, and I look forward to mowing my lawn now.

Who Should Buy This Product

This product is meant for people with yards that are a bit larger, but who don’t want to invest in a more heavy-duty mower. For that purpose, it’s pretty great, and the cutting width makes the job faster than with smaller reel mowers.

What to Watch Out For

Despite having two added wheels for additional maneuverability, it’s still very wide and hard to push up hills or maneuver into smaller spaces. Take that into consideration when buying.

The Conclusion

Overall, it’s a decent product for the price, especially for people who have more ground to cover than is usual. It’s sturdy and has some great options, especially the adjustable cutting height. However, where it falls short is in how difficult it is to use on rough terrain or around smaller spaces – if you have a lot of those, you should look at other products, not this one. Otherwise, it’s a good mower.

Fiskars 18 Inch StaySharp Max Reel Mower
Summary
The great innovative design of this mower is what makes it noticed, at first – it not only looks different from the rest, it functions differently and offers a host of great features, like the adjustable height. However, that design also has some massive flaws.
Materials85
Number of Blades80
Cutting Width85
Cutting Height95
Additional Features90
What We Like
Good around edges
Throws grass forward - not backward
Adjustable cutting height
What We Don't Like
Takes a lot of effort to use
Can’t cut high grass
Thick blades get stuck
87
Great

Key Features

Cutting Width of 18 Inches

With a massive cutting width, this mower is guaranteed to make the mowing of your lawn that much faster.

Rust Resistant Steel Make

Made from rust-resistant steel, this mower is sure to last for a long time, cutting wet grass with ease and needing barely any sharpening.

Five Thick Cutting Blades

Five sharp blades ensure clean cuts, making your lawn look fresh and evenly mowed, while their thickness offers double the cutting power.

Adjustable for Your Convenience

With a cutting height that can be adjusted from 1 to 4 inches and adjustable handle height, this mower is sure to fit almost anybody.

Customer Reviews

I used this to mow my Bermuda lawn a couple of time, and it proved to be a very smooth mower. Effortlessly cut the grass and with good, clean cuts that made my lawn look superb. I’m honestly glad I decided to buy this when my gas-powered machine broke.
Just bought it last week and used it today for the first time. I had a different reel mower previously, but this one is different and in a good way. It cuts through my grass as a hot blade would through butter, and I can effortlessly push it around. The noise it makes is also considerably lesser than my previous machine, which was something that always bothered me about it.

The only bad thing about it is that it really can’t cut most tall stalks like gas or electric models can, but other than that it’s an improvement over them in every way. Simply put, I adore this mower very much.

So far we have been delighted while using this mower! My husband really likes mowing the lawn with it, and he says it helps him work out at the same time, mowing far more often than before because of that. I also tested it, and it seems to cut easily and makes clean cuts, without ruining the grass.

The best thing about this model is that it throws the grass forward, so it doesn’t get all over your feet. The only con this mower has is that it can’t cut really tall grass, so it’s a bit difficult to take care of the yard after we come back from a holiday, for example.

Who Should Buy This Product

For people who need a mower with a really wide range of adjustable cutting height, this one is a great boon, as you can fine tune the cutting height to fit you perfectly. Also good for people who are annoyed at mowers throwing grass at their feet as this one doesn’t do that at all.

What to Watch Out For

The main problem with this mower is that it struggles a lot with tall and thick grass. If it gets near 4 inches, that’s already a problem, and anything over it will probably not be cut – not by this machine.

The Conclusion

Works decently and has some nifty features, especially the finely adjustable cutting height, and the fact that it throws grass in front of you and cuts well even around corners. It’s just a great design. However, that same design makes it difficult to push and doesn’t allow it to cut really high grass. Still, if you take care of your lawn regularly, you should have little to no problems with this one.

The Best Pick – Great States 415-16

As we’ve demonstrated here, there’s a huge amount of variety on the reel mower market and a lot of products to sift through. You should carefully consider the pros and cons of every product and your own needs before picking one, the one that’s best for you. Each one we’ve presented here has its merits, for sure.

The best one for us is the Great States 415-16, without a shadow of a doubt. The reason is simply that you can’t beat the sheer value proposition of it. With such a low price and such good performance, it stands above the rest with ease. It also has no real significant downsides, not the way the others have while having similar performance.

Video Review

The Conclusion

While that’s our pick for the best reel mower, the other two we have presented are also fine products, and there are even others out there that might be more suited for your needs. With the information found in this article, you should be able to make the correct decision – or at least, that’s what we hope this article helps you do.

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