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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.