Reel lawn mowers are sometimes thought of as old-fashioned, but they're making a comeback.
Think about it: scissors and string trimmers both cut grass. They just do it differently. A reel mower performs less like a string trimmer and more like a pair of high-performance scissors.
Reel mowers use several blades that turn like the blades of a paddleboat, pulling the grass into the mower so the cutter bar can clip it. Although they have difficulty cutting harder twigs and branches, reel mowers offer other plenty of other benefits:
Choosing the right reel mower comes down to looking at two details: the number of blades and the mower's width.
Reel mowers are available in three different styles:
The type of grass you mow will determine how many blades you’ll need. For bent, heavier grasses such as Bermuda or St. Augustine, get a seven-blade mower. For finer, thinner grasses such as fescue or Kentucky bluegrass, four-blade and five-blade mowers work well.
Reel lawn mowers come in different widths, ranging from 14 to 20 inches. The wider the mower, the faster you’ll mow. A 20-inch mower will cut a lawn 30 percent faster than a 14-inch mower.
Because you will be providing the “horsepower” for your reel mower, you might break a little sweat no matter how wide your mower is. Don’t worry. The heaviest reel mower is only 50 pounds.
Reel lawn mowers are great for being so simple to use. However, adding an accessory or two can help you get even more from your mower.
Reel mowers leave behind nutrient-rich grass clippings, which fertilize your lawn. But if you want a tidier-looking yard, consider a grass catcher. Attach it behind the power, and while you walk, the catcher will collect the clippings for easier disposal.
As with any mower, maintenance is a must. One detail you're sure to love about your reel mower, though, is how easy the blades are to sharpen. Just apply an abrasive paste to the blades and push the mower. The blades will sharpen themselves as they spin.