Best Reel Mower Reviews

A properly adjusted cylinder mower makes the cleanest cut of the grass than rotary mowers, and this allows the grass to heal more quickly.  Lawn cut with a cylinder mower is less likely to result in yellow, white, or brown discoloration as a result of leaf shredding (source). In this article, we review the most popular reel mowers and feature the best reel mower for 2022!

Right before we get into the reviews it may be worth looking at the brief history of mowers and seeing how come the best reel mowers are possible still the good old reel mower!

Shanks Mowers

As we have written about mowers history in our History of British Gardening Series, mowers came a long way over the years.

Before 1830 lawns were cut with scythes, which was extremely labor intensive and left an extremely rough finish.

Edwin Beard Budding had the idea for a lawnmower after seeing a machine in a local cloth mill that used a cutting cylinder (or bladed reel) mounted on a bench to trim the irregular nap from the surface of woolen cloth and give a smooth finish. By 1858, more than 7,000 machines had been sold.

It was towards the end of the 19th century that eventually, James Sumner of Lancashire patented the first steam-powered lawn mower in 1893 (source).  But that’s another story.

Why should you get a reel mower?

The cut of a well-adjusted reel mower is straight and definite as if cut with a pair of scissors. This clean cut promotes healthier, thicker, and more resilient lawn growth that is more resistant to disease, weeds, and parasites. They are simply better for the lawn’s health.

As a matter of fact, it may not be that great for your sanity. It requires a strict cutting schedule to operate even the best reel mower efficiently. Depending on the region you should plan to mow about every 3-5 days. If the grass is not mowed in time, it may get too tall for the reel mower to cut clean. The mower might just push it down and roll over it. Any debris, like sticks and twigs, needs to be cleared before mowing with a reel mower, and it is advised to pick up the clippings or be raked. 

On the other hand, using a reel mower is so much nicer and closer to nature. It is not just environmentally friendly by not using gas, it is also quiet, simple, and rather cheap indeed. 

If you can’t be bothered by the limitations of a reel mower you may be better off with a cordless mower, to be honest. They are low maintenance, quiet and practical, although much more expensive. Alternatively, a cheap corded electric mower could do the job if you are on a budget. 


  • Lightweight
  • Cheapest
  • Easy maintenance
  • Best for the lawn
  • Good workout


  • Mowing schedule needed
  • Manual labor
  • Need even surface

Bigger areas, like over half an acre, might need some electric or gas powered reel mowers indeed. Over two acres you may even want to consider a comfortable ride on a tractor or a zero turn mower.

When it comes to the best reel mower, we have to mention the most famous company in the business, the American Lawn Mower Company. It was established in 1895 and now owns the Great Sates, Earthwise, and Yardwise brands. They together have a huge variety of reel lawn mowers and they represent 3 out of the 4 mowers on our list of best reel mowers. 

Best Reel Mower Reviews – Best Products

Best Reel Push Mower – Great States 304-14 14-Inch 5-Blade Reel Lawnmower

Great States 304 14 Inch Reel Mower


Cutting width (inches)

Key Facts

Great States’ most popular model is the 14-inch 304-14 push lawnmower with 5 blades. It has a limited cutting width but for that, you get outstanding maneuverability. 

It rolls easily on its 10 inch wheels, blade height can be adjusted providing a cutting height of 1 to 2 1/4 inches. The blades are heat treated and made out of alloy steel. 

Great States offer similar manual reel mowers in different sizes:

We need to mention that the basic Great States 304 is one of the cheapest mowers on the market in the region at $40.

Great States 815 18 Inch Reel Mower

The big brother Great States 815 on the other hand costs three times more. 

It offers a very efficient 18-inch cutting width suitable for bigger lawns, with height adjustment from as little as 1/2 inch to as high as 2 3/4 inches! 

To top it up it features powder-coated finished handles for longevity and a bit of luxury.

Best Lightweight Lawn Mower – American 1204-14 14-Inch 4-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower

American Reel Lawn Mower


Cutting width (inches)

Key Facts

America’s other popular choice when it comes to reel lawn mowers is the American Lawn Mower 1204 14 inch 4 blade reel lawn mower. 

Ideal for small lawns but surely keep them trimmed and neat. This particular mower has tempered alloy steel blades with an adjustable height between 1/2 inch and 1 3/4 inches. 

It only weighs 19 pounds so this light weight compared with the relatively narrow cutting width of 14 inches, makes it an agile and easy-to-use push mower. 

Of course, if you have a bigger lawn and need more efficiency in the form of greater cutting capacity, American Lawn Mower offers just that in the form of the American Manual Lawn Mower 1415-16 16-Inch 5-Blade Hand Push Reel Mower. This bigger tool features 4 spiders with 5 blade ball bearing reels with 1/2 inch to 2 1/4 inches cutting heights. 

Best Earthwise Reel Mower for Tough Grass – 1715-16EW 16 Inch Wide, 7 Blade Push Reel Mower

Earthwise 1715-16EW Blade Push Reel Mower


Cutting width (inches)

Key Facts

Earthwise manufactures great quality tools and the Earthwise 1715 reel mower is no exception. 

It features a 7-blade design, which is best used for common Bermuda, Hybrid Bermuda, zoysia, centipede, and other common bent grasses. For the more common taller, wet, upright grass a 4 or 5-blade reel mower will be more efficient when cutting grass. 

Stepping up the game not just in the number of blades but clearing with, the 18-inch wide path it can clear makes this Earthwise manual reel mower more suitable for big lawns.

Height adjustments are easy and can be set between 1/2 inch to 2 1/2 inches. 

Earthwise has a wide range of reel lawn mower models as well, from 14 to 20 inches of clearing widths. 

Best High-End Reel Lawn Mowers – Fiskars StaySharp Max 18 Inch Reel Mower (formerly Momentum)

Fiskars StaySharp Max Reel Mower


Cutting width (inches)

Key Facts

Let’s put this out first of all: this is not your granddad’s typical mower. While other reel mowers in this list might seem like so, Fiskars has put a lot of effort, both engineering and design, to create possibly the best reel mower.  

The Fiskars reel mower is not just stylish, but has the most outstanding feature on the market today: it can cut tall grass up to 4 inches high. This single fact eliminates one of the biggest disadvantages of using a reel mower, that one needs to use it regularly and not let the grass grow too high. With the Fiskars StaySharp Max, you will have an extra few days to rest. 

The StaySharp Max features a chain drive system called Inertia Drive. This makes it easier to push and provides twice as much cutting power. The patented StaySharp technology promises longer-lasting, sharp blades, saving you from regular blade sharpening. Still need to do so occasionally, just not that often. 

The cutting width is a healthy 18 inches, a great compromise between efficiency and easy reach near narrow places. Cutting height can be adjusted between 1 and 4 inches. 

Fiskars Max has a front-discharge mechanism, meaning it throws clippings forward, not on your shoes. This can be changed to a backward and downward direction, should you wish so.

You may wonder, how come a reel mower has four wheels? Well in this case the front wheels help the mower run more smoothly even on rough terrain and also drive the chain mechanism. 

Another great thing is that this reel mower is designed to cut all grass types, even tough southern varieties like Bermuda, Bahia, or St Augustine.

Best Reel Lawn Mower with Grass Catcher – Greenworks RM1400 14-Inch Lawn Mower

Greenworks 14-Inch Reel Lawn Mower RM1400


Cutting width (inches)

Key Facts

This mower has a cutting width of 14 inches and adjustable mowing heights ranging from 1.06 to 2 inches, making it ideal for most types of short grass commonly found in lawns. This reel mower comes with a grass catcher which other push mowers usually don’t have it.

Equipped with a convenient T-handle, it enables easy maneuvering around tree trunks, while its nonslip cushioned grips ensure a comfortable grip.

The 5-blade reel of this mower expertly snips through the grass, mimicking the action of a pair of scissors and resulting in a greener and healthier lawn. Assembling this reel mower is a breeze, and its lightweight design makes it effortless to operate. Additionally, it offers the convenience of easy storage when not in use as the handle folds down.