Of all the mowers, a properly adjusted cylinder mower makes the cleanest cut of the grass, 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 discolouration 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!
|Best Walk Behind Reel Mowers||Cutting width (inch)||Gardenlife Rating|
|Great States 304-14 14-Inch 5-Blade Push Reel Lawnmower||14||Learn more|
|American Lawn Mower 1204-14 14-Inch 4-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower||14||Learn more|
|Earthwise 1715-16EW 16 Inch Wide, 7 Blade Push Reel Mower||16||Learn more|
|Fiskars StaySharp Max 18 Inch Reel Mower||18||Learn more|
Right before we get into the reviews it may worth to look at the brief history of mowers and see how come the best mowers are possible still the good old 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 to your sanity. It requires a strict cutting schedule to operate even the best reel mower efficiently. Depending on the region you should plan mowing 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, need to be cleared before mowing with a reel mower, and it is advised to pick up the clippings or to 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 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 the budget.
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 mowers and they represent 3 out of the 4 mowers on our list of best reel mowers.
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 made out of alloy steel.
Great States offer similar reel mowers in different sizes:
We need to mention that the basic Great States 304 is one of the cheapest mower on the market in the region of $40.
It only weights 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 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 Lawn Mower 1415-16 16-Inch 5-Blade Hand Push Reel Mower. This bigger tool features 4 spider with 5 blade ball bearing reel with 1/2 inch to 2 1/4 inches cutting heights.
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 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 mowers as well, from 14 to 20 inches of clearing widths.
The Fiskars reel mower is not just stylish, but has the most outstanding feature on the market today: it can cut grass up to 4 inches high. This single fact eliminates one of the biggest disadvantages of using a reel mower, that one need to use it regularly and not letting 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.
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 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.