Today's reel mowers are much the same design that offered the best lawn cut for more than 100 years. These old-time favorites of today are lighter in weight, easier to use and easier to maintain though than your grandfather's old reel mower.
Unlike the rotary mowers you’re used to and that are the most popular mower on the market today, reel lawn mowers don’t have an engine. They rely on very sharp blades and operator supplied power. Reel mower blades also spin differently than those of a rotary mower. A rotary mower’s blades spin just above the ground and parallel to it. There are just 2 short cutting edges on the reel mower. Even though the blade are 20 - 24" long, the actual working part is only about 3" on each end of the blade. The full length of the reel mower blade is sharp and cuts the grass in a scissors-like action. The blades of a reel lawn mower spin at an angle perpendicular to the ground. This means that when you push the mower, you're actually cutting the grass and not just slicing/smashing the end of the grass.
Reel mowers are good for lawns less than 2000 sq. ft. in size
Provide an excel cutting stroke-- they slice through the grass with a scissors-like cut which is better for the lawn. This smooth cut helps grass retain moisture and keep diseases out of the turfgrass' vascular system
Good exercise workout for the operator
Mowing height can be adjusted between 1/2" - 2-1/2". Reel mowers have problems handling grasses 2" tall or more
Blades should be sharpened professional every 2 years for the best results
Allow extra time for reel mowing. A lawn that takes 45 minutes with a gas powered model, will take well over an hour with a reel mower
Maintenance is limited to a periodic oiling and sharpening the blade which can be done at home with some easy-to-use sharpening kits specifically designed for reel mower blades.
Reel mowers are definitely for those with an environmentally-aware conscience. Reel lawn mowers are the absolute, 100% pollution-free alternative, to gas-powered rotary mowers. Reel lawn mowers offer a number of benefits in addition to being easy on the environment, including benefits in safety, noise-level, maintenance and cost.
There are, however, some drawbacks to using reel lawn mowers. Reel lawn mowers don’t chop up twigs laying in the grass as do rotary mowers (twigs get stuck in the blades and you’ll have to remove them by hand). Nor can reel lawn mowers be used in the fall to shred leaves for the compost pile. Rotary mowers are also better at cutting tall grass, an important consideration for those who take time off for a vacation. These limitations argue that, for all but the most industrious and idealistic, reel mowers may be most suitable for those who tend small urban lots.
A hand reel lawn mower provides the traditional mowing technique preferred by lawn care professionals. This mower is designed to provide years of dependable service and give optimum performance in lawn care. The reel mower not only benefits you and your lawn, but the environment as well.
Everything has a cost associated with doing something. With a rotary mower, you have a higher purchase cost, a higher maintenance cost, higher fuel costs and a higher cost to our environment. With a reel mower, you have a lower purchase price, lower maintenance costs, and much lower environmental costs—but with a much higher labor cost paid for by the user.
Special warm season grass mowing: Reel mowers work best on hybrid bermuda grasses and Zoysia.