Anyone that has a lawn has gone through the hassle week after week of taking out the heavy mower, checking for gas and oil and pulling at it until it rumbles to a start. Have you ever wondered about other options? Options that might be quieter, lighter, perhaps better for your lawn and the environment?
A push reel lawn mower is that option. Although it isn’t for everyone, many people have been going from the obnoxious gas or electric mowers back to the more traditional push mower. What are the benefits? They are much smaller than other kinds of mowers and are therefore much easier to store and maneuver around. They are also built much simpler which makes them much easier to clean and fix if the need arises. The blades on these mowers are easier to access and this makes them easier to take out and sharpen. They are also quite easy to use, requiring nothing but your own physical person and some forward motion. Using them on a slope is quite a lot easier than with gas or electric mowers.
One of the major positives for many people that have decided to switch to a push mower is simply that it makes a clean cut and therefore there won’t be flattened or very bruised areas. This means a healthier stand of grass.
So, if this option sounds like it is for you, we have provided you with the top eight push mowers during 2020. These include options for almost anyone, lightweight, many cut widths as well as slightly more heavy duty options.
Top 8 Best Reel Mowers 2020
|American Lawn Mower Company||
|Fiskars 362050- 1001 StaySharp Max||
|Sun Joe MJ501M Mow Joe||
|Great States Push 815-18||
|Greenworks 20” 5-Blade 25072||
|Scotts 2000-20 Classic||
1. American Lawn Mower Company 1204-14 – Top Overall Product
This option takes a solid place at the very top of our list as the best overall push mower that is currently on the market. Made with high quality materials that does its job well yet remains one of the cheapest options you can find. This push reel mower comes in multiple different sizes, with the highest ratings being found on the 14-inch, 4 blade option.
The wheels are made from polymer and are 8.5-inch composites. The blades are mounted on a ball bearing reel, making it easier to fix in a pinch. The blades themselves are made from heat-treated alloy steel that means it will be easy to keep them sharper for longer. On many of the best options on our list, the mowers have an adjustable cutting height. This is really something to look for in any mower since it helps you control the frequency that you will need to mow as well as allowing for whatever aesthetic length you are hoping to achieve in your grass stand. The cutting height can be adjusted from .5-inches to 1.75-inches.
- The cutting height goes quite low
- Handle made with a comfort grip
- A collection basket is not included
- Easily jammed on a “dirty” lawn
2. Fiskars 362050- 1001 StaySharp Max Reel Mower – Top Premium Product
This option by Fiskars really takes into account that it can be harder to mow your lawn when all the force and forward motion has to come from yourself. They have constructed their mower with an InertiaDrive reel that makes it 60% easier to push than most other reel mowers. This also helps it deliver twice the cutting power to make it easier to get through tough stands of grass. The cut height can be adjusted from 1 inch to 4 inches, depending.
The wheels on this mower are inset, meaning that they don’t take anything away from the cutting width of the mower. The grass chute is reversible, another unique feature that makes it possible to direct the grass clippings in different directions, away from your feet, forward or downward.
- InertiaDrive technology is the biggest positive
- Blades are set away from the reel, keeping them sharper for longer
- One of the heaviest options on the market
- Collection basket is not included
3. Sun Joe MJ501M Mow Joe with Grass Catcher – Top Budget-Friendly Product
Although this isn’t the cheapest mower on our list, that one being the option from the American Lawn Mower Company, this mower is still voted our top budget friendly. This is a cheaper than many other options, both on our list and the rest on the market. One unique feature on this mower is that it has nine different positions that the height can be manually adjusted to. The handle is also built with a comfortable grip made from foam. The deck is made from rust resistant material to keep the required maintenance low.
This is the first option on our list with a grass catcher included. This holds up to 6.6 gallons of grass and is easily detached to be cleaned out and then reattached to continue the job. The wheels on this are large, with one set of 10-inch wheels and another of a smaller 6-inches.
- Nine adjustable cutting heights
- Grass catcher is included
- Louder than many other options; requires frequent oiling
- The number of height adjustments seems to make cutting uneven for many users
This is a great mower, our runner up for the Top Overall Product. Although it is more expensive than the mower from the American Lawn Mower Company, this mower has good reason for it. It is made with high quality materials that help to make jobs easier and maintenance lower. The cutting height goes quite low at .5-inches and includes a wider range than many since it can be raised all the way to 2.75-inches high. This helps greatly when trying to cut grass stands that have been allowed to grow much higher than they should have.
The wheels are 10-inch composite wheels with a 5-blade ball bearing reel. The blades are made with heat-treated alloy steel that has been shown to last longer through outdoor wear and tear. The handle is made for a bit more comfort and convenience as it is a loop-style handle with a cushioned grip. The overall design of this mower also makes it one of the lighter options, making it easier to maneuver and store.
- The cutting height has a large range from quite low to high
- Wheels are durable and hard wearing
- Collection basket is not included
- The soft handle grip is actually too loose for some users, making it more difficult to grip at times
This mower comes in multiple different sizes of deck along with the option of including a blower in some of the sizing options. The best one is currently the 20-inch mower with 5 blades. A unique feature in this mower is the 2-in-1 capability that allows for mulching and backwards discharge of the clippings. There are nine different heights the mower can be adjusted to, from 1 ¾-inch to 2 ¾-inch.
The front wheels are a sturdy 10-inches with rear wheels that 6-inches tall and the deck is made from steel to keep it from rusting as quickly. Since the adjustable height can be moved to be so high, this mower does well on higher stands of grass that other push mowers may struggle through a bit more.
- Has a rear collection bag
- Comes with a four-year warranty
- Clipping bad design is not the most helpful
- Doesn’t last as long as some users would like
This is another top of the line mower that many like and that is running about average on market price for push mowers currently. The cutting width on this option is one of the widest on our list at 20 inches and it has 5 blades mounted on a ball bearing reel to the 10-inch dual tracking wheels. The adjustable height range is great for getting low cuts and being able to cut taller stands of grass since it adjusts from 1 inch to 3 inches.
The blades are made of heat-treated alloy steel to keep them as sharp as possible for as long as possible and the handle is another cushioned one for comfort even on longer jobs. Although it is a bit heavier than some, it still has great maneuverability and is still much lighter than the currently more traditional gas-powered mowers.
- Grass chute will direct cuttings away from your feet
- Wide range of cutting heights
- Does not include grass collection basket
- Does not work well on all types of grasses, e.g. very fine grasses
The Earthwise 1715-16EW is a great, durable and simple machine, made for easy maneuverability, storage and an easier push. It has one of the largest ranges of adjustable heights since it can go from .5 inches all the way up to 2.5 inches, making it a good one for many different jobs. The blades themselves are made from an alloy steel to stay sharp and avoid rusting. The mower is marketed as ideal for cutting different varieties of bent grass, including, but not limited to, Bermuda, Zoysia, Centipede and St. Augustine.
The cutting width is adjustable when going to buy this option, but the one we have highlighted here has a 16-inch cutting range and has the most blades in comparison to any on this list, with seven in total. There is only one set of composite wheels that are 10 inches big.
- Made with an unbreakable steel side plate for durability
- Lightweight design
- Some users say that 7 blades mean it gets jammed more frequently
- Louder than other models
This mower is still of high enough quality but is the lowest on our list due to user reviews. Although it is marketed with many of the great qualities that our other mowers contain, it is cheaper and made with a cheaper material that may not hold up as well for as long as some users would like.
Like many of the other models though, this mower has adjustable heights that are good for low or higher cuttings of grass, from ¾ of an inch to 2 ½ inches tall. It has 5 blades and perhaps most notably is one of the few push mowers on this list that comes with a clipping collection basket attached to it. Also, the height of the lever and handle is adjustable to make it easier to work with no matter what height you are.
- Great variability in height
- Includes a clipping collection basket
- Has a hard time with taller stands of grass
- The grass bag is not made of the highest quality materials
Is It the Right Choice for You?
1. Yard Size
Investing your time and energy into a push mower is both better for your health and that of your lawn. However, the first thing to keep in mind when deciding if using a push mower is for you is the size of your yard. There are no two ways about it, using a push mower is harder and will take more time than gas or electric mowers. If your yard is small than half an acre, this shouldn’t be a problem for you. Also keep in mind your level of fitness.
2. Clippings to Consider
If you the push mower you are looking into does not have a bag to collect clippings, where are they going to go? If this bothers you, and raking it isn’t an option for you, then using a push mower may not be the right fit for you. Either that or be sure to buy one with a bag to collect the clippings.
3. Texture of the Yard
On flat textured lawns, these mowers will do great, gliding smoothly across the broad patches. However, if your yard has bumps, holes or lots of hilly areas, the grass you are cutting may not end up an even height. Due to the texture of your yard, you may need to look at different options.
How to Choose a Reel Mower
1. Size and Weight
One of the most important things to consider when deciding whether or not to invest in a push mower is the size and weight. This is because one of the biggest pros to buying this kind of mower is the maneuverability and easy storage.
Also, the cutting width is incredibly important. This will change how fast, and sometimes how even, how cut grass appears after the job it done.
If it will be the first time investing into a mower like this, then you may want to keep in mind the pricing. A mower is used incredibly often in most places during the summer and getting this one is going to be an experiment. Invest in one with high quality materials, but don’t spend so much money that you are loath to get a different version or a different kind of mower if necessary.
The make of each different kind of mower will make it so that it does slightly better with certain things, areas or types of grasses, than its other counterparts. This is good to keep in mind if you have one type of grass or if you need a mower that does well on a slope. Research these specific things before buying one mower in particular over several others.
4. Cutting Height
On many of the newer models of push reel mowers, cutting heights will be able to be adjusted. Each brand and individual mower will have a certain maximum and minimum height, though. Pay attention to what these are when looking into your mower. If you like grass cut to the height of a golf tee, you will want something that goes down to half an inch.
5. Where the Grass is Directed
Every mower that goes over and cuts off the grass will have to then throw that extra grass somewhere. Although this feature may not be specified by all the brands that produce mowers, it is worthwhile searching out. Which direction the clippings fly in may make raking them up later easier. Also, who wants green shoes after having grass clippings spray all over their feet for an hour or so?
1. Is a manual reel mower better or worse than an electric reel mower?
Answer: This highly depends on the reasons you have for wanting a push mower. Using an electric mower takes away much of the feeling of accomplishment as well as the amount of exercise that a user will get with a push mower. An electric mower will help with turning the blades and therefore make the job easier, but keep in mind that electric mowers are often heavier because there is more involved in the design. This makes them a little bit more difficult to maneuver and store.
2. Will a larger reel mower mean a faster job?
Answer: The cutting width of the mower will definitely save you a couple of inches on either side and may mean less passes in the end. There are positives and negatives to this though. The larger that the mower is the heavier it is going to be. This may actually be a better thing for those with very thick grass, like St. Augustine, however, if light and easy to maneuver is your goal, the smaller the mower the easier it will be.
3. What height do reel mowers cut at?
Answer: This will depend on the brand and design you buy. Almost all reel mowers have adjustable heights, but each range is different from mower to mower.
4. Does the variety of grass matter when choosing a push reel mower?
Answer: Yes. Certain mowers with their blade design and height range will do better on finer grass types whereas some heavier mowers are needed to cut through thick grasses. This is an important thing to do research on before investing in your own reel mower.
5. How should I maintain the blades on my push reel mower?
Answer: Many companies that produce push reel mowers will also sell sharpening kits for the blades. Blades should not need to be sharpened very often if the mower is made well, though, so it doesn’t need to be a purchase made at the same time as the actual mower.
Pros and cons of each mower have been weighed out as well as some of the positives and negatives behind whether these mowers are right for you. Hopefully you are ready to change up your own environmental impact and get some real enjoyment and satisfaction out of it along the way!