While reel mowers are widely considered to be old-fashioned, they’re making a big comeback with homeowners around the United States. You may hear them referred to hand mowers, manual mowers, push mowers, or cylinder mowers. They’re a nice choice for anyone who wants a mower that puts out zero emissions and only uses your push power to run. This also makes them extremely quiet, and it’s excellent to use in residential areas where you may disturb your neighbors with the noise a traditional mower makes.
A properly sharpened reel mower can easily slice through thick or uneven grass to give you a neatly manicured yard. Since you push them, they work best for smaller yards. But, there are so many reel mowers available on the market that narrowing down your choices to the best one can take time. I’ve looked through dozens of reel mowers to bring you the top 10 options on Amazon. You can give them a look before using the attached buying guide to make an informed decision and pick out your new reel mower to tackle all of your yard work.
This old-fashioned mower is very nice for people who have small and flat yards because you can use it any time of the day without worrying about bothering people. Also, it puts out zero emissions to make it better for the environment.
1. Earthwise Push Reel Mower
The first reel mower on the list comes from Earthwise, and it comes with a 16-inch cutting blade that allows you to take decent swaths of high grass away with a single pass. It’s an excellent gardening tool for small and medium-sized yards. It comes with a seven blade ball bearing reel and 10-inch composite wheels that make this a very durable option that will move over flat and uneven terrain with little issue. The steel side plate is all but unbreakable, and this makes it a nice choice if you live in an area with a lot of stones or debris. It works very well for cutting bent grass like St. Augustine, Centipede, Zoysia, Bermuda, and Seashore Paspalum.
The blades on this reel mower feature an alloy steel that is extremely durable and will retain a sharp end through repeated use. You can easily adjust the cutting height from 0.5-inches up to 2.5-inches to give yourself an even and clean cut every time you use it. This is an eco-friendly alternative to traditional gas lawn mowers, and it puts out zero emissions to make it better for the environment.
- 16-inch cutting blade
- Steel side plate
- Uses alloy steel to retain a sharp edge
- Rollers can lock up
- Surprisingly loud
- Handle is uncomfortable
2. Scotts Outdoor Classic Reel Mower
This reel mower by Scotts Outdoor Power Tools is a 20-inch push version with no motor. You get a five blade ball bearing reel with 10-inch dual tracking wheels to give you a smooth operation from start to finish. The quick-snap one to three-inch height adjustment lets you choose which is the best height for your grass before giving you a clean look every time The heat-treated alloy on the blades help them stay sharp longer, but it also makes them more durable if you run over debris like rocks that could cause chips. There are two sets of wheels to give you precision control when you mow.
This reel mower comes with a very ergonomic handle that is comfortable to hold for extended periods of time, and it has cushioning built into it to give you points to grip. The tool-less assembly process ensures you’ll be able to get your mower up and going within minutes of getting it. This is a very lightweight model that is easy to operate and maintain because there is no motor, gas, or oil to worry about filling and cleaning. When you’re ready to store it, it’ll fit neatly into your shed or garage.
- Dual tracking wheels
- Three height adjustments
- Ergonomic and cushioned handle
- Wheels can be flimsy
- Clunky design
- Can be challenging to push
3. Sun Joe Manual Reel Mower
This ergonomic push reel mower by Sun Joe is perfect for working around your garden and yard walkways because it allows you to get right up to the edge for a neat finish. You get an impressive nine different height adjustment levels that allow you to cut your grass’s height starting at 1.1-inches and going up to 2.9-inches. This is perfect for when you’re going to be gone for a few weeks and need to cut it shorter in preparation. This mower comes with five durable steel blades that effortlessly slice through the grass to give you a neat and even finish, and they won’t dull over time.
You get two larger guide wheels on the front of this reel mower with two smaller wheels on the back of it to give you precision control. The all-terrain wheels make it easy to maneuver and push it along on flat ground and hills. When you purchase this product, you’ll get the Sun Joe and Snow Joe Customer Promise. From the date of purchase, you’ll get a warranty that lasts for two full years against defects or damage. They’ll replace your item with no questions asked. It has a vibrant lime green and black color scheme that makes it easy to see, and it runs very quietly.
- Nine height adjustments
- Two-year warranty
- All-terrain wheels
- Turning is challenging
- Doesn’t handle debris well
- Takes time to adjust
4. American Lawn Mower Deluxe Reel Mower
This deluxe reel mower by American Lawn Mower features a four-blade reel that gives you a maximum cutting width of 14-inches in one pass. You get 8.5-inch polymer wheels make it very easy to maneuver this mower around your yard or garden without running into anything, and it’s easy to adjust the blade height between one-inch and 1.75-inches to get the perfect manicured look you’re after. The heat-treated alloy steel makeup of the blades ensures that they don’t chip or crack if you go over rough terrain, and the metal can also help them stay sharp after years of use to give you a quick cut.
This reel mower is a pollution and noise-free way to cut your yard without disturbing the environment or your neighbors, and it has a lightweight design that helps to reduce user fatigue. There is an ergonomic handle with a rubberized grip that ensures your hand doesn’t accidentally slip if it gets hot out, and this can also improve your comfort levels as you work. Finally, this mower can slice through grass that is up to four inches tall without stalling or getting clogged.
- Cuts four-inch grass
- Noise-free design
- 14-inch cutting path
- Gets stuck on debris
- Handle can be too short for taller people
- Doesn’t work well on certain grass types
5. Greenworks Reel Mower
Greenworks’ reel mower comes in three styles, including a mower with a 16-inch deck, a mower with an 18-inch deck, or kits with the mowers and the blowers. The blowers are nice if you have outdoor benches on your patios you want to keep clean after you mow them. The larger cutting path ensures that you’ll finish your mowing project much quicker than normal, and there is a nice 2-in-1 feature that provides you with rear bag and mulching capabilities. This mower will produce zero fumes and no gas while being easy and quiet to run any time of the day you like without disturbing anyone else.
You get 10-inch front wheels and 2-inch rear wheels on this reel mower to help it maneuver across your lawn and around your yard ornaments. The four different height adjustments range between 1 ⅛-inch up to 2 ¼-inch to allow you to choose which height you want to cut your grass to. The loop handle has a thin rubber layer that makes it easy to grip when you use it, and this product is very easy to set up and use when you get it. It has a nice lime green and black color scheme.
- Three styles available
- 2-in-1 feature with the ability to mulch
- Two sets of wheels included
- Grass catcher isn’t durable
- Rubber and foam grio can crack
- Not big enough for large yards
6. Fiskars StaySharp Max Reel Mower
The StaySharp reel mower by Fiskars comes in two sizes and two styles that allows you to choose the one that suits your yard size and your capabilities the best. This mower is up to 60% easier to push than other mowers, and this is great news if you live somewhere that has a lot of hills or steel inclines. You can easily use this mower on all grass types, and it gives you up to two times the cutting power that allows it to glide through tough spots in your yard without getting stuck. The cutting system on this mower helps to reduce any unwanted contact with debris to help the blades last longer.
There is a new reversible grass chute on this reel mower that you can position to direct any clippings backward, downward, away from your walking path, or forward. You won’t have to worry about annual blade sharpening with this product, but you can choose to get one that comes with its own sharpener if you want to do it yourself. The inset wheels on this model allow the blades to extend across the full cutting path of the mower to help eliminate uncut strips of grass, and you get a three-year limited warranty with every purchase.
- Inset wheels maximize the cutting path
- 60% easier to push
- Grass chute included
- Won’t cut shorter grass well
- Doesn’t work well on bumpy yards
- Wider design makes maneuvering challenging
7. Great States Reel Lawn Mower
Great States’ reel mower has a quick adjustable cutting height that ranges between 0.5-inches and 2.5-inches to give you an even and clean cut around your container garden each time you bring it out. The 16-inch cutting width allows you to take wide swaths out of your yard each time you cut your grass, and this can reduce the amount of time you spend cutting it. You get a five-blade bearing reel with 10-inch composite wheels that allow this mower to glide over the ground on flat terrain and hills. The alloy steel comes heat treated to make them more durable and resistant to dulling.
There is a T-style handle on this reel mower that is very comfortable to grip, and it has layers of padding to give you a cushioned grip. The lightweight design makes it easy to push this mower over bigger yards, and you get a fast and easy tool-less assembly process when you get it. This allows you to use it within minutes of opening the box. It’s a very quiet and clean way to maintain your yard or garden, and it requires no gas or oil to run. The two wheels in the back give you excellent control and help to flatten your grass clippings down.
- Quick height adjustment feature
- 10-inch composite wheels
- T-style handle with cushioning
- Arm has a thinner design
- Can get stuck on twigs or rocks
- Has trouble cutting grass that isn’t around the same length
8. Gardena Silent Push Reel Mower
Gardena’s reel mower is very quiet, energy-saving, and smooth running to make cutting your lawn a breeze. It has a powder blue coating on it that makes it a very attractive mower, and the bright orange accents help to set it off when you have it outside. The hardened steel cylinder body of this mower will resist wear and tear, and it also won’t rust or corrode if you use it in wet or humid conditions. The blade is also hardened steel with a ground edge that won’t dull with repeated use, and this can help to ensure that you get a very even and neat cut each time it passes over your lawn.
If you want a reel mower that you can easily store or take with you, this is it. The handle will come apart to give it an extremely low profile that makes it easy to slip into your trunk or into your storage shed. The bottom blade and the cutting cylinder don’t touch wne you use it, and this makes it very easy to push while keeping your noise levels down. There is a small shield to prevent the grass cuttings from flying back and hitting you.
- Has a debris shield
- Hardened steel body with blades
- Handle comes apart for easy storage
- Not good for thinner grasses
- Cutting heights are very low
- Coating can chip off
9. DuroStar Push Reel Mower
If you have a smaller yard with a lot of raised planter boxes dotted around, you’ll need a smaller reel mower to cut your lawn, and DuroStar’s product works well. It has a shorter 12-inch cutting path that allows you to easily maneuver around any lawn ornaments, pots, or gardening spaces you have set up without running into anything. The five steel blades come with an easy height adjustment knob that allows them to start at ½-inch and go up to 2-inches for the maximum grass height so it doesn’t burn off if the sun comes out and scorches the area right after you mow.
On the back of this reel mower, you’ll get nine-inch heavy-duty wheels that make it easy to go over varying terrain types without it getting stuck, and they’ll also help you maneuver around any obstacles in your path. You can buy an optional grass catcher if you like, but it’s not included in the original purchase. The top of the handle has rounded corners with a slightly thicker foam padding to help keep your hands comfortable when you mow for extended periods. The body is a sturdy metal that won’t rust or corrode with extended use.
- Larger heavy-duty wheels
- Slightly smaller design for detail work
- Can buy a grass catcher
- Turning is difficult
- Blades may not be very sharp
- Body is flimsy
10. Gilmour RM30 Reel Mower
The final reel mower on the list comes from Gilmour. This particular mower has a 20-inch mowing path on it to reduce the amount of time it takes you to finish your yard, and you get a five blade design with ball bearings to give you a smooth cutting action for uniform results. This is a self-sharpening model that comes with an extra wide shrub and a blade guard to prevent them from accidentally hitting rocks or debris and chipping the edges of the blade or dulling them after one use. The guard also stops the blades from flinging grass cuttings back at you when you move quicker.
The adjustable bed knife moves from one to three inches so you can easily choose the length of your grass with this reel mower. There is a dual wheel design that tracks very evenly and is more stable to give you precision control. The 10-inch front wheels reduce slippage, and there is a larger looped handle with a comfort grip included. You also get a cloth grass catcher attached to this mower that makes cleaning up your yard after you finish mowing a breeze. You can simply dump it out when you finish into your compost bin.
- Comes with a grass catcher
- Has a debris shield
- 20-inch mowing path
- May not cut evenly
- Slightly noisier
- Grass catcher is thin fabric
Reel Mower Buyer’s Guide
Reel mowers are making a big comeback because they have a wonderfully vintage look and feel to them but still dig in and help you complete your lawn cutting tasks relatively easy. When you start shopping for this type of mower, there are several things you want to consider to help you make the right choice, and I’ve outlined them for you below.
One of the most important considerations you want to keep in mind is the blade height because this dictates how much grass you have left when you finish cutting. The last thing you want to do is drop grass seeds, apply a lawn fertilizer, watch your grass grow, then cut it too short and have the sun scorch it. Your mower should have at least two or three different cutting heights that are very easy to set. Some can have up to 9 and 10 different heights. Decide how long or short you want your grass to be and find a mower that supports that height range.
Having long grass and an overgrown yard makes it difficult to work with this type of mower because it’s too much for the blades to handle. They can get clogged or bogged down and you have to clean them before you can continue on.
The cutting width refers to how wide the cutting area is on your mower. In turn, this determines how many passes you’ll have to make to cut your entire yard. The cutting width can vary from 10 or 12inches up to 20 inches. Consider how large your yard is and what you have in it before you pick out a cutting width. If you have a lot of lawn ornaments or a smaller yard, consider getting a smaller cutting width. For a larger and more open yard, save yourself time and energy by getting a bigger cutting width.
You can find these mowers with a different number of blades starting at four and going up to seven. There’s a very good reason for this. The more blades your mower has, the cleaner your finished cut will be. However, you’ll also require more power to push a mower with more blades than you would if your mower came with four or five blades. You’ll also want to consider the type of lawn you have and your watering and fertilizing schedule because this can affect how well your mower works.
Some mowers come with just the mower itself and no other accessories. This can be a cheaper option, but it can be nice to have things like a clipping collection bag that automatically filters and catches your clippings as you go. A debris shield is another thing that only a few mowers have, and this can prevent things from flying back at you when you mow.
A neatly manicured lawn can make your entire property look like it’s well cared-for, and certain accessories can help remove grass clippings and debris to give you a very finished look.
Finally, consider the warranty on your new mower. These mowers can be just as expensive as a chainsaw or other large lawn tools, and you want coverage if something happens to it. Check and see if your mower has a full or limited warranty attached. A full warranty will cover more than a limited one, and the warranty can last anywhere from a few months to a few years. The more it covers, the better off you’ll be.
Picking out the best reel lawn mower is something that you really want to pay attention to and consider your options because you want to be comfortable when you use it. My top 10 picks and the short buying guide give you everything you need to make an informed decision, and you can choose the one that fits you before having it shipped straight to your door.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.