The Best Reel Mowers

Reel mowers are small lawnmowers, which use a cylinder of sharpened blades to cut your grass. Most reel mowers are manual, which is a distinct advantage if you’re looking for an environmentally friendly way to keep your backyard tidy. They are also smaller than many other lawnmowers, and require very little maintenance.

We reviewed dozens of reel mowers to identify the best of the best. We looked at features such as the width of the cutting reel, and how many blades it had. We also considered whether or not the cutting height was adjustable, and if the mower had a grass catcher.

Top Pick
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American Lawn Mower 14 Inch Reel Mower

This deluxe manual reel mower uses 4 blades to provide a clean and precise cut lawn.

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$87.60 USD

Our Top Pick for reel mowers is the American Lawn Mower 14 Inch Reel Mower. This mower is well suited to a wide range of grasses, and combines smooth spinning blades with easy-roll wheels.

The 5 Top-Rated Reel Mowers

Editor's PicksBrandRating
Best OverallAmerican Lawn Mower 14 Inch Reel Mower4.2
Runner UpGreat States 18 Inch Reel Mower4.2
Best Budget BuyAALEKO 16 Inch Push Reel Mower
2.9
Best 5 Blade Reel MowerAmerican Lawn Mower 14 Inch 5 Blade Reel Mower4.2
Best Wide Reel MowerScotts 2000-20 Classic Push Reel Lawn Mower3.7

*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change

Our Top Pick: American Lawn Mower 14 Inch Reel Mower

The American Lawn Mower 14 Inch Reel Mower is our top pick. This deluxe reel mower is designed to suit the majority of grass varieties. It uses a tempered alloy steel reel, and 4 blades to give a clean, scissor-like cut to your lawn.

Grass clippings are deflected towards the rear of the reel. Depending on the height of your grass, and how short you want to cut it, you can choose from a range of reel heights. Many Amazon reviewers commented on how happy they were with the quality of cut that can be achieved with this reel mower. Another advantage is its light weight, at only 19 pounds you won’t tire from pushing this mower.

American Lawn Mower 14 Inch Reel Mower Key Features:

  • 4 blades
  • 14″ cutting width
  • Adjustable cutting height, from 1/2 to 1-3/4″

Our Runner Up Pick: Great States 18 Inch Reel Lawn Mower

Runner Up
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Great States 18 Inch Reel Lawn Mower

This reel mower has a cutting width of 18″, and uses heat treated blades which stay sharper for longer.

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$97.95 USD

Taking our Runner Up spot is the Great States 18 Inch Reel Lawn Mower. This mower features an 18″ cutting reel, with 5 blades. Each blade is heat treated, meaning that as well as providing a precise cut, they stay sharper for longer.

The lightweight, easy to use design features large 10″ wheels. If you choose, you can add an after-purchase grass catcher to collect your lawn trimmings. There are over 1500 reviews for this reel mower on Amazon, with many comments about the quality of the constructions, and the efficiency of the blades.

Great States 18 Inch Reel Lawn Mower Key Features:

  • 5 heat treated blades
  • Powder coated, rust resistant handle
  • Adjustable cutting height, from 1/2 to 2-3/4″

Our Best Budget Pick: ALEKO 16 Inch Reel Mower

Best for Budget
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ALEKO 16 Inch Reel Mower

This reel mower combines a practical 16 inch cutting width, with a durable 5 blade reel.

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$79.99 USD

For our Budget Pick, we selected the ALEKO 16 Inch Reel Mower. This mower comes in at just under $60, but still provides many features of a premium quality product. The 16 inch cutting width is practical for any size yard. This is combined with an ergonomic handle, designed with comfort in mind.

There are a range of cutting heights to choose from, ranging from 0.5 to 1.8″. The large 8.5″ wheels at the front of this mower makes maneuvering through your yard a breeze, while the grass catcher at the rear helps to keep your yard tidy.

ALEKO 16 Inch Reel Mower Key Features:

  • Removeable grass catcher
  • Adjustable cutting heights, from 0.5 to 1.8″
  • 5 blades

Best Reel Mower with 5 Blades: American Lawn Mower Company 18 Inch, 5 Blade Reel Mower

Best Reel Mower with 5 Blades
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American Lawn Mower Company 14 Inch

This reel mower uses 5 tempered alloy steel blades to provide a precision cut.

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$99.41 USD

Reel mowers with 5 blades are well suited to cutting thin, delicate grasses, and our pick for this category is the American Lawn Mower Company 14 Inch, 5 Blade Reel Mower. This reel mower uses a ball bearing reel with 5 tempered alloy steel blades. The blades are designed to provide a sharp, scissor-like cut, helping to maintain the health of your lawn while also keeping it looking neat and tidy.

The 14″ cutting blade is well suited to a range of yard sizes, but this model is also available in 16″ and 18″ models, should you prefer a wider cutting width.

American Lawn Mower Company 14 Inch, 5 Blade Reel Mower Key Features:

  • Lightweight and easy to maneuver
  • Adjustable cutting heights, from 1 to 1-3/4″
  • Cushion grip handle

Best Wide Reel Mower: Scotts 2000-20 Classic Push Reel Lawn Mower

Best Wide Reel Mower
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Scotts 2000-20 Classic Push Reel Lawn Mower

This classic reel lawn mower provides the maximum cutting width of 20 inches.

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$139.00 USD

If you have a large lawn, selecting a reel mower with a wide cutting width can significantly decrease the time it takes to cut your grass. The Scotts 2000-20 Classic Push Reel Lawn Mower has a cutting width of 20″. This is combined with the ability to select from 9 different cutting heights, ranging from 1 – 3″.

This reel mower uses two sets of wheels to add stability, meaning you can take a quick break without the mower falling over. The 5 blades are heat treated, meaning they will stay sharper for longer.

Scotts 2000-20 Classic Push Reel Lawn Mower Key Features:

  • Quick snap height adjusters
  • 5 heat treated blades
  • Rugged, 10″ tires

Who Should Buy a Reel Mower

If you love having a freshly cut lawn, but are concerned about the environmental impact, noise, and ongoing maintenance of rotary mowers, then a reel mower is the perfect way for you to achieve a neat backyard.

Reel mowers are usually manually powered, so you won’t be polluting the atmosphere every time you mow your lawn. As a result, they also require much less maintenance. A simple blade sharpening session every season should be all that’s required to keep your reel mower running smoothly.

Top Pick
Buy Now
American Lawn Mower 14 Inch Reel Mower

This deluxe manual reel mower uses 4 blades to provide a clean and precise cut lawn.

buy now
$87.60 USD

Important Features to Consider

  • Number of blades. Reel mowers have between 4 to 7 blades. Reel mowers with more blades are better suited to coarser, tropical grasses. Reel mowers with 4 or 5 blades are designed for finer and thinner grass. Check the type of grasses your lawn is made up of before selecting your reel mower.
  • Width. Reel mowers are available in widths from 14″ to 20″. If you have a large lawn, look for a reel mower with a 20″ width. Using a slightly wider reel mower means it will take less time to mow your lawn!
  • Weight. Because the majority of reel mowers are manual, select a lighter model if you want to make pushing it slightly easier. There are a small number of reel movers which are electric or gas powered. These are heavier, but much easier to push.
  • Grass catcher. Many reel mowers don’t have a grass catcher, and instead leave the clippings on your lawn as you mow. The clippings act as a natural fertilizer as well as helping to keep the soil moist. You might prefer to pick up the grass clippings if you want a neater look, or tend to place your cuttings into your composter. In which case, make sure to select a reel mower with a grass catcher attachment. After-market grass catchers can also be attached to the majority of reel mowers.
  • Height adjustment. Selecting the correct height to trim your lawn can make a big difference to the quality of the grass within it. Buying a reel mower with the option to adjust the cutting height gives you the option to select the best cutting height for your lawn. As a general rule, don’t cut more than 1/3 of the height off your lawn.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a reel mower and how does it work?

Reel mowers are a type of lawn mower used to cut your grass. The majority of reel mowers are manual, meaning they don’t need fuel or electricity in order to work. Sometimes they’re also known as cylinder mowers.

The base of a reel mower contains a cylinder, or reel, which contains cutting blades. As you push the mower across your lawn, the cylinder turns and the blades pass across the lawn, cutting the grass as they go. Some reel mowers allow you to adjust the height of the blades, allowing you to cut your grass longer or shorter.

Are reel mowers better than rotary?

There are plenty of advantages for reel mowers over rotary mowers. These include:

  • Manual reel mowers are environmentally friendly
  • They are smaller, and easier to store than many other mowers
  • Quiet to use
  • Low running costs

On the other hand, they do require a little more physical effort if your lawn is overgrown. It also takes longer to mow your lawn. But, if you have a small lawn, or don’t mind this job taking a little longer than usual, they’re an excellent choice.

Is a reel mower hard to push?

The answer to this depends on what you’re used to. Reel mowers aren’t actually much harder to push than a conventional rotary mower.

If your lawn is overgrown, it will be harder to push your reel mower through. Start cutting on the highest setting possible, to make it a bit easier.

Can reel mowers cut long grass?

Up to a point, yes. Some are designed to cut grass up to a height of 4 inches. Reel mowers do work best cutting at lower heights though.

Other Reel Mowers We Reviewed

Top Pick
Buy Now
American Lawn Mower 14 Inch Reel Mower

This deluxe manual reel mower uses 4 blades to provide a clean and precise cut lawn.

buy now
$87.60 USD

We looked at 20 other reel mowers. While they didn’t make our top 5, they’re the best of the rest and each can still be considered as a great option for your garden. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.

5 Blade Reel Mowers

ALEKO 5 Blade Reel Mower

ALEKO 5 Blade Reel Mower

This reel mower has an adjustable cutting height and durable wheels.

Key Features:

  • 5 blades
  • 12″ cutting width
  • Removable grass catcher

 

DuroStar DS100LD Reel Mower

DuroStar DS100LD Reel Mower

This reel mower has a 12″ cutting width, perfect for small lawns.

Key Features:

  • Heavy duty wheels
  • 5 blades
  • Adjustable cutting height

 

Great States 5 Blade Reel Mower

Great States 5 Blade Reel Mower

This 5 blade reel mover has corrosion resistant handles, with a comfortable plastic grip.

Key Features:

  • 14″ cutting width
  • Adjustable cutting height
  • Heat treated blades stay sharper for longer

 

Hyper Tough Reel Mower with Trailing Wheels

Hyper Tough Reel Mower with Trailing Wheels

The trailing wheels of this reel mower help to improve stability.

Key Features:

  • 5 blades
  • 18″ cutting width
  • Adjustable cutting height

 

Scotts Ultra Cut Reel Mower

Scotts Ultra Cut Reel Mower

This reel mower is designed to have low resistance, making it easy to push.

Key Features:

  • 18″ cutting width
  • 5 blades
  • Ergonomic handle

 

Wide Reel Mowers

AAVIX Push Reel Lawn Mower with Grass Catcher

AAVIX Push Reel Lawn Mower

With a 20″ cutting path, this mover is perfect for larger lawns.

Key Features:

  • 5 blades
  • Grass catcher
  • 6 position height adjustment

 

Best Choice Products 20″ Classic Reel Mower

Best Choice Products 20 Classic Reel Mower

The cushioned handlebar of this reel mower makes maintaining your lawn more comfortable.

Key Features:

  • 20″ cutting width
  • 6 position height adjustment
  • 5 blades

 

Gilmour RM30 20″ Adjustable Reel Mower

Gilmour RM30 20 Adjustable Reel Mower

This wide mover features a shrub guard for extra safety.

Key Features:

  • Dual wheel design
  • 20″ wide blade
  • Grass catcher

 

Great States Push Reel Mower

Great States Push Reel Mower

This two-wheeled reel mower has a cutting width of 18″.

Key Features:

  • Heat treated blades stay sharper for longer
  • Adjustable cutting height
  • 5 blades

 

Snow Joe MJ502M Manual Reel Mower

Snow Joe MJ502M Manual Reel Mower

This 20″ wide reel mower has the option of 9 different height adjustments

Key Features:

  • Designed to be low maintenance
  • Grass catcher
  • Stable, 4-wheeled design

 

Reel Mowers with Grass Catchers

DuroStar Adjustable Reel Mower

DuroStar Adjustable Reel Mower

This reel mower can adjust cutting height from 1/2″ to 2″.

Key Features:

  • Includes grass catcher
  • 5 blades
  • Heavy duty wheels

 

Remington RM3100 Reel Mower

Remington RM3100 Reel Mower

This reel mower has a cutting width of 18″.

Key Features:

  • 5 blades
  • Grass catcher
  • 4-wheeled design

 

Scotts Manual Reel Mower

Scotts Manual Reel Mower

This reel mower includes a sharpening kit so you can always keep your blades sharp.

Key Features:

  • 20″ cutting width
  • Grass catcher
  • Adjustable cutting height

 

Sun Joe MJ501M Reel Mower

Sun Joe MJ501M Reel Mower

This easy to push, manual reel mower is perfect for small lawns.

Key Features:

  • Grass catcher holds up to 6.6 gallons
  • 9 cutting heights
  • Comfortable foam handle

 

Outsunny Manual Reel Mower

Outsunny Manual Reel Mower

The 12″ cutting width of this mower makes it perfect for small lawns.

Key Features:

  • Adjustable cutting height
  • Grass catcher
  • 5 blades

 

Other Reel Mowers

California Trimmer Gas Powered Reel Mower

California Trimmer Gas Powered Reel Mower

The 3 1/2 Horsepower engine on this gas-powered reel mower will make mowing your lawn a breeze.

Key Features:

  • 7 heavy-duty blades
  • 20″ cutting width
  • Hand clutch

 

Earthwise Reel Mower for Bent Grass

Earthwise Reel Mower for Bent Grass

This 7 blade reel mower is specifically designed for bent grass, such as Bermuda, Augustine, and Zoysia.

Key Features:

  • 7 blades
  • 16″ cutting width
  • Low maintenance design

 

Gardena 4025 Lithium-Ion Cordless Push Reel Mower

Gardena 4025 Lithium-Ion Cordless Push Reel Mower

This reel mower, with a 15″ cutting width can be used with our without the rechargeable battery, for the ultimate flexibility.

Key Features:

  • LED battery charge indicator
  • Adjustable cutting height
  • Powerful, 25V battery

 

Sun Joe Electric Reel Lawn Mower

Sun Joe Electric Reel Lawn Mower

This electric reel mower allows you to plug in, press the trigger, and mow your lawn with ease.

Key Features:

  • 2 year warranty
  • Grass catcher
  • Adjustable cutting height

 

Sun Joe MJ503M Manual Reel Mower

Sun Joe MJ503M Manual Reel Mower

If you’re looking for a manual reel mower with the maximum number of height adjustments, this model offers 9 height levels.

Key Features:

  • Adjustable height from 1.1 to 1.9″
  • 5 blades
  • 14″ cutting width

 

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