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Push Reel Mowers: The Green (and cheaper) Way to Mow Your Lawn

Updated on March 11, 2015

Get Ready For Summer With A Reel Mower

Using a push reel mower is a smart way to save money, take better care of your lawn and help improve the environment.

Today's reel mowers are lighter and easier to use than ever before. They make a great alternative to gas or electric mowers, especially if you have a small yard.

So before your power mower breaks down or the price of gas rises...consider getting a reel mower.

Advantages and Benefits of Using a Reel Mower

  • Good For The Environment - Reel mowers run on people power. There's no use of fossil fuels to pollute the environment.
  • Quiet - No loud noise to wake your neighbors or frighten your pets. You can have a conversation or listen to music while you mow the grass.
  • Better For Your Lawn - The scissor like action of the blades cuts the grass cleanly which is healthier than the hacking done by a regular lawn mower blade. A reel mower leaves the clippings on the lawn which acts as a natural fertilizer for your lawn.
  • Low Maintenance - No oil changes, no tune-ups, no trouble starting after the winter. Sharpen the blades every couple years, spray a little WD-40 on it occasionally and you're set.
  • Cheaper - You can purchase a high quality reel mower for less than the cost of a low end gas mower. Plus you'll save on fuel and maintenance costs every year.
  • Good For You - Pushing the mower provides you with light exercise free of breathing in the exhaust fumes of a gas mower. Your ears will appreciate the quiet.
  • Less Space Needed To Store - Reel mowers are less bulky than a gas or electric mower. Lean it up against a wall and it's out of your way.
  • No Blast Of Debris - Unlike a power mower which can hurl rocks, sticks and clippings out the side, your reel mower will just calmly snip the grass as you walk along.

Did You Know?

"One hour of lawn mowing with a gas-powered lawn mower produces as much pollution as driving your car for four hours."

Source: Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

Reel Mower Video - Reasons to switch to a reel mower.

Do you own a reel mower?

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Scotts 2000-20 20-Inch Classic Push Reel Lawn Mower
Scotts 2000-20 20-Inch Classic Push Reel Lawn Mower

The Scotts 2000 is a modern version of a classic reel mower design.

This is the same model featured in the video below.


Reel Mower Video - A new reel mower owner demos it.

Things to Consider Before Buying

  • Not As Good Cutting Tall Grass - When your grass gets to be 4" or higher the mower will have a tougher time cutting consistently and you may need to make multiple passes. Mowing frequently will help avoid this.
  • Best For Smaller Yards - Using a reel mower can take a little more time than a power mower. Most experts advise using a reel mower if your lawn area is less than 4000 square feet.
  • Tougher To Get A Manicured Look - Depending on the height of your grass, you may need to make multiple passes or increase the overlap of each pass in order to get that "manicured" look to your lawn.

What is your favorite feature of reel mowers?

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Reel Mower Accessories

Sharpening kits and other accessories for your new reel mower.

American Lawn Mower SK-1 Reel Mower Sharpening Kit
American Lawn Mower SK-1 Reel Mower Sharpening Kit

Sharp blades make for easier cutting and a more uniform looking lawn. Keep your mower sharp with a good sharpening kit.


What do you think of reel mowers? What convinced you to buy (or not buy) a reel mower? Please leave a comment below.

Reel Comments

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    • profile image

      glutenallergy 5 years ago

      We had one of these when I was growing up, and it was pretty easy to use. Now, though, we live in Florida and the grass grows so thick and fast that I'd have a heart attack if I used a push mower. But for people in better climates (less heat/humidity), and slower, thinner grass, this is a great way to go.

    • jessica ruiz jo profile image

      jessica ruiz jo 5 years ago

      I just bought one! I was amazed how the neighborhood kids reacted!! I literally had a line of kids wanting their turn to use my awesome mower, lol!! Last year, I have to pay the neighbor boy $20 to mow!

    • profile image

      SquidJigger 6 years ago

      I love mine so much, I made a lens about it! I'm surprised they're not more popular, with all the environmentally conscious people out there.

    • profile image

      livingfrontiers 6 years ago

      Mowing in the morning, with a wet lawn, and taking your time between sips of coffee...bliss in your yard!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      @MacPharlain: That may not be a bad thing! Think Green.

      Naturally processed fertilizer.

    • MacPharlain profile image

      MacPharlain 7 years ago

      @anonymous: A goat will do the job...but it'll require clean up and will eat more than just the grass.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I'd buy an old Billy Goat instead!

      I had to mow as a kid about an acre with an old, old, old, ...did I say old push mower.

      If,...mind you, if you do not keep those blades sharp, the goat!

      I do not know many people who can sharpen them let alone a basic knife.

      You must have a very well raked yard...must!

      The list goes on.....I need a drink!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      I just ordered one for my medium size lawn. I'm looking forward to the exercise and getting rid of my pollution belching gas mower; look for it on craigslist.

    • CCGAL profile image

      CCGAL 8 years ago

      Nice lens! I was pleased to see you told both sides of the story, because using a reel mower is difficult if your grass grows fast and you have a lot of yard and not a lot of time. I've tried more than once to maintain a large lawn with just a reel mower, and have failed miserably each time. However - that said, it's great exercise, pushing a reel mower, and if you have to take a walk for your heart anyway, why not make your walk back and forth over your lawn 3x week with a reel mower? Solve 2 problems at once!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      I actually enjoy mowing with a reel mower. Gas and electric, a chore. Keep electric mower for mulching leaves and REALLY tall grass.

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 9 years ago from San Francisco

      If we have to have carpets of lawn, the push reel mower makes sense, and you can't beat the exercise.

    • greenerme profile image

      greenerme 9 years ago

      I could use a push reel mower workout once in a while. Nice work!

    • LisaDH profile image

      LisaDH 9 years ago

      I had a push mower with my first house, which had a VERY small yard, and I loved it.

    • profile image

      SquidPoint 9 years ago

      Odd... I bought one of these just last week. Not only is it more green, but it makes for a good exercise

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Not good for a busy family. With a power mower, I can mow once a week. With the reel mower I MUST mow twice a week or else double my work.

      Better for the environment, but too difficult. I am listing mine on craigslist and buying a 'real' mower.

    • Teddi14 LM profile image

      Teddi14 LM 9 years ago

      I was thinking about buying one for my yard. I have a hard time with my gas push mower and this seems easier and greener! Thanks for the informative lens. I am lensrolling it to my lens on tips to save gas and energy at home. 5 *'s. I found you on too.

    • profile image

      roysumit 9 years ago

      Informative lens on the subject. Five stars to you.

    • CherylK profile image

      Cheryl Kohan 9 years ago from Minnesota

      This is a great lens! I'm lensrolling it and favoriting it...five stars, too. Good job!