Many of today’s new homeowners are looking for environmentally friendly solutions to yard maintenance. Reel lawn mowers are not a new idea, however they are gaining in popularity over time. Environmentally conscious homeowners are trading their self-propelled, petroleum-powered mowers for the old-fashioned, muscle-powered versions.


Edwin Bear Budding invented the manual push mower in 1830. This simplistic design, allowed even the middle class to maintain a lawn easily. Reel lawnmowers differ from typical lawnmowers in several important ways. Mr. Budding’s lawnmower did not have an engine and was self-propelled the old-fashioned way, you propelled it yourself.

How Do They Work?

The design is fairly simple; several blades are mounted on a circular frame. The blades spin around, perpendicular to the ground, cutting the grass as they pass. Earlier models were made of steel making it quite heavy and difficult to push. Comparatively, today’s lighter plastic and metal combination make the newer reel mowers much easier to use than their predecessors.

Some Benefits

Less Noise: Noise reduction is one of the main benefits of using a reel mower. Except for the occasional grunt of the user, these mowers are virtually silent. Grass cutting at midnight and early in the morning without disturbing the neighbors is a possibility with reel mowers.

Great Workout: Manual push mowers are great for exercise as well, with many users substituting a good lawn mowing session for one of their weekly jogs.

Less Accidents: Accidents are less frequent with reel lawnmowers as well. Once the user stops pushing them, the blades stop spinning. Engine-powered lawnmowers cause millions of accidents annually, but accidents caused by reel mowers are far less frequent, and usually much less severe.

More Economical: Manual push mowers are typically less expensive to purchase and maintain than engine mowers, making them attractive to the budget-conscious consumer. Upkeep consists of occasional blade sharpening and a little lubricant. Initial purchase prices are a fraction of the souped-up rotary mowers on the market today.

Environmentally Conscious: Reel mowers are attractive to environmentally conscious homeowners for a few reasons. First, they do not use gasoline and oil, so they have no harmful emissions.

Some Drawbacks

Scotts Reel Manual Push Mower

At the same time, they are disadvantages to these manual mowers. Their operation requires a lot more effort than gas or electric-powered mowers, and they aren’t as easy to maneuver. Most reel mowers do not typically collect your cuttings and can’t cut twigs and sticks. Sticks tend to jam the reel mechanisms. Manual mowers do not cut tall grass or shred leaves as well as engine-powered mowers. As a result, more frequent lawn maintenance and raking are required.

Final Thoughts

A reel lawnmower might not be the best choice for larger plots. But, for today’s urban homeowner with a small yard, the benefits and cost savings of manual lawnmowers make it a green choice for lawn maintenance.