The best cordless lawn mowers of 2023
Tired of all the noise and fumes from cutting the grass?
This cordless electric mower has a sturdy steel mower deck with seven different cutting heights and 3-in-1 mulch-discharge-bag versatility.
Mow your lawn without raising a finger.
The 28-volt rechargeable lithium-ion battery gives you a quarter acre of continuous mowing per charge.
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The gas lawn mower has been the king of lawn maintenance equipment for many decades. It was a fantastic upgrade over mechanical reel mowers with their limited functionality on all but the cleanest, flattest grass. Gas mowers offered unparalleled power and functionality over their predecessors, but they came at the cost of noise and exhaust fumes. Although both of these negative elements have been mitigated over the years, they have by no means disappeared. But now there’s a better way. Electric mowers became popular in the 1970s in response to the desire for a powerful grass cutter that didn’t rely on fossil fuels. These plug-in models proved effective, although limited by access to an outlet, as well as the length of the extension cord. In recent years, improvements in battery technology have given rise to electric mowers that can go anywhere. If you’ve been searching for a lawn mower that is clean, powerful, and quiet, a cordless mower may be your best bet. Read on to find the best cordless lawn mowers to take care of your outdoors.
MJ503M. Sun Joe 14-Inch Manual Reel Mower. Assembly Video
- Best overall:Snapper XD 82V MAX Cordless 21-inch Push Mower
- Best for large properties:Greenworks Pro 80V 21-inch Cordless Push Mower
- Best robotic:WORX WR147 Landroid
- Best reel mower:Scotts Outdoor Power Tools 2020-16S
- Best budget:Sun Joe MJ401C-XR 14-inch 28V Cordless Push Mower
The best cordless lawn mowers will offer outstanding performance with clean, quiet operation
The best cordless electric lawn mowers offer functionality that compares to traditional gas outdoor power equipment. What’s more, these machines feature emission-free operation, and noise levels similar to, or lower than, plug-in electric mowers. With a wide variety of rotary, reel, and robotic options, there are battery-powered mowers to fit the needs of virtually any residential landscape. If you are shopping for a small lawnmower, a cordless electric type could be an excellent fit. Rechargeable batteries make these mowers possible. Relatively inexpensive lead-acid batteries work reliably, but they rely on potentially hazardous lead and are 10 to 15 percent less efficient than lithium-ion. They also weigh about three times as much as lithium-ion, which makes a significant difference as you push them around the yard. Lithium-ion batteries are considered the premium choice due to their long life, easy-care, lightweight form, and high efficiency.
Clean, quiet, and powerful rotary or reel type cordless mowers compare favorably with their gas and plug-in electric counterparts, but are only the beginning of what is possible. Rechargeable battery power and state-of-the-art digital tech also make robotic mowers an intriguing option. You can free up your weekend by letting the self-propelled lawn mower cut the grass for you on a pre-programmed schedule. Still unsure on what the best cordless lawn mower for you will be? Keep reading.
The best cordless lawn mowers: Reviews Recommendations
Best overall: Snapper XD 82V MAX Cordless 21-inch Push Mower
Our best overall pick features a sturdy steel mower deck with seven different cutting heights and 3-in-1 mulch-discharge-bag versatility. The powerful battery of this Snapper lawn mower delivers up to 45 minutes of runtime per charge with the standard 2.0 Ah battery, with the option to upgrade to either a 4.0 or 5.0 battery for even longer runtime. Added convenience features include a padded, ergonomic handle, push-button starting, space-saving folding storage, and load-sensing operation that automatically increases power output for thick grass.
Best for large properties: Greenworks Pro 80V 21-inch Cordless Push Mower
If your property is too big for extension cords, but you want the clean, quiet operation of electric mowing, this Greenworks mower could be your pick. The wide mowing deck, 10-inch rear wheels, and extended battery life combine for up to an hour of highly productive runtime. The powerful motor with load sensing technology cuts like a 160cc gas engine, minus the noise and exhaust.
Best robotic: WORX WR147 Landroid
Take back your weekends and still enjoy a consistently fresh cut. After an easy installation and programming, WORX Landroid automatically cuts on the customized schedule that you create. You can control this mower via Wi-Fi and mobile app, or directly on the housing, and onboard sensors automatically adjust for obstacles and rainy weather.
Best reel mower: Scotts Outdoor Power Tools 2020-16S
Give your lawn the cleanest, quietest cut with the scissor-like action of a reel mower. This modern, hybrid Scotts reel mower works with or without the motor. It includes a convenient, removable grass catcher to collect yard debris and grass clippings for composting or disposal.
Best budget: Sun Joe MJ401C-XR 14-inch 28V Cordless Push Mower
The narrow 14-inch cutting path of this Sun Joe lawn mower easily navigates narrow spaces, and takes up minimal storage space. Choose from side discharge, mulching, or bagging the clippings. This is a great choice for small to medium-sized lawns (up to a quarter acre).
Things to consider when shopping for the best cordless lawn mowers
If you’ve ever mowed a lawn with the wrong size mower, then you know how important it is to shop around for the best model before buying. One of the benefits of cordless mowers is that they are relatively lightweight. They weigh on average between 40 and 90 pounds, topping out at the lower end of most gas mowers. Mower weight is closely related to the power rating and cutting width. Larger units require more power, so the beefier battery and motor increase weight. These heavier mowers may be fine for some users, but others may find them unwieldy.
Power is another important consideration. A cordless mower’s power is reflected in the combination of battery storage and current. Battery storage is measured in volts (V), while capacity to deliver the electricity, or current, is measured in amp hours (Ah). Multiply V times Ah to calculate the amount of available power for an apples-to-apples comparison.
Finally, consider the added features in your landscaping equipment. Self-propelled mowers offer convenience, but they use up a significant amount of power to drive their wheels. The ability to switch between side-discharge, mulching, and bagging offers flexibility for different lawn care needs. Variable blade heights are useful for varying terrains or different times of year. Up next, our reviews.
Q: How good are battery-powered lawn mowers?
Battery-powered lawn mowers offer a clean, quiet way to mow the lawn, without the maintenance or environmental damage associated with gas engines. They perform comparably to gas and corded electric mowers in terms of cutting grass. Those with higher power ratings also remove twigs, leaves, and other normal lawn debris, similarly to their gas-fueled counterparts. An electric motor can last for several decades, while the batteries must be replaced at approximately five-year intervals.
Q: Is 40V better than 20V?
These voltage ratings reflect the battery’s power storage capacity, like the size of a fuel tank. They are based on the number of individual cells within the battery pack and how the cells are configured. So a 40V battery has twice the capacity of a 20V battery. Voltage multiplied by amp-hours (Ah) equals the runtime. If the Ah rating is the same as the voltage, the larger battery offers a longer runtime.
Q: What should I use to clean my lawn mower?
Avoid getting water on the motor, batteries, and other electrical parts when cleaning an electric mower. Remove the batteries before cleaning. Use a blower or compressed air to remove grass clippings and other loose debris from the engine area, undercarriage, and vents. If needed, scrape old built-up clippings off the deck with a thin, flat tool, such as a putty knife.
The bottom line on buying the best cordless lawn mowers
With so many great choices, you may find it difficult to choose the best cordless lawn mower for you. The Snapper is a great all-around choice for its performance but also offers the nostalgic look of a gas lawn mower. If you find the tasks of yard maintenance totally unappealing, why not let a robot do it? In the Scotts mower, the superior cut of a reel model with the aid of a powerful electric motor may be the best of both worlds. Buy for performance as well as personal style and you won’t go wrong.
It doesn’t get much greener than this 14-inch reel mower at 75, more in New Green Deals
If you’re after being the most green you can possibly be, then you should ditch both gas- and battery-powered mowers. Instead, choosing the Greenworks reel mower requires no power of any sort, meaning it’s completely green once manufactured. Coming in at 75, this mower is a great way to take care of smaller yards with zero pollution or noise, thanks to its contact-free blades. We also have a wide selection of Tesla, Greenworks, and other e-bike discounts in today’s New Green Deals, so you won’t want to miss that either.
Head below for other New Green Deals that we’ve found today, more on why going electric for your yard tools like the mower on sale is important, and of course Electrek’s best EV buying and leasing deals. Also, check out the new Electrek Tesla Shop for the best deals on Tesla accessories.
Greenworks’ reel mower requires no gas, oil, or electricity
Amazon is offering the Greenworks 14-inch Reel Lawn Mower for 74.79 shipped. Down from 90, today’s deal marks a new all-time low that we’ve tracked. This mower is about as green as it gets, since it requires no gas, oil, or even electricity to function. You simply push it and the 14-inch wide, 5-blade reel will begin cutting your grass. It has an adjustable height ranging form 1.06- to 2-inches for a “clean, scissor-like cut.” The t-style handle offers cushioned grips as well for additional comfort when mowing. The blades are contact-free, providing a silent cut and it also features a 2-in-1 design that allow for mulching a swell as rear-bag capture depending on what you prefer.
Google Nest Learning Thermostat sees first discount of 2022 for spring from 194 (Reg. 249)
Several retailers are now offering the Google Nest Learning Thermostat for 199 shipped. The likes of Adorama, Amazon, BH, and Best Buy are offering one of the first price cuts of the year at 50 off the usual 249 going rate. Google direct has it for 194, as well. Perfect for ensuring your Smart house can handle the fluctuating temperatures this spring, the Nest Learning Thermostat will help automate your climate control settings. It sports one of the more aesthetically-pleasing form-factors on the market, with a touchscreen at the center of the design that combines with Assistant and smartphone control to deliver an energy-saving package for your Smart home.
Segway’s dirt e-bike sees first sale of the year to 3,400 (100 off)
Electrek and Wellbots have teamed up to offer you the Segway X160 Dirt E-bike for 3,399.99 shipped with the code ELECTREK100 at checkout. This is a 100 discount and marks the first sale of the year for this premium dirt e-bike. You’ll find that the X160 e-bike is ready to handle taking you around to the most wild and crazy places this spring and summer. It’s only 105.8 pounds, which, for a dirt bike, is quite light. That makes it easy to maneuver and transport, as well as simple to ride for beginners. It’ll go from 0 to 31 MPH in only four seconds, which makes it quite quick all things considered. It also features a maximum range of just over 40 miles on a single charge, and you can pick up a spare battery to double that for longer trips. Check out our announcement coverage to learn more.
New Tesla deals
Below, you’ll find a selection of new green deals that will make your Tesla experience better in multiple areas. From storage to keep recordings on to phone mounts, car chargers, and anything else we can find, it’ll be listed below. Each day we’ll do our best to find new and exciting deals and ways for you to save on fun accessories for your Tesla, making each trip unique. For more gift ideas and deals, check out the best Tesla shop. Keep reading on for e-bike, Greenworks, and other great deals.
- SimpleTire offers up to 59% off thousands of tires
- Discount Tire offers up to 100 off or more on Cooper, Bridgestone, and other tires
- Model 3 CupHolderHero: 12 (Reg. 14)
New green e-bike deal electric scooter discounts
If you’re looking to get out and enjoy the sunshine, than we recommend you experience it than on an e-bike or electric scooter you just got at a fantastic price through one of our deals and sale below. You can use it for fun, exercise, or even transportation to and from work or the coffee shop. We have several people here that will regularly commute to coffee shops or offices on their e-bike, as it cuts down on fossil fuel usage as well as allows them to enjoy some time outdoors on nice sunny days. Below, you’ll find a wide selection of new e-bike deals and electric scooter deal in all price ranges, so give it a look if that’s something you’d be interested in picking up. As always, the newest e-bike deal and electric scooter discounts and sales will be at the top, so shop quick as the discounts are bound to go away soon.
- Juiced e-bikes 0% APR financing available
- Micah Toll’s favorite low-cost folding electric bike, the Lectric XP 2.0: 999 (Reg. 1,099)
- Kent Electric Pedal Assist Mountain Bike: 698 (Reg. 998)
new green deals
After shopping the Tesla and e-bike deal above, be sure to check out the other discounts we found today. These new green deals are wide-ranging from outdoor lawn equipment to anything else we find that could save you money in various ways, be that cutting gas and oil out of your life or just enjoying other amenities that energy-saving gear can bring. As always, the newest deals will be at the top, so shop quick as the discounts are bound to go away soon.
- CRAFTSMAN’s V20 14-foot cordless electric pole saw falls to 129 shipped (2022 low)
- Clean your home this spring with Sun Joe’s electric pressure washer at 130
- Score eight rechargeable eneloop pro AA batteries for 29 (2022 low), more from 16
- Goal Zero’s new Yeti 1000 Core Portable Power Station sees rare 100 discount (Amazon low)
Stay up to date with the latest content by subscribing to Electrek on Google News. You’re reading Electrek— experts who break news about Tesla, electric vehicles, and green energy, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow Electrek on and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our YouTube channel for the latest reviews.
Reel Mower vs Electric: Which is Right for Your Lawn?
If your lawn is fairly small and you’re in the market for a new mower, out of the dozens of different options available, you have maybe narrowed it down to two; the reel mower vs electric. Both options are ideally suited to smaller lawns, so how do you make two become one and settle on a specific type of mower? I always think that in this situation it’s a good idea to make a simple list of pros and cons, and use this as a guide to figure out which type of mower would match up better to your yard, storage options and personal preferences.
But you don’t need to spend time putting together that list, as I’ve done it for you.
Reel Mower vs Electric: What’s the Difference?
Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s just take a top-level look at the reel mower vs electric mower. What exactly is the difference?
A reel mower is very simple in its design and is not motorized. It features a cylinder of blades, two wheels and a main shaft that has a handle attached to the end. That’s it! You push it forward, and the blades rotate to cut the grass. Some models do offer the option of attaching a grass catcher, but more often than not reel mowers are used without one.
Electric mowers by contrast are motorized and are powered by either the mains (corded electric) or a battery (cordless electric). If you look at a reel lawn mower vs electric, they do look quite different. An electric mower has a much bigger footprint, has 4 wheels, and uses a rotary blade that is located under the mower deck, out of sight.
If I had to sum up the main differences in one sentence, it’d be that a reel mower is not motorized and uses a cylinder blade, whereas an electric mower is motorized and uses a rotary cutting blade.
Comparing the Push Reel Mower vs Electric
I’ve given you the top-level overview of how these two types of mower differ, but I doubt that’ll be enough to help you figure out which is the best match for your particular requirements. So what I’m going to do below is look at a number of key areas and tell you how these mowers stack up against each other.
Power Mowing Conditions
There is quite a significant difference here. Remember, reel mowers are people-powered (no motor), while electric mowers are powered by an electric motor. This makes a difference when it comes to cutting power.
Electric mowers have the edge. A good electric mower will provide you with decent cutting power. Why is this important? Well, if you happen to let your lawn overgrow a bit, have some weeds growing in the lawn or maybe have a thicker grass variety, an electric mower is going to be more capable of doing the job. A reel mower, on the other hand, will likely struggle in such situations.
For this reason, it’s really, really important to keep on top of your mowing if you opt for a reel mower. I can tell you from experience that if you frequently let your grass grow long, mowing sessions are something you’re going to dread, as longer grass will just keep locking the blades up, and mowing the lawn will take much longer (if your reel mower is not spinning, this may be a very simple explanation as to why, although there are others). One reel mower I had when I was much younger would get jammed with thin twigs regularly. It was a pain to keep stopping to remove them!
Bottom Line: Electric mower has more power – reel mowers require you to mow more frequently.
As I mentioned a little earlier, the two big differences when looking at a push reel mower vs electric mower are the motor and the blade. We’ve just discussed the motor, now let’s FOCUS on the blade.
With a reel mower, it’s a cylinder blade. And it’s not just one blade either. Depending on the model you buy, this cylinder will typically have 5 or 7 blades that spin forward as you push the mower. This motion results in the blade slicing through the grass (different to an electric mower as you’ll see), which is the best way to cut grass. By slicing the grass, the wound where the cut occurs at the end of the grass blade is minimal and the grass is able to heal faster.
Electric mowers on the other hand almost always feature a rotary blade that spins parallel to the ground, under the mower deck. If the blade is maintained in good condition – properly sharpened and balanced – it can still deliver a good cut, but it’ll never be quite as clean a cut as what a reel mower gives you.
Bottom Line: The cylinder blade on a reel mower provides a cleaner cut than the rotary blade on an electric mower.
This is where the reel mower vs electric mower debate starts to become more balanced as there’s really not a lot of difference. Both of these types of mowers are among the lowest maintenance, which is a big advantage in most people’s eyes.
With a reel mower, the design is so barebones that the only thing you really need to pay any attention to are the blades. Give them a sharpen 1-2 times per year, and you’ll be golden.
With the electric mower, the blade is also the main thing you will need to pay attention to. You’ll need to remove it to sharpen it. And then with a corded unit, the main other maintenance task you’ll need to take care of is cleaning the underside of the deck, which can get caked in old clippings if you’re not careful, which leads to poorer performance.
With a cordless electric mower, you also have battery maintenance. Following the correct processes for charging can have a big impact on battery life, especially when it comes to the end of the season when you’re not going to be using your mower for a while.
Bottom line: Both options are low maintenance, but the ultra-simplistic design of the reel mower just shades it, with the sharpening blades the only task to think about.
A lot of folks FOCUS only on the part where the lawn mower is going to be rolling over their lawn. But what about the rest of the time? Where are you going to store your lawn mower? The storage space you have available should also play a part in what you ultimately decide to buy.
The storage profile of a reel mower is very minimal, so if you have very little storage space – maybe your home is only small or is already overflowing with other stuff – this is a big plus. And not only is a reel mower small to store; it can also be hung on the wall. That is something I really, really like about reel lawn mowers. My gas mower definitely doesn’t hang on the wall and is fairly bulky!
Electric mowers can’t claim to store as well, but some models can be fairly lightweight to the point that they can be hung up too (hover mowers are a good example of this). But most electric mowers will require a bit more storage space. Lots of models do now allow you to fold over the handle completely to save some space though.
Bottom Line: You’ll need more space to store an electric mower than you will reel mower.
Scott’s Elite 16 inch Reel Mower
This may or may not be an important consideration for you. For the folks that do wonder “how loud is this lawn mower likely to be?” before they buy, you’ll be pleased to know that both reel mowers and electric mowers are on the quieter end of the spectrum.
Electric lawn mowers typically produce somewhere between 65 and 75 decibels, which is similar to normal conversation. Reel mowers, as they’re not motorized, are a bit quieter at 55 decibels. Neither of these options is going to annoy the neighbors, make you lose your hearing or scare your pets.
Bottom Line: Both electric mowers and reel mowers are relatively quiet, although reel motors produce less noise due to the lack of a motor.
This is another area in which reel mowers and electric mowers are very similar. You can find options for both under the 100 mark, and if you have a very small lawn most of these options will work just fine.
You can find both reel and electric mowers that go up to several hundred dollars in price too. So I’m not saying that all reel mowers and all electric mowers are cheaper; they both run the whole range from budget to the very expensive. Some of the high-end cordless electric mowers are among the most expensive push mowers available (good battery technology is expensive).
What I would say is that if you pay 200-300 for a reel mower, the quality of the product is often better than an equivalent electric mower. The more basic design allows them to use better quality components.
Bottom Line: Pricing for both reel and electric mowers runs the whole gamut from very cheap to expensive, but in my experience, the cost-quality ratio is slightly better for reel mowers.
The upfront costs and the maintenance costs are not the only types of costs you need to consider when looking to buy a new lawn mower. There’s also the matter of the running costs. And there’s only one winner in that category if we’re comparing the reel lawn mower vs electric.
Reel mowers have no running costs! You are literally the fuel. You push them and they mow. This is a nice bonus, as once you’ve spent the money to purchase it, there’s really very little financial outlay with a reel mower. So when you factor in both the initial outlay plus the non-existent running costs, a reel mower is really the cheapest way to cut your grass.
Electric mowers on the other hand do require you to pay for, well, electric. Whether that’s to charge the batteries or to power it directly from the mains. This is still normally very economical, but it is an ongoing cost. Something to think about if you only have a small lawn!
Bottom Line: Reel mowers have no ongoing running costs – you can’t beat that – while the running cost of electric mowers is typically very affordable.
Quick Overview of Reel Mowers
There’s a lot to consider here. I’m now going to break down the pros and cons for you in some quick bullet points.
Here’s what’s to like and what’s not so good about reel mowers.
Pros of Reel Mowers
- Very affordable upfront costs
- Basic design and very simple operation
- Cylinder blades produce a clean, crisp cut that leaves grass healthy
- Very little noise (55 decibels)
- Super compact for storage and can be hung on a wall
- No ongoing running costs to worry about
- Maintenance requirements as simple as can be – just sharpen the blades
Cons of Reel Mowers
- You need to mow regularly as they do not cope with long grass well
- Will also struggle with weeds and thicker grass varieties
- Mowing large areas can take longer than with an electric mower
Quick Overview of Electric Mowers
The same thing for electric mowers. Here are the main points that I think you should pay attention to.
Pros of Electric Mowers
- Options available at all price points, from the very cheap to the expensive
- Maintenance requirements almost as minimal as with reel mowers
- Noise produced no louder than normal conversation
- Has more power than a reel mower, so more forgiving if grass is a little overgrown
- Thicker grass and weeds less of a problem
Cons of Electric Mowers
- Rotary blade is not as good for the health of your lawn
- Ongoing running costs – they are minimal, but they’re there
- Require more storage space than reel mowers
Final Thoughts on Reel Mowers vs Electric Mowers
I personally would only buy a reel mower if I had a very small lawn to take care of. One that I could mow completely in say 20 minutes max. In most other scenarios I would most likely recommend an electric mower as they offer a lot of the benefits that reel mowers offer, and the power provided by the motor means it can adapt a bit better to conditions that are not ideal (longer, thick grass weeds, for example).
About Tom Greene
I’ve always had a keen interest in lawn care as long as I can remember. Friends used to call me the “lawn mower guru” (hence the site name), but I’m anything but. I just enjoy cutting my lawn and spending time outdoors. I also love the well-deserved doughnuts and coffee afterward!
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What Is a Reel Mower and How to Use It
David Beaulieu is a landscaping expert and plant photographer, with 20 years of experience.
Mary has been a Master Gardener for 30 years and a commercial and residential gardener for 50 years. She is a former Clemson University Extension Agent.
Jillian is a freelance journalist with 10 years of editorial experience in the lifestyle genre. She is a writer and fact checker for TripSavvy, as well as a fact-checker for The Spruce.
Reel mowers appeal to environmentalists, money-savers, exercise-fanatics, noise-haters, and safety-lovers. Simple to operate, a reel mower works well for small areas.
However, with this type of lawn mower, there are some downsides. You must be committed to mowing when the grass is ready, not whenever you get around to it. Sharpening the blades is a hassle. And unless you don’t mind the extra work of raking up twigs beforehand, reel mowers are not practical for large areas with lots of trees, since you can’t ride roughshod over twigs as you can with standard mowers.
What Is a Reel Mower?
A reel mower is a push mower that does not use fuel, electricity, or oil and is powered by the person pushing it. Most have two primary wheels and several sharp blades in a cylinder that spin around to cut the grass.
Reel vs. Rotary Mowers
As with most things, reel mowers are excellent for some situations and users and troublesome for others. Reel mowers lack many of the common annoyances that come with other types of mowers—the smell and noise, the potential risks, and the price—but they also have drawbacks. Reel mowers don’t work as well on tall grass or grass sprinkled with twigs and leaves.
The blades of a rotary lawn mower spin on a plane parallel to the ground. Reel mower blades spin at an angle perpendicular to the ground. While you may be able to get by for years without sharpening the blades on a regular mower, it’s critical to keep the blades of a reel mower razor-sharp.
- efficient at mowing grass
- Easier to mow larger areas
- Mulches up debris
- Handles cutting grass better on uneven ground
Parts of a Reel Mower
Manual or push reel mowers don’t have engines, so they don’t use gas and emit no pollutants. The lack of an engine also means reel mowers are virtually noiseless. No engine also means no tune-ups, and less maintenance: no oil to check, no filter to clean, no spark plugs, saving time and money.
Reel mowers have blades that turn as the mower is pushed. Today’s models have a protective guard to prevent the grass from being blown back on the person pushing the mower. And some models come with a grass-collecting bag. Most models allow you to adjust the blades to cut the grass at a certain height.
Modern models of reel mowers are lightweight and easy to push. Reel mowers are ideal for small lawns with no trees, although pushing one across any sized lawn will still be a strenuous chore, lightweight or not.
Why Should You Use a Reel Mower?
When you think of mowing your lawn, the mental image that comes to mind for most of us is that of a rotary machine, because this type of grass-cutting device has become the standard. Unlike the rotary models that you’re used to, reel mowers don’t have an engine.
Instead, this 19th-century device, invented by Edwin Budding, cuts the grass using sharp blades that move as you push the device along. This isn’t merely a question of the machine being self-propelled vs not self-propelled, it is entirely human-powered. Still, despite the decidedly unmodern functionality, there are good reasons you might want to consider buying a reel mower.
Environmentalists tout reel mowers as a clean alternative to polluting gas-powered rotary models. Reel mowers also reduce noise pollution. A reel mower is safer to use because the blades stop when you stop pushing, They are less expensive to purchase and maintain than gas or electric mowers. Modern versions are easier to use than older models because lightweight plastics and alloys incorporated into their framework have made them more maneuverable.
But reel mowers come with some disadvantages, too. They can’t chop up twigs and the twigs get lodged in the blades, requiring manual removal. Raking up twigs before mowing is advisable, adding time and effort to the task. Reel mowers cannot be used in fall as makeshift leaf-shredders. Rotary models are also better at mowing grass that’s grown too high, an important consideration for those who don’t mow the grass religiously.
Reel lawn mowers are well-suited only to those who tend to small urban lots and enjoy exercise. But if you do have just a small lawn to mow, the reel mower can be ideal. Dealing with all the gas, oil, and noise associated with regular mowers seems like overkill for such a small space.
Another choice other than reel mowers for those who have a small lawn is a rechargeable battery-powered mower. This type keeps mower maintenance to a bare minimum.
Buying vs. Renting
Reel mowers are inexpensive, costing around 100 on average to purchase. Since mowing the lawn is a weekly chore, especially in the spring and summer months, it only makes sense to buy one rather than go through the constant expense and hassle of renting one.
Although reel mowers are relatively cheap, you shouldn’t necessarily buy the very cheapest option. You want to make sure your mower is well-made, and that blade sharpening kits for the brand you select are easy to find because you’ll need to sharpen the blade regularly.
How to Maintain Reel Mowers
There is one regular mower-maintenance chore necessary with reel mowers: sharpening the blades. This needs to be done once or twice every year. You can buy sharpening kits, or you can grab these three basic items: grinding stone, grinding paste, and newspaper. The blades can remain on the mower, and with a little bit of manual effort, you can complete the sharpening process.
- Grinding stone: Use the stone first to smooth out any nicks or burrs you feel on the blades.
- Grinding paste: Apply the paste to the blades and cutter bar. Then turn the reel backward. The grinding paste and running it backward will sharpen the blades and cutter bar’s edges. Do this for a few minutes, and you will see the paste going away and shiny edges appearing. If there’s any excess paste, simply wipe it off.
- Newspaper: Test the sharpness of the blades on the newspaper. If it’s not sharp enough, repeat the sharpening process.
After each use, make sure to wipe/wash off any grass clippings that have built up on the mower. Store the reel mower in a dry place to help keep it from rusting.
When to Replace Your Reel Mower
Reel mowers will last for many years if you keep them clean and sharpen the blades periodically. If you find yourself not having the time to mow often with a reel mower, or you’ve gotten a larger yard, then you should consider replacing it with a powered mower. If your yard is considerably bigger, then a riding lawn mower will save you time and effort.