What You Need To Know About How Reel Mowers Work?

Reel mowers are an eco-friendly and cost-effective alternative to traditional gas-powered mowers. They require little to no maintenance and provide a clean cut for your lawn.

With their simple design and easy operation, reel mowers are becoming increasingly popular for those looking for a low-maintenance, energy-efficient mowing solution. But how do reel mowers work?

In this article, we’ll cover what a reel mower is, how it works, and the benefits of using one.

How Do Reel Mowers Work?

Reel mowers, or push mowers, are popular among homeowners who prefer a more environmentally friendly and low-maintenance approach to lawn care. Unlike traditional gas-powered mowers, reel mowers operate solely on human power and do not emit harmful pollutants. So, how exactly do reel mowers work? Let’s dive in and find out.

The basic design of a reel mower consists of a cylindrical reel with multiple blades and a stationary bed knife. As you push the mower forward, the reel rotates, and the blades cut the grass against the stationary bed knife in a scissor-like motion. This cutting action results in a clean and precise cut.

One of the key factors in the effectiveness of a reel mower is the number of blades on the reel. The more blades a reel mower has, the finer and cleaner the cut will be. Typically, reel mowers come with anywhere from three to seven blades.

Most models feature a height adjustment mechanism to adjust the cutting height of a reel mower. This mechanism allows you to raise or lower the position of the reel, altering the cutting height to suit your preference. This feature is especially useful for maintaining different types of grasses or adapting to seasonal changes in growth.

Reel mowers require regular maintenance to ensure optimal performance. Keeping the blades sharp is crucial for a clean and efficient cut. Dull blades can tear the grass, leading to an uneven appearance and potential lawn damage. Sharpening the blades at least once a year or as needed is recommended.

Unlike gas-powered mowers, reel mowers operate quietly, making them suitable for neighborhoods with noise restrictions or those looking for a peaceful mowing experience. Additionally, reel mowers are lightweight and easy to maneuver, making them ideal for small to medium-sized lawns.

While reel mowers have advantages, a few factors should be considered before switching. Reel mowers are best suited for well-maintained lawns with grass that is not excessively tall or dense. If your lawn grows long and thick, a reel mower may need help to cut through effectively.

In conclusion, reel mowers operate by utilizing a rotating reel with multiple blades and a stationary bed knife to cut the grass in a scissor-like motion. They offer an eco-friendly and low-maintenance alternative to gas-powered mowers.

With regular maintenance and proper usage, reel mowers can provide a clean and precise cut for your lawn while giving you a quiet and enjoyable mowing experience.

Advantages Of Using Reel Mowers

Advantages Of Using Reel Mowers

There are several advantages to using reel mowers, also known as manual or push mowers, over traditional gas-powered or electric mowers. Here are a few:

  • Environmentally friendly: Reel mowers are powered by you, so they do not require electricity, gasoline, or oil. This means they produce zero emissions, making them a much greener option for lawn mowing.
  • Quiet operation: Since reel mowers do not have a motor, they operate silently. This is especially beneficial if you live in a residential area where excessive noise may be a concern.
  • Cost-effective: Reel mowers are less expensive than gas-powered or electric mowers. They have fewer moving parts, require less maintenance, and are generally more durable, resulting in long-term cost savings.
  • Healthier for your lawn: Reel mowers cut grass blades cleanly, leaving them with a healthier appearance. The scissor-like action of the blades creates a precise cut, reducing the risk of bruising and tearing the grass, which can lead to disease or pests.
  • Exercise: Pushing a reel mower requires physical effort, so using one can be a great way to incorporate exercise into your routine. It can be a low-impact cardiovascular workout and a way to get fresh air while completing lawn maintenance.
  • Safety: Reel mowers have a built-in safety feature that stops the blades from spinning when you release the handle. This reduces the risk of accidents, especially if you have children or pets in the yard.

How To Maintain A Reel Mower?

Maintaining a reel mower is fairly simple and requires regular maintenance to ensure it stays in good working condition. Here are some tips to help you maintain your reel mower:

  • Keep the blades sharp: Sharp blades are essential for a reel mower to cut grass efficiently. Regularly inspect and sharpen the blades using a reel mower sharpening kit or take it to a professional if needed.
  • Clean the mower after each use: Grass and debris can accumulate on the blades and other mower parts, affecting its performance. Use a brush or hose to remove any buildup and keep the mower clean.
  • Lubricate moving parts: Apply lubricant to the wheels, axles, and other moving parts to reduce friction and ensure smooth operation. Regularly check for wear and tear signs and replace damaged parts.
  • Adjust the cutting height: Adjust the mower’s cutting height depending on the type of grass and desired cutting height. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and ensure the adjustments are even on both sides.
  • Store it properly: After use, store the reel mower in a dry place to prevent rust and damage. Clean any remaining grass or debris and ensure all parts are properly secured.
  • Schedule regular maintenance: Giving your reel mower a thorough maintenance check at least once a year is recommended. This can involve replacing worn-out parts, checking the reel alignment, and tightening loose screws or bolts.

Troubleshooting Common Reel Mower Problems

A few common problems can arise with reel mowers, but luckily, most of them can be easily troubleshooted. Here are a few tips to help you address some common reel mower problems:

  • Blades not cutting properly: If your reel mower is not cutting the grass evenly or leaving uncut patches, it may be due to dull blades. Sharpening the blades regularly with a sharpening kit can help improve cutting performance.
  • Difficulty pushing the mower: If you need help pushing the reel mower, it may be due to the cutting height needing to be lowered. Adjust the cutting height to a higher setting to make it easier to push.
  • Uneven cutting height: If the mower cuts the grass unevenly, it may be due to an uneven reel adjustment. Check the reel adjustment and make sure it is properly aligned. Adjust the reel blades as needed to ensure an even cutting height.
  • Grass getting stuck in the reel: If you notice grass getting stuck in the reel and not being properly discharged, it may be due to a buildup of debris or grass clippings. Clean out the reel regularly to prevent this issue.
  • Reel not spinning freely: If the reel is not spinning freely or is making unusual noises, it may be due to a lack of lubrication. Apply a light oil or lubricant to the reel and axles to keep them running smoothly.

Different Types Of Reel Mowers

Different Types Of Reel Mowers

Reel mowers are the classic choice when it comes to lawn care. These mowers offer a clean cut without the noise and fumes of motorized mowers. Reel mowers use a series of blades that rotate in a cylindrical reel to cut grass. The blades are set in a V-shaped pattern, which allows them to cut on the upstroke and downstroke.

There are two main types of reel mowers: push and self-propelled. Push reel mowers are the oldest type of mower and are powered by the user. Self-propelled mowers use a motor or battery to move the mower forward.

Regarding maintenance, reel mowers require regular blade sharpening to ensure a clean cut. This can be done at home with a sharpening stone or by taking the mower to a shop. Additionally, the mower should be cleaned periodically to remove any clippings that may have accumulated on the blades.

How To Adjust The Blades On A Reel Mower?

To adjust the blades on a reel mower, you can follow these steps:

  1. Start by checking the quality of your mower’s blades. The blades must be sharpened or replaced if they are dull or damaged.
  2. Once you have ensured the blades are in good condition, locate the adjustment knob or lever on your reel mower. This is usually located on the side of the mower or near the handle.
  3. Turn the adjustment knob or lever to adjust the height of the blades. Different mowers have different adjustment mechanisms, so consult your mower’s manual for specific instructions.
  4. To decrease the cutting height, move the blades closer to the grass. Turn the adjustment knob counterclockwise or move the lever towards the “lower” position.
  5. To increase the cutting height, move the blades away from the grass. Turn the adjustment knob clockwise or move the lever towards the “higher” position.
  6. After making adjustments, testing the mower’s cutting height is important. Start by setting your mower on a flat, even surface. Push the mower forward and observe the cutting results. Make additional adjustments if necessary to achieve your desired cutting height.

Safety Precautions When Using A Reel Mower

When using a reel mower, it’s important to follow some safety precautions to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you. Here are a few tips:

  • Wear appropriate clothing and protective gear: Before operating a reel mower, make sure you are wearing closed-toe shoes, long pants, and eye protection. This will help protect you from flying debris, such as rocks or grass clippings.
  • Clear the area of obstacles: Before you start mowing, clear the area of any rocks, sticks, or other debris that could become projectiles when run over by the mower. These objects can damage the blades and potentially cause injury.
  • Keep children and pets away: It’s important to keep children and pets at a safe distance from the mower while in operation. The spinning blades can cause serious injuries, so it’s best to have a designated safe area for them to play away from the mowing area.
  • Be cautious on slopes and uneven terrain: Reel mowers are not designed for use on steep slopes or uneven terrain. Use caution and avoid mowing on these surfaces to prevent accidents or injuries.
  • Maintain your mower properly: Inspect your reel mower for any damage or wear. Keep the blades sharp and clean to ensure smooth operation and reduce the risk of accidents.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions: Different reel mowers may have specific safety guidelines, so it’s important to read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your particular model.

Benefits Of Using Reel Mowers Over Gas Mowers

Benefits Of Using Reel Mowers Over Gas Mowers

There are several benefits of using reel mowers over gas mowers. Here are a few:

  • Environmentally friendly: Reel mowers are powered by human energy rather than gasoline or electricity, making them a more eco-friendly option. They don’t produce emissions or noise pollution, making them a great choice for those concerned about the environment.
  • Cost-effective: Reel mowers are generally cheaper to purchase and maintain than gas mowers. They don’t require expensive fuel or regular maintenance, such as oil changes or spark plug replacements. This can save you money in the long run.
  • Healthier lawn: Reel mowers utilize a scissor-like cutting action, which results in a cleaner and healthier cut for your grass. Gas mowers often tear grass blades, leaving them susceptible to disease and pests. Reel mowers promote a healthier lawn by cutting the grass cleanly and evenly.
  • Quiet operation: Gas mowers can be loud, disturbing you and your neighbors. Reel mowers, on the other hand, operate quietly, allowing you to mow your lawn at any time without causing noise disturbances.
  • Exercise: Using a reel mower requires physical effort, providing a great workout. Pushing a reel mower helps you burn calories and stay active while completing lawn care tasks.

How To Operate A Reel Mower?

Reel mowers are a type of lawn mower that is becoming increasingly popular due to their environmentally friendly nature and low maintenance. A reel mower may be the perfect option if you’re looking for a simple, cost-effective way to keep your lawn looking great. To operate a reel mower, follow these steps:

  1. Start by adjusting the cutting height. Most reel mowers have a cutting height adjustment lever or knob. Set it to the desired height for your lawn.
  2. Push the reel mower across the grass steadily and consistently. Do not rush or push too hard; this can damage the mower or cut unevenly.
  3. Avoid mowing wet grass, as it can clog the blades and make it harder to push the mower. Wait for the grass to dry before mowing.
  4. If you encounter tall or thick grass, it may be necessary to make multiple passes. Take your time and go over these areas again, slightly overlapping with the previous pass.
  5. After mowing, remember to clean the mower. Remove grass clippings or debris from the blades and cutting deck to keep it in good working condition.
  6. Lastly, periodically sharpen the blades to ensure a clean and efficient cut. Dull blades can damage the grass and make mowing more difficult.

It’s important to note that reel mowers work best on smaller lawns with shorter grass. A power mower may be more suitable if you have a large or overgrown lawn.

How To Select The Right Reel Mower For Your Lawn?

Selecting the right reel mower for your lawn can greatly improve the quality of your lawn care routine. Here are a few factors to consider when choosing the right reel mower:

  • Lawn size: Consider the size of your lawn. A manual reel mower may be sufficient if you have a small to medium-sized lawn. However, a motorized reel mower may be more efficient for larger lawns.
  • Cutting height: Different reel mowers come with adjustable cutting heights. Choosing a reel mower that allows you to adjust the cutting height according to your lawn’s needs is important.
  • Grass type: Consider the grass type in your lawn. Some reel mowers are better suited for certain grass types than others. Do your research to ensure your chosen reel mower will work effectively on your grass type.
  • Durability and maintenance: Look for a reel mower that is sturdy and built to last. Additionally, consider the maintenance requirements of the mower. Choose a reel mower that is easy to maintain and requires minimal upkeep.
  • Budget: Set a budget for your reel mower purchase. While there are a variety of reel mowers available at different price points, it’s important to find one that offers good value for your money without compromising on quality.
  • Reviews and recommendations: Before making a final decision, read reviews and seek recommendations from others who have used the reel mower you are considering. This can provide valuable insights and help you make an informed choice.

What Parts Make Up A Reel Mower And How They Work Together?

A reel mower is a device that utilizes a series of blades to cut grass and produce a manicured lawn. It is a key part of lawn care and is becoming increasingly popular in residential and commercial settings. Understanding the basic mechanics of how a reel mower works can help you get the most out of your mowing experience.

At the core of a reel mower is a cylindrical reel containing several blades that rotate in the same direction. This reel is connected to a drive shaft powered by a motor or manual crank.

When the motor or crank is activated, the blades are forced to turn, cutting the grass as they pass through it. The reel is connected to a height adjustment lever, which allows the user to adjust the height of the blades to match the desired cutting height.

In addition to the reel and drive shaft, a reel mower also contains a bedknife, a stationary blade that the reel blades pass against. This bedknife helps to ensure a clean and even cut by helping to guide the blades of the reel in a straight line. The bedknife is also adjustable, allowing the user to set the blade angle for a particular cutting height.

Finally, the reel mower contains a grass catcher a plastic or metal container collecting grass clippings and debris. This is then disposed of or composted, making it an environmentally friendly way to manage lawn care.


In conclusion, reel mowers are a great way to maintain your yard without worrying about gas-powered mower emissions. They are easy to use and maintain, and they provide a great way to get some exercise while keeping your lawn looking beautiful.

Reel mowers may require more effort than gas-powered mowers, but the benefits of a reel mower far outweigh the extra effort. With the right maintenance and care, a reel mower can last years, providing a clean, healthy, green lawn.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the benefit of using a reel mower?

The benefit of using a reel mower is that it is much more environmentally friendly than a gas or electric mower, as it requires no fuel or electricity. It is also quieter and more cost-effective to maintain than traditional motorized mowers. Additionally, a reel mower will provide a much cleaner cut than a rotary mower, as the blades shear the grass blades instead of tearing them.

How do reel mowers cut grass?

Reel mowers cut grass using a series of sharp blades spinning in a cylinder. As the blades spin, they slice through the grass blades, cutting them off at the base. The cut grass is then discharged from the mower.

How hard is it to mow with a reel mower?

Mowing with a reel mower can vary in difficulty depending on the size of the lawn and the type of grass. Generally, it requires more effort than using a power mower, as it relies on manual pushing or pulling. However, most people find it fairly easy to use, and the physical effort is often worth the reward of a perfectly manicured lawn.

Do reel mowers cut well?

Yes, reel mowers cut grass very well. They are designed to provide a clean, even cut with less noise and vibration than a traditional rotary mower. Reel mowers also require less maintenance than rotary ones, making them an attractive option for many homeowners.

What type of maintenance do reel mowers require?

Reel mowers require regular lubrication, sharpening of the blades, and cleaning of the underside of the mower to remove clippings and debris. It is also important to check the alignment of the blades and adjust them as necessary.

How much do reel mowers usually cost?

Reel mowers can range in price from around $100 to over $500, depending on the model and features.

How often should I mow with a reel mower?

It is recommended to mow your lawn with a reel mower at least once a week or more often when the grass grows.

Are reel mowers suitable for larger lawns?

Yes, reel mowers are suitable for larger lawns. They are easy to use, require minimal maintenance, and are environmentally friendly. Reel mowers are also quieter than traditional gas-powered mowers, so they are more suitable for larger lawns in residential areas.