Real Men Use a Reel Mower

If you ask a lady whether she wants a man who is either conscientious or strong, chances are she will say bothTrust me, I’ve seen the studies. So what if I told you that there’s a way you can mow your lawn that would make you look both strong and smart? Stick with me then when I tell you that the answer is to ditch your gas powered mower and get a reel mower.

reel mower

That’s right, an old-fashioned human-powered spinning bladed cylinder between two wheels. (That description was for the young’ns who have never seen, much less used one of these beasts before.)

Why are reel mowers a choice that will make you look conscientious and strong? Because they use no gas, they don’t pollute, which is smart. And because they are a bit tough to push, they will give you a good workout, building your beach muscles and making you strong.

Also called cylinder mowers, these people-powered machines rely on the turning of the two wheels to spin the bladed cylinder. The cylinder does not spin when the wheels stop moving as a safety feature.

Pros of Using a Reel Mower

Good for the environment - Though this benefit is obvious, it cannot go unstated. Small engine mowers usually run on gasoline and spew out carbon emissions. While most of the good studies on lawn mower emissions are a bit old, and newer mowers are better than pre-1997 mowers, we know they aren’t as efficient as car engines. A reel mower never requires an unplanned and annoying trip to the gas station to fill up a red can that will leave your car reeking of gas fumes.

Good for your health - If your yard is small enough, why not get off the riding mower or out from behind the self-propelled John Deere and get a nice workout? The technology of reel mowers today ensures that most able-bodied people can use them. I actually found that it takes less time to mow my lawn with my reel mower than my old self-propelled, and for 10 minutes my heart rate is elevated. (Check with your doctor if you are unsure of physical exertion).

Easy to Store - Because there is no engine, there are no fluid leaks, making it easy to store a reel mower almost anywhere, including inside your house. Because they are only two-wheeled, they don’t take up a lot of space, making them a great option for the smallest homes with the smallest yards.

Easy to Maintain - Unlike an engine with tons of moving parts, there really isn’t much to a reel mower. You can see every nut and bolt with the naked eye, making upkeep and maintenance easy. You can probably rig together a fix for almost anything on a reel mower from your local hardware store, and the blades generally don’t need to be sharpened that often.

Cons of Using a Reel Mower

Best for Smaller Yards - Unless you really want to get a good workout, using a reel mower on a large yard might get old fast. It’s also tougher to get that precise mower striping that a lot of people go for.

You Have to Mow Regularly - If you let your grass get a little high, maybe because you were busy with work or life, it’s not quite as easy as firing up the gas powered mower and forcing your way through the tall grass and weeds. With a reel mower, you may have to cut it in stages if you let it grow too tall, rather than try to mow it all in one fell swoop. Fortunately most modern reel mowers have a cutting height adjustment feature that makes it as easy as two clicks.

Tall Weeds and Sticks - Large or tall weeds just get passed over by the reel mower, meaning you have to pull them by hand or use a string trimmer to clean up. It is also necessary to pick up all sticks, large and small, as they will stop your reel like an emergency brake.

My Review

So what is the best reel mower? I’m no expert, but the best reel mower should be easy to push, easy to maintain, highly rated, and not too expensive. 

When I started looking, I fell in love with the Fiskars Momentum Reel Mower. It looks super fancy and flashy, but at around $200, I decided an entry-level model might be more suitable in case I didn’t like the experience.

Instead, I settled on the Scotts 20-inch Classic Push Reel Mower. It is on the lower end of the price scale, around $120, which is good for those of us who like to be thrifty, and it comes highly rated with many reviews on Amazon. When it arrived it was very easy to put together, taking less than five minutes. The blades are already super sharp and can cut paper like scissors. After putting together, you are ready to mow.

After using it for about a month, I can say that I love how easy it is to use. I don’t miss the shoulder-ripping fun of a pull start engine, nor do I miss the noise pollution and gas fumes.

READERS: Do you use a reel mower? Would you consider switching?

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23 Comments
  1. I am actually not familiar with Reel mower but I guess a lot of people should be aware with it.. I just hope this can help..
    Annie recently posted..Travel TomatoMy Profile

  2. When I rented a house during college the landlord gave us one of those reel mowers to use. It was pretty awesome however it was EXTREMELY loud. I think it need to be oiled up a bit.

    I would definitely consider switching however I have a 1/3 of an acre right now so using one of those just wouldn’t cut it. Once we sell the house and buy a new one I may look into it depending on how small/big the yard is.
    Jason @ WSL recently posted..Broke, Desperate, and Being an IdiotMy Profile

  3. My hubby only gets to mow about once a week because of his work schedule… and the grass gets a little high. I don’t think he’d EVER agree to ditch his gas-powered mower. Then again, he’d also rather me pay $100 a month to the kid down the street to do all his yard work.
    Elizabeth @ Broke Professionals recently posted..Our House On The Market: Month ThreeMy Profile

  4. Living in the city, I use a reel mower. Less noise polution, less smog pollution, less cost. What’s not to like? And the bonus? Great exercise!
    Josh @ Live Well Simply recently posted..Cost of Car Ownership – How I Beat the AverageMy Profile

  5. No chance I would be using one of these. I have way to much yard for one. If I lived in a more urban area or had a smaller yard I would probably consider this.

  6. I’ve used reel mowers when I was younger. Now that I have a home of my own I use a gas powered mower. My yard is just way to big to do it with a reel mower. If I had a smaller yard I would consider buying one though.
    DebtsnTaxes recently posted..Why We Bought Instead of RentingMy Profile

  7. I am a bit surprised about the feedback about these reel mowers. I always assumed it would take longer with those kinds of mowers, especially with having to rake up the cut grass afterwards. I don’t know if I’m really sold on it though. I try to be environmentally conscientious, but I don’t usually do so at the expense of making something much more difficult or time consuming.
    Modest Money recently posted..Are Finance Bloggers Perfect Identity Theft TargetsMy Profile

  8. Our yard is small enough to use one, but I would want to borrow one to try out before making the switch. I’d consider changing, though our push mower is only a few years old. Maybe once it dies.
    Justin @ The Family Finances recently posted..The Pros and Cons of Riding My Bike to WorkMy Profile

  9. When we moved to a new home a few years ago with a relatively small lawn, I ditched the power mower and bought a top-of-the-line reel mower. While it doesn’t make as perfect a cut as a power mower, I really like it. Though as you say, using it can be a workout, especially if the grass gets too high (which often happens in our rainy climate). Saves on gas expense, doesn’t pollute (gas-powered mowers are extremely dirty!), and doesn’t make noise. At our former (classic suburban) home, I’d comment to my wife that, especially on weekends, when we sat outside on our patio or screened porch, we could always hear a lawnmower running, often several. Kinda annoying. I bought a battery-powered mower, but everyone else preferred gas-powered, for reasons that always baffled me.
    Kurt @ Money Counselor recently posted..Net Worth: How Are You Doing?My Profile

  10. My parents had a reel mower when I was younger, and cutting the grass was usually my chore. It wasn’t as hard as some people think it might be as long as you stay on top of it and don’t let the grass get too long. Of course if you have a huge plot of land, it might be a little tougher as well, I was only cutting the grass on a small inner city yard. :)
    Peter recently posted..50 Ways To Make Money: Maximizing, Creating And Increasing Your IncomeMy Profile

  11. I have concrete in front of my apartment so I don’t think I can mow much.
    Jai Catalano recently posted..TIme Lapse - On The Toilet My Profile

  12. Nice work! You’ve presented some very good selling points for the reel mower; the most important being that it’s good for your health and the environment. Also, for me, the (USP) unique selling proposition is that it would make me look strong and smart. However, I think I would need to be sold on having to mow regularly. Something to think about.
    Anthony Thompson recently posted..Self Manager – More Human Attributes that Will Get People to Like YouMy Profile

  13. Wow I guess my age is really showing since I’ve never heard or seen one of these before. I actually just mowed a lawn for the first time in my life 2 weeks ago. My dad has always been the one to mow the lawn. He just made me wash the cars. Now that I think about it, mowing a lawn is really fun and I enjoyed it – I will definitely teach my (future) kids how to do it! Hopefully we have a lawn to mow in the future.

    I’m intrigued by this thing…it took me about 10 times to start the lawn mower. I thought I was weak. I’ll check this out – might make a good present for my future father-in-law who mows the lawn almost every other week!
    From Shopping to Saving recently posted..PF Link Love: Fave Reads of the Week and The Condo SagaMy Profile

  14. Yep, I do own a reel mower! I bought one last year after my last lawn mower caught fire underneath and started smoking profusely. Reel mowers can’t catch fire ;)
    Cassie recently posted..Budget Attempt May18 to May 31My Profile

  15. I love my reel mower. I find it takes about the same amount of time to cut, there’s almost no maintenance and best of all, it’s quiet so I can mow when my daughter goes to bed and it’s cooler out in the evening.

  16. I would *love* to use one of these mowers.. but my yard is too big. It would take forever :(
    jefferson recently posted..Should You Buy a New or Used Car? Answer: Neither!My Profile

  17. I have one of these but unfortunately my lawn is dead. Sod comes on Saturday though so after it takes root I’ll get to use it again! YAY
    Lance@MoneyLife&More recently posted..Business Mileage Reimbursement – Do You Really Make Money?My Profile

  18. I liked the article. More manly haha. I just purchased the Friskars reel mower and we love it. I do have a big yard front and back but it still works great. I reviewed it a bit. Check it out.

    http://www.menprogress.com/#!Friskars Mower/c1wia

    Thanks, Keith

  19. I prefer electric or gas mowers because my lawn is too big and it would take too much time to mow it using reel mower…
    Daniel recently posted..Husqvarna or GreenworksMy Profile

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