Manual Reel Push Lawn Mowers

Manual Reel Push Lawn Mowers

The first-ever lawn mower was a regular push mower, known as a reel mower. Not much has changed in the design other than it may have become more ergonomic. The blades work almost like scissors as they spin on a central axle which, in turn, makes the reel spin. This blade action creates an updraft which straightens the grass so it can be properly cut. Do push lawn mowers have batteries to power this action? 

Our Top Pick For Manual Reel Lawn Mowers

Our Top Pick
Greenworks 16-Inch Reel Lawn Mower with Grass Catcher
  • 16" cutting path gets the job done quicker and more efficiently
  • 2-in-1 feature provides mulching and rear bag capabilities 
  • 4 position height adjustment offers a range of cutting height from 1 1/8" to 2 1/4" for the perfect cut on all grass types
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There are many manual reel lawn mowers on the market, but the Greenworks 16 Inch Reel Lawn Mower is our top choice. We love the rather large 16 inch width that allows for less trips up and down the lawn.

We also love that it has two features that are common with both gas powered and electric lawn mowers:

  • Rear bag grass collection option
  • Multiple height adjustments

If you are going to use a manual mower, this is a great choice. The value you get from this mower is not matched by others in the same price range. Not only is it budget friendly, but you get a lot for your money!

Are Manual Reel Push Lawn Mowers Any Good?

Are Manual Reel Push Lawn Mowers Any Good

Whenever you see a perfectly-cut lawn, you can be sure that a regular push lawnmower was used. This is because the scissor effect produces a sharper, more even cut that is difficult for other lawn mowers to achieve. There are other benefits of a regular push lawn mower other than producing a perfect cut.

Here are the benefits of manual reel push lawn mowers:

They’re Healthier For Your Lawn

Electric and gas-powered motors tend to leave grass torn and shredded, which affects the health of your lawn. Grass that is cut cleanly will heal faster and not be left as vulnerable to the elements.

They Don’t Pollute the Environment

Regular push lawn mowers do not create noise or air pollution. There are no greenhouse gas emissions like with a gas-powered mower. Even if you have a mower with a small engine, it will still be emitting gas. There are zero emissions of anything with a regular push mower.

They Are Extremely Cost-Effective

First off, they are not expensive to buy. A top-of-the-range regular push mower will be way cheaper than a mid-range motorized mower. Best of all, other than having the blades sharpened now and then, there is no maintenance: no servicing, oil changes, fuel or gas costs, or electricity charges.

They Keep You Fit

Regular push lawn mowers can give you a really good workout, depending on the weight of the mower and the size of your lawn. It is a good form of cardiovascular exercise that works the whole body and strengthens the health of your heart. Mowing your lawn by hand for 30 minutes can burn between 135 and 200 calories, depending on your body weight and the mower’s weight.

A regular push lawn mower may seem quite ‘old-school,’ but without them, we would never be able to have such perfectly-trimmed lawns. We also seriously need to take care of our planet and ourselves. So, unless you have a massive lawn, a regular push lawn mower is all you need to keep your lawn looking good.

How To Choose the Best Manual Reel Push Lawn Mower

How To Choose the Best Manual Reel Push Lawn Mower

As mentioned earlier, the construction of the reel mower is pretty much the same as it was in 1830 when Englishman Edwin Beard Budding built it to take care of sports fields and greens.

Compare the following features when deciding which push lawn mower to choose:

  • Weight: How heavy will it be when you’re pushing it?
  • Width: A longer mower will cover more ground in less time but will be heavier to push. Which is more important to you?
  • Height: Can you adjust the blades for different heights? What range of heights does the mower have?
  • Grass spray direction: Push lawn mowers either spray the grass behind the mower or in front of it. Some also have a catching tray. A mower that sprays to the front or has a mechanism to catch a back spray is more practical.

Do Manual Reel Push Lawn Mowers Have Batteries?

Manual reel push lawn mowers DO NOT have batteries. They are man-powered. You can get gas-powered and battery-powered push mowers, but the regular push lawn mower relies on being manually pushed by a person. There are several advantages to using a manual push lawn mower rather than a gas or electric one. 

With the first reel lawn mower being made over 150 years ago, the design has not changed too much. It is made to be used by manually pushing the lawn mower and the wheels being used to rotate the blades. All of the energy that is used to power the reel mower comes from the person doing the pushing, no battery or gas is used.

The design is great for those who don’t want to rely on an outside source of energy to power the mower. Even if you choose not to go with a manual reel lawn mower, they are great to have as a back up to your main mower as they are very affordable.


As you can see, regular push mowers that are not powered by batteries or gas are still in high demand. If your lawn is not that large, it is the perfect mower for your lawn, budget, health, and environment.

However, cordless electric lawn mowers are becoming very popular now that technology has made them about as powerful as gas powered mowers. If you would like to learn more, check out our article on the Best Electric Lawn Mowers.

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