Welcome to our best manual reel lawn mowers comparison guide! We're going to explore everything you need to know about cylinder lawn mowers you can buy in 2023. Thanks to our recommendations and the comparison table with easy filter options, you are guaranteed to find the right model for your needs.

We independently researched and reviewed each product to help you quickly find the reel lawn mower that suits you and your budget.

Please note that our comparison is based on our own hands-on product test, consumer reports, and tests.

Read related buying guides from us:

Why do you need a reel lawn mower?

  • Cylinder lawn mowers are particularly great for smaller plots of land around 250 m².
  • They ensure a precise, clean lawn cut and are quiet.
  • There are cylinder mowers with and without wheel drive as well as optional catcher baskets.

How does a reel mower work?

A cylinder mower is basically a horizontal axle on two wheels. When you push the reel mower, the axle turns, and the cylinder blades attach to the shaft cut your grass.

On the spindle itself, there are cutting blades that run in a slight helix. These rotating cutting blades run parallel to a fixed counter blade and cleanly cut off the grass blades using the scissors principle. By adjusting the counter blade, you can easily get the desired cutting height on these types of lawn mowers.

Reel mowers are particularly suitable for smaller areas up to 600 feet.

However, for lawns larger than 0.12sq yd, you should consider investing in an electric, gas, or battery-powered mower. That is, of course, if you need to get the job a lot faster and cover more ground in a short span of time.

Reel mowers also have different names such as manual mowers, roller mower, and cylinder mower.

Do reel mowers work?

It depends on a lot of factors, mainly the number of blades your reel mower has on the axle. Most reel lawn mowers available in the US has four to six blades. But higher-end premium models might have few more. I've seen up to 8 blades!

Besides, models available for the home garden usually have a cutting width of between 10 and 18 inches.

Some mowers also can be upgraded with striping kit to achieve this stripe pattern look of football pitches.

Why reel mowers are better?

Simply because manual hand push lawn mowers offer a much more precise, clean, and gentle cut. No other type of lawn mower can hope to achieve this, including gas or electric mowers.

Hand-guided lawnmowers ensure a gentle and precise lawn cut. They are low-noise and inexpensive to purchase. The use of a cylinder mower is particularly suitable for smaller areas or narrow areas in the garden for which a conventional lawnmower is unsuitable.

How much does a reel mower cost?

Best reel mowers are available well under 100 dollars. Models with more functionalities such as striping, or even a wheel drive may cost a lot more.

In our comparison table, you will find the best models, including a price comparison.

Which reel mower is the best?

In the US, excellent reel lawn mowers are available from Bosch, Fiskars, Gardena, Great States, American Lawn Mower Company, Sun Joe, Scotts, Greenworks, DuroStar, EarthWise, Husqvarna and others.

However, which model is the best one for you might differ. Depending on the size and condition of the lawn, your budget, and desired functions, you can find a lot of great reel mowers. To quickly filter through the options, use the comparison tool we created for you above.

How to maintain reel mower?

Due to the relatively simple construction of a reel mower, maintenance is straightforward and effortless. After each mowing session, simply clear the grass clippings leftover on the mower and store it indoors. That's pretty much it.

Depending on how often you mow your garden, the cutting blades should be resharpened on a regular basis using sharpening kits. Some manufacturers have thought ahead and have installed self-sharpening blades. These mowers don't require much maintenance.

Since these mowers are powered by hand push and don't have gas or electric motors, they don't require oil or gas changes. Though, you may want to oil certain parts to decrease friction and push it easier.

History of reel lawn mowers

Reel mowers are actually centuries old. The first reel lawn mower was invented in 18th century. It was the first of its kind back then, all the gas, electric and battery mowers built upon these reel mowers, naturally...

These revolutionary lawn mowers enabled property owners to cut their grass evenly and with great precision at the desired length.

Over the years, simple hand-operated push reel mowers developed into much more complicated motor powered and self-propelling devices.

These reel mowers, however, has barely changed since the first invention.

Buying guide: How to buy the best reel lawn mower?

If you wish to use your reel mower for at least a few yours, you should make sure it's the right one for your before going ahead and buying some random model. The buying advice tool we have created for you above takes your needs into consideration and filters through the options to find the right one for your needs. After that, you can directly compare them to each other, see their features in a table.

Consider the size of your lawn

The biggest decision making factor when buying a reel mower should be the size of your lawn. Once you figure that out, it makes picking among the suitable options easier.

For areas up to 500ft cheap and straightforward models are usually sufficient as you don't have much space, and they'll get the job done quickly. However, if you have a bigger lawn with lots of slopes, you need a bigger model with wider blades so you can cut a bigger area at once.

Cutting width

The wider a reel mower, the faster it can mow more extensive lawns. However, with purely hand-operated models, a little more effort is required. If there are some narrow passages in the garden, for example, between rocks, trees, or bushes, the cutting width of the mower should be reconsidered. You wouldn't want a mower that can't reach some spaces because of its width.

Adjustable cutting height and desired grass height

All models we have reviewed and listed above are flexible. But the length range changes depending on the model and make.

How many cutting blades do you need?

The majority of manual reel mowers come with 4-5 blades. Although some models offer more, up to 7-8, they're usually for larger areas that need quick mowing. The more blades your mower has, the better cutting quality you should get out of it. But it also means you're going to have more blades to sharpen when they go blunt.

Best reel mower with bagger

If you're a regular mower, let's say you mow your garden weekly or bi-weekly, you may simply leave the grass cuttings on the ground as mulch. This returns the important nutritions grass contains right back to the soil, contributing to your grass' health.

If you mow your garden when they get really long, consider buying a reel mower with a grass bag. These bags, or as some calls them, grass catchers, collect the grass clippings so you can easily dump them later.

To see the models that come with a bag or can be extended with a catcher, use the comparison filter tool we made above.


Reel mowers are the lightest mower type out there, weighing much less than their gas and electric counterparts. The weight of a reel mower is between 15 to 25 pounds. Some models with more blades could weight a bit more. The material used to make the mower also plays a big role here.

Use the weight filter above to find the lightest reel mowers above.

Are reel mowers hard to push?

A well-maintained reel mower isn't hard to push, control, and maneuver.

You should remember that any type of motor doesn't power these models. Hence they're entirely manual and powered by you!

Keep the moving parts oiled, your blades sharp, and your garden well maintained, and you won't get fatigued while pushing your reel mower.