How Does Reel Mowers Work ? Full Explanation

Reel mowers have been around for centuries, and they are still a popular choice for many homeowners today.

They are known for their durability, precision, and ability to cut grass cleanly and evenly. But how do reel mowers work?

Kindly read through to find out.

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What is Reel Mower?

A reel mower, also known as a cylinder mower, is a type of lawn mower that uses a series of blades arranged in a cylindrical shape to cut the grass.

Unlike traditional rotary mowers, which use a spinning blade to cut the grass, reel mowers have a scissor-like cutting action that results in a cleaner and more precise cut.

They are often preferred for their eco-friendly and quiet operation, making them a popular choice for those who want to maintain their lawns without the noise and emissions associated with gas-powered mowers.

Reel mowers are also valued for their ability to promote healthier grass growth by cutting the blades cleanly and evenly.

They are typically lightweight and easy to maneuver, making them suitable for small to medium-sized lawns.

Many people appreciate the simplicity and low maintenance of reel mowers, as they do not require gas or electricity to operate, making them an environmentally friendly option for lawn care.

What Are the Parts of a Reel Mower?

There are five main parts of a reel mower:

  • The reel: The rotating cylinder of blades.
  • The cutter bar: The fixed blade that the reel rotates against.
  • The wheels: The wheels that the mower rolls on.
  • The handle: The handle that the operator pushes the mower with.
  • The drive system: The mechanism that turns the reel.

How does a reel mower work?

The cutting action of a reel mower is similar to the cutting action of scissors. The blades of the reel pass over the cutter bar, and the grass is sheared off between the two.

This cutting action is more precise than the cutting action of a rotary mower, and it results in a cleaner, healthier cut.

How do I adjust the cutting height of a reel mower?

Adjusting the cutting height of a reel mower is a simple process that can make a big difference in the health and appearance of your lawn.

Most reel mowers have an adjustment lever or knob that allows you to raise or lower the cutting height. Typically, you’ll need to adjust each wheel individually to ensure an even cut across the entire lawn.

To adjust the cutting height, start by consulting the user manual for your specific reel mower model. This will provide detailed instructions on how to locate and use the adjustment mechanism. Once you’ve located it, simply raise or lower the cutting height as desired, making sure to keep it consistent across all wheels for an even cut.

Remember to regularly check and adjust the cutting height based on seasonal changes and grass growth. By maintaining the proper cutting height, you’ll help promote a healthy and well-groomed lawn.

Do reel mowers require any fuel or electricity?

No, reel mowers do not require any fuel or electricity to operate. They are powered by the pushing motion of the user, which spins the blades and cuts the grass.

This makes them an eco-friendly and cost-effective option for maintaining your lawn.

Reel mowers are a great choice for those looking to reduce their carbon footprint and enjoy a quiet, peaceful mowing experience.

They also provide a good workout as you push them along, making them a healthy and environmentally conscious choice for lawn care.

So if you’re looking for a low-maintenance, fuel-free way to keep your lawn looking neat and tidy, a reel mower could be the perfect solution for you.

Are reel mowers difficult to maintain?

Reel mowers are actually quite easy to maintain! They require minimal upkeep compared to gas-powered or electric mowers.

The most important maintenance task is sharpening the blades regularly to ensure a clean cut. This can be done with a simple sharpening kit and doesn’t take much time at all.

In addition, keeping the mower clean and free of debris will help it run smoothly and efficiently.

Regular oiling of the moving parts and checking for any loose screws or bolts will also help keep your reel mower in great condition.

Maintaining a reel mower is straightforward and can be easily incorporated into your regular lawn care routine.

What are the benefits of using a reel mower?

Using a reel mower has several benefits that make it a great choice for maintaining your lawn.

Firstly, reel mowers are eco-friendly and produce zero emissions, making them an environmentally conscious option.

They also provide a quieter and more peaceful mowing experience compared to gas-powered mowers, which is great for early morning or late evening lawn care.

Additionally, reel mowers give you a precise and clean cut, promoting healthier grass growth and reducing the risk of disease.

Their lightweight and maneuverable design also make them easy to handle, especially in smaller yards or tight spaces.

In all, using a reel mower can be a satisfying and sustainable way to keep your lawn looking its best while minimizing your environmental impact.

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Can reel mowers handle thick or overgrown grass?

Yes, reel mowers can handle thick or overgrown grass, but it may require more effort and frequent adjustments.

The cutting action of a reel mower is efficient for tall grass, but it may take several passes to achieve the desired result.

Additionally, you may need to adjust the cutting height and ensure that the blades are sharp to effectively tackle overgrown areas.

If you have a reel mower and need to tackle thick or overgrown grass, consider mowing more frequently to prevent it from getting out of hand.

This will make the task easier and ensure that your reel mower can maintain its effectiveness.

Are there different sizes of reel mowers available?

Yes, there are different sizes of reel mowers available to suit various lawn sizes and cutting needs.

Reel mowers come in a range of cutting widths, typically ranging from 14 inches to 20 inches or more.

Smaller reel mowers are ideal for smaller lawns or narrow spaces, while larger ones are better suited for larger areas and can help you cover more ground with each pass.

When choosing a reel mower size, consider the size of your lawn, the terrain, and any obstacles that may affect maneuverability.

It’s important to select a size that will allow you to efficiently mow your lawn without feeling too restricted by its width or weight.

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What are the Tips for Using Reel Mowers?

Here are a few tips for using reel mowers:

Keep the blades sharp: Sharpen the blades of your reel mower every two to four weeks.

Maintain the mower: Lubricate and adjust your reel mower according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Mow regularly: Mow your lawn regularly, especially during the growing season. This will help to prevent the grass from getting too long and it will also make it easier to cut.

Push the mower slowly: Do not push your reel mower too quickly. This will help to prevent scalping.

Use a light touch: Do not press down too hard on the handles of your reel mower. This will help to prevent the blades from digging into the ground.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I sharpen the blades of my reel mower?

You should sharpen the blades of your reel mower every two to four weeks.

How can I tell if the blades of my reel mower need to be sharpened?

You can tell if the blades of your reel mower need to be sharpened if they are dull or if they are not cutting the grass cleanly.

What type of oil should I use to lubricate my reel mower?

You should use a light weight oil, such as 30-weight motor oil, to lubricate your reel mower.


Reel mowers are a traditional and effective way to keep your lawn looking its best.

They offer a number of advantages over rotary mowers, including a cleaner cut, increased durability, and environmental friendliness.

However, they also require more manual effort and maintenance. If you are willing to put in the extra effort, a reel mower can be a great choice for your lawn care needs.



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