How hard is it to push a reel mower?


This is one of the most common questions with a reel mower. Some people have memories of trying to push a 50 year old, rusted mower, and they want to know if modern reel mowers are easy to push.

As much as I’d love to say a simple “Yes, of course!” in response to this question, it’s a little bit more complicated than that, and requires a longer answer.

A push reel mower is not hard to push under the right circumstances. If you have a lawn that has more grass than weeds and you mow it every week, then you’ll have an easy time with a reel mower, and it will be easy to push.

Compared to other mowers, reel mowers are lightweights. A non-self propelled gas mower is heavy. It will weigh anywhere from 70 to 90 pounds, and you have to push all of that weight around the yard while breathing in fumes and wincing at the earsplitting noise.

A manual reel mower, on the other hand, weighs from 17 to 35 pounds. So although it takes a little bit more effort to make the blades cut the grass, the mower itself is significantly lighter, so the effort involved is pretty much a wash.

Okay, it’s sounding pretty easy. What’s the catch?

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  1. “So although it takes a little bit more effort to make the blades cut the grass”

    Can you please explain what you mean by this?


    • @Shari, By this we mean unlike a standard gas powered mower where the motor is turning the blade and on some models the wheels too, you are the motor on a reel mower. So, when you push the mower you are not only pushing the mower you are pushing the mower that turns the wheels, that turns the reel (blades). Typically, unless you are cutting grass which is over grown, pushing a reel mower is the same as pushing a gas mower, when you consider a gas mower weighs 70 to 80 pounds or more and a reel mower weighs between 18 to 40 pounds depending on the model.

  2. I have a self propelled gas mower what about the electric reel mowers?
    I have about 6-7000 ‘ of Bermuda and I keep it about 3/4 to 1 inch high.
    I also mow it every 5 days so it is somewhat of a breeze.

    • @Coined, Most electric reel mowers have roughly 40 minutes of battery life which is also affected by the thickness of the grass and the height. Your lawn is fairly small so a manual reel mower should not be too much trouble for your lawn.

  3. Funny… Despite the cast iron of my 1913 Pennsy, I find it pushes through anything just fine, and pretty easy too! Just thinking, though… You’d be hard, HARD pressed to find a 80-90 lb mower, t,hat isn’t running on 50 years old or so… My Ideal weighs around 500!

  4. I have a lawn that is several different grasses, one of which is sedge grass (or crab grass). It’s like cutting thin rope every week, and the yard is full of pot holes which trip up my momentum badly. I also have forearm tendonitis from years of doing massage therapy, and I cuss up a blue steak when I am brought up short on a pass, then have to get it going again. I use a cheap thing from Sears; in spite of all this, as a middle-aged woman, I say it’s still worth it to use a reel mower.

    Here’s a suggestion for taking all the benefits to the next level: weed “whacking” by hand is also quiet and uses no fossil fuels. It requires time and elbow grease. I have also simply gotten over the fussy need for an artificially manicured lawn, and let the edges of the lawn grow up against my pretty white fence. Whodda thunk?