Recommended Reel Mowers to Buy

So are you convinced that you should be using a reel mower too? I hope so!

I live in Dallas, and have a St. Augustine grass lawn, one of the most challenging grass types for reel mowers. Right now I’m using a Mascot reel mower, which I am very happy with. The Mascot is a very heavy mower, which makes it hard to pick up. But it’s actually much easier to push through a thick, tough grass like St Augustine. It does not require a huge amount of effort to mow with. My wife is able to mow with it with no problems when I’m out of town. I’m going to try the Fiskars mower soon to see how it does, as my St Augustine grass starts to thicken up as the weather warms. I’ll be sure to update when I do.

So which push reel lawnmower should you buy?

The truth is that there’s not a single “best” reel mower that excels for every situation. Different mowers have different strengths and weaknesses.

You have to consider your type of grass (or area of the country), and the features that are important to you, and choose based on that.

I’ve narrowed things down to the four models that cover all of the various lawn scenarios, and that are also the four best reel mowers in general, in my opinion.

I sell reel mowers for a living because I work for Clean Air Gardening. I’ve been doing this since 1998, so I’ve dealt with thousands and thousands of people, and gotten their feedback. We have a 60 day money back guarantee, so we have to take the mowers back if someone doesn’t like them. That gives me an incentive to sell something that is actually going to work, so that it doesn’t get returned.

So here are the mowers for sale that you can shop for online or in local stores that I recommend, with a short explanation of why you might consider each model.

Brill Razorcut 38

The Brill Razorcut 38 is an excellent German-made push reel mower.

It weighs only 17 pounds, but is ultra durable, and features a silent cut design. This mower works well on a large variety of grasses – however, it is not recommended for thicker grasses such as Bermuda, St. Augustine, and Zoysia. With thicker grasses like those three, the light weight tends turns from a huge advantage into a big disadvantage. Overall, this is an phenomenal reel mower. Its superior construction and design make it an ideal choice. I wish I could use this on my own lawn, but I have St Augustine and cannot.

If you are in the northern half of the country, the Brill Razorcut 38 (or the similar-but-smaller Razorcut 33) is likely to be your best choice for a reel mower.

Mascot 18 Inch 6 Bladed Reel Lawnmower


The Mascot 18 inch 6 Bladed Reel Mower is a tough, sturdy push reel mower. It’s heavier than most push mowers (it weighs in around 42 pounds), yet it is still easy to use. The added weight to this real mower actually has a positive effect, as it allows you to easily push through thick grasses such as Zoysia, St. Augustine, and Bermuda. The Mascot mower has a silent cut design, which means the reel blade barely makes contact with the cutter bar. Its cutting range is adjustable, from half an inch, all the way up to two and three quarter inches.

So if you’re in Florida or Texas or the gulf coast area and you have St Augustine, Bermuda or Zoysia grass, this is a mower should you consider. If you’re in the northern half of the country, the extra weight of the mower might not provide much of an advantage for you.

This reel mower is built to last, and built to keep your lawn looking sharp. If you are familiar with the old Agri Fab reel mowers from years ago, I am pretty sure this mower is a duplicate of that design.

There’s also a cool backstory about this mower. It is made in China, but an Amish company owns the design. They import them into Pennsylvania, where an American inspects and sharpens each one and adjusts it before the mower ships out to any customer.

Scotts Classic Reel Mower


The Scotts Classic Reel Mower has a large 20 inch cutting width. It’s a workhorse of a push reel mower. The cutting width of this mower, combined with extra back wheels for maneuverability, a cutting height ranging from 1 inch to 3 inches, and a reasonable weight of 30 pounds help make this mower a wonderful value for the money. It can knock out a wide variety of grasses, and is a good choice if you like to keep your grass on the tall side. It doesn’t have the build quality or elegance of a German made mower, but it gets the job done. It has been a best seller for more than a decade.

I used this mower on my own Bermuda lawn, and then a St Augustine lawn for several years until I recently switched to a Mascot reel mower. The Scotts Classic reel mower is a good mower for the money, in my opinion. It isn’t quite as easy to push through Bermuda or St Augustine as the Mascot (because it is a medium weight mower, probably), but it’s still reasonable. This is a good all around mower for someone who wants a wider cut, and the ability to cut higher, and it works all over the US.

Fiskars Momentum Reel Lawn Mower

The Fiskars Momentum Reel Lawn Mower is a brand new design, introduced in 2010. Unlike other push reel mowers, it throws the grass forward, instead of backward. It’s a pretty strange looking beast, and it’s a very heavy 53 pounds. Like the Mascot though, that makes it hard to pick up and carry, but not necessarily hard to push through the grass when you cut.

This mower ranges in cutting heights from 1″ to 4″ – the tallest cut of any reel mower out on the market. I can’t imagine anyone keeping their grass 4 inches tall, but I suppose you could if you wanted to. The Fiskars lawnmower features an 18 inch cutting width. A nice feature about this mower is also the chain and gearing feature, which is related to the way that the mower throws the grass in front of the mower instead of behind it. Fiskars says that this chain system delivers twice the energy of a normal reel mower. I’ll be testing this mower on my own thick St Augustine lawn soon, and will report back on how it does compared to the Mascot. Overall, the Fiskars Momentum looks like a durable, long lasting mower that will provide your lawn with a premium cut. The build quality is very nice on this mower.

Have a reel mower that you love? Leave a comment and tell me why you recommend it.

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  1. Hello again!

    I bit the bullet and got the Fiskars. It seems like a quality machine – not at all flimsy. Very sturdy. Not too heavy to move around and a little easier to push around than my old gas mower. Seems to do a good job cutting, though in a couple of sections I wanted to run back over at a right angle to the first pass. Most of all, the silence is golden! Thanx for your advice.

  2. Thanks Steve, I bought the Fiskars two weeks ago and love it. I have even got my neighbor using one. It is a lot easer to use than the gas mower manly because it does not take 10 minutes to get started. I have come across a weak point and that is the R-clip that holds the handle on. I have had one leave the mower while I was using it and it made for a near problem. The book that comes with the mower gives some good info on adjusting the mow height and putting it together, but lacks any real info on how to adjust the height of the handle (I just used the 3rd hole and ran with it). And I like the way it tosses the grass forward so my shoes are not covered with grass when I am done.

  3. A week or two ago I asked a question about the Fiskars and the Ellison/Husqvara Evolution mowers. Based on the feedback I received (and other reviews), I decided to go with the Fiskars momentum (I think it is now the StaySharp Max). Have cut my grass with it twice (and also had a chance to use an 40+ year old reel mower my parents bought that has sat in their basement for 40 years). Here are my general impressions.

    The mower is easy to put together. The clips attaching the handle to the mower leave a little more play than I would have liked, but it doesn’t cause any real problems. It is quiet and does do a good job on cutting grass and low weeds. Crabgrass and tall weeds like dandelions though are mostly left untouched (well, it will get crabgrass somewhat if I set it really low…). Pushing it is not too tough, and significantly easier than 40 year old mower my parents have (which is all metal and has Made in England stampled in large letters on the wheels).

    I do have one complaint however. I was worried about the small front wheels, but they have proved not to be a problem. It looks like most of the weight force is on the rear wheels (which makes sense). As a result the front wheels tend to skip small holes and hollows in the ground. I wish the rear wheels were a bit bigger however. I am not sure how big they are, maybe 6 inches — in any case, they have gotten stuck in a couple of ruts in my lawn. not a big deal really, but also something I suspect would not be a problem with some other other mowers.

    Still all in all, I really like the mower.

  4. I’m considering a reel mower for my trimming only.. I have a large yard that I mow with a rider, but I have many pine trees and other bushes that my rider can’t get close enough with. I was thinking about replacing my non working gas push mower with a new one.. but would a reel mower work for me?? Even better possibly? It needs no gas, no spark plugs.. (I like the sound of that!)
    By the way, I don’t want to invest in a gas powered trimmer. I have an arm that just can’t carry one of those heavy things around any more. I live in northern WI.

    • @Vikki, Unfortunately if you have pine needles, leaves, etc a reel mower is not your best choice unless you can rake each time before mowing.

  5. Does the Mascot reel mower come with a catcher. I don’t like grass clippings to get in my shoes and bring it inside my house. Thank you.

  6. Hello,
    I have a large backyard in Florida that is mostly covered in pine bark nuggets with some grass and weeds popping up randomly. Is there a push reel mower that could be adjusted high enough to cut the weeds and roll over the bark?

    • @Tallulah

      No. The bark would get stuck in the reel of any reel mower and constantly stop the blades from turning, leaving you frustrated and angry. Your yard would not be a good candidate for a reel mower, unfortunately.

  7. i need to buy a reel mower! here are some specifics, the fiskars is looking good, but with the rollers in the front it makes for more trimming later? so i’m looking for them small wheels to be in the back of the reel. also i have rough terrian (mole tracks) , currently i’m mowing with a 42″ rider set at the #4 position I want to say thats 4″, this height alows the mower to cut the grass (not the dirt) so i’m looking for a 4″ cut height? also allows me to pass over the rocks! next ? 18 or 20″ wide i don’t need a bagger or want one throwing the grass in front of the mower (to be mowed again?)! been trying to look on-line , with limited success and am getting brain over-load can someone help?

    • @virgil davis jr, The Fiskars mower is your best bet, however the Mascot is a great mower as well. If the cutting height is the most important than you will need to stick with the Fiskars.

  8. Hello,
    My gas mower has finaly bit the dust. I was planning on purchasing a Scotts Classic reel mower, but I do not know if a reel mower will work with my lawn. The ground is pretty rough and uneven. Will a reel mower work on a lawn that is less than perfect? Thank you…

    • @Chris, A reel mower works best with well kept lawns. The rough ground will not be as much a problem as weeds will be. Typically weeds grow taller than the grass and once its 6 to 8 inches the reel mower has a hard time cutting it. Also, if you lawn has leaves, twigs, etc in it then that will be a problem too.

  9. I live in Michigan and am thinking about buying a reel mower. My lawn is around 2000 sq. ft. and has kentucky bluegrass and fescue. There aren’t a lot of weeds, it’s pretty even terrain, but isn’t the greenest lawn on the block (I don’t water it). I’m trying to decide between the Scotts Classic and Husqvarna Evolution. My concerns are about the handle durability on the Scotts and the lack of reviews with the Husqvarna (only sold at Lowe’s). Is one of these mowers better for my lawn or should I just stick with my gas powered one?

    • @Josh, If you have lots of weeds then I would not recommend a reel mower. Typically weeds grow taller than the grass and the reel just pushes the tall weeds over and they are not able to get in between the reel and cutting bar. This causes a great deal of frustration for those who expect their reel mower to cut the weeds like their gas mowers.

  10. I recently bought an Ellison Evolution – mainly because it offered a 1-4″ cutting height and I prefer a higher cut to reduce need to water – here in the hot South.

    My yards are small (back 22′ circle – narrow fescue, front – largest side is 22′ wide and 17′ feet deep and Bermuda with some crabgrass) and my issue is that as soon as you slow down the cylinder stops spinning…resulting in having to make multiple passes. It seems the cylinder doesn’t spin fast enough to cut the occasional crabgrass blade. It also doesn’t spin properly for mowing in a circle…making me believe it takes both wheels to drive the cylinder.

    WHAT makes the cylinder spin even AFTER you stop pushing…like my 1901 Toro Roto Blade did? (<<bought at yard sale for $5 almost fifteen years ago with no maintenance, sat out in the sun in the South, and literally the wheels and platent bar fell off this Spring…or I would still be using). It was ideal for my small yard – heavy but it kept spinning/cutting right to the end of the grass and a turn.

    Do I need a heavier mower? more blades? different drive?
    HELP?!

    • @Cici, I am not too familiar with the Ellison Evolution reel mower, I would have suggested the Fiskars Momentum if you need a higher cutting height. It’s possible both wheels need to be turning and that is why it does not cut when turning. As for it not cutting when you slow down, as far as I know most reel mowers have this issue since the moving of the wheels is what propels the reel.

  11. just moved to a very small yard and left behind my big walk-behind. I am considering a reel mower. I’d like to leave my southeast Houston St Augustine a little long, so I’m considering the Fiskars momentum or the Scotts classic. I am thinking the fiskars looks like it won’t get into corners very well. I’ll have to edge along the fenceline and house with either one, but I have so many obstacles (fenceline, especially corners, raised bed gardens, air conditioner, shed) that I have to approach from one direction that I may be edging a lot more with the fiskars than if I got the Scotts. Am I wrong about its ability to get close from the front edge?

    • @slojim, Both will not get very close to edging much like a standard mower will not, I guess that is why string trimmers are so popular.

  12. I have a Yard Man 18-inch Silent Cut (forerunner to the Mascot by the looks of it; it has six blades and weighs about 40 pounds) that I bought in 1995. It’s done a decent job on northern lawns and now on our Bermuda in Oklahoma, although it sometimes bends grass rather than cutting it all the way. It might need adjustment (I’ll try that after reading up a bit today), but it’s been four or five years since we last had it sharpened. I’d be interested in a sharpening kit. Mascot has a sharpening kit that runs about $60; others are more like $20 (but with a lot less grit paste). Are the hand cranks pretty brand-specific, or not so much?

  13. I live in Alberta, Canada. My grass is a mix of Kentucky bluegrass and creeping red rescue. I’d like to get a Scotts 20, but I’m not sure it’s best for those grasses. What do you think?

  14. We haven’t had a reel mower, but are interested for myself and my daughter, primarily, and are hoping to avoid the pulling to start a regular mower. We have probably 80% fescue, and a little bluegrass, maybe more in the shady areas, and live in No. Virginia? We have about a .21 acre lot, with a small area with a few pine needles, and have sweet gum balls, and a good number of leaves here and there, but could rake first. We have fairly flat land, with a few holes. Love the quiet and the environmentally friendliness of a reel mower, but want something my husband will agree gives a good cut, as well. What would you suggest? and how long would it take to arrive?

  15. Hello, I am curious about the mascot and fiskars models, as I have St. Augustine grass. I have two plots of grass and would have to move the mower over a long concrete path to get between plots. I am petite and wouldn’t be able to carry it easily. Is it possible to push it over the concrete or would it be damaged?

    • @Emily, Yes, you can push any reel mower over concrete and it will not harm the mower. Both the Mascot reel mower and the Fiskars reel mower would be a great choice.

  16. I live in southern NM (Las Cruces) and am tired of my rotary mower causing the occasional “crop circle” scalping on my Santa Ana Bermuda grass lawn. I’m looking for a good reel mower which isn’t terribly hard to push and can handle the thick Santa Ana. Grassy yard in front and back isn’t too big, as it takes me no more than 30 minutes total to do both with an electric or gas rotary mower. I keep the grass length between 1.25 and 2 inches high…usually at the lower end if the heat doesn’t stress the grass too much. Any advice on the best choice for Santa Ana Bermuda? Based on what I’ve read here, the Scotts Classic and Mascot Silent Cut 18 may be best. Other thoughts? Thanks for the advice.

    • @Dave, A reel mower can be hard to push if you don’t mow regularly, but typically it’s not much harder than a standard push rotary mower with a motor. The Fiskars Momentum is another great mower you may want to consider. The Scotts classic is on the lower end and the Mascot and Fiskars are on the higher end.

  17. I live in South Florida and bought a Fiskars about 4 months ago. I was a bit apprehensive–I didn’t know if a manual reel mower would cut through thick St. Augustine grass (3 1/2″). I am extremely happy with this buy. It’s easier to push than a high-wheeled gas mower. Even my wife gave it a try and thought it was easy. It cuts great and doesn’t leave a pile of grass clippings on the lawn (throws everything forward). Even in tight places, a few back and forth pushes cuts everything (the blade spins fast). So, if you’re in Florida, tired of spending money on gas and having it sit in your garage, and tired of fixing a rusted-out gas mower, this is for you.

  18. I have had a Scotts 20″ Classic for the past couple of years. Love mowing with it even on my bumpy, weedy back lawn. Bought it used and had it sharpened and it’s been great except for one thing…

    My issue has been that it cuts uneven. The left side of the mower cuts, but the right doesn’t seem to so I have a strip of long grass in between passes. I have to mow my lawn lengthwise and then widthwise to get all the grass cut. I know that I’ll never get power-mower grooming from it, but it should at least use the whole blade.

    I’ve tried adjusting the blades, but then the left side is too tight and a bugger to push. Not sure what the previous owner may have done to it, but I’m at the point now that I’m considering splurging on a Fiskars to see if that solves the issue.

    Any thoughts?

    • @Meggie

      The manufacturing tolerances of the Scotts Classic aren’t always as precise as some of the other brands of mowers. It’s either your reel or the cutter bar that isn’t perfectly straight, which is causing that issue you describe.

      The Fiskars does not tend to have that issue, so I think it would probably solve that problem for you.

      The other option might be to buy a sharpening kit and grind down the side that is too tight until you have it mowing straight again.

      Just to be clear, this issue doesn’t affect all Scotts Classic reel mowers. But when I do see it, it’s usually either a manufacturing tolerance issue, or an issue where someone has sharpened it badly in the past and made it so uneven that you can’t get it lined up anymore.

  19. Thanks lars. I’m betting it’s the previous life it had before me. No idea what it may have gone through. Definitely not handy enough to tackle correcting it myself, but it’s nice to have confirmation of my suspicions before I spend $200 on a new one. (Provided my husband doesn’t flip his lid…)

  20. I’ve wanted to make the switch to a reel mower for some time, but my uneven, steeply-sloped, weed-ridden lawn in Ohio was not the place to test it out. I now live in SC with a small, fairly-flat yard. The lawn is in a bit of disarray (as the house was a foreclosure and not well maintained), but I plan to till and put down some Zenith Zoysia sod.

    Since my gas-powered mower was recently stolen, I’m now definitely ready to make the switch, but I’m having a reel hard time (haha—see what I did there) deciding which mower to choose. I’ve narrowed it down to the Scotts 20 in. Classic, Mascot Silent Cut 18, or the Fiskars 17 in. StaySharp.

    I didn’t see much discussion/review (here) on this Fiskars model, but assume it is similar in performance to the 18 in. model you recommended several times above. So my question is, is the longevity (and perhaps superior performance with this grass type) enough to justify the higher cost of the Mascot, or will the Fiskars or Scotts provide ample performance with Zoysia lawns?

    Thank you very much for all of the info and input!

  21. We live in Central California at the end of a cul-de-sac with a pie-shaped lot… very wide back yard… and recently took out our back lawn, opting for a more drought-tolerant landscaping: raised garden beds, flagstone paths, native plants. We reduced the grassy area to less than 800 sq. ft. We put in California Native Bentgrass, as we understood we could just ‘let it go,’ with little or no watering and no cutting, making for a natural, though shaggy, look. The literature for the grass makes it clear that you should make the decision early on as to cutting. We decided against the cutting and opted for the ‘natural’ look. It loves our climate and has thrived with virtually no watering. We over-estimated our tolerance for the wild look, however, and now we believe we’d like to start cutting it, but at the highest height possible. Over the past several weeks, I’ve used a gas line trimmer to slowly bring the height down…making sure I don’t cut more than a third of the length at a time. It’s a hearty (hardy?) grass and seems not to have suffered from this surgery. It’s almost down to the length where I can start using a reel mower. Does it sound like a candidate for a Fiskars? Are there retailers in this part of the country, Salinas-Monterey? Thanks for any advice.

    • The Fiskars is available at a lot of big box places, I believe.

      It would be a good choice since it has a very tall 4 inch maximum height. Other reel mowers don’t typically cut higher than 3 inches, and even that is pretty rare.

  22. I am considering the Mascot 21” for my ~1/2 acre yard. I know this is on the large scale of yard sizes when considering a reel mower, but I love the concept of a gas/electric free mower. I am usually drawn to old fashion devices anyway; I even listen to music on a 1922 wind-up Victrola.

    I am in the Western PA region. My yard is mostly level, with ~¼ having a slight slope. It consists of ~75% fine fescue and 10% clover (I care about the bees and bunnies), with the rest being a mix of bluegrass and rye.

    Would the Mascot 21 be a good choice for me? I’ve read some reviews that say the 21” is nearly impossible to push, and that you should buy the Mascot 18”. Does the extra 3 inches really make that much difference, or are they near equal in resistance? I currently use an 18” push gas mower, and can finish the yard (front and back) in ~40-50 passes.

    I feel like a reel mower can turn a chore into a hobby, but I don’t want to kill myself trying to cut the grass.

    Thanks!

  23. Hi, I recently decided and purchased a Scott’s Classic 20″ reel mower to replace a 23 year old rotary mower. Have really enjoyed the quiet time, however, after using it for a month I’m uncertain if I made a poor choice. For the most part it’s easy enough to push. The main problem that I’ve noticed from the beginning is that if it hits a patch of denser growth the reel locks up and skips over the section or at best creates mini horizontal cuts that look as if I carefully took a pair of scissors and cut little strips 1/2-1″ wide parallel to the reel blades. At first I bought it was random and still is to an extent, but now I’m noticing it more regularly and believe it’s the denser growth. The patch it has difficulty cutting isn’t necessarily the thickest part of the lawn either. It even happens when going from a barren area under a citrus tree to the grass that’s receiving part sun. I’ve checked for debris caught between the reel and cutting bar and that has not been the issue either. Adjusting the height doesn’t have any affect on performance, nor does the frequency between cutting. Even cutting every 3 days doesn’t eliminate or reduce the issue. I don’t know if I chose the wrong reel mower or the wrong type of mower altogether. I live in Az and have Bermuda in the front and buffalo grass in the backyard. No problems with the buffalo grass so far. Just the Bermuda which has an eccentric wavy striped cut. Any suggestions?

    • @Holly

      Thick bermuda grass in sunny southern states is one of the hardest situations for a reel mower to deal with. I think maybe your grass is just too much for that Scotts Classic mower.

      You would probably have better luck with one of the 7 bladed mower models (American Lawnmower, which makes the Scotts Classic, also has a 7 bladed model), or the Mascot 6 bladed mower. If you go with the Mascot, the 18 inch would probably be easier to get through such a thick grass.

      But it’s going to be a challenge period with really thick bermuda.

  24. Do any of the reel mower models mentioned above(or any others that were not) produce quality stripe patterns? For example linear or checkerboard when cut in the directions to do so. I live in Kentucky, so I would be mowing mostly a mixture of Kentucky bluegrass and fescue.