How Do Reel Lawn Mowers Work

Last Updated on October 12, 2023

No one enjoys a loud lawnmower engine, especially in the morning. We prefer birdsong instead. It’s obvious because there was a time when garden maintenance did not involve gas engines and electric motors.

Manual reel or push mowers were the only options in the initial days. Also known as cylinder mowers, such tools are easy to use. And how do reel lawn mowers work? All you need to do is push one of them from one point of the lawn to another, which will spin a cylinder of blades to cut the grasses. Let’s discuss this in detail.

How Do Reel Lawn Mowers Work?

Manual reel mowers are simple machines with some movable parts. These tools use your physical strength to move. Talking about the construction, a reel mower appears like a small cart with long handles. Most of the push mowers comprise two wheels attached with a single axle accompanied by a set of secondary wheels.

Manual lawn mower

Some of the models are available with a rear roller instead of wheels. The primary wheels are bigger and provide motion to spin the mower’s blades. While the rear roller or wheels works as a balance provider. The easiest way to understand the working of a reel lawn mower is to go through its flow.

A user applies physical force on the mower’s handlebars. This physical power moves the mower forward, which turns its axle. These turns also spin a pair of gears, wherein the outer gear has a larger diameter than the pinion gear. When the large gear transfers its torque to the smaller ones, the rotation force increases. It’s the primary reason why the blades of a reel mower rotate faster than the wheels.

A brush bar on the front of a reel mower bend long grasses and feeds them into the blades. However, these cylindrical knives are not responsible to cut the grasses. All the cuttings occur when the spinning knives meet a cutter bar, which is fitted in the rear of a reel mower. Imagine the cutting process of a pair of scissors. A manual mower follows the same technique to deal with the grasses.

Almost all the greens fall behind the mower, which you can collect using a rake. Some of the models are also available with a collection bag. You can also use the grass cuttings as mulch, which is one of the best organic fertilizers. Reel mowers working process is completely different from their rotary variants. The latter tears the grasses apart instead of cutting them, which exposes the plantation to multiple diseases.

Do you think a reel mower will fit your requirements? Then, let’s discuss how to use and maintain this lawn tool.

Using and maintaining a reel mower

reel-mowerReel lawn mowers are lightweight, easy to use and eco-friendly, but not a powerful or fast option in the world of gardening equipment. Hence, you should invest in such a tool only if you own a lawn equal to or smaller than 0.18 acres (743 square meters). Apart from that, make sure you are using the reel mower once every week in the growing seasons. Let the grasses grow too long and then you might not be able to cut them using a reel mower.

Maintaining a reel mower is also easy because you don’t have to deal with any oil changes or part replacements. With proper care, such a garden tool can last for a lifetime. So, what you need to do. Follow the four points.

  • Clean its blades regularly.
  • Do not allow the grass clippings to accumulate on the mower. Wash off if you notice excess dirt or green materials on its blades.
  • Never leave the mower under the open sky. Keep it in a shaded place safe from water or moisture.
  • You can sharpen the blades using a mower sharpening kit. However, avoid this step and consult an expert if you are a beginner.

Final talk

Now you know how a reel lawn mower works. Air pollution is a huge problem in today’s world. If you own a small yard, then it’s best to invest in a push mower. You can find some of the best reel mowers on Amazon. Plus, you can also find it at almost all the hardware stores.

Mustafizur Rahman

Hi there! I'm Mustafizur Rahman, a real dirt-under-the-nails gardener with over 09 years spent in nurseries. After flexing my green thumb for years, I decided to share my knowledge and love for gardening with everyone. That's how was born! Here, I put my City & Guilds Horticultural qualifications to good use, writing reliable guides and giving honest reviews of the best gardening tools and products. So, you can skip the research rabbit hole - I've done the digging for you!