Reel Mower vs Rotary Mower: Which One is Right for You?

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If you own a lawn, you understand the importance of keeping it looking neat and tidy. A well-maintained lawn adds to the overall aesthetic appeal of your property and can boost its value. One of the most critical decisions you need to make is choosing the right type of lawnmower. When it comes to lawn mowers, you have two main choices: reel mowers and rotary mowers. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at both options to help you make an informed decision.

Reel Mower vs. Rotary Mower: An In-Depth Comparison

Overview of Reel Mowers

Reel mowers are the traditional hand-push style mowers with a rotating reel and horizontal blades that cut the grass as you push it. These mowers rely on your strength to push the blades through the grass. They are typically smaller and more lightweight than rotary mowers. Reel mowers are eco-friendly and do not emit pollutants or require electricity or gas to function.

Overview of Rotary Mowers

Rotary mowers, on the other hand, feature vertical blades that rotate at high speeds to cut the grass. They are available in different sizes and styles, including gas-powered, corded electric, and cordless electric models. Some rotary mowers are self-propelled and feature bags to collect the grass clippings.

The Pros and Cons of Reel Mowers


  • Environmentally-friendly: Reel mowers do not require gas or electricity, making them a clean and green option for cutting your lawn.
  • Quiet operation: Reel mowers are silent, making them a great option if you live in a noise-sensitive area or want to mow early in the morning without disturbing your neighbors.
  • Cheaper to operate: Apart from the initial purchase cost, reel mowers do not require fuel or maintenance, saving you money in the long run.


  • Less effective on tall grass: Reel mowers have difficulty cutting tall or thick grass due to the design of their blades. You may need to mow your lawn more frequently if you opt for a reel mower.
  • Requires more effort: Pushing a reel mower requires more physical effort due to the design. You may get a workout while mowing your lawn, but the process may take longer and be more tiring.

The Pros and Cons of Rotary Mowers


  • Works on tall grass: Rotary mowers are more efficient at cutting tall grass and can handle thicker grass than reel mowers.
  • Requires less effort: The rotating blades do most of the work, making it much easier to mow your lawn. Self-propelled models make mowing even easier.
  • Faster mowing time: Rotary mowers can cut grass quickly due to their design and power.


  • More expensive to operate: Rotary mowers require fuel or electricity to function, making them more expensive to operate over time.
  • Loud operation: Rotary mowers can be noisy and may not be suitable for early morning or late night mowing.
  • Less eco-friendly: Since rotary mowers require fuel or electricity to run, they contribute to pollution and are not as eco-friendly as reel mowers.

Concluding Thoughts on Reel Mower vs. Rotary Mower

Choosing the right type of lawn mower depends on your budget, lawn size, and personal preferences. If you have a small lawn and want to reduce your carbon footprint, a reel mower may be the best option for you. However, if you have a large lawn or need to cut thick grass, a rotary mower may be the more practical choice. It ultimately boils down to your individual needs and preferences.

FAQs About Reel Mower vs. Rotary Mower

1. What type of lawn is best suited for reel mowers?

Reel mowers are best suited for small lawns that have consistently short grass. They are not as effective on longer or thicker grass.

2. Can you adjust the cutting height on a reel mower?

Most reel mowers have adjustable cutting heights. Consult the manufacturer’s manual to learn how to adjust the height.

3. Are rotary mowers environmentally-friendly?

Rotary mowers are less environmentally-friendly than reel mowers since they require fuel or electricity to function.

4. How often should you sharpen the blades on a reel mower?

You should sharpen the blades on a reel mower after every 10-12 mows or at the beginning of the mowing season.

5. Which type of lawn mower is better for the environment?

Reel mowers are more eco-friendly since they do not use fuel or electricity and are silent during operation.

In conclusion, choosing the right type of lawn mower entails understanding your lawn’s size, grass type, and personal preferences. Both reel mowers and rotary mowers have their advantages and disadvantages, which you need to weigh before making a decision. By using the information provided in this article, you’ll be able to choose the lawn mower that best suits your needs.


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