Best Manual Reel Mower for Bermuda Grass

Table by Vaushaun Brooks

Congrats on leaving the rotary ecosystem. Manual reel mowers are usually the next step in this addiction — I mean hobby. Cutting lower will bring your lawn immediate results in terms of health, thickness and aesthetics.

When it comes to manual mowers, the leaders are often the Scotts Pro and the Earthwise 16″. Most competitors aren’t 7 blades, but if you are open to 5 blades (you shouldn’t be), you should really go with the 20″ Scotts. However, 7 blades is going to give a better cut, so in our opinion, the best manual reel mowers are both 7 blade mowers.

According to Richard L. Duble, Turfgrass Specialist, Texas Cooperative Extension, bermudagrass 1 inch or higher can be mowed with 5 or 6 blades. Under 1 inch, 7 blades and if you’re going very short, 9 to 11 blades per reel are required for a smooth cut.

Grass TypeMowing HeightBlades Per Reel
Common bermudagrass1 inch or higher5 or 6
Common and hybrid bermudagrass½ to 1 inch7
Common and hybrid bermudagrassbelow ½ inch9 to 11

Scotts Pro (18 inch, 7 blade)

Earthwise was long regarded as the best manual mower but with new mods available from ReelCNC, the Scotts Pro can get a lower height of cut (HOC).

The Scotts Pro is $139 (click for Amazon) but can sometimes be found on Bed, Bath & Beyond with 25% off.

Optional Shopping List

Earthwise (16 inch, 7 blade)

The Earthwise has the lowest HOC out of the box. If you don’t plan on modifying your mower, then this is a great option. It also comes with a roller whereas with the Scotts, you have to add an aftermarket roller yourself.

The Earthwise can be purchased on Amazon for $129 here.

Both the Scotts and Earthwise can be converted to electric, which costs around $600 all-in.

Discounted Earthwise on Facebook Marketplace.
FeatureScottsEarthwise
Blade Count77
Reel Width18″16″
Weight27 pounds21.83 pounds
Minimum HOC (out of the box)1″0.375″
Minimum HOC (with mods)0.25″0.375″
Handle designErgonomic HandleY Handle
Rear wheelsWheelsRoller

Other Top Models

Rotary vs Reel Results

Reel mowers have numerous advantages over rotary, but some advantages are it can cut lower and it does better on bumpy lawns, making the lawn look smoother than it is. The results are instantly visible after the first cut.

Chase Vincent shared a before and after photo of his transition to a manual reel mower from rotary.

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