Best Reel Mower for Your Lawn

Reel mowers are gaining in popularity, especially among lawn enthusiasts who are particular about the quality of their turf. With various brands and models available in the market, choosing the right reel mower can be a daunting task. This guide aims to provide you with insights into some of the top brands and what to consider when making your choice.

Popular Brands of Reel Mowers

California Trimmer

  • Pros: Great for beginners, easy to operate and maintain. The Honda engine is highly recommended over the Briggs and Stratton. Excellent for smaller lawns around 3500-5000 sq ft.
  • Cons: May leave wheel marks, and the bagger may not be effective for low cutting. Some users have reported issues with build quality.

Toro and John Deere

  • Pros: These are higher-end reel mowers that offer excellent cut quality. They are often recommended for those who are willing to invest in serious lawn care.
  • Cons: These mowers may require more frequent sand leveling and are generally more expensive. Not recommended for beginners due to their complexity.

McLane

  • Pros: A good starter reel mower, especially if you can find a used one. McLane mowers are often recommended for those who are new to reel mowing.
  • Cons: May not perform as well on uneven or bumpy lawns compared to higher-end models.

Rolux

  • Pros: Newly launched in the U.S., Rolux mowers are gaining popularity for their greens-type approach and excellent reel to bed knife adjustment.
  • Cons: Currently, availability may be an issue as they are often sold out.

Revolution

  • Pros: The Revolution 26 offers powerful performance with its Honda GX160 5hp engine. The ergonomic handle grips and independent drive control make it user-friendly. It can cut as low as 0.25 inches, ideal for a perfectly manicured lawn.
  • Cons: At $2,799.99, it’s pricey for residential users. The 195lb weight with the grass catcher can make it hard to maneuver for some.

Scotts Pro and Earthwise

  • Pros: The only option under $500 to reel mow. They can also be converted to electric with a bit of DIY.
  • Cons: Manual reel mowers involve more labor and the cut isn’t as good as the other options at higher price points.

Factors to Consider

Engine Type

The type of engine can make a significant difference in your mowing experience. Honda engines are generally more reliable and efficient compared to Briggs and Stratton.

Blade Count

The number of blades can affect the quality of the cut. For lawns that you intend to keep under 1/4″, a 10-blade reel is recommended. For higher cuts, a 7-blade reel should suffice.

Front Roller

The type of front roller—smooth or grooved—can impact the mower’s performance, especially when making turns. A grooved roller is generally better for lawns with lots of turns.

Budget and Resale Value

If you’re new to reel mowing, you might not want to invest in a high-end model right away. Brands like California Trimmer offer good resale value, allowing you to upgrade later.

Lawn Size and Terrain

The size and condition of your lawn can also dictate the type of reel mower you should get. Higher-end models like Toro and John Deere are more suited for larger, well-maintained lawns.

Availability and Support

Check if there are authorized dealers in your area who can offer after-sales support, including free demos and machine setup.

Customer Service

We reached out to most major reel manufacturers (Allet, California Trimmer, Fiskars, McLane, Reel Rollers, Rolux, Swardman, Toro) to test their customer service responsiveness. 4 days later, only 3 brands replied to us. These brands were:

  • California Trimmer
  • Allet
  • Rolux

Conclusion

Choosing the right reel mower involves considering various factors, including your lawn’s size, your level of experience, and your budget. Whether you’re a beginner looking to dip your toes into the world of reel mowing or a seasoned pro wanting to upgrade, there’s a reel mower out there that’s perfect for you.

BudgetRecommendation
<$250Scotts Pro or Earthwise
$250-600Used McLane
$600-1000Used California Trimmer
$1000-2000New Rolux, used John Deere or used Toro
$2000+New Rolux or Revolution

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