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How to choose a reel mower?

Are you thinking of buying a reel mower to get the best results for your lawn? The first challenge will be getting acquainted with this type of mowers. There are practically no reviews on the Web but we decided to help you out and compile a comprehensive guide for you.

Swardman Edwin reel lawn mower

What are my options if I decide to go for a reel mower?

Before we get to the conclusion that a reel garden lawn mower is the best choice for the majority of households with average-size lawns and the wish to walk on a perfect striped or English lawn, let’s go through all the options. There are many, considering how neglected this type of a product is in hobby markets.

Manual reel mower

This is because they only offer manual reel mowers with two wheels. A lot of people might remember finding the kind of a manual push mower that moved the reel by being pushed, somewhere in their grandpa’s shed. It was hard work. This type of lawn mowers has been manufactured for about 180 years. The frame and design have developed slightly over time, even materials are better today, but you simply can’t do without manpower.

Advantages: Good shelf life, low purchase price between 100 and 200 € and minimum operating noise, which mostly the neighbours will appreciate.

Disadvantages: Manual drive, maximum working range of 50 cm, side wheels that make lines on the lawn and most of all, technical support of mower manufacturers close to zero as they are purely consumer goods for one or two seasons.

Conclusion: Manual reel lawn mowers are most suitable for small gardens around 50 m2.

A similar category are reel lawn mowers with accumulator or electric engine that helps rotate the reel but the drive is usually manpower dependent. These reel mowers are aimed for smaller lawns, usually up to 100 m2 but it depends on the user’s physical fitness, of course. Accumulator and electric reel mowers are priced between between 300 and 1200 €. The largest manufacturers include Gardena, Husqvarna, Allett and Stiga.

Advantages: Minimum operating noise, no engine maintenance issues.

Disadvantages: Relatively low power and working range, which means more time spent mowing, side wheels make lines on the lawn; inconvenient dragging of cables with the electric models and relatively low battery life with the accumulator ones.

Conclusion: Accumulator and electric reel lawn mowers are suitable for small gardens up to 100 m2.

The other extreme is represented by large reel mowers for golf greens that enable the most precise cut; however, the lawn must basically be mowed every day or every other day. They have robust frames and usually hydrostatic engines, which means the total machine width considerably exceeds the working range. The mowers are petrol with drive so you don’t need to push them, quite the contrary, you can often ride them. Moreover, they run on reels that create the stripe effect on the lawn. However, due to their robust nature, they are impractical for home use as they can’t get to the edges of paths and fences, they are simply made for golf greens and big open spaces.

The machine weight is usually above 100 kg and the prices start at 6000 €. The largest manufacturers include Jacobsen, Toro and John Deere.

Advantages: The best possible grass cut quality.

Disadvantages: They are not suitable for home use due to their size, high weight and purchase price as well as more complex maintenance.

Conclusion: If your garden is not 2,000 m2 or bigger, a large reel mower will be of no use to you.

Swardman Edwin reel lawn mower

And then there is a category in between all the above. It is referred to as reel garden lawn mowers or reel lawn mowers for home use. They are aimed for users who want premium products. Their structure is based on professional machines, yet they are considerably lighter and easier to operate. This means they have a drive, working range is between 35 and 55 cm, which makes them suitable for lawns from 100 m2 to 2,000 m2 – the majority of common gardens.

They have a solid basket, petrol engine, drive reels. Some manufacturers also offer a cartridge system that changes your mower into a verticutter, scarifier or a brush for sanding.

This category of reel lawn mowers was established in England 100 years ago and was the force behind the boom in home lawn mowing. The prices of the machines in this category range from 1,200 and 5,000 €. Their manufacturers include the Australian Masport, English Allett and, of course, Czech Swardman that approaches its lawn mowers with the aim to make mowing fun and the lawn a perfect sward.

Advantages: Precise grass cut, easy operation, fast mowing, complete lawn care by one machine thanks to removable cartridges.

Disadvantages: Unsuitable for very small and sloping gardens, which applies to the majority of reel mowers.

Conclusion: Ideal for most grassy areas from 100 m2 to 2,000 m2.

If you ask anyone who knows something about lawns, they will definitely recommend a reel mower. However, without practical experience, not many people can give advice on the model or brand. Therefore before you buy, it's best to talk to professionals who love beautiful lawns.

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