Reel mowers cut grass at a higher quality and give the grass a more even look than rotary mowers, according to Ohio State University. Since reel mowers do not cut tall grass very well, if your grass is taller than 4 inches, cut your lawn the first time with a rotary mower. Then, start to cut your grass with a reel push mower with a few things in mind.
Pick up stones and sticks from your lawn before you mow. Reel mowers do not go over these objects as well as rotary mowers can.
Remove clumps of grass and debris with a brush or rag before you mow with a reel push mower.
Mow at the lowest recommended setting for you grass variety, usually around 2 to 3 inches. With a reel push mower, you can safely mow at the 2-inch recommendation.
Mow frequently so that you are cutting no more than 1/3 of the grass at any one time. This is the same for both rotary and reel mowers since grass roots can stop growing if too much is cut off any one time. You also won't have to rake up the clippings since they are smaller and will quickly decompose.
Adjust the blades every year, using the gauge that came with your rotary push mower. Every mower is different, but in general, place the gauge in the space between the blades. Adjust the blades with a wrench (on the adjustment bolts on the side of each blade) so the blades are close, but not touching the gauge. Repeat for each space until all the blades are properly spaced.