The Drawbacks of Reel Lawn Mowers

Reel lawn mowers are favored because they do not pollute the air with exhaust, consume gas or electricity or make a lot of noise. In addition, they provide a source of exercise while you're tackling a chore. Although reel lawn mowers are the most environmentally friendly option for mowing the lawn, they have some drawbacks.

Limited Size of Lawn

You cannot use reel lawn mowers on large lawns. You must push most of them manually. The largest width for manual-pushed varieties is 20 inches. Thus, the size of the lawn must be under a half acre or 6000 to 8000 square feet.

Increased Mowing Frequency

Because most reel mowers cannot cut overgrown lawns, the frequency of cutting the lawn is increased. Because the mower is running mostly on your ability to push, there is no extra power to get through tall, thick grass and the associated thatch. In addition, some reel mowers are not recommended for certain types of tough grass, such as St. Augustine, Zoysia and Bermuda. Since a reel mower cuts one-third of the grass blade, mow whenever your grass reaches 3 inches tall if you are maintaining a 2-inch lawn. If you do not mow at this frequency, you must raise the mowing blades and gradually lower them to get back to your desired height.

Inability to Mow Over Obstacles

A reel mower cannot handle small sticks like a typical gas-powered mower. You must clear the lawn of most sticks, rocks and other debris before mowing. Because of this, there is prep work you must do before each cut if your lawn has many trees. In addition, if your yard is bumpy, the typical reel mower doesn't work well because of lack of traction for the wheels.

Inability to Mow Close to Edges

Most reel mowers feature large tires on the outside edges. Thus, they cannot mow close to the edges of obstacles in your lawn, such as borders and sidewalks. For this reason, the lawn may require more trimming when you mow with a reel mower.

Keywords: reel mower, reel mower disadvantages, manual mower

About this Author

Carla Locke is based in Oberlin, Ohio, and has been writing since 1998. Her writing career began in technical writing and has expanded into Web content. Her education includes a Bachelor of Science in biology and an Associate of Applied Business in e-business technology.