How to Use a Reel Mower to Mow Your Grass


Operating a push reel mower requires using proper body mechanics. Push reel mowers are manually operated and require the same amount of physical ability that a large non-self propelled mower does. Push reel mower blades spin and clip the grass with a scissor like motion. Powered push mowers rip and tear grass as they cut. The benefit of clipping versus tearing grass is that the grass has a chance to seal, which holds in moisture. Push reel mowers are environmental friendly because they do not produce exhaust fumes or create loud noises.

Operating a Push Reel Mower

Step 1

Grasp the handle of the push reel mower. Use your body weight to lean into the mower slightly. Keep your elbows close to your sides and your wrists straight. Start pushing slowly and gradually build momentum.

Step 2

Push the mower with a steady-fast pace. Walking at a quick, steady pace prevents the mower from becoming bound and sliding.

Step 3

Adjust the mowing height of the push reel mower according to the type of grass you are cutting. The average recommended height is 1 ½ inches to 2 ½ inches.

Adjusting the Height of Push Reel Mower Blades

Step 1

Loosen the adjustment nuts located on both ends of the roller shaft and remove them. Place the bolt through the plastic roller brackets hole at the desired height. Replace the nuts and tighten them.

Step 2

Check the reel to make sure it is not stopped by the cutter bar. Reel adjustments are found at both ends of the cutter bar. Adjust by turning the front screws to the left (counterclockwise) and rear screws to the right (clockwise) to tighten them. Make very slight adjustments to the cutter bar. Turn the front and rear screws equally to ensure an even adjustment.

Step 3

Turn the mower upside down. Check to make sure that the blades are cutting evenly. Place a long strip of newspaper between the reel and cutter bar and turn the reel. The blades should slice the newspaper evenly for the entire length. If the cuts are uneven, adjust the appropriate side of the blades to even the cut.

Tips and Warnings

  • Mow early in the morning to keep yourself and your lawn healthy. Mow once per week to avoid having to mow tall grass. Cutting the grass too low will cause it to die; leaving the grass too high will make cutting difficult. It may take several mowings to gauge the appropriate blade height for your lawn.

Things You'll Need

  • Push reel mower
  • 1 sheet of newspaper


  • Clean Air Gardening: Reel Mower Guide
  • Bob Vila: Adjusting Reel Mowers
  • Push Mowers 101: Push Mower Care
Keywords: push reel mower, operate push reel mower, manual mower

About this Author

Currently residing in Myrtle Beach, SC, Tammy Curry began writing agricultural and frugal living articles in 2004. Her articles have appeared in the Mid-Atlantic Farm Chronicle and Country Family Magazine. Ms. Curry has also written SEO articles for She holds an associate's degree in science from Jefferson College of Health Sciences.