Reel Mower Basics


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Reel-type lawn mowers use blades on a revolving cylinder, called a reel, to cut grass. When the reel mower is pushed forward, the reel moves.

As the mower moves forward, the rotating blades come in sliding contact (or almost within contact if it is a silent cut design) with a stationary bar that is parallel to the ground. The stationary bar is called a bed knife. The grass is held up by the bed knife and is cut by the shearing action of the reel blades against the bed knife. The mower can be adjusted to various cutting heights.

Reel mowers can cut lawns shorter than rotary types because of their shearing action. That is why they are used on golf courses. The sheering action of reel mowers makes a cleaner cut than that of rotary mowers. Reel mowers also leave finer grass clippings than ordinary rotary mowers, but not quite as fine as mulching rotary mowers.

I am a firm believer in reel mowers. If you’d like more details about choosing and using one, please visit the comprehensive Reel Mower Guide site.