Review of the Scott’s Classic 20 Inch Reel (Manual) Lawn Mower

I use a manual lawn mower (or reel mower) to mow my lawn. I live in a subdivision of about 130 homes; I have not yet seen any other reel mowers in my neighborhood. Regardless, it’s interesting to try out and evaluate this type of mower.

It used to take about 30 minutes to mow my .25 acre lot with a gas powered mower. Comparable to taking a 30 minute walk. Generally, the same amount of exercise either way. With my reel mower, it is only 5 more minutes to mow, but much more upper body involvement. It’s important to get it to a certain speed as the momentum helps cut the grass evenly. However, to get it to that speed and maintain that speed, the chest and arm muscles will come into play.

I don’t have a grass catcher but feel it’s important to get one that fits on the back of my Scott’s Classic 20 inch mower. The grass clippings add valuable nitrogen to the soil so it’s not crucial that I regularly catch the grass although it’s nice to have that option.

From what I have read regarding the reel mower reviews, mowing with this type of mower is easier on the grass as it doesn’t “pull” the grass like the gas powered mowers and clips the grass at a given angle.

This mower by Scott’s is a relatively new model. Most modern reel lawn mowers are easier to use than the older models. In addition to being easier to handle, are more maneuverable as they use plastics and alloys as part of their framework.

This mower does produce just a little noise as the blades revolve in a clockwise fashion but the noise level is very low compared to a typical gas powered lawn mower or weed trimmer. At least I’m able to listen to music or podcasts as I mow, except when nearby neighbors are mowing with their gas mowers at the same time.

It’s true, with a reel mower, you have to remove larger sticks or large leaves from the grass – otherwise, the circular blades will stop and you will too. In addition, when you mow at a steep incline, the mower may stop as part of the blade catches close to the turf. To avoid this, either cut it at a different angle or have a certain amount of speed and momentum to help mitigate your mower from stopping or slowing you down.

One thing I noticed about the manual mower is that you can’t let your lawn grow too long without mowing. If you let your lawn grow to a height of 5 or 6 inches, mowing with this type of mower will require a lot more work than you can imagine. Unlike a motorized mower, you really need to mow your lawn a day or two before you think it needs it. That way, it will mitigate the amount of work required to complete the job.

I certainly don’t have to worry about gas or oil for my push mower, although I have to lubricate the blades every so often as they “dry out” and may squeak as you begin to push the mower. I have a motorized weed trimmer in my garage that I haven’t used in over a year and have manual hand clippers too. In order to help meet my goal of reducing my carbon and noise footprint, I will attempt to use the manual clippers as much as I can. Years ago, before gas powered trimmers, I used manual clippers when trimming around trees or border areas so I’m already comfortable with that tool.

Today, I mowed the lawn during our wet spring, which meant I had to deal with wet grass and mud. As a result, I had to hose off the mower to remove the grass and mud, which was washed back into the soil. I was pleasantly surprised on how easy it was to clean this mower – much easier than cleaning a gas powered mower.

As I mentioend earlier, my yard is not too large so many consumers with a similar yard might want to consider the reel lawn mowers. Many urban dwellers with small lots are attracted to a reel mower for convenience and ease of use.

Yes, the reel mowers work best with smaller lawns that are flat, but you can get them to work with a yard that has a little incline. It just might take a little more pushing and a steady hand.

According to an online report, reel lawn mowers appeal to different types of people: environmentalists, thrifty individuals, health oriented people, and haters of machine-maintenance. More often than not, it’s probably accurate to place me in all four categories. It just seems to fit me and my yard situation.

One other advantage I found with this mower is that I’m not limited as to when I mow the lawn. With a gas powered mower, to stay in good with your neighbors, there’s a general period when you can and can’t mow the lawn. With the reel lawn mower, there’s virtually no noise. Therefore, if the mood strikes you, mowing on Saturday morning at 7 am is perfectly acceptable.

Kevin Schwarm

I have over 25 years of professional experience in business, information technology (IT), and customer service. Industry experience in retail, medical insurance, higher education, non-profit, financial services, and property and casualty insurance. Customer focused professional interested in providing value (save time, money and aggravation) by evaluating and analyzing information, services and products with a unique perspective.

5 Responses

  1. Kevin Schwarm says:

    After using this mower for about one year, I'd like to add one more tip. To keep your lawn looking good and evenly cut, I've started to mow both ways — especially in my backyard once every 4 weeks or so.

    Yes, it's more work but the lawn looks nice with an even cut. If you do this once a month or so, that should help your lawn look its best.