Best Manual Push Mowers

The scissoring action of a manual push mower is unique to these mowers. It's great for the health of your grass, as it cleanly cuts as opposed to a gas mower, which uses blunt force to cut grass, and I find them strangely satisfying to use.

 

The best manual push mowers are:

  • Scotts Ultra Cut
  • Fiskars Stay sharp

Who's Edwin Budding?

The reel mower was invented by Edwin Budding in 1830, and has remained pretty similar to the original design, just shows you can't improve on perfection. Well, cast Iron is pretty heavy so, I guess there was some room for improvement.

 

Today we have lighter materials and thanks to mass production, you can pick one up for the price of a tank of gas, but are they any good? Well, yes some are, if your cutting under a 1/4 acre yard. But if your yard is larger, or very hilly, you'll need something with more oomph.

 

Gas, Electric or Push

I know most of you have already made up your mind, you want a manual push mower, but for anyone on the fence, lets take a look at some of the factors, that maybe you haven't considered yet.

 

Gas Powered - After you buy it, you've got to maintain it, buy gas, oil and don't forget a dry garage to store it over the winter months. If it's an expensive mower you really should think about insuring it.

 

Electric Mowers are fine but then there's the stupid cord to wrestle, while your already wrestling the mower. What about battery powered mowers? Yes, they're good, as long as you remembered to plug in the charger, and you'll really need two batteries because one usually isn't enough, and they aren't cheap.

 

Manual Push Mower - Before purchasing a manual push mower, consider your physical ability, while it's not any more stressful than a good stretch of the leg, it will require constant physical exertion. Consider also the time, it won't be as fast as a gas or electric mower. A manual push mower isn't going to be practical for a large yard or tall grass.

 

What Makes a Great Push Mower

Manual mowers are simple and that's good, but there are a few key components that make a good manual mower a great manual mower. The manual push mowers reviewed here have most of these features.

 

Where ever you choose to buy your mower, be sure to check for these features or you will likely be disappointed in its performance.

 

Some of the pictures on this page link to Amazon.com where you can check price and delivery of productsWe are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

 

Wheels

Strong wheels with good tires are very important.


Manual mower wheels

Quality Wheels

This is essential for traction, as it's the wheels that make the reel spin, if your wheels don't grip the ground, you won't cut grass. If the grass is in any way moist, cheap plastic wheels may slip and make cutting your lawn unnecessarily difficult.

 

Adjustable Cutting Height

At different times during the year you may desire different grass lengths. An adjustable cutting height will allow you to choose the desired cut. (Standard 2 inches) More settings are better, obviously, and toll-less adjustment is the Duesenberg.

 

A Soft Hand Grip

Using a reel mower can be very physical, so it's essential that the hand grip is comfortable, if it's not, your hands may blister and you will tire easily.

 

Comfort

Because your pushing and pulling constantly, your hands need to comfortable.


Manual push mower handlebars

Blades

Four blades are standard, but five blade reels are better. When to sharpen the blade will vary depending on your make of mower, the general rule is annually. If your kind to your mower, and by kind I mean, you don't make it eat stones, it could remain sharp for years. 

 

Lightweight

A heavy manual push mower will make cutting the grass extremely labour intensive. And too light, will mean the wheels won't grip the turf. Ensuring the manual push mower is the right weight will decrease work load and increase enjoyment dramatically.

 

Width

The width of your manual push mower is important as it determines the weight and time spent cutting. A wider mower will obviously be heavier, but will cut more grass in less time than a narrow mower. 

 

Adjustable Handle

Most won't have adjustable, if your very tall, you may need to consider an adjustable length handlebar.

 

 

 

Collector

A collector is sometimes available as an option, but traditional users just allow the fine clippings to mulch into the lawn. The clippings are so fine they literally disappear. The two mowers reviewed here are not fitted with a collector.

 

Are They Hard to Use?

No, easy to use, you do need to be in good health, but you don't need to be marathon fit. If you can walk briskly, you can use a manual mower. Some people enjoy cutting the grass while also getting in some exercise.

 

Personally I like them, I find the noise therapeutic, it's got that nice slicing sound, very satisfying to use.

 

Grass Type

Long or thick grass can be difficult to cut with a manual mower, Bermuda grass for example is extremely tough cutting. So check what type grass you have before purchasing a manual push mower.

 

And you'll have to be disciplined and cut regularly, because if you let the grass get too long unlike a gas mower a Reel mower won't cut it.

 

Scotts manual push mower

Scotts the company was formed in 1868 by O.M. Scott, they traded as a seed company for the U.S. agricultural industry and later focused on lawn seed for the home owner. You could say, they know grass.

 

Scotts 515-18S Ultra Cut has an easy push design, not unlike the Fiskers they have eliminated reel bar contact. This reduces resistance, and that makes it easier to push.

 

The Ultra cut is an 18" reel with five blades, and weighs 36 lbs. This is a premium mower. The quality in materials and workmanship is evident especially if you compare it to cheaper models.

 

This is a mower you'll have for years, it's likely it'll become a family heirloom.

Front Throw

Its got a front throwing chute and shield over the reel. Throwing the grass out front allows the mower to cut those clippings again, giving you a very fine mulch which disappear into the lawn.

 

Its got a nine position height adjustment from 1" to 3" which is more than enough height options for any user. Show off!

Blade Reel

The Reel does all the heavy work. The blades and bearings collectively are known as the Reel. But the Reel won't cut without the Bed-knife. The Bed knife is a flat piece of steel which is positioned very close to the five blade reel. The grass is corralled by the reel and directed at the bed-knife for clipping.

 

Scotts Reel and Bed knife are made from tempered alloy steel and together with top quality bearings keep the reel spinning smoothly and quietly.

Rear rollers are fitted, which flatten the grass and give you that really professional looking strip lines.

 

Wheels

Top quality wheels and tires ensure good traction which converts into reel speed.

 

Grip

Top Shelf wheels and tires.


Reel mower blades

Handlebars

The handlebars are a unique v shape, allowing for easy manoeuvring in tight spaces. The v shape allows room for your body as you pull the mower towards you, clever.

 

The grip is soft padded and extends across the handlebars giving you lots of grip position choice. It looks pretty durable, but I wouldn't let my dog chew on it.

 

Easy Push

Contact-less Reel.


Manual push mower

Assembly

Like all the mowers, some self assembly is needed, but it won't challenge you.The handlebars are nicely made and assembly is made simple with tool less thumbscrews.

 

Warranty

 The Ultra Cut comes with a 1 year warranty.

 

Rollers

For the pro striped lawn look.


Reel mower
Scotts manual push mower

To Sum Up

This is my choice, I like quality tools and that's what this is. I think if you take care of this mower you'll have it for many trouble-free years. Design, materials and workmanship are all top shelf. I want one! You can check out the Scotts here on Amazon.

 

Fiskars manual push mower

Fiskars the company was formed in 1649 in Fiskars, Finland. The original company made its living as an Iron works, and today it's a global supplier of consumer products.

 

The Fiskars 17" Mower with StaySharp system uses precision ground cutting blades that don't touch, this reduces friction, wear and maintenance. 

 

Reinvented

Fiskars have taken the manual push mower and made it their own. Like the Scotts the grass is thrown out the front, the operator is shielded by the reel cover. Its got four wheels which is great for stability, but a little clumsy in tight spaces.

 

It's well designed and made, no doubt, but it isn't up to the Scotts standard. The wheels feel a little cheap.

Easy Push

Fiskars is fitted with a non contact blade which as you know makes it easier to push. The marketing material states their mower is 40% easier to push and delivers 75% more power to the reel. I don't even know how you'd measure that.

 

As an option, a grass catcher is available for this model, that will of course make it harder to push.

 

Soft Grip

Like the Scotts the handlebars are nice in the hand.


Reel mower

Weight

This thing isn't light at 41lbs it's heavier than the Scotts reel mower, but it's on four wheels so you don't really notice the extra weight.  Height adjustment is like a regular mower, the pull of a lever, 1.5" to 3.5" simple! but you won't cut grass taller than four inches.

 

All Grass Types

Fiskars claim this push mower will cut all types of heavy, thick grass even St. Augustine, Bermuda, Zoysia and Bahia. So if your in the southern states, the Fiskers is better fit for these tougher varieties.

Heavy Grass

Good at handling southeren heavy grass.


Reel mower blades

Assembly

Like all the mowers, some self assembly is needed. More assembly on this than the Scotts but you won't need the manual.

 

Warranty

The Fiskars comes with a 2 year warranty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Self Assembly

It's not difficult, maybe 10 minutes work.


Mower in a box
Mower spec layout

To Sum Up

This is a good mower, and if I didn't have the Scotts to compare it to, I'd say we have a winner. I don't see this mower still in service in 15 or 20 years time, I just don't get that from it.

 

On the up side, it's better able to handle tough grass, more stable on its wheels, better warranty and easier to push. So if you can live with it not lasting as long as the Scotts, it's a perfectly fine mower and you can check the price of the Fiskars here on Amazon.

 

Manual Push Mower Safety

These tools are sharp and would have your fingers off in a heartbeat, so respect is advised. If you need to work on the blade then lift the mower off the ground so the wheels are free from contact or lock the wheels from moving.

 

These tools are pretty safe, but if you have small children, I would advise storing the mower out of reach. Unlike a gas mower, the manual mower is just as dangerous when not in use.  

 

Lawnmowerfixed.com work shop

Mower Maintenance

The manual push mower is a very smart buy for those with a small garden. A spray of wd40 before every use will ensure you blade stays sharp and the wheels roll easily.

 

A dull blade tears the foliage and causes damage and disease, evident by a yellowing of the grass.

 

Sharpening

Most reel mowers will only need bed knife adjustment every year and blade sharpening only every few years.

 

Winterising

To winterise your push mower, give it a good clean, use a clean paint brush and compressed air if you have it. I don't like to use a power hose or a hose pipe, causes rust in bearings and other hard to see places.

 

A good spray all over with wd40 will protect it over the winter months. Store under cover and out of the weather, preferably indoors over the winter. Now you have a head start on the new season.

 

 

Related Questions

What is the best reel mower for Bermuda grass? The Fiskars manual push mower has a non contact reel and stay sharp technology both will make it easier to cut tough Bermuda grass.

Auto Technician and Writer at | Website

John Cunningham is an Automotive Technician and writer on Lawnmowerfixed.com. I've been a mechanic for over twenty years, I use my knowledge and experience to write "How to" articles that help fellow gear-heads with all aspects of mechanical repairs, from lawn mowers to classic cars.