Pros And Cons Of Manual Lawn Mowers

Tempted to buy a manual lawn mower?


I’ve made it easy to know whether this mower is the right choice for you with my comprehensive list of manual law mower pros and cons.

✅Key Takeaways:

  • The advantages of manual lawn mowers are that they’re the most affordable mower type, they’re not restricted by a cord, they don’t make a loud noise, and they’re easy to transport and store away between uses.
  • The disadvantages of manual reel mowers are that they require more pushing effort, they don’t offer a precise cut on bumpy or uneven terrain, they’re not great at mowing long grass, and their cylinder blades need more maintenance than rotary mowers.

Table of Contents

✔️ Manual Lawn Mower Pros

Here’s a list of the top manual reel mower pros compared to other mowers:


💰 They’re The Most Affordable Mower Type

The biggest benefit of a manual lawn mower, in my opinion, is cost.


Manual reel mowers are the most affordable mower type. The average cost of a push mower is £40-£70 – that’s about £20 cheaper than the lower-cost electric mowers and at least £150 cheaper than gas-powered mowers.


If your budget is small or you can’t justify spending over £100 on lawn maintenance machinery, a manual push mower is a great option to consider.


Plus, the running cost of a reel lawn mower is low because this mower type doesn’t use electricity or petrol, and it requires less maintenance than electric or gas-powered motors.

🔌 They’re Not Restricted By A Cord

Another big benefit of a manual reel lawn mower is that it doesn’t come with a power cable, so you can take it as far away from your house as necessary without the restriction of a cord.


Reel mowers are push-powered, so they don’t need electricity to run. That means you can take a manual mower to a garden across the road from your house or to an allotment without worrying about connecting the mower to a power supply.


Quick Specs:

  • Brand: Bosch

  • Price: £

  • Power source: Manual

  • Cutting width: 38cm

  • Cutting height: 15 – 43mm

  • Weight: 6.9 kilograms

  • Grass box capacity: 25 litres

  • Dimensions (DxWxH): 54 x 49 x 38cm

🎧 They Run Silently

Using a reel mower is a virtually silent task – something can’t be said for most other mowers.


Manual reel mowers don’t have a motor, so they don’t create noise pollution when they’re in operation.

You won’t sustain hearing damage from using a manual push mower, and you don’t have to wear ear protection.


More importantly, you won’t disturb your neighbours, regardless of when you plan to mow, which makes reel mowers the ideal mower type for small lawns with neighbours in close proximity.

🏁 They’re Easy To Start Up And Use

Manual reel mowers require virtually no setup. Simply take the mower out of storage, put it in a corner of your lawn, and start mowing.


There are no starter cords to pull, batteries to charge, or electric cables to plug in. That means you can get your job started faster without having to faff around for 10 minutes beforehand.


Using a manual reel mower is easy, too. Although the mower requires more pushing effort, you can’t really go wrong with operation.


Anyone – even someone who has never used a lawn mower before – should feel comfortable enough to use a push mower. There are no electric parts to worry about and no petrol engine to keep an eye on.

🧰 They’re Low-Maintenance

Unlike gas-powered mowers, manual reel mowers don’t need fuel or oil to run. And, unlike cordless mowers, they don’t have a battery that needs to be charged after every mow.


Plus, reel mowers have a pretty simplistic design and don’t use electric parts, which means there are fewer components that could break and require repairs or replacements.


The only maintenance required for a manual mower is sharpening the blades, a job that’s only required twice yearly at most.

🏡 They’re Easy To Store Away And Transport

Most reel mowers are designed for a small lawn, so they’re small, slim, compact, and lightweight.


That means a manual reel mower can be easily stored in a small shed or outhouse when it’s not in use, without taking up the horizontal space that an electric or petrol mower would.


The compact, lightweight design of a manual reel mower also means it’s the ideal candidate for taking with you to mow a family member’s garden or an allotment.


Manual push mowers are small enough to fit in the boot of your car and light enough to carry back and forth to your intended mowing location.

✂️ They Offer A Cleaner Cut

A manual push mower is a cylinder mower, meaning that it uses multiple vertically-spinning blades that pull grass into the mower, where the cutter bar snips it.


Think of this like the cutting action of a pair of scissors: it allows for a neat, complete cut, rather than the inferior “smashing” action of a horizontally-spinning rotary blade.


Using a manual reel mower means you can achieve a neater, cleaner cut than you would with a conventional rotary electric mower.

You’ll also maintain better grass health – the key to a green, thriving lawn with no bald patches – because the clean cut of the cylinder blades will reduce the likelihood of stress and disease in the grass blades.

setting, cylinder, mower, blade, cut,

♻️ They’re Good For The Environment

Push reel mowers produce zero emissions because they don’t use electricity or release gases into the air when they’re in operation.


So, if you want to do your bit for the environment and reduce your carbon footprint, a manual reel mower is the best type of mower you can buy.


With a reel mower, you can mow happily in the knowledge that you’re not bringing down your local air quality or scaring off your neighbourhood’s wildlife with a roaring engine.

❌ Manual Reel Mower Cons

Here are the setbacks of manual reel mowers that you should be aware of:


💪 They Require More Pushing Effort

A push reel mower might be more lightweight and nimble due to its lack of a heavy motor or electric parts, but this mower requires more pushing effort than other mower types.


When you push a manual mower, you’re not only driving the wheels to roll and propel the mower along your lawn – you’re also powering the blades to spin.


On an electric mower or a petrol (gas-powered) mower, the motor or engine drives the blades to spin, powered by electricity or fuel.


Manual reel mowers, on the other hand, don’t use any of these power sources. Instead, they rely solely on your pushing power to spin the blades. That means you’ll be met with more resistance when you push the mower along your lawn, and it’ll be more of an arm workout.


This could be a positive thing if you like the idea of getting in some good exercise while you do your gardening duties, but it’s not ideal if you just want the fastest and easiest way to get your mowing chores done as soon as possible.

lawn, lawnmower, green-1812944.jpg

🏞 They Don’t Work Well On Bumpy Terrain

Another setback of the manual push mower performance is that it doesn’t work well on uneven or bumpy terrain.


This is largely because of the mower’s lightweight design. It’s likely to bounce over bumps and dips in your lawn because it’s not weighted down by a motor, so you may end up with an uneven cut, or patches of grass that have been neglected.


A reel mower can be used on inclines, but keep in mind that the physical effort of pushing a human-powered mower up and down hills will tire you out quickly.


For this reason, I only recommend manual push mowers for even lawns with few bumps or hills.

📏 They’re Not Good At Cutting Long Or Thick Grass

As well as struggling on bumpy terrain, a manual push mower will prove largely unsuccessful if used to mow long or thick grass.


Because of the human pushing effort required for mowing, reel mowers aren’t as powerful as electric rotary mowers or petrol mowers. The blades don’t spin as quickly, and they might get stuck or tangled in long, rough grass.


You’ll also have to put more effort into mowing your lawn with a reel mower if your grass is particularly long or thick. Since mowing manually already requires more physical exertion, you’ll only make your job even more of a workout if you attempt to cut long grass.


Because of this, most manufacturers recommend using a manual reel lawn mower to cut grass that’s around 6 centimetres tall, maximum, and not trying to use the mower to cut grass that’s any taller than 10 centimetres.

multched, lawn, cutting, grass,

📆 They Require More Frequent Mowing

Because a manual push mower struggles to cut long grass, you’ll need to mow your lawn more frequently to prevent your grass from growing too long between cuts.


That means mowing your lawn at least once per week during the height of the grass-growing season (late spring to early autumn).


If you leave it too long between mowing sessions, your grass might grow to a height that tangles and catches in your mower’s blades, making mowing much more arduous.


Unless you have a backup rotary mower to whip out when you forget to mow your lawn manually, you’ll need to keep an eye on your grass and mow according to its growing habits, rather than your own schedule.

📦 Their Grass Catchers Are Awkward

Unlike gas or electric mowers, manual reel mowers don’t have a large grass box or bag. Instead, they have a smaller grass catcher with an open top that catches grass clippings as you mow.


The problem with this type of grass collector is that it isn’t very efficient. While other mower types suck the grass clippings under the mower deck and into a closed box or bag, reel mowers send a spray of cut grass out of the back of the mower, which is then caught by the grass catcher.


Grass catchers have smaller capacities than conventional mower grass boxes, and they won’t catch all the grass. So, you’ll probably have to go around picking up grass blades from your lawn after you’ve finished mowing. Not ideal if you want to mow as efficiently as possible.


Not all manual reel mowers come with a grass catcher, although most models give you the option to buy a separate attachable grass catcher as an add-on.


If you prefer the convenience of catching grass (albeit not all of it) as you mow, make sure to check that a manual mower has a grass catcher before you spend your money.

manual, lawn, mower, grass, collector, box,

💳 Are Manual Lawn Mowers Worth It?

So, now you know what’s good and what’s not so good about owning a manual lawn mower – is it worth your money?


I think that yes, manual mowers are worth it for people who are specifically looking for an affordable lawn mower that’s good for the environment, isn’t tethered by a cord, and gives the opportunity to keep fit while mowing your lawn.


However, it all comes down to your personal preferences. I recommend comparing manual lawn mowers to electric mowers and weighing up the pros and cons of both. Manual reel mowers aren’t suitable for all people or situations, so don’t get tempted by the opportunity to save money if your main priority is to have the easiest mowing experience possible.