Reel deal

The Reel deal

Are reel mowers the ‘reel’ deal? We look at Rotary vs Reel mowers

Most of us use a standard rotary lawn mower. One with spinning blades rotating on a vertical axis under a cutting deck, that can be adjusted up or down depending on the height we need to cut our lawn.

Rotary mowers

reel - Rotary     

Rotary mowers have a cutting deck with rotating blades on a singular vertical pivot point. This style of mower cuts your lawn with fast rotating blades, usually with 2 but sometimes more. The blades chop at the grass as they rotate. These mowers will work best on a medium to high cut.

But this isn’t the only way to cut your lawn. The alternative cutting mechanism is a reel-based system which has blades that cut your grass on a horizontal axis.

There are two main types of reel mowers. There are push reel mowers, which require a little extra grunt work. They are manually driven by human force only, without any additional form of power for propulsion.

Push Reel Mower

Reel - Push

Push reel mowers, push forced cutting blades on a horizontal axis. Reel mowers generally have somewhere between five and twelve exposed blades at the front of the mower. These rotate around trapping and slicing the grass against a fixed bottom plate, much like a pair of scissors. The more blades there are, the better the cut. This cutting action works best on a low or short cut and will not be able to cut long grass. This will mean more frequent mowing. It may mean as many as 2-3 times a week during the growing season to ensure a good clean cut.

There is also battery or petrol-powered reel mowers, more commonly known as a cylinder mower.

Cylinder Mower

Reel - Cylinder Reel - Cylinder closeup

Cylinder mowers have a similar set up when it comes to the cutting mechanism. The difference is that the reel itself is powered by a petrol or battery powered motor.

Which one cuts your lawn the best?

Reel mowers, cylinder mowers in particular, will have a better quality of cut due to the slicing ‘scissor’ action. This action is superior to that of the chopping action of a rotary mower, when comparing both with sharp well-maintained blades.

That said, a rotary mower with sharp blades and decent power produces a cut most people would be happy with. The versatility rotary mowers have over large lawns with more debris will generally make them more practical for most homeowners. If you are someone who enjoys mowing and a loves having well-manicured lawn, a cylinder mower is for you.

Related articles

Sharpen or replace your mower blades 

For information on caring for your lawn visit our Lawn Care Page.

Specials and offers

Join our mailing list for great specials and top turf tips

  • Turfco did an amazing job at my place and now I want to repeat it!

    - Reece, Hyams Beach

  • Joe, Scott and the team did a great job yesterday and despite having all four seasons during the afternoon, we smashed the turf laying records and got the job done.

    - Jeff, Kangaroo Valley

  • Thank you for a quick and professional job at our school.

    - Mark, Warilla High School

  • Hi Marcus , just to let you know that the boys and yourself are a credit to your company. Their work ethics are second to none. Thank you.

    - Mark, Lake Conjola

  • Thank you so much for your professionalism and attention to detail with the supply and installation of our Sir Walter at our newly built house. It has totally transformed the look of our home and has provided the finishing touch it so desperately needed.

    - Tim McGoldrick, South Nowra

  • Just a quick note to thank your guy for a great install - we had the perfect weather for laying (rained all day !!!) Looking a treat and I'll be in touch for more just as soon as this lot is established.

    - Michael, Tallong

  • Product arrived with good grass growth and a nice root mass. Please pass on my thanks to your team.

    - John, Jim's Mowing, Kiama

  • Jed and his buddy are wonderful. You guys are a real credit to Turfco.

    - Robyn, Greenwell Point

  • Thanks very much for the photos!  The area is looking excellent - a huge improvement on the original !!  I appreciate all your team's efforts and hopefully we'll be able to successfully maintain the turf until it is well established!

    - Lile, Keiraville

  • Just like to say a big thanks to Marcus Josh and Jed, all very professional, courteous with nothing being a problem, a job well done and another happy customer,will not hesitate to recommend you guys.

    - Kevin and Florence Handford, Port Kembla

  • Just wanted to thank you for the great product excellent service and the most professional experience we have had so far with our renovation. Josh and Joe were fantastic. Please feel free to use us as a referee to other potential clients, they won't regret it.

    - Victoria & Gary, Illawarra

  • These guys were awesome! Nothing was too much to ask, Thanks guys

    - Susan, Tapitallee

  • Thank you for your help in the installation of our new turf – I am really happy with it and amazed at what a difference it has made to the backyard. Your company made everything so very easy, I will certainly be recommending you. If ever I need turf laid again Turfco will be the first company I turn to.

    - Margarethe, Shellharbour

  • Nathan, Josh and Brendon were a delight to deal with and did a fantastic job.

    - Patrick, Illawong

  • Thank you Marcus & Joe for such excellent customer service. Marcus gave us good advice on what turf to use and had no problems coming to offer his advice a second time to help us keep to our budget. Joe and his team were polite, friendly and efficient and did a terrific job on our very large backyard. It looks amazing. We've mowed it twice now and it looks like it has been there forever.

    - Berry

  • Just a quick message to say a big thank you to the driver who delivered the Turf on Saturday. He placed the turf in positions that made it easier for our guys to lay the turf. Thanks again.

    - Ann, Surf Beach

  • Our lawn is looking great, I'm really happy with it; I never thought I would be a lawn person but turns out I am!

    - Mick, West Wollongong

  • I would just like to thank you and particularly Jed and Jamie who worked their butts off today, and have done a fantastic job turfing our front lawn.   Your whole operation is totally professional and  we could not be more pleased with the end result.   Thanks again.

    - Tony & Kay, Sutherland

  • Thanks Marcus! I have to say you and your team are one of the most professional trades I have come across and the lawn looks great! 

    - Belinda, Greenhills Beach

  • I just want to thank yourself and Marcus for everything and to the guys that did the job, they were fantastic and did a great job.

    - Melinda, Renwick

  • Hi Marcus & Jed, thanks again for your work, we really love our lawn!

    - Gary, Berry

  • The boys who laid the lawn were AWESOME . .. very polite , worked hard and more than helpful with instructions for care.

    - Bronwyn, Vincentia

  • The new lawn looks great! Thank you very much the boys did a top job.

    - Matt, Wollongong

  • We were very very happy with the service we received, everyone we were involved with were courteous, polite and professional. Would definitely use your company again in the future.

    - Karen, Mt Pleasant

  • Thank you for the great job your guy did on Wednesday. I recommend you guys to everyone. Thanks heaps!

    - Mick, Lake Heights

  • On behalf of our club I wish to pass onto yourself and Turfco are sincere thanks for your generosity with the recent supply of turf to Ray Robinson oval. This has assisted our club immensely with the upkeep and preseason preparation to our ground.  Again we say thanks. We appreciate your support. 

    - Fernhill Soccer Club

  • Fantastic , I bought it online Wednesday and it was delivered to my door on Friday, doesn't get any better than that. Thanks

    - Warwick, Goulburn

  • Both Marcus & Joe are very professional and know exactly what they are doing; their friendly personalities and workmanship makes them a credit to your company.

    - James, South Coast NSW