Gardening Tools

Rotary Vs Reel Lawnmowers

Most of the lawn owners face confusion while choosing a reel or rotary mower. Do you also want to know the differences between these two options? You are on the right page.

Reel mowers use the horizontal shaft to spin its blades that makes the grass stand and cut like scissors. On the other hand, rotary mowers use high-speed impact blades rotating horizontally similar to a helicopter wing.

Rotary Vs Reel Lawnmowers

Rotary mowers use a small motor responsible for the blade’s movement and sometimes the mower as well (in case of self-propelled versions).

Rotary mowers are electric or gas propelled. Most of the reel mowers you will find will be either manual or electric.

Rotary Vs Reel Lawnmowers

Mowing height

A reel or cylinder mower is suitable for cutting grasses with a length up to one inch while rotary versions perform great on longer grasses.

A reel mower is only effective when the grass is dry and not too long. It cannot perform well on wet grass bed. Moreover, such a gardening tool struggles with passing over the rocks.

These are the reason reel mowers are great for areas that are mowed several times a week; something like a golf course. Such a mower is fruitful for you if you have a small and flat lawn that does not have much flower beds or decorative rocks.


Reel mowers follow a scissor-like movement to cut the lawn grasses and hence they need periodic sharpening; at least once every season.

Rotary mowers need the sharpening as well, but the process in these versions is comparatively easier. However, multiple self-propelled petrol rotary models need periodic maintenance that also needs spark plug and air filter replacement. Read more on self propelled lawns mowers top picks & buying guide on GM.


The rotary mowers work at a maximum RPM of 3, 000, while the push reel mowers have comparatively very low revolutions. The latter form of mowers can only cause an injury if you run while cutting the grasses.

However, none of the rotary mowers can cause any harm until and unless you get in contact with its spinning blade. So, none of the mowers could be a health hazard if you use them carefully.


Manual reel mowers are environmentally friendly because they don’t seek any fossil fuel to operate. On the other hand, rotary mowers either needs a battery, electric power or petrol to work.

In the first two options, they consume energy. The petrol versions consume petrol and also produce carbon to pollute the environment even further.

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