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Reel vs Rotary Lawn Mowers

Why the great debate? Certainly these two options can co-exist, right? Possibly. Some people are dogmatic about their choice of lawn mower and for very specific reasons, which they're usually happy to quote - ad nauseum.

I think both mowers can have a place in our gardening shed (that is if you can afford the expense) or at the very least be used at different times for our lawn maintenance. They both have different roles to play and so long as you can appreciate their differences then gardeners can respect both pieces of equipment.

Reel Mowers
rotary lawn mower blade
Reel mowers (or 'real' mowers, as some like to suggest) mow your lawn in a vertical rotation. They lift the blades up and then cut their tips and are best at keeping a perfect law looking perfect. With the roller on the back of the reel mower it can keep your grass flattened and level which always looks great.

However, reel mowers fail to level out the lawn. They will ride straight over bumps and can't cope with much debris in the way.

Rotary Mowers
rotary lawn mower blade
Rotary mowers mow in a horizontal rotation. The blade, positioned under the engine, is designed to cut the blades at a particular level determined by the operator. This is great when you're trying to reduce sponginess in the lawn or when you're attempting to level it.

However, while cutting at a set level is one of its strengths it can also be its downfall. For instance, if you're trying to mow around an edge of your garden and the border falls away into a garden bed you may find that the rotary mower can cut deeply into your grass. It doesn't allow for mistakes.

stuart robinson
  • Stuart Robinson
  • Busselton, Australia
  • Email Me

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