Keep Your Reel Mower At Optimum Performance




Sun Joe Push Reel Lawn Mower With Catcher

Sun Joe Push Reel Lawn Mower With Catcher

Keeping a push reel mower at optimum performance will require the owner to do some minor maintenance. This includes sharpening the blades and lubricating areas.

Now that you may own a push reel mower or are considering in buying one, you need to be aware of what is expected of you.

These mowers operate on the power of the individual doing the pushing. You are supplying all the power to rotate the blades to cut the grass.

The mowers are excellent for the environment because they do not use any gas to put harmful fumes into the air. They are less noisy than their gas-powered models. So, you can cut the grass at any time to fit your schedule.

They require very little maintenance like no oil, gas, air filters, fuel filters and spark plugs to worry about.

These mowers do require some maintenance will be discussed as well as other topics and they include:

  • What Is A Push Reel Mower
  • Optimum Size Lawn
  • How To Use A Push Reel Mower
  • How To Sharpen The Blades

Push Reel Mower Maintenance

An advantage that these mowers have over other models is they have no cords, batteries or gas to have around. These mowers only have cutting blades. To keep your mower in top condition, there are some things you will need to do.

We mention them below:

  • Lubricate moving parts. This mower does have some moving parts and periodically they need to be lubricated. The owner’s manual will point out these areas to be lubricated and the type of lubricant to use.
  • Check the blades. This is the main part of the mower. If you should have run over a rock or other objects, this could damage or nick the blades. When checking for blade damage, make sure the mower remains stationary and rotate the reel checking for any blade damage. If you should see some nicks, they need to be addressed. You can take a flat file and file down the damaged area or areas of the blades. You can check the owner’s manual for the specifics. When using the file, make long perpendicular strokes to the blade until the raised material is removed enough that the wheel will turn freely against the cutting bar. If the blades are damaged beyond repair, you may have to replace the blade wheel with a new one. Check the owner’s manual for the correct part to order.
  • Some blade alignment may be required. The blades don’t need alignment often, but when they do, it can be challenging. If you notice the mower cutting the grass poorly or unevenly, you will need to check that the blades are correctly aligned with the cutter bar. Place the mower upside down and insert a piece of paper between the reel blades and the cutter bar. Turn and spin the wheel. If the paper is not cut evenly, adjustments are needed. Be sure to follow the instructions in the owner’s manual for the proper alignment or adjustments. The wrong adjustment can damage the mower. After you have completed the adjustments, take a piece of page and repeat if the paper is cut evenly. If it is, you are done. If not, make the necessary adjustments until the paper is cut evenly across the entire cutter bar.

How To Sharpen The Blades

Over time, just like the other models, you will need to sharpen the blades as some time. This is standard maintenance 101. For optimal performance of the mower, it is recommended to sharpen the blades after 25 hours of use.

Note: You can purchase a blade sharpening kit from your local mower shop or garden center. Check the owner’s manual for the kit type or the grit sharpening paste to get. You will need a small brush to place the paste on the blades.

Below are the steps to sharpen the mower bladed.

  • Apply the paste. Now, apply the paste to the blade edges to sharpen the blades. You may need to adjust the cutter bar so it has slight contact with the reel blades.
  • Turn the reel. Now, rotate the reel according to the instructions in the owner’s manual. You may notice that the reel will be difficult to turn at first, and you may also hear the sound of the paste sharpening the blades.
  • Allow the paste to work. This process may take as long as 10 minutes to complete. When you notice the cutter bar appears to be polished and the reel is rotating easily (also by making less noise), you are done sharpening the blades. Wipe off the excess sharpening paste from all part of the mower.
  • Make the mower ready. Reinstall and assemble any removed parts as needed. You may also need to ensure that the blades alignment is properly adjusted. Refer to this step above.

Now that the blades are properly sharpened, you can be sure that the next time you use the mower it will cut the grass evenly and leave a nice cut.

Video: Sharpening The Mower Blades

Below is a good video showing you how to sharpen the push reel mower blades either manually or using a drill. Take a look!

This video shows the manual way and how to use a drill to sharpen the mower blades.

What Is A Push Reel Mower?

This is a manual mower that allows you to mow a lawn without using a battery, electric or gas-powered model mowers. These models may be referred to as rotary mowers.

The push reel mowers use rotating blades to cut the grass. They are also known as cylinder mowers because the blades are on a cylinder and when the operator pushes the mower it will rotate or spin the blades to cut the grass. This type of mower has a cutting bar which actually cuts the grass like a pair of scissors. This gives the grass a cleaner cut which in turn makes the grass less susceptible to diseases.

What Is the Optimum Size Lawn For These Mowers?

Not all home owners will be able to use these mowers. This mower is recommended for properties up to 8000 sq. feet or about 0.20 acres. Any lawn bigger than that will make using this type of mower very strenuous and challenging. It takes lots of energy to use this mower and this is especially true during the hot summer months. Using this mower takes longer to mow the lawn than the electric, battery or gas-powered models.

Using this type of mower if you should have any health issues or handicaps, will make mowing the lawn strenuous or even difficult.

Also, to keep the lawn at its optimum size, you may be using the mower more often as the grass is growing during the mowing season.

One more thing, this mower does not cut very well when the grass is tall. So, you must monitor the height of the grass during the mowing season in your area.

Here are some tips:

  • This mower works well on level terrain without any obstacles like trees, flower beds, or play structures.
  • The lawn may require more frequent mowing.
  • Since you are supplying all the power, make sure you are up for the exercise in operating it.
  • These mowers do require some maintenance to provide a good cut.
  • These mowers are also less expensive than the gas-powered models.
  • They produce very little noise, so you can mow at any time.

How To Use A Push Reel Mower

The biggest decision on these models is to bag or not to bag the grass clippings. It is best to not to bag them as they act as fertilizer for the lawn. Mowing during the hot hours of the day can be more challenging as you will exerting more energy.

Below are some steps to follow on how to use your push reel mower:

  • Step 1: Prepare the lawn. When you are using a push reel mower, it is important to prepare the lawn first. Clear away any debris such as rocks, sticks, twigs or leaves. Removing these items may require you to rake the area first. Remove tall weeds and dandelions. A push reel mower has difficulty in cutting dandelions.
  • Step 2: Adjust the mower. Before cutting the lawn, be sure to adjust the cutting height of the mower so that you only remove 1/3 of the grass blade. If you are using the bagger, be sure to make adjustments to collect the clippings.
  • Step 3: Start mowing. Begin by starting at one edge of the lawn and walk at a pace that is comfortable to you. Go back and forth across the lawn in parallel rows until you reach the opposite edge. When going back be sure to overlap the passes so no grass is missed. Vary the mowing pattern every time to mow as this avoids ruts in the lawn.
  • Step 4: The clippings. If you decide to bag the clippings, be aware that you must dispose of them according to your local ordinances. You can use them as compost for your garden if you have one. Otherwise, just leave them on the lawn to act as fertilizer as we mentioned before.
  • Step 5: Clean the mower. After you have finished mowing, be sure to clean any area or areas of the mower that may have clippings stuck to it. Do not use a hose to clean the mower. Store the mower in a clean dry area.


Owning a reel mower is not that bad. In fact, it’s good for the environment. No more worries of the mower not starting, running out of gas, cleaning or replacing the spark plug, changing the oil, and cleaning or replacing the air filter.

Be sure to watch for those obstacles on the lawn that can cause damage to the reel blades. Be sure to remove those obstacles before starting to mow.

As long as you remain healthy and have no handicap to hinder you from using this mower, you will get great exercise and have a nice looking lawn.

This type of mower is an excellent choice for small lawns under 8000 sq. feet.

Shop Reel Mower Blade Sharpening Supplies

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