Lawn Mower Lane is reader-supported. If you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission (learn more).

Stand up Mowing Choices
and How to Choose the Right One

In my adult life I’ve owned many different lawnmowers and they’ve each had different virtues that seemed appropriate at the time. While they’re not as popular as they used to be there’s still something to be said for the old-fashioned push reel manual mower apart from just the nostalgia aspect. If you prefer something with a mechanical assist there are all kinds of different mechanical push mowers and self-propelled mowers to choose from as well.

It might seem easy to say that the self-propelled lawn mower must be the best option, but it really depends on what your priorities are. If you’re not willing to put in the extra effort that’s required when you go with a push reel lawnmower, you’re definitely better off with either a self-propelled mower or a mechanical push mower. But if you don’t mind putting a little muscle into your lawn mowing chores then you may want to consider the manual push reel mower. In this article we take a look at the benefits of each type of lawnmower.

Manual Push Reel Mowers

If you’re seriously considering purchasing an old-fashioned manual push reel mower then it’s important that you realize what you’re getting yourself into before you run out and make that purchase. The great thing about these mowers is that you don’t require any outside source of power whether it be gasoline, an electric cord, or a battery – this mower is propelled solely by your own work ethic.

The most obvious benefit of one of these push reel mowers is that you don’t have to run to the local gas station every couple of cuts to fill up your gas can. You simply pull it out of the garage, or shed, and off you go. For this reason it’s also got an advantage over electric or battery powered mowers as well, as these still require an outside source of energy which does cost you extra money – either way you have to pay for the hydro that powers the mower.

The other benefit of a manual push reel mower that might not be quite so obvious is that it doesn’t have any mechanical parts, which means it’s a lot less likely to break down. These mowers are normally comprised of two wheels located on either end of a rotating turbine style blade that cuts as it rotates. Other than that there is a simple handle that you use to push the mower – that’s it. If properly maintained one of these mowers should easily last you 20 years. You will have to sharpen the blades from time to time and you will have to keep them clean and free of moisture to prevent rust, but these are things that you would also have to do with other types of mowers.

What you probably won’t like about manual push reel mowers is that they require a lot of physical effort to accomplish the same thing. You don’t have the mechanical assist of a gasoline, electric, or battery-powered mower, which means cutting your lawn can be an exhausting process. If you have any kind of physical limitations or you’re simply not willing to put that kind of effort into it, you should avoid this type of lawnmower.

Mechanical Push Mowers

There are all kinds of different mechanical push mowers including gasoline-powered mowers, battery-powered mowers, and electric mowers, but they all have one thing in common – they use some type of engine to make cutting through your grass a simpler process. This makes cutting your lawn a lot less physically demanding as it would be with the manual push reel mower we talked about above, but as we’ve already mentioned it does require a power source and that will cost you a little bit of money either in the form of gasoline or from the use of your hydro.

As is the case with manual push reel mowers, you will still have to push this mower yourself and provide a lot of the work. Yes, the blades are powered by an engine which makes cutting through to the grass easier, but it’s not effortless by any means. You do still have to put a little muscle into it and that may be a problem if you have any kind of health problems.

Another negative to consider about mechanical push mowers is that they’re full of mechanical parts and that means they have the potential to break down. You do have to perform regular maintenance on these types of mowers and it doesn’t matter whether they’re electric or gasoline-powered mowers. Gasoline mower engines may be a little more complicated and therefore higher maintenance, but you don’t get away scot free when purchasing an electric or battery powered mower – these still require regular maintenance to keep moving.

The Self-Propelled Mowers

Self-Propelled mowers may seem like the Holy Grail of lawnmowers for a lot of people, but as is the case with any mechanical product they have their upside and their downside. As their name suggests they do propel themselves forward, usually this can be initiated by simply pushing and holding button as you go, and all you have to do is follow the mower around and guide it in the direction you want it to go. Normally, these self-propelled lawnmowers have variable speed options which allow you to adjust the speed to one that’s comfortable for you.

Life isn’t all roses when you own a self-propelled lawnmower though – they happen to have even more mechanical parts than the different types of mechanical push mowers we’ve already talked about. You can probably guess what I’m going to say next and you’re right – with more mechanical parts comes a better chance that these machines can break down. This means you have to be very diligent in your maintenance program for these mowers and that type of upkeep might be a little bit more than you’re willing to put up with.

It’s a Tough Decision

I can’t really tell you which one of these three types of mowers is the best option as they all have some good and bad features associated with them. It really depends on what your priorities are, but I hope this article at least points you in the right direction and gives you some idea of what you’re getting into.