• Home Home

Reel mowers vs. gas mowers — why one option is better for your grass, your bank account, and the planet

Each option impacts our planet differently.

Each option impacts our planet differently.

Photo Credit: iStock

When shopping for a new lawn mower, homeowners might reach a fork in the road: Should they buy a gas-powered mower or one with a manual reel?

Each option impacts our planet differently. Let's weigh the options for the cleaner, greener choice.

What's the difference?

Reel mowers operate through human power. You simply walk behind the mower and push it along. The spinning blades snip grass cleanly, like scissors.

Without an engine, reel mowing emits zero emissions. Gas mowers, also called gas rotary mowers, are self-explanatory: They are noisy, burn toxic gas, and spew air pollutants such as nitrogen oxide.

Why are reel mowers better?

The noxious fumes that gas mowers emit — like the ones that come from your gas-guzzling car's exhaust — soil your community's air, putting residents with compromised breathing at risk. Switching even one gas mower to manual reel mowing saves money on fuel costs and keeps your neighborhood's air fresher.

Beyond reel mowers' health benefits lay their environmental impact, or lack thereof. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, lawn tools generate up to 5% of air pollution in the U.S., and one hour spent operating a new gasoline lawn mower emits the same amount of volatile organic compounds as driving a new car 45 miles, per the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services. Each swap from gas to manual mowing chips away at that damage.

Reel lawnmowers are also kinder to your lawn. "The scissor-cutting action of the reel mowers results in less damage to the leaf tissue, which in turn puts the plants under less stress," Jason Kruse, assistant professor of environmental horticulture at the University of Florida, told the New York Times. "They lose less water, are less susceptible to disease, and generally look better when cut with a reel mower."

Overall, manual reel mowers are the obvious eco-upgrade over gas guzzlers.

Reel mowers' practical benefits

While manual mowing takes physical effort, many make it an enjoyable weekly ritual. The work becomes a chance to soak up some sunshine or catch up on podcasts.

Saving money and the planet feels extra satisfying when you work up a sweat. Some even find themselves looking forward to it.

When purchasing a mower, we use our dollars to build the world we want. Gas tools warm the planet, while reel mowers protect it. With cleaner air, cost savings, and a good workout as byproducts, the choice is clear.
Join the movement toward a cooler, greener lawn care future today.

Join our free newsletter for easy tips to save more, waste less, and help yourself while helping the planet.

Cool Divider