Spindle Mower: The first choice for real turf fans

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For real turf fans a reel mower is the first choice. The reason for this is their precise technique, which differs significantly from the sickle mowers and makes them the perfect greenkeeper. However, cylinder mowers can not cope with every turf - some basic requirements must be right. While cylinder mowers are almost unknown to us or, at best, a wallflower existence, they are high on the popularity scale of turf fans in England. And the cut result proves the Englishman right.

What is special about reel mowers?

Cylinder mowers work with horizontal, rotating knife spindles and cut the blades with four to six curved blades. As soon as the mower is pushed, the spindle turns past a fixed counter blade, but does not touch it. This allows similar precision cuts as with scissors - the blades even cut through paper sheets cleanly.

Lawn cutting cylinder mower principle

Lawn cutting sickle mower principle

The blades of a reel mower cut the blades of grass like a pair of scissors (left). The knife of a sickle mower breaks through the blades of grass (right)

On the other hand, the sickle mowers that are common in Germany use their knife bar to generate a steady stream of air and knock down the blades of grass erected in them with the help of enormous centrifugal forces. In the process, the interfaces can fray, dry out and give the entire lawn a gray haze. For many turf fans a real, aesthetic flaw. Spindle mowers, on the other hand, leave clean, fast-healing cut surfaces and rich green lawns.
Whether you prefer to buy a reel mower or a sickle mower depends on the type of lawn, the size of the garden and your own preferences. Spindle mowers are trimmed through and through on ornamental lawns. Furthermore, you should know that they handle maximum grass heights, which correspond in about half of the spindle diameter.

Advantages of reel mowers

If you want a manicured lawn, have or want to keep, not around a Spindelmäher around. Neither clumsy picking nor brutal knocking off of the stems: Spindle mowers treat your lawn as gently as any other lawnmower. In addition to good cutting performance, cylinder mills have even more advantages:

  • Compared to all other lawnmowers, the knife roller enables significantly deeper cuts.
  • The hand-operated mowers are very quiet. Perfect if you only have time to mow on Sundays and after work.
  • The hand lawn mowers have a low weight.
  • They have no cable and no gas tank.
  • They are very easy to handle.

Reel Mowers Gardena 380 LI

Less sweaty than reel mowers that are powered by muscle power, are devices with rechargeable battery

Disadvantages of reel mowers

Spindle mowers are a bit delicate and demanding: they cut like the world champions, but easily swallow on tall grass. That makes the work more exhausting. Weekly mowing is therefore mandatory for reel mowers, and for exemplary English lawns you will even have to mow two or three times a week. After a vacation, two Mährunden may be necessary to bring the stalks back to the right height.
Spindle and counter blade are precisely adjusted to each other - the big advantage, but at the same time the main disadvantage of reel mowers. The lawn must be as level as possible and, above all, must not contain foreign bodies. Surrounding branches immediately block the blades and stones cause dents or bend the knives.


  • With reel mowers you have to mow frequently and very disciplined, often several times a week.
  • Pushing is more cumbersome than with a rotary mower.
  • They are more sensitive than sturdy sickle mowers.
  • The lawn must be as level as possible, molehills, for example, slow down cylinder mowers quickly. So they are not suitable for natural gardens or gardens with many trees.
  • Regrinding of the blades can only be carried out by specialized companies.

What do you have to keep in mind when using reel mowers?

Before you start, you should briefly search the lawn for foreign objects and level any existing molehills. To prevent the knife roller sticking, the lawn should be dry or at least dewy. Cylinder mowers chop the stems very fine. Mulching works well in dry weather, when wet you should better catch and compost the grass clippings. Most models throw the snippets backwards - right against the gardener's legs. If you do not like that, you should take a model with a grass catcher. An exception is the Fiskars reel mower, which ejects the grass clippings forward.
Tip: If you want to change from a sickle mower to a reel mower, you should gradually adjust the cutting height so that the turf can get used to its new short hairstyle.During this transition phase, more clippings are produced than usual. You should rake it off.

Lawn Cylinder Spindle Mower

The blades of a Spindelmähers divide the grass very fine. The clippings may remain as a mulch on the lawn

Mechanical cylinder mowers

The simplest, cheapest and most well-known reel mowers are hand mowers. They are up to 45 centimeters wide cutting width for lawns up to 300 square meters completely sufficient and ideal for turf fans who want to do even more physical. Descriptions such as "sweaty" or "gym replacement" are exaggerated. Although reel mowers are harder to push than sickle mowers, they have nothing to do with heavy work when used regularly. If you do not want to exert yourself, take a mechanical reel mower with a rechargeable battery, in which the spindle is automatically driven.

Power tools and cylinder mowers for professional golf and sports field maintenance

A golf turf with cutting heights in the millimeter range can not be added without a reel mower. Only the knife roller allows for a precise, deep cut and does not tear any complete grass tufts out of the lawn. But: An extremely short golf turf is the result of many, many mowing steps. Therefore, and because of the huge areas on golf and sports fields actually only ride-on mowers are used. In large home gardens, at most pronounced turf fans use gasoline-powered reel mowers - which, however, definitely provoke the envy of their neighbors.

Reel mower with petrol engine

For the perfectionist, this is a petrol-driven cylinder mower. Its cutting height can be adjusted to less than one centimeter

Care and maintenance of reel mowers

The precise technology of reel mowers requires more maintenance than that of sickle mowers. There must be no foreign matter or dried-on plant residues attached to the knife spindle. After each use you should clean the knives with a hard brush. After three to four years, it is advisable to sharpen the spindles of the mower. This can take over because of the required special equipment only a specialist.

Video Board: How To Replace A Deck Spindle On Craftsman/Husqvarna Mowers with Taryl.

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