How Does A Push Lawn Mower Work?

16 minutes read

A push lawn mower, also known as a manual or reel mower, operates by utilizing the physical force exerted by the user to trim grass. Unlike gas or electric-powered mowers, it doesn't involve any engine or motor.

The primary components of a push lawn mower include the cutting cylinder, the set of blades that do the actual cutting, and the wheels that help maneuver the mower around the lawn. The cutting cylinder is located at the front of the mower, and it consists of a series of spiral-shaped blades mounted on a rotating cylinder.

When the user pushes the mower forward, the wheels drive the cutting cylinder, causing the blades to rotate. As the blades rotate, they come in contact with the grass, trapping and slicing it against the stationary lower blade, also known as the bed knife. This cutting action is similar to a pair of scissors or shears, which neatly trims the grass blades to an even height.

The height of the grass is determined by adjusting the cutting height of the mower, which can typically be done by changing the position of the wheels or adjusting a lever. This allows the user to control the length of the grass according to their preference.

It's important to note that push mowers are best suited for smaller lawns with relatively even terrain. They require the user to provide the necessary propulsion, making them more physically demanding compared to powered mowers. However, they have several advantages, such as being eco-friendly, quiet, and requiring minimal maintenance since they lack engines or motors.

To ensure efficient operation, it's essential to keep the blades sharp and periodically clean the mower of any debris or grass clippings that may impede its performance. Overall, a push lawn mower offers a straightforward and environmentally friendly way to maintain a neatly trimmed lawn with a bit of manual effort.

Best Push Lawn Mowers of 2024

YARDMAX 21 in. 170cc 2-in-1 Gas Walk Behind Push Lawn Mower with High Rear Wheels

Rating is 5 out of 5

YARDMAX 21 in. 170cc 2-in-1 Gas Walk Behind Push Lawn Mower with High Rear Wheels

  • Single-lever deck adjustment for quickly setting your mow height
  • MAXFlow Deck Technology – volute spiral deck design for better airflow and mulching
  • Heavy-duty, 16-gauge stamped steel deck
  • Durable, one-piece seamless steel deck reduces vibration
  • Seven cutting heights from 1.25″ to 3.75″
  • Double-ball-bearing wheels for easy, smooth mowing with less pushing effort
  • Adjustable, durable 3-position handle height
  • Folds for space-saving storage
  • 7 in. front and 11 in. rear wheels for stability and control
PowerSmart Gas Lawn Mower 21 Inch 2-in-1 with 144CC 4-Stroke Engine, Push Mower Gas Powered DB2321CR

Rating is 4.9 out of 5

PowerSmart Gas Lawn Mower 21 Inch 2-in-1 with 144CC 4-Stroke Engine, Push Mower Gas Powered DB2321CR

  • 144CC OHV ENGINE: reliable engine, recoil starter for easy start, forced air cooling system continuously deliver unbeatable grass cutting effect.
  • 21 INCH CUTTING DECK: patented cutting system with 21 inch cutting deck, wider mowing path helps you trim sizable yard fast.
  • 2-IN-1 PUSH MOWER: side-discharge easily pass thick grasses for quickest mowing, mulching lawn mower minces grass into super-fine bits for recycle.
  • GRASS HEIGHT ADJUSTABLE: 6 positions for adjust cutting height from 1.5" to 3.9", suitable for all kinds of grasses.
BILT HARD Gas Lawn Mower 20 inch, 2 in 1 170cc 4-Stroke OHV Engine Cordless Lawnmower, 8 Adjustable Cutting Heights Push Mowers for Lawn, Yard and Garden

Rating is 4.8 out of 5

BILT HARD Gas Lawn Mower 20 inch, 2 in 1 170cc 4-Stroke OHV Engine Cordless Lawnmower, 8 Adjustable Cutting Heights Push Mowers for Lawn, Yard and Garden

  • Auto Choke Engine - 170cc 4-stroke OHV engine, 6.5 torque, 20 inch cutting deck.
  • Cutting Height - 8-position single lever four-wheel synchronized height adjustment from 1.2" to 3.2".
  • Mowing Convenience - 7" rear/6“ front double ball-bearing wheels achieve smooth movement, comfortable foam-wrapped angled grip eliminates grasp fatigue.
  • Durable Cutting Deck: 20" cutting deck and specialized blade delivering a clean, even cut. Enjoy years of high efficient mowing with superior cutting quality
Greenworks 40V 16" Cordless (Push) Lawn Mower (75+ Compatible Tools), 4.0Ah Battery and Charger Included

Rating is 4.7 out of 5

Greenworks 40V 16" Cordless (Push) Lawn Mower (75+ Compatible Tools), 4.0Ah Battery and Charger Included

  • CORDLESS LAWN MOWER – Get more done, faster, with Greenworks electric lawn mowers. This 40v push lawn mower provides the power you need with up to 45 minutes of runtime on a fully charged 4.0Ah battery. The battery completely charges in 120 minutes.Brushless motor : No
  • LIGHTWEIGHT, EASY TO USE – A lightweight 16” cutting deck allows for easy maneuvering through small to medium yards (up to ½ acre) more efficiently. Easy push button start and lighter weight make it a great choice for your lawn.
  • VERSATILE – Battery powered lawn mower has a single lever 5-position height adjustment with a cutting height range from 1-1/4" to 3-3/8" for the best cut in all environments. The 2-in-1 feature offers versatile use with mulching and rear bagging options.
  • MAINTENANCE FREE – This walk behind lawn mower is virtually maintenance free, with no gas, no oil and no emissions. It starts instantly and is quiet but delivers gas-like power for your toughest projects.
Yard Machines 11A-02BT729 20-in Push Lawn Mower with 125cc Briggs & Stratton Gas Powered Engine, Black and Red

Rating is 4.6 out of 5

Yard Machines 11A-02BT729 20-in Push Lawn Mower with 125cc Briggs & Stratton Gas Powered Engine, Black and Red

  • A 125cc OHV Briggs & Stratton engine delivers reliable power to quickly tackle your yard
  • Push mower ideal for small yards with minimal obstacles
  • 20-in. deck with side discharge to efficiantly spread grass clippings
  • 7-in wheels provide reliable traction to navigate your yard
  • Choose from 3 cutting heights
BLACK+DECKER Electric Lawn Mower, 10-Amp, Corded (BEMW472BH)

Rating is 4.5 out of 5

BLACK+DECKER Electric Lawn Mower, 10-Amp, Corded (BEMW472BH)

  • Lightweight corded electric mower gasless 10 Amp 15 inch electric mower for powering through rough grass.Ideal for 1/8 acre.Voltage : 120 V. Product Application : Cleaning.
  • Comfort grip bike handlebar design reduces friction and enhances maneuverability for small lawns
  • Enhanced clipping collection winged blade yields 30% better clipping collection
  • Push button start no-hassle startup easy-to- use features
  • Adjustable cutting height 6 adjustable cutting heights ranging from 1 inch to 3 inch
CRAFTSMAN Gas Powered Lawn Mower, 21-inch Push Mower, 140cc (M105)

Rating is 4.4 out of 5

CRAFTSMAN Gas Powered Lawn Mower, 21-inch Push Mower, 140cc (M105)

  • POWERFUL ENGINE: 140cc BRIGGS & STRATTON engine with auto-choke
  • MOWING CONVENIENCE: 21 in., 3-in-1 convertible deck lets you side discharge, mulch, or rear bag grass clippings
  • CLIPPING COLLECTION: Rear bag collects grass clippings for easy cleanup or composting
  • HEIGHT ADJUSTMENT: Dual-lever, 6-position height adjustment makes it easy to change cutting heights from 1.25 in. to 3.75 in. high
  • COMFORT: Adjustable loop handle for comfort while mowing. MULCH KIT: Included to help put nutrients back into soil for a healthy lawn
BLACK+DECKER 3-in-1 String Trimmer/Edger & Lawn Mower, 6.5-Amp, 12-Inch, Corded (MTE912) (Power cord not included), Black/Red

Rating is 4.3 out of 5

BLACK+DECKER 3-in-1 String Trimmer/Edger & Lawn Mower, 6.5-Amp, 12-Inch, Corded (MTE912) (Power cord not included), Black/Red

  • 3N1 DESIGN – Electric mower easily converts to string trimmer and edger via a built-in foot pedal for versatile use.
  • 6.5 AMP MOTOR – Supplies the ideal amount of power when trimming grass, weeds, and overgrowth.
  • GEAR DRIVE TRANSMISSION – For tackling tougher, thicker grass without getting bogged down.
  • AFS AUTOMATIC FEED SPOOL – Continuously feeds trimmer line without bumping for seamless, uninterrupted trimming.
  • ADJUSTABLE MOWER DECK AND TRIMMER HANDLE – Lawn mower deck and string trimmer handle are adjustable for ideal grass- cutting height and added comfort.
  • CORDED – Corded design offers unlimited runtime for even the biggest jobs.
  • INCLUDES – (1)GH912 trimmer/edger, (1) MTD100 detachable mower deck, (1) AF-100 spool, (1) auxiliary handle, (1) guard.
  • Note: Item requires power cord. Power cord not included

What is a push lawn mower?

A push lawn mower is a type of manual lawn mower that requires human effort to operate. It consists of a cutting reel with multiple blades attached to a cylindrical housing, which is pushed along by the user to cut grass. The cutting action is achieved as the blades rotate against a stationary cutting bar or bed knife, slicing the grass as the mower rolls over it. Unlike motorized or electric lawn mowers, push lawn mowers do not have engines and rely solely on the user's physical exertion for movement and cutting power.

What is the role of the body frame in a push lawn mower?

The body frame of a push lawn mower serves as the main support structure for the mower's components and plays several important roles:

  1. Structural support: The body frame ensures the overall stability and strength of the lawn mower. It holds and supports the various components and mechanisms, such as the engine, cutting blade, wheels, and handles, preventing them from separating or collapsing during operation.
  2. Weight distribution: The body frame helps distribute the weight of the lawn mower evenly, ensuring that it remains balanced and stable during use. Proper weight distribution is crucial for maneuverability and efficient cutting performance.
  3. Operational control: The body frame typically incorporates the handles or controls that allow the operator to guide and maneuver the lawn mower. These handles are attached to the frame and provide a comfortable and secure grip for the user.
  4. Vibration dampening: Push lawn mowers generate vibrations during operation, but the body frame helps absorb and minimize these vibrations, reducing operator fatigue and increasing user comfort.
  5. Safety features: In some push lawn mowers, the body frame includes safety features such as blade brakes or shut-off switches. These features are designed to automatically stop the blade rotation or turn off the engine in case of emergencies or when the operator releases the handles, ensuring operator safety.

Overall, the body frame plays a vital role in providing support, stability, control, and safety for a push lawn mower, contributing to its functionality, performance, and usability.

How does a push lawn mower adapt to different grass types such as Bermuda or St. Augustine?

A push lawn mower can adapt to different grass types such as Bermuda or St. Augustine primarily based on the mowing height adjustment settings. Here's how it adapts to these grass types:

  1. Mowing Height: Different grass types have varying recommended mowing heights to ensure healthy growth. Push lawn mowers typically come with adjustable cutting height settings. The user can raise or lower the cutting deck to match the desired height for the specific grass type. Bermuda grass, for example, is usually best when kept shorter (around 1-2 inches), while St. Augustine grass prefers a higher mowing height (around 3-4 inches). By adjusting the mower's cutting height, it adapts to the specific grass type's needs.
  2. Blade Sharpness: Grass types like Bermuda and St. Augustine require sharp mower blades to ensure clean and precise cuts. Mower blades tend to become dull with time, which can result in tearing or damaging the grass instead of providing a clean cut. It is important to regularly sharpen or replace the mower blades as needed to adapt to different grass types effectively.
  3. Grass Clipping Management: Certain grass types, like St. Augustine, can benefit from grass clippings left on the lawn as natural mulch, while Bermuda grass generally needs clippings removed. Many push mowers have a side discharge or bagging option that allows the user to choose whether to direct the clippings back onto the lawn or collect them. By adjusting the grass clipping management feature, the push mower can adapt to the requirements of different grass types.
  4. Wheel Traction: Some grass types, like Bermuda, can tolerate lower mowing heights if the lawn mower has good traction. Push mowers with larger or treaded wheels provide better traction and adaptability to uneven or tough terrain, which enables them to mow Bermuda grass effectively. On the other hand, St. Augustine grass has less need for excessive traction, as higher mowing heights are generally preferred.

Overall, a push lawn mower adapts to different grass types mainly through adjustable cutting heights, sharp blades, grass clipping management options, and wheel traction. By manipulating these features, the mower can be configured to meet the specific needs of Bermuda, St. Augustine, or other grass types.

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