Last spring I was enjoying a beer in my backyard (because it was 5 o’clock somewhere) when I heard my neighbor cursing up a storm while he was trying to mow his lawn. I didn’t think much of it the first time but when it kept happening I started to wonder.
Mower: Sthhhsthhhsthhh. Neighbor: F**kin’ mower, piece of s**t! Mower (neighbor pushing harder): Sthhhhhsthhhhhhhsthhhhhhhhhh…. Neighbor: Son of a b***h… (and a bunch of other choice words).
This went on a little longer, so I eventually made my way over to his yard to see what the trouble was. Turns out his push reel mower wasn’t doing so hot of a job cutting his tall grass. It was his first time mowing that year and he had allowed the grass to grow a little longer than he should have. I wanted to help so and brought my gas-powered push mower over and mowed his yard without a hitch.
Then I helped him replace his mower with a much nicer reel mower that was better suited to cut tall grass, if the need would arise again (and it did, by the way; more on that later). As you can bet, we did a ton of research on quite a few mowers, read lots of user reviews and such and we eventually landed on what turned out to be what we believe is the best reel mower for tall grass. If you want a reel mower that’s best suited to handle all sorts of lawns and grass conditions, including tall grass, then let me introduce you to the the model my neighbor got…
Top Choice: Fiskars StaySharp Max Reel
The obvious feature that makes the Fiskars StaySharp Max Reel mower stand out above the competition is its mowing height that is adjustable to up to 4 inches. Most reel mowers max out at 3 inches. While just 1 extra inch might not seem like a big deal, when you’re trying to cut grass taller than 4 inches it makes a remarkable difference.
But mowing tall grass requires more than a record-breaking height adjustment. One of the main things that makes this reel mower so special (and one of the reasons we think it’s one of the best reel mowers for mowing tall grass) is the cutting power that Fiskar’s InertiaDrive technology provides.
With InertiaDrive, your pushing force amplifies the cutting power 2x so that mowing thick and/or tall grass is possible with this mower whereas many other reel mowers would choke up and either not cut the grass or make sporadic choppy cuts.
And especially if your grass is very thick, you won’t want a reel mower whose blades scrape up against the cutter bar. The StaySharp mower has a slight gap between the blades and the cutter bar which keeps the blades sharper much longer than most other models, thus the term “StaySharp” in the model name. But enough about the specs and fancy features. The big question is…
How does this mower perform?
Well I’m happy to report that based on my personal experience trying this mower on my own lawn, the Fiskars Max Reel mower does impressively well mowing tall grass. Just a couple months ago, late summer, I had the perfect opportunity to try this out. I was away on a trip and when I came back my grass had grown taller than I had planned.
Instead of using my motorized push mower like I typically would have, I asked my neighbor to borrow his Fiskars push reel mower to see how well it would do, and it went surprisingly well.
I’ll be honest, it’s not quite as good as a motorized push mower at cutting through exceptionally tall grass above 6 inches, but you really shouldn’t be letting your grass get much taller than that on a regular basis. So my “final verdict” on this mower is that it is 5-star quality, and that’s not just my opinion – other reviews agree too. I’d recommend it to anyone who, like my neighbor, sometimes loses track of their grass height (you know, when the busyness of life or the unpredictability of rainy weather get in the way of mowing on time).
Honestly, if you’re already set on getting a reel mower, you might as well invest a couple extra dollars into the best possible model. Click the link below to get the best price of the Fiskars StaySharp Max Reel Mower (believe me, it’s worth every penny).
There are really just a couple key things you need to keep in mind when shopping for a reel mower that is capable of cutting tall, thick grass: mowing height, blade durability, and overall mowing power.
Mower height is the obvious feature to look for first. Any mower should have it’s ideal cutting height listed in its list of features. As mentioned earlier, most reel mowers only cut grass up to 3 inches, so be sure to look for this specification before choosing your mower. The Fiskars model is one of the few that can cut up to 4 inches.
Keep in mind that the blades of most reel mowers slide right up against the cutting bar, and this causes the blades to become dull surprisingly quickly. Look for a mower that has a hairline gap between the blades and the cutting bar, unless you’re okay sharpening your blade throughout the summer.
The reason blade durability is an important factor to consider when you’re cutting tall grass on a regular basis is that sometimes you’ll have to mow over the same spot several times until all the grass is cut properly. With all that extra wear on the blade, you’ll want a blade that can last a long time without needing to be sharpened very often. That’s why the Fiskars reel mower is such an appealing model (there’s a very slight gap between the blades and the cutting bar).
Overall Mowing Power
There’s no escaping the fact that how well your mower cuts the grass is greatly impacted by how strong of a push you give it. That said, if you can get a mower that amplifies your force in some way, this will help you cut tall grass more efficiently. The Fiskars Max Reel mower uses InertiaDrive to amplify your pushing force 2x, making it an ideal choice.
Tips For Mowing Tall Grass With a Reel Mower
Bookmark this page and come back after you’ve purchased your reel mower. You’ll want to read this section for some advice on how to cut tall grass with whatever reel mower you chose. Here are several tips to keep in mind that will give you the best chance at success:
Bump Up Mowing Height
This should be obvious, but if your grass is exceptionally tall, make sure you bump up your mower’s height adjustment as high as possible. Especially with reel mowers, you’ll have better success mowing first on the highest adjustment and then again at the lower adjustment that you prefer.
Even though it may seem like mowing it only once with the desired level would make the most sense, you’ll actually end up having to go over the lawn several times until the mower cuts the grass properly, so it’s best to take advantage of the height adjustment feature.
Grass Should Be Dry
I actually tested this out myself just because I was curious. In my research I read several sources that said it’s ideal if the grass is dry before mowing it, and sure enough that’s absolutely correct.
I used a garden hose to lightly wet a portion of my lawn and it definitely took some extra effort to mow that section. After two run-throughs the grass was cut pretty well but it wasn’t nearly as easy to cut as the dry part of the lawn. So if you have any say in the matter, wait until your lawn is dry before trying to cut tall grass. It’ll save you a lot of effort.
Have a Manual Weed Wacker Handy
If you’re lucky enough to catch your grass before it’s much higher than 4-6 inches, you can ignore this section. But with anything taller than that, you may want to consider going through with a weed wacker before using the mower. If you’re on a budget or simply don’t like using motors and fuel, a manual weed wacker such as this one will do the trick.
As you hopefully learned from this article, mowing tall grass with a reel mower is not a simple task unless you have a powerful model that’s well suited for this work. We hope you have learned enough from this article that you can do your own research and find the best reel mower for tall grass that you’ll be able to use for years to come. If you think we missed anything important or have any questions, please leave us a comment below. Thanks for reading!