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Great States 415-16 Push Reel Mower Review

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The Great States 415-16 Push Reel Mower is an alternative to buying an electric or gas lawn mower. Push reel mowers are especially well suited for smaller sized lawns, and their budget friendly price and environmentally friendly design makes them well worth considering.

Reel mowers have been around for over a hundred years, but in today's high tech world, they're often overlooked. However, modern technology and improvements have not only made them more powerful and efficient, but also more lightweight and compact. In this article we'll review the Great States 415-16 Push Reel Mower to help you determine if it's the right mower for you.

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The Great State Corporation was acquired by American Lawn Mower Company in 1936. Both companies produced push reel lawn mowers, however by merging the two companies they were able to excel and form a much larger and stronger company.

Today, American Lawn Mower produces several top selling brands, such as Scotts and Earthwise. They also and offer a wide product line-up within these brands, such as blowers, trimmers, chainsaws, among others. Push reel mowers are sold under the Great States, Scotts, Earthwise and American Lawn Mower brands. 

American Lawn Mower was originally founded in 1895 and is located in Indianapolis, Indiana. Great State proudly states that they are "committed to producing environment-conscious lawn mowers for every home."


Model: Great States 415-16 Push Reel Mower

Mower Type: Manual Push

Cutting Path: 16-inches

Height Range: 1/2 to 2-1/2 inches: 3 Positions

Blades: 5-blades

Wheels: 10-inch ball bearing wheels

Great States 415-16 16-Inch 5-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower, 16-Inch, 5-Blade, Silver

Design of the Great States 415-16

The Great States 415-16 Push Reel Mower has a T-shaped handle which is powder coated to prevent rust, and the 10-inch ball bearing wheels allows for plenty of maneuverability. The 16-inch cutting width can be adjusted to three positions with a height adjustment range of 1/2 to 2-1/2 inches.

The cutting reel spins with minimal effort, and the 5 blades are made of quality, heat treated alloy steel to help maintain their sharpness. Weighing-in at only 26-pounds, the Great States 415-16 is designed to operate quietly, efficiently with an even trim.

Great States 415-16 16-Inch 5-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower, 16-Inch, 5-Blade, Silver

Power Source

When you think of a push reel mower, you often think of a mower from a bygone era. But they're actually quite practical and popular.

Unlike gas or electric lawn mowers, the user supplies the power that drives the reel mower. These mowers are completely manual in operation and rely totally on your own movement.

Great States 415-16 16-Inch 5-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower, 16-Inch, 5-Blade, Silver


As the Great States 415-16 Reel Mower is pushed over the grass, the reel spins around over the grass it makes contact with the cutting blade, which cuts the grass. Because the cutting blade is actually making contact with the reel, the mower will require more frequent sharpening than contact-free mowers.

There are several ways to sharpen the blades: The blades can be sharpened individually using a sharpening kit. The kit includes a grinding compound, application brush, and back-lapping crank. Or, you can have the blades sharpened by a professional. 

Another option to sharpen the blades is to move the mower backwards over a concrete surface. More on this below. Keeping the blades sharp will cut down on mowing time and provide a better cut.

The 415-16 reel mower does not automatically come with a grass clipping management system. The cut grass will be scattered back onto your lawn where you'll have the option to either leave it, or rake it up once you've finished mowing. There is a a grass catcher bag available that can be purchased as a bundle with the mower.

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Since the user is supplying the muscle, push reel mowers tend to be better suited for smaller yards of less than 4000 square feet, although they can be used on a lawn of any size. The compact and light weight design make the Great States 415-16 relatively easy for the majority of people to use, and the 16-inch wide cutting deck allows for a reasonably wide cutting path, especially for a reel mower.

The three cutting height options ranging from 1/2 to 2-1/2 inches will need to be adjusted on each wheel, but are relatively easy to set in place. In general, the mower can handle grass about 4-inches high before beginning to struggle, it also struggles with thick weeded areas and heavier variants of grass such as Bermuda and St. Augustine.

The most common types of grass is cut evenly and has a manicured look and feel. This is largely due to the 5-blade design on the reel. As a general rule, more reel blades result in more power and a higher cut quality.

Great States 415-16 16-Inch 5-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower, 16-Inch, 5-Blade, Silver


Since the Great States 415-16 Push Reel Mower doesn't have a motor, battery or electrical connections, it is very easy to hose down after use. It's a best practice to insert a wooden stick through the blade reel cage to prevent it from turning and use a garden hose to wash the dirt and debris off the reel, blades, and wheels. We highly recommend wearing gloves whenever performing maintenance on the mower.

You'll need to periodically sharpen the blades on the reel. It's not as difficult as it sounds and Great States offers a kit that you can purchase. Or, you can move the mower backwards on a sidewalk or paved driveway, once the reel blades are rotating relatively free and the front edge of the cutter bar blade is polished, the blades have been sharpened.

The cutter bar should be positioned so the cutter bar blade comes into contact with the reel blades. The contact needs to cover the full width of the cutter bar, and the contact should be light, but firm. You may need to tighten a couple of screws to make the adjustment. In addition, the axle and pinion needs to be lubricated periodically.

Great States 415-16 16-Inch 5-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower, 16-Inch, 5-Blade, Silver

Warranty and Customer Service

The Great States Push Reel Mower is covered with a one year limited warranty from the date of purchase. The company will replace any part that is found to be defective in material and/or workmanship. The part will need to be inspected by a factory authorized service center, and if you need to ship the part, you'll need to cover the shipping costs initially. However, once the part has been inspected, the company will replace the part free of charge to the original owner.

The 415-16 push reel mower is designed for residential use, any commercial use will void the warranty. 

Great State Corporation can be reached by calling 317-392-3615 or through the American Lawn Mower Company's website.

Great States 415-16 16-Inch 5-Blade Push Reel Lawn Mower, 16-Inch, 5-Blade, Silver

Final Thoughts on the Great States 415-16

If you're looking for an environmentally friendly lawn mower that doesn't burn fossil fuels or use electricity, then the Great States 415-16 Push Reel Lawn Mower is a good choice. It's best suited for smaller to medium-sized yards, and if you don't mind putting in a little effort, you'll find this is an easy to use, enjoyable mower, which is only restricted by your energy and stamina.

Its' quiet operation means there's no time of day (or night) when you can't pull the mower from the garage and cut your grass. You'll never need to worry about bothering your neighbors in the early morning or late at night. And it's budget friendly price works for nearly every household.


  • 16-inch cutting deck mean less passes to cut your lawn
  • Environmentally friendly
  • 5 alloy steel blades, heat treated to maintain sharpness
  • Large 10-inch wheels


  • Struggles with grass taller than 4-inches
  • Only 1 year warranty

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