Reel mowers are those without engines that use a series of vertically spinning blades to slice the grass, much like a pair of scissors would. These mowers are typically smaller and are pushed manually by an operator. But larger reel mowers can be towed behind tractors or multipurpose vehicles, which is how most golf course lawns are maintained. These mowers make shallow cuts and disperse the clippings broadly back over the lawn. This is known as grasscycling. a form of self-fertilizing, and is generally considered to be good for the grass’ health and longevity.
Rotary mowers generally have a single blade that spins horizontally and is powered by a small gas or electric engine. These mowers can be adjusted to cut thick or shallow grass and disperse the clippings neatly to one side, greatly easing the process of clean up. Rotary mowers can be pushed manually, ridden by a driver, or towed behind tractors and multipurpose vehicles.