Is A Scythe Better Than Mowing? Pros and Cons

Are you tired of the noise, fumes, and hassle of traditional lawn mowing? Do you want to try a more eco-friendly and cost-effective approach to lawn care? If so, you might want to consider using a scythe, but are they really better than mowing?

A scythe can be a great alternative to traditional mowing. It is an eco-friendly way to maintain your lawn since it produces no noise, fumes, or other environmental pollutants. Additionally, a scythe is much lighter to use than a mower and provides valuable physical exercise, but it takes practice to achieve a reasonable cut.

In this article, I’ll explore the advantages and disadvantages of using a scythe versus traditional mowing for maintaining your lawn.

What is a Scythe?

A scythe is an ancient tool used for cutting grass or grain by hand. It consists of a long curved blade attached to a wooden handle, with one or two short handles at the other end. The user swings the blade back and forth in a rhythmic motion, cutting the grass close to the ground.

Pros of Using a Scythe

  • Eco-friendly: Scything does not pollute the environment with noise, fumes, or other contaminants. Additionally, it is an energy-efficient way to cut grass since no electricity or fuel is required.
  • Low cost: A scythe is much cheaper than a mower and doesn’t require as much maintenance or repairs.
  • Exercise: Using a scythe can provide great physical exercise, especially when done regularly.
  • Quiet: Scything is much quieter than mowing and won’t disturb your neighbors or wildlife.
  • Versatile: Can be used on overgrown areas with tough weeds by changing the blade.

Cons of Using a Scythe

  • Time-consuming: Compared to mowing, it takes significantly more time to maintain a lawn with a scythe.
  • Difficult to use: It takes practice and skill to learn how to effectively use a scythe and achieve an even cut.
  • Limited reach: A scythe cannot reach areas that are difficult or dangerous to access, such as steep slopes or wet patches.
  • Uneven finish: Impossible to achieve a manicured striped or patterned finish without the use of a roller.
  • Can be tiresome to use: Most people these days are not used to this kind of physical activity and attempting to use a scythe to maintain a large area will make them tired really fast.

Let’s take a look at these pros and cons in more detail.

Advantages of Using a Scythe vs Mowing


One of the main advantages of using a scythe is that it’s much cheaper than buying and maintaining a lawnmower. A good quality scythe can last for decades with proper care, while a lawnmower may need frequent repairs or replacement parts.

Environmentally Friendly

Another advantage of using a scythe is that it’s much more environmentally friendly than using a gas-powered or electric lawnmower. A gas lawn mower emits harmful pollutants into the air and contributes to noise pollution while an electric model runs on expensive electrical power.

A scythe, on the other hand, is completely silent and doesn’t produce any emissions. It runs purely on the power of the user (often called a mower but I won’t call them that to avoid confusion!)

This can be a real bonus if you live in a suburban area with lots of close neighbors when the only time you have to cut the grass is late in the evening.

Low Maintenance

Using a scythe also requires minimal maintenance compared to traditional lawnmowers. There are no filters or spark plugs to replace, and no oil changes are needed – just keep your blade sharp and your handles tight.

Can Be Used On Overgrown Areas

With a quick change of blade, a scythe becomes a great tool to clear overgrown areas full of tough weeds and brambles. This type of area is often inaccessible to a standard lawnmower.

Good Exercise (might be tiresome)

Using a scythe can be great exercise! It engages your core muscles as well as your arms and legs. Plus, it allows you to enjoy some fresh air while getting some physical activity done.

Many people who’ve tried using a scythe comment how it gives you as good a workout as a long session at the gym! However, as I mentioned before, this can also be viewed as a disadvantage depending on the type of person using the tool. 

Disadvantages of Using a Scythe


One disadvantage of using a scythe is that it takes longer than using a gas-powered or electric mower. Depending on the size of your lawn, it could take several hours to complete the task manually versus just an hour with a powered mower, even with an efficient swing technique.

Requires Skill

Using a scythe requires skill and practice to do it effectively without injuring yourself or damaging your equipment. You will need time initially invested in learning how to use this tool properly before being able to efficiently cut grass with it, although it’s a skill definitely worth learning.

Not Suitable for All Lawns

Scythes are not suitable for all types of lawn areas or grasses. For example, if you have thick turfgrass such as Bermuda grass or zoysia grass then these might require more power than what can be generated from manual movements alone.

Also sloping and uneven lawns will make it more difficult to keep a constant scything motion going.

A Manicured Finish Is Not Possible

Without the use of other tools such as a roller, there is no way to achieve a uniform striped or patterned appearance to your lawn with just a scythe.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, there are pros and cons when considering whether or not you should use a scythe versus more modern mowing methods for maintaining your lawn. While using this tool does offer several benefits such as being cost-effective, environmentally friendly, and a low maintenance requirement, there are also some drawbacks.

You will need to develop some good skills before being able to use this equipment effectively without injury of course, but the main disadvantage is the amount of time it takes compared to using a powered mower.

Ultimately though if you’re looking for an eco-friendly (and silent!) way to maintain your lawn that also provides great exercise then learning how to properly use this traditional tool may be well worth the time investment!

Peter Toth

Hi! I'm Peter, the owner of BackyardGadget. Working around the house has always been a big part of my life. I've created this site to share my experience, and to help people choose the right tools for the job. Thank you for stopping by!

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