Sun Joe Mow Joe MJ501M 18-Inch Manual Reel Mower Review

Amongst its fine range of eco-friendly manual reel mowers, the Sun Joe Mow Joe MJ501M, 18 inch Manual Reel Mower with Catcher is exceptionally known for its efficiency, ergonomic attributes and cost-effectiveness. Gardening Enthusiasts should definitely own a high quality reel mower, as it often becomes cumbersome to tug along a bulky mower for minute mowing requirements between scheduled fortnightly or monthly mowing sessions. Armed with an 18” cutting deck, 5 high quality stainless steel blades, 9 variable cutting heights and a 6.6 gallon-capacitated grass catcher bag, this well-designed mower from Sun Joe is definitely worth checking out!

Product Info:

  • Walk Behind Lawn Mower
  • Reel Mower


  • 18 inch cutting deck
  • 9 position manual height adjustment
  • Low maintenance
  • 6.6. gallon grass catcher
  • Weight: 25 lbs
  • 2-years

Sun Joe MJ501M Manual Reel Mower w/Grass Catcher | 18 inch

$151.00 in stock
1 new from $151.00
Last update was on: December 9, 2023 1:56 pm

In-depth Review of the Sun Joe Mow Joe MJ501M 18 inch Manual Reel Mower with Catcher

Ease of Use

Compared to many other ‘budget’ reel mowers that I’ve tested for this website, the Sun Joe Mow Joe 18” Reel Mower is slightly heavier to drag around, weighed at around 35 pounds. Additionally, there’s the issue of tugging along the grass catcher bag. I know it’s quite a bargain purchase to have a reel mower with a grass bag below $100, but the bag (despite being as voluminous as 6.6 gallons) tends to leave behind almost 10-20% of the clippings. What’s more annoying is that the bag tends to get detached every few minutes (no matter how tightly you secure it) It’s actually easier to go about mowing without the catcher and sweep the fallen trimmings later! Otherwise, this mechanical mower is quite easy to use, be it in terms of assembling it, adjusting the foam handle or overall maneuvering.

Cut Quality

This state-of-the-art mower from Sun Joe has an 18” cutting deck with 5 steel blades which are no doubt sharp. That’s exactly why it cuts even the thickest grass with great ease. But anything taller than 4” and this machine kind of gives up. You need to pass it over and over again, and it gets really frustrating. And don’t expect it to remove weeds, because like any other reel mower, it does not! On the positive side, most reel mowers with smaller cutting decks are suitable only for small gardens and flower beds. But Sun Joe Mow Joe MJ501M, 18 inch Manual Reel Mower with Catcher is suitable for comparatively larger turfs, depending on how much you can sweat it out!

Height Adjustment

The 9-position height adjustment of the Sun Joe Mow Joe MJ501M is quite an advancement over its counterparts. Most mowers in this price range offer variable heights up to 4 or 6 positions at the max. However the upper limit is only 2.44 inches, and I wish it was a bit higher. For this reason I have deducted 1.5 points from its original note. The wheels (10” front and 6” back) are well-aligned, reasonably sturdy, and the height adjustment mechanism is fuss-free.


In terms of repairs and maintenance, the 2 years limited warranty that you get is a good deal, and pretty much expected from a branded reel mower. So far during my 13 months-long stint with this Sun Joe Mow Joe Reel Mower, there was one issue when the front wheel broke while I was trying to drag the mower uphill on one of my clients’ lawns that was unusually sloping. Thankfully, the warranty was applicable and the wheel was replaced free of cost. Aside from this, the general maintenance hassles of motorized mowers such as fuel mixing, tank cleaning, battery replacement etc are absent.

Cost Effectiveness

There are a number of ways in which you could adjudge the cost-effectiveness of a reel mower. The best way of going ahead is to compare the price-tag versus the benefits in terms of cutting quality, height adjustment as well as repairs and maintenance. But the most important reason for purchasing a reel mower is undoubtedly its ease of use. Hassle-free operation is particularly why any Landscaping Pro would recommend that you invest in a well-built reel mower despite owing an advanced electric or fuel-based one. In case of the Sun Joe Mow Joe MJ501M, the ease of use isn’t ranked as high as its competitors. This obviously beings down the cost-effectiveness score as well!

  • Affordable
  • Easy Assembly & Usage



  • Grass Catcher tends to fall while mowing
  • Max. height position is just 2.44 inch



Total Score
Not the Best, but……..
The Sun Joe Mow Joe MJ501M, 18 inch Manual Reel Mower with Catcher proves that maintaining a pristine lawn is absolutely possible without increasing one’s carbon footprint. It did not turn out to be the best reel mower I have tested so far, but it certainly boasts of reliability and competitive pricing, making it a bargain purchase for those with tight budgets and small sized lawns.
7.2Editor’s score
Ease of Use
Cut Quality
Height Adjustment
Cost Effectiveness
7.7User’s score
Ease of Use
Cut Quality
Height Adjustment
Cost Effectiveness

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General Info

Mower Type
Deck Size
18 inch


Speed Control
Electric Start
CARB Compliant

Height Settings

Height Positions
Max. Height (inch)
Min. Height (inch)

Motor Info

Engine Brand
Motor Info
Max. Forward Speed (mph)
Max. Reverse Speed (mph)

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