Scythe vs sickle – Difference between these grain cutting tools

They are both used in agriculture, but they aren’t the same! 

Scythes and sickles have been a part of the regular agricultural process for many years now. They are must-haves for farmers. This leads to confusion about their purpose. Do they have specific purposes, or can they be used interchangeably? Does a farmer need to own both? Or is it just one of them enough? Understanding the actual differences between them will answer all these questions. Let’s go through them now.



A scythe is used for reaping crops as well as mowing the grass. Back in the day, these jobs needed heavy machinery with tractors, but the scythe has helped solve that problem. 

The shaft of a typical scythe is made of wood. These days we also see metal scythes but the wooden ones are the most popular. The shaft measures 170 centimeters. It may be straight or S-shaped for an ergonomic design. You will also find 2-3 handles. Each of these is at a right angle to the scythe. Depending on your requirement, you can adjust these handles.

On the lower end, you will see a steel blade that’s curved and long. This blade usually projects from the left side. There are right-handed and left-handed scythes that you can choose based on your preference. The only thing to remember is that they cannot be used together. This is because the direction of mowing is different in each.



Now, let’s talk about our old friend – the sickle. Many are familiar with their design and shape. It is also common knowledge that it is an agricultural tool. But what does it do? It helps you harvest crops, reap crops, and cut forage to be fed to livestock. It can cut dry and fresh forage with similar ease.

This implies that sickles are much more diverse than scythes. Also, there are multiple variants, mostly based on the requirements of a particular region. The blade, from the beginning of the Iron Age, was made of iron. Today, you may find steel options too. Another variation is in the type of blade. You can find both serrated and plain blades. The serrated blade is best suited for grain reaping. For regular cutting, a simple blade with suffice. 

Difference Between Scythe and Sickle

Now that the differences are clear, we are in a great position to answer the common questions. 

1. Are sickles and scythes the same?

No, they are not.

2. Can we use them interchangeably?

It depends on the purpose. For example, you need a sickle to cut forage. You cannot use a scythe here.

3. Do farmers need both these agricultural tools?

Again, it depends completely on their requirement. For specific purposes, a scythe is enough, but for a wide range of reasons and for purposes that scythes cannot fulfill, a sickle is the right choice.

4. Is one better than the other?

No. They are both equally important agricultural tools.

BONUS – How to use a grass sickle?

Before we sign off, we thought we would shed light on another FAQ – how to use a grass sickle. It is extremely simple, actually! 

Also known as a Japanese sickle, you can use it to cut long grass without having to apply too much force. Simply grab the grass you want to cut – tightly but not harshly, and use the sickle to cut the excess grass. This sickle works well even for grass around trees despite lack of space. How cool is that?

We hope this article was informative and helped answer all your doubts. If there are any other doubts, please do not hesitate to comment or get in touch with us

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