Scythe Vs Sickle – The Difference Explained

Scythe and sickle are two crucial (but old-school) tools designed for farming or agricultural purposes. Both tools look so identical to each other and prove useful in cutting grain from the fields or weeding. The two curved knives rose in popularity in different civilizations up until animal drawn tools and reaping machines like tractors took their place.

So, what’s the difference between scythe and sickle? Although they look pretty much identical with their functions overlapping, the two manual tools have a bunch of differences up their sleeves. Let’s highlight the difference between scythe and sickle.  


A scythe is a long, thin and lightweight curved bade for reaping crops or mowing grass. It consists of a 67-inch long shaft (known as a snaith) made of either wood or metal and a knife or blade attached at right angles to it. Some scythes entail two blades attached to them, with a shorter blade positioned in the center of the shaft.

Usually, the handles can be adjusted to accommodate the user’s height. Mounted to the lower end of the snaith at a 90-degree angle or less is a curved, steel blade of between 24 and 35 inches long. More often than not, the scythe’s blade projects from the left side of the snaith during use, while the edge faces the mower. The user guides and swings it horizontally, just a few inches off the ground. When sharp enough, the scythe can cut through a huge patch of wheat in one sweep.


 Otherwise called a bagging hook, a sickle is handheld farming equipment comprising a short handle and a semi-circular blade. It can be used for reaping or harvesting grain crops as well as cutting succulent forage for feeding livestock. Throughout the Iron Age period, many variants of the sickle have evolved depending on region, initially of iron and later steel.

There are many sickle types across different cultures; some serrated while others have smooth blades, but both of which are used to cut green grass or mature cereals using fairly different techniques. When using the sickle, you have to grip the grass or wheat in your left hand, and then make a sweeping motion with the tool to cut through. Being a handheld tool, you’ll need to stoop in order to cut through the grain, weed or grass in the field. The sickle has a curved blade whose inside edge is sharp enough to cut grass through a swing or inward motion.

Scythe vs. Sickle: Key Differences

A scythe is a farming tool consisting of a curved blade which doesn’t allow the user to hold the grass in the other hand. In contrast, a sickle is a farming tool with a semi-circular blade which allows the user to freely hold the plant in their other hand. Also, a sickle’s blade can be serrated or smooth, with the former considered more effective than the latter when reaping grass.

Regarding the length of the handle, a scythe comes with a long handle while a sickle entails a short handle. That means one must stoop when using the sickle due to its short handle. Because the scythe has a longer handle, it allows you to stand upright when cutting through plants.

A scythe is an instrument used to mow grass, grain, or the like using a hand. It consists of an extended, curved blade whose concave edge is sharp, and a long handle known as a snath. A sickle is a tool having a semi-circular blade (which can be smooth or serrated) and a short handle. It is used for cutting cereal crops and grass. Finally, there are some differences when it comes to using both the scythe and sickle. The scythe is only used to mow grass by swinging it from right to left. On the contrary, the sickle offers different ways of using it—you can use it right or left handed by swinging it towards you or away from you.

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