There are so many different types of mowers on the market, but which one do I need? And what are the advantages of each style? Here we break down the difference between tractor mower, mid-mount and out front mowers to help you navigate which style of machine is going to best suit your purpose.
Why a Tractor Mower?
What are Tractor Mowers?
The traditional ride on mower is the tractor style. It is a small tractor and has a mowing deck below, the decks are typically smaller in size, 32-inches to 48-inches.
Benefits of Tractor Mowers
Tractor mowers are a very simple mower to operate, much like driving a car. They have a steering wheel and normally have foot control pedals for forward/reverse and braking. Tractor mowers are handy for towing a garden cart or small trailer.
Using a tractor mower is faster than using a self-propelled mower or push mower and works well on slopes. However, if you have garden beds, trees, or other obstacles in your lawn, the tractor mower can be a bit difficult to manoeuvre around. The tractor style mower’s turn radius is wide, and this means you often have to go back over spots you have already mown to cut grass that was missed when turning.
Tractor style mowers are generally the cheapest ride on mowers in the market, but this does depend on deck size and horsepower.
A well-known brand of tractor mowers are the John Deere mowers.
Why a Mid Mount Mower?
What are Mid Mount Mowers?
The mid mount is a compact zero turn mower with the engine at the rear of the machine and the deck is hung from the middle of the chassis with caster wheels at the front of the machine, hence the name mid mount as the deck is mounted in the middle of the machine.
Mid Mount Mowers vs. Tractor Mowers
Mid mount mowers have a zero-turn radius and are generally referred to as zero turn mowers. Mid mount zero turn mowers are ideal for well looked after lawns as they leave a good finish on the grass. they are manoeuvrable because of the zero-turn ability, therefore work well easily and quickly avoiding obstacles such as garden beds and trees. A zero-turn allows you to easy mow around objects as you can turn a lot tighter than a tractor style mower.
The zero-turn ability means that when turning around you do not leave uncut grass behind like you would in a tractor style mower due to the wide turning radius. Mid mount mowers have more speed than tractor mowers which means you will finish the job faster.
If you want a machine that is quick and gets the job done fast, mid mount mowers are a good option for you as you can halve the time you take to mow when going from a tractor mower to a mid-mount mower.
One thing a mid mount mower is not ideal for is pulling small garden trailers. It is easy to lose traction and therefore put wheel marks or muddy ruts on the grass when pulling a heavy load.
If you are mowing a large area, mid mount mowers are a good option as they have much larger decks than tractor mowers which helps to reduce the mowing time. The decks can range from 36-inches to 74-inches.
The tractor style mower will handle a slope better than a mid-mount zero-turn as the mid mount will lose traction on the drive wheels when operating on a slope. The operator sits higher off the ground which makes the centre of gravity higher and therefore reduces the ability to maintain traction and stability on slopes.
Whilst driving a tractor mower is similar to driving a car, a mid mount zero-turn mower requires the operator to learn how to control the machine using two handles. Like learning to drive it takes practice to become familiar with using zero-turn mid mount mower, but some people simply don’t enjoy it.
Mid mount mowers are generally more expensive than tractor style mowers as they have the larger engines and bigger (generally more heavy duty) decks. Having a stronger deck allows you to mow through rougher terrain and longer grass as it will not be damaged as easily as a pressed metal deck will be.
Why an Out Front Mower?
What are Out Front Mowers?
An out front mower is just that, the deck sits out the front of the machine rather than mounted underneath the operator’s seat, such as on a mid-mount and tractor style mower. The Walker Mower is an out front mower. Having the deck out the front of the machine means it is able to reach under obstacles such as low hanging tree branches, under fence rails and other obstacles that you would usually go back with a whipper snipper to cut the grass. As the deck is out the front of the machine, it doesn’t have the high chassis blocking it from reaching under obstacles. Being able to reach under obstacles makes the mowing much more efficient as you don’t have to come back with additional equipment to tidy up areas that a mid-mount or tractor style mower cannot get to.
Out Front Mower vs. Mid Mount Mower vs. Tractor Mower
As the deck is out the front and not mounted to the chassis, it is able to move independently to the machines. This allows the deck to float and follow the contours of the ground which reduces scalping the grass and leaves a superior finish on the lawn. This is one of the major benefits of the Walker Mower.
The design of an out-front mower means there is a better view of the mower and the objects near the mower. With a mid-mount and tractor style machine there are controls blocking your view and due to the positioning of the seat, it is difficult to mow and look at your drive tyres at the same time.
It is important to know what you are about to drive over especially when manoeuvring around obstacles. The unencumbered visibility of the operator on a Walker Mower makes the operator feel more comfortable mowing a little faster, this comes down to the operator being able to see what the machine is doing, making mowing heavily landscaped properties very time efficient.
For contractors, it needs to be quick, easy and convenient to change blades and clean mower decks. With a Walker Mower, this is definitely the case. The deck is easily tilted up 90-degrees making access to blades and cleaning under the deck a very simple task taking only about 5-8 minutes. With a tractor or mid-mount mower, you would have to put the mower on a hoist or jack it up to access under the deck which is an uncomfortable and dangerous task. As it isso easy and convenient to clean underneath a Walker deck, it tends to happen more frequently.
Like tractor mowers, the Walker Mower works well on hills because it is light weight and the centre of gravity is lower to the ground. The layout of the Walker also improves traction when on slopes, which is the main issue with mid-mount mowers.
Walker Mowers also have an internal grass collection system whereas mid-mount and tractor mower that collect grass have bulky blower systems hanging out the side of the machine making it less manoeuvrable.
Walker Mowers are similar in price to the mid-mount mowers and can come with a large range of deck sizes (36-inch to 72-inches).
After reading this quick comparison you will have plenty of questions coming to mind. With so many different mowing scenarios we recommend testing out a machine before you commit to purchase. Walker Mowers Australia has an extensive dealer network across the country, so find your local Walker dealer who is the local mower expert.