What Is A Pull-Behind Lawn Mower?
Some mowing jobs are so big and some terrain so complicated that no walk-behind or even riding mower can efficiently clip with the kind of consistent quality you need. That’s when grass-grooming experts turn to pull-behind lawn mowers to create a broader cutting swath accompanying any vehicle to which it can be hitched – even another lawn mower. Whether you choose a motorless or powered design to hook up to an ATV or tractor, they are far and away some of the most adaptable, versatile lawn-mowing companions any property owner or professional landscaper could want.back to menu ↑
Who Is A Pull-Behind Lawn Mower Ideal For?
A pull-behind mower would be an excessive expense and impractical choice for any lawn under an acre in size. However, motorless gang reel and finished-cut mowers happen to be attractively cost-effective solutions to manicuring baseball diamonds, golf courses, massive yards, and any other field that demands pristine primping. They can also generate the power and broad path to swiftly clip huge farm fields defined by uneven topography in professional fashion, especially a powered rough-cut mower.back to menu ↑
What Are The Benefits Of A Pull Behind Lawn Mower? (pros vs cons)
Gang reel mowers start at an 18-inch cutting area and range to decks measuring all the way up to 11 feet across. Between the smooth, immaculate slices of their scissor-like blades to the motorized additional power of a finish-cut mower and the pinnacle strength of a rough-cut mower beyond that with relatively medium-sized decks of their own, there aren’t many oversized mowing tasks that a pull-behind mower can’t handle.
There aren’t too many drawbacks, but there are a few. First, for any piece of machinery this large, you have to be ready to shell out some major money, especially for bigger motorized mowers. You also need to assess the layout of your lawn very carefully before zeroing in on a certain deck size. After all, your ATV or tractor will end up possibly pulling a good several additional feet of width on either side. Tight squeezes could quickly become a challenge worth of perhaps keeping a walk-behind mower handy.back to menu ↑
How To Choose A Pull-Behind Lawn Mowerback to menu ↑
What Are The Different Types Of Pull-Behind Lawn Mowers?
Gang Reel Mowers
You might have seen these upsized big brothers of push reel mowers pulled behind landscaping tractors at speeds around 4 mph while cutting golf-course fairways to carpet-like finishes. Multiple blades spanning three, five or seven reels spread across up to 11 feet behind an ATV or tractor will push the grass down as they rotate before precisely cutting it like multiple pairs of scissors. As impressively manicured as their finished products are, gang reel mowers are absolutely not ideal for thick weeds, brush, or high grass.
Also known as “trail mowers,” these models measuring up to 5 ½ feet in cutting width deliver power tailored to large areas just a little too thick or tall for gang reel mowers but at about half their motorless counterparts’ maximum size. Their motors muster speed behind their blades that can dice pine cones and twigs with ease and still produce perfect slices on ordinary grass. As a bonus, finish-cut mowers are designed with a tow bar that be offset from its hitched vehicle to put the cutting deck to work in tandem with that of the vehicle, making it possible to mow 30 to 32 acres in a single day.
However, like a gang reel mower, these models are less than ideal for keeping high grass, thick weeds and heavy brush in check.
Rough-cut mowers won’t offer the polish to beautify grass lawns. The name alone might imply that. However, there is no better pull-behind mower for bringing wild, overgrown properties down to size. Also known as “tail cutters,” rough-cut mowers hack like machetes using either a single steel cutting bar or a pair of them swinging to and fro into growth measuring up to three inches in diameter. These beasts come thresh the thick stuff with ultra-powerful engines built for raw strength without finesse.back to menu ↑
What Are The Top Features Of A Pull-Behind Lawn Mower?
If you expect your pull-behind mower to routinely traverse plenty of bumps and inconsistencies, a floating deck will respond with all the balance you need by connecting to the frame directly through its suspension system.
As with any mower, the grass you can cut per pass, the better. However, only pull-behind mowers can actually add to the cutting width of the mower to which you hitch it while giving every path an instant second set of finishing touches. Finish-cut and rough-cut mowers vary in the breadth of their paths from 44 to 66 inches and 44 to 57 inches on average, but gang reel mowers range from modest 18-inch swaths to massive paths measuring up to 11 feet.
Cutting Height Adjustment
The option to adapt your pull-behind mower’s height to suit the job at hand is an absolute must-have. When it comes to grass lawns in particular, you should never trim below 30 percent of your yard’s overall height. Clean cuts above that level will heal smooth and actually help your grass grow back at a brisk pace consistently. Going too short will leave your grass more prone to dehydration during prolonged hot, dry spells and susceptible to siege by pests and diseases.
Mows Outside Wheelbase
Using a pull-behind mower can often recall a bit of adjusted planning. Remember, you’ll be mowing beyond your wheelbase, which means accounting for certain changes in maneuverability. It’s a good idea to keep a smaller walk-behind mower handy for dealing with narrow spaces and close edging.
Minimum HP (Horsepower) To Pull The Unit
Generally speaking, anywhere from 10.5 to 19 horsepower will more than handle all but the most massive pull-behind mowers. Using different metrics, a 249cc enge will be plenty of muscle to pull a finish-cut mower, a rough-cut mower’s own powerful engine and greater bulk demands around a 350cc engine to tow it effectively, but if your quad ATV or tractor has at least the 450cc engine recommended to pull a motorless gang reel mower, it can handle the other two varieties with no questions asked.back to menu ↑
Articulating Hitch Pin Tow Arm
Rough-cut mowers can literally change the way you mow by incorporating an articulating hitch. This unique feature lets you offset your pull-behind mower to the left or right of the towing vehicle, allowing it to run through brush without your needing to drive directly through the rough stuff yourself. This is also quite a handy way to stretch your reach to areas such as underneath low-hanging trees and into ditches where your vehicle itself cannot travel.
Remote Operator Control
If you need a finish-cut or rough-cut mower, give yourself a break. Having to climb onto and off of your towing vehicle isn’t the end of the world, but remote operator control streamlines your work through convenient control over your mower’s engine and blades without ever having to leave the driver’s seat.
Tire Size For Rough Terrain
Without the right tires, disaster will await you and your pull-behind mower should you take it across any significantly rough, challenging terrain. Here’s a short-and-sweet guide to what you need to know to properly outfit your wheels:
Since this measurement defines your blades’ cutting height and measurements can sometimes differ by manufacturer, I strongly recommend replacing both front and back tires at the same from the same manufacturer to maintain evenly patterned cuts.
Clearance issues and rubbing may result from installing tires with numbers wider than the one on the sidewall. Stick explicitly to the manufacturer-specified measurements to avoid unwanted wearing.
This is really pretty simple: if you don’t purchase tires that match this measurement of your wheels, you will end up sinking considerable money into unusable tires that won’t fit.
Unlike a tube tire, pneumatic or air-filled tubeless tires do not need a separate inner tube to hold air pressure because each tire’s bead uses that internal pressure to create an airtight seal by forcing the tire to rest against the rim flange.
This number indicates a tire’s load capacity and performance by denoting the number of internally embedded nylon cords. There is no harm in replacing one tire with another sporting a higher ply rating, but do not go any lower.
This represents each tire’s maximum carrying capacity when inflated to its optimal pressure. Exceeding that threshold risks critical tire failure.
Maximum Air Pressure
Never fill a tire above its specified maximum pounds-per-square-inch (PSI) of pressure.
Simply put, a bigger mower means a bigger engine. That generally translates to a higher top speed, but keep in mind, you only need about 4-5 mph of momentum to achieve optimal cutting quality on almost any job. An engine’s power also suggests just how capable it will be of tearing easily through small twigs, tall grass, thick weeds, and heavy brush.
Your finish-cut or rough-cut mower may not have to drive itself through walls of unruly roughage, but it still has to slice through it. Like any gasoline-powered device, you can expect a steady stream of dense power that won’t let up significantly as the tank drains, but it does murn through gas faster as its workload dramatically increases. Taking into consideration its intended use on grass lawns only, a finish-cut mower should be able to cut around 30 to 32 acres in a day. Being designed to especially to negotiate much thicker growth, a rough-cut mower can probably manage only about three to eight acres. My suggestion: account for the nature of your lawn’s vegetation to determine which type meets your needs, measure your property carefully, apply some simple math using each mower’s expected mileage, and estimate your likely seasonal fuel expenses according to how often you expect to mow each season.
As much as I may romanticize that glorious nostalgic roar of a pull-cord engine rumbling to life, my mid-fifties have reminded me that just firing up a walk-behind gas mower in that fashion can be annoyingly exhausting. Now, take into consideration the bloated size of a pull-behind mower’s motor. A model with a convenient battery start is more than just an easier way to mow. It’s a mercy unto your shoulder, and a fairly dependable mechanism, to boot.
Number of Blade Reels
Gang reel mowers offer arguably the greatest overall range of options for spending less time mowing for each session. Just beware choosing an overly wide mower that suddenly makes maneuvering around your yard awkward.
As a rule, three-reel gang mowers offer cutting widths measuring between four and five feet. A five-reel mower will cut down a three-reel’s time with breadths of six to eight feet. Finally, seven-reel mowers are not exactly common but their cutting areas eclipse 11 feet across.back to menu ↑
Warranty & Support
Considering that pull-behind mowers range in price from just over $1,000 to around $1,600, depending on the size and model, opt for nothing less than a two-year comprehensive warranty and move any mower offering four years or more of highly inclusive parts and service coverage to the top of your list.back to menu ↑
What Types Of Grass Is Best Or Bad For A Manual Pull-Behind Lawn Mower?
There isn’t much that a pull-behind mower can’t hack. You just have to choose your type according to the job at hand. A gang reel or finish-cut mower will manicure any manner of grassy expanse in smooth, time-saving fashion, although I would strongly suggest a finish-cut model for the best results mowing over pine cones and twigs. For an abundance of thick brush and tall grass, go with the machete-like blades and advantageous power of a rough-cut mower.back to menu ↑
Extra Features To Consider
Use With ATV, Lawn Tractor, Etc…
A pull-behind mower will dramatically multiply the versatile usefulness of any quad ATV or lawn tractor with enough power to tow it.
If providing your lawn with added nutrients by mulching clippings as you mow isn’t a particularly attractive feature, look for a mower that conveniently bags your clippings for you to dispose of as time allows while you cut.
The beauty of most pull-behind mowers is that they are incredibly easy to use straightaway after unpacking, provided you have the right fittings to hitch it to your vehicle.back to menu ↑
You might have heard the phrase “California-compliant” used to describe a gas-powered lawn mower. This is a reference to the state of California’s institution of America’s most stringent pollution standards for all lawn mowers sold within its jurisdiction. According to the state-sponsored research, lawn mowers account for a significant share of California’s air pollution, even rivaling the footprint of many automobiles. To rectify this, state law requires sale materials for all lawn mowers to indicate compliance with unforgiving air-quality regulations. Therefore, if a mower’s information explicitly indicates California compliance, you can rest assured it likely far exceeds pollution-reduction standards within your own state.back to menu ↑
What Are The Pull Behind Lawn Mower Brands?
If you rightfully prize durability in a mower built for big jobs spread across some difficult-to-manage ground, Swisher’s notoriously durable heavy-duty steel construction and low-profile signature is just about as good as it gets.
Thanks to the most uniquely easy tool-free height adjustment and offset bar you’re bound to find on any pull-behind mower, Acreage makes a mower that’s as impressively powerful and adaptable as it is simple to use.
When it comes to gang reel mowers in particular, ProMow’s sizable cutting paths can clear up to two acres per hour no matter how uneven the ground, thanks to full-flex, zero-turn and reverse maneuverability.back to menu ↑
Where To Buy A Pull Behind Lawn Mower?
Although exceptionally large gang reel mowers aren’t stocked everywhere, you can inquire about purchasing quality pull-behind mowers via Amazon or online and in person alike from such major retailers as Tractor Supply Company, Sears, Home Depot, and Lowe’s.