View Full Version : The gloves are off! Which is best? Mechanical or jet agitation

11-15-2005, 11:21 AM
Ok, after searching for about half an hour, probably more, I'm still left with the question of which one is best. I had my mind set on an Easy Lawn or Turbo Turf jet agitated hydroseeder, but after reading some of the horror stories that guys have put on here, I kinda changed my mind. So......WHICH ONE IS BEST??? Not best for a lil' guy starting out, not best for a nationwide corporation, just THE BEST. If it costs, well then it does, but at least it's a dependable machine. I'm not asking which brand is the best, although a lil' input couldn't hurt. I'm really asking which agitation method is best. Also, if someone has a machine that they'd like to get rid of, PM me. Thanks for any and all input and I'll be checking back often.


jd boy
11-15-2005, 05:00 PM
there is absolutely no pondering to do... mechanical agitation is the only way to go. It allows you to use a wood based mulch which is thicker and holds mulch better.

we have a turf maker 900 and have never had a problem with it. if i had to do it again i would go bigger. 900 gal seems like a lot but doesn't go too far.

11-15-2005, 06:56 PM
mech. is hands down the best, my advice is buy some 100% wood mulch and call each company that your thinking about buying and have them come out and let you test their machine, if they dont want you to use the 100% wood mulch and keep pushing you towards the paper mixes then theres your anwser, ive got a turff maker and love it, no brake downs, no problems and no rust in the tank (not much paint left on the adgitator but no rust) after 3 years and i mean 3 years of hard use, every one will have their oppions so test the machines for your self thats the only way that you can see which works and will work best for you and your company. just my $.02

11-15-2005, 07:35 PM
I have written this many times, but what the heck, I will put a new twist to it.

If money is not an option and you are going to be using 100% wood mulch, then mechanical agitation is the way to go. On the other hand, if you are only going to be using the machines for small lawns and on an occassional basis, or you plan on using straw as your mulch, why in the world would you want to waste money on an expensive mechanical agitated machine that will be sitting around most of the time.

I started hydroseeding with a jet agitated machine, it paid for my finn and bowie that I now own. It also paid for the trucks the mechanical agitated machines are mounted on. It paid for the straw blower I own and the trailer it is mounted on. You will find out quick once you get a hydroseeder that its not the machine its the person running the machine.

When I buy another new machine it will be a mechanical agitated machine. Simply because the mechanical machine is more productive with the materials I use and the jobs I do. That doesnt mean you cant mix wood mulches in a jet machine, Hell, I discovered that i was mixing more wood mulch per gal of water in my jet machine than most put in their mechanical machines, you can even mix BFM's in a jet machine, jet machines are just not as productive with these materials as a mechanical machine is.

With that said, the type of work you will be doing should determine the machine you purchase. Jet machines make good starter machines but you can quickly outgrow it as your work conditions change. I started doing lawns and graduated to roadside work. I have a 600 gal finn and a 1000gal bowie, the jet machine was 500 gal but I just plum wore the pump out and converted it into a nurse tank for the finn.

If you are serious about a mechanical agitated machine you can e-mail this person at kakakiefier@juno.com. She has a good 1100 gal trailer mounted Bowie for sale for around $9000,(my guesstimate on the price). Its a 95 model and last time i saw it, it was in great shape. She is upgradeing to a 3000 gal model. Located near Charlotte NC. the machine was used mostly for hydroseeding with straw and tacking so it shouldnt have much wear.Tell her muddstopper sent you.

11-15-2005, 08:33 PM
I will add one other thing. It depends on the area of the country where you will be seeding as to what type of mulch will be required. Also, if you are going to do any kind of state / gov't. work, most of them require 100% wood mulch. Here in WV, we use 80/20 and 100% cellulose in our jet machine, and we grow fantastic lawns. As Muddstopper said, it's not really so much the machine as it is the operator. The fanciest $ 50K machine is no good if the person using it has no idea of what they are doing.Remember: Knowledge is power!-Schoolhouse Rocky..lol.. We are on our second jet machine from Turbo Turf, and plan on going to the new hybrid machine they have next spring to expand more into reclamation work for the state.

11-16-2005, 12:14 AM
Keep the suggestions coming.....I appreciate it. One of my sub's has an early to mid 90's Bowie mechanical hydroseeder for sale, 500-600 gal. unit, fair shape, hoses are worn, and he wants $4k-$5k for it, fair price or too high? I think that it's high for what the machine is, but you tell me. Thanks again and I'm still checking for input, have a good evening everyone, I'll be on tomorrow.


Planet Landscaping
11-16-2005, 05:44 AM
Finn is the best(cost not an issue), Thats all we use.

11-16-2005, 02:38 PM
Depending on the agreed rate per year of this state contract, we are seeking a three to five year to start, we will be going to a much larger setup. We have a demo with a company near Charleston, WV. They will be bringing us a Finn T120 for a day. I got to try one at Expo, and was very impressed with it. If the state comes through, that's our next machine.

11-16-2005, 06:01 PM
Come on now Planet, have you ever ran a Bowie or other mechanical machine. I have a Finn and a Bowie and there are things I like about each, but when it comes time to mix a load the Bowie is faster than the hydraulic driven agitator that Finn uses. As for my personaly preference between the two, I dont really have a preference.

As far as the cost of a new 500-600 gal Finn or Bowie, expect to pay $20+/- thousand, depending on accessories. The hoses and such are easy and fairly inexpensive to replace. What you need to look at is how well the pump is performing as well as the seals and bearings at the end of the agitator shafts. Dont forget to check out the engine as well. If these parts are good then the $4-5000 price tag makes this machine a steal. If you dont want it let me know where its at and I will come get it.

Planet Landscaping
11-17-2005, 04:07 AM
Sorry Mud , Just my opinion.

Planet Landscaping
11-17-2005, 12:23 PM
OK, Mechanical will mix and shoot a heavier slurry than a jet machine in most cases.However, Each has its place. Many guys use jet machines everyday with good results (I use mechanical, 3x the price new than some jet). That Bowie sounds like its worth looking at. Mudstopper knows his stuff. :waving:

11-17-2005, 05:18 PM
Sorry Mud , Just my opinion.

No need to apoligize, a lot of people feel the way you do. Everybody likes to think they own the best and by many Finn is considered the Caddy of hydroseeders. Personally, I havent found the machine that suits me best. I like the power of the Bowie machine when it comes to mixing , plus it has a bale grinder that just eats whole bales of mulch. I also like the reversible hydraulic agitation of the Finn, even if it wont mix as fast as the Bowie. The main reason I like the reverse agitation is because i fill and mix at the same time and sometime the machine fills with water before I can get all the mulch in the machine. The reverse agitation allows me to change the direction of the agitators and pull the unmixed mulch under the top of the tank so i can finish loading the mulch. the Bowie Agitator only runs one way and If I get behind loading mulch I have to climb off the machine and stop the water flow until I can get all the mulch inside the tank. I think TurboTurfs hybrid machine will solve the mulch problem when loading, it not only has mechanical agitation but it also has jet agitation that should really mix the mulch fast. It also can be bought with the Bowie positive displcaement pump or the centrifical pump. Cant get a Bowie gear pump on a Finn. finn does offer a positive displacement pump but get out the checkbook. One other thing I like about the Bowie, with the bale grinder I can load 600Lbs of material inside the machine without any water at all. This allows me more storage space ontop of the machine because i already have almost a full load inside the machine that just needs water added. Cant even start to load those kinds of materials in a hydraulic driven agitated machine without adding water first. On Finns larger machines, 1000 gal up I really like the top better than the Bowie. The Finn is lower to the ground and has a big flat top. Finns tanks are more rounded which allow for a lower profile with more capacity. Bowies tanks start round and then taper outward before rising to the top. The top is still wide and flat but the taper on the tank makes the top higher off the ground. This makes the Bowie more top heavy than the Finn.

I have been planning on building my own machine for sometime now. Turboturf sort of borrowed on my ideals of a plastic mechanical agitated machine altho I think Ray had also been thinking about one for a long time, Maybe some of my suggestions sort of got him in gear to actually put one together. I think he has build a super entry level machine at a very good price. When i build my own machine I plan on borrowing From several different manufacturers in Design. Finns hydraulic agitation with A Bowie bale grinder except it will be reversible also. Twin water pumps, A bowie Gear and a Centrifical both hydraulicly driven so I can choose the pump for the different conditions or use both at the same time. I also plan on running the hydraulics by truck pto so i wont need another engine. A guy In Oregon build his own machine and runs it off a dumptruck hydraulics, so I got that ideal from him. Definitly have to have two suction ports from the tank instead of one like everybody else. I get tired of trying to turn the truck around to empty the tank when seeding on roadbanks. With two suction ports I can just open the port that is facing down hill and suck the tank dry. Tower gunns mounted at the back corners instead of the back middle, I also get tired of trying to spray close to the truck with the middle mounted tower on other machines. Mounting towers on the corners will allow one to spray alongside the truck without getting slurry all over everything else. A hose reel mounted where the engine would normaly set,I hate the thought of having to climb up on a machine just to pull the hose off. I know there are other things I aint thinking of right now but I hope to get started building sometime in the next month. Probably cost me more to build than buying a ready made machine but if you cant buy what you want, you build it.

12-28-2005, 05:37 PM
so did we come up with a winner?

Planet Landscaping
12-28-2005, 08:45 PM
There is no losers. Both work well. test before u buy.

12-28-2005, 10:36 PM
so did we come up with a winner?

And the Winner is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have just about finished up all my projects I have been working on in my shop. My next project is going to be a hydroseeder of my own design, built in my own shop, entirely by ME!!!. and that makes it the WINNER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I plan on taking a bunch of pictures and will post them every now and then. I just hope this project doesnt take me as long as the last one.