View Full Version : belt drive vs hydro

01-26-2001, 12:37 AM
I am currently in the market for a new 48" walk-behind
and need help with the following questions. Is the hydro
worth $1500 more,will it cut that much faster, and what are
the benefits/disadvantages of both? Your response will
be greatly appreciated.Thanks, Craig

01-26-2001, 01:03 AM
This topic has been covered many, many times. While waiting for new input I would suggest using the search feature on lawnsite.com.

Chuck Keough

01-26-2001, 01:31 AM
Yes it worth it if its your primary mower. If you plan to upgrade to a ZTR anytime soon, then no I wouldn't spend the money. I have a ZTR and would never go back to a walkbehind as my primary mower. Employees maybe. I have a belt drive and a hydro. The hydro is easier to operate, and it does same time on turning and getting around obstacles. But a must for productivity is having a sulky to ride on. This was the best thing I ever did to my walkbehinds.

01-26-2001, 06:55 AM
at $3200 the LESCO 48 fixed deck hydro with 17 hp kawasaki and electric start is not $1500 more! check it out!


01-26-2001, 08:22 AM
It depends on your situation. There was a post on here last week that got a bunch of responses, use the SEARCH..

01-26-2001, 08:28 AM
Here's a link to the search:


01-26-2001, 08:24 PM
I started out with belt drives and two years ago, I went to hydros..I didn't realize what I was missing out on...The hydros don't slip and mow in wet hilly conditions with ease..If you get the belt drives in any moisture, they just won't pull themselves..The belts slip and you basically have to push the dang thing..I mulled over the same thing: Is the hydro worth $1500 more???Yes, Yes, they are..Derrick

01-27-2001, 10:25 PM
Thanks for all of the advice. The $1500 difference
in the hydro was just approximate. Have not seen
any dealers in my area selling Lesco walk behinds.
The majority of commercial mowers in this part of
the country are Toro, Scag, Exmark, and Encore, with
the Encore being the cheapest. Are the Lesco hydros
worth taking a look at? Thanks, Craig

01-27-2001, 10:39 PM
Stick with the exmark, Iwoul recommend the exmark turf tracer HP (48" or 52") with ehe 17 hp. kawasaki. Go to your dealer and try a demo! (see for yourself) If I knew were you were from I could suggest a dealer to try. And Yes, a hydro is worth the money.

01-28-2001, 07:29 AM
Just the fact that the hydros give you "real" reverse make them worth any amount of money over the belt drive.

Jerrys Lawn Service
01-28-2001, 01:28 PM
Bowhunter, Hydro is the only way to go! You should be able to cut at least three more clients a day with these mowers.
So let's take an adverage thirty dollar yard, three more yards a day times five days a week is $450 per week! You'll make your money up in notime.
Good Luck!

01-28-2001, 01:43 PM
Go with the hydro, it makes your life much easyer in the long run and you can make the differance in price up in time saved.

01-28-2001, 02:44 PM
I had engine problems with my 48 lesco and they gave me a 52 hydro as a loner. Ended up using the thing for over a month. It was a much nicer mower to operate than my 48 belt. They take just a little bit of getting use to. At first I found myself rideing the brakes like an 80 year old man on a sunday drive. If you have the room on your accounts I would think about the 52. It has a heavier deck that bounces less on rough ground which means you can cut faster. The problem with choosing the hydro is a z will cut at least twice as much lawn in less than twice the time.
The z won't cost twice as much also.

Tuff choices.

01-28-2001, 02:49 PM
Jerry, How does a 48 hydro cut more grass per day then a 48 belt driven. I own a belt driven walkbehind but have used hydros. Yes the hydros are nicer to use and require little effort to operate them (like reverse) but i cant understand how they can cut more grass.

01-28-2001, 08:43 PM
I dont know how a hydro can cut more than a belt, but it does seem to be a diffence. After i went to hydro I thought that belts were a thing of the past. I will never buy another belt mower.

01-28-2001, 09:11 PM
This is my opinion...: On dry,level land, hydros and belt drives are pretty equal...They will mow about the same amount of grass..Where the hydro beats the belt drives is in wet grass and on hills..Belt drives will slip and will slow down, especially if u have a velke behind it.The hydros will just keep on truckin in all kind of terrain and conditions without slowing down..So if u most of your accounts are level lots then the belt drive will do just fine, but I would highly recommend the hydro...Derrick

01-28-2001, 10:42 PM
Looks like a hydro is the best way to go. I have a
total of two commercial accounts so far, and no
residentials yet,(just starting out two weeks ago),
but hopefully can get enough by early to mid summer that
I can go full time. Thanks again. Craig

01-28-2001, 11:11 PM
bowhunter--the queston is is the hydro worth the difference in purchase price. no one so far has said that a belt is better than a hydro (nor will they so the question remains the difference in purchase price). that's why I recomend the lesco hydro unit for the price I quoted.

my next unit will be a hydro if I decide to pay that much.

there are a couple of comments that need further addressing.

one--there aint no way somebody else on a mower with the only difference being hydro versus my belt is going to cut three more yards a day than me. I'd take this bet all day, any day!

two--apparently my lesco belt performs better than other belt driven mowers. I can't drive it through a pond but I can cut wet grass all day with it and NO SLIPPING BELTS. now I have heard the opposite of gravely. I've heard the slip badly in the morning dew.

bottom line, hydros are worth more money. but belts get the job done with more economy. email for more discussion if you like.