Advantage of Walk-Behind?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by GreenStreet, Aug 21, 2013.

  1. TML

    TML LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 835

    1step further now belt drive or hydro? Any full time guys run belt drive WB? Some of the newer makes w/ ECS ect may be a little easier on the hands. Belt drives are still even lighter, and even cheaper/easier to buy and maintain. I'm slowly growing and will deff need a 48" next year. I want to go full time at some point. So far I've made my 36 Metro work. I just see so much of the go hydro or go home. 5-7 grand for new machine) I've not experienced any of the slipping issues associated with the belt drives and I find ways to mow the property w/ out having to pull back or go in reverse. The company I worked for years ago ran strictly Walkers so I have yet to use a hydro WB. With everything I have read on old threads I feel like Im probably missing the boat on this one.
  2. No Weeds Left Behind

    No Weeds Left Behind LawnSite Member
    Posts: 119

    This is a big one for me. i am in the market for a new mower and have got it down to what size I am gonna buy. The next problem I have is ZTR, WB, or stander. I have a belt drive 36 and it is really tiring to do some of my lawns with. I am part time and I cut before I go to work so I dont wanna be dead at my other job until my business gets off the ground. i have been borrowing a 48 ZTR and has worked out great. I can for sure see the weight on lawns and trailers being an issue. But I see alot of advantages to ZTR too.

    1. i really like have the foot peddle to lift the deck.
    2. Riding is easier than walking / standing but can be harder on back
    3. Takes alot less time than my 36 belt drive
    4. easier on hands I dont have bad hands but I think if I did it full time with a pistol grip mower my hands would fall off ha.

    Advantages of WB
    1. Cut quality seems to be better
    2. less weight on lawn and trailer.
    3. I really think the hydro wb would be worlds easier than a belt drive.

    I honestly think if i was going to buy anything bigger than a 48" I wouldnt consider a walk behind though.
  3. OakNut

    OakNut LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,077

    Belt or hydro?

    I had never used a belt drive when I started researching walk behinds. As a matter of fact I had never used a walk behind of any sort.

    I started reading about the features of each and when I got to "reverse assist", I was like, woah, wait, what? ASSIST?
    Maaaaannn... life is rough enough and if I'm going to be using this thing every day, I want anything that will make my life easier for those hours I'm using it.

    I'm SO happy I got a hydro.

    If air conditioning were an option, I'd get THAT too so I could laugh at the guys sweating from dragging their belt drives backwards while I move back and forth with the ease of fingertip controls.

    IRRITECH LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 931

    If Brickman is in your area, talk to your exmark dealer. He can tell you when there mowers come off lease. You can pick one up with 700-800 hrs for $2K.
  5. monoshock

    monoshock LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,319

    Hydro, or stay home.
  6. sjessen

    sjessen LawnSite Gold Member
    Male, from Knoxville, Tn
    Posts: 3,346

    I sometimes wonder if they have unplugged the meters for a while on these leased mowers.
  7. CreativeLawncareSolutions

    CreativeLawncareSolutions LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,025

    I have a Brickman Turf Tracer. Got it 3 years ago. Runs like a top still.
  8. No Weeds Left Behind

    No Weeds Left Behind LawnSite Member
    Posts: 119

    I guess while we are on the subject has anyone demoed or bought the new scag walk behind?? Looks pretty cool
  9. TML

    TML LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 835

    GMLC is doing a review w pics on it.
  10. macgyver_GA

    macgyver_GA LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 826

    If you have the funds and can justify the extra expense, get a hydro.

    I started out with a Snapper pro 36" pistol grip belt drive walk behind 4 years ago. Over the years I picked up more and more clients and running the belt drive for extended periods of time started to bother me. This spring I sold the belt drive (for what I paid for it!) and bought a lightly used (200ish hours and owned by a homeowner) Snapper Pro 36 hydro with loop handles and floating deck for $1400! The thing was mint! Wow, what a difference. I love the hydro so much more! The loops handles are much more ergonomic as well. I can do true zero turns on the hydro (not a pivot like with a belt drive). I run the same 2 wheel haevenar sulky behind it that I was running behind the old one.

    I'm still running a 36 because I service pretty small "postage stamp" properties (2500-4500 sq ft of turf). They're all tight together. The 36" is so much more productive than a 21 but it's still marginally too big for some of the small properties. I'm toying with the idea of adding a 30" exmark next year to see if I can be just as productive but leave a slightly better cut and not rut as bad. I'll have my part time helper run the 30 on the smaller properties and I'll use the 36 on the larger ones.

    As my business expands, I think I'll continue to run WB's due to the cheaper price tag, less maintenance, and the terrain around here. Most of the larger companies around here (brickman, valleycrest, crabapple, gibbs, mobile joe's) run turf tracers w/ sulkies for the most part. They have very few Ztr's in their fleets. There are very few properties around here that would allow you to fully take advantage of the speed of a ZTR due to the terrain. Very rarely do I even run my WB wide open on small residentials.

    Like others have said, find what gives you the best compromise between expense, cut quality, operator fatigue, and productivity. There is no "best" mower for everyone. We all have different needs.

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