Belt drive mowers vs Hydro

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by nobagger, Mar 20, 2005.

  1. nobagger

    nobagger LawnSite Gold Member
    from Pa
    Posts: 3,065

    I was looking to buy a smaller 33 or 36" W/B but I was a little apprehencive because of the belt drive. I have never used one but they are a lot cheaper than a hydro. But how do they perform in the wet grass? I'm an Exmark person and the price difference was over $1300.00, and I do like the floating deck feature so I would have to go with a TTHP(if they make a 36",not sure) in a hydro. I see a lot of threads in hear that guys have belt drives. Good luck or bad luck in wet grass?
  2. WildLake

    WildLake LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 368

    One of my mowers is a 36 exmark belt. I dont really get slippage but when doing stripes(especially in a fenced lawn) you need alot of extra room(3 or more laps around the parimeter) to turn around with out missing a patch of grass. In other words you will have to basically lock the inner wheel when turning to turn enough in order to not miss a small patch of grass at the beginning of each run which usually will leave a divet or you have to make a really wide turn which I find to be a PITA. I usually end up making extra laps to get everything. With hydro you can reverse the inner wheel like a rider to get into perfect position to start the next run. I think if you have the money, go with hydro. I will never buy another belt because of the manuverabilty.
  3. lawnman_scott

    lawnman_scott LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,547

    I agree go with a hydro if you can afford it. A belt drive will work, and do the job, but a hydro is so much faster and manuverable.
  4. lawnranger44

    lawnranger44 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 370

    We have a belt drive. (36" Exmark Metro) It was our first mower upgrade and increased efficiency almost twofold. Plenty of power, stripes good, and not too expensive. The perfect mower for us at the time.

    That being said, I am never buying a belt drive again. You have to make a three point turn at the end of every stripe to avoid tearing up the grass. We've gotten good at it, but it is terribly unproductive compared to zero turn capabilities of a hydro. Also, when turning, you need to put the mower in neutral and pull it into position using your own power. Its physically demanding after doing it all the time. As someone else on lawnsite put it: "You ride a hydro, you MANHANDLE a belt drive!"

    If you can afford it at all and if you are planning to stay in the business for at least a couple years, get a hydro.
  5. MTR

    MTR LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 1,280

    You already have a 48" and a 52" both Hydro, why don't use that 48 for a smaller area? It will be a waste to get a belt cause they don't match your hydros by any mean. I literally use my 52" TTHP on every account now without touching a 36", practice and daily use will get you how to take care smaller property with little access.

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