36" Hydro or Belt

Zackster

LawnSite Member
Location
Louisville, KY
I run a small lawn care company and plan on expanding this year. I have a
52" Exmark zero turn.

Looking to purchase a new 36". My question is what is the difference between a hydro and a belt driven machine besides the price?

Performance, maintenance, longevity?
 

professional

LawnSite Member
Location
Frederickburg VA
I have a John Deere G15. I love it. Over 700 hrs., not one hiccup. For my application, in this size machine, gear drive is the way to go. Had a hydro that I used for a demo, it was not a good machine for what I need it to do. Best thing is for you to demo the both of them, and decide from what you like. As far as differences, the hydro's tend to need more hp and more fuel. Plus a little more maintenence and possibly repairs.
 

Darryl G

Inactive
Having operated a hydro 48 incher for 10 years now I would never want to operate a belt drive machine again. Dual hydros are so much more manueverable and productive than a belt drive machine. You don't have to pick a gear and just "go with it" like you do with a belt drive...you have infinite speed control. You get a positive drive regardless of conditions (belts tend to slip when wet) and a true reverse (belts have a reverse assist). Maintenance is pretty low...just change the hydro fluid occasionally and the hydro drive belt as needed. Repairs on hydros, yeah they can be costly, but failures aren't very common.

Just imagine your zero turn rider with a belt driven 5 speed transmission on it instead of a hydro drive system...would you want to operate it?
 

orangemower

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
pa
Having operated a hydro 48 incher for 10 years now I would never want to operate a belt drive machine again. Dual hydros are so much more maneuverable and productive than a belt drive machine. You don't have to pick a gear and just "go with it" like you do with a belt drive...you have infinite speed control. You get a positive drive regardless of conditions (belts tend to slip when wet) and a true reverse (belts have a reverse assist). Maintenance is pretty low...just change the hydro fluid occasionally and the hydro drive belt as needed. Repairs on hydros, yeah they can be costly, but failures aren't very common.

Just imagine your zero turn rider with a belt driven 5 speed transmission on it instead of a hydro drive system...would you want to operate it?
Heck yeah. If it's a 5 speed that means it has a clutch. If it has a clutch that means I can dump it and do wheelies! :laugh:

Seriously, Darryl is right on the money.

Now don't get all butt hurt but he wouldn't have to repeat himself had you did a search. Not trying to rag on ya but it's a question that has 5000 threads already posted answering this exact same question. You wouldn't have to wait for a response with the awesome search engine this site has.

Go with a hydro. Your forearms will thank you later.
 

metro36

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
Long Island NY
Belt is easier to learn how to operate as it is much simpler. They are easier to maintain and cheaper to repair. They do well on flat open areas. Most suck once the belts get wet, and they don't always handle hills well. They are lighter so the can be man- handled and can be lifted up over curbs if necessary.

Hydros are more maneuverable in tight areas and more productive. They are easier on the operator but it is also a lot easier to cause damage with a hydro. They do a lot better on hills and don't have issues when its raining. A hydro will handle a sulky better than a belt. There is more to maintain on a hydro and if a part in the hydro system goes, it can be very expensive.

Personally, I prefer hydro drive floating deck walk behinds. IF you have mainly flat, wide open properties and don't mind man handling it in tight areas than a belt should be ok for you.
 

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