Hills...Front or Mid???


LawnSite Member
Berlin Hts, Ohio
Stuck like most newbies - the debate between front or mid-mount. Which is better, in your opinion, for hills? To the salesmen - of course it is the product they're selling. Also being a newbie - is 61" or 54" a better buy as an all around machine (residential and commercial use).
P.S. :) Make you a good deal on that gear caddy! LOL! Thanks again...


LawnSite Member
Upstate NY
One thought on a front mount mower for hills. If it has an electric lift (Like Ferris) then you can lift the mower to transfer it's weight to the drive wheels when you get stuck. A very handy feature.


Eric ELM

Husband, Father, Friend, Angel
Chicago, IL USA
I feel the mid mount deck mowers are best on hills. I like the idea, you don't have to be lifing a deck to get traction like the front mounts. I've demoed them, so I do know how they operate in hilly conditions.

Get the widest cut mower you can use on your lawns. The wider the cut, the wider the wheel base for mowing hills. The wide wheel base is very important on hilly lawns.


LawnSite Senior Member
I have the best of both worlds, because I have one of each!
Both have their strengths & weaknesses.
Front decks are good for stability, & my steiner has the traction feature also. What you haven't read here yet is the fact that I have ATV tires on my midmount ZTR, & yet my steiner will hold across a hill better with lots less slippage or tearing up turf to hold on; & that's with normal mowing, not using the deck lift for traction.
The steiner also has a wide track & lower center of gravity than many front mounts, which helps out.
All in all, the steiner holds the toughest hills better, but most everything else will get the ZTR vote. For wide open mowing, my bobcat will smoke the steiner. If you're climbing straight up a hill, the ZTR works best. But then again it sucks in reverse, & the steiner will march up a steep hill in reverse, kinda like a front wheel drive.
That's how it works for me; get both in the future, but if you can only get one, get a ZTR.

Acute Cut

LawnSite Senior Member
Bellingham WA
I have had the front mount Exmark version of a mower. I had the "turf ranger". It sucked. I was CONSTANTLY lifting the front deck to get the traction. (It rains alot here and we have alot of hills) I now have a 52" WB that never fails me. The deck may bounce some when going up steep hills to fast, but if you are on top of your skills then this is not a problem. I would say get a WB w/a set of jungle jims. Then you can do big lawns and still have enough maneuverability to do your residential. If you were ONLY into riders i would say get the Lazer if you do not have many Hilly lawns. I have "heard" that the lazer has a level kill switch. When you get to far off center then it dies. That is only what i have heard though.

I could be wrong. Go with what Eric says though. Biggest mower for the lawns you ahve. you wont be sorry.

Acute Cut


I've tried both versions amd found that the mid mount is far easier to keep tracking straight on a side slope. Ended up with an Exmark Lazer Z. Second choice was a Ferris mid mount. Tried a Grasshogger on the smae turf, it would NOT track on the sidehills. Would go up and down just fine but you could not mow across the slope.

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