Hydro vs. Gear Drive

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by landgator, May 11, 2006.

  1. landgator

    landgator LawnSite Member
    Messages: 62

    Whats the difference? Besides the cost.
  2. howardsells2000

    howardsells2000 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 355

    A belt drive is going to work you much harder. A hydro is easier to use. It will easily move forward and reverse. A belt drive doesn't have a true reverse, it is more like an assist. If you get a dual hydro you can do zero turns. With the belt drive when you want to go faster or slower you need to stop and shift it into different gears. The hydro will go faster or slower without changing gears or stopping. You can have one wheel go forward and the other go backwards, thats how you do a zero turn.

    I have a 36" Ferris belt drive walk behind. It's a great mower but it gives me a work out if I'm using it in a yard with lots of bushes, turns or places where I have to back up. I also have a 52" Ferris dual hydro walk behind. I love it. I wish I could use it on every lawn. It is a breeze to use and it's fast.

    I'm sure cost will play a big role in your purchase. I know that it did for me. I'm pretty sure I won't buy another belt drive. From now on I'm hydro all the way.

    To change the subject, I noticed your a Marine. Me too. I was in from 1981 to 1985. I also noticed your in Morehead City. I was stationed at Cherry Point NC for almost 2 years. I used to love to go to Morehead city and walk around the docks.

    I'm new to the business myself but I'm learning fast. I have approximately 75 customers now. I work alone and so far I have been keeping up. But its raining this evening and I think its going to rain tomorrow so I will probably have to mow this weekend.

    Good Luck and email me if you have any questions I can help you with. howardsells2000@yahoo.com
  3. Dunn's

    Dunn's LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,534

  4. TriCountyLawn

    TriCountyLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,517

    The company I worked at prior to starting my own business used toro belt drives with T-Bar controlls. While I will say the t-bar is a are good controlls I vowed to never make my own employes yank the hvy belt drive WB's around.

    Aside from that you save time with the hydros. Yes the cost more but ya just got to weigh that cost/effort ratio i guees. We run Hustler WB's and havnt found a wb superior to it yet. Good luck .
  5. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,369

    We used Scag belt drive WB for many years and it isn't that big of a problem. In fact the Scag hydro pistol grips aren't all that much different, and the Snapper hydro isn't that easy either.

    JKOOPERS LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,259

    belt drives suck especially in the rain or if its wet out .

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,534

    The ONLY difference is COST---

    HYDRO will cost LESS!!!!

    If you are doing this for a living-- Get the most cost efficient equipment you can get
    And a Hydro will make you more money- The price is higher but it will cost you less to own because you will be more productive. Period...
  8. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I've been using nothing but gear-drives since day 1, of course mine are Toros and nothing but Toros with the patented, fatigue-reducing T-bar control. To give you an idea how good it is, if you ever break the silly steel T that makes up the bar, it costs 80 dollars from Toro for the part lol but you can weld it.

    Far as reverse, the older ones are a bit stiff, other than that you should always operate gear-driven Wb's in the SAME gear, and I would suggest the highest or fastest, then control speed with the belts and since you have a T-bar, there is no problem. It takes practice but you eventually learn to either not get into situations requiring reverse, you learn to pull the Wb by hand, or you do like I do and back up like a champ while still standing on the Velke (you're not supposed to in case it jack-knifes).

    I ain't paying more for crap, Toro gear-drive T-bar, you can try a hydro Toro but money-wise the standard is the best choice.
    They break one, maybe two belts a year, $50 each. Some can go for years on a belt, especially the lighter fixed decks.

    Don't know nothing about fatigue, the handheld blower or the weedeater tires me out far worse.

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