pros and cons of floating and fixed decks

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by thesargent, Jul 11, 2006.

  1. thesargent

    thesargent LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 400

    what are the benefits of floating decks? of fixed decks? pros and cons of both. im gathering as much info as i can on larger walkbehinds. thanks for your opinions
  2. ProLawns

    ProLawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 476

    I'll never own a fixed deck. Different mowing situations call for different heights and I can't imagine not being able to adjust the height.
  3. MDLawnman

    MDLawnman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 229

    I have one fixed deck and two floating decks. The fixed deck is ideal for the purpose that I purchased it for but there is no comparison to the floating decks. They give a superior cut every time with a low risk of scalping. A person has to be careful and pay attention not to scalp with a fixed deck. With the "floaters" it's go go go!
  4. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,941

    My experiences are limited, but in a general statement: My fixed 36" deck on a w/b is less prone to scalping and gouging than my 48" deck on a ZTR.

    The primarly problem with the 48" deck on the ZTR is working parallel to slopes. The floating deck will more likely leave a sea-saw effect than the 36" floating deck. Also, when working around the base of trees, the fixed deck will not gouge as easily on the outside edge as the wider, floating deck.

    My anti-scalp wheels on the floater are set so that they rarely engage with the ground. The are uually turning, but only because they are running on the turf (standing blades of grass), not on the ground. They are positioined in a "middle hole," and I'm reluctant to set them lower, lest they run too much on the ground.

    Remember, these experiences represent a limited range and may not follow what others have learned with same width decks.

    ProLawn implies that fixed deck cutting heights cannot be changed. That is not the case with my equipment -- I've never seen a fixed deck for which the height setting could not be changed. I change mine many times each day, sometimes different height settings on the same property.
  5. naturescape

    naturescape LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,696

    I used to say floating decks were a money making scam. Well I've used both now, and there is no comparison. The floating deck is the only way to go! It will cost maybe 700 dollars more, and adds a bit of weight. I don't think the weight issue matters at all if you use any kind of sulky, as a matter of fact, I've found the extra weight in the front is a must!

    You can adjust height easily on a fixed deck, but you'll never get the right pitch.
  6. T.E.

    T.E. LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 799

    Ditto all of the above for the floating deck. Wouldn't put my liquid gold/aka gasoline in a fixed deck. :D Later, Tony
  7. mike lane lawn care

    mike lane lawn care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,707

    i had a fixed deck machine and it scalped all the time. my broadmoor has a floating deck, and has NEVER scalped even on the most uneven terrain. i have never noticed a wavy pattern on hills as some have said, you will never see me with a fixed deck unit. not in the berkshires anyway.
  8. thesargent

    thesargent LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 400

    well thanks. it sounds like floating is the way to go. even on a smaller walk behind (32-36) would you recomend a floating deck?
  9. ProStreetCamaro

    ProStreetCamaro LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,289

    I honestly haveny seen any real difference between the two. All our old WB's were fixed decks and we never had any problem with scalping. One was a 50" Gravely, 48" bunton, 2 36" bobcats, 1 36" scag and various others over the years. When your on a velky it is easy to push down on the handles and raise the front of the mower over a rought spot.
  10. MTR

    MTR LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 1,280

    32-36, fixed deck is okay, no big deal.
    48-60, you need floater all the way.
    I have used eXmark both 36" fixed and 52" floater, I love the floater outright, it leaves much better cut and beauty. Set, anti-scalp lower to keep it floating while cutting hill. It takes a few dollars to replace aftermarket anti-scalp roller!

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