Brush Mower vs. Lawn Mower: What’s the Difference?

Brush Mower vs. Lawn MowerIf you’re looking out at your property and wondering how to manage overgrown grass, high weeds, brush, and other herbaceous nuisances, you may have considered whether you need a regular lawn mower or a brush mower. But how to choose? There is obviously a big difference in cost between the two machines, so it makes sense to get all the facts before you decide which to invest in. And here at DR, we know a thing or two about brush mowing!

What’s the difference?

Brush mowers are, to put it simply, a bigger, beefier, more powerful version of a traditional gas-powered walk-behind lawn mower. They operate using the same principles. Both are rotary mowers that use a combustion engine to turn a blade which slices through grass, weeds, and anything else in its path. Both are operated in much the same way, with the user using the handles to guide and propel the machine forward (except, of course, for tow-behind brush mowers).

The differences lie in the power of the engine, the heft of the blade, the ruggedness of the frame, and the available controls. While traditional lawn mowers generally have engines with 2 to 6 HP, brush mowers will have between 10 and 20 HP. (Although note that not all engines are rated in terms of horsepower; some are rated for their foot-pounds of torque (ft-lbs.) or their engine displacement (cubic centimeters, or ccs).) The extra power in a brush mower turns an extra-heavy blade and propels a much heavier and more rugged frame, allowing it to cut more intense weeds and brush.

June_15-330What can they cut?

A lawn mower is designed to cut through grass, plain and simple. They can usually handle about 4″ of grass height, and really struggle in wet grass. The engine bogs down, the bagger needs to be emptied more often, and the wheels sink into soggy ground. For well-maintained lawn areas, though, where the grass is mowed every week or two, a lawn mower is usually the best choice.

A brush mower, on the other hand, is a beast of a machine. Not only can they cut grass as high as 6 feet high, but they chomp through weeds as high as 8 feet, and saplings as thick as 3 inches in diameter.

Which one is best for me?20131029-_MG_9990

Think about your own property and what types of overgrowth you’ll need to mow. Are you strictly mowing your lawn? Is the grass usually under 4″ and dry when you mow? If your answer is yes, then a traditional lawn mower is best for you. But if you’d also like to mow (or exclusively mow) dense brush and weeds, high grasses, wet areas (brush mower tires are large and knobby and can handle most wet, muddy areas), or woody growth such as saplings and vines, a brush mower is your best bet. Consider both the self-propelled and the tow-behind models that are available.

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