Mower deck size and productivity

If your in the market for a new mowing machine your probably wondering what size machine to purchase.   There are a few things to consider.  If your a homeowner it’s a little simpler.  Size of lot, obstacles, landscaping, gate width, budget and perhaps terrain.  If your purchasing a machine for commercial use you need to consider your clients or potential clients yards.  Therefore you may need to make what you think is a compromises.  However, that compromise may save you time in the long run.  The same goes for a residential application.

Most commercial grade machines are hydrostatic drive and are usually in the neighborhood of five to ten grand.  For this article I’m not to focused on any particular configuration of machine.  Whether it be a walk behind,  ZTR or tractor.   I’ll write a small bit on that a little later.  My intentions are to just point out some of the factors to consider when it comes to size and productivity.  The Louisville KY GIE EXPO is a great show to demo new equipment.

A mid size machine such as a 48″ or 52″ can often times open more doors for work than a 60″or 72″.    Basically a large machine needs a large contract to justify the purchase.  If you a growing company or perhaps your just wanting to streamline what you already have.  You really can’t go wrong with a mid size machine.  When you land a large contract you can then justify a larger deck mower.

A large machine needs a fairly smooth lawn if your focusing on a manicured cut.  So if your mowing around 3″- 3.5″ you may have issues with scalping with a larger machine.  Another issues is one side or the other of the mower deck may dig into the ground if your mowing in a raven or valley.  Sometimes you may even get stuck.  The additional weight of the mower deck may or may not work with you.  With a large walk behind machine you may have trouble lifting the deck if your in a compromising position of needing to maneuver the mower.  While mowing on a hill a heavy deck machine may want to pull you down the hill depending on how your traversing the terrain. On the other hand a larger heavier deck may be more stable when climbing a hill.

A couple other things to consider if your transporting a machine.  Some smaller trailers may not accommodate a lager machine.  Or instead of hauling lets say three mowers you might be limited to hauling just two.  You may need to then purchase a bigger trailer or flatbed.

Another small consideration when it comes to deck size is what hp engine to opt for if that option is available.  If your in business I almost always get the largest engine.  I’ll have another article on gas, diesel, liquid cooled.  Often times when mower decks are close in size the engine option will be the same.  So the factor here would be the amount of torque the blades have.  I.g. a 48″ deck with a 19hp engine will have a slight advantage over a 52″ deck with the same engine when it comes to knocking down tall grass.

Sometime aesthetics may come into play.  Using a 60″ machine to mow a small residential lawn may not give the desired look.  I’ve had a couple occasions where a client has complained about using a machine that is too large for the application.  Some commercial contracts may even specify what machines they want used on their property.

Just a few simple things to consider.  If your in business its’ all about productivity.  Time is money.  That larger machine may save you time on one or two jobs.  Yet be too big and cumbersome for your remaining jobs.  It’s all about compromising and thinking what’s best for your business.

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