Tow-Behind Mower Buyer's Guide

How to Pick the Perfect Tow-Behind Mower

By  | Lawn Mower Product Expert

Just like walk-behind mowers and riding mowers, tow-behind mowers are available in a variety of styles designed to meet a variety of needs. They have no propulsion of their own, and must be towed behind a riding mower, ATV, or UTV.

Rough cut mowers are designed for cutting through thick brush and weeds, and they can even hack through small saplings.

Finish cut mowers are designed for cutting grass just like a lawn mower, and they can be offset behind your lawn or garden tractor to increase your cutting width and reduce the time it takes to finish mowing.

Tow-behind reel mowers are ideal for mowing golf courses, very large lawns, athletic fields, and other open-range areas that require a quality cut. They're easier to maintain because they're entirely mechanical and require no gas or oil changes.

Before choosing a tow-behind mower, be sure you know your towing vehicle's towing capacity. You should not tow more weight than your tractor, ATV, or UTV is rated to handle.

Compare Tow Behind Mowers

Gang Reel Mowers
7 Reel Gang MowerYou'll often see golf course landscapers towing gang mowers over fairways, cutting just grass.

Unlike most lawn mowers, gang reel mowers don't have an engine. Instead, they're towed behind an ATV or tractor at speeds up to 4 miles per hour.

These ultra-wide mowers contain 3, 5, or 7 reels, stretching up to 11 feet wide so you can mow up to 5 acres per hour. Gang reel mowers cut like scissors, providing a precise finish for a well manicured lawn. They're not designed to cut high grass, weeds, or brush.

How to Pick the Perfect Tow-Behind Gang Reel Mower

Finish Cut Mowers
Trail MowerFinish cut mowers, (a.k.a. trail mowers) are also designed for mowing large grassy areas - much like a gang reel mower. These mowers are built more like modern day lawn mowers with a high-powered engine mounted on top of a large cutting deck.

If your yard contains lots of trees shedding twigs and pine cones, you'll need the extra engine strength to split them into smithereens.

With cutting widths up to 5 feet, finish cut mowers aren't as wide as gang reel mowers. However, the tow bar of a finish cut mower can be offset from the tow vehicle so that you can use both the mower deck on your tow vehicle (if so equipped) and the cutting deck of the finish cut mower in a side-by-side manner to increase the total cutting width. This would allow you to mow up to 30 or 32 acres per day.

A tow-behind finish cut mower will keep your lawn looking great. But if you have high grass, weeds, or brush that needs to be tamed, this isn't the mower for you. Take a look below to learn about rough cut mowers.

How to Pick the Perfect Tow-Behind Finish Cut Mower

Rough Cut Mowers
Trail CutterIf you've got some over-grown, wild property that you'd like to tame, you'll need the machete-like cutting action of a trail cutter.

Tow-behind rough cut mowers - also known as trail cutters - use either one or two steel cutting bars that swing back and forth to cut vegetation up to 3 in diameter.

Rough cut mowers feature powerful engines designed to thresh thick brush off the beaten path with no problem.

While these tow-behind mowers are capable of cutting through heavy brush, they're not effective for cutting grass lawns.

How to Pick the Perfect Tow-Behind Rough Cut Mower


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