If you have a large yard or property to mow, then you know your standard push, or even riding, mower will not cut it. For these jobs, you need a much larger mower to cut down on the cutting time. This is where the best finish mower comes into play and why we bring you the 3 best finish mowers. We also provide a helpful buyer’s guide, but each is so distinct you have read to find out which one is right for you.
Best Finish Mowers in 2019
|King Kutter RFM-60|
1. Swisher FCE11544BS – Best Pull Behind Mower
Swisher is easily the most experienced company on our list and the company does at least specialize exclusively in lawn care and landscaping equipment. On top of that, Swisher brand products are designed to be used by the high-end consumer, providing more than enough specs to accomplish the task with a number of other conveniences thrown on top. This does limit the Swisher line to consumer-grade jobs and also has a tendency to inflate its price compared to the competition, but this is still the best gas-powered finish mower that we saw. While it could do with a bit more power, it is not deficient by any means and is so much easier to use than a PTO finish mower that you may very well find the price worth the value.
So Much Easier
To be clear: a finish mower which focuses on conveniences is likely not designed to be used for professional, commercial projects.
One thing that a gas-powered finish mower inherently offers above a PTO finish mower is versatility due to being a self-powered implement. However, the Swisher doubles down on this feature in a couple of ways but the most important is its ability to be used as a wing mower. While some PTO finish mowers can serve this purpose as well, they need a more powerful tractor to power both PTO finish mowers in the group as well as a compatible PTO drive. Or, you could get a separate finish mower that has its own power source and can serve that function as well. This allows you to accomplish the same task with a smaller, less expensive, tractor and without having to worry about compatibility.
2. King Kutter RFM-60 – Best Rotary Cutter for Tractor
King Kutter is not the most experienced company on our list, but they do still specialize exclusively in lawn care and landscaping equipment. On top of that, all King Kutter products are made in the USA which has helped the company earn one of the better reputations in the industry. Though there are a few finish mowers out there which are a bit more advanced than the King Kutter RFM-60, few are as all-around good which is why we named it our best PTO finish mower. With a number of protective and durable features to back up the raw cutting power, it is pretty easy to see why.
Some of the reason that the King Kutter provides such a nice looking cut has to do with the fact that the PTO drive generates 17985 FPM. This measures how quickly the blades cut a single point and is by far the fastest speed on our list. When you combine this cutting speed with a deck that has a solid 5’ working width, you are coming pretty close to qualifying for commercial use. Though the steel used is not the thickest, it is still a respectable 11 ga, and the King Kutter also features a heavy-duty cast iron gearbox.
3. Titan Attachments – Best PTO Finish Mower
Of all the companies on our list, Titan Attachments is the one whose origin does call itself into question. Specifically, Titan Attachments is the only company on our list whose products are not made in the USA. That said, Titan Attachments are at least made in Taiwan as opposed to mainland China, so the standards are generally higher. Still, even if this were a difficult finish mower, which it is not, it would still be the best budget finish mower we reviewed and easily justifies its value. To begin with, this is also the best finish mower for large yards due to the fact that it has a deck with a 72” working width, the largest on our list.
While not the most powerful finish mower we saw, the Titan Attachments gives most a run for their money, though this is reflected in a couple of features. Considering PTO finish mowers do not actually generate their own power, it is nice that the Titan Attachments can make use of up to 50 hp of energy, though it does require the most powerful minimum PTO drive on our list. This means that you will need either a more powerful tractor or a tractor with a more efficient PTO drive to run this finish mower compared to the others we saw. Still, the Titan Attachments features a twin v-belt transmission which allows the PTO drive’s energy to be transmitted into raw cutting power better than most.
Best Trail Mower – Buyer’s Guide
This relates to how exactly your finish mower is generating its cutting power with some finish mowers being individually powered and others being powered by the tractor pulling it. This second method of powering the finish mower and is called PTO or Power Take Off. This is essentially a part of the tractor that transfers energy generated by the tractor’s engine to a finish mower or other attachment. The PTO can function either mechanically or electrically, but electronic PTOs are the most common as they are more convenient to use than the mechanical models.
Essentially, gas-powered finish mowers are an entirely different ball game due to the fact that they do not need an external power source. That allows gas-powered finish mowers to be towed behind a number of different types of vehicles, not just tractors. On the other hand, gas-powered finish mowers are generally more expensive than PTO finish mowers while also being more prone to break down just due to the additional components has and actions it takes. Of course, you also have to account for the cost of the additional fuel the gas-powered finish mower would require to run.
It is worth noting that unlike many other types of lawn care equipment, a finish mower powered by a PTO is not going to be egregiously outmatched by a gas-powered model like other mowers are liable to be. Because the PTO takes the energy directly from the tractor, which produces copious amounts of energy anyway, the PTO finish mowers often have more than enough power to at least compete with a gas-powered finish mower. In fact, the main benefit of a gas-powered finish mower is similar to the benefit of many pieces of gas-powered lawn care equipment: mobility.
Regardless of the power source or any other factor or quality, the blades are what ultimately cut the foliage. As such, the blades are by far one of, if not, the most important considerations, though there are a couple of ways in which you can analyze them. One of the most common ways of examining a finish mower’s blades is by their physical properties. In this instance, the size of the blade as well as what the blade is made of will tell you how well the blade can cut. For instance, steel blades are generally considered the best because they are incredibly strong, fairly easy to sharpen, and light enough to be used for commercial grade mechanics.
However, the blade should also be judged by how it can be used which may seem a bit counter-intuitive considering the blade will be used to cut. However, depending on how and where the blade cuts can have a huge impact on how the property looks afterward. For example, one of the most popular features included involves a “scalping protection” setting on the finish mower’s blades. This setting essentially puts the blades on a track which is synchronized with the elevation of the ground below. This prevents the blade from cutting too deeply because of uneven ground and either scalping the ground or even digging it up.
Depending on the kind and size of property you have to mow, this might actually be considered the second most important quality on the list and not the blades. However, since the blades are responsible for the cutting action, the people who need to favor the finish mower’s width are fewer and farther between. That said, the width of the finish mower should be important to anyone as it will influence both how quickly the finish mower can work and how easy it is to use. In fact, if the finish mower is not wide enough for the tractor or other vehicle towing it, you may have to go behind the finish mower at some point to spot mow–which is something no one purchasing a finish mower wants to have to do.
It is also worth remembering that despite some of their mobility, gas-powered finish mowers are generally smaller than PTO finish mowers. This is because the weight of the engine on a gas-powered finish mower limits how the mower is engineered. As such, gas-powered finish mowers are generally made a bit sturdier in the middle which requires reinforcement that might otherwise be applied to the frame. Because of this, the largest properties generally use a wider finish mower with a PTO power source.
Like with many qualities and features associated with finish mowers, horsepower will mean two very different things depending on whether you are talking about a PTO finish mower or a gas-powered finish mower. For the gas-powered finish mowers, horsepower is pretty much what you think that it is: a reflection of the power generated by the engine. Obviously, the more horsepower that the gas-powered finish mower’s engine can produce the more cutting power you will get. However, this is not at all how horsepower is gauged for a PTO finish mower which does not produce its own energy.
Instead, for a PTO finish mower, the horsepower rating relates to how much power the PTO drive needs to transmit to properly run the finish mower. While ostensibly this is a quality you would prefer to be lower with a PTO finish mower, that also means that the mower would have less cutting power too. However, the more power a PTO finish mower requires to run the more power your tractor needs to be able to provide. Regardless of how enticing it may be to do so, a finish mower is not a good enough reason to go out and upgrade your tractor. As such, it is a better idea to simply look for a PTO finish mower that most closely matches up to the power your tractor’s PTO drive can transmit.
While this quality does not really differ too much depending on the type of power source your finish mower uses, it does still refer to a couple of different qualities. The most obvious aspect of the finish mower that the speed refers to is the literal moving speed of the entire product. Basically, the mower blades can only cut the foliage so well if it is given enough time to do so–time which is not afforded when you drive the tractor faster than the finish mower can cut. As such, most finish mowers have a maximum speed that they can be pulled while still providing a quality cut.
The other quality to which speed refers is the speed of the blades themselves which goes hand in hand with the actual velocity speed. To this point, the faster the blades can spin, the faster you can pull the finish mower–though this may carry with it other unintended consequences. It is also worth noting that finish mowers have a tendency to last much longer when pulled and spun at slower than maximum speeds.
With finish mowers, the amount of land that can be cut in a given day uses the same measurement that farmers use when planting crops: Acreage. Since finish mowers are generally pulled behind a tractor or some other kind of vehicle, chances are you intend to use it for a piece of property that is larger than your average yard. Once you get to a certain point, it is appropriate to start using acres when grading the area of land that a mower can cut. That said, most manufacturers no longer provide this measurement as part of their advertising due to the variation of results.
If you have large fields, and especially if those fields are used for planting, a finish mower’s acreage becomes incredibly important. That said, the acreage a finish mower can cut daily is dependent on a fair number of mostly unrelated factors. For instance, the blades and the width of the finish mower’s deck play an outsized role in how quickly you can cut. Of course, the cutting power generated as well as the power source will also play an important role, but not as much as you would expect due to the smaller cutting power disparity between the different types being closer than with other types of lawn care equipment.
As we can see, the best finish mower will mean very different things depending on what kind of task you need to accomplish. If you have a smaller project, one with terrain difficulties, or need an accompaniment, the Swisher is a great option. Of course, if you have a more professional project, the King Kutter offers the best mix of power and quality. That said, if you just need a big, strong finish mower you can drag into the ground, the Titan Attachments has the size and durability to do just that, and you can get it for a comparative steal too.