Tow-Behind Mower Buyer's Guide

Tow-Behind Mower Buyer's Guide

How to Pick the Perfect Tow-Behind Mower

Jake, the Lawn Mower Expert
Lawn Mower Expert

Whether you're cutting rough trails, maintaining plots of land or building your field of dreams, tow-behind mowers are up to any task. 

There are three types of tow-behind mowers available: 

  • Gang reel
  • Finish cut
  • Rough cut 

Designed to meet a variety of needs, these mowers have no propulsion of their own and must be towed using a riding mower, ATV, or UTV. 

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.

Take a look at the comparison chart below to see the differences between the classes of mowers, and read on to learn more about each type. 

TOW-BEHIND LAWN MOWERS Gang Reel Finish Cut Rough Cut
Gang Reel Mower Finish Cut Mower Rough Cut Mower
Cutting Width: 18 - 136" 40 - 66" 44 - 57"
Mowing Speed: 4 MPH 6 - 10 MPH 4 - 10 MPH
Acres Per Day: 40 30 - 32 3 - 8
Power Needed:
450 CC 249 CC 350 CC


Gang Reel Mowers

Gang Reel Mower

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. 

You'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 four miles per hour. They're easier to maintain because they're entirely mechanical and require no gas or oil changes. 

These ultra-wide mowers contain three, five, or seven reels, stretching up to 11 feet wide so you can mow up to five 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.

Learn More: How to Pick the Perfect Gang Reel Mower 

Finish Cut Mowers

Finish Cut Mower

Finish cut mowers (also know as 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 five and a half 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.

Learn More: How to Pick the Perfect Finish Cut Mower

Rough Cut Mowers

Rough Cut Mower

If you've got some wild overgrown, property that you'd like to tame, you'll need the machete-like cutting action of a rough cut mower.

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 three inches 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.

Learn More: How to Pick the Perfect Rough Cut Mower

Jake, the Lawn Mower Expert
Lawn Mower Expert
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