UTV and ATV Mower Guide.

utv and atv mowers

A UTV or ATV mower can inject some fun into a chore that's more closely associated with drudgery. Whether you need to knock down a field full of waist high weeds or trim a manicured lawn, doing it with your favorite four wheeler will have you looking forward to it. 

This guide will hopefully give you some info about the different types and styles of mowers for ATVs and UTVs. Let's take a look.

Rough Cut Mowers

Rough cut mowers are for taller grass, brush, stalks, etc. Cosmetics aren't as important as the ability to knock the offending material down. Mowers for rough cutting tend to be heavier duty and have more power. There are several types so let's look at more details.

Flail 

flail atv mowersTow behind flail mower in action.

Flail mowers are designed to handle thicker foliage and rougher terrain. They have multiple cutting blades mounted on a horizontal bar or roller. Centrifugal force from the rotating roller causes the blades to sling out and provide the cutting action.

This design allows for closer cutting to the ground with less risk of damage to the blades. Each individual blade has it's own pivot so that it can "kick back" if it strikes the ground or other obstacle.

Different style blades can be fitted for different cutting needs. Anything from heavier blades for rougher or thicker foliage, to blades that can give a near finish mower type cut.

Front Mount - Flail type ATV mowers can be front mounted for a pusher style. Many have options to connect to a front winch so they can be raised when needed. 

Several front mounted flail mowers have an option to offset the mower so it sits outside the track width of the ATV. This allows for closer edge trimming but it can make the four wheeler harder to steer.

Other pros for the front mount is being able to see what you'll be cutting. You can also get a cleaner cut since the wheels of the ATV or UTV won't mash the grass or weeds down before being cut like they would with a pull behind style mower.

Cons for the front mount flail mowers are that they usually are narrower for better handling. Wider front mount mowers tend to adversely affect turning of the ATV. 

Pull Behind Mount - The simplest and most popular way to use a flail mower. Most can be pulled directly behind the UTV or ATV with options to offset the mower to either side.

Pull behinds can be wider without causing handling problems. They are favored for larger foliage or vegetation that can leave larger and stiffer stalks. Those stalks can cause tire punctures if you run over them after cutting as would happen with a front mount mower.

flail atv mowersCutting blades on the flail type mower.

Shredder

The shredder style ATV mowers are based on the flail mower. They're intended to have more of a mulching action. Many come with more and different style blades.

An extra stationary cutting bar can be added for more complete cutting. Most have some sort of flaps added to the deck to keep the cut material in the mower longer to promote more shredding action. 

Like the flail mowers, they come in front and pull behind styles. The pull behind is by far the most popular for the shredder style.

Rotary Blade

rough cut atv mowersRough cut rotary mower at work.

The rotary style mowers are the more conventional type with deck mounted blades or blade that are mounted horizontally and rotate parallel to the ground.

Those designed for rough cutting tend to have heaver duty parts starting with the deck thickness, and continuing to the spindles that hold the blades, and the blades themselves.

Engines are usually more powerful to handle the increased load of cutting thicker and coarser material. 

Trimmer

trimmer atv mowersRear mounted trimmer mower.

Trimmer mowers work on the same principle as lawn trimmers. Everything is just much heavier duty for the rough trimming they are expected to do.

Instead of a single piece of cutting line, the ATV trimmer mowers use larger cutting line with individual pieces that are inserted into the head of the trimmer.

Most models are pull behind style with an offset to one side. They usually have a swinging action that allows them to contact objects like trees or posts and "kick back" to keep the trimmer close to the object. 


Finish Mowers - Lawn Mowers

Rotary Blade

finish atv mowersRotary finish mower with deck height adjustable anti-scalping caster wheels.

The rotary blade finish mower, or ATV lawn mower, is designed for more accurate cutting than the rough cut mower. The main difference are much finer adjustment methods to accurately maintain grass cutting heights.

Almost all finish ATV mowers are deck style pull behind with some sort of anti-scalping feature and deck height adjusters.


Reel

reel atv mowersReel type ATV mowers mounted in a gang style.

Reel mowers are based on the classic style manual mower. They use several horizontal curved blades mounted directly to the wheels to provide the rotating cutting action.

The reel mower is intended for fine grass trimming to produce a manicured look. They're the only type of mower that doesn't need an onboard engine.

Since reel mowers tend to be smaller, most rigs for ATVs will use several mowers gang mounted together for more coverage.

Mounting Types for ATV Mowers

Front Mount

flail atv mowersFlail type mower shown with an offset front mount.

Though not as popular as the pull behind models, front mount or pusher style mowers are offered by several manufacturers. Most have their own support frame that mounts to the ATV frame. The mower is then mounted to that support frame.

Flail style mowers are the most commonly seen front mount type. There are front mount deck type mowers, but their larger size has a few more disadvantages.

Pros

  • Better visibility for what the mower will be cutting.
  • Can be attached to a winch so the mower can be lifted to avoid obstacles, for transport to another work area, and to make maneuvering easier.
  • When used with a flail mower, much less overall length than pull behind styles.
  • Easier to transport ATV with mower mounted in place.

Cons -

  • Added weight of the support frame. 
  • Adverse effect on steering and handling in some situations.
  • Limits the size of the mower that can be used.
  • Mower can't be offset to the side as far as tow behind.


Pull Behind 

pull behind atv mowersPull behind mower with drawbar adjusted for side offset.

The pull behind style UTV and ATV mowers are basically what the name says. Most have a trailer type drawbar connected to the mower and a hitch that connects to the four wheeler. 

Pros

  • Wider range of sizes than front mount. Common widths available from 40 to 66 inch wide decks.
  • More left or right offset range by adjusting drawbar.
  • No extra support frame necessary.
  • Can perform same functions as zero turn mowers.
  • Quicker to attach and detach than other types of mowers.
  • Can mow more uneven terrain with addition of rotating hitch.

Cons

  • Greater overall length can make maneuvering in tight spaces more difficult.
  • Most models can't be lifted, making it harder to transport or get around obstacles.
  • Control cables and wiring are longer and usually have to be mounted to rear of ATV or UTV.

Belly or Center Mount

belly mount atv mowersBelly mount ATV mowers are the most compact systems.

The more traditional lawn tractor style belly mount is relatively rare for ATVs. Unlike the flail or deck type mowers that have their engines mounted directly on the mower, the belly mount requires a rear engine mount.

A separate support frame mounts the engine at the rear of the ATV and extends to the center of the machine to provide a mount for the mower deck.

Pros

  • Operates much like a conventional lawn tractor mower.
  • Most compact of all systems for ATV mowers.
  • Easier to transport with mower mounted in place.

Cons

  • Weight of engine, mower, and mounting frame are added directly to the ATV.
  • Mower size limited by wheel base of ATV.
  • Can't be offset to the side.
  • Limited space mower can be lifted.
  • More complex mounting system.
  • Harder to access for maintenance.

Options for UTV and ATV Mowers

Deck size - The deck width for most ATV mowers ranges from 40 to 66 inches. Width will vary with the number of blades and power of the engine. 

Number of blades - The number of blades used usually depends on the width of the deck. Smaller deck widths many only use a single blade while the wider decks use up to 3 blades in either an offset or inline configuration.

Height adjustment - We're talking about mowing deck height here. Adjustment options include setting the height at the caster wheels, a manual screw jack that can set the deck height, and some larger models have an optional electrically operated linear actuator.

atv mowers offset bladesOffset blade configuration with heavy duty spindles and vertical deck supports.

Engine size - Engine size and power ratings normally range from smaller engines with around 19hp to the larger models with up to about 27hp. Finish mowers may use slightly less powerful engines since they generally cut lighter material.

Pull start - Traditional pull cord style starter. Comes standard on most of the smaller engines.

Electric start - Needed on larger engines which can be difficult to start manually. You may also just want an electric start for the extra convenience.

Drive engagement - There are three main types of drive engagement used on most UTV and ATV mowers. The type used depends somewhat on the size of the mower, engine power, and type of use.

  • Manual lever - Standard on most smaller mowers. Operates by moving a lever that engages an idler pulley with the drive belt. Similar to the way most lawn tractors operate.

  • Centrifugal clutch - Automatically engages as engine speed goes up. Seen most often on medium size finish mowers. Works well with ATV and UTV mowers since the driver or rider doesn't have to get off the four wheeler as you would with the manual style.
     
  • Electric clutch - Technically, an electro-magnetic clutch. Engagement can be from a manually operated switch, or may be automatically activated by sensors. Most common on the largest and most powerful mowers.
atv mowers manual driveManual lever drive engagement moves an idler pulley against the drive belt which turns the blade shaft on a flail mower.
  • Anti-scalping wheels or roller - Prevents deck from contacting ground and digging in or allowing blades to hit the ground.
  • Rotating hitch - Allows the mower to move more freely over uneven terrain. Useful for mowing slopes by allowing mower to operate at steeper angles.
  • Flotation wheels -  Deck wheels added to provide more support for deck so it can "float" over uneven ground without digging in.
tow behind atv mowersMower deck with anti-scalping caster wheels and center mounted rollers.

We hope our guide for the most popular UTV and ATV mowers was helpful. If you any questions or comments, let us know in the section below.


› Guide to UTV and ATV Mowers


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