Precision and productivity are two highly desirable features for any commercial mower. Slope mowers are designed for hills and steeper inclines, but how do they compare to zero-turn mowers? Both types of mowers have their advantages and drawbacks when it comes to mowing different kinds of terrain.
If you’re looking for a new mower for your commercial or residential landscaping needs, keep reading for our comparison to see how these mowers stack up.
How Does a Zero-Turn Mower Work?
A zero-turn mower with tracks is a specific kind of mower that uses tracks instead of tires on the back wheels. A zero-turn mower has a zero-turn radius, so the mower itself can be easily steered. A tractor mower, compared to a zero-turn mower, can have difficulties with turning.
One difference between zero-turn mowers with tracks and tractor mowers is how the mower is steered. The back wheels or tracks are primarily what steers the machine, and an operator uses levers to control it. Maintaining control of the steering on a zero-turn mower is especially important when mowing on a hill. Zero-turn mowers, even with tracks, are generally not recommended to mow on steep hills as it increases the risk of injury.
Steering and Performance
A zero-turn mower with tracks can be a great option on totally flat terrain. A zero-turn mower with tracks is designed to easily turn without repositioning the machine itself. The hydraulic systems make it easier to steer than a lawn tractor might be, but turning and steering up a hill can be problematic.
Hills and slopes need regular maintenance to ensure that they don’t erode. A zero-turn mower can have issues safely mowing a steep hill. Zero-turn mowers can also only operate in a horizontal cutting pattern. Taking a very sharp turn can cause the mower to roll over, so mowing at a steep angle can’t be done safely. OSHA actually recommends that zero-turn mowers not mow any hills steeper than 15 degrees.
A slope mower is designed for steep hills, so it comes with stabilizers and steering systems for those inclined angles. A remote control slope mower can easily mow hills and go where it isn’t safe for an operator and zero-turn mower. Machines like SPIDER mowers climb hills up to 60 degrees both horizontally and vertically. SPIDER mowers also have precise cutting and mulching blades that work to improve and protect the health of the grass without additional fertilizing.
When it comes to hillsides, embankments and steep slopes, a zero-turn mower with tracks has some safety risks. While the zero-turn radius of the mower itself allows for easier steering, mowing at a very steep angle can put the operator at risk. If the incline is too great, the machine may tip or fall over. This can injure the operator or anyone working nearby.
A slope mower is built for working safely on hills with steep slopes. A slope mower like the SPIDER ILD02 uses a patented drive system and skid steering to stabilize itself as it cuts. The remote control allows operators to work at a safe distance (up to 900 feet) from the actual mower. There’s no risk of falling over if you’re controlling the mower from a few yards away.
The most talked-about benefit to using a zero-turn mower is that it cuts down on the time it takes to mow. Compared to a walk-behind mower or lawn tractor, a zero-turn mower can be much faster for covering large areas. A zero-turn mower can go at speeds above five miles per hour.
But a zero-turn mower isn’t always suited for all types of terrain, like under solar panels or in areas that haven’t been maintained. Very tall grasses and thick brush can be difficult or impossible for the zero-turn mower to cut.
A zero-turn mower can also be too large to cut under small spaces, so crews and operators may need to use manual brush cutters. This can be time-consuming and tedious, creating extra work just to mow a hill. Worse still, it can expose crews to dehydration and exhaustion if it’s a particularly hot day.
Using a remote control slope mower can eliminate the need for manually cutting very tall grass and in tight spaces because these remote control mowers are much more compact, with some made with specific needs in mind, like the SPIDER 2SGS. This mower was built for mowing turf under solar panels, with a lowered profile and open metal mesh for cooling the engine.
With remote control mowers, you’re not sacrificing productivity, either. One SPIDER mower performs with the same efficiency as 15 operators using brush cutters. With a remote control slope mower, you’re working with an efficient mower that’s durable enough to work on all kinds of terrain with precision.
Choose the Mower that Fits Your Needs
If you’re interested in a commercial lawn mower for landscaping, then you might be facing different kinds of turf and terrain each day. With that kind of variety, you’ll want to choose a mower that can adapt and work with efficiency day in and day out.
Slope mowers — especially remote control slope mowers — are a great choice for taking on waterlogged fields, deep brush, tall grass and of course, slopes. SPIDER mowers are known for their unique design, quality cut and patented drive system. They can take on any kind of terrain and cut grass while also mulching it! With a SPIDER, you get a quality cut with unmatched efficiency.
Want even more details about SPIDER mowers and how they compare to other mowers on the market? Take a look at our guide! This free e-book breaks down all of the advantages and features of SPIDER mowers.