Different Mower Types: What is a Flail Mower, and is it for You?

"Mähschlegel" by Alupus - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:M%C3%A4hschlegel.JPG#mediaviewer/File:M%C3%A4hschlegel.JPG

“Mähschlegel” by Alupus – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:M%C3%A4hschlegel.JPG#mediaviewer/File:M%C3%A4hschlegel.JPG

In the past, we have discussed reel mowers and the sickle mower, as well as talking at length about the traditional rotary mowers that are generally favored by homeowners and groundskeepers. One last type of mower to take a look at is the flail mower, a fairly uncommon type that is nonetheless useful for some situations.

What is a Flail Mower?

A flail mower features “flails” that are bent T- or Y-shaped pieces of metal attached to a rotating drum at the thin end of the flail. As the drum spins, these flails spin at a rate that allows them to tear through brush. These flails are spaced out across and around the drum to provide a thorough cut. The drum itself is powered through PTO drive.

The Advantages of a Flail Mower

Flail mowers have quite number of advantages over the common rotary mower, and make themselves useful for specialized situations.

  • Much like sickle mowers, flail mowers do not throw up much in terms of debris. This makes flail mowers useful in areas where flying debris needs to be kept to a minimum.
  • Also like sickle mowers, flail mowers can be angled to cut banks as well as to trim bushes and shrubbery, making them useful for landscapers and maintenance departments who want flexibility from a single unit.
  • Because of the flails being attached on a hinge or change instead of being fixed and stiff, they will simply bounce and deflect off of objects such as rocks and stumps. These means that they won’t shatter or throw the debris into the air, and they also will not break or warp due to the impact. This can keep you from needing to repair them or replace them as often.
  • If a flail is damaged, you only have to replace one small, inexpensive flail instead of an entire blade.
  • The heft of the flails and their state of motion makes them capable of attacking severe brush – many flails can take out saplings up to 2 inches in width. They won’t dull when trying to take down thick brush either.

The Disadvantages of a Flail Mower

Despite the many advantages, there are some problems with flail mowers that can be deal-breakers for many homeowners.

  • Another unfortunate similarity to sickle mowers is that flail mowers attachments can be quite expensive, on top of the mower or tractor you need to operate it.
  • Due to the number of moving parts, the flail mower can be difficult and time-consuming to maintain. If you are unable to do the small work on your own – particularly the lubrication required on a constant basis – the maintenance bills will add up quickly.
  • While replacing a single flail is relatively inexpensive, replacing multiple flails can add up over time.

A flail mower can be a great attachment, particularly if you’ve got some heavy-duty brush that needs to be beat down. As with any mowing attachment, it will be more useful in some situations

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About AndrewT

Written by Andrew T for LawnEq - The specialists for Lawn Mower Parts and Small Engine Parts. We offer genuine premium OEM parts for Land Pride, Toro and many more dependable brands.

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