What is a Rough Cut Mower and Do You Need One?

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Sometimes, the grass you need to cut and the terrain you need to maneuver calls for something above and beyond the usual push mower or riding mower. These cutting jobs require tolerances and power that you won’t find in a typical mower deck. This is where you might want to consider purchasing a rough cut mower to handle the heavy tasks.

Swisher Rugged-Cut Mower

Swisher Rugged-Cut Mower

What Makes a Rough Cut Mower Different?

There are a number of differences between a rough cut mower and a regular finish mower. The main one is that a rough cut mower will have a sturdier and heavier blade, allowing it to cut through denser material with ease. This heavy-duty blade will keep from chipping or breaking when encountering thick grass or even small trees. Many rough cut mowers also come with “stump jumper” blades that continue to turn when they hit a rock, stump, or other hard, immovable object. This prevents the spindle from being damaged.

Rough cut mowers are also generally made out of heavier-duty materials than a finish mower. While the average finish mower will have a deck made of 8- to 10-gauge steel, most rough cut mowers will have decks that are 11- and 12-gauge steel. Many of them may also have reinforcements underneath.

Most of the walk-behind rough cut mowers will feature larger tires, higher-horsepower engines, and multi-speed transmissions to allow the user to adjust the machine to deal with thicker or thinner growth. The tires will help the user control the mower – rough cut mowers weigh much more than finish mowers, with some units weighing in at more than 300 pounds. This helps give the mower some momentum to push over tall grass and saplings with their front bars.

Push or Pull

Rough cut mowers come in two forms – smaller push mowers, and large pull-behind decks. What you go with depends on what equipment you already have on hand, and what areas you need to cut. A walk-behind model will need to be pushed from place to place, but it can get into tight spots – they are great for cutting ditches and trails through wooded areas. These are the most common types of rough cut mowers, thanks to their ease of use and versatility.

A pull-behind rough cut mower is a great option if you have a massive patch of rough area to cut, as they often come with wider decks than the walk-behind mowers. Of course, you need another vehicle with a PTO shaft to pull the rough cut deck with, so if you don’t have one of those already, this can become an expensive proposition.

Some folks aren’t big fans of rough cut mowers because they can leave behind a patch of land that looks unfinished. The cut they provide is not guaranteed to be as even and refined as with a finish mower. They can be adjusted to give a very nice cut though, especially by an experienced user. But if you have some seriously thick brush, you really have no choice – without a rough cut mower, you run the risk of destroying your light-duty lawn mower. Make sure to take a look at a variety of mowers before you make your choice, each one will have different characteristics that may or may not help it fit your needs and your yard.

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.