The bottom line is always money, and time is money, too. When you choose professional lawn mowing equipment, you’re looking at a few key factors. You want a machine that will run well, day after day. If you take care of it, it will take care of you.
Pro landscapers prefer zero turn mowers because they are fast. If you don’t have the budget or the trailer to manage one of these yet, look into self-propelled walk-behind mowers. Ignore push mowers unless you’re a masochist.
You’ll want a high-performance engine that can power through tall grass and mulch leaves. You don’t want to arrive late at your next appointment because you had to baby your mower through tough weeds. Get all the power you can afford to help you get the job done with minimum effort and time.
Get full suspension on riding mowers. You’ll understand this if you’ve ever ridden a mower for a few hours. Full-suspension is kinder to your body and helps you cut the grass better, too.
Consider deck size carefully. The larger the mower deck, the faster you’ll finish the yard. But if the deck is too wide to fit through customer’s gates or along their fence lines, you’ll be hacking the grass with a weed trimmer.
And finally, take the warranty and the potential cost of repairs into account. Most commercial-grade mowers come with short warranties of 6 months or less. That means it’s vital to select a brand known for durability. But that’s not all. Consider whether you can do the needed maintenance on your mower yourself (if you have the time, skills, and tools), or if there are shops nearby that can fix the mower for you with a short turnaround time and a reasonable price. In other words, if you can’t fix your import, and there’s no local mechanic that can, either, settle for a domestic.
We researched and reviewed the top commercial lawn mowers to help you find the best one for your landscaping business. We’ll begin with walk-behind mowers.
Snapper P2185020E / 7800982 HI VAC 190cc 3-N-1 Rear Wheel Drive Variable Speed Self Propelled Lawn Mower
Many of the best lawn mowers have Briggs & Stratton engines. The Snapper 7800982 has the 850 Professional Series OHV engine with electric start. There’s no need to prime or choke. And if you should have a problem with the electric starter, you can still use the traditional recoil start (aka yank the cord).
The 7800982 is self-propelled with variable speed and rear wheel drive. But unlike some mowers with rear wheel drive, this one has a differential that makes it quite easy to power through a turn. The larger ten-inch wheels in the back give it better traction and make it easy to handle even with a full bag.
Snapper’s Hi-Vac rolled deck design sucks grass in for a cleaner cut, literally. The blades are clipped neatly, and the clippings are vacuumed up into the bag. You shouldn’t need to rake or use a leaf blower to clean up after this mower if you bag. It’s a 3-in-1 mower, so you can mulch, bag, or discharge out the side.
The cutting height adjustment is the one thing about this mower that isn’t top of the line. Instead of one lever to raise and lower the deck, you have multiple levers to set. But on the bright side, there are seven heights to select, from 1-1/4-inch to 4-inch, the perfect range for residential lawns.
Snapper CP215520HV / 7800849 HI VAC 3-N-1 Rear Wheel Drive Variable Speed Commercial Series Lawn Mower
If you prefer Honda OHV engines over Briggs & Stratton, you’re not alone. The Snapper 7800849 comes with Honda’s commercial-grade GXV160 163cc engine. It does not have an electric start like the Snapper 7800982 above, but no one seems to be complaining about the pull start. It’s pretty quiet for a gas-powered mower, too.
The rear wheel drive has variable speed control between 1.7 and 4mph, perfect for getting the lawn done in a hurry. Like the other Snapper, the differential makes turning easier without tearing up the grass.
If you’re concerned about durability, the Snapper 7800849 is built to handle work. The 14-gauge steel deck has reinforced bracing and the ball-bearing wheels are a bit more robust with better tread.
The rest of this mower is quite similar to the design of the Snapper we reviewed above. The rolled deck with Hi-Vac suction leaves the lawn free of clippings when you’re bagging. The height difference between the ten-inch rear wheels and the eight-inch front wheels makes for good traction. But you’ll still need to set the cutting height at each wheel individually. The range is 1.25 to 4 inches, good for practically any residential lawn.
Husqvarna Z254 54 in. 26 HP Kohler Hydrostatic Zero Turn Riding Mower
If you have a trailer to haul it, the Husqvarna Z254 is a a great investment to speed up your work. It’s a top-seller because it balances great features with a reasonable price. The quiet Kawasaki FR691V OHV engine can help you mow almost 3 acres per hour at speeds up to 6.5mph. But the 3.5-gallon gas tank means you don’t have to stop often to refuel.
The controls may take you a few minutes to adjust to, but then you’ll love this machine. Instead of a steering wheel, you have lap bars to maneuver the Z254 like a tank, but smoother. Since it’s a zero-turn mower, you can literally turn on a dime. The electric clutch deck engagement is there so you can drive the mower to the yard, then start up the blades and get to work.
Husqvarna located the choke, the throttle, and the ignition all together on your right, and the spring-assisted deck lift on the left. This simple lever makes it easy to select the cutting height.
The seat has spring suspension and it adjusts forward and backward. The back is 15 inches tall. Some users prefer a lower seat back like this because it’s not as hot. There’s even a cup holder for your comfort, although it’s located at your elbow—not the easiest location to access.
The smooth Hydro Gear EZT hydrostatic transmission has wheel motors and fan-cooled 10cc pumps at each drive wheel. It’s maintenance-free so you don’t need to mess with it (but if it fails, you will need a mechanic to fix or replace it). On the other hand, the foot pan pulls out of the way so you can access the belts, pulley, and spindles yourself. You can keep track of when to do maintenance by glancing at the built-in hour meter.
These comfort features are important, but how well does this mower cut grass? What we hear is very positive. The 54-inch wide reinforced steel cutting deck houses 3 separate blades that manicure lawns at any height between 1.5 and 4 inches. The Z254 comes without a mulching or a bagging kit, but you can purchase those separately. You can also mount headlights if you need them. And at the end of the day, the Z254 has a deck washout port for easy cleanup.
We hope we helped you find the best commercial lawn mower for your business. We wish you success in your venture! Check back soon to see new reviews of the best tools, equipment, and gadgets that make life easier.