I have to get a new mower soon and have been seeing a lot of rear
drive types advertised. Are there any significant advantages or
disadvantages to the rear drive as opposed to the front drive I am
I bought a troy built about a 2 years ago Front wheel drive before I
had a snapper rear wheel drive. They both do the job I see no real
dereference in drive systems. As for lawn mowing they cut the grass but seem
weak on sucking up the cuttings, The troy built IMO is a little better, but
I would not buy ether brand again ( neither of them were cheap) next time I
will buy a cheap piece of crap so when I toss I won't care kinda like the
Gosh! For anything less than say an acre of grass is it not better (and
healthier) just to use a regular, $120/$160 4 stroke 3.5 to 5 HP walking
type mower? If you insist on collecting the clippings a 'bagger type'
probably works fine for few extra bucks. I can't quite hang up our gasoline
mower, as my neighbour does with his electric. He only has a total of about
4000 to 5000 sq. feet. And occasionally he will do part of our backyard, I
returning the favour on occasion with the gas mower. Gas mower doesn't take
much space to store wintertime in the shed. Most of them you can detach
(unclip) the handle if you want to.
Front yard approx, 160 x 50 = 8,000 plus back yard (at max) 80 x 60 = say
5,000. Total 13,000 sq feet. Takes a couple of hours with tea-breaks for
this slightly wobbly knee-ed pensioner. But thank goodness grass grows
slowly in this cool climate!
In general the rear drive provides better power but the front drive
provides better control. With a front drive you can push down on the handles
lifting the wheels and you now have a steerable manual mower.
I have a early 80's Toro with rear drive. I don't know about newer mowers
with rear drive, but with this one the rear tires don't rotate backwards.
They really do but not easily. This makes it hard to drag the mower out of
For the same reason when mowing and doing a 180 deg. turn on my driveway the
inside wheel does not turn so it just grinds on the pavement leaving little
skid marks at each pivot turn. Note, I am disengaging the drive as I make
When I got the Toro from my BIL, the rear tires were well worn, I replaced
them a couple of years ago ($20 each). They still look OK but I am sure they
ware out much faster than the front tires on a FWD mower.
I own both styles of mowers and find them both to be useful under
different circumstances. With a rear wheel you have to operate the
clutch each time you want to stop or slow the mower. This makes it
better on long runs with few obstacles.
With a front wheel you can leave the drive engaged all the time and
then just lift the front wheels to slow or turn the machine. This
makes it better for mowing around stumps and rocks.
The front wheel drive has a lot less traction overall especially in
rough ground or high grass. Under those type of conditions you really
need a rear wheel drive. The rear wheel drive is a far more positive
drive and can be expected to have a wider range of speeds to choose
from. Front wheel drives usually have just one speed.
If I were buying another mower I would likely opt for another rear
wheel drive because it suits my situation best. If your ground is
smooth with few obstacles then you will likely save money by purchasing
a front wheeler. I think they are cheaper.
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