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  1. #1
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    Massey Or LS help me decide!

    Default flail vs finish mower

    Hi, I have been reading up on past threads about flail mowers, some very good info, but I am getting a bit conflicting info. Some say that the flail is "almost" as good as a finish mower, and some say "as good, or better" I have several acres to mow which is mostly pretty level. Most is lawn, but I have some more rougher areas.

    I just want to do all my research and get what's best now, before I buy and wish I did something else.
    If the flail mower does do as good a job as a finish mower, than I think I should get that, although I tried looking at some videos, and all I see are flail mowers going very slow, do you need to go that slow?

  2. #2
    Silver Member
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    May 2008
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    NEK Vermont
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    '49 Ford 8N & '08 Kubota L3400

    Default Re: flail vs finish mower

    Flails can have different knife types/# of stations, which give you a different cut, so it depends on how it's set up.

    I have both a Caroni flail (medium cut) & a 5' finish mower. The finish mower does a much better job on lawn or short grass. I run it into the field on occasion & it still does pretty well with medium-thick grass. The flail, when I've used it used on sections of the lawn, leaves lines between the knife stations & while it looks OK, it's not as good as the finish mower.

    I use the flail to maintain existing fields (3 cuts a season) & it goes/cuts where the finish mower can't.

    So it really depends what & how often you're mowing, but from what you describe, it sounds like the finish mower would be better.

    I go slow with both & also find the finish mower much more maneuverable.

  3. #3
    Silver Member
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    Brookshire, Texas
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    NH 3050

    Default Re: flail vs finish mower

    A flail mower is no different than a rotary mower in the respect that the slower your forward speed across the ground the more times the blades are in contact with the grass in a particular area. The slower your forward travel the finer the cut. When I bought my Caroni flail I chose the 7 foot model which only uses the flail blades for regular/medium mowing and heavier brush and it does a "good" job on finished lawn. The Caroni models with the finishing flail blades were not wide enough and I want to spend as little time as possible mowing my 15 acres. Having said that the major problem with a flail mower is the same as a rotary mower and that problem is not the mower it is the tractor wheels. Any mower pulled behind a tractor is moving over grass already smushed down by the front and rear tractor wheels in rows and that is where the poor looks of a finished cut come in as a factor. A large riding lawn mower with a belly mounted mower only has to contend with grass smushed down by the small front wheels and one does not have the "row" effect caused by a tractor. Down here on the Texas Gulf Coast we have extreme high humidity most of the year and unless you mow late in the afternoons the grass is always wet and causes a poor quality finish. As it is on my property I'd rate my Rhino rotary cutter to give a "C" grade in finish cut and my 7 foot Caroni a grade of "B" for a finished cut. On the occassions we have parties or functions here on our place I use my commercial kubota Diesel 6 foot zero turn that makes the place look like a golf course but it takes about 25% longer to mow the whole place over the larger rotary or flail mower.
    PS- I would buy a Caroni 7 foot finishing mower but we have 250 Mature Pecan trees on the front of the property and there are always thousands of small dead branches in the grass. My large rotary Rhino and the Caroni flail mower do a good job of shattering the branches into small pieces but I believe a finishing mower would need the blades sharpened way too often and I am at the age that crawling under a mower 4-5 times a season to remove the blades for sharpening is just too much work.

  4. #4
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    JD LA115, WH 244, WH 525 hydro-pops,Original Troy Built Horse 8 HP

    Default Re: flail vs finish mower

    Quote Originally Posted by mikect05 View Post
    Hi, I have been reading up on past threads about flail mowers, some very good info, but I am getting a bit conflicting info. Some say that the flail is "almost" as good as a finish mower, and some say "as good, or better" I have several acres to mow which is mostly pretty level. Most is lawn, but I have some more rougher areas.

    I just want to do all my research and get what's best now, before I buy and wish I did something else.
    If the flail mower does do as good a job as a finish mower, than I think I should get that, although I tried looking at some videos, and all I see are flail mowers going very slow, do you need to go that slow?




    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++



    Hello mikect05,


    Welcome to the forum,


    About your needs for mowing you will have to decide what type of
    cut you want and are living to live with on your sod.

    What I want you to do is read the 120 plus pages of
    threads and posts on flailmowers or at least some of
    them to have a better understanding of how they work.


    The two basic knives are the side slicer and the scoop knive
    which is commonly referred to as the the duck foot kive
    simply due to its appearance.

    A hammer knive is typically used in a forestry mulching
    flail mounted on ahigh horse power tracked carrier and
    used for land clearing.


    It is entirely possible to have a golf course quality of lawn cut with a
    flail mower as you can mow over the grass clippings and shred them even finer.

    The added benefit is you have a striper at no extra charge.

    I mow mostly in a spiral pattern overlapping with my mower and a day or
    two afterward there are no tread marks and no clipping left to look at
    because they are shredded so finely.

    I can dethatch with my flail mower as well and it has collection basket that
    can carry all the clippings or thatch to be dumped later.

    A finish cut flailmower with hardened side slicer knives will handle everything you
    have described as long as you have the power to run one and operate it at the
    540 rpm engine speed.


    You also have understand that a hydrostatic transmission tractors
    transmission robs power from power take off too AND IF you drive
    too fast no mower is going to work well for you EVER.

    Do some more reading and then come back and ask more questions
    then do some more reading and ask more questions before you open
    your wallet.

    I hate my other rotary because it plugs up and you have clean the deck,
    I do not have that problem with my flail mower.
    Last edited by leonz; 04-12-2014 at 11:49 PM.

  5. #5
    Veteran Member Code54's Avatar
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    Default Re: flail vs finish mower

    I personally did not care for the flail mower I had. It did cut the grass but not as well as my finish mower and was far slower. I also notice the upkeep was FAR more on the flail than the finish mower I used. Good luck on your search
    Kubota MX5100
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  6. #6
    Gold Member gaproperty's Avatar
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    Default

    How tall of grass will a finish mower now.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: flail vs finish mower

    My experience is that a finishing mower will only do a excellent job on lawn that is 4" and under. It will cut taller grass but the results may not be stellar.

  8. #8
    Gold Member gaproperty's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Utopia Texas View Post
    My experience is that a finishing mower will only do a excellent job on lawn that is 4" and under. It will cut taller grass but the results may not be stellar.
    will it do good as a bushhog?

  9. #9
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    NH 3050

    Default Re: flail vs finish mower

    A bushhog and a finishing mower are made to do two different things. A bushhog is made to mass mow down tall weeds, grass, small bushes and even small trees, sometimes on really rough terrain. A finishing mower is made for a lawn that is already manicured, not too tall and on relitively smooth ground.

  10. #10
    Veteran Member Code54's Avatar
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    Default Re: flail vs finish mower

    Yep - what Utopia Texas said. You can set a finish mower to cut high, and depending on the make/model will determine the height. The other thing is the spindles on a finish mower are not made to cut anything but grass. They are far from heavy duty and you risk damage trying to cut weeds,brush, etc with the finish mower.
    Kubota MX5100
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