6 Essential Features to Look for in a Brush Mower

FABGrassIf you’re shopping for a brush mower or brush hog this season, it is important to know what features to look for. Are all those specs really germane to your needs? Probably not. Since we’ve been in the brush mower biz for several decades, we know a thing or two about which features are the most important. Here are the top 6 that we have found to be essential to choosing the right brush mower for you:

1. Tow-Behind or Self-Propelled?

The first thing to decide is the basic design of your machine. If you have a towing vehicle such as an ATV, UTV, garden tractor, or utility tractor, you could choose a tow-behind model, which would be ideal for clearing large areas while you ride. These are less adept, however, at getting into tight corners and around delicate landscape features. In the absence of a towing vehicle, you will want a self-propelled walk-behind model. These are more suited to small- to medium-sized areas, but do a stellar job on larger areas as well if you have the stamina for a large project. There are also some PTO-driven models available which use the power of your tractor.

TBFAB2. Power.

Next, think about how much power you need. Companies offer a wide range of different sized engines so that customers can choose the one that best fits their needs and their budgets. So think realistically about the kinds of projects you want to tackle with your brush mower. Are you doing a small area with mostly tall grasses and flexible, green weeds? A 10 HP model may be all the machine you need. Looking to tackle larger areas with thick saplings? Go for a larger 16-20 HP model.

3. Cutting Capacity.FABKickingAss

If you are going to be cutting through woody brush and saplings, you’ll want to be sure that the machine you choose can handle what you need it to. So take note of the cutting capacity of any of the machines you consider. The smaller ones can usually handle 1″ to 2″ thick saplings, while the larger machines will chop through 3″ saplings without missing a beat. The cutting capacity also covers the heights of weeds and grasses that the machine can mow, anywhere from 4 feet to 8 feet depending on the model.

4. Attachments.

Many companies that make brush mowers also offer optional attachments that expand the usefulness of your brush mower. For example, DR offers attachments to turn your brush mower into a wood chipper, snow thrower, wide-cut finish mower, or snow/grader blade. Changing attachments is easy; simply lift a pin and slide the brush deck off the power unit, and attach your chosen attachment. Because these attachments allow you to use your brush mower year round, they make your investment even more valuable.

5. Cutting Width.

Another consideration is the cutting width of the machines you consider. Most walk-behind machines are in the 24″ to 30″ range, while most tow-behind models are 40″ to 60″ range (excluding super-wide commercial models). Obviously, the wider the cut, the more quickly the work will be done. But, the flip-side is that it is more difficult to mow in tight corners and around landscape features with a wider model.


Different brands will also offer various other features that you’ll find useful. For example, all walk-behind DR brush mowers have a pivoting deck which makes rough, uneven terrain much easier to mow. They also feature a lockable differential, so you can choose whether to have better traction or easier maneuverability, depending on the project. Check out the type of lubrication system on the machines you consider as well; splash lubrication systems are better suited to flat terrain, while a fully pressurized system will also work well on hills and slopes.

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  • Mike D

    I purchased a DR Brush Mower two years ago. When I bought it, the sales rep knew I was planning on using it to clear trails on hilly terrain, and it has worked great until this summer when the engine blew up. Briggs & Stratton would not cover it, DR is willing to assist, but informed me it is not made to be used on 20 degree or higher slopes! They said that is why the engine blew. I will be replacing the engine just to put it up for sale – I do not want to keep having problems. How many people really have less than 20 degree slopes on their property, especially in the Midwest?!

  • ruko

    I have about 3 acres of solid buck thorn I wish to clear. Most of the plants are about an inch to an inch and a half thick, some thicker and most are growing in clumps of 4 to 5 trees. Most of the plants are 6 to 7 feet tall. They are really tough little bast….. Would the brush mower handle this?


    • DRPowerGrace

      Hi ruko – Yes! A DR Brush Mower would be a great tool for a few acres of buckthorn. All of our models can handle 1.5″ thick brush as you mentioned. You may want to consider one of the models that is rated for up to 3″ brush, though, in order to get through the big clumps. Take a look at our options here: http://www.drpower.com/power-equipment/field-brush-mowers/

  • Chuck

    I purchased my DR Field and brush mower with chipper and snow blade attachments nearly a year ago. I wanted to use the products and interact with the DR support and technical staff before posting. My DR arrived new with a flat tire out the box. The differential chain broke after 2 or 3 hours of use. The support team at DR took care to replace the tire and chain under warranty. I maintain the wood lines of my 60 acres of wooded forest and the gravel drive way to our home. I am pleased with the products and the DR team of support staff. The field and brush mower is an amazing machine. I cut tall weeds, brush, and thin out 3 inch saplings on my property. The chipper attachment gets the job done very well. The blade attachment is used to maintain my driveway and It does a good spreading dirt and gravel. Anyone considering the products I’ve purchased should buy them. Great products backed by a great support team and built in the USA puts this company at the top of my list when I need a product to maintain my property.

    If only DR would make a product that can cut tree branches 10 to 15 feet from the ground and the user don’t have to use all man power to make the cuts. Currently I’m doing this with my chain saw and a pole chain saw. Hard on the body to say the least. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    Thanks DR!

    • DRPowerGrace

      Hi Chuck! We’re so glad you’re enjoying all your DR machines! At the moment it looks like the pole chainsaw is your best bet for high-limb pruning. We’ll keep you updated if anything even easier comes along!

  • PhilB

    This is a picture of what the chain looks like after I start going down a shallow hill. The chain jumps the gear, punctures the outer dust cover. When this happens further down my property the mower is very challenging to move because no chain means no drive power and no brakes, and it weighs over 300 pounds.

  • PhilB

    Every time I mow, when the front cut/blade assembly, of my new DR Brush Mower XL/Pro, tilts to adjust for the slope of the land, the chain falls off. I bought it in 2013, new, from this website and use it to mow tall grass. It has been in and out of repair shops since February 2014 and nobody knows why it happens. Folks say DR makes a great product but so far I think I have a lemon. It’s still under warranty and I’m hoping DR will exchange it.

    • DRPowerGrace

      Hi Phil! We’re so sorry you’re having trouble with your brush mower! Please give our customer service team a call at 1-800-687-6575 and they will do everything they can to get you the assistance you need.

  • jack

    My DR field and brush mower is a monster. It does anything I ask it to and more I’m so happy with my DR l can’t stand it. The best big boy mower I’ve ever had! Thank you DR from Jack
    P.S. I hope you come out with a tiller attachment soon. Also I can’t say enough about the support team and parts department, good, good great!

    • DRPowerGrace

      We’re so glad you’re liking your brush mower, Jack! Thanks for the great comment!

  • These brush mowers are incredible!

    • DRPowerGrace

      Thanks, Beth! Glad you like ’em!