Standing or sitting? That is the question…when it comes to choosing the best lawn mower, that is.
Commercial lawn mowers come in both standing and sitting styles. How can you decide which to choose between a stand-on mower or a more traditional sit-down zero-turn (ZTR) model? Depending on the types of properties being maintained and even simpler factors like operator comfort, the choice could make a big difference in productivity and profitability.
Here are six factors to consider when choosing between a stand-on or sit-down commercial lawn mower.
The research is in: standing can be better for health than sitting. This may not resonate with operators who are primarily interested in a more comfortable mowing experience. However, some operators find that standing is actually more comfortable than sitting.
This factor is the one that really boils down to personal preference. For solo owner/operators, it is an easy decision to make. For those who have crews, it might be wise to have both options in the fleet or at least consider team members’ opinions when choosing between a sit-down lawn mower or a standing style. A comfortable operator is a happy operator and a happy operator is the one that is easier to keep on staff.
2. Property Type
For companies maintaining properties with large, open areas and a lot of long, straight lines, sit-down mowers work well. Because the body moves a bit more on a standing mower, it is tougher to hold a fixed-hand position, and therefore is more challenging to achieve long, straight lines.
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Those maintaining terrain with a lot of bumps, hills, or turns may find the stand-on option works better. When sitting, the body is more easily jostled with every turn or bump, whereas standing allows the body to naturally absorb those impacts.
One of the biggest advantages to stand-on mowers is better visibility. Standing gives the operator a better view of the trim edge of the mower, which leads to greater accuracy, less trimming, and overall time savings.
A drawback of standing mowers is they lack a traditional bagging system. Even options that are meant to mimic a bagger still have some limitations. A traditional riding mower may be best for those who need this functionality.
There are options for both that are great substitutes. John Deere, for example, offers a Mulch on Demand deck for both standing mowers and sit-down ZTRs. It is designed to eliminate the need to bag grass or leaves.
4. Mower Speed
One of the hallmarks of zero-turn mowers is they are faster than traditional riding lawn mowers. When it comes to ground speed, they also win the race against standing mowers.
This one is pretty simple: If there is a need for speed, a sit-down ZTR is the way to go.
5. Deck Size
A mower cannot do its job without the right mower deck. Mower decks come in various sizes and options vary between standing and sit-down mowers. Every manufacturer will vary in its options but here’s an example showing John Deere lawn mowers.
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Mower deck options for Deere’s stand-on mowers come as narrow as 36 inches and go up to 61 inches. Mower deck sizes for Deere’s sit-down ZTRs begin at 48 and go up to 72. Only the ZTR offers rear discharge, while both styles offer mulch on-demand.
Generally speaking, a larger deck equals a faster mow. But a larger deck may not always be the best choice. Smaller decks take up less trailer and storage space, and they can be more efficient on properties with tighter turns.
6. Transport and Storage
Stand-on mowers are compact and have a smaller footprint than traditional riders. Companies that have smaller trailers or less storage space may find this small difference to be a big factor when choosing between the two.
Thanks to their size, stand-on mowers offer greater flexibility in how units are transported and stored. More mowers can fit on a single trailer and less space is required when they are not in use, in a shop or storage unit.
It may not seem like the choice of a sitting or standing mower goes much beyond personal comfort, but there are several factors to consider when deciding on the right lawn mower. No matter which type, the great news is that commercial mowers are better than ever when looking at the comfort features, available options, and various models and deck sizes to choose from.
No matter which type of mower you choose, be sure to buy from a company that can back it up with full parts and service support.
Find the John Deere commercial lawn mower that is right for you. Learn more about available lawn mowers, as well as parts, service, and full lawn mower support by contacting your local RDO Equipment Co. store..
About the Author
Alex Mitchell is an Account Manager for RDO Equipment Co. in Moorhead, MN. He enjoys educating potential customers on what John Deere equipment can deliver and he especially loves showing them they can turn their dreams of owning a Deere into reality.