Flail Mower vs. Finish Mower: Similarities and Differences

Deciding which kind of mower would be a better option for maintaining an acre or two of land can be tricky because there are so many different options to choose from. But when it comes to choosing between a flail mower vs. finish mower, there are a few similarities and differences to consider.

What Are They?

Flail Mower vs. Finish Mower
Flail Mower

Flail mowers are power take-off (PTO) attachments that attach to the back of most tractors. It is rectangular in length and triangular in width and height and sits close to the back of the tractor. Its main feature is its ability to move side to side, which makes one end closer in line to the outside of the tractor. 

Flail mowers have metal pieces, shaped into T or Y shapes. These metal extensions are the flails. The end of the flail is connected to a large drum that extends the entire length of the mower. As the drum rotates, the blades catch onto the vegetation.  

Finish mowers differ from rotary cutters in that they are strictly used for cutting tall, thick grass as opposed to mowing down the thick brush. They are designed to be simple, lighter in weight, and easy to use. Many of them are often time assembled by the customer upon arrival.


The prices of a flail mower range anywhere between $2,500 to $10,000, while a finish mower will cost several hundred dollars to around $4,000. The prices vary with each make and model of each piece of equipment.


Flail Mower vs. Finish Mower

The flail mower attaches to the PTO shaft at the back of the tractor and sits a few feet closer to the tractor than the finish mower. Having it that close to the back allows for fluid movement and a tighter turning radius. It could also make for more efficient storage and transportation. A tractor with a flail mower attached would probably only need a 16-foot trailer, whereas a finish cutter extends several more feet and would need a 20-foot trailer. 

A flail mower makes lateral movements via the use of hydraulics. Side-to-side mobility makes trimming along a wall or fence line a simple task. 

Landscapers use finish mowers to create a manicured, even finish. Since they are smaller and easier to handle, they can either be attached to the back of a small tractor or an all-terrain vehicle (ATV). It also remains close to the back of the tractor or ATV, and its lighter weight allows for greater mobility than a traditional rotary cutter if driving a tractor. 

Because they often come disassembled, they can be easily taken apart and stored in a small space if the need ever arose.

Flail Mower vs. Finish Mower: Which One To Choose?

The most common use for the flail mower is to clear brush away from land that takes up an acre or two. It allows for close, clean cuts that can make maintaining a larger property much easier.

Finish mowers are great for going back over pathways that were cleared by rotary cutters as well as maintaining close cuts such as those found on gold courses. 

Is maintaining a golf course or has a large enough yard that requires more than a traditional gasoline pushmower can handle, then a finish mower would be a better and cheaper option.