What is a Flail Mower? + Is It Right For You

How to tell if a flail mower is right for your mowing needs

What Makes Flail Mowers Special?

  • A flail mower stands out for its ability to tackle the toughest, densest, and heaviest grass and shrubbery that standard mowers struggle with.
  • Instead of traditional blades, it employs flails that rotate around a drum, allowing it to mow through deep and resilient vegetation effectively.

Versatile Usage

  • Flail mowers come in two varieties: self-powered and as attachments for heavy tractors.
  • They are most commonly seen as tractor attachments, connecting to the tractor’s three-point hitch at the rear.

Name Meaning

  • The mower gets its name from the flails it uses to trim down thick grass and shrubs.
What are flails?
Here you can see some typical flails on a drum. They are much heartier than a typical mower blade

Flails are not like the spinning blades of a regular mower deck.  They bolt up to a spinning drum.  This means they don’t cut the grass by cutting it from the side. 

Rather, they drop down upon it and cut it that way.  This makes it impossible to get a bent blade.

The flails are staggered, which further helps them avoid getting stuck on or damaged by heavy debris.

Benefits of a Flail Mower

How flails are designed makes it very hard for a flail mower to get hung when cutting.  The flail bolts to the drum and can be easily moved by hand when the mower is not running. 

But, when the drum is turning, the centrifugal force keeps them tight.  But, if it comes into contact with something like a rock, stump, or other debris, the flail can move. 

This provides a huge advantage over a typical deck/bladed mower.

Who is a Flail Mower Best For?

  1. Farmers and Landowners: Those managing large areas of land with dense vegetation, such as pastures, meadows, or orchards.
  2. Groundskeepers: Professionals responsible for maintaining parks, golf courses, cemeteries, or other expansive green spaces.
  3. Hobby Farmers: Individuals with substantial home gardens or small farms seeking efficient means to manage overgrown areas.
  4. Land Clearing Projects: Contractors involved in land clearing and forestry work, where flail mowers excel at handling thick undergrowth.
  5. Orchard and Vineyard Owners: Those needing precise trimming around trees and vines while mulching weeds and debris.
  6. Municipalities: Local governments for roadside maintenance and vegetation control.
  7. Anyone Facing Tough Vegetation: Anyone dealing with particularly tough, dense, or challenging grass and shrubbery that standard mowers struggle to cut efficiently.

Flail Mower VS. Brush Hogging

Flail Mowing:

  1. Precision Cutting: Flail mowers use small, Y-shaped blades (flails) that rotate around a horizontal drum. This design allows for precise cutting of grass, weeds, and light vegetation.
  2. Versatility: Suitable for various terrains, including fine lawns, orchards, and golf courses. It’s also effective for mulching and leaves a finer finish.
  3. Safety: Flail mowers are safer in residential areas or near obstacles as they contain flying debris within the housing.
  4. Maintenance: Requires more frequent maintenance due to the smaller blades and their exposure to wear and tear.

Brush Hogging (Rotary Cutting):

  1. Heavy-Duty Cutting: Brush hogs use a single, large, spinning blade that is better suited for cutting through thick, heavy brush, and woody vegetation.
  2. Terrain: Ideal for rough, rugged terrains, such as overgrown fields, pastures, or areas with substantial underbrush.
  3. Speed: Brush hogs are generally faster at clearing large, challenging areas due to their single, robust blade.
  4. Safety Considerations: They can throw debris farther, making them less suitable for areas with nearby people or property.
  5. Maintenance: Requires less frequent maintenance due to its simpler design and larger blade.

Choosing Between Them:

  • Select flail mowing for finer, precise cutting, and areas where safety and a polished finish are essential.
  • Choose brush hogging for heavy-duty, rough cutting in challenging terrains with dense brush and woody vegetation.


A flail mower is a great thing to have if you want to cut some seriously challenging terrain.