Best Commercial Walk Behind Mower

5 Best Commercial Walk Behind Mowers

There are various forms of lawn mowers in the landscaping industry, but the walk-behind form factor does it for a lot of people.

The reason for that is not far-fetched. These kinds of mowers are great for working residential spaces to the best cut accuracy and landscape management. Besides, they are also ergonomically customized to work into tight spaces and get the job done.

However, choosing a great walk behind lawn mower is very important to get the best output from it. That is why we have created this list of the top five walk behind lawn mowers to put on your list when you are going shopping for one of these.

Why a commercial walk behind mower?

Many people ask me if walk behind mowers still has a place in the commercial market. My answer is it depends. I really only see walk behind mowers behind a good investment if you have steep hills or small gates. Otherwise, I would go with a stand on mower.

Even for small gates, I'm not sure I would go with one of these commercial walk behind mowers below. It would ultimately depend on the size of the yards with small gates. If they are large yards I would probably go with a stand on. If they are small yards I would probably go with something like a Ferris FW15 or Toro TurfMaster.

It is entirely up to you and commercial walk mowers definitely have a place it just depends on many different factors. It is very rarely a one-size-fits-all approach to setting up a trailer for commercial lawn mowering.

Hydrostatic VS Gear Drive

The difference is in the drivetrain. The hydrostatic is going to have either 2 transaxles or 2 pumps and wheel motors… similar to a stand on or zero turn mower. The gear drive mowers will use belts to drive the mower.

Personally, I would only go with a hydrostatic walk behind mower. There is no way I would ever buy a gear drive… trust me I have made this mistake. Not only are they more difficult to drive and control but if it is raining you are screwed. Wet grass or rain is the worst enemy of a belt/gear drive walk behind mower.

Best Commercial Walk Behind Zero Turn Mower Comparison

MowerExmark Turf TracerFerris FW45Hustler TrimstarToro ProlineGravely Pro-Walk
Cut Width52″ and 60″48″ and 52″36″, 48″, 54″, or 60″36″, 48″, 54″, or 60″36″, 48″, 52″, or 60″
EngineKohler Command EFIKawasaki FX651V, FX730V, or Vanguard with oil guardKawasaki FS451, FS600, FS651, or FS691Kawasaki FS or FXKawasaki FX481V, FS600V, or FS691V
Drive SystemHydro-gear pumps and Parker wheel motorsHydro-Gear ZT-3400Hydro-Gear ZT-2800Hydro-gear ZT-2800Hydro-Gear ZT-2800
Speed6.75 mph7 mph6.3 mph7 mph8 mph
Fuel Capacity5 gallons5 gallons3.4 gallons5 gallons5.8 gallons
Warranty2-year unlimited hours2-year unlimited hours2-year unlimited hours or 5-year / 1200 hours2-year unlimited hours2-year unlimited hours or 4-year/750 hours

1. Exmark Turf Tracer Walk Behind Mower

The defining features of every mower in the Exmark Turf Tracer series are a combination of speed, durability, and the efficiency that they bring on board. These mowers are made in such a way that they maximize your productivity while taking care of your comfort and needs in the same vein.

Coming with options of 52- and 60-inch cutting decks, the mowers can attain ground speeds of up to 6.75mph on either of the Kohler EFI, Kawasaki, or Kohler EFI propane engine types which you can opt for.

With special optimizations to allow you to pay less on operational costs, you get to make more on your commercial lawn mower business without having to cut corners.

This mower is without a doubt the most popular in the industry. Mainly because of the easy-to-use controls. Many users love the patented Enhanced Control System (ECS) controls.

Best Commercial Walk Behind Mowers - Enhanced Control System
ECS Controls

Simple and durable are the words that come to mind when discussing these mowers. They are built tough and without any moving parts to break. Simple is sometimes better, especially when it comes to mowers.

Check out Exmark's website for more info and for their dealer locator!


  • Industry leading parts and accessories
  • Outstanding frame durability
  • High-precision cutting
  • Patented control system for maximum comfort


  • One of the slower options
  • No other engine option
  • Offered cutting widths have minimal discrepancy

2. Ferris FW35 Walk Behind Mower

2022 Update: The FW35 has been replaced by the new FW45 mower. There are some great changes and additions to this mower that make it even better than the previous mower. Check out the full review of this mower here.

We made the Ferris FW35 walk behind mower second place simply based on popularity. This mower and the Turf Tracer are incredibly close and really just comes down to personal preference.

Fun fact, Ferris was actually the first company ever to introduce a hydrostatic walk behind back in the 1980s.

There are two main engine choices for this machine – the Kawasaki and Briggs & Stratton Vanguard options. They have all been specially built to give you the maximum power and run on the best efficiency levels available for the mowers in this level, consuming lesser fuel in the process.

This mower has two control options, Centralized Controls(CC) or pistol grip. The CC controls are similar to Exmark's controls but with one less step. The mower is so easy to use and operate.

The height adjustment is so simple on this mower. There is a crank that raises and lowers the deck… no more using pins! This is a huge time saver and just a lot easier on the operator.

Sporting a fabricated 10-gauge deck on top of the dual commercial Hydro-Gear transaxles, this mower represents one of the very best value for money on the market.

If you're in the market for a walk behind we highly recommend the units that Ferris has available. They are incredible machines that are built to withstand harsh beatings.

For more info on this mower check out Ferris' website!


  • One of the faster options
  • Sophisticated drive system
  • Intuitive speed control
  • Easy deck adjustments and leveling
  • Improved terrain flexibility
  • Side and rear discharge options


  • Only offers two cutting widths
  • More expensive than alternatives

3. Hustler TrimStar Walk Behind Mower

Hustler has been a reputable brand for a while, and they cemented that importance with Trimstar’s addition to their commercial fleet.

This mower has been specially designed to take operator fatigue away from the entire lawnmowing process, improving the efficiency of the person and machine in the same vein.

The Hustler series are characterized by deck options of either 36, 48 or 54 inches. The heavy-duty fabricated frame means this one can work under rigorous conditions and still hold its own.

That is not even the best part.

Wait till you find out that the patented H-bar steering system takes the operator’s fatigue (or lack thereof) into consideration. These controls can take some getting used to and sometimes some sensor issues.

The deck adjustment is a great feature of this mower. He is able to be feathered while mowing. For anyone that has mowed commercially, you know this is a very convenient feature.

The machine comes with a wider stance (for better stability) which makes it suited to working on slopes and uneven ground.

This is a great review of the TrimStar from Tru Scape Art!


  • Heavy duty traction and performance
  • Easy servicing and maintenance
  • Durable reinforced steel deck
  • Ergonomically-designed controls
  • Precision control and maneuverability


  • Slowest among the options
  • Smallest fuel tank capacity

4. Toro Walk Behind Lawn Mower Series

Looking at the impressive fleet of Toro, all of their commercial walk behind mowers that they have developed is no slouch. They have been around a long time and have many great reviews.

These units offer three different styles of controls including a pistol grip, t-bar, and twin levers. The pistol grip is the traditional style that most walk behinds have. The t-bar is a Toro classic that many people love. Finally, the twin levers are similar controls to that of a stand on mower.

Toro's commercial walk behind mowers come in different sizes of Kawasaki engines. Kawasaki clearly has a great name within the mower industry and they will hold up for a long time.

Toro has had a quality walk behind for a long time. They have not changed very much over the years but if it's not broken, don't fix it. Learn more about them and find a dealer at Toro's website!


  • One of the faster options
  • Traction-assistive handles
  • Offers easy cleanup through bagging mechanisms
  • Professional cutting performance
  • Easy-to-learn controls
  • Top-of-the-line reliability


  • One of the most expensive options
  • Minimal cutting height range

5. Gravely Pro-Walk Mower

Gravely has been doing this for about 100 years now, so it was not surprising to see that their walk behind lawn mowers are actually one of the very best out there.

Their fleet of walk behind mowers consists of four mowers in all, and they are all nothing short of efficient. Depending on the engine you choose, these mowers can supply as much as 23HP for your mowing operations.

They also come with a slew of cutting deck options, allowing you to choose just what is best for your needs. Complete with a sturdy design and aesthetic appeal that is almost difficult to beat, the Gravely Walk behind series is one fleet to beat in the walk behind lawn mower market.

The new intuitive steering is super easy to use and great on the operator. It is similar to driving a motorcycle! I will recommend watching the video below to see how the controls work.

For more info on this mower go to Gravely's website!


  • Offers the fastest propelling speed
  • Largest fuel tank capacity among the options
  • Uses more advanced engines than the Trimstar
  • Intuitive steering controls
  • Multiple cutting height options
  • Wide and stable wheelbase


  • Some traction problems on wet ground
  • Longer than most walk-behind mowers

Buyer’s Guide

Walk-behind mowers come in several variations, and it can be quite time-consuming to analyze all the essentials for commercial applications.

To make things easier, we have simplified your search to the following considerations.

Manual or Self-Powered

As its name suggests, manual walk-behind mowers do not have a motor for moving across a lawn and, therefore, require manual operation. Examples include cylinder or reel mowers, rotary mowers, and manual push mowers.

On the other hand, self-propelled mowers move across a lawn independently after a toggled switch, with the operator controlling settings and direction.

The best commercial walk behind mower should be powerful enough to tackle extra-large lawns. As such, the self-powered options are the better choice.

Then again, self-powered options are either gas-powered or electric.

Fuel-Powered or Electric

The primary difference between a fuel-powered or electric walk-behind mower is its power source.

Depending on the engine type, fuel-powered mowers use propane, gasoline, or diesel. Most self-propelled walk-behind models run on gasoline, with only one of our options using propane.

Alternatively, electric mowers use batteries or direct connections to an AC power source. While electric mowers are eco-friendlier and require less maintenance, they seldom surpass the capabilities of fuel-powered alternatives.

Since we need a walk-behind mower for commercial applications, we need a walk-behind that can run without requiring long extension cords or regular battery replacements. Imagine working on a half-acre garden only to find yourself unable to finish because of inadequate power extensions and draining batteries.

Lawn Layout Considerations

The general layout of a lawn can also significantly affect your choice of a walk-behind mower. 

Mowers with a broader coverage can tackle expansive grounds at much shorter periods, but they usually have difficulty working on tight spaces.

On the other side, smaller, more manageable mowers can easily handle tight corners and turns, but they will require more time working on larger lawns.

Feature Offerings

You could also look for features that can substantially make the work experience more efficient. 

Look for high blade torque ratings for cleaner cuts and large engine displacements for heavier cutting.

Look for a mower that carries a no-prime engine if you hate yanking and cranking on manual priming controls. Also, look for a blade brake clutch, which stops the blades spinning but keeps the engine running. 

Broader cut widths or interchangeable blade lengths are also important for commercial applications.

Finally, opt for adjustable cutting heights for tackling grass of varying blade lengths.

Handling of Grass Clippings

Various walk-behind mowers handle grass clippings differently. There are side-discharge mowers, mulching mowers, and mowers with bagging systems.

As its name suggests, Side-discharge mowers transmit grass clippings through vents or canals to direct them to the sides of the machine. These clippings go back onto the ground, requiring raking, especially if the clippings are too thick.

Mulching mowers have mowing decks that can house large grass clippings for the blades to cut to minute sizes. They’re called such because finer-cut grass clippings are effective for soil mulching.

Models with bagging systems collect the grass clippings to help keep your lawn looking clean. With this mower type, you don’t have to rake, and you effectively reduce weed seed germination.

No matter which type of debris handling system you choose, it would also be nice to have a mowing deck wash port. This port allows a connection between the internal surfaces of the mowing deck and a garden hose. With this feature, the underside of your mower becomes much easier to clean.

Maintenance Requirements

As mentioned, fuel-powered mowers require more maintenance than electronic alternatives. Nevertheless, it wouldn’t hurt to look for walk-behind gas models that offer simpler maintenance procedures.

Aside from regular cleaning and basic blade care and sharpening, replacement of consumables is necessary for fuel-powered options. Things such as air filter, engine oil, and spark plug changes are crucial, ultimately dictating the machine's lifespan.

Commercial Walk Behind Mowers FAQs

1. How long do walk-behind mowers last?

Walk-behind mowers with commercial-grade engines should provide users up to 3,500 hours of practical use. As long as oil changes occur after every 50 hours of use, commercial walk-behind mowers can attain this service life expectancy.

Residential applications typically require up to 50 hours of mowing annually. As such, the best commercial walk behind mowers should last up to seven decades in any standard residential setting.

2. How long can you leave fuel in a lawn mower?

Unused gasoline in a lawn mower’s fuel tank can deteriorate in as short as two to four weeks. After this duration, stale gasoline will produce varnish and gum particles that could build up and clog fuel ports. Such particles could also break seals and cause carburetor damage.

For these reasons, it is essential only to load as much gas into your mower as necessary. If you have excess gasoline left in the tank after mowing season, the best practice is to drain the tank before winter storage.

3. What type of walk-behind mower is best for hills?

Walk-behind mowers with larger rear wheel diameters are best for mowing across sloped and rough terrains, especially up steeper slopes.

Aside from the size of the rear tires, engine power and tire wheel material can also affect sloping terrain traversal. Of course, the higher the engine power, the better a machine’s chances of pushing towards slopier terrain. In addition, real rubber tires provide better traction than plastic alternatives.

4. In what direction should slopes be mowed?

Mowing perpendicularly against a slope can increase the chances of rolling and slipping. As such, it would be better to mow up and down diagonally. If the slope is too steep for mowing sideways, mow it upward and turn it off when returning downhill.

5. Why do commercial mowers cut better?

True commercial-grade mowers will have higher blade tip torque and speed ratings. These ratings are typically two or three times higher than ratings on residential models.

Nevertheless, with technological advancements in engine design and mechanization, high-powered residential models continue to join the competition.

Wrapping it up

We hope this article has helped with making your decision on a new commercial walk behind mower. Be sure to leave a comment below if you have used these mowers or have questions about them!

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5 Replies to “5 Best Commercial Walk Behind Mowers

  1. My number one as best as I can tell, and I’ve been looking at this for a while, is Bradley 48″ and 52″ hydro walk behinds. The current sale price not including shipping (which will add an average of $300 depending upon how far away one is from Bradley, IL) is $3,100 for the 48 and $3,400 for the 52; The problem with this “best 5” review is that it doesn’t consider “VALUE”, and so the list’s number one also happens to have a list price that is $3,900 more than the same-size Bradley hydro adding in shipping. The list expensive on the list above has the number 5 spot; the Hustler TrimStar, and it is still at least $2,000 more list price than a Bradley that is more powerful, a thicker gauge still deck, albeit a fixed deck. Besides the fixed deck (which could be a non starter for some) and, debatably but not proven, inferior engine brand, and maybe, but not proven, inferior steel quality, the Bradley WB hydro 48s and 52s have industry standard wheels/tires, bearings, pulleys, belts, thicker than most deck (7 gauge side and 10 gauge top), industry-standard Hydro Gear brand ZT2800 transmission, 25 hp commercial engine, 3 yr residential and 2 yr commercial warranty, 18 inch rear and 11 inch front wheel/tires. There have been some so-called negative reviews from folks who have never seen or used Bradley products or have never dealt with the company or dealers or have never attempted to get parts or service, but those are folks making assumptions based on non participation or rumor. But as for real, first-hand experience with Bradley WBs and/or standers, I’d say the positive review rating is near 90%, and since the price is from $2,000 to $3,900 less than competitors (at least comparing list prices) with the only negatives being a fixed deck and more traditional T-bar controls, I’d put Bradley at number 1.

    1. dont pay more than $150 for 1, get a mulching self propel if possible so you dont really work when using it. I found a returned to Walmart snapper self with a b&s 5.5 for like $160. I also have a turf tracer 36 which I love. When my 50 inch zt dies I will buy a bradley because of the price. The 36 was to expensive but the dealer is like 1/4 mi from my house. convenience is a big factor. Bradley dealer less than 6 mi away though. Toro dealer is pretty close to

      1. Great list, however, i wish you would have mentioned the scag swz hydro drive mower. yes it does have a fixed deck and some people dont like the pistol grips but there is a reason they haven’t changed the design of them much in 20 years. they tend to last longer than the business that bought them, from my experience.
        cut quality is great, tons of power, lasts a lifetime,the only con being that they are pricey.

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