Ferris FW45 review - featured

Ferris FW45 Walk Behind Mower Review

A fun fact many people don't know, Ferris is credited with building the first ever hydrostatic walk behind the mower. Scag was very close in line with them, but Ferris actually released and patented it first in 1987. Since then, they have made several enhancements and continued to improve the commercial walk behind the mower.

Ferris mowers had an unlikely start in the manufacturing realm. Formed as a milk machine manufacturer in 1909, the Uebler Milking Machine Company of upper state New York served the needs of the area’s myriad of small dairies that populated the region for decades. 

Switching gears in the 1980s and responding to the decline of small dairy concerns, the company retooled and joined the growing commercial landscaping industry that emerged. Formed in 1986, the newly minted Ferris Company turned its attention to producing superior commercial landscaping equipment.

The Ferris FW45 is just another step in this company's journey. Let's look into the details of this new, upgraded mower.

Ferris FW45 VS FW35

The Ferris FW45 is an upgrade and replacement of the well-known Ferris FW35. This mower was around for a long time and was in need of an update. So you may be wondering, what are the upgrades?

If you simply look at the specifications of these mowers side by side like in the chart below, you won't notice much difference. The only real major difference is the upgraded transaxles. Of course, this is kind of a big deal since the previous transaxles were probably one of the biggest problems the mower had.

Other than that, almost everything is the same… until you begin to look at the features. It's almost like the product developers at Ferris took the FW35 and upgraded or changed nearly every annoyance the mower had. The FW45 has several big feature upgrades. Check out the features section of this article for all the details on that.

EngineVanguard™ 810 EFI with Oil GuardVanguard™ 810 EFI with Oil Guard
TransmissionHydro-Gear ZT-3400 with external liquid coolersHydro-Gear ZT-3100
SpeedForward (mph)
Reverse mph)
Forward (mph)
Reverse mph)
ControlsCentralized Controls (CC)Centralized Controls (CC)
Fuel Tank Capacity5 gallons5 gallons
Weight 814814
Warranty2 year / Unlimited hours2 year / Unlimited hours

Ferris FW45 Full Lineup

The full lineup of the Ferris FW45 is a bit different than the FW35. It is a more concise lineup without as many options but still has the most popular models.

I was surprised that Ferris kept the pistol grip models in this lineup, but I guess there are still people who prefer this control style.

Below is a comparison of each Ferris FW45 mower.

EngineKawasaki® FX651VVanguard™ 810cc EFI with Oil GuardVanguard™ 810 EFI with Oil GuardKawasaki® FX651VKawasaki® FX651VKawasaki® FX730V
Engine Power 20.5 gross hp28 gross hp28 gross hp20.5 gross hp20.5 gross hp23.5 gross hp
TransmissionHydro-Gear ZT-3400 with external liquid coolersHydro-Gear ZT-3400 with external liquid coolersHydro-Gear ZT-3400 with external liquid coolersHydro-Gear ZT-3400 with external liquid coolersHydro-Gear ZT-3400 with external liquid coolersHydro-Gear ZT-3400 with external liquid coolers
Fuel Tank Capacity5 gal5 gal5 gal5 gal5 gal5 gal
Cutting Width52″52″52″48″52″52″
SpeedForward (mph)
Reverse mph)
Forward (mph)
Reverse mph)
Forward (mph)
Reverse mph)
Forward (mph)
Reverse mph)
Forward (mph)
Reverse mph)
Forward (mph)
Reverse mph)
ControlStandard, Pistol GripStandard, Pistol GripCC™ Centralized ControlCC™ Centralized ControlCC™ Centralized ControlCC™ Centralized Control
Warranty2 years2 years2 years2 years2 years2 years


The heart of your landscaping productivity lies in your machine’s powertrain. Powered by a 726cc Kawasaki engine, the FW45 offers up 20.5 horsepower or Vanguard 810 with oil guard to get even the largest job done on schedule. A five-gallon fuel tank eliminates the need to stop for refueling, and an oil change interval of 500-hours saves time and money, with maintenance costs slashed by as much as 60%. 

Ferris FW45 review - engine

The FW45 features all new Hydro-Gear ZT-3400 liquid cooled transaxles. These are meant to help prevent overheating and prolonging the life of the transaxles in this mower. One of the big problems with the FW35 was with the transmissions. The Hydro-Gear ZT-3100 had many issues over the years.


In addition to an impressive power plant and 500-hour oil change interval (oil guard model only), the Ferris FW45 features a dual commercial Hydro-Gear ZT-3400 transaxles with 7-inch cooling fans with oil coolers. Indeed, its external oil coolers help reduce oil temperature by as much as 25%. Finally, its gas tank guard offers an added level of protection against damage and leakage.

Below are some of the key features and major upgrades to the Ferris FW45.

  • Kawasaki and Vanguard with oil guard engine options
  • Hydro-gear ZT-3400 transaxles with external oil coolers
  • Enhanced foot pedal design
  • New spindle access
  • Upgraded ergonomic parking brake
  • Gas Tank guard
  • Fuel tank shut off valve
  • enhanced muffler guard
ferris fw45 foot pedals

Cut Quality

The FW45 delivers a cut quality that is unrivaled within its class. Offering up a 52-inch cutting deck with a cutting height between 1.5 and 5-inches. Fabricated 10-gauge deck, cast iron spindles, and easily accessible spindles for easy greasing and maintenance. Cut quality is enhanced with control systems that ergonomically surround the operator, making it easy to concentrate on the cutting process.

FW45_NewSpindleAccess (1)


Made in America utilizing only the finest materials available, the Ferris FW45 offers an incredibly durable platform designed to meet busy landscaping professionals' needs. Cast iron spindles and 10-gauge steel construction is backed up with a two-year limited warranty.


When it comes to getting that landscaping job completed, commercial landscapers always need to look towards that next task and the ones that follow. As such, you want to use an ergonomically designed machine for your comfort. 

The Ferris FW45 was designed with an eye toward operator comfort, including enhanced foot pedal support and ergonomically crafted parking brakes, which retracts into the frame to prevent bending or snagging. 

The overall design of the centralized controls (CC models) is the same as the FW35. The control panel is also set up the same as the previous model. This includes the key, throttle, and PTO all in the same or very similar position as the previous model.


Built with the operator in mind, the Ferris FW45 projects an aura of toughness and durability that is designed to impress close enough to view it in action. Its steel construction promises years of reliable performance while looking great on the job. Arriving at the job site with an FW45 in tow is the height of professionalism. 

ferris fw45 walk behind mower

Build Quality

Built in its Munnsville, NY plant, the Ferris FW45 features a dry weight of 814 pounds and comes with a 2-year limited warranty that is ideal for the commercial owner. Dual solid steel return to neutral foot pedals and retractable parking brake illustrates the level of detail designers gave to their machine.

Our Rating

Performance:4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)
Cut Quality:4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)
Durability:4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)
Comfort:4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)
Price:4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)
Overall:4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)


At an affordable $7,999.00, the FW45 is readily available for purchase at your nearest dealership. The purchase comes with a two-year limited warranty for commercial use, and the cost is buying a machine that is economical to use and affordable to operate.

Wrapping it Up

For the commercial landscaping looking for an affordable, durable, and innovative walk-behind commercial-grade mower, the Ferris FW45 checks all the boxes from dependable performance to enhanced design characteristics. Rugged durability, which is powered by a 726cc Kawasaki engine featuring an available 20.5 horsepower, means that this machine is tailor-made for the busy landscaping professional.

What Do You Think?

We hope this Ferris FW45 review has been helpful. What do you think of the Ferris FW45 lineup? Let us know in the comments!

Do you own a lawn business? Check out our resources page for a complete list of all the lawn care tools/resources every lawn business owner must have!

Images are from Ferris Mowers.

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