Flail Mower vs Brush Hog: Key Differences, Which is Better?

Having a beautiful and green lawn is the desire of every homeowner. However, caring for lawns isn’t for the faint at heart.

flail mower

It requires dedication, and above all, you have to invest in lawnmowers — and there are plenty of brands to choose from.

Both flail and Brush hog lawn mowers stand out in the pack.

But what are the key differences, and which is better?

The flail mower is better suited for smaller jobs while the brush hog is better for larger jobs.

However, there are other factors that you need to consider when deciding which lawn mower to purchase. 

For example, the flail mower is less expensive than the brush hog, but it takes more time to clear an area using this machine since it has fewer blades.

On the other hand, the brush hog is more practical if you want to minimize debris and speed up vegetation removal.

When it comes to choosing the right piece of equipment for clearing brush and undergrowth, there are two main options: a flail mower or a brush hog. 

Both of these machines have their pros and cons, so it can be tough to decide which one is right for your needs. 

Here’s a look at the key differences between flail mowers and brush hogs so you can make an informed decision.

Flail vs. Brush Hog Lawn Mower: Size Comparison

A flail mower is typically smaller than a brush hog. This makes the flail mower ideal for smaller jobs, while the brush hog is better for larger jobs.

Capability

A flail mower can handle tougher vegetation than a brush hog. If you have dense vegetation or thick undergrowth, then a flail mower is the better option.

However, if you are dealing with light vegetation or taller grass, then a brush hog is a better choice.

Flail vs Brush Hog: Which is More Expensive?

A flail mower is typically less expensive than a brush hog. If you are looking for an affordable option, then a flail mower is the way to go.

Which one is better for you? It depends on your needs and what you will be using the machine for. If you have dense vegetation or thick undergrowth, then a flail mower is the better option. 

If you are dealing with light vegetation or taller grass, then a brush hog is a better choice. Whichever machine you choose, make sure to read the operator’s manual carefully to ensure safe and proper use.

Flail and Brush Hog Mowers: The Similarities

Another similarity is that they are both pulled behind a tractor. This allows them to move quickly and efficiently through the area that needs to be cleared.

Brush hogs use a rotating blade to cut the vegetation at the base, which leaves a stump behind. Which one you choose depends on what you are trying to achieve. 

If you are looking for a quick and easy way to clear away undergrowth, then a flail mower is the best option. If you are looking to clear an area of larger trees, then a brush hog is the better choice.

Flail Mowers

Flail mowers are designed to quickly cut through dense undergrowth and brush.

They feature multiple blades that rotate around a central axis, allowing them to slice through vegetation with ease. 

Flail mowers are ideal for areas with thick foliage, and they can also be used to chop up fallen logs or tree stumps.

Flail mowers are self-propelled, which means all you have to do is walk along behind it as it cuts through the vegetation. 

When used in conjunction with cutting attachments for clearing paved surfaces, the flail mower can also be used for other landscaping projects around your yard or property.

Parts of a Flail Mower

Number of blades 

The number of blades on a flail mower varies depending on its size and model, but generally, they range from 3-4 blades. 

The blades are attached to a central axis by rods, which allow them to move left and right as well as up and down while spinning at high speeds. The cutting action created by this movement results in a cleanly cut brush that’s easy to clear and work with.

Engine 

The engine that powers the blades is mounted at the back end of the flail mower, and it’s usually powered by gasoline. Some gas-powered models require mixing oil into the fuel as well, which means you’ll need to keep an eye on oil levels as you’re operating them. 

Electric flail mowers are also available; however, their lower power output makes them less effective for tougher jobs like clearing brush or large debris off pavement or lawns.

Size Options

Flail mowers come in several different sizes and cutting widths, so you can choose one based on your landscaping needs and preferences: 

  • Lightweight models—less than 30 pounds are ideal for homeowners with small lawns or light brush clearing needs. 
  • Medium-duty flail mowers-30-60 pounds are good for mid-sized yards and light to medium brush clearing duties. 
  • Heavy-duty models—65 pounds or more, are the best choice for heavy brush removal, large properties, or commercial landscaping tasks.

Advantages of flail mowers

1). Flail mowers are very effective at chopping vegetation into small pieces. This makes them ideal for clearing overgrown areas or preparing land planting.

2). Flail mowers are relatively inexpensive to purchase and maintain.

3). Flail mowers do not require fuel or electricity to operate, making them ideal for remote applications like clearing out fields before planting season.

4). Flail mowers are capable of chopping down thick brushes with minimal clogging or jamming. This is because the rotating blades move at high velocity, which allows them to slice easily through vegetation without binding up in it.

5). The combination of blade speed and flailing motion allows flail mowers to chop large pieces into progressively smaller pieces (i.e., they can “double cut”). 

This makes them well-suited for preparing seedbeds before sowing large seeds like corn beans that require extra preparation before planting.

Disadvantages of a flail mower

1). Flail mowers are heavy and bulky, making them difficult to store or transport. This includes transporting over rough terrain, which can be very challenging for smaller, self-propelled models.

2). Being towed behind another vehicle makes flail mowers susceptible to high wind speeds and fires caused by sparks from the tow vehicle. In areas with high wind or wildfire risks, it might be safer to use a different type of clearing implement altogether (e.g., a chainsaw).

3). Operating a towed flail mower requires another vehicle capable of pulling the unit across the field at about 10 km/h (8 mph). An anti-slip surface is required for good traction. 

To clear a field, the operator must be able to navigate through obstacles while maintaining a consistent speed and steering around large clumps of vegetation.

Brush Hogs

brush hog mower

Brush hogs are designed to get rid of accumulated vegetation in one pass, which means they’re ideal for people who have acres of land that’s covered in thick undergrowth. 

They typically feature a single blade that moves back and forth across the front roller while spinning at high speeds, which chops up everything it comes into contact with through sheer force. 

Brush hogs can be used on both paved and unpaved surfaces, making them a versatile option for landowners.

Parts of a Brush Hog

Blade

Brush hogs have one main moving part: the blade. The blade is attached to a roller that moves it back and forth across the machine as it spins. This action chops up everything in its path, including brush, saplings, and small trees.

Engine 

The engine that powers the blade is mounted at the back end of the brush hog, and it’s usually powered by gasoline. Some gas-powered models require mixing oil into the fuel as well, which means you’ll need to keep an eye on oil levels as you’re operating them. 

Electric brush hogs are also available; however, their lower power output makes them less effective for tougher jobs like clearing brush or large debris off paved surfaces.

Size Options

Brush hogs come in several different sizes and cutting widths, so you can choose one based on your landscaping needs and preferences: 

  • Lightweight models—less than 50 pounds—are ideal for homeowners with small lawns or light brush clearing needs. 
  • Medium-duty models—50-110 pounds—are good for mid-sized yards and light to medium brush clearing duties. 
  • Heavy-duty models—more than 110 pounds—are the best choice for heavy brush removal, large properties, or commercial landscaping tasks.

The following are advantages for owning a brush hog:

1). A brush hog offers versatility over regular lawn mowers because it can be used to trim around paths or delicate garden beds.

2). Brush hogs provide more power than regular lawnmowers; this increased power reduces the amount of time required to mow a given area.

3). The large cutting cylinder, with its curved blades and slanted drum, is designed to effectively cut tall thick vegetation. This makes it ideal for grassy areas where taller plants need to be kept in check.

4). Brush hogs are more durable than lawnmowers because they have a stronger frame and a cutter housing made from steel which won’t rust or corrode. 

And the cutter bars are reinforced with heavy-duty alloy steel which also won’t break or bend easily, making them perfect for heavy-duty trimming jobs.

5). These machines do not require gas or oil as they run on electricity supplied by a 100 Volt AC power source such as a 110/120-volt outlet in a home. This makes them very economical to run and environmentally friendly.

6). These machines offer an ergonomic design with a curved handle that reduces fatigue when using the unit for long periods.

7). The brush hog head can be adjusted for cutting height from 0-1″ allowing you to maintain a neatly manicured look in your yard or garden beds.

8). Brush hogs are mostly low maintenance units only requiring oil changes every few months and replacement blades every year or two depending on how often they are used, where they are used, and what type of vegetation is being cut.

9). Mowing down tall thick weeds, grasses, and other nonwoody plants efficiently will reduce the need for herbicides and pesticides.

The following are some disadvantages to owning a brush hog:

1). A brush hog is not as maneuverable as a regular lawnmower and can be difficult to turn around in tight spaces.

2). There is a higher chance of kick-back when using a brush hog, especially with taller vegetation, so operators should take care when using this machine.

3). These machines can be quite heavy so transporting them to another area can be difficult.

4). The drum-type cutter can leave behind small bits of vegetation that may need to be raked up after the mowing is done.

It really comes down to what you need it for – if you have a lot of land with a high brush, then the brush hog is the way to go – it will clear everything in its path. But, if you have a smaller yard and just need to clear some light brush, then the flail mower is a good option.

The best way to choose between the two is to figure out what your needs are and then match the machine to those needs. Both of these machines are durable and built to last, so you can’t go wrong with either one.

Brush HoggingFlail Mowing
Easier to operate – just drive and goMore precision control for smaller areas
Cuts through taller weeds and undergrowth easilyCan cut through tougher plants and brush more effectively than a brush hog
Ideal for larger areasGreat for clearing overgrown areas or around obstacles

Conclusion

In the end, it comes down to what works best for your needs. If you have a lot of undergrowth and brush to clear, then a brush hog is likely the better option. 

But if you only have a small area of overgrown vegetation, then a flail mower may be more suited to your needs.

No matter what you choose, make sure you take the time to learn how to use it properly. That way, you can get the most out of your investment.