Scag mowers are the biggest sellers and the ones I see most often locally. A friend who has his own lawn care business bought a Turf Tiger a few years ago and could not be happier with it. Why is that?
Scag Power Equipment is currently the largest independent commercial mower manufacturer in the U.S. The company started in 1983 in Mayville, Wisconsin. They had one gear-driven riding model back then. Now they make over 50 models.
What makes them so popular is they are sturdy, durable and much more user-friendly then other brands. They have lots of safety features, too.
Productivity is the biggest reason Scag mowers are so popular. Whether you are lawn mowing in New Braunfels, or commercial mowing in Chicago, you can mow taller grass faster because of the air-flow, baffling and ultra-high blade tip speeds. Higher horsepower and engine torque also speed up the amount of work you can do in a day. Adjustable seats, large foot pedals and ergonomic handles protect the operator from machine-induced fatigue which gets work done faster and prevents accidents. The more you can get done the more you earn. It’s as simple as that.
The only big complaint about the productivity of a Scag mower is fuel tank capacity. The Turf Tiger holds 10 gallons. This means more frequent refills compared to some other brands, but 10 gallons will mow a lot of residential lawns. If you are mowing mostly residential lawns, fuel tank capacity is not a big issue.
Sturdy, durable construction from high quality parts are another reason this brand is popular. When your mower goes down, your business is down. Scag understands that and manufactures mowers that have the lowest down-time record on the market. Preventive maintenance is vital to preventing down-time. I have read and heard that Scag makes doing maintenance as painless as possible. The ztr cutting decks are shaft-driven so there are no belts to break. If you have a non-ztr model be sure to keep belts on hand. The spindles can be greased. Oil changes are easy to perform.
Only two Scag mower models are not zero-turn radius or ztr models. They are designed with a low center of gravity for stability on steep hills. If you mow where their is a significant risk of a mower roll-over, the SW walk-behind and STHM three wheel front mount rider are the mowers of choice. Even though all Scag riding mowers come with a roll-over protection system (ROPS), if you work in areas where roll-over is a serious risk, you should use a mower designed for that terrain.
List of Scag mower models
Riding mowers in order of largest to smallest:
Walk-Behind Scag ztr mower models:
SWZU – Ultra Hydro Walk Behind
SWZ – Hydro Walk Behind
STHM – Three-Wheel Rider
SW – Fixed Deck Belt-Drive
Scag doesn’t offer a stand-on “surfer” type model. They do have an attachment for the walk-behinds that will allow you to stand on the rear of the mower while operating it.
Scag is an industry leader in mower safety, both in engineering in safety features and operator safety instruction. They recommend reading the entire owners manual before operating the mower, but I can tell you from personal experience the only people who do that are required to by corporate franchise rules. Independent owners and operators will peruse the manual to find what they cannot figure out on their own, but they are not going to sit down and read a manual cover-to-cover.
Scag has an instructional DVD entitled “Tips for Safe Operation of Your Scag Zero-Turn Mower”. Safety training in video format along with a written safety manual are often more easily mastered quickly than reading a text-based safety manual alone. Experienced operators will often tell you they only refer to the owners/safety manual when they have questions, but if a safety DVD is available most all of them will watch it.
Scag also has an operational safety guidelines bullet list on their website which can be used as a checklist. You can copy and paste it to a word processor document and print it out to give to each crew member. Making safety easy to implement makes it work and Scag makes it easy.
I do not currently own a commercial lawn mower and I am seriously looking for one. I am still using my residential push mower and it is hard work with a capital HW. I will be writing about different brands of mowers and why one brand might be chosen over another brand. Most brands sport some benefit or feature over others that may make it the best choice for you.
Scag mowers are the most popular but may not be the best choice for your needs. After writing about several brands I plan to do a mower comparison article to help you (and me) choose the right mower.