More compact than zero turn radius riding mowers, yet still as manoeuvrable, walk-behind zero turn mowers have found a niche in the commercial lawn care market.
Their compactness allows them to go places where a big and bulky ride-on mower can't reach. They can, for example, fit thorough narrow gates and other obstacles.
This compactness also lends itself to easy transportation. They take up less trailer space and are a lot lighter.
A walk-behind ZTR is also better able to tackle slopes than a riding mower is.
When considering a walk-behind it would be worth considering the type of jobs it will tackle. They are ideal for the smaller contractor who needs a fast, highly manoeuvrable mower for smaller residential lawns. They are also ideal for the commercial operator looking to add a smaller, yet still powerful, mower to their fleet to get to places the others can't. They are also ideal for safely tackling jobs where there are a lot of hills.
A common optional extra for these mowers is a Sulky which allows the operator to ride behind the mower. Manufactured by various companies, such as Jungle Jim and Bull Rider, a Sulky is a great way to take the strain off the operators legs, yet not add significantly to the mowers weight or length or detract from its cutting ability. They are commonly designed with wheels to avoid cutting up the turf. A sulky can be easily detached or folded when not needed or when being transported.
There are a number of manufacturers offering walk-behind ZTR mowers, including names such as Snapper, Husqvarna, SCAG, Exmark, Bunton, Ferris and Bradley. Perhaps the best known is SCAG. Scag offer four different walk-behind models: the Scag SWZ, SW, SFW and the SWZT. The new Scag SWZT has won many plaudits due to its comfort and all-around quality. A floating deck and hydraulic drive system also mean its one of the smoothest walk behinds out there. Fitted with either a 36 inch or 48 inch heavy duty commercial cutting deck it is clearly made to last. It has also been designed from the ground up with operator comfort in mind. A newly designed control system is ergonomically designed to reduce operator fatigue.
Another manufacturer in the walk-behind zero turn mower arena is Exmark. The Turf Tracer, for example, is fitted with a 20 HP Kohler twin cylinder motor and features ECS Handles. Extras such as a 2 wheel Bull Rider Sulky can also easily be fitted to reduce operator fatigue.