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Flail Mowers vs. Brush Hogs, and compact tractors

Updated: Jan 27, 2021

Brush hogs (rotary’s) and flail mowers (finishing cutters) both come with their unique features and as such unique benefits. Offering users a different experience and a different cut depending on mowing conditions.

The mowing conditions, the job required, and the mini tractor you're using are all big factors when choosing between a flail mower or a brush hog.

Flail Mowers vs. Brush Hogs, and compact tractors

Compact tractor attachments

Brush hogs – a rotary mower with spinning blades that cut horizontally and at speed. A brush hogs' primary purpose is to operate across uneven terrain, landscapes, and ground, cutting through thick brush and overgrown areas with ease.

The blades on a brush hog are extremely heavy. They are also thick in size and due to their requirement to cut through large overgrowth these blades are also dull, meaning they rely heavily on momentum and continuous movement to work their way through growth.

A brush hog attaches to a small tractor via a three-point hitch and then driven by PTO. They are attached to compact tractors and towed behind, clearing land, creating pastures, and more.

Flail mowers – are powered through PTO drive and their sharp `y` or `t` shaped blades are found attached to a long shaft. A flail mower runs side by side with the ground with its rotating blades cutting grassed areas much finer than a brush hog. The clippings that are produced as a result of the blades cutting motion are then evenly distributed throughout the full reach of the cutter, rather than piled or spat out in clumps, which tends to kill regrowth and can leave open spots/areas in fields.

Flail mowers are also known as finishing mowers, and you will find them to be suitable for most compact tractors for sale.

With its blades able to reach far lower to the ground than that of a rotary, a flail mower will offer you a much more pristine finish to your landscaping (of course, often after all the tall grass and weeds, etc. have been cut down with a brush hog!)

When looking at a compact tractor for sale, most will come with potentially a two-point cutter designed brush hog as this is often the most common and popular attachment.

Benefits of both brush hogs and flail mowers

Brush Hogs – Advantages

  • Great for tackling large overgrown areas.

  • Can tackle overgrown grassy areas with ease.

  • Run at high speeds to help keep the momentum going – so you can get the job done faster.

  • Easy to maintain and service.

  • The durability of the brush hog blade allows it to slice through heavier and thicker material with ease.

  • Brush hogs are manufactured using more heavy-duty materials than that of a flail mower, making them more robust in their design.


  • They can leave a low/poor quality cut due to their dull, thick blades.

  • Has the potential for clippings to clump or pile up in fields.

  • Objects are often sucked up and then thrown out in any direction, which throws up the issue of safety. Mowing areas containing rocks, sticks, debris, etc., should all be taken with caution.

Flail mower – Advantages

  • The most popular choice when cutting vines and bushes.

  • Their design and blade structure mitigates the issue of flying debris.

  • Suitable for overgrown grassy areas.

  • They can help to return nutrients through its mulching and even distribution of clippings.

  • A versatile attachment that can be manoeuvred to varying angles to help cut bank sides and ditches.

  • Flails are easy to remove and replace if one becomes damaged.


  • It takes a little longer to get the job done.

  • Flails can be slightly more expensive than a brush hog.

Overall, brush hogs are ideally suited for overgrown grassy areas and fields, handling rougher conditions at speed. In comparison, flail mowers offer you that great quality cut and finish.

Whether you opt for a flail mower or a brush hog, the tractor and mowing deck must be in good working order for you to achieve the outcome you require.

Ultimately, your choice depends on your requirements.

At Beckside Machinery, we're pleased to stock a range of tractor attachments and small tractors for sale, suitable to meet various needs.

Beckside Machinery are proud to stock the UK’s most comprehensive range of flail mowers for sale, which are subdivided into the following categories:

We have multiple models in each category to suit your specific requirements.

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