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5 Best Rough Cut Field Mowers for Tackling Long Grass, Tough Brush and Brambles
Last Updated on August 19, 2020 by John
If you’re responsible for the upkeep of a large area of tough grassland, a rough cutter field mower could be your new favourite mowing machine. Even if you never get many visitors out to ooh and aah at your nicely cut fields, paddock or brush land, you do need to keep the long grass, brambles and tough brush there in check. Whether you have a small holding or live on an acreage, or have pastures or paddocks that you manage professionally, these brush cut mowers keep your long grass, thorny brambles and tough brush under control.
Our Best Rough Cutter Field Mowers review looks at mowers for the home owner with a large area of grassland as well as for those who manage grassland professionally. We review the pros and cons of five petrol field mowers and discuss their features. We select the best field mower for domestic use and the best professional quality mower for tough brush. We also have a Buyer’s Guide which points out the features to look for when making your decision about which field mower to select.
Our Best Pick of Rough Cutter Field Mowers is the Efco DR51VB6 Petrol Wheeled Brushcutter Mower. This domestic/semi-professional paddock mower has a high-quality 500cc Briggs and Stratton engine and a wide range of cutting heights. Its extensive professional and domestic warranties should give you high confidence in this model and it comes at an entry-level price where brush cutters mowers are concerned.
The DR Pro XL 30-16.5 ES Self Propelled Field and Brush Mower is our Best Pick for Professional Use. This mower handles tall grass, even taller weeds and brush, and thick saplings with ease. Its power steering works alongside its self-propulsion to efficiently and effectively tame large overgrown fields and pastures. Perfect and well designed for professional use.
With its high-end 500cc Briggs and Stratton engine, the Efco DR51VB6 Petrol Wheeled Brushcutter mower provides power, reliability and fuel efficiency. You have a choice of mowing speeds from a fairly sedate 2.5kph stroll to a more brisk 4.5kph walk. This mower’s front wheel pivots 360° for maximum manoeuvrability.
With its 51cm cutting width and a choice of four cutting heights from 5.5cm to 12cm, this Efco field mower is best suited to a domestic or semi-professional environment. Its one-year professional warranty and its three-year domestic warranty are generous. This mower is for you if you live on a large acreage or for lighter professional use.
Best Pick for Professional Use
Also with a high quality 500cc Briggs and Stratton motor is the DR Pro XL 30-16.5 ES Self Propelled Field and Brush Mower. This ranks as a professional field mower for its power and extra features. Though if your domestic land is really wild and demanding, you may need this as a residential mower.
The 75cm cutting width is designed for mowing large areas and the adjustable handles let you put them in various comfortable positions throughout long mowing sessions. The mower’s cutting height is set at 9cm, so you don’t have a choice of heights for all the different vegetation this mower cuts. But you don’t have to stop or swerve when you come to really tall plants or dense brambles. This DR Pro mower mows down grass up to 1.8m tall, weeds/brush up to 2.42m tall and saplings as thick as 7.6cm. If you have large untamed areas that you just want to mow on through, the DR Pro XL 30-16.5 ES Self Propelled Field and Brush Mower is a great choice. For professional use, this ticks all the boxes and will handle hour after hour of tough mowing day after day.
Top 5 Best Rough Cutter Field & Paddock Mowers
1. Efco DR51VB6 Petrol Wheeled Brushcutter
The Efco DR51VB6 Petrol Wheeled Brushcutter mower has the power and the features you need for serious domestic and semi-professional use. Its high-end 500cc Briggs and Stratton engine provides performance and ease of use as well as being economical with your fuel. You don’t have to prime the engine before you start it using the ReadyStart technology.
As mentioned previously, you can adjust the speed from 2.5kph to 4.5kph to get the pace with is right for you. This lets you go fast along the smooth and flat parts of your land and slower as you go uphill or along the bumpy bits.
The variable speed along with the rear-wheel differential make for a smooth mowing experience. Manoeuvring the mower is also smooth due to the 360°-pivoting front wheel and the two rear wheels which are mounted on ball bearings.
Adding to the comfort of your mowing session is the placement of all the controls. The controls, including the recoil start and the central height adjustment, are ergonomically positioned along the handlebar within easy reach. You won’t stress your wrists and fingers reaching across the mower to adjust them.
The cutting width of this paddock mower is 51cm. This is on the low side of the average range of professional field cutter mower widths, but on the high end of the domestic cutting width range which is why it also great for both. If your area of land falls somewhere between the two, this 51cm width is enough.
You have a choice of cutting heights from 5.5cm to 12cm in four steps. Only one other model of field mower in our review offers a range of cutting heights, so this is definitely a bonus.
The high quality of the reinforced steel deck is reflected in the warranty of the Efco DR51VB6 Petrol Wheeled Brushcutter mower. The warranty for domestic use is for three years. For professional use, the warranty is for one year. While the professional warranty may seem short, most other professional warranties for rough cutter field mowers are usually only for 90 days.
- Professional grade Briggs and Stratton 825 Series 500cc OHV motor for all the power you need.
- ReadyStart technology to easily start the engine each time without having to prime it.
- Deck is made of reinforced steel for durability and easy cleaning.
- Pivoting front wheel and two large rear wheels makes it easy to move the mower across uneven ground.
- Variable speed and rear-wheel differential allow you to mow smoothly up inclines and through dense brush.
- Speed is variable from 2.5kph to 4.5kph to adjust to the terrain and your energy level.
- All controls are ergonomically positioned within easy reach on the handlebar.
- Cutting width is 51cm, suitable for domestic use.
- Four cutting height steps of 5.5cm, 8.0cm, 10.0cm and 12.0cm leave your grass at the best length for the season.
- Warranty is three years for domestic use (subject to annual service) and one year for professional use.
- Not suitable for heavy commercial use.
The Efco DR51VB6 Petrol Wheeled Brushcutter mower is a hard-wearing and powerful field mower with a high-end Briggs and Stratton 500cc engine. It’s variable speed does allow you to mow at between 2.5kph and 4.5kph. Go faster over the flat, smooth places and slower up inclines and over the undulating parts of your meadow. The 51cm cutting width is best suited for larger domestic areas and smaller fields and paddocks. But the range of cutting heights lets you cut the grass/brambles/brush/saplings down to whatever heights suits each of the types of vegetation you have.
We like the Efco DR51VB6 Petrol Wheeled Brushcutter mower for its power, its selection of cutting heights and its extensive warranties (one year professional; three years domestic). We’ve made it our Best Pick of Rough Cutter Field Mowers for Tackling Long Grass, Tough Brush and Brambles.
If you are responsible for caring for a not-extensively large area of rough land with varied vegetation, this domestic/semi-professional field mower could be the best one for you.
2. DR Pro XL 30-16.5 ES Self Propelled Field and Brush Mower
Best Pick for Professional Use
The DR Pro XL 30-16.5 ES Self Propelled Field and Brush Mower has the power and features to be considered as a professional brush cut mower, or as a domestic one if you have really demanding land around your property. It’s a self-propelled mower that makes quick work of mowing the fields, paddocks and long grassy areas you’re responsible for.
You’re in control of the mower from the moment you adjust the handlebar to the best position for your height and preferred hand and arm placement. Push the electric starter and you’re on your way. The manual transmission lets you select from three forward gears and one reverse gear. The power steering enables you to navigate easily around obstacles such as trees in the orchard or fence posts around the field.
The cutting width of this field mower is 75cm so wider than our best pick but its also much more expensive too. While this is not the widest cut available on this type of mower, it’s enough to cover a large field efficiently.
The cutting height is set at 9cm, which is a standard height at which to mow field grass. The cutting deck automatically pivots 12° to either side to match the lay of the land. This improves traction in bumpy terrain by making sure the weight of the mower remains above its drive wheels, this is a great design when you see it in action.
What’s great about the DR Pro XL 30-16.5 ES Self Propelled Field and Brush Mower is the height and width of vegetation that it tackles. It handles weeds and brush up to 2.42m tall and long grass up to 1.8m tall. And it cuts down saplings up to 7.6cm thick without any effort. This is the mower to consider if you’ve neglected your land or are professionally clearing someone else’s wilderness.
Manoeuvring the DR Pro XL is easy. Each wheel has its own disk brake. Just squeeze the brake handle on the side you want to turn to. This locks the wheel on that side and the mower pivots around that wheel. You can also stop the blade turning without shutting off the mower which can be handy. Releasing the blade clutch lever engages a powerful brake that stops the blade spinning almost instantly.
And the tyres are filled with sealant to reduce punctures from thorns, nails and anything else sharp that’s lurking underneath all that growth. This is a must as you would be for every repairing punctures with standard tires with innertubes.
- Briggs and Stratton Professional Series OHV 500cc single cylinder engine fully powers this truly professional field mower.
- Manual transmission (three forward gears and one reverse) and an electric starter put you fully in control of this mower.
- Self-propelled mower with power steering makes short work of mowing large fields and pastures.
- Handles varied and dense vegetation types including tall brush and grass, and thick saplings .
- Cutting width is 75cm
- Cutting height is set at 9cm.
- Cuts on inclines up to 20° so you can keep the grass short on small hills and undulations.
- Adjustable handle with the best working height from 96.5cm to 106.5cm.
- Controls are ergonomically situated on the handlebar or the control panel within easy and comfortable reach.
- Warranty is two years for domestic use and 90 days for commercial use.
The DR Pro XL 30-16.5 ES Self Propelled Field and Brush Mower is suitable for professional use or if you really have a lot of wilderness to tame at home. Although its cutting height is set at 9cm, it handles dense and varied vegetation including brush and weeds up to 2.42m tall and saplings up to 7.6cm thick. The adjustable handle lets you position it for the most comfortable use and the power-steering lets you navigate around obstacles without too much effort and stress.
The DR Pro XL 30-16.5 ES Self Propelled Field and Brush Mower is our Best Pick for Professional Use. We like its powerful engine, the type and heights of vegetation it’s built to handle and that it’s self-propelled with power-steering.
If looking at all your brush/brambles/long/grass/rough land gives you nightmares, the DR Pro XL 30-16.5 ES Self Propelled Field and Brush Mower could bring you a good night’s rest.
3. Sherpa Bravo Roughcutter Field Mower / Brush Mower
The Sherpa Bravo Roughcutter Field Mower / Brush Mower is another rough cutter field mower that’s powered by a high quality engine from Briggs and Stratton. This 190cc 850 Series motor gives the usual Briggs and Stratton reliable high quality and fuel efficiency.
The Sherpa Bravo mower has an heavy-gauge all-steel construction that gives it its strength and durability. The reinforced tyres add to this as you can safely mow through areas that have overgrown brambles and thorns without harming the tyres.
You don’t need to worry about the weight of the steel mover and the tyres as the Sherpa Bravo is a self-propelled mower – you just guide it in the direction you want it to go. If you have to mow up many slopes, make use of the skid plates at the front of the mower that guides you uphill in a straight line which is where this model really stands out when used on slopes compared to some other models..
The cutting width of this Sherpa mower is 55cm. This is on the lower end of the field cutting range – you may not want to tackle large fields with it unless you have lots of time. The cutting height is set at 3.5cm which gives a fairly close shave to the vegetation.
If you plan to travel around with your mower, you’ll be pleased to learn that the handle on this Sherpa model folds down for easy loading into the back of your van.
- Briggs & Stratton 850 Series Engine 190cc engine gives reliable and fuel-efficient power.
- Self-propelled mower so you don’t have to push it along.
- Reinforced tyres to handle terrain with overgrown brambles and thorns.
- All-steel construction gives both strength and durability.
- Cutting width is 55cm.
- Cutting height is set at 3.5cm for a close-trimmer pasture.
- Skid plates at the front of the mower guide you up slopes in a straight line.
- Roto-Stop system lets you stop the blade without having to switch off the system.
- Mulching blade mows through dense vegetation and saplings without any trouble.
- Folding handle enables you to compactly transport this mower in the back of your van or on your trailer.
The Sherpa Bravo Roughcutter Field Mower / Brush Mower is a self-propelled mower for long grass. Its Briggs and Stratton motor is less powerful than some of the other mowers in this review, but is just as reliable and fuel efficient. With reinforced types and a heavy-gauge steel construction, this mower is built to handle tough vegetation. Its 3.5cm single cutting height may be too short for some uses of pastures or fields. However, its skid plates at the front make it easy to cut up hills and inclines, and even in straight lines.
If you’re looking for a smaller, manageable field mower mainly for domestic use, the Sherpa Bravo Roughcutter Field Mower / Brush Mower is worth a long look and comes are a great entry-level price.
4. Bertolini BT401S Petrol Scythe Mower
The Bertolini BT401S Petrol Scythe Mower looks unlike the other rough cutter field mowers in our review. For a start it’s bright turquoise rather than the standard black; it has a streamlined triangular shape, not unlike a handheld vacuum cleaner; and the cutting blade, which is exposed at the point of the triangle, looks like a rake. But this is a genuine petrol mower for use in high grass meadows and ecological natural gardens.
The Bertolini BT401S mower is a scythe (or sickle) mower that has a premium Honda 160cc OHV engine as its power source. This is the least powerful of the engines of the mowers in this review but it doesn’t need the same power either as its for a different type of mowing such as cutting high grass meadows and natural gardens rather than thick brambles and sapling. The mower, however, is self-propelled and operates at a comfortable walking speed of 3.05kph and perfect for large area with a wide curing blade of 95cm.
This mower is great for people who are unused to, or apprehensive about, machines with standard transmission. Here you choose to go either forwards or backwards.
The cutting bar is open at the front of the mower and appears (from the photo) to bolt on. It’s 95cm wide and has rake-like teeth in it.
The handlebars seems to have been thoughtfully designed. They’re adjustable in height and also, unusually, in width. These adjustments not only take into account your own height but also the width of your shoulders. Plus, for your added comfort, the handlebars also have a vibration-damping system so your upper body receives as little stress as possible.
The advertising for this Bertolini mower states that it has QuckFit Coupling to attach QuickFit attachments for additional functionality.
- Self-propelled with a premium Honda GX160 160cc OHV engine for power efficiency.
- Forward and reverse gears suit users not used to manual transmission machines (or cars).
- Width of the cutting bar is 95cm.
- Speed is 3.05kph, a comfortable walking rate.
- Pneumatic tyres have a deep tread so you won’t get bogged down on hilly terrain.
- Handlebar is height and width adjustable for comfortable long mowing sessions.
- Two-year warranty for domestic use in case anything happens.
- Optional attachments to add features such as cultivator, snow blower and plough.
The Bertolini BT401S Petrol Scythe Mower is an non-intimidating rough cutter field mower. It has the lowest-powered engine of all the mowers in our review and its bright turquoise colour doesn’t scream “hazardous power tool” at you. Its wide (95cm) cutting bar has rake-like teeth to mow through brush and grass. The arrangement of its two wheels enable you to turn the mower easily and to go up and down furrows safely. Much thought has gone into the ergonomic design of this mower so you have a comfortable mowing experience.
If you have an unruly wildness-like area in your home garden such as a wildflower or grass meadow that needs some work but you’re not too comfortable around large machines, it’s worth talking to a Bertolini representative to gather the missing information about their BT401S Petrol Scythe Mower.
5. DR Pro XL 44-20 ES Tow Behind Field and Brush Mower
The DR Pro XL 44-20 ES Tow Behind Field and Brush Mower provides everything that our Best Pick for Professional Use (DR Pro XL 30-16.5 ES Self Propelled Field and Brush Mower) does – and more. This XL 44-20 model is the professional rough cutter field mower you need if a self-propelling mower just doesn’t have enough power for you. You want one that you can hook behind your lawn tractor or quad and tow around your property!
The power and features of the DR Pro XL 44-20 ES Tow Behind Field and Brush Mower put it in the big leagues. Its V-Twin 656cc Briggs and Stratton Pro engine has an electric start for effortlessly getting on your way. The large 9.5L petrol tank means that you won’t have to return to base anytime soon for more fuel – not until you’ve mowed around five acres.
The hitch pin and tow bar are adjustable to fit whatever tractor or towing vehicle you’re using. The hitch mechanism is offset so you drive the tractor through the low, cut grass/brush while the tow-behind mower travels through the long grass. The cutting blade follows the contours of the ground and automatically pivots so the mower doesn’t get stuck or excessively cut any one area. These are all great features that make all the difference and have been well thought out.
The cutting width of the blade is a serious 112cm; that’s by far the widest blade of the mowers in our review. The cutting height range is equally impressive – 10cm, 12.7cm, 16cm and 19cm. The lowest height here is longer than some of the set heights of the other mowers we review. You won’t get a close-shave to your vegetation with this range of heights but you can leave the grass long for animals to happily graze on.
The cutting height adjustment system is worth commenting on as you don’t have to stop your tractor, get out, walk to the tow-behind mower, make the adjustment, and walk back. You just press your foot on the pedal that you’ve placed on the floor of your lawn tractor to move the cutting blade to the next height.
And still with cutting, the DR Pro XL 44-20 ES Tow Behind mower handles with ease weeds and brush up to 2.43m high, grass up to 1.8m tall and saplings up to 7.6cm in diameter. All your vegetation will fall before this professional tow-behind field mower.
- Robotically welded steel frame and reinforced blade spindle are constructed for strength and longevity.
- V-Twin 656cc Pro Briggs and Stratton engine with an electric start is extremely reliable and powerful.
- Cutting height is adjustable from 10cm to 19cm in four steps.
- Cutting height adjustment is conveniently performed from the tractor.
- Cutting width is 112cm.
- Handles tall grass and brush, and thick saplings with ease.
- Tank holds 9.5L of fuel which allows for long mowing sessions.
- Hitch pin and tow bar are adjustable to suit your tractor or towing vehicle.
- Off-set hitch lets you keep your towing vehicle in the short grass while the pull-behind brush mower mows the long grass.
- Warranty is two years for domestic use and 90 days for commercial use.
The DR Pro XL 44-20 ES Tow Behind Field and Brush Mower is the most powerful and feature-filled of the field mowers we reviewed. This is a top-of-the-league professional mower that you tow behind your lawn tractor or another farm vehicle. Its blade cuts an impressive 112cm swath through your tough vegetation and you adjust the cutting height from 10cm to 19cm without leaving the tractor. The offset hitch means that the tractor won’t flatten the grass/brush/etc. before the mower can cut it down. Tall and dense grass, weeds and brambles fall to this mower.
If you have access to a garden tractor (see our recommended models) and have no idea how to tackle the wildness you need to tame, this could be the mower that makes you smile.
While you don’t need all the bells and whistle found on lawn mowers for domestic lawns, it’s important that your rough cutter field mower is powerful and efficient. You don’t want to have to do such a big mowing task too often.
Here are the main features of a best paddock mower to look out for.
Professional or domestic model
“Domestic” rough cutter field mowers sound almost like a contradiction. They’re designed for the homeowner who lives on a smallholding or has paddocks for animals or perhaps an orchard or two. Domestic models differ from professional ones mainly in the power of their engines, their cutting widths and selection of cutting heights, and their ability to mow evenly up steep slopes.
If your domestic situation is full of obstacles and tough terrain, consider a smaller professional model. If, however, you have vast swathes of land to care for, check out our Best Professional model – it’s a full-on professional field mower with everything you need to keep your land under control.
The warranty on the best field mowers differs depending on whether it’s for domestic use (usually two years) or for professional use (usually 90 days).
The best mowers for tough brush and long grass aren’t inexpensive. If you invest that much money, you need a construction that lasts many years. Look for an all-steel cutting deck, preferably one that’s several mm thick. One of the best mowers for brambles in this review advertises its product as “robotically assembled” to suggest that it has fewer flaws than human-constructed ones.
It, almost, goes without saying that all the rough cutter field mowers in this review are petrol driven. The key to having reliable and consistent power is not just in the size of the engine but in its make. Most of the mowers here have a Briggs and Stratton engine. Long known for their high-quality engine, Briggs and Stratton have a world-wide reputation that’s worth investing in. The other motor mention in our review is from Honda, another company that’s well-known for its quality engines.
Linked to the power of the engine is the amount of your energy it takes to use the field mower. All of the mowers in this review are self-propelled so you don’t have to push them – just walk along behind and guide them. Our fifth review is of a pull-behind paddock mower, so it takes the least effort from you of the mowers we look at.
Manoeuvrability also falls under the heading of power. How much effort does it take for you to turn the mower, even around 180°? Do you have to pull and tug to get it around trees, and what about pushing it up steep slopes? Check the number and placement of the wheels and how you have to manoeuvre the mower to turn it. Some mowers let you apply the brake to just one wheel and rotate the unit around that wheel.
The cutting width of the blade and the cutting height of the mower are often what make the decision for you about which model of mower to purchase.
The cutting width of the field mowers we review varies widely. The domestic and semi-pro mowers cut strips of 51cm – 53cm wide, the professional models somewhere between 75cm- 97cm and the super-professional pull-behind mower has a cutting width of 112cm. Choose your cutting width depending on how many passes you think you need to make across your grassland.
The available cutting heights vary as well. Our Best Pick model has a four-step range between 5.5cm and 12cm, while our super-professional model’s cutting height range is between 10cm and 19cm. Two of the other mowers have just one set height with no choice for you. If you plan to cut fields or pastures that have different purposes and need different grass lengths, then a range of cutting heights is your best choice.
Comfort and convenience
Chances are that you’ll be mowing your land for long periods at a time. The comfort and convenience of your potential field mower is worth checking out.
Investigate whether the handlebar(s) are moveable to a position that suits your arms and shoulders; is there anti-vibration technology to reduce the stress in your upper body? Are the controls conveniently positioned so that you don’t have to move your hands to adjust them? If you’re considering a tow-behind field mower, can you adjust the cutting height without stopping, jumping off your tractor and flipping a dial on the mower itself?
Can you do a quick U-turn if you spot a section of brambles that you’ve missed? Is the mower’s mulching capability fine enough that large chunks of grass and brambles won’t be left to rot in the pasture if you don’t rake them up?
Our Buyer’s Guide wouldn’t be complete without a reminder about safety equipment.
Please purchase and use (at least):
- Eye protection.
- Ear protection.
- Leather (or other thick) gloves.
- Steel-tip (or other thick, closed-toe) shoes.
Even turquoise field mowers can be harmful.
If you’ve been struggling with extensive areas of long grass, rough brambles, saplings that won’t stop growing or just a regular field or paddock, consider buying a rough cutter field mower. These mowers are designed for the tough-to-care-for pastures and grasslands – both domestic and professional sizes – that you may have as your back garden or workplace. These workhorse mowers may lack many of the bells and whistles of their domestic lawn counterparts, but their power and their wide blades will make short work of your mowing chores.
Our Best Pick is the Efco DR51VB6 Petrol Wheeled Brushcutter mower. Its range of cutting heights suits those who have areas of different vegetation on their property and comes at a more affordable price but gets the job done.
Our Best Pick for Professional Use is the DR Pro XL 30-16.5 ES Self Propelled Field and Brush Mower. This is our best mower for tough brush, and it handles tall weeds and grass that other mowers balk at. It’s expensive but we think it’s well worth the investment.
If you decide that you do have a large area of grass to care for but it really doesn’t contain many brambles, thorny plants or long-grass patches, take a look at our reviews on ride-on tractor mowers and mowers for large lawns.