Finish Mower vs. Bush Hog: Which is Better? Cut Above the Rest

Maybe you’ve been browsing online, trying to decide which mower is the best for your yard needs – a finish mower or a bush hog?

There are advantages and disadvantages for both when it comes to handling different terrains, rough cutting high grasses, and job sizes. Before purchasing one or the other, it’s important to keep in mind which features make each of these pieces of equipment stand out above the rest.

In this blog post, we’ll explore some factors that could help you decide between a finished mower and a bush hog if you’re stuck on making that decision!

Take away key notes:

  • Finish mowers provide more precise cutting and greater control over the finished product.
  • Bush hogs offer more power and are better suited for larger jobs.
  • The terrain of the job will affect which tool is best suited; flat terrain is generally better served with a finish mower, while rough or hilly land is usually better serviced by a bush hog.

Finish Mower 101

What is a finish mower?

A finish mower is a type of rotary mower that is specifically designed for mowing large areas of lawn or field where the grass is already relatively short. With its three wheels that effectively reduce soil compaction and assist in maneuvering, the finish mowing deck boasts a wide, flat with rotating shafts and several blades.

difference between finish mower and bush hog

Finish mowers are often used to maintain the appearance of parks, golf courses, and residential lawns.

Compared to other types of mowers, finish mowers produce a very clean and consistent cut with the flat deck, leaving behind a finely groomed lawn with even grass height. Finish mowers are typically equipped with three to five blades and have a cutting width ranging from 4-8 feet.

They are easy to move around obstacles, and a tractor or other vehicle that can be towed can power them.

When to use a finish mower?

A finish mower is best used when you need to create a well-manicured lawn or field. Typically, it is used to cut grass which is relatively short, and you want a smooth, even cut.

Here are some common situations where a finish mower would be an appropriate choice:

After using a rough-cut mower: If you have used a rough-cut mower to clear out large amounts of growth, you can follow it up with a finish mower to create a more polished look.

Maintaining golf courses: Golf courses require a precisely leveled and expertly groomed playing field. A finish mower can be used to mow large areas of grass, such as fairways or greens, to the ideal length and smoothness.

Maintaining parks and large fields: Finish mowers are a popular choice for maintaining large grassy areas, such as soccer fields or city parks

Residential lawn care: Finish mowers are also popular for residential lawn care. They can be used to create a neat, uniform appearance for yards of any size.

Advantages of using a finish mower

Clean and even cut: Finish mowers deliver a smooth, even cut that creates a professional-looking lawn or field. The blades are designed to give a high quality finish, leaving behind only minimal grass clippings, while the sharp blade deck is adjustable.

can you bush hog with a finish mower

Precision cutting: The finish mower handling process allows for a level of precision cutting that is not possible with many other types of mowers. The cutting height can often be adjusted to create an ideal grass length for the specific location.

Easy to operate: Finish mowers are designed to be easy to operate. They can be easily attached to a tractor or other towable vehicle, and they are usually straightforward to maneuver around obstacles.

Large cutting width: They have a larger cutting width, that is between 4-8 feet, as compared to most other mowers. This makes them ideal for large areas that require quick mowing.

Versatility: With some models, you can adjust the cutting height for various environments, making them more versatile than other mowers.

Cost-effective: Using a finish mower can save you time and money by creating a well-manicured lawn or field that will require less maintenance over time.

Disadvantages of using a finish mower

Requires shorter grass: Finish mowers cannot handle tall weeds or overgrown grass as the finishing mower blades become clogged and can damage the mower. Therefore you will have to use a different type of mower machine for overgrown areas, and maybe some pull-behind attachments.

Regular maintenance: Finish mowers require regular maintenance to keep them in good working condition. This includes sharpening blades, cleaning air filters or debris, and checking the oil, belts, and pulleys.

Expensive: Finish mowers can be quite expensive compared to other types of mowers. Thus, owning one may not be affordable for everyone, especially those with small lawns or gardens.

Not suitable for rough terrain: They are not designed to handle rough and uneven terrain, rocky ground or areas with dips in it.

Bush hog 101

What is a bush hog?

Bush hogs are heavy-duty rotary mowers for thick brush and overgrown vegetation. Commonly called a brush hog or a brush mower, it is built to chop through dense undergrowth, small trees, and cut grass.

Bush hogs are usually towed behind tractors or other heavy-duty vehicles, but some bush hog blades are self-propelled. Unlike finish mowers, the bush hog blades are thick and can cut through tough vegetation and handle larger obstacles like sticks and rocks.

The cutting height of a bush hog may normally be changed to fit varying terrain and vegetation densities. Landowners with lots of brush and undergrowth should use a bush hog.

bush hog vs finish mower

When to use a brush hog?

A brush hog is best used when you need to clear overgrown vegetation from large areas of rugged terrain. Typically, a bush hog is used when grass and vegetation have grown beyond the capabilities of a traditional lawn mower, thanks to the spinning blade.

Here are some common situations where a brush hog would be an appropriate choice:

Clearing dense brush: Brush hogs are the ideal tool for clearing dense brush, especially in areas with thorny vines and other hazards.

Pasture management: Brush hogs can be used to maintain large pastures, keeping them free from overgrowth while ensuring the ground remains level and ready for grazing.

Trail maintenance: They are used to clear trails through rough and overgrown terrain that traditional mowers cannot reach.

Property maintenance: Brush hogs are also used to clear land around buildings, fences, and other structures that need to be kept free from vegetation.

Habitat restoration: They can also be used to clear land for wildlife habitat management purposes, such as prairie restoration projects.

Advantages of using a bush hog

Can cut through rough terrain: Bush hogs are designed to handle rugged terrain, making them an ideal choice for areas with rocky or rough terrain and giving a b better cut to the weeds. The heavy-duty, thick mower blades can easily cut through thick brush and other obstacles.

Low maintenance: Compared to finish mowers machine, bush hogs require less regular maintenance. Fewer parts and the machine’s robust nature reduce the need for frequent servicing.

Versatile: Bush hogs or a brush mower can handle a wide range of vegetation densities and heights, making them more versatile than finish mowers. They can cut tall and thick grass, small trees, and dense brush.

Cost-effective: Considering that they are designed for heavy-duty usage and require less maintenance over time, bush hogs could be a more cost-effective choice while delivering reliable performance.

Disadvantages of using a bush hog

Rough cut finish: Unlike finish mowers, a bush hog does not produce smooth and even cuts. The grass and vegetation will be left with an uneven finish, which may not be aesthetically pleasing and may take time to recover while giving a shredded appearance.

Limited cutting height adjustment: Although they offer various height and cutting adjustments, the range of adjustments is limited compared to finish mowers, which can adjust to a wider range of grass surface lengths.

High fuel consumption: Compared to finished mowers, bush hogs require more horsepower, which means they can consume more fuel, especially when used for extended periods.

Safety concerns: Bush hogs require extra safety precautions when in use. They produce large clippings that could reduce visibility, setting off flying debris in the rear discharge, and in dense habitats could be hazardous to wildlife.

Key differences between finish mowers and bush hogs

Cutting capability: The main difference between the two is the cutting capability. Finish mowers are designed to give smooth and even cuts in a clean environment while a brush cutter is designed to cut through a wide range of vegetation, including thick brush and small trees.

Blades: Finish mowers typically have thinner blades that require frequent sharpening, whereas bush hogs are designed with thicker, more durable and sharp blades that are more resistant to wear and tear.

Terrain: Finish mowers are designed for smooth and less rough terrain, while bush hogs are suited for rugged ground and rocky areas.


Do I need a bush hog or finish mower?

If you have a large area that has weeds, tall grass, small trees, and rocky terrain, a brush hog may be the best tool for the job.

If you need to maintain a well-manicured lawn or leveled field, then a finish mower would be the ideal option.

How tall of grass can a finish mower cut?

A finish mower is designed for cutting grass up to 3–4 inches in height.

Is a bush hog or finish mower better for pasture?

Is a bush hog or finish mower better for pasture

A bush hog is better for pasture because it can easily take down tall grasses and is able to pass over thicker patches of vegetation and rocky terrain that a finish mower may not be able to handle.

How to convert a bush hog to a finishing mower?

To turn a bush hog into a finishing mower, you have to swap out the blades for shorter, lighter grass-mowing sharp blades. Additionally, the gearbox and pulleys may need to be changed to reduce the speed of the blades.

Is a rotary cutter the same as a finishing mower?

No, a rotary cutter is not the same as a finishing mower.

A rotary cutter is designed for heavy-duty cutting and clearing of thick vegetation and brush, while a finishing mower is meant to give a smooth and even cut to grass.

What is a finish mower vs regular mower?

A finish mower is designed to give a smoother, cleaner cut to grass than a regular mower and is best to use on years and sports fields.

What can I use instead of bush hogging?

Alternatives to bush hogging include rotary cutters, flail mowers, and finishing mowers.


In conclusion, while both finish mowers and bush hogs are effective tools for cutting and clearing brush and grass, they have different applications.

Finish mowers or a grooming mower provide a more precise cut and greater control over the finished product, whereas bush hogs offer more power and can handle larger jobs.

It ultimately depends on the task at hand as to which is the better solution and you decision to use more equipment than needed.

Photo of author

Ben Bareja

Ben Bareja, the owner-founder-webmaster of This website was conceptualized primarily to serve as an e-library for reference purposes on the principles and practices in crop science, including basic botany. Read more here

Leave a Comment