Compare Drum Mower vs Disc Mower: What’s The Difference?

drum mower vs disc mower
drum mower vs disc mower

Mowers are an important part of every home that has a yard and for people who have farms. This is because it helps cut down the grass to maintain the aesthetic value of the yard and it also helps in cutting down the grains.

There are different types of mowers available in the market but drum mowers and disc mowers are the most commonly used units, and both of them have their pros and cons.

Drum Mower vs Disc Mower Comparison 

Drum Mower Disc Mower
Size Compact Relatively bigger
Weight Lightweight Heavy
Drying time Longer unless you use a conditioning system Short
Need for hydraulic lifting No Yes
Price Affordable Expensive
Cutter Horizontal Vertical

Drum Mower

The drum mower is defined as a tractor that’s used in gardening and farming. It is integrated with a horizontal cutter that’s suitable for cutting the grass-like forages and grass. In particular, it can be used to cut down Alfalfa as it works like a rotary disc mower.

These mowers move closer to the ground during the cutting and mowing process. Since it has deeper cutting and finishing functionality, the grass’s growth is limited with the regular use of drum mowers.

It is widely used for cutting hay but cannot be used for brush mowing or finish mowing. The drum mowers are designed with two rotating drums, which are powered through the gearbox.

These drums are basically cylinders with a 10-inch to 14-inch diameter while the length ranges from 15-inch to 24-inches, depending on the brand and model you choose. In addition, the bottom side has a huge disc that connects these two cylinders.

  1. Functionality


The drum mowers are integrated with three to four blades (the blades have a free-swinging design), depending on the mower’s model. The blades are attached to the discs. During the mowing operation, the blade, drum, and disc assembly rotates, which creates significant momentum.

This momentum is used for powering the mower, so it can move through the tough spots. The bottom side also has a dish that’s connected to the ball bearings; it doesn’t rotate with the blade, drum, and disc assembly.

However, the dish slides across the ground and tends to rotate in different directions according to the surface you are using it on.

When it moves across the field, the drums rotate in each other’s direction, with which the crop passes between the drums for cutting and is collected in the windrow that’s installed behind a mower. The windrowing has to be spread out with a rake or tedder to make sure the crop dries up properly.

Some drum mowers are also integrated with the conditioning systems that help eject the cut-out crops or hay from the rear side and spread it out evenly.

As a result, the hay or other crops starts drying out – it’s a great way of reducing the drying time. In addition, the drum mowers are designed to be used with tractors that have medium or low horsepower (it doesn’t need hydraulic lifting).

  1. Design

The drum mowers are integrated with a three-point link system and produce the drive at 540RPM, which is transmitted to the drums. The blades have free oscillation, which helps cut the green plants, such as barley, clover, oats, and grass plants.

This is because these plants are opened and spread through the centrifugal force produced by the rotating drums.

The drum mowers are designed to leave the products on the ground with the low drums – they rotate idly without damaging the crop.

Usually, the drum mowers are compact, making them suitable for fields, gardens, and vineyards. The best thing about drum mowers is that you don’t need to use the tractor’s hydraulic system as they swing manually.

In addition, these mowers are extremely durable, making them suitable for contract cutting and unruly fields. It can be used at a higher speed and doubles the speed of the sickle bar. It is recommended that you use a drum mower with a conditioning system to spread out the crops for faster drying.

Disc Mower

The disc mower is widely used in gardening and farming and performs similar functions as a drum mower. However, the disc mowers are designed with blades on multiple discs, which rotate at a high speed.

In the majority of cases, one disc has two swinging blades. The disc mowers are designed for even surfaces and stone-less patches.

It usually has an adjustable pivot, so you can connect it with the tractor. A disc mower is made with a suspension frame that allows the raising of the mower on the headlands without raising the lower rods of your tractor.

  1. Functionality

The discs operate through gears or shafts connected to the cutter bar. This cutter bar tends to slide on the surface. Also, the cutter bar is adjustable, so you can adjust the cutting height according to the crop (it can be adjusted to cut the grass as well).

The disc mowers can handle the thick crops pretty efficiently. It can be connected to the hydraulic lift, so you can easily shift the mower to another patch/field, making it suitable when you have to mow various small fields.

  1. Design


These mowers were designed to offer something better after sickle bar mowers. This is because the blades are connected on various small discs, which rotate at extremely high speed – the blades are mounted on the cutter bar’s top.

The disc mower has two blades connected to a disc and the discs are operated by gears or shafts. These discs rotate to cut through the crops and grass. In addition, the disc mowers with rollers are suitable for conditioning the fodder.

However, not every disc mower is designed with a conditioner, which means the cut crops and grass will be left behind.

For this reason, you need to select a disc mower that has a conditioner as it can remove the waxy coating from the crops, which results in faster drying and high-quality crop. Moreover, a disc mower includes a transport lift system, which makes it easier to shift it from one field to another.

Since it has faster drying, it can be used for legume crops, orchard Bermuda, brome grass, and fescue. It promises a higher cutting speed as it can achieve a speed over 15mph or higher.

On the other hand, you need to have a hydraulic tractor to use this mower because, without the hydraulic system, you won’t be able to pull up the cutter bar vertically through narrow areas and gates.

Compare Drum Mower vs Disc Mower

There are various differences between the drum mowers and disc mowers that put them apart, such as;

  1. Usage

Both these mowers are great for cutting the silage and hay but the disc mowers can be used for topping the area as well. On the contrary, a drum mower helps clean the paddock while cutting the silage and hay. For this reason, the disc mower is considered an all-rounder.

  1. Pricing


The disc mowers have better features, which raises the price. So, if you have the budget, it’s recommended to invest in a disc mower but always choose a mower with a conditioning system. However, if you have budget constraints, opt for a drum mower.

  1. Ease Of Use & Accessibility

Ease Of Use & Accessibility

The drum mowers can be used for cleaning the paddock but they can be a pain to adjust if you want a specific height of the grass. To fix this issue, you will need to purchase a topping skid separately, which can be extremely expensive.

On the contrary, the disc mower allows the users to adjust the height without extra components.

The Bottom Line

Choosing between a drum mower and disc mower entirely depends on what you want to cut and the budget. However, the drum mowers are more compact and lightweight as compared to disc mowers, which means they consume less horsepower.

Also, the disc mowers need hydraulic lifting, so if you have a hydraulic tractor, a disc mower would be better as it has better adjustability functions.

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