You have been dying to get that new four-wheeler to add to your collection of motorized vehicles, but you are finding it hard to justify a new “toy.” Or you are looking at your ATV and wondering if you need to buy a new lawn mower. Then it hits you, maybe I can mow the yard with an ATV….
Can you use an ATV to cut grass? Yes, you can use an ATV to cut grass. Using a pull-behind mower that attaches to the back of your ATV, it is possible to mow grass using an ATV, oftentimes much faster than a traditional lawn tractor is able to if you are cutting through big fields.
However, just because you can cut grass with your ATV does not necessarily mean that you should cut grass with your ATV. As ATVs were not designed specifically for grass-cutting, their functionality in this regard is limited, and they can sometimes do more harm than good when you try to mow your yard with your ATV.
Using Your ATV/UTV to Cut Grass: The Pros
As the names “all-terrain vehicle” or “utility task vehicle” would suggest, an ATV/UTV has the ability to function in pretty much any environment and can serve many useful purposes, with grass cutting being one of these. Let’s take a look at the arguments in favor of getting out in the field to start cutting grass.
It Can Save You Money
One of the prohibitive aspects of purchasing an ATV is the price tag. Even the most basic ATVs can cost $5,000 to $10,000 when new, with some of the more decked out versions of UTVs rivaling the cost of a luxury car. With that said, it can be hard to justify purchasing a vehicle that you will only take off-roading a few times a year.
However, if you can put your ATV to work as a lawn mower in the meantime, it can lower the cost per outing of your purchase. In addition, while you will likely have to purchase the pull-behind mower separately, this should be cheaper than purchasing an entirely separate tractor/mower combination.
Universal Mounting Kit
ATVs come equipped with universal mounting kits, so it is obviously designed to be more than an off-roading vehicle. This mounting kit ensures that your ATV will be able to successfully connect with a wide array of mowing devices, so you should be able to find one that works for you without too much trouble. You can see some different options and current prices on Amazon.
Speed of Mowing
ATVs will allow you to connect to mowers that can cut grass much more quickly than traditional lawn tractors. While you can’t go crazy pulling a mower, your ATV is going to go faster and maneuver better than any riding mower. You can also buy a bigger mower to tow than you would normally have so it is possible to clear a wider path, making it quicker and more efficient to trim large acreages.
Ability to Cut Taller Grass
Most pull-behind mowers are great for clearing tall grass and thick brush, an area where lawn tractors typically struggle. You can obviously get through much rougher terrain on an ATV than a riding mower and some of the better trail mowers are designed to clear through some rough stuff.
Using Your ATV to Cut Grass: The Cons
While ATVs are certainly capable of cutting grass and come equipped with mounting kits that help make this possible, there are a handful of drawbacks to mowing your lawn with your ATV or UTV.
Damage to Your Lawn
If you are going for the stereotypical suburban lawn look, you will want to avoid trying to cut your grass with an ATV. Not only will the overly treaded tires potentially tear up your grass, but the 4×4 drivetrain of most ATVs will cut ruts in your lawn on turns. If you must attempt cutting your lawn with your ATV, make sure you have one that has a two-wheel-drive setting.
Cutting grass with ATVs works best when you can just plow straight ahead and mow. It is difficult to make tight turns when pulling a mower behind your ATV, so if you have a lawn that has a lot of trees or shrubbery, you will struggle to work the tight turns necessary to make the grass look good.
Tiring for Driver
Most ATVs keep their accelerators on the turn handles, which is convenient for drivers in off-road settings where they may need to stand up or kneel down and cannot keep their foot on a gas pedal. However, this feature is not the greatest when using your ATV for cutting grass.
In order for a lawn mower to function properly, it must be kept at a consistent speed. Some mowers are designed to die when they detect any change in propeller speed as a safety precaution against the mower running over a rock or something worse. Some users note considerable fatigue of the hand, wrist, and thumb when trying to keep the ATV at a constant speed for mowing.
When You should use Your ATV for Cutting Grass
As you can see, there are some advantages and considerable drawbacks to using your ATV for cutting grass. Use the following list of guidelines to help you determine when it might be right to have your ATV double as a lawn mower:
- When you already own an ATV or were planning to buy one – do not get an ATV with the specific purpose of cutting grass. Although it can cut grass, it was not designed specifically for that purpose, so you would be better off looking at other lawn tractors if mowing is your primary focus.
- When you have several acres – some people have grassy areas on their property that are too small to hay commercially but are too large to be considered a lawn. If you are in that three-acre range and can’t decide how to manage your grass, a pull-behind mower paired with your ATV might be the fastest and most efficient option.
- When you have a lot of tall, thick foliage – pull-behind mowers have a far greater capacity for clearing this kind of thick cover than do lawn tractors, and ATVs were designed to crawl through thick brush. Consider your ATV for mowing if you have to clear coarse foliage like cattails and willows.
If you are simply trying to manage a traditional suburban lawn, then you probably want to shy away from using your ATV. Even if you own an ATV already and need to cut your grass, hand mowers and lawn tractors can be obtained for reasonable prices (especially used varieties) with much lower risks of damaging your yard.
Similar Uses Your ATV is Good For
If you are a farmer or rancher, have the type of property in which cutting grass with your ATV works well, or just happen to have an ATV sitting in your garage for recreational purposes, you may want to consider these other great ideas for getting more value out of your ATV:
- Snow plowing – a stand-alone plow can be attached to the front of your ATV using the universal mounting kit, allowing you to quickly clear driveways in the wintertime. Several models are available and won’t set you back more than a few hundred dollars, as you can see on Amazon.
- Field plowing – this makes for a great alternative if you do not have a heavy-duty tractor on your property and want to try your hand at aerating some ground for gardening. See the different designs, which come with varying price tags, on Amazon.
- Salt and Fertilizer spreading – an ATV is a great choice for spreading salt on icy surfaces, as its 4×4 structure and rugged tires make it slip-resistant, allowing for quick dispersion of salt by pulling a spreader. You can use the same spreader for fertilizer to make quick work of large fields. There are several available on Amazon for under $200.
- Raking – if you are in an area where trees shed a lot of branches, you can connect a pull-behind rake to the back of your ATV and quickly gather them up into a neat pile, making for the easy collection of kindling and scrap wood. See what model will work best for you on Amazon.
- Transporting materials – ATVs make a great option for quickly and safely transporting heavy materials, such as moving boxes, tool cases, or garbage cans, when the use of a larger moving truck is not available and/or necessary. You can find different size trailers that are easy to pull behind your ATV or UTV for whatever your needs are.