Round Back Vs. Square Back Rotary Cutter: The Differences

A rotary mower or ‘brush hog’ is a cutting instrument commonly operating from the back of the tractor.  In contrast to a lawnmower blade, these blades are linked through hinges rather than being fixed in place.

Because the rotating blades aren’t sharp, they whack their way through thick vegetation. These machines come in a traditional round back and the trendy squared back designs. But which one is better? Are the designs really different?

In this article you will find all these answers! Read till the end to know about Between Round Back vs. Square Back Rotary Cutter.

What Are The Difference Between Round Back vs. Square Back Rotary Cutter Based on Features?

These two designs are seemingly identical. And there’s much less difference between these two as well. Based on some important criterias like cutting quality, ease of use, etc, the round and square back tillers are discussed below.

1. Cutting Performance:

Round back items tend to advertise it quite highly as if it’s something special. Well, the special deal, at least against a square hog is, the round hogs can cut closer to delicate structures. For example, trees, poles etc.

Square backs aren’t easy to maneuver around these structures. Additionally, it is easy to turn a round back around tight places.

But if we talk about the cut quality, there’s nothing wrong with square back rotary cutters. However, round backs push tall weeds in a way that risks having some uncut weeds left. It may miss out a few other stuff too.

Ultimately a tight turn may not amount to anything. The square hog on the other hand can cover more stuff for cutting. Hpwever, there is an interesting catch!

If you check under the square ones, you’ll notice a curved metal piece welded to the inside to make it round. For whatever reason, the back must be curved (in one direction or the other) in order to cut properly.

Some people get this removed. In any way, I feel like round backs are better than square hogs based on performance.

2. Ease of Use and Comfort:

Using a round back rotary cutter is easier and more comfortable than a square back one. This is especially in the case of reverse-mowing. In this case, round back triumphs over square back.

Other than this, the design does not matter much. On the other hand, you can store some of the things on top of a flat surface of a square back rotary cutter.

3. Price Comparison:

The price of Rotary cutters ranges. For example, the price of the County line rotary cutter ranges from $1,500 -1,800. The Titan Implement 5 inch rotary cutter costs about $2,000 – 2,300. So you can say the range is within $1,500  2,500.

In the case of square back cutters, the price ranges from $1,500 – 2,000. So the range of these is almost the same. However, the square backs may cost more sometimes.

4. Maintenance:

There are not many differences with maintenance on this. Except on square back models, the corners may need to be polished or checked for cracks. Especially if you have a lot of narrow turns.  

One thing to note is that, rotary cutters, both square and round backed are quite heavy instruments. And for this reason they may need regular oil changes.

You can just open the quarter inch plug at the bottom to check oil leakage or any abnormality. Change the oil regularly according to the instruction manuals.

5. Engine Power Comparisons:

For square back rotary cutters, the size matters for the engine power requirements. if you have a 12-foot regular round back cutter, you will need 50-80 HP of the engine. For each foot increase, 5-10 HP more on the engine should be expected.

Interestingly, there is no particular difference in the case of square back one’s power requirements. But as I have said before, if you are reversing, the square back can be a problem. It may exaggerate when you don’t have enough turning power.

6. After Service & Warranty:

After service and warranty on both types of the cutters are usually good. But you may see that higher horsepower mowers have a longer warranty. Especially on the gearbox (up to 5 years).

The warranty seems to be more attractive on the round-backed rotary cutters. Servicing usually may include problems with a cheap slip clutch (on cutters that use cheaper quality slip clutch). It may cost $150-200 for a replacement.

But rusting components and issues will show up more for square or flat back rotary cutters. Other than that, you can conduct regular servicing.

7. Durability:

The durability of round-back rotary cutters are more. This involves keen construction features. Take the example of welded seams.

A bent piece of metal is used on many round rotary cutters instead of a welded seam. For example, in the Land Pride RCR1872 cutters. This holds up better than the welded seams, especially if stuff like rocks keep hitting it.

It is less prone to breakage or crack. Moreover, a very common problem with square back cutters is rusting. As it has a flat back, water tends to collect more on it due to rain or dew. This causes rusting.

8. Overall Efficiency:

Let us consider 5-6 footer either round or square-backed cutters. Single spindles are considered one gearbox. Some cutters of larger size (12, 15 footers) have multiple gearboxes. They are called multi-spindles gearboxes (two or three gearboxes).

Look at the cut quality and parts availability of these two designs. This should be the main determinant. In some places, the round-back parts are more prominent because of the popularity of the design. And in other places is vice-versa.

The square back does cover more grass but the round one is more prone to get into tight turns. And the parts for the round back cutters are also available usually. Therefore, I think round-back rotary cutters are more efficient than square-back ones.

9. Resell Value:

The resell value completely depends on the engine, gearbox and the brand of your rotary cutter. For example, land pride rotary cutters are more durable and retain better resell value.

The 4815 series Flex-Wing rotary cutters also fall in this category. You will notice which design these companies make more. Most of the time it is the round back design.

Round Back or Square Back Rotary Cutter, Which One to Choose?

The square backs are built for storage purpose on the front of the cutter. They do cover more ground. But this amount is often not very significant. It matters only if you have a large land with fewer tight corners.

The round back rotary cutters are more efficient in covering tight corner grass and also has a better durable design. The benefits of round back seem to be more. And if you do in fact have a small plot, go for the round back rotary cutters undoubtedly!


Q: What is the toughest brush hog?

Ans: The Extreme-Duty Flex-Wing 4815.

Q: How much horsepower does a 15 foot Bush Hog have?

Ans: 75 HP.

Q: How do you sharpen brush hog blades?

Ans: Using an angle grinder.


From the article above, it is clear that round back rotary cutters are better than square back brush hogs. When purchasing, keep in mind the buying tips discussed in each point of this article. Wish you the very best purchase of rotary cutters!

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