What Is a Hydrostatic Lawn Mower?

In Brief: What Is a Hydrostatic Mower

Hydrostatic mowers have a transmission that uses hydraulics rather than belts and pulleys. By pumping fluid through to a hydraulic motor, power is sent to the wheels to drive the mower forward or backward. The benefit of a hydrostatic mower is the ability to maneuver quickly without the need to switch gears.

When you’re looking for a new mower, you’re faced with many different options, some of which may have features you’re not familiar with. Hydrostatic mowers are one type of riding lawn mower you may run into.

What is a hydrostatic mower, and how is it different from a regular lawn mower? Find the answers to these and other questions to help you in your search for a new mower.

What Is a Hydrostatic Mower?

A hydrostatic mower refers to a specific type of lawn mower. These are mowers with hydrostatic transmissions rather than regular belt and pulley transmissions. They work differently than automatic lawn mower transmissions. Here are the basics you need to understand.

What It Is and How It Works

Hydrostatic mowers refer to those that use hydraulic transmissions. A hydraulic transmission is made up of two parts:

1.Hydraulic Pump

In a hydraulic system, a pump is used to push oil through a closed tube system that connects to the hydraulic motor. Hydraulic pumps apply more or less force to the oil within depending on how far you push down the pedal.

2.Hydraulic Motor

Oil going through the hydraulic tubes causes the hydraulic motor to move. The more force is applied to the oil, the more power the motor will output.

This motor is tied directly into the wheels of the motor, causing forward or backward motion, depending on the direction of the driver.

Driving a hydrostatic mower is different in that there are no choppy transitions between gears. Because there are no defined gears, the hydraulic transmission can easily make incremental adjustments as necessary to keep the mower going steadily at any speed.

Most hydrostatic mowers have one pedal for moving forward and one for reverse. When you remove your foot from the pedal, the mower stops immediately. No hard braking is required. See a detailed explanation about hydrostatic transmissions here:

When to Use a Hydrostatic Mower

Not everyone needs a hydrostatic mower. They’re considered the most versatile type of riding mower, because this transmission type allows for changing and maintaining speed easily.

No shifting is required, making this type of mower more convenient if there are a lot of obstacles to navigate.

If your lawn has a lot of features you need to drive around, a hydrostatic mower may be useful. They are particularly useful to anyone looking for a mower that can navigate varied lawn types and spaces without trouble.

Hydrostatic mowers have many benefits, but they do come with disadvantages as well. Here’s a short summation of both:


  • Long lasting & durable
  • More power than regular mowers
  • Maintain consistent speed without losing power
  • Easier to control and maneuver, including sudden braking
  • Great for tight spaces or lawns with many obstacles
  • No difficulty in wet weather


  • Higher upfront costs
  • More difficult to repair
  • Maintenance is more involved
  • Higher fuel consumption

Popular Brands

Hydrostatic lawn mowers are available from most major lawncare brands, including John Deere, Troy-Bilt, Husqvarna, and Ariens.


Hydrostatic mowers are useful when you need a mower that’s easy to maneuver in varied landscapes. The hydraulic transmission allows for smoother driving and eliminates the need to shift gears at all.

However, they are more costly than other types of riding mowers. Do you have any questions about hydrostatic mowers? Leave a comment below.

About Ryan Henderson

Ryan has more than ten years of experience of writing on power tools - use, reviews, and more. During his free time, he loves cooking and spending time with his dog.

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