Gator Mulching Blades?

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14,431
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The Old North State
Are they any good or is a standard mulching blade just as good? Got a new Ariens ride on from the Home Depot and it came with a standard blade. The grass clippings are much longer than my old mower with mulching blades. Looking to upgrade immediately.
 
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1,064
Location
Gulf Coast
If you ask me, its over-rated. I have a 1 year old Troy-bilt walk behind with a Honda engine and 21" regular blade. Out of the box it was set up to mulch; it was advertised as such. I was surprised at how well it mulched even with a regular blade. So I ordered a Gator Blade to see how much better it could be. The new blade was twice as heavy as the OEM blade. It cut really good, and mulched the grass to really fine pieces, but I found that it carried the grass too far. As in, it wouldn't cut and re-distribute the grass at the same time. Every time I turned the mower around it would dump all the grass in once spot. Really weird. And it seemed to bog down the engine a lot easier. Also, it vibrated a lot more than the OEM blade. I took the Gator off and haven't used it since. My OEM blade works great.
 
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2,439
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snowblind in TX
 Originally Posted By: stranger706
If you ask me, its over-rated. I have a 1 year old Troy-bilt walk behind with a Honda engine and 21" regular blade. Out of the box it was set up to mulch; it was advertised as such. I was surprised at how well it mulched even with a regular blade. So I ordered a Gator Blade to see how much better it could be. The new blade was twice as heavy as the OEM blade. It cut really good, and mulched the grass to really fine pieces, but I found that it carried the grass too far. As in, it wouldn't cut and re-distribute the grass at the same time. Every time I turned the mower around it would dump all the grass in once spot. Really weird. And it seemed to bog down the engine a lot easier. Also, it vibrated a lot more than the OEM blade. I took the Gator off and haven't used it since. My OEM blade works great.
Word for word my exact experience. I also had problems with eneven cuts because the blade has a lower lift/vacuum effect vs a stock blade.
 

Sayjac

Thread starter
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14,431
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The Old North State
Thanks guys, glad I asked! I'll just go with the regular mulching blade, easier to find and less expensive anyway. My OE blade just doesn't cut it (enough)! No pun intended!
 
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545
Location
Tennessee
I fall on the same side as greenaccord02. However, I have Gator Blades on a 6 1/2 HP, 2 stroke, Lawn Boy, 21" mower. They seem to stay sharp not quite twice as long as the standard blade (maybe 1 1/2 as long). My grass it typically pretty thick and long. Two stroke Lawn Boys have more power (than the more common 4 stroke mowers) & not to bog down in tall grass. At least the 6 1/2 HP models do. I have not experienced either uneven cuts or dumped grass in one spot. By the way, there is someone trying to sell a limited production, commercial model on eBay right now for $1600! Bottom line: Money well spent for that heavy blade in my case. Stays sharp from April through the end of Autumn. Long live the 2 stroke walk behind mower. Down with the EPA.
 
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1,064
Location
Gulf Coast
 Originally Posted By: Best F100
Long live the 2 stroke walk behind mower. Down with the EPA.
Hahaha I wonder if the Gator blades are meant for non-mulching mowers. Kind of like a conversion. This may explain the Gator not working well with mowers already designed to mulch. To me it seemed like it was just too much blade for my little 4.5 hp Honda. When I was doing the swap I compared the blades. My OEM blade was 21" x 1.5". The Gator was 21" x 2.5". And a lot thicker. Definitely a heavy duty blade. I could see it lasting a long time.
 
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931
Location
Michigan
Gators on my Simplicity lawn tractor give you shorter (maybe 1/2 the size) as the regular blade. Also as the balde has much less "wind resistance they are quiet; do not send grass flying everywhere and do not clump if you cut ( like I do) every 4 days.
 

Sayjac

Thread starter
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14,431
Location
The Old North State
OK, maybe I should refine/redefine my question. It seems that the issues seem to be on push/hand mower. My ride on mower has a 19 hp Kohler motor and came with the (2)standard 2-1 non mulching mower blade. I cut my grass about once a week. Might the gator's work better in a lawn tractor? Would 19 hp be enough to handle the gator blades? BTW, I did go look at the standard mulching blades today, not as easy to find for 42" cut as I thought. Sears had standard and premium for around $31-36. Lowes had one set in their brand for about $28. I can get the gators from Jack's Small Engines for $33 including shipping. Gators seem to be the only mulching blade they sell. I decided to think about it. Might call Ariens today and see what they recommend. Typical BITOG thinking?
 
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887
Location
LI, NY
 Originally Posted By: sayjac
OK, maybe I should refine/redefine my question. It seems that the issues seem to be on push/hand mower. My ride on mower has a 19 hp Kohler motor and came with the (2)standard 2-1 non mulching mower blade. I cut my grass about once a week. Might the gator's work better in a lawn tractor? Would 19 hp be enough to handle the gator blades? BTW, I did go look at the standard mulching blades today, not as easy to find for 42" cut as I thought. Sears had standard and premium for around $31-36. Lowes had one set in their brand for about $28. I can get the gators from Jack's Small Engines for $33 including shipping. Gators seem to be the only mulching blade they sell. I decided to think about it. Might call Ariens today and see what they recommend. Typical BITOG thinking?
I used them on a 18HP Craftsman, they work well. They're not a magic blade than people assume. They cut the grass into smaller pieces and the blades stay sharper way longer. Agri Supply is a good source for Gator blades, cheaper than above.
 
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779
Location
Indiana, USA
I put a gator on my lawnboy five years ago and have been very pleased with it. The Gator moves a lot more air than the original so I can mow after a rain or while the dew is still out; before the grass needed to be completely dry or it would swamp every few steps. Also, as 97 GTP mention, the Gators are made out of a very tough alloy. When I took mine off this year to sharpen it, it still had a very serviceable edge after a full season of 15K sq ft per week. As far as mulching, I can't really see a difference. I can't see how it's cutting each blade more than once. I guess it's a little ironic that the blade's chief selling point is the one that matters the least to me. The Gator's high air volume and solid construction definitely make it worth the premium.
 

Sayjac

Thread starter
Messages
14,431
Location
The Old North State
Thanks for the input everyone, BITOGers are the best. Called Ariens, no 800#, on hold for 10 mins. They have a mulch kit but no blade alone, makes no sense. They were pretty much useless. Called JacksSmallEngines and they do sell a plain mulch blade separately (no set), have to buy two. Confirmed for me that AYP, Poulan, Craftsman, Ariens and Husqvarna all the same. Ariens has a couple lawn tractors sold by THD, now made in Orangeburg SC with the others mentioned. That Agri Supply does have excellent prices on blades and detailed selection for each make/model. Just wish you could get shipping estimate before entering purchase info. Anyway I'll decide tomorrow. Just looking to get a little shorter clippings than standard blade. Might give the Gator's a shot. Thanks again J
 
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656
Location
Portland, OR
I put gator blades on my 19 hp 42 in. craftsman and it cut the grass a lot smaller and are quieter and much more beefy than the stock blades. I hit gravel, roots, saplings, rocks ect. all summer long last year and when I took them off to put on my snow plow the blades were not deformed or anything just a little dirty!
 
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446
Location
York, PA
I noticed some people on this thread were having trouble finding mulching or Gator blades. I just thought I would mention, Walmart carries the Gator blades as well as several styles of universal mulching blades. I'm currently using a Gator blade on one of the walk behinds and I'm not sure yet if I like it. It chops the grass up well but instead of dispersing it evenly, it tends to leave a ridge of piled up grass along each side of the mower.
 
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12,980
Location
ROCHESTER, NY
Regardless of which blade I use on my walk behind mower, prior to finishing up and putting everything away, I still need to go over the residual grass with the deck lifted a couple of notches and my lawn lookd vacuume cleaned.
 
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3,358
Location
Maryland
I was always under the impression that gator blades were for side discharge mowers, that is what I have on my walk behind mower. I believe in the spring when the grass is wet a side discharge is better, mulching mowers are great when the grass is totaly dry, and with a mulcher you run into problems if the grass gets to high.
 
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3,593
Location
Outside smalltown, IL
I put a set of Gator's on my Cub Cadet 2554 and I'm not all that impressed. They do seem to cut the clippings finer but they don't have nearly as much lift as the standard blades. They're also not very good in tall or wet grass. They just don't lift and clear the clippings out from under the deck as well. They're probably fine if you keep your grass short and only mow when things are just the right amount of dry. But those things are not always an option for me in the Spring.
 
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931
Location
Michigan
 Originally Posted By: jsharp
I put a set of Gator's on my Cub Cadet 2554 and I'm not all that impressed. They do seem to cut the clippings finer but they don't have nearly as much lift as the standard blades. They're also not very good in tall or wet grass. They just don't lift and clear the clippings out from under the deck as well. They're probably fine if you keep your grass short and only mow when things are just the right amount of dry. But those things are not always an option for me in the Spring.
Well they are not a high suction lift and throw blade. I have 2 on my Simplicity Tractor and they are amazing using my technique and I mow and 3". The cut is very smooth...wet or dry. It's just that i find you need to mow frequently...I mow every 4-5 days so as to not only cut less grass per session but also to control the growth cut. If that's not for you ..these may not be your blades. I side discharge and while the grass goes about 1/2 way as far as it did distance wise with "bagging" suction blades...these blades rely more on a very sharp edge and turf that is "beefy". aka as fertilizing frequently to build your turf up. Doing it this way I am not mulching but cutting shorter clipping that are well dispersed. Hey they work differently..
 
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Sayjac

Thread starter
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14,431
Location
The Old North State
Thought I'd update what I decided. I went with a standard mulching blade, like I had on my old ride on. Lowes had an excellent selection of all types of blades, including a two pack set of 21" mulching blades with 5 point star center for my mower. Home Depot didn't have much selection. The cutting surface on the mulching blade is at least twice as long. The clippings are much shorter now than the 2-1 OE standard blade. I have no intention of using the side shoot cover and using it as a true mulcher. Only problem now, this mower came with, free blades for life. You get a new set once a year, shipped free. They will be the standard blade though. They would work fine if I were bagging. I'll figure something out though. Even though there seems some varying opinion on the Gator blades, I might give them a shot next time. And I learned about Agri Supply, looks like a good place for blades and all kinds of mower parts. Thanks to all. J
 
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