Best Mower for Slopes and How to Mow 45-Degree Slopes

Best Mower for Slopes and How to Mow 45-Degree Slopes

Mowing any steep hill poses considerable challenges. Using the wrong equipment or ignoring safety precautions can result in equipment damage, severe operator injury, or even death. Technology continues to enhance landscaping capabilities, safety and efficiency, so you can complete more tasks with minimal risk. Innovative equipment such as robotic remote-controlled mowers can help you mow steep slopes easily, and appropriate safety measures significantly reduce hazards.

Understanding the Challenge

Conventional mowers and lawn tractors don’t handle steep slopes well. You need specialized equipment and techniques to work on terrain sloping more than 15 degrees. Slopes with inclines exceeding 45 degrees require specialized commercial mowers for safety purposes. Mowing a hill improperly or with the wrong type of mower presents the following risks:

  • Low stability: Most of a conventional mower’s engine weight is imbalanced toward the machine’s rear or front, unevenly shifting when going uphill or downhill.
  • Reduced traction: A mower’s engine weight also affects its traction. As a mower travels uphill or downhill, the weight shift reduces its traction. 
  • Loss of steering and braking abilities: The wrong type of mower reduces the ability to steer and brake while mowing a sloped surface.
  • Machine damage: Losing control of a mower or mowing tractor’s steering or braking can cause an operator to damage a machine. For example, a mower could veer off course and collide with an object, structure or tree. It could also run into water if a hill slopes up from a pond or stream.
  • Injury or death: Workers are at higher risk of injury or death when operating a conventional mower on a slope. A machine might tip over onto the operator or veer off track into a busy street or body of water.
Safety First — Preparing for the Task

Safety First — Preparing for the Task

While a steep slope presents unique challenges, you can reduce risks and handle a slope safely with special techniques, safety precautions and equipment. Consider the following ways you can work on hilly terrain.

Assess a Slope’s Conditions Before Mowing

You should evaluate a slope’s condition before starting any landscaping work. 

  • Slope degree: To determine a slope’s grade, park your mower on it and watch the slope meter. If it exceeds 25 to 30 degrees, use specialized equipment and take extra precautions while mowing.
  • Moisture: Wet grass provides less traction, increasing the risk your mower may slide downhill or in an undesirable direction. It’s best to wait a day or two to work if the area received rain in the past 48 hours.
  • Type of soil: Different soil types can be easier or more complex to work on than others. For example, compacted sand provides good traction, but loose soil poses additional challenges.

Wear the Proper Safety Gear

Safety gear protects you and your workers from harm while mowing slopes. Ensure you have the following equipment available when your team works on a slope.

  • Sturdy, no-slip footwear: Durable nonskid footwear protects feet from objects a mower could throw. It also prevents workers from slipping on sloped or wet surfaces.
  • Hearing protection: Since a standard gas-powered motor can be noisy, hearing protection such as earplugs is essential to prevent hearing loss.
  • Gloves: Tacky gloves are practical if you or your workers operate manual mowers on sloped surfaces. These gloves provide a better grip for optimal control when pushing or steering a mower on a hill.
  • Eye protection: Safety glasses protect the eyes from debris.
  • Form-fitting clothing: Loose clothing can get caught in equipment, so all workers should wear close-fitting clothing. 

Operate a Manual Mower With Precaution

When using a manually operated mower, you must travel more slowly on slopes than you would on flat landscapes. A mower can rapidly tip backward because the rear wheels provide enough force to flip the entire machine when its front end comes up. 

Sidehill mowing can give you more control to avoid overturning, but you should still pay attention to your front end while traveling across a hill. You should slowly turn downhill if you notice the uphill wheel is not making a depression in the grass because this indicates the machine may tip sideways. The safest option is to replace your manual mowers by investing in specialized equipment.

Use Specialized Equipment and Tools

Manufacturers design specific tools to handle tricky sloped surfaces. Robotic mowers have unique capabilities and features, allowing you to safely maintain sloped areas and rough terrain. They are superior to manual mowers because they eliminate the need to drive or push a machine while it moves up, down and across hilly landscapes.

Essential Tools and Equipment

Safety equipment is crucial when working on steep slopes, allowing you and your crew to complete jobs and prevent injuries. Ensure you have the following tools and gear before taking on landscaping work.


Specialized machines like string trimmers are also beneficial when working on steep landscapes. You can use a string trimmer to cut grass around immovable obstacles or rough terrain your mower can’t cut through.

Safety Harnesses and Rollover Protection Structures

The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires the proper use of safety harnesses when employees operate heavy machinery.

Rollover protection structures are also crucial when working on sloped landscapes. ROPS are bars, frames and cabs that protect equipment operators if a machine rolls over. Combining ROPS with a seatbelt or safety harness can prevent injury when using a riding mower on steep hills.

Specialized Mowers

Specially designed mowers are durable enough to handle tough terrain and climb steep slopes. With enhanced safety features, increased stability and innovative remote control options, advanced mowers enable workers to maintain landscapes safely. 

Choosing the Right Mower

To choose the best lawn mower for a sloped landscape, you must look for one that meets your landscaping needs safely and efficiently. As technology advances, mower manufacturers improve equipment with advanced safety features and capabilities. MTech Company offers the following high-performance equipment from RC Mowers.

Choosing the Right Mower

R-Series Remote-Operated Robotic Mowers

RC Mowers designs and manufactures R-Series lawn mowers to handle intense landscapes. An R-Series remote-controlled slope mower offers the following capabilities, safety features and benefits:

  • Ability to climb up to 50-degree slopes
  • Ability to clear heavy materials and brush with diameters up to 1.5 inches 
  • High efficiency
  • Excellent durability
  • Cast-iron spindle for stronger bearings
  • High-protection bumper
  • Excellent ground clearance with easy height adjustment
  • Power take-off interlock programming for safety

Remote-operated mowers transform land maintenance. Their unique features maximize safety and efficiency, allowing you and your team to efficiently maintain extreme terrains. Each safety-forward remote features an emergency shutdown button, a horn alert system and an automatic slow-speed startup option. Remotes also have automatic shutdown features to immediately turn a mower off if the system senses the machine tilting, dropping, losing signal or exceeding maximum distance boundaries.

Benefits of R-Series Robotic Mowers

You can significantly enhance your business and outshine the competition when you invest in specialized mowers. The advanced R-Series models offer the following advantages.

  • Cost savings: Since specialized robotic mowers increase efficiency, they can help you save money on labor. You can cut mowing time in half and reduce the number of workers you need to maintain an area or complete a job when you deploy an R-Series mower.
  • Versatility: With an R-Series mower, you can complete more complex landscape maintenance tasks. Broaden your offerings with an R-Series mower to expand your client base and grow your bottom line.
  • Niche revenue: In addition to versatile services, a specialized mower allows you to earn niche revenue. With a cutting-edge mower, you can provide services other companies can’t and reach more customers.
  • Employee safety: Employee safety is crucial, and R-Series mowers provide the features necessary to protect your workers from potential injury.
  • Improved employee retention and recruiting: Besides keeping your team safe, R-Series mowers can help you retain and recruit workers. Employees are more likely to stay at a job they love, and using R-Series mowers can help your employees enjoy the work they do. These high-performance robotic mowers reduce strenuous labor, and people typically like operating them due to their advanced features.
Types of Equipment to Avoid When Working on Sloped Landscapes

Types of Equipment to Avoid When Working on Sloped Landscapes

Various equipment types people commonly choose for landscape maintenance can be risky. Consider replacing your mowing equipment if you currently use one or more of the following mowers.

  • Manually propelled mowers: Manually propelled non-commercial mowers can be hard to push uphill and maneuver when cutting grass on a slope. 
  • Manual non-commercial riding mowers: A riding mower requires operators to risk injury while maintaining sloped surfaces. Commercial mowers can handle slopes if the operator takes practical precautions, but non-commercial models lack the power and safety features necessary for tough landscapes.
  • Self-propelled mowers: Self-propelled mowers may seem like ideal options because they feature speed-control levers and all- or rear-wheel drive capabilities to move uphill. However, they still require an operator to steer them on sloped surfaces. While self-propelled mowers are easier to operate, they still require a significant amount of manual labor and can be challenging to maneuver on a hill.
  • Zero-turn mowers: Zero-turn mowers lack the stability and proper weight distribution to travel uphill. Operators can use zero-turn mowers to mow large areas without turning, but they are unsafe to use on slopes.
  • Hover mowers: Hover mowers can handle small banks, but they are not ideal for large hills because steep slopes can hinder their mobility and maneuverability.

Preparing the Slope

Slopes require special preparation before mowing. You should always complete the following tasks before beginning work on a slope.

  • Clear obstacles: Clear debris, rocks and foreign objects, allowing your workers and machinery to move around safely.
  • Fill or mark holes: Rodents such as rabbits and groundhogs can dig holes in the ground, leaving hazardous spots where wheels can dip or get stuck. Even if you maintain the area frequently, you should check for holes each time you mow. If you find a hole, you can fill it so it’s safe to mow over, or you can mark it with a flag so you remember to move around it and go over it with a string trimmer later.

Mastering Mowing Techniques

The secret to mastering mowing on any surface is understanding your machine and its limitations. Each operator should receive operational and safety training and practice on flat ground before using the machine on a sloped landscape.

Whether you and your team use riding mowers or remote-controlled robotic motors, training is essential. By rehearsing on flat ground, workers can familiarize themselves with a mower’s controls while minimizing risk. They can move on to steeper ground once they feel comfortable using the machine. Consider the following techniques that make mowing on steep slopes safer:

  • Mowing at a slow, steady speed
  • Slowly transitioning between flat and sloped areas
  • Avoid stopping, starting and turning while on a slope
  • Keep a safe distance from ditches, ledges and embankments

Dealing With Erosion and Runoff

Mowing is only part of maintaining sloped landscapes. You must also consider erosion and runoff control. Since mowing safely requires compact soil, preventing erosion can help you maintain a safe sloped surface for mowing. You can correctly control erosion and stormwater runoff with the following methods.

  • Retaining walls: Retaining walls hold soil to prevent erosion and flooding, helping slopes remain in good shape.
  • Erosion-resistant plants: You can also plant erosion-resistant plants in sloped areas to provide stability and hold soil back when water flows. Erosion-resistant plants such as shrubs spread foliage for a soil barrier.
Choose RC Mowers for Your Slope Mowing Needs

Choose RC Mowers for Your Slope Mowing Needs

Mowing slopes requires specific techniques and equipment to ensure operator safety and prevent damage. Steep slopes present risks such as machine rollover, operator injury or death, equipment collision and machine damage. Quality mowing equipment remains stable on sloped surfaces and makes short work of rough terrain. A robotic remote-controlled slope mower can significantly enhance your landscaping efficiency, keeping you and your team safe and helping you expand your services. 

MTech Company offers high-performance slope mowers from RC Mowers to elevate your company’s capabilities. With an R-Series slope mower, you can work on rugged hills safely and effectively. Request a quote or schedule a demo to learn more about investing in a robotic mower for your landscaping needs.

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