When you are out there to buy a lawn mower, one of the things that you will see on the lawn mowers is that it will say whether it is stamped or fabricated. In this case, you might be wondering what the differences between the two are, especially if you don’t know anything about lawn mowers.
What is the difference and which is better, a stamped deck vs fabricated deck for mowers?
Stamped decks are lighter, cheaper, and thinner with comparable longevity for residential applications as fabricated decks. When compared on direct impact and rough terrain handling, fabricated decks with their thicker plate design resist warping and cracking better than stamped.
The good news for you is that we are here to look at which is better for you.
What’s The Difference Between Stamped And Fabricated Decks?
Having a lawn mower at home is one of the most important things that any homeowner should have, especially when it comes to lawn care. That’s because your lawn is one of the highlights of your entire home. The better your lawn is, the better your home’s resale value will be.
Of course, your lawn mower is there to efficiently trim the grass on your lawn and is the main tool for the job.
So, when you are out to buy a good lawn mower that you can use for your home, you might end up encountering two different types of lawn mowers. The first is a stamped deck lawn mower. Meanwhile, the second is a fabricated deck lawn mower.
What Is A Mowing Deck?
For those who don’t know what a lawn mower deck is, this is basically the widest part of a riding mower. The purpose of a deck is to house the blades and keep debris from flying in many directions and the mower operates.
The size of the deck indicates how wide a cut the machine can make. There are usually one to three blades under the deck. Of course, the way the deck is made should also matter when it comes to the overall quality of the lawn mower.
With that said, the next question is, “What is the difference between a stamped deck lawn mower and a fabricated deck mower?”
What Is A Stamped Mowing Deck?
Let’s first look at what stamped deck mowers are. These mowers have decks that were stamped out of a single piece of steel. That means that a huge piece of steel was simply cut and molded in the shape of the lawn mower’s deck to make it relatively seamless and with less parts.
In most cases, the steel that was used to make a stamped deck mower is a thinner type of metal compared to a fabricated deck mower. The reason is that it is easier to stamp out a single piece of metal if it is actually thin.
Because of how stamped deck mowers have thinner decks, they are generally lighter than their fabricated couterparts. This also allows them to have better airflow and cause less trauma to turf grasses. On top of that, stamped deck mowers are usually quite flexible in what they can do.
In most cases, stamped deck mowers are usually already more than enough for common households that mow their lawns maybe once a week. That’s because these mowers are generally affordable enough for most homowners.
The fact is, they are not the most durable mowers. But since many households will only use stamped deck mowers once a week at the most, these mowers can last quite long.
What Is A Fabricated Mowing Deck?
Then let’s look at fabricated deck mowers. The word “fabricated” already gives you a good idea of what these mowers are made of. Your guess is right, as fabricated mowers are generally made out of heavier high-quality steel plates that are welded or fabricated together instead of simply being cut and molded out of a single piece of steel.
Because of the fact that a fabricated deck mower uses heavier and stronger steel plates that were forged together, the general consensus is that these mowers are stronger and more durable compared to stamped deck mowers.
Of course, fabricated deck mowers are also a lot heavier than stamped deck mowers. But the fact that they are heavier and more durable means that they are capable of handling tougher commercial applications. These are rugged machines that are capable of withstanding rougher conditions for longer periods of time.
As such, fabricated deck mowers are better for those who are planning to use their mowers for commercial purposes because of how often the mowers will be used. They are generally more durable and longer-lasting than their stamped deck counterparts. However, that also means that they are much more expensive as well.
Stamped Vs Fabricated Deck Comparison
Here is an overview of the differences and similarities of stamped vs fabricated mowing decks.
|Stamped Mowing Decks||Fabricated Mowing Decks|
|Durability||Good for residential or light commercial use||Good commercial deck (may be too heavy for some residential uses)|
|Cost||Less expensive||Can be pricey|
With this said, some companies are trying to cross these differences and employ some of the design features of both in one combined product. Husqvarna has a fabricated deck with thick metal plates, but sporting rounded corners and edges to try and alleviate some issues.
To learn more about mowers, lawns, and other related topics, see our articles here…
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How Do I Know If My Mower Deck Is Stamped?
There are several ways to determine if the deck on your mower is Stamped or Fabricated. It is not too difficult to find out using any of these methods. Let’s find out if your mower deck is stamped.
There are three main ways to determine if your mower deck is stamped or fabricated.
- Most mower deck types are disclosed either in the owner’s manual or advertising material.
- Fabricated decks will have large recognizable weld or bolt connections.
- Stamped decks have noticeably thinner metal.
There are several places on or accompanying your mower to determine if the type of deck you have is stamped or fabricated. It should be noted in the operations manual, parts list, on the mower itself, or on any packaging.
It is also fairly easy to tell if a deck is fabricated or stamped by the number of welds openly seen. Though stamped decks could have welding lines in places, these will be plentiful and unmistakable in fabricated versions.
In all likelihood, if you have a residential mower that is not designed for heavy duty cutting on a commercial scale, then you will have a stamped deck mower. There are even lower end or specifically designed commercial models sporting stamped decks.
Where you will normally find fabricated decks are in agricultural or large commercial applications. That being said, they very well could pop up being used in small landscaping crews or even as personal mowers of homeowners.
How Thick Should A Mower Deck Be?
If you are considering a mower deck, you will inevitably come to the question, “How thick should mower decks be?”
Most commercial mowing decks today are stamped or fabricated from 7 or 10 gage steel. John Deere for one uses even 7 gage steel to stamp some of their commercial decks. For residential mower decks it is common on cheaper brands and models to find thinner metal.
Unless you are planning on falling asleep on your Zero-turn mower and running it up the nearest tree, 7 or 10 gage steel will work just fine. You are going to want the thicker option for more rural and farmland style fields.
For the average home and lawn, most decks on the market will work just fine. It will be more about features and price than the thickness of the mowing deck.
Are All John Deere Decks Stamped?
Let’s look at an example that can help illustrate how prevalent stamped vs fabricated decks are. This should make it easier to understand what you should be looking for in a mower deck.
All of John Deere’s commercial mowing series 7-Iron II, 7-Iron Pro, and 7-Iron Mulch On Demand decks are stamped from a single piece of steel. John Deere residential lines also have stamped decks. These offer curved corners that stand up to more stress and collect less blade clogging debris.
Though other brands like Cub Cadet offer some fabricated decks in their residential and commercial lines, John Deere stands by its choice to offer only stamped decks.
Their claim is that the curved design can take more load and stress. Their claim is that it will also collect less debris under the deck due to less hard angles.
I for one tend to agree. Though the thicker plates that can be used in fabricated models can individually take more strain, most normal mowing jobs won’t require more than the thinner steel in a stamped design can offer. It will only be needed on extreme terrain or very overgrown fields full of mature plants.
The real strength difference over time will be the corners and welds. With rounded corners and less welds, the lighter stamped version will be a better option for most grass cutting situations.
Are Fabricated Mower Decks Better?
Now that you know the differences between stamped deck and fabricated mowers, it becomes easy to point out that fabricated deck mowers seem to be better than stamped deck mowers in rough terrain. And it’s true that the general consensus is that these mowers are better in fields an on farmlands.
However, just because fabricated mowers are generally better for heavier jobs, it doesn’t mean that they are actually better for you.
As mentioned, fabricated mowers are much more durable and are more capable of handling rougher conditions precisely because they were made for commercial purposes. Mowers that are used for commercial applications are used many times a week.
Because fabricated mowers are made for commercial applications, they are also more expensive. That means that going for a fabricated mower may be overkill for you if you are simply looking for a mower that you can use once a week to keep your grass short.
So, in other words, if you are only looking for a mower that is good enough for household applications, then a fabricated mower might be overkill for you because of how it is much more expensive.
On the other hand, stamped deck mowers may not be as durable or as rugged as fabricated deck mowers on rugged terrain, but they are much more affordable and are more economical when it comes to common household use.
And as John Deere advocates and employees assert, the rounded corners and less welding actually can make them last longer than fabricated decks.
The Final Touches On Stamped Decks Vs Fabricated Decks…
For those looking for a residential mower, you are more than likely to run into stamped decks because of their general durability, light weight, and lower price point. Though brands like Cub Cadet do offer fabricated options.
For those looking for commercial mowers, stamped decks are still and option as well as fabricated ones.
For those in the agricultural community, fabricated decks with their thicker materials will offer more direct impact protection and resist distortion and cracking.
Here are some other articles from LawncareGrandpa.com…
- Best Grit For Mower Blades – Sharpening For Lawn Mowers
- How Tight Should Lawn Mower Blades Be?
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