Understanding Lawn Mower Tires: From Shoulders to Treads

A lot goes into choosing a proper lawn mower tires. That’s why it’s crucial to understand the two basic areas: the shoulders and the treads. Find out the essentials in this straightforward article on lawn mower tires!

Square Shouldered Tires vs Round Shouldered Tires

There are two difference types of shoulder in lawn mower tires: square and round. Round-shouldered mower tires are used in areas where no marks on the grass are wanted, such as the greens and fairways on golf courses. Round-shouldered mower tires are less durable and do not last as long. The reason they last less use is they are built with a lower ply or ply rating. That means the sidewalls of the tires are more flexible so they absorb more shock and do not leave marks in the grass. The Carlisle Turf Guide is a good example of this type of tire.

Square shouldered tires function with a slightly different purpose. While rounded tires provide a more progressive breakaway from the turf, reducing wear and tear, square shouldered tires are more abrupt, and therefore more likely to pull up turf. The flatter profile also means the tire will be affecting a slightly larger area.

The Differences in Mower Tire Treads

Mower tires are available in a number of tread designs, which are used for different tasks. Smooth and ribbed tires are used in applications where no marks can be left on the grass. Smooth tread and ribbed tread are used on “turn” wheels where the wheel may rotate in a 360-degree motion to reverse directions.

Tires with a more aggressive tread are used on the drive wheels of a mower for better traction. Again, where no marks are acceptable on the grass, the aggressive treads can not be used. (link to lawn front/rear article)

In our experience, most landscapers purchase the “Carlisle C/S” The C/S is durable and meets the needs of the guys cutting the grass at golf courses.

If you are the guy who bought the $4,000 riding lawn mower to cut your half-acre lawn, you will not need a tire that is used all-day, everyday by the landscapers. If you are mowing once a week, the tires will last until they dry rot. No concern about wearing the tread out on these; however, one thing to think about is a flat. Following are two solutions to the nasty flat tire.

Choosing the Right Lawnmower Tire Size

Equally important to the tread is the size of the tire. This number may be a little confusing, but here is a quick primer:

In this example, 18x8.50-8 tells you the size of this tire when it is properly inflated. The first number, 18, represents the approximate height of the tire. The middle number, 8.50, represents the width of the tire, where 8.50 means 8½" inches wide. The last number, 8, is the diameter of the wheel or rim the tire is mounted on – in our example, this tire’s rim diameter is 8 inches. The size may be written using different symbols, but the numbers are usually always in the same order – height, width, diameter.

You may also see the letters “NHS” after the size. This only means that the tire is not designed to withstand driving at highway speeds, hence non-highway service or NHS.

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