Chute blockers have really made a name for themselves over the past few years. Historically, side discharges of mowers is a bit of a safety concern. Especially as a lawn care owner, the last thing you want is to sling a rock out of the side of the deck and hit a window or, even worse, a person.
One of the original options was a mulch kit. There are man reasons someone would want to use a mulch kit. Their primary benefits were to cut the grass clippings numerous times in order to recycle the clippings back into the soil as a natural fertilizer. The other benefit is it closes off the side discharge chute so objects don't fly out from the deck.
Mulch kits are somewhat limited though for lawn care business owners because every yard you're cutting isn't the same. For homeowners, sure a mulch kit could be fine. When mowing different types of grass with different lengths and terrains a mulch kit can sometimes be a burden.
Another alternative to side discharge is bagging. In some applications and geographical regions this is the superior option. For a business owner it is a lot more time consuming to use a bagger. Many lawn care professionals have turned to mowers like Walker if they want to bag clippings. They are a niche mower designed specifically for bagging.
But what if you don't always need a mulch kit and you don't want to use a bagger…
Then came the invention of the chute blocker. These amazing accessories are a hybrid between mulch kits and standard side discharge. By way of a hand lever or foot pedal, you are able to raise or lower the blocker to either mulch or side discharge depending on what is needed for the application.
In this article, we will explain what a chute blocker is and the 3 best on the market.
Table of Contents
Should you use a chute blocker?
Simply put, if you are mowing mostly residential or smaller commercial properties I would 100% recommend a chute blocker. The versatility of having a mulch kit and side discharge is very handy.
Outside of the safety aspect, a chute blocker is great to have to keep clippings out of flower beds and other places you don't want clippings to be. It is very easy to lower the blocker in certain areas of the lawn.
Chute Blocker VS Mulch Kit
A mulching kit attached to the lawn mower helps the machine to mulch the grass and leave it in the lawn to nourish it whereas a chute blocker is a blockade that covers the storage of the cut grass or the mulching kit so that they do not offload the clippings all around the lawn.
A chute blocker helps the mower not deposit any of its grass content in areas such as a pool or flower bed that needs to be protected from such weeds.
It is very important to understand the difference… a chute blocker with the flap down is not exactly the same as a mulch kit. It will not perform quite as well but it usually does a good enough job that operators don't notice much of a difference.
The big advantage of a chute blocker is speeding up your mowing time. If you are using side discharge you will be able to mow faster than with a traditional mulch kit. Having a hybrid between the two will all you to save time while mowing the open areas where a mulch kit isn't needed.
If you've decided a chute blocker is the best option for you we will review the 3 best on the market below.
GrassFlap is a great chute blocker as it fits with most models of commercial mowers. It is especially engineered to be foot-operated so that it is more effective and easy-to-use.
The product has been designed and developed by David Luking who himself has been an avid mower since childhood. He seems to understand what an ideal chute blocker should be like.
Of the three products that we are reviewing here, GrassFlap is the only chute blocker whose control is attached to the foot pedal. When you attach this to a zero-turn lawn mower, it seems to be a perfect fit. The foot pedal control gives the user complete control over offloading of the cut grass, which can be done without stopping the mowing operations.
- Clean design
- Pivoting motion
- Rugged construction
- A little complicated installation
2. Qwikchute Chute Blocker & Deflector
This is a truly advanced chute blocker that would help you in managing the grass clippings on the lawn like no other chute blocker.
It fits with the mower in a few minutes and can help in mulching, full or partial discharge. It’s controlled by a hand-controlled lever system. This is a simple mechanical solution that offers years of hassle-free mowing even in restricted areas. It takes about 30 minutes to install it on your mower.
- Hand Lever engagement
- Clean design
- Great Reviews
- Not suitable for walk-behind lawn mowers
3. Advanced Chute System
Produced by Chute system, Advanced Mower Discharge Shield is a perfect fit with virtually all kinds of lawn mowers. However, the manufacturer maintains a compatibility chart that lists outs all the brands and models in which this chute blocker can be fitted.
This chute blocker gives you complete control over the mower discharge. It is controlled by a hand-controlled lever system that can open, partly-open, and close the flap. In short, you can completely regulate clipping discharge.
- Lever engagement
- Easy installment
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How to install a chute blocker?
The three chute blockers that we have reviewed here have their own installation process. The installation of a chute blocker is a simple but a mechanical process that may require drilling holes in mower’s steel body parts and use of nuts and bolts.
Depending on which chute blocker you are going to use, the installation process will be different from one another. The first chute blocker under our review, GrassFlap is foot-operated where cables from the flap are attached to the footboard.
In the other two varieties of chute blockers under review, the control is in a handle. Each of these products comes with their detailed installation process outlined on the instruction pages of the owner’s manual.
The manufacturers have also made available videos that give a detailed account of how they can be installed. The installation process takes about 30 minutes and it is easy enough to be done by oneself.
If you are concerned about installation you can always take it to your local dealer to have them install it.
However, the installation process can be summed up in couple of steps:
Step 1: The shield plate needs to be attached to the base plate with the help of nylon washer, bolts, and nuts.
Step 2: Slide handle needs to be fitted as per the direction.
Wrapping it up
A chute blocker is a great accessory that is relatively new to the market. They have helped to increase the efficiency of mowing lawns. The convenience of being able to switch between mulching/blocking the chute and using side-discharge is a huge time saver.
If are were to start a lawn business again tomorrow I would definitely have a chute blocker on most of my mowers. They are a huge asset to the average business that is regularly cutting many different types of yards.
Do you currently use a chute blocker? If so, let us know in the comments which one you use and how you like it!
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Will this work on my lawn tractor?
No, it does not work on lawn tractors. The Advanced Chute is designed for ZTR, walk behind and stand on units with the squared off chute opening.
Will it work on slightly curved deck openings?
Yes it works on mowers like Ferris, Scag, Simplicity, Snapper, Husqvarna and Bobcat that have a slightly curved deck opening. A curved attachment is provided for these mower brands.
Will it work on my 32”, 36” or 42” deck?
It will work on some 32”, 36” and 42” decks, but typically requires some modification of the blocking plate and this is 100% the buyer’s responsibility. In most cases the steel blocking plate is larger than the opening and requires trimming the steel plate shorter.
Do I have to drill holes in my mower deck?
Yes, it requires drilling 3 holes to mount the bracket correctly.
I can’t get this to fit on my mower (the tabs are in the way, the belt guards are in the way, nothing fits up). What am I doing wrong?
Please use the provided spacers to mount the bracket correctly (typically above the factory tabs and other deck components). Spacers are required on all decks except Bad Boy mower brand. Please see the install video on the Advanced Chute page on our website.
Will it leave grass windrow?
Yes, in tall grass if you close off the only escape route for the grass you can leave a grass line. It is intended for use around areas where the clipping disbursement needs to be controlled, such as around beds, mulch, rock, cars, property, etc. You still mow with it open most of the time.
Why are there holes in the blocking plate?
This allows the correct air-flow or the mower will drop all the clippings in the far right baffle leaving a mess under the mower. They are crucial in the functionality and don’t allow clippings through the air holes.
Do I need to use mulching blades?
No. Any blade set up will work depending on the conditions of the turf, turf type, mowing height, mowing speed, etc.
Can I reach the handle from the seat on a ZTR?
Most can reach comfortably from the seat without any issues.
When do I need the extended handle?
The extended handle is for stand on units and walk behinds when the operator wants the handle much closer to them. It is certainly not required.
How long do they last?
Most units are lasting several thousand hours depending on operator use and abuse. It is all steel construction designed for the commercial user.
Can I run a bagger with the ACS installed?
In some cases you can, depending on the brand of the catcher and how it mounts to the mower deck. The Ballard CatchPro Bagger works as well as some of the similar brand designs like Accelerator Baggers.
Does it work well with a factory mulching kit (mulching baffles)?
Yes, it still functions the same way working well as a control for clippings as needed.
Are there different settings, or is it open or closed?
It is typically all the way open or all the way closed, with the exception of the ULS model. This model is primarily for the 60” units and up which provides a cam lock that allows the operator to set it at ¼ open.
Can I get replacement parts?
Can it be used with the X-Blades?
Yes, this is a great combination for regular and mulching conditions. See: X-Blades
Why is it made by Bad Boy?
Ballard has been teamed up with Bad Boy since 2008 and we are the national distributor for this product with 5000+ units sold annually.
How do I know I will get the right unit for my mower?
There is a mower detail section at checkout requiring mower deck size, model and brand.
Discharge Chute Blocker Reviewed and Rated in 2021
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Last Updated: 2021-10-22 by Elyssa Hahn
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