A Guide to Choosing Between Westermann Ride-on and Walk-Behind Machines for Weed and Moss Removal

When it comes to dealing with stubborn moss and weeds, you need to make sure that you have the most suitable machine for the task at hand to make the most efficient use of your time. Keep reading to find out more about the difference between Westermann ride-on and walk-behind machines so that you can choose the right machine for your moss and weed removal needs.

Whether you’re a machinery hire outlet, a landscape maintenance contractor servicing domestic or commercial properties or even a private groundskeeper, you know that keeping hard areas safe and clear is of the utmost importance, but is also a demanding task when you don’t have the right arsenal to handle it properly.

Tackling mossy, weed-addled surfaces with a pressure washer creates a sludgy mess which is time consuming to clean up, has to be disposed of correctly and safely if chemicals are also introduced, and often doesn’t even address the issue of deep-rooted weeds. Power washing also isn’t suitable for cleaning more fragile surfaces such as tarmac or house brick-laid and sand brushed patios. Then there’s the traditional broom and shovel method, which requires arduous manual physical labour and isn’t equipped to tackle all the stubborn remnants left between cracks and crevices.

This is where the range of Westermann ride-on and walk-behind weed and moss removal brush machines save the day. The next generation alternative to pressure washing, chemical weed removal and manual brushing, these powerful weed and moss brushes have been engineered to clean driveways, tennis courts, sports surfaces and all other outdoor hard surfaces without the need for water or harmful chemicals and without causing damage to fragile surfaces.

Westermann brush machines excel at weed and moss removal, but the different ride-on and walk-behind models each have their own pros and cons when it comes to suitability for various applications, with many factors to consider such as surface area size, machine portability, weed and moss density, how friable the surface is, the comfort of the end user and more.

So, focusing on the Westermann Moss Brush WR870 walk-behind machine and the Westermann CM2 Ride-On Pro in particular, let's compare these two pieces of landscape maintenance machinery across some of their key factors to help you weigh up which tool is best for the task you have ahead.


Machine size and power

A ride-on machine is larger and more powerful compared to a walk-behind, and is designed to cover expansive areas such as municipal areas, public spaces, car parks, car showroom forecourts and other large spaces more efficiently, and have the horsepower to keep it in operation for longer periods of use. For example, if you opt for the most powerful Hatz Diesel engine option, it should be because you intend for the machine to be run for a few hours during each use. If you’re only looking to use it for less than an hour at a time, then opt for a different engine model.

A walk-behind machine, on the other hand, is more compact, and is better suited for smaller, more routine jobs, or jobs that require you to be able to manoeuvre in more awkward spaces. The WR870 will clear an area of approximately 1m2 per minute, and its lighter weight and folding handles make it much easier to transport than its ride-on counterpart. It’s so portable, we’ve even managed to fit one in a VW Polo before!


Working with different surfaces

While both machines are more than equipped to deal with whatever stubborn moss clearing jobs you throw at them, the stiffer brushes on the CM2 Ride-on PRO are harsher and more abrasive compared to the Moss Brush, making it better equipped to deal with tougher jobs. Despite that, both machines can handle harder surfaces such as concrete or tarmac, as well as block paving, brick/stone setts, sports surfaces and rubber play surfaces.

The WR870 walk-behind may be a better choice if you’re looking for a more delicate touch. The brush is set at a shallow angle, and the brush height can be set quite high to begin delicately brushing, which you can then begin to lower with the adjustable jockey wheel to make it more aggressive when needed. As a result, it will not scratch surfaces. However, if you’re working with softer surfaces such as York paving, clay blocks or other friable stone surfaces, then we suggest doing a patch test of the surface first to ensure that no scratching will occur, and we wouldn’t recommend the CM2 Ride-on PRO for this purpose.


Operator comfort

Designed for seated operation, ride-on machines offer greater comfort and reduced physical strain for the user, particularly during prolonged use. The ergonomic seating, adjustable controls, and suspension systems enhance comfort and productivity, making a ride-on a good choice for professional landscapers and large-scale maintenance tasks.

While a walk-behind machine requires the user to walk behind and push or guide the equipment manually, it still offers decent comfort for shorter durations. However, extended use can lead to fatigue, especially on uneven terrain or sloped surfaces, so it’s best to opt for a walk-behind machine when the job is smaller to keep it manageable without overexerting.

Hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS), also known as vibration white finger, can be caused by repeated and frequent use of hand-held vibrating tools over a prolonged period of time, usually years. If you’re conscious that you’re at risk of developing this condition, or already suffer from it, then opt for a ride-on machine over a walk-behind. If you regularly work with vibrating handheld machinery then you should always take preventative steps to reduce your risk like keeping warm and wearing gloves at work, taking frequent breaks between using the equipment in short bursts, and encouraging blood circulation with hand massages and exercises during these breaks. When using professional handheld machinery, it’s crucial to follow HSE guidance using the HAV measurements that are supplied with equipment to ensure you are using it safely and not impacting your health.


Machine versatility

Both the WR870 walk-behind and the CM2 Ride-on PRO also have a range of different brush attachments that can be combined with them. This means that whichever machine you decide to choose, you’re investing in a versatile piece of machinery that can not only tackle moss and weeds, but other outdoor maintenance tasks too.

The WR870 walk behind comes with a wire brush as standard for clearing moss and light weeds, but it can also be used with other interchangeable brush attachments, such as the poly brush for sweeping, which is also suited to livestock areas, and the poly/wire mix brush which is suitable for more delicate surfaces with a light moss covering.

The Westermann ride-on is the more versatile of the two machines, with over 10 different compatible attachments that allow it to be used for a wide range of applications, from landscape maintenance to various agricultural applications. The wire brush attachment is ideal for clearing large areas of moss and light weeds, however, if you need a more powerful and focused approach to weed removal there’s a smaller, more heavy-duty weed brush attachment. As well as the wire and poly brushes for cleaning and sweeping, there’s also a path re-edger attachment, a snow plough attachment and a feed and waste scraper attachment, to name just a few, that will make themselves incredibly useful in a farming setting.

Another advantage of the Westermann Ride-On Pro is that it is a zero-turn machine, meaning it can be turned on the spot. This feature provides unparalleled manoeuvrability and offers efficiency and precision in navigating tight spaces.


Machine cost

Naturally, with ride-on machines being more robust and highly powered than their walk-behind counterparts, the price point between the two machines is pretty significant.

The CM2 Ride-On Pro is a much higher upfront cost compared to the WR870 Moss Brush – ranging from around £4,200-£10,350 depending on the choice of engine and hydraulics, compared to the WR870 Moss Brush coming in at under £2,000. However, if you’re in an industry where you can make full and regular use of the Cleanmeleon’s size, power and advanced features, and don’t need to worry too much about transporting it to different sites often, then it’s absolutely worth the justification.

As you can gather by the evidence throughout this blog, despite the WR870’s comparatively more affordable price tag, it doesn’t make it any less of a quality tool. It’s lower price point makes it a more financially accessible option for routine weed and moss removal that’s ideal for adding to any landscaping contractor or hire outlet arsenal.

Ultimately, the choice between a ride-on or walk-behind machine for weed and moss removal depends on many factors such as the size of the area, surface hardness, budget considerations and specific landscaping needs. While ride-on machines offer efficiency and capacity for larger properties, walk-behind machines excel in manoeuvrability, precision and versatility for smaller or intricate spaces.

If you’re still unsure which machine is best for your needs, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us and the SPA Machinery team will be more than happy to advise.


Contact us

If you’re looking for new grounds maintenance equipment, here at SPA Power Machinery we stock a range of Westermann machines that are ready to get the job done.

If you’d like to know more about using Westermann machinery for garden and grounds maintenance purposes, please get in touch with us via the contact form on our website, or you can call us on +44 (0)114 2699 119 or email info@spapowermachinery.com.