The power trowel also referred to as a troweling or finishing machine is used in the smoothing and finishing of concrete slab work. These machines may be hand operated or guided walk-behind, with gasoline or electric power. Some have three blades; some have four. Troweling diameters range from 30 inches upward. Riding models with multiple spider assemblies are also available. The question of what makes a good power trowel is not a simple question to answer. It covers a great deal of ground, but perhaps could be simplified somewhat by breaking the unit into four major parts that should be considered in purchasing: The engine; gear box and power takeoff; guard ring/spider; and handle.
GEAR BOX AND POWER TAKEOFF
Look for high tensile steel shafting of sufficient diameter to withstand rugged abuse, fitted with large job-rated gears and bearings, preferably locked in place on shafts. Both aluminum and cast iron gear boxes can be found, with the aluminum having the edge in acceptance. Power takeoffs have generally been of the centrifugal clutch variety. However, some manufacturers use a single hand lever deadman clutch. An easy-to-view oil level sight glass window can be a significant time and labor saver.
With the direction of the power trowel being regulated by pressing or lifting on the trowel handle, it is obviously a part of the machine that takes a great deal of stress and pressure. Thus it is prone to breakage at the point where it attaches to the gear box. Look for positive connection at this point, preferably a bolt-on bracket of fabricated steel. Most handles are constructed of single round or square tubing. All operating controls should be close to the operator and should be positioned for ease of usage.