One way contractors can increase production is by using ride-on power trowels. One ride-on trowel can replace as many as three walk-behind trowels and two operators. While a walk-behind power trowel can finish about 1,500 square feet a day, a ride-on power trowel can finish up to 3,000 square feet per hour. The most noticeable physical difference the operator will see is the comfortable seat design of the ride-on power trowels. The blades are also different. Ride-on machines use two or three vertical rotating shafts, each with three or four blades connected to them. The blade rotation is either overlapping or nonoverlapping. Overlapping blade models have only one guard ring, while nonoverlapping blades have a guard ring for each vertical shaft.
Double-riders range in length from 66 to 100 inches and in width from 40 to 50 inches. Triple-riders are about as long as they are wide, about 100 inches. A 5-to 10-hp engine typically runs a walk-behind. Travel speed for a double-rider ranges from 300 to 500 feet per minute, making speed a key factor in increased productivity. One problem with the heavy ride-on trowels is getting them on and off the slab. Some manufacturers provide a transport trailer, complete with hoist, that can deliver the machine to the jobsite and lift it on and off the slab.