Deciding to invest in a power trowel or to continue using traditional methods of hand finishing is not always an easy choice to make. Although there isn't a mathematical formula contractors can use to arrive at a decision, factors such as job size, time, and desired quality should be considered. For example, the larger the job and the less time available for finishing, the more efficient a power trowel becomes. A walk-behind power trowel can finish about 1,500 square feet daily, while a ride-on power trowel can finish about 3,000 square feet. An experienced hand-finishing crew can finish about 600 square feet per day. Keep in mind that power trowels consistently produce a high-quality finish, as well as create a harder and flatter surface.
After a decision is made to invest in a power trowel, decide on the size and type needed. If a large amount of concrete is poured at one time, a large trowel may be needed to quickly finish the concrete before it's too hard. However, because they weigh less and therefore are less likely to damage fresh concrete, walk-behind trowel are ideal for jobs where finishing needs to begin soon after screeding is complete.