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Zero Turn Mower Advice

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    is not wearing pants Point37's Avatar
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    Zero Turn Mower Advice

    I'm in the market for a zero turn or 4 wheel steering riding lawnmower in the near future. My wife and I were cutting the lawn with 2 self propelled push mowers but last summer one of our mowers died so now it takes double the time it took before to cut. We have a lot of things to go around in the yard, lots of leaves to pick up in the fall and the yard is sloped. I'm all about making things easier/faster/more efficient so I feel this would be the best route to go for us.

    wants/needs
    -needs to have an easily removable (no tools) powered/vacum multi-bagger
    -needs the ability to tow/push a thatcher and spreader
    -would be nice if it could also tow a small yard cart with maybe a load of wood but i have a wheel barrow so it's not a necessity
    -not sure on deck width but I will be putting in a shed so it would need to be able to fit through the 6' double doors with the powered bagger attached...I was thinking the 48"-52" range but the door size with attachments will be the limiting factor as well as the yard obstacles
    -needs 20hp+ Kawasaki engine
    -needs hydrostatic drive
    -leaning towards a lap bar vs a steering wheel zero turn (only see cub cadet and toro with steering wheel zero turns)
    -not sure about welded deck vs stamped deck just yet as I've heard both are pretty good if done right
    -would be nice to have as many deck height adjustments as possible
    -wide front tires would be a plus as sometimes my yard gets pretty wet due to the way the water sheds on the property

    I've been poking around on mowersdirect and it seems that only husqvarna and ariens have powered baggers and I'm not too sure about a husqvarna mower (although I have a chainsaw and weed wacker by husqvarna as well as a snow blower by ariens).

    These brands are on my research list right now...
    Exmark
    Scag
    Kubota
    Husqvarna
    Toro
    John Deere
    Gravely
    Ariens
    Bad Boy
    Hustler

    I would rather pay extra for something a little heavier duty that will last than something I will have to repair and fix more. So maybe even a used low hour commercial unit off CL may be an option. Any input would be appreciated, thanks.

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    Last edited by Point37; 09-19-17 at 02:09 PM.
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    Lifer Falko's Avatar
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    Re: Zero Turn Mower Advice

    I bought a Kubota Z121s two summers ago.
    It is a very heavy built home owner unit, probably better than many "commercial" mowers out there. It does have a Briggs engine, but it is quite powerful and works very well, I've heard Kub spec'd this engine to Briggs. I would recommend getting the spring seat, comes standard on the s. Mine is 48", which is really too big for my yard, but I don't have a lot of spare time to mow with all my pool watching duties. I had a 42" normal tractor mower that this replaced. The tractor took 50-60 minutes to mow the yard, this thing is like 20-25 minutes. The blades spin so fast you can cruise to get it done.
    It pulls my 10cuft cart with ease when loaded with dirt/mulch etc. And backing up a cart with a zero turn is really maneuverable.
    I wouldn't worry about wide front tires, all the weight sits in the back end. Lap bar is the way to go as well, imo.
    My only fault with it is that it is loud. It is a 21hp engine open to the atmosphere, no shielding around it to block the noise. I wear ear plugs, not a big deal. It is pricey but compared to comparable units, it is a pretty good deal. Oh, and the LED lights are cool should you decide to mow in the dark.

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    is not wearing pants Point37's Avatar
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    Re: Zero Turn Mower Advice

    good info, thanks...yea my yard isn't huge so i'm not sure if i would be better off with a 42" or a 48" yet...i figure a 42" may be little more maneuverable in tight spaces, around trees and on uneven land but a 48" would be faster...the different model series are a little confusing when trying to compare them all...

    check out a pair of these instead of ear plugs...i love mine...
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    Last edited by Point37; 03-09-16 at 02:10 PM.
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    Re: Zero Turn Mower Advice

    Kubota now makes a 42", but it is less commercial. I probably would have went that route when I bought mine, the 48" was the smallest they had at the time.

    My parents have a Hustler, and I would have really considered one but no one had the one I wanted in stock. (And I work 2 miles from a Kubota dealership.) The Hustlers are a nice machine for a decent price, lower than Kubota, but not by much, and you have to buy all the added extras. I think it is their Z series that is a little heavier built. Which brings up another point on these things. The wheel motors are where you can get the power and reliability. The lighter units have like the 2200 series motors (if they are even listed, some are just junk). The Hustlers get into the 2800 series to I think the 3400's when you go to the Z. I'm not sure how you'd rank the Kubota, I think their units are proprietary.

    IF your yard isn't that big, I'd look into the walk behinds as well, just can't tow with them really. I mow my yard and at least one neighbors with mine, so anywhere from 1-2 acres. It is oversized for that task, just to give you an idea. But the problem comes down to power. If you want 20hp in a good unit, you end up with a bigger deck.

    Thanks for that link, look like they would be nice to have. But honestly, my son is starting to do most of the mowing. And he looks like he is having a good time, so who am I to stop him??

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    Re: Zero Turn Mower Advice

    I landscaped for a number of years and we had exmarks both riders and hydro walk behinds all had v twin Kawasaki engines. First off if it has a good bagging system it removes and installs in seconds, which you will want because they do become clogged. If you've never used a zero turn then you will learn maneuverability is not a problem, so get the biggest that you can practically afford. If you haven't thought of it the hydro walk behinds are fantastic, if you don't mind walking( and if you do then you can get a sulky and stand behind it) the main mower I used was a 48" 3 blade walk behind and I could cut running behind this thing. Also they tend to be cheaper then a quality rider, just something to think about, but make sure it's hydro because the belt drives suck!!! If your budget allows then try and stay with something commercial and other then routine maintenance the only thing you'll need to replace is bags every 5 or so years (maybe more) as they do tend to deteriorate after a while, we averaged 2-3 years cutting 65ish yards a week.

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    Re: Zero Turn Mower Advice

    thanks for all the info guys...i updated my first post to add some of your info so i can have it all in one place...i would need a sit down just because of the bagger and thatcher i would imagine...from what i'm reading zero turns aren't really made for towing so i may even open it up to tractor style mowers if they have 4 wheel articulating wheels like the john deere's

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    Re: Zero Turn Mower Advice

    I will have a slightly used John Deer 46" rider for sale soon......was my Dads and he has passed so its up for sale

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    Re: Zero Turn Mower Advice

    How sloped is your yard? Zero turns do not like hills, you can't go across them easily as the fronts just sag down the hill. If your yard is suitable for mowing with a ZT, you'll be fine towing a cart.

    I think you are into something like this, Hustler Turf – Zero Turn Riding Mowers – Residential – FASTRAK - Mowers - Residential - FasTrak

    Also it looks like the 42" Kubota has the Kawa engine at 21.5hp, Zero Turn Mowers | Z1 Series | Kubota Tractor Corporation

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    Re: Zero Turn Mower Advice

    ZERO TURN IS THE ANSWER

    I have a Crapstman ztl 7000 bought at end of season for 2000 with 5 year warrantee

    check sears outlet but doubt there is anything now

    I am sure most low end models are all really MTD

    Its a buy use disposal world now

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    Re: Zero Turn Mower Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Falko View Post
    How sloped is your yard? Zero turns do not like hills, you can't go across them easily as the fronts just sag down the hill. If your yard is suitable for mowing with a ZT, you'll be fine towing a cart.

    I think you are into something like this, Hustler Turf – Zero Turn Riding Mowers – Residential – FASTRAK - Mowers - Residential - FasTrak

    Also it looks like the 42" Kubota has the Kawa engine at 21.5hp, Zero Turn Mowers | Z1 Series | Kubota Tractor Corporation
    maybe 5% slope max...i haven't checked in a while but this spring/summer i will be trying to even it out a little to get rid of some of the areas where the water collects...then once i get a shed the mower will be next on the list...the only thing i'm not sure of on some of these is the availability of a powered bagger...doesn't look like the low level kubota bagger is powered but i would lean towards a kubota over a hustler due to the proximity of a dealer in case any repairs that i can't handle are needed

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    Last edited by Point37; 03-10-16 at 12:12 PM.
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    Re: Zero Turn Mower Advice

    so the shed will be done in a couple weeks...the double door width is going to be 6' so that is the limiting factor for the size of the mower...i have also been considering john deere's 4 wheel steer models (x300 series)...still not sure what to go with...i was a zero turn for the speed...but i want the ability to use a thatcher, spreader and tow a garden cart of firewood and i don't want the front tires to dig into the lawn when the yard is on the wet side in the spring/fall

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    Re: Zero Turn Mower Advice

    OK so I have a Cub Cadet XT1 LT50 with a 24 horse Kholer engine and foot controlled hydrostatic drive. It has performed very well for it's first season. Cuts my 2 acres in under an hour and has enough power that I can run full speed (aprox 7 mph) even when I let the grass get long between cuts. I have a trailer, roller, dethatcher, and spreader which it handles fine. Even with my trailer loaded up with approx 1.5 yards of loam (heavy AF) there was no hesitation from the hydrostatic drive. It was about $2k for the tractor with deck and in my price range the Cub Cadet XT1 series gave me the most reliability for the cost. Worth noting that this is just a front steering model and the turning radius is really excellent. I have a bunch of rocks I have to cut around and this thing handles the maneuvering very well.

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    Re: Zero Turn Mower Advice

    For mowing maneuverability and mowing speed, a zero turn is tough to beat.
    That said, I have a Kubota Z121 (residential unit from Kubota) which is built like a commercial unit, probably last me the rest of my life. The thing is a beast, mows really fast, tons of power, tows my garden cart with ease, does everything my tractor could do, but probably a little better. I'd like to get a front thatcher for it as that makes more sense than a tow behind. I really like this mower.

    BUT, I would not buy it again. This thing is too well built, it's a heavy mofo (700+lbs), too heavy and hard on the grass in tight areas. Any pivoting with a rear tire will create a lifeless crater void of any vegetation in your yard. You cannot zero turn it, or even come close. Even areas where you run over the same spot like in edging near the beds, the grass is crushed just from the weight. As far as sinking the fronts, I wouldn't worry about that, my machine is heavy but I can lift the front with one arm.

    After having multiple tractors and this ZT, I would buy a smaller lighter ZT if I were to do it again. In fact I've been thinking about selling the Kubota and getting a lighter (and smaller, when I bought mine I got the smallest one possible and it is really too big) one. I've never had a four wheel steer tractor, maybe that's the answer??

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    Re: Zero Turn Mower Advice

    i may be selling my Husqvarna 48" zero-turn with 23HP Kawi twin (sounds awesome, heh), fabricated deck, triple-bagger w/blower. looks and works mint, think i'm going to a commercial walk-behind instead.

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    Re: Zero Turn Mower Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by loudbeard View Post
    OK so I have a Cub Cadet XT1 LT50 with a 24 horse Kholer engine and foot controlled hydrostatic drive. It has performed very well for it's first season. Cuts my 2 acres in under an hour and has enough power that I can run full speed (aprox 7 mph) even when I let the grass get long between cuts. I have a trailer, roller, dethatcher, and spreader which it handles fine. Even with my trailer loaded up with approx 1.5 yards of loam (heavy AF) there was no hesitation from the hydrostatic drive. It was about $2k for the tractor with deck and in my price range the Cub Cadet XT1 series gave me the most reliability for the cost. Worth noting that this is just a front steering model and the turning radius is really excellent. I have a bunch of rocks I have to cut around and this thing handles the maneuvering very well.
    thanks for the info...i've talked myself out of a zero turn and into a tractor style and now back to a zero turn...i think i'm still undecided...not sure which way i want to go at the moment

    Quote Originally Posted by Falko View Post
    For mowing maneuverability and mowing speed, a zero turn is tough to beat.
    That said, I have a Kubota Z121 (residential unit from Kubota) which is built like a commercial unit, probably last me the rest of my life. The thing is a beast, mows really fast, tons of power, tows my garden cart with ease, does everything my tractor could do, but probably a little better. I'd like to get a front thatcher for it as that makes more sense than a tow behind. I really like this mower.

    BUT, I would not buy it again. This thing is too well built, it's a heavy mofo (700+lbs), too heavy and hard on the grass in tight areas. Any pivoting with a rear tire will create a lifeless crater void of any vegetation in your yard. You cannot zero turn it, or even come close. Even areas where you run over the same spot like in edging near the beds, the grass is crushed just from the weight. As far as sinking the fronts, I wouldn't worry about that, my machine is heavy but I can lift the front with one arm.

    After having multiple tractors and this ZT, I would buy a smaller lighter ZT if I were to do it again. In fact I've been thinking about selling the Kubota and getting a lighter (and smaller, when I bought mine I got the smallest one possible and it is really too big) one. I've never had a four wheel steer tractor, maybe that's the answer??
    thanks...yea i probably don't need a big heavy duty one cause that wouldn't work well in the wet areas...i'm looking for well built and on the smaller side since my yard is not too large...whatever makes the lawn cutting faster i'm all for

    Quote Originally Posted by typeone View Post
    i may be selling my Husqvarna 48" zero-turn with 23HP Kawi twin (sounds awesome, heh), fabricated deck, triple-bagger w/blower. looks and works mint, think i'm going to a comercial walk-behind instead.
    thanks...i'll keep that in mind...i do have an authorized ariens/gravely/husqvarna dealer in my town which would be good for parts and any repairs that i can't do myself

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    Last edited by Point37; 09-19-17 at 02:04 PM.
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    Re: Zero Turn Mower Advice

    Online sears outlet.... perfect timing for great price reduction...move fast

    My sears is like 5 years so far only 1 little electric problem.... most are MTD with a briggs so fine in real worls

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    Re: Zero Turn Mower Advice

    If your ONLY desire is to mow your lawn, as quickly as possible, get a zero turn. If you have even the slightest desire to do any other type of "work" with it, get a tractor.

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    Re: Zero Turn Mower Advice

    If you have the money just buy a Walker and be done.

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    Re: Zero Turn Mower Advice

    Most tractor looking mowers are MTD stamped metal no frame

    A zero turn has 2 driving wheels so actually stronger for towing etc then a tractor with a single drive differential

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    Re: Zero Turn Mower Advice

    so here is what i have narrowed it down to...my 3 hinges for a zero turn are the powered bagger, kawasaki engine and <52" deck (to be able to fit into a 72" wide door easily (plus i don't have a huge yard), don't have measurements with mounted powered bagger on each yet)...i have an Ariens/Gravely/Husqvarna dealer close by...the rest of the dealers are farther for parts/service (if i can't do it myself)...on paper i'm between exmark, gravely and scag at the moment...leaning towards a 48" model...

    what i'm looking at right now...

    Exmark - Radius X 48/52 (or higher models)
    Gravely - ZT X 52, ZT XL 42/52, ZT HD 44/48/52
    Scag - Patriot 52 (or higher models)

    others...

    Ariens - Ikon X 52 is the only choice with a kawasaki motor and powered bagger my width range
    Kubota - Z400 series has kawasaki engines but no factory powered baggers offered until the Z700 series (i believe)
    Husqvarna - powered bagger looks cheap, nice powered bagger only on expensive machines
    Toro - MX5025 has kawasaki engine but no powered baggers offered
    John Deere - no kawasaki engines and powered baggers on Z500 series
    Bad Boy - kawasaki engines on most lower models but powered bagger looks cheap
    Hustler - have to go up to Fastrak series to get kawasaki + powered bagger
    Wright - has a powered bagger for all models but is more geared towards a commercial user

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    Re: Zero Turn Mower Advice

    I have a 1 acre lot had the Sears 7 years like 2 problems fixed for nothing

    Using Sears outlet I paid 1900 including a 5 year service contract

    I dont have a bagger because I filled a bag with a single rotation of the lawn

    The beauty of the zero is by mowing in alternate directions the cutting are even not clumps

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    Re: Zero Turn Mower Advice

    When I was looking a couple months ago, the dealers I talked to said the Kawasaki engine was inferior to the vanguard engine, which I think is Briggs and Stratton.
    Nobody had much great to say about Kawasaki.

    I was looking because the engine in my mower lost a cylinder, but I ended up getting it replaced for under a grand. The new Ferris stander I was looking at was $7000. I couldn't do it.

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    Re: Zero Turn Mower Advice

    My only comment has to do with Wright Standers. The youth baseball park I'm a board member for owns a 52" Wright Stander and I have to say that it's an awesome mowing machine. It's more compact than a zero-turn and pivots just like them. The downside is they are pretty expensive since they are commercial grade. I don't know if any companies make a prosumer focused stand up model but I would seriously consider one over a zero-turn.

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    Re: Zero Turn Mower Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by burnham View Post
    When I was looking a couple months ago, the dealers I talked to said the Kawasaki engine was inferior to the vanguard engine, which I think is Briggs and Stratton.
    Nobody had much great to say about Kawasaki.

    I was looking because the engine in my mower lost a cylinder, but I ended up getting it replaced for under a grand. The new Ferris stander I was looking at was $7000. I couldn't do it.
    thanks...are you sure you don't have that backwards?...or maybe it's cause it's a US engine?...every model i have looked at has the kawasaki as an upgrade from a kohler or a briggs engine

    Quote Originally Posted by ZX-12R View Post
    My only comment has to do with Wright Standers. The youth baseball park I'm a board member for owns a 52" Wright Stander and I have to say that it's an awesome mowing machine. It's more compact than a zero-turn and pivots just like them. The downside is they are pretty expensive since they are commercial grade. I don't know if any companies make a prosumer focused stand up model but I would seriously consider one over a zero-turn.
    thanks but def not looking for a stander...like you said...i've never seen a stander that wasn't a commercial machine

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    Re: Zero Turn Mower Advice

    I have had my JD ZTR 757 for over 12 years. It's a commercial mower with a 60" deck and a bagger system. I've been using it to mow a 5.5 acre back yard. It has a Kawasaki 25 hp 2 cyl engine that has been trouble free all this time. The machine has over 600 hrs on it. I'll admit that it's a bit over the top, but there were few options back when I bought it. Things you might want to consider is the layout of the blades in the mower deck. If there is a space between the blades , or even minimal overlap, you run into the issue of having a stripe going down the middle of the deck that requires a second pass to clean up. The other problem that you might run into is trying to mow the yard at a high ground speed. One person noted that his goes 7 mph, and my JD tops out at 10 mph, however, the faster you go, the less power the retreating blade has to cut the grass, so you've got one side of each blade cut down to, let's say 4" and the other side of that blade may look a bit ragged at that speed and may need you to slow down in order to get a clean cut. Like someone else stated, get the most that you can afford in the size you want. For a couple of acres, there isn't much difference between 42" and 48" models. EXMARK seems to be very well built, but I haven't tried one. JD models have yellow mower decks for their residential models and green mower decks for their commercial models. I have a very hilly backyard and can confirm that the mower will slide down on you if you are cutting laterally, especially if the grass is wet or damp. In my case, I have some 40 degree slopes that I need to cut, so I added some extra weights to the front, in addition to the weights added for a bagger system, in order to go straight up or down the hills.

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