Riding mower, which one to buy ?..

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  #1  
Old 07-21-18, 07:56 AM
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Riding mower, which one to buy ?..

Hello everyone, we are buying a home with a lot of land with it, and have close to a acre that will need mowed.....have never had this much grass to keep cut, all the mowers we owned in the past was a push mower with the braggs and stratton engines on them, have got good service from them as well..

So, now we are looking at buying a riding mower to keep the grass cut, have no idea what to look for in buying one, really need some pointers on this, want a mower that will get the job done, but not break the bank...
 
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Old 07-21-18, 08:11 AM
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Welcome. First thing is what might you want to use it for? If pushing or blowing snow or tilling a garden are possible considerations, I would suggest looking at a lawn tractor. Otherwise, if strictly for mowing, I'd say a zero turn, hands down. Lawn tractors are typically geared for more power for other tasks like mentioned, which generally means they do not cover as much ground in a set amount of time, and because the deck is basically an accessory item servicing is not a hassle, but can a little more of a chore. Zero turns are mowers, that's pretty much it, practically speaking, so all of the power is directed to the transmission and deck, giving you more speed and more power at the blades, and the design allows you to maneuver much more easily around trees, flowers, and other obstructions. As far as brand, everyone here and whoever else you talk with is apt to give you a different opinion. So what I typically tell friends and so on is to talk with at least two, three if it's feasible, different local and full service lawn equipment dealers in your area. Anything you buy is going to work out of the box, but they're not cheap so you want to know that you have someone to stand behind your investment.
 
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Old 07-21-18, 02:53 PM
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Also consider where you will store the equipment when not in use. Will you haul the mower on a trailer? What width can you conveniently handle. How much time do you have to mow? All these will help you determine what size mower you want. I have owned a 30 in. Snapper rear engine rider. I now have a 42 in. zero turn. My lot is only 1/3 acre. The 42 in. is a convenient width to store in my garage with all my junk. You will find zero turns or tractor mowers going up to 60 in. width. Just a few things to consider.
 
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Old 07-21-18, 03:57 PM
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Push mower vs rider vs zero turn will depend a lot on how long you want to spend mowing the lawn & what your budget is.

1 acre:
push mower = 2 - 2 1/2 hr
rider = 1 hr
zero turn = 30 minutes

Then price (average):
Push mower = $150
Rider: $1500
Zero turn = $5000 (I bought an Xmark Raduis E series 52" this past spring $6000

Good luck.....
 
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Old 07-22-18, 01:10 AM
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I have 3 acres and for the "lawn" area is one acre and I use a 48" walk behind and it takes me about 45 minutes to cut, it's a small work out!

Used to cut with a small compact tractor with 60" deck but I had to use a small push mower around all the trees and tight area plus you were limited in cut pattern.

The walk behind does the best job by far, zero turn would probably be my next choice.
 
  #6  
Old 07-22-18, 03:43 AM
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My son had a 46" riding mower that took 3 hrs to mow his yard. When it came time to replace it he bought a zero turn which cuts the same yard in 1 hr 45 minutes. It did cost about twice as much as the rider but he really enjoys the time savings. As mentioned above a rider is a little more versatile.

btw - welcome to the forums!
 
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Old 07-22-18, 05:52 AM
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It used to be an almost full day job to mow our 3 or so acres with a lawn tractor. Then, just a bit prior to zero turns becoming prevalent, I bought a rear steer Toro and cut my time from around 8 hours to something less than two hours. The cut is much better even with much greater ground speed, and no more backing up, going forward, backing up again, etc. to get around trees and flower beds. In fact it gets around things like that so much better that I was able to eliminate the tedious trimming and got rid of my push mower the next spring, so one lest engine to maintain.
 
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Old 07-22-18, 05:57 AM
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Most important, what is your budget?
 
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Old 07-22-18, 08:09 AM
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Cool Just went through this.

I just went through this whole process myself. Our situation is fairly similar, we actually have two acres, but we only maintain one and use the other as a buffer against neighbors.

As others have said, you first have to decide if you might want a lawn tractor as a more multipurpose machine, if your goal is just to cut the grass, or with a higher budget and more ambition a small utility tractor adds a lot of possibilities.

I have had a lot of issues in the past so I spent quite a few days determining what I wanted to buy. I ultimately decided on a zero turn. After reading multiple consumer review sites and comparing warranties between different tractors, I decided that an Ariens Ikon X-52 with the Kawasaki engine is probably the best bang for the buck coming in at $2800-$3200 depending on vendor. This unit is made by Husqvarna, has great reviews, good ground speed, a 52" cutting deck, a fairly decent warranty, a comfortable seat, plenty of power, and good accessory options.

In the end though, I actually ended not being able to get the Ariens because my closest Home Depot ran out of them and they only deliver within 30 miles for $80 and the closest store that had them was 31 miles away. Since we didn't have a truck I decided to make the leap and finally buy a utility tractor and I bought a John Deere 3025e with a rotary cutter and some other implements, and I love it, but still want that zero turn.
 
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Old 07-22-18, 08:38 AM
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I'll add my 2 cents. Zero turn is the best, but you don't want to break the bank. So I would skip the zero turn. I have just under an acre. Use to use a walk behind self propelled. Worked well. I now have a Craftsman rear engine. Not the best but it works and it was inexpensive. If you need to use a weed wacker or trimmer, then a zero turn tends to be redundant. You'll handle the close work with the trimmer/wacker. Besides most people trim every other lawn cutting. Lawn cutting is a chore, so try to make it fun or entertaining. I listen to audio books when cutting. I actually look forward to it.
 
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Old 07-22-18, 08:38 AM
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I like the fact that I see all the fans of Z turns, it was not that long ago people would give me a hard time about spending that much money on a mower.
Then they would see me mowing a yard at 10 MPH on an open stretch and being able to mow 2 lawns and there not even done with there's.
I like the idea of buying any mower at a servicing dealer, not a box store, which place do you think is going to fix it faster if you need service?
Want one that's going to hold up over time, look for a fabricated deck, not a stamped metal deck.
I have ran into a tree stump going wide open on my Ferris and it came to a dead stop and all it did was scratch the paint, no damage to the deck.
My old John Deere with a stamped metal deck would have folded in half.
 
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Old 07-22-18, 12:50 PM
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I like the idea of buying any mower at a servicing dealer, not a box store
Be aware the machines at big box stores are cheaper versions of the ones from dealers.

I guess the manufactures are trying to sell more but people are disappointed to find features/quality missing on them!
 
  #13  
Old 07-22-18, 02:01 PM
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As a Real Estate Broker for the past few decades, I would take a few days and introduce myself to a couple of my future Neighbors . . . . especially the ones who have well maintained lawns.

Besides for benefitting from that introduction, ask them what kind of equipment they're using and maybe, if you're forward enough, ask them if you could mow a portion of their lawn. If you can, try out a couple of different varieties that have been mentioned here.

If you meet one of these people who you really can mesh with, and who owns a mower like what you might consider taking the plunge and buying, then I'd offer to pay them $25.00 wear and tear plus a full tank of gas to use it to mow your new lawn once after you move in and before you buy one of your own.

That's not a technique many people would be comfortable with; but for the more gregarious, it's a good way to meet Neighbors and you may gather some additional insights regarding mowing in your area. I know some people who've lived in a place 20 years and NEVER exchanged words, greetings, or even nods with their Neighbors . . . . don't let that happen to you.

Personally, I never loan tools to anyone . . . . nor would I share my Wife; but you may look like a trustworthy person, and this could work for you. Just a suggestion worth exactly what you're paying for it.
 
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Old 07-22-18, 02:38 PM
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I'll add to my previous post since others commented on riders.

I have an '05 or '06 John Deere 120 or 125. Its been a great mower. The only thing I've done with it is basic maintenance, like Oil, filters, blades, batteries etc. Otherwise there's not a new part on it that I can recall. Its a 42" deck & I used it on a 1/4 acre lot in a subdivision before we moved out here on 5 acres last August. Its still going & still a great mower.

I also have a 46" Husqvarna that I got at an estate sale in 2015. Its probably about 10 years old or so. Its got the single cylinder Kohler Command on it. While its a good mower, I prefer the John Deere but at 4" difference in cutting, I had been using the Husqvarna out here before we got the zero turn. Eventually, my wife got out of the house (from moving, cleaning & updates etc) to help mow & I took the JD. Its just a better mower & more comfortable to sit on & ride.

I had a Murray rider before the John Deere & while its an ok mower for the money the deck lasted about 4 or 5 years. That's when I just bit the bullet & got the JD. After 12 or 13 years... I dont have any regrets about buying the JD for about $1500 new in 2005/06.

Again, good luck
 
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Old 07-23-18, 10:49 AM
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Funny you mentioned the Murray brand, Dixie.
I have a customer that has a 3 acre lawn that I'd been mowing for years.
His wife went to WalMart and bought him a 42" Murray Z Turn thinking they would "save" money by doing it there self.
What a piece of poop, it's broken down 3 times, tires will not hold air, the Hydro belt will not stay on, it shuts off every time you backup unless you push a button like on the new riders.
It also takes him over an hour longer to cut the yard because the decks so small.
 
  #16  
Old 07-23-18, 12:08 PM
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OK, so here's my two pennies.
I have acre to mow rental and 4.5 acre to mow property I live at right now.
I still have 2005 Craftsman 42 inch, can't kill it, that did that acre in less than an hour. I see no need to go any bigger and they are a plenty for several hundred bucks on craigslist. My renter just bought a similar John Deer for $250, was very proud of it.
For that little mowing, no need for ZTR.

Here's big decision you want to do. Will you mow or mulch? If you will mow only, you will end with grass swaths that rather looks unsightly as , spring time, it does not manage to decompose before the next mow. Then, you mow them PLUS fresh grass. Personally, I try to switch to mulching asap, so my mower has hybrid deck, suitable for both mowing and mulching.
BUT!!! That comes with narrow discharge chute in the deck that chokes on juicy fresh spring grass clippings. I already enlarged it twice on my ZTR and had to re vamp chute cover, but it's still not wide enough and has a nook in the deck that keeps collecting clippings, building them up inside.
That in mind, if you want to mow only, find mower that has chute across entire deck side, so that there will be very little resistance to clippings exit. Toro makes decks like this. Can't mulch with them though.
Otherwise, you may consider getting clippings collection attachments. They do cost about as much as mower itself and, good luck with fresh clippings NOT clogging inside the discharge tube.
 
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Old 07-24-18, 09:35 PM
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"Be aware the machines at big box stores are cheaper versions of the ones from dealers."

Not exactly true. Big box stores may have a special version, that only they carry, however if you buy an E130 from HD, it is exactly the same machine as an E130 from a JD dealer.

Also, the local JD dealers are the ones that assemble the units for the HD/Lowes stores.
 

Last edited by yardnut; 07-24-18 at 10:05 PM.
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Old 07-25-18, 04:18 AM
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I don't know about mowers at a big box but often an item will appear the same and have the same product number except there will be a letter added at the end of the number or some other slight variation. At first glance it will appear to be the exact same product when it's really a cheaper version.
 
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Old 07-25-18, 04:32 AM
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If part number is the same then the machine is the same, but if one number, or letter is off or added, it's not the same. However, it's not uncommon for manufacturers and stores to get together and market the exact same item with a separate part number for that store only. This is to avoid price matching. I see it all the time from customers asking me if we can price match an item they see in a big box store. We all know it's the same product but the numbers are different. I hate that gimmick. There should be a law against it.
 
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Old 07-25-18, 05:39 AM
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Wow, 18 posts and the person who asked the question has never returned.
 
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Old 07-25-18, 05:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Pilot Dane
Wow, 18 posts and the person who asked the question has never returned
Oatmeal's Profile says he was last on-line 7/23/18 at 11:12 AM . . . . but we have no evidence of what threads he may have looked at.
 
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Old 07-25-18, 07:51 AM
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Without getting into every specific minute detail just be aware that big box store mowers are different!

Construction, engines, etc are not the same as ones sold at the dealers!

https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/...aler/index.htm
 
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Old 07-25-18, 03:34 PM
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That is why you need to be aware of the model numbers. The same model - will always be the exact same machine. Big Box stores sometimes contract for "special" versions that are only available at their stores. But those models will not be the same as what is available at JD stores - the model numbers are UNIQUE to the big box stores. And the CR article simply confirms that.
 
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Old 09-07-18, 06:08 AM
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Hello guys, sorry haven't been on here lately, when I posted this we was in the process of getting ready to move, in which the way I work it is hard to just up and move everything, it took us about a month to get moved, hard to do, thought we had this all covered but didnt work out the way we wanted it too.........ran into a lot of problems was the delay of moving in.....so we are now living here, and have allowed to get behind on the mowing part, still no riding mower on site, just been cutting what areas we are using for now using a push mower...

We have a few ends to tie up and the old place, hoping to get this all done this weekend, have a buyer interested in the old place, if it sales, then I will take some of that and pay it toward a riding mower, that's the plan anyways....still looking at mowers as I can, hard to do with everything going on here, it's not just the moving thing been going on, had couple crooks coming in on the property as well....

But anyway, that's what's been going on here, but we are moved in and really like it here, still need to get a mower so we can enjoy getting out in the yard, I'm sure you all can relate to all this in someway or another...

There is a Cub Cadet, and JD dealer close to me, that I have seen, and couple places sells used riding mowers too, planning on buying a mower local, for the reason if needing something won't have to run all over the place looking for it.........sorry guys for not been here or replying to the post...

We are on a budget like most are I guess, not looking to break the bank with a mower but like to have something that will last awhile, not be a problem, we do read the reviews, ect on mowers, read one of a JD mower, the guy says his belts kept coming off his, not sure what the problem was...lets see,

We have about a acre of grass to keep cut, all is flat,....but anyways, we are now looking into buying a riding mower, don't really no what to look for in one that's why I ask my question here.....
 
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Old 09-07-18, 09:44 AM
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That is why you need to be aware of the model numbers. The same model - will always be the exact same machine.
Nobody is questioning that statement!

What I am saying is that the general public does not look at the model numbers!

They see a green machine and say, WOW, this one is $XXXX cheaper than the green one at the distributor and doesn't realize that he is buying a cheaper version!
 
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Old 09-07-18, 10:59 AM
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That's the difference from a educated consumer and stupid people. If two items appear to be the same but the price is vastly different then why would you not question it.
Can't blame stores or mfg for people not being smart.
 
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Old 09-29-18, 09:23 PM
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Hello guys, it has been a battle here since my last post, computer crashed, and have all our stuff here and been going through it, ect.....

Some good news tho, we sold our mobile home we had and took some of that $$ and bought us a riding mower, went to a local dealer here in town just so if needed something done to it wouldn't have far to take it, went with a Cub Cadet LX2, think it is, has a 22hp engine on it, 42" cut, little more than I expected to spend on it, but we got something to cut this high grass, by the time we did this the grass was close to 18"-24" high, took couple hours to cut most of the grass, took couple hours to cut, been our 1st time using a riding mower....we've had it about 2 weeks now or so, and after using it we do clean the under deck out each time using a water hose....
 
  #28  
Old 09-30-18, 08:32 AM
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Okeedokee, i'll join the fray.

I've owned 4 farms. I had a 55hp tractor for haying and other stuff, but had 1-5 acres of lawn to cut where i didn't use the tractor. My first was a walk behind, that took forever but was good exercise. My second was a Cub Cadet. My former wife still has that and it's 18 years old. The deck needs work, but it's a great little machine. My third was a Toro ztr, and i loved that. 22.5 hp @ $2500. A riding lawnmower goes about 3.5mph, and ztr about 7mph, It's definitely the fastest.
 
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