How to choose a rider mower?

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  #1  
Old 05-30-10, 09:14 AM
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Question How to choose a rider mower?

I have a bad back and can no longer mow my .67 acre yard with a push mower and would like guidance in terms of selecting the right size/type of rider mower for my yard. I'm also looking for value.

The yard is relatively flat, with some gently sloping areas. Front yard makes up approx. 1/2 space, with 4 large fir trees that drop considerable needles and pine cones, without much grass growing underneath them.

Also have 6 deciduous trees (mostly maples) throughout the yard, some with shallow roots.

Would like to mulch during growing season and then bag at end of season. Driveway is appox. 2,400 s.f., with a slope (< 30 degrees?) at top and sits in shade during winter, so am also considering plow attachment? BTW, we're close to the shore, so our winter snowfalls tend to be in the 3 to 6 inch range and can be heavy snow. When we do get hit with higher amounts, the snow tends to be light and powdery.

How much HP do I really need? What is an optimal deck size? Don't think zero turn mower is worth the price, at least on my budget. Any makes to definitely rule in or out?
 
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Old 05-30-10, 09:25 AM
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It's pretty much a loaded question...Ford or Chevy....?

Other than having an option for a plow, I think you would do well with a bit smaller rider like a Rear engine 30" deck or such. You could actually get a bit more quality mower for the same price range.
Anything up to 42" deck should work and would also give you the option for a blade or blower attachment.

Might be a good idea to go shopping, sit on some, ask questions, see what colors you like then do some specific research or ask specific questions about any you might be considering.
 
  #3  
Old 05-30-10, 01:23 PM
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I have a similar size property and I first used a 30" mower, then a 42", and now a 48" and I definitely don't want to go backwards in size. The 48" takes my cutting time down considerably in comparison to the old 30". For a plow attachment, you are looking to go to a whole new class and instead of a lawn mower, you're gonna need a garden tractor.

If you need bang for the buck on a riding mower, I suggest AYP products (Husquvarna, Craftsman, Poulan, etc...). They seem to be the best value as far as dependability, longevity, and usability for the dollar in my opinion. If you want top quality, I lean towards Deere, but only the top models like the GT series (great for your plow idea too), or the X series (residential mower that is top notch, probably the best lawn mower currently on the market in my opinion and according to many consumer type reports). The lesser deeres aren't bad either, some are pretty nice but some are no better than a sears.

Last but not least, I would not spend my money on any MTD product even at half price except maybe one of the higher end cub cadets. Troy Bilt and Bolens are the mowers I dislike the most. Very poor quality and design IMO, and the parts are expensive to be so cheaply made.

These are my opinions based on 20 years or so of working on lawnmowers, and 12 years and counting of owning a small engine repair service, so for whatever it's worth...
 
  #4  
Old 05-30-10, 02:17 PM
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Go to the dealer or store that you might want to buy from. Tell them what you want to do and size of the yard. You probaly want to be in the 18hp range minimum. A 42" deck should be big enough. Bigger decks take up more room. With a 30* slope, I would definately get 1 with a "pressure lube" engine. These have an oil filter on them. Plowing up that slope you need to have the oil being circulted rather than "splashed".
 
  #5  
Old 05-30-10, 03:01 PM
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Thanks for all of your input.

I went with a Craftsman 19.5 hp, 42" deck which was originally listed at $1,375 on sale this weekend for $1,049.

I figure that the hp is enough for this yard and the driveway. 42" deck should be enough for me to get the yard done in reasonable time; with my budget can't justify jacking up hp and deck size for saving maybe a half an hour's time. Kind of like buying a cell phone with all of the bells and whistles that one never uses; what matters most to me is the quality of the machine and the basic configuration to get the job done.

Bought the mulching unit and bagger (on sale for more than 25% off). Will buy the plow blade later as $ allows.

Can't tell right now if this has a power lube system.

Again, thanks for all your help.
 

Last edited by Audrey_M; 05-30-10 at 03:03 PM. Reason: typos
  #6  
Old 05-30-10, 03:48 PM
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Should be a decent tool for ya.
It does have a pressure lube system, and personally for reliability, I think the single cylinders are a bit more durable.
 
  #7  
Old 05-31-10, 06:37 AM
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Audry, when you go to buy the plow, also think about buying wheel weights and a must buy 2 link tire chains.
 
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