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all ferris
02-06-2006, 08:04 PM
do a full comparison test of ZTR's and walkbehinds. It seems like there are about 10 threads a weeks submitted be people who want to know what mower is the best. If there was a full comparison test done there would be an educated answer instead of everyone on here just saying that the current mower they have is the best.
I know Turf mag does field testing on equipment but there is nothing to compare the single test mower to. I really think we might need a mag called "Mower Trend" where they group mowers together, such as 60"-61" ztr's with 25-28 hp, and do comprehensive testing/rating in many different categories/conditions (just as they do with suv's in motor trend).
I would be more than happy to help do this testing but I may be somewhat biased. This will require the cooperation of many manufactures and I think for that to happen someone other than the average "lawn boy" will have to do the testing (maybe turf mag, lawn and landscape, consumer reports???)
What do you all think?? How can this testing/comparing be accomplished?

JKOOPERS
02-06-2006, 08:11 PM
sounds good!! one way get lcos/ dealers together that all have different equipment , and do these tests with Lawnsite members there judging on the different aspects of the test . there would be a need of a few good acres though, presenting all the challenges and obstacles.

Richard Martin
02-06-2006, 08:37 PM
It's virtually impossible to accomplish and it has nothing to do with manufacturers not wanting to. There really are too many variables involved in day to day cutting to do it, even within a specific geographical area. Some of the variables are:

1. Grass wet or dry and the degree to which they are either.
2. Grass height.
3. Cutting height.
4. Grass type.
5. Weeds like crabgrass and dandelion?
6. Engine options and power.
7. Mower speed when cutting grass.

There are many other variables but you get the idea. Now multiply those variables in any combination you want by the ridiculously high number of mowers in virtually every configuration you can imagine and you would have a lifetime of testing for a platoon of testers.

There is no best mower, pure and simple.

luckylawnboy
02-06-2006, 08:45 PM
I have to agree that there is a best mower out there. I think that dealer service is also important. I have ran most mowers and the difference between some is huge. I really think I could put togather a good test squad but lack of support from publishing company is what we are missing. I can tell you that most companys are all getting better every year but its hard to say. If brand x is offerend by your local dealer then that might be a better choice than choosing a better mower that the dealer might be an hour away.

OnMyOwn
02-07-2006, 09:51 AM
I don't believe this will stop the questioning of the newcomers. Until they run the equipment and have a feel for the industry, they will continue to ask questions. I'm not putting down this practice, because I ask questions to improve my knowledge.

I do, however, believe that there are (3) industry classifications: Residential, Commercial and Industrial. Within the (3) classes, I believe the best mower is the one that gets you through the job in good time and provides professional quality enough to satisfy the client. Beyond that...everyone has a comfort level and opinion on which mower is best! I'm not sure there are any right answers, or wrong answers due to the number of factors such as region, grass, slope, layout and operator ability.

Richard Martin
02-07-2006, 10:15 AM
I have to agree that there is a best mower out there. I think that dealer service is also important. I have ran most mowers and the difference between some is huge.

Dixie Chopper alone has 20 different mowers. Some manufacturers have over 40. Take an average of 20 mowers per seller by the 40 or so sellers and you have 800 different mowers. And you say you have run most of them? I really find that hard to believe. I'm not trying to give you a hard time about this, I'm just trying to point out how huge an undertaking testing every mower out there would be.

You can't just pick one mower from every seller and you can't assume that the biggest and baddest mower would be representative of a seller's full line. For example Exmark has a 21" and a 26". From what I've read here on Lawnsite the 21" seems to be a pretty decent machine but the 26" is junk. To rate the mowers you have to do them all, in all conditions, or the rating is meaningless.

MBDiagMan
02-07-2006, 10:34 AM
This indeed would be a great chart to have in that it would offer some facts instead of the comments on this and other sites of which 80% are based on emotion and what the poster runs himself. Making decisions based upon fact would be much better than doing so based on emotion and brand loyalty.

As pointed out in this thread, however, it would be VERY difficult to accomplish in an unbiased way. The reason that I say this is that whoever is doing the testing would have to get loaner models from the manufacturers who would be pressuring the testers to favor their products.

To do away with this bias it would take LOTS of money to go buy these units and test them independently and fairly. Even then, you would need multiple testers to weigh in on each unit. Who is going to pay these people?

It's a great dream, but I don't see how it could happen unless there was enough of a market for an industry magazine and enough advertising dollars to support it.

Are there any Green Industry magazines? I have never looked for one or had subscriptions offered like other trade journals.

Have a great day,
Doc

Rev. Crabgrass
02-07-2006, 10:51 AM
I agree that there is no BEST mower. There are just too many different conditions, but I think a side by side comparison would make for a great article. If you could do it at once in the same area (same conditions) you may be able to see what works best given the conditions. Brand loyalty plays a big role in someone's opinion of what the best mower is. I don't think there could ever be one mower picked where everyone would agree that it is the best.

REV.

jtkplc
02-07-2006, 11:54 AM
I personally think that the operator plays a role in which mower has the potential to be the "best". One thing I learned from the beginning of being on this site is that just because there is someone that has a business and is a "professional" doesn't mean his abilities on a mower are the best out there. I think skilled operators can make a "good" machine a "great" one.

Another thing, there needs to be a clear definition of "best". What does best mean? Most powerful? Best cut quality? Most comfortable? Most profitable? Most efficient? I think that everyone has a slightly different definition of what best is and it would be impossible to find a winner.

MBDiagMan
02-07-2006, 01:12 PM
jtkplc is right in that there are MANY categories to grade. I have pointed this out MANY times in car debates. People say this is the "best" car. Okay how is it the best? Does it last longer, get better fuel mileage, go faster, drive more comfortably, and on and on and on.

In a good comparison, ratings would have to be given in the categories that jt points out and probably some more that he didn't think of or bother listing. It would also have to be done by a diverse panel of testers with a description of each panel members experience and what they are looking for in a mower.

Have a great day,
Doc