View Full Version : 32" & 36" Toro Walk Behinds

06-19-2001, 09:01 PM
I need some advice from all of you regarding the purchase of a mid-size walk-behind. I currently run my business on a part-time basis. To increase the amount of work I have or reduce my current mowing times, I am considering purchasing a mid-size walk-behind. Here are my questions for you:
1) Most of my customers have narrow gates leading to the back-yard. I quite sure that a 32" mower will fit but I'm not so certain about a 36". Therefore, I might get caught in a situation where I'd be using a 21" in the back. So, is it really worth it to get a larger mower. Will the time savings be that great?
2) Is the fixed deck or floating deck better?
3) Should I buy used or new? The new ones are a huge investment for me but it's hard to find good used 32" or 36" machines, especially Toros which are my favourite.
4) Do any of you have experience with Toro's new 32" or 36" fixed decks or the 32" recycler floating decks?

Thanks for your help. Have a great day.

06-19-2001, 09:22 PM
i bought a 32 in cutter about 3 weeks ago, it fits thru every gate i have. threw the 21" right off the trailer, cut my time way down. i dont have any toros, the 32 is an exmark, i got it for $500, very good investment .

06-19-2001, 10:42 PM
I'm from Toronto as well. For our props I wouldn't recommend a 32 because their is no hydro floater avail.. YOU NEED HYDRO FLOATER if you're using a big WB on most Toronto props.. I recommend 21 LB comm to start, you can side blow anything with a LB. and they're fast on small res.. If you have the $$ go with a 36 hydro floater Exmark (W.E. Enterprises) or Toro (Kooy Bros.) I prefer the Exmark, smaller footprint, better cut, better control,(ECS vs. T Bar).
Not sure what part of Toronto you're in but this is true for most of the props in my area.
At Kooy Bros they have a 33 Stealth, at W.E. they have a 33 Troy-bilt. Don't get suckered into buying either of these pieces of junk just 'cause they're cheaper than the Toro or Exmark.

06-19-2001, 10:52 PM
Be careful when looking at 32" mowers. Some do not have power turn capability, which means you have to manually push it to make it turn and that can be more work than doing the whole yard with a 21"

06-19-2001, 10:53 PM
Be careful when looking at 32" mowers. Some do not have power turn capability, which means you have to manually push it to make it turn and that could be as hard as doing the whole yard with a 21"

06-19-2001, 11:05 PM

Power Turn? Just squeeze the levers and it'll turn on a dime! You must be thinking of the homeowner versions of mowers like a Yazoo or a Troybuilt. We are talking about commercial mowers. Most 32" are built exactly like a 36" which is the same as a 48, etc. Many use the same parts with the deck being the only difference.

06-19-2001, 11:31 PM
I bought a Toro 32" , fixed deck, belt-drive wb this spring. I had a 36", but I had too many yards with 36" gates that the 36" would not go through. I get a nice cut with the fixed deck. It is fast, and I think it is about as productive as my old 36". I opted for the 12.5hp Kawi. engine. I really like this machine.:blob3:

06-20-2001, 12:02 AM
To answer your question, IMO a fixed deck is perfectly acceptable in deck sizes under 48". As far as small gates, yes they're a PITA but over time you can minimize the problem by weeding out "little-gate" lawns from your list. Finally, GOOD used stuff is available, you just have to be willing to look.

David Gretzmier
06-20-2001, 12:17 AM
I have had a hydro floater 36 for 5 years now. rebuilt both pumps and kohler 14 is still going. VERY nice cut, built like a tank. fits through 90% gates. problem is usually not gate width, it is usually whether gate will open fully, or if posts are crooked. had an exmark belt fixed 32, would cut anything as well, but hated belts and pull starting. still love my toro. used ones are around for cheap if you look. new carrier frames take the engine and pumps and make like a new rig for less than a grand. dave g

06-20-2001, 01:05 AM
You're in Southern On.. Are you doing Toronto city lots or are you in the outskirts? I've used a fixed 32 & 36 on these props and it doesn't work. Late June, July & Aug a fixed deck may work when cutting higher. Much better off with a floater, and a 32 belt fixed can't outrun a LB on city lots.
You'd be "weeding" out alot of props if you did't do anything with small gates.

06-20-2001, 02:15 AM
I would definatly go with the 32, that will go through any gate that is sold, unless its something they made themselves. The only reason i would consider a 36 is if you are buying a hydro, as they dont make a 32 hydro, just belt drive.

06-20-2001, 03:25 AM
hey do what I did if you can

take the fence apart or make it wider I got tired of mowing with the 36" we do almost all of are fenced in yard with a 52 or 60

if that doesn't work check out the Great dane with the flip up deck 52" to 36"


make sure you buy the right mower for the job or YOU WILL HATE THIS JOB IN THE END

06-20-2001, 08:01 AM
Thanks for your advice. It's great to get if from someone working in my own area. In response to your question, all of my properties are in Etobicoke and Mississauga. I, like you, also thought about going with a hydro 36" but what $ figure am I looking at? At present, I think I'd only be willing to go with the 32" or 36" Toro? One question, why exactly is the floating deck a necessity in our area? I see lots of people using the fixed deck? Let me know. Thanks for your advice.

06-20-2001, 10:19 AM
I absolutely love my 36" Exmark Hydro, which I've had for a year, but if I had to do it all over again I believe I would've invested in a 32" instead. Like yourself, I have too many 34-36" gates in my area where I have to use the 21". More and more, I use the 21" on my properties, both front and back, just to avoid switching machines in mid-mow. Using the 21" is quicker than switching, if things aren't wildly overgrown.

Right now, with the mini-drought we're in, I only use my 36" on about 10 of 50 properties. With things growing slowly, and so many narrow gates, it just takes me too much time to pull it off the trailer in mid-service.

If I'd gotten a 32" a year ago, it'd probably get 3x the use of the 36" right now, if not more.

Naturally, situations are different everywhere. Good luck!


06-20-2001, 10:21 AM
I paid $7900 for my Toro 36 hydro floater and over 8K for the Exmark 36 TTHP with bag & mulch kit.
We use a Toro fixed once the growing season is over & we bump up the height. During growing season you have to cut res props short or they look like crap two days later, can't do that with a fixed. If you're doing the kind of props I think you are, that 32 belt Toro, will not save you time over a LB comm. Too many reverse maneuvers and tight squeezes.
I prefer the 36 Exmark over the Toro unless the turf is real thick and wet, then the Toro SFS deck performs better.
Get 4 LB's for the price of a 32 belt Toro, you'd be better off.

06-20-2001, 10:33 AM
Definition question: What is an LB?


06-20-2001, 05:13 PM
LB-LawnBoy Commercial. They're gold around here because only 21 comm with a designated discharge chute. We can side blow in growing season, saves big time over Toro or Honda which can pretty much only bag & mulch.

06-20-2001, 06:44 PM

Thanks for the reply, and the explanation as to why the LB is preferred. The first thing I thought it meant was Lawn Boy but I couldn't figure out why that would be preferred over the Toro 21" that I have. It's the perfect little mower for me because I mulch everything. For discharging, however, I doubt it's much effective... :)


06-20-2001, 09:05 PM
Thanks for your honesty and advice. After seeing the prices you paid for the 36" hydro floating decks from Toro and Exmark, I know that is definitely out of my price range. So, for now, it looks like I'm going to stick with my Toro 21" commercial and my John Deere 21" commericial. Both are great machines. I think they are superior to Lawn Boy even though you'll disagree. It would be neat to have the wide area mower though. I still think it would save some time. Do you know where I might be able to find a cheap one? Thanks again

bubble boy
06-20-2001, 09:19 PM
joed: i'm a big toro fan, with LB don't bother with the self propelled youll bust cables and wheels weekly. But if your willing to push the regular commercial LB cuts awesome and will last forever.(i hate pushing)

Check if your dealers have lease to own or financing plans. If cash flow is tight often you can spread payments over the cutting season

if cash flow is really tight finance over 24, 36 months, take the interest hit.

06-20-2001, 10:23 PM
Bubbleboy, Joed,
You're both from Toronto. I'm real curious how you deal with the heavy spring growth using a Toro & J.D. 21. When I tried the Toro, I ended up having to bag, with the L.B. we can sideblow everything. Saves alot of time.
Bubbleboy, I can get half a season hard work out of the cables and 2 years out of the wheels. Just oil the cables & grease the wheels frequently. Both are cheap to replace.

06-20-2001, 10:45 PM
Joed: I think it was you (or Hobbes) who wanted to know where we are located...Burlington/Oakville.

LB comms are great, but they will not outperform a 36" WB. Heavy spring growth? How about heavy year-round growth? That's what we've seen the past couple seasons. We don't bag. We don't mulch. We side discharge. When the lawn is high n' thick we double-cut. We started the season at 2 1/4", now we're at 2 3/4".

We almost always use the largest deck size possible on each yard. If you're after a reasonably priced used WB then e-mail me.

BTW, there's nothing wrong with fixed-decks other than having to do more to adjust the cutting height. A skilled and experienced operator can avoid scalping almost any type lawn with a fixed deck. Problems can arise on exceptionally uneven landscapes if the deck size is over 48".

06-20-2001, 11:02 PM
You must have bigger gates in Oakville. If the 36 could make it into our backyards, it would outperform the LB. Most Toronto lots-small front lawns, large gated back lawns. Cut with a fixed at 2 1/4, mabe 10 percent you could. You're right about the growth. Last year spring went into late Aug.
Please don't tell me to use a 32.

06-22-2001, 11:42 PM

In response to your question about how the Toro and JD 21" machines fare in heavy growth, the answer is quite good. When the grass is really thick, as it has been the last month, the JD actually acts as a better mulcher than Toro. I think it's because of the Kawaski engine and thick deck. When conditions are normal, Toro seems to do better at mulching. For bagging, Toro wins hands down. I did see the Lawn Boy in action today. I was impressed with the cut and speed at which the machine worked. I guess you were right.

06-22-2001, 11:46 PM

Thanks for your help. I'd be interested in seeing what you have in terms of walkbehinds. When I went to your website, however, I could only get the text of your first page. Help!

06-22-2001, 11:58 PM
You can mulch wet spring growth with the JD?? How many times do you have to cut? Don't you end up having to bag alot with those mulching mowers? The LB with a side bag plugs less than rear bagging Toros, if you have to bag.

06-23-2001, 08:29 PM

In response to your question, the J.D. 21" can be used for mulching purposes in heavy wet grass. Usually, you need to make a 2nd pass to eliminate some clumps of grass that are left but it's still a little quicker than bagging. That's the lone drawback of the J.D. It's bag is too small and requires frequent dumping in the spring and fall. On the other hand, that's the Toro 21's strength. Its bag is huge and holds about double the load of the J.D's. When it gets full, it does tend to plug up. However, I recall the same thing happening on a Lawn Boy residential mower I used to own. Last, when the grass is thick, I do have to bag quite often since I find it to be quicker. However, with the Toro, it's not bad. Hope this helps. Oh yes, yesterday, I watched a guy with a LB commericial cut in a side discharge mode. I was pretty impressed with the speed of the cut and the lack of clumps left.

Eric ELM
06-23-2001, 08:40 PM
My JD 21" does pretty good in wet grass when mulching. I do have a bagger, but I don't bag unless it is very heavy leaves and it is a very small lawn, like my own. We mostly use it around swimming pool areas where we can't get the 60" mowers in. We only use it one day a week.

06-23-2001, 10:00 PM
I don't want to keep harping on the LB. but we're both doing the same props. & I think I can save you some time. You'll find if you use the side bag instead of the rear bag on a LB(you can get both) it will plug much less than the Toro. If you take off the bar under the discharge chute on the LB you can side blow almost anything-NO MORE BAGGING. Having said that I've never tried the J.D..