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View Full Version : Pros and Cons of ZTR's


Poor College Kid Mowing
07-13-2007, 03:03 PM
Hey, I know you guys prefer professionals, but I run a little deal of some us college kids that mow to help pay for school. I plan on running this for many years and building it up since it has worked well for me. My question is I'm we're looking at getting a ZTR and I was wondering what some of the pros and cons are of the units out there. Most brands are available in my area and I'm just wondering what things are good to look for and what items don't seem to work so well. (i.e. areas brands excell at and areas they need a lot of help). Thanks Guys apperciate the advice.

Willofalltrades
07-13-2007, 03:39 PM
I went from a 48" walk behind to a 60" Cub Tank... Doubled my productivity on every yard. I suggest getting a ZTR.

Mr Priceless
07-13-2007, 03:51 PM
Well, I'm not too big on detailed comparisions/pros/cons of ZTRS, but in a nutshell:

Brands to Look For:
Exmark
Scag
Ferris
Toro
Everride
Hustler
John Deere
Gravely
Walker
Great Dane
(I'm sure I'm forgetting a few other exceptional Brand Names)

If you mow postage stamp-sized to 1/2 acre lots for the majority, get a compact ZTR (48" and below) with short wheel base. If the majority of your yards are above 1/2 acreage, go for options with 52" decks and wider.

Hmm...there are a LOT of factors to consider when you're purchasing a ztr...
like how much power you're looking for, gasoline efficiency, cut quality, dependability, price of replacement parts on said brand name, ease of maintenence, price, etc, etc.

Just take all things into consideration, do a seach on all brand names mentioned in this thread and other posts around the site to form a conclusion as to what you want to look for when you purchase that ztr.

Just a few people you might want to discuss with on this is Envy, Restrob, Puppypaws, and a few others with technical knowledge on this subject.

Mr Priceless
07-13-2007, 03:53 PM
...oh, and of course whatever you will get the best Dealer service/support on when you buy that brand. Make sure your dealer keeps parts stocked on the brand you buy.

Quiky One
07-13-2007, 05:07 PM
I run a Hustler Fastrak and love it. I have the Honda powered version and it never bogs down cutting well manicured lawns. I have never cut 10" tall with it yet though. I recommend going to the different dealers and looking at them all. The more you look at, the better idea you will get of quality and options you will like/need.

lawnprosteveo
07-14-2007, 12:53 AM
If trailer space is an issue...a "stander" style ztr is nice.. Also they are great on hills and on small qtr acre yards.

MTR999
07-14-2007, 03:15 AM
48", 52" and 60" are the most popular deck if you want Z. They knock down lawns like no sweat, try doing those with wb and you will see the HUGE diff.

topsites
07-14-2007, 03:49 AM
Pros:
- They're a lot of fun to ride and they do knock down acreage in short order.
- Tall grass is no problem, most have on-the-fly deck height adjustment.
- Considerably less maintenance than a Wb, the intervals are spaced further apart, sealed bearings, etc...
- Tons of power, enough to move (tow or pull) cars.
- Great straight-line speed.
- 10-12 gallon fuel tanks ensure you mow all day without refueling.
- Great status symbol, looks nice sitting around doing nothing, which is what it does most of the time.

The cons:
- You NEED acre+ lots to justify the purchase!!! READ: BIG LOTS, a lot of them!
> If you do not have a good dozen acre+ lots on the schedule, your finances will suffer!
- They eat a ton of fuel (2 gallons / hour) and cost at least 2x more / hour than a Wb, loaded on the trailer they eat truck mpg as well.
> Are ineffective, cost-wise, on lots smaller than an acre.
- They're too heavy to push by yourself, if you get stuck, you're ...'d
- Parts are expensive, one rear tire for mine is $80 + labor.
- If you 'touch' something with it, it's damaged (whatever it is, whether it's the side of a house or a a/c unit, you touch it = you fix it).
- Can't be taken on really steep hills, if it flips, you die.
- They're no good in the turns, small lots eat up time turning the machine.

Why don't you consider a Toro 44" Wb with a velke?
Lots cheaper, same amount of work.

cgaengineer
07-14-2007, 12:23 PM
Cons:
-Weight 1200 pounds or more
-Fuel consumption
-I have never used a ZTR but I can promise I can get closer to houses and in tighter spaces with my walk-behind...and at 40" I can fit through most gates.
-Bagging system is very expensive.
-Some tend to be underpowered for the size of the machine and the weight they have to carry.
-Hard to pickup garbage or rocks...have to get off machine.

Pros:
Large areas can be cut fast
No walking



My neighbor (Part time lawn care) does some lawn service and he uses a 60" Toro ZTR and I am yet to be impressed with the cut it makes...he also has customers that tell him they don't want that heavy machine on his lawn. He has a lot of smaller properties and I really don't see why he purchased it other then he doesn't feel like walking. He also has a few houses that his unit will not fit through gates. My neighbor also had to go out and buy a medium sized mower so that he could get through gates and use on lawns in which customer didnt want a ZTR on. So essentually I can do the same amout of work at a better quality and I have one 40" WB, a 26" WB, and a 21" WB. I also do not have the large payments on equipment as he does.

I got laughed at because I spent $5800 on my Toro walk behind because I could have gotten a ZTR for less...and now that I have learned how to cut with it I cannot say anything bad about the cut...in fact my neighbor and my father said it makes the lawn look the best it has all year.

People ask me why would you walk if you didn't have too...one reason is that I am young (33) I have a bit of a gut and I need to get rid of it. Would I want to walk all day everyday...probably not...for those days I have my Velke Sulky.

My deciding factor on ZTR/Walk-Behind was quality of cut and ease of maneuverability.

SimonCX
07-14-2007, 03:51 PM
The cons:
- You NEED acre+ lots to justify the purchase!!! READ: BIG LOTS, a lot of them!

Not true I take my 52" on 50X100 lots as long as it fit through a gate it goes in.

> If you do not have a good dozen acre+ lots on the schedule, your finances will suffer!

Also not true one 4 acre jobs will make enough to pay the payments.

- They eat a ton of fuel (2 gallons / hour) and cost at least 2x more / hour than a Wb, loaded on the trailer they eat truck mpg as well.

Maybe the truck will suffer if your using an s-10 or ranger, a full size truck won't feel the difference


> Are ineffective, cost-wise, on lots smaller than an acre.

Definitly not true.


- Parts are expensive, one rear tire for mine is $80 + labor.

Parts for a hydro wb are about the same.

- If you 'touch' something with it, it's damaged (whatever it is, whether it's the side of a house or a a/c unit, you touch it = you fix it).

So don't hit a/c units, if you know how to use it you don't have to worry about it.



- They're no good in the turns, small lots eat up time turning the machine.

Also not true



Why don't you consider a Toro 44" Wb with a velke?
Lots cheaper, same amount of work.[/QUOTE]


Have you ever used a rider, because it sounds like you haven't. A toro 48" rider will get jobs done faster then a 48' wb anyday. It's faster in almost anything and you don't get as beat up. I thought the same way when I started now I use my riders on about 80% of my properties and about 30% more work can be done in a day. Personally I don't know how some guys only use wb's, maybe if you only have tiny lots. If a 48" will fit then almost 100% of time a 48" or 52" rider will fit and get the job done as fast or faster.

MTR999
07-15-2007, 04:12 AM
Why people who only use wb trying to justify using wb as primary for living? In Florida, there is no way a company with exclusive use of wb can make any profit and we have never seen one. BTW, the Z outsell wb 10-1 ratio. It is all hogwash to say z can't do small lot, it does and does so well, it takes a few cut of practice. There might be a few people in USA who is master of wb and can claim they can outrun any Z, again, that are the old days when z is not that advanced like present line up. It is essential machine of living, no choice.

tjsquickcuts
07-15-2007, 10:37 AM
It really depends on your area. There are plenty of Big and small LCO that exclusively use WB's here in Atlanta. There are a lot of neighborhoods that have the homes so close together, that there isnt enough space to get a Z through without cutting some of the other lawn or mowing into the landscape area and taking out a few shrubs. Also, grass like Bermuda, and Zoysia which are in my area cant be cut at high rates of speeds with a Z to avoid having the deck dip with bumps and leave a uneven look. I have actually cut a 1/2 acre property faster then another guy on a Z because he couldn;t get into the tight spots and I could and that saved me time trimming. But if you have multiple properties in one area, or large properties then a Z is ideal. If not, trying to look good, and make life a little easier by riding can be a costly mistake. When I bought my first Z, I was excited, but didnt have many lawns to cut with it. I say a Z is something you grow into, especially is going with 52 or higher deck.

Poor College Kid Mowing
07-16-2007, 01:20 PM
Thanks for the great responses. Sorry I'm new to the whole forum thing and next time I'll do more searches, but I appericate the responses.

supercuts
07-16-2007, 01:40 PM
Cons:
-Weight 1200 pounds or more
-Fuel consumption
-I have never used a ZTR but I can promise I can get closer to houses and in tighter spaces with my walk-behind...and at 40" I can fit through most gates.
-Bagging system is very expensive.
-Some tend to be underpowered for the size of the machine and the weight they have to carry.
-Hard to pickup garbage or rocks...have to get off machine.

Pros:
Large areas can be cut fast
No walking


My deciding factor on ZTR/Walk-Behind was quality of cut and ease of maneuverability.

ZTR all day long, which ever brand has good dealer support in your area. they all have suttle differences. for this guy talking about getting closer, i can get more than close enough to just touch up with a trimmer any TINY spaces missed, ussually in corners, and i can fit mine in very tight places, but not between a 40" gate.

the amount of time saved is tremendous. as far as the fuel, its misleading to say a ZTR uses more. yes, per hour is uses more but far exceeds amount of work a walkbehind can do in the same time. so if it takes twice as long with a WB, then a WB is using two times the amount of fuel used to do the same lawn with a ZTR.

i run bobcats and have been very happy with them, but im more happy with dealer support. a good dealer gets in fixed quick and that is more important than the suttle differences in brands