View Full Version : the best zero turn for my money

Jarred's Lawn Care
11-07-2001, 12:03 AM
I'm try to figure out that is the best machine for dollar. I like long lasting performance and the ability to with stand the extreme wear and tear. What do you guys think? I've heard dixie-exmark-toro=scag, but still unsure let me and it will be greatly appreciated.
Thanks Jarred

11-07-2001, 12:09 AM
Oh boy, are YOU opening up a can of worms, here...
First of all, welcome to Lawnsite, and if you use the search function at the top, you will turn up a whole BUNCH (like hundreds) of posts about this. (You'll find that Exmark wins though!:D )

General Grounds
11-07-2001, 12:12 AM
:blob3: exmark liquid cooled, engine will last a while but with all equip. you have to take care of it, clean that air cleaner and keep that ioil clean. T

11-07-2001, 12:28 AM
eXmark:blob3: eXmark:blob1: eXmark:blob4:

I vote eXmark

11-07-2001, 12:31 AM
65hoss, you don't really like eXmark do you?

Most of the Z's I see on trailers around are eXmarks. Not too many toro's. My vote is eXmark also.

Eric ELM
11-07-2001, 01:25 AM
Why don't you guys tell why you like them best instead of just put down one word and some bouncy bouncy's?

11-07-2001, 01:28 AM
I own a Toro Z master, It is built very heavy and is a super machine. After My last few weeks demoing many diffrent mowers I can honestly say Dixie Chopper Is the best. This previous weekend I, and some other LS members spent at the DC Factory In Indianopolis. We were guided through a 3 hour tour By the owner of the company and had a detailed explanation about every process of the assembly of the machines and why each part is made and put together the way it is. For example, there hydro system is second to none. Not only do they use the highest quality hydro sytem but they prepare it in the factory like no other company. Before the hydros are ever even run ,oil is vacumed throughout the hydros reducing friction during the break in period. Because Most other MFGs do not use this process there hydros have a much shorter life span because of the initial extreme friction do to non lubricated parts. This mower is not only over built but also gives a incredable quality of cut. The owner of this company does not sit in a office all day. This guys has a desk in the middle of the production plant where he spends most of his time experienting with diffrent parts trying to make the machine better every day. At this point I can honestly say I have demoed just about every brand of ZTR out there. None of them have inpressed me the way this mower and the people behind them have. Come spring I will be trading in my toro with less then 300 hours and will have a new Dixie chopper sitting in my garage! :) I have been a diehard fan of my toro and thought it was the best out there....as you can tell, I was thoroughly impressed by these machines!

11-07-2001, 01:57 AM

P&J Lawncare
11-07-2001, 02:01 AM
I would put a hustler super z against any mower out there. I have used most of the top brands and this mower was by far the best of the bunch with exmark being second and scag third as for the dixie chopper I have never been on one so I can't give you a opinion.

Richard Martin
11-07-2001, 04:08 AM
Jarred's Lawn Care wrote:
I'm try to figure out that is the best machine for dollar. I like long lasting performance and the ability to with stand the extreme wear and tear.

If you want a machine that will last you in the long haul then Dixie Chopper should be your choice. There are Choppers out there that are over 20 years old and are still cutting grass.

11-07-2001, 04:53 AM
for the money??? greatdane! nuff said.

11-07-2001, 07:02 AM
Don't make the mistake of buying on price.

If you are going to buy a mower then you have to know how to purchase the best mower for the majority of the lawns you will be cutting.

You might think that they all mow lawns, which one is the best for the money? Its true from the pocketbook standpoint but is it good for YOUR bottom line.

Each mower has its strengths and weaknesses, some are good in thick deep grass, some are fast, some bag with no extra gear, some bag with extra motors, some have deep decks, some have add on attatchments.

You have to look at what is gonna make you money in your market and not buy on price. I am not gonna give you my "favorite" because I really would like just about one of each.

Think about it. Good Luck

11-07-2001, 08:52 AM

Albemarle Lawn
11-07-2001, 08:53 AM
I have seen and driven the ZD21 and it is wonderful and soooper quiet. But I haven't seen $8500.00 as TODD ADDISION says.

I have seen $9600.00 for the ZD21 60" 21HP and somewhat less for the ZD18 54" 18HP.

Tires are tall and VERY wide- stable but also chews up turf aggressively when turning unless operator is VERY VERY careful.

I have (3) Gravely 260Z machines, for the money they have been excellent, but if the Kubota can be had for $8500.00, then it needs serious consideration.


11-07-2001, 08:57 AM
If you want the most "bang for your bucks" get a DC suburb'n turb'n. This machine is the most productive 72" mower on the planet. Mine run at 3750 rpms at full load and have a top ground speed of 15 mph(verified by my gps). Art Evans, president of DC also said this to be true. When I talked to him at the St. Louis bbq he concurred that the "turb'n" was Dixie Choppers most productive unit currently in production.................Lynn

11-07-2001, 09:02 AM
There is a Kubota dealer in Lynchburg who has (had?) a Kubota Z on sale for $8499.00 - If I remember correctly.

I remember thinking that this mower was 3 to 5 thousand less than any other diesel powered mower I've seen.

11-07-2001, 09:35 AM
list of mowers u should look at an evaluate. consider dealer,
what your work calls for, etc
exmark,hustler husquevarna,great dane,bob cat,scag,deere,dixie
mine is a exmark,and i dont believe i could ask for a better machine.whitlys in monroe nc has some good deals on bobcats. he just changed his preference to hustler.ive demod hustlers an got to say i was impressed.good luck to ya.

11-07-2001, 10:22 AM
As mentioned before, what a can of worms! We demoed many different machines and ended up selecting Scag Sabre Tooth Tigers 31hp turbo diesels with 72" mulching decks.
My suggestion is have a demo with all machines present and compare each one side by side. Quality of cut, operatability, and don't forget to look at the accessibility of components for maintance and repairs. Some things to note between machines besides quality of cut and speed are hp and torque when mulching, single piece frame construction or two piece frame bolted together under operator, mule drive PTO belts or PTO shaft to mowing deck(shafts transmit more hp to deck), and traction on hillsides. One brand, took one of are operators for quite a ride during a demo, not to mention names, but it was one of the brands you mentioned and is well like by this site. All units were tried on the same hill by the same operator.
Best of luck to your company in chosing the unit right for you.

11-07-2001, 10:28 AM
To elaborate on my previous post on this subject. I just got started this season and was fortunate enough to know a guy who is a regional rep (not sure what his EXACT title is) for Hustler. He steered me toward the Hustler Shortcut 1500 for a starter mower. I have been very pleased with it. It is a very versatile mower. If you are only going to own one mower (which is usually the case for beginners like myself) then I highly recommend it. My reason for saying this is because of your options on the decks, the bagging system, and the edger attachment. I purchased the model with the 25hp Kohler, 48" Uppercut deck, and the Bac-Vac which is my weapon of choice for most applications. The Upper cut deck gives you the ability to bag or mulch and can be used for Fall cleanup just by installing some more blower blades in the Uppercut chamber (an easy 30 min. task). I also have a 60" s.d. which I use on my larger props. Reconfiguring the mower (changing the decks out) takes about 30 minutes and is NOT something that can be done "in the field," at least I can't. I just try to schedule my small props on certain days and my larger ones on others. I know this isn't an ideal situation for large operators but it has worked well for me my first season. The Shortcut is a step up from a w.b. but isn't quite a sit down Z. The steering controls are different from most Z's and I think a lot of people shy away because of this, but don't. They're easy to learn. I haven't decided if I am going to keep this mower for my second season. Most likely will. I am going to consider selling it and getting the new model (Fast Track, I think) that Hustler is coming out with later in addition to a Hustler w.b. One thing that I forgot to mention, and you will discover this if you shop around and look at other mowers, all Hustlers are built like the proverbial brick $&!+house. Just my 2 cents. Oh yeah, good luck and welcome.

11-07-2001, 01:13 PM
Originally posted by Evan528
...I can honestly say Dixie Chopper Is the best. This previous weekend I, and some other LS members spent at the DC Factory In Indianopolis...

We were also at the DC plant and I must say, we were thoroughly impressed. the quality of these machines were unmatched and the dedication that the owner of DC, Art Evans, has towards the machines, is also unmatched. Every item on the DC makes sense, real practical sense. From the way the hydro system is put together, as Evan explains above, to the use of a manual pto, accessibility of the engine and deck, all around good looks :), etc., made us a believer. When you decide to buy, look at all the mowers you are considering, and as you circle them, say to yourself, "how easy would it be to do this, what if I had to do that", you get the picture. I think you will find your winner hands down.

Double D
11-07-2001, 01:31 PM
The best one is the one that is available in your area with great dealer support. The dealer can make all the difference in the world. Does he stop what he is doing and get you taken care of right away? Does he have a loaner if he can't take care of you right away? I bought from my dealer because he was the only one in town that looked me in the eye and said that he would be there for me. We shook hands, and he has been there for me every time I pulled up. I am a part time operator, and he treats me like I buy tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment from him yearly. That is what you need.

11-07-2001, 01:40 PM
Originally posted by Eric ELM
Why don't you guys tell why you like them best instead of just put down one word and some bouncy bouncy's?

Eric, its like the double blade question. I've posted it so many times its easier to say exmark and let a search for exmark to reveal the answers. :)

11-07-2001, 02:24 PM
:D I own a toro but i believe exmark is owned toro along with lawnboy.

11-07-2001, 03:16 PM
These questions are always too vague - what is your expected budget? How many hours per year will it be used? The correct answer for a guy that uses it to mow small properties 10 hours per week, 6 months of the year will not be the correct answer for someone who mows football fields 40 hours/week, 12 months per year. If you are seriously in the market for a machine, please provide more info for serious recommendations.

11-07-2001, 06:02 PM
Double D hit the most important quality.

Problem is dealers like that are few and far between.:angry:

Double, you are lucky.

11-07-2001, 08:08 PM
I agree with Dochere and Evan.Once you've been there and seen how they are built and prepped you will see the differance.:)

Green Care
11-07-2001, 08:53 PM
Bobcat / Exmark are favored!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

11-07-2001, 09:44 PM
For those of you didn't think Kubota was serious. They've just introduced the new ZD28.


Same as ZD21, but has 72" deck, 28hp engine.

Model D1105-E-D16
Type Indirect Injection Vertical, water cooled, 4 cycle diesel
Number of cylinders 3
Total displacement (cu-in.) 68.5
Bore and stroke (in.) 3.07 X 3.09
Gross engine horsepower 24.0
Power take off horsepower 18
Maximum torque (ft. lbs.) 50

Deck has a high speed gearbox, foot pedal parking brake, higher armrests, includes a folding ROPS standard.


Albemarle Lawn
11-07-2001, 11:10 PM
WOW! Nice looking Kubota machine.

I was very impressed with the ZD21 I drove however I'm not in replacement mode as my Gravelys are still young.

As long as Gasoline stays below $1.50 here (right now its $.99) I think gas is the way to go if you already own gas machines.

I bought my new Mitsubishi-Fuso diesel (11 mpg diesel) as a kneejerk to $1.79 gas, but now wish I had just kept piling miles on my old Chevy Suburban with enclosed trailer (7 mpg prem unl).


Anyone know gallons per hr fuel consumption for 25 HP gas (such as Kohler or Kaw) Vs. 21-28 HP diesel power?

I know my Kawasaki 60" Gravely drinks way more gas than my Kohler 72" Gravely.


11-07-2001, 11:19 PM
Personally - I prefer a True-Value 18" pusher - $280 - Keeps my weight down.:D :D :D

11-07-2001, 11:43 PM
Okay, all the ZTRs run mostly the same motors, and hydro set ups as far as I can tell. That shouldn't affect your decision. You have to decide this for yourself. Go by the quaility of your dealer (I think biggest factor), warrenty, thicknes of metal (generally the same) along with stamped or welded decks, type of casters, ground speed (only important in big open smooth lawns), ease of maintance. I personally don't run ZTRs because my accounts aren't setup for them too well, but I am a big fan of Great Dane and Gravely. Just demo stuff, talk to your dealer on price and how they run their service department, and just try them out.

11-09-2001, 03:53 PM
Here are a few things that we look at!

1. Look or find you a good dealer with support like parts, and service. My dealer 99% of the time will fix me on my trailer, if he can't he usually has a loaner machine.

2. Look at the machine and consider the kiss method, and what I mean is KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID! the simpliar the machine the less to go wrong and the easier it is to fix!

3. Quality of construction

4. Quality of cut or how productive!

As far as the machines we use we have used d/c's for years and have had very good luck with them! We are starting to switch to the bladerunner mower because of the points that we have listed and we have found it to be even a simpliar machine than the d/c!

11-11-2001, 01:28 AM
Ok here is my opinion. I have had dixies and exmark. Two dixies and one exmark. Both 60". I liked the dixies then i could not get the deck thing to adjust right after the chains broke. Then i got an exmark and sold the dixies. Now i would have to say that dixies are my favorite. They cut grass so nice. But most of all they are comfy and toasty to ride. I love dixies. If i were to go back into lawncare i would buy a used or a new dixie not an exmark. Those exmarks to cut pretty but the ride you get from them will kill your back from the bounce you get. I like my dixies.


John DiMartino
11-11-2001, 02:19 PM
I bought a Dixie,based on what I heard,a close dealer,and how easy it looked to service.After owning it a year and 1/2 now.I can say I wouldnt buy another.I like lot of things about it,but the fact in my case is it has been less than reliable.If it were reliable,and had 1/4"height adjustments,and a seat cutout that allowed you to get off,by disengaging the blades,without it stalling,then I might buy another,but until Dixie updates their machines,to at least 1995 standards,Ill go to Hustler.IMO,Hustler has the speed,cut,and is built like a tank,literally.Side by side comparison,next to my Dixie,the Hustler is so much heavier duty,chassis wise,and deck construction,the fact that it cuts better,and is faster than the Dixie is icing on the cake.I have also driven the Ransomes Bobcat ZTR,it is a nice mower for the price,about 1500 less than a Dixie or Hustler,but not as fast as either one.

11-11-2001, 06:24 PM
John, Can you please explain the seat saftly switch? Do you mean you canty get off the machine without turning it off?

11-12-2001, 02:54 AM
Yea John, please explain, as about two weeks ago I watch numerous people get on and off the dixie, without having to stop and start it. And if your talking about an electric pto with blade cut off, sorry but when it comes down to replacement of the electric pto vrs. the manual, price wise and convenience , DC has got you beat.

John DiMartino
11-12-2001, 08:25 AM
On the Dixie,at least up til 2001,you have to bypass the safety switch in order toget off the machine with it running.If i have to stop to pickup a piece of paper or a branch while mowing,it stalls when you get up,then runs on,and pops like crazy.Every Dixie owner I know has bypassed the seat safetys,out of frustration.I bet there is no one on LS that still uses theres,we all have them bypassed which truely is dangerous,especially if one of our employees is running it,and gets hurt.Those machines you demo'd,unless they have changed things,were bypassed ,and had no safetys.

11-12-2001, 06:54 PM
We actually tried them together with the owner of DC. I beleave they were all 2002's we used.

11-12-2001, 07:24 PM

John is correct, at least up until the 2001 model year. There is no good way to involve a operator presence control on a non electric clutch mower. I dont know anybody with one connected on a Dixie either. Mine is still connected on my Lazer, and I have no real reason to disconnect it. When I sold my Dixie, I connected it back up and the new buyer was getting frustrated just demoing it. I told him to leave it connected until he got used to the machine, and then you may want to disconnect it.

Especially now with it being cold in the morning, I let mine warm up for 5 min or so on the trailer then hop on and mow. Couldn't do that with a Dixie!

Oh well, give them time, they'll eventually come into the 21st century!