View Full Version : 36" Mower reviews

01-12-2002, 03:02 PM
Hi, this is my first time here. I'm looking to purchase 2 new 36" mowers this year and I was wondering if there is some sort of consumer report on the different mowers out there. I'm looking at walkbehinds; bobcat, lesco, scag, toro, etc and was looking to get the best bang for my buck.

Thanks in advance

01-12-2002, 08:05 PM
I am in the market for a new 36 myself. I am looking strongly at the 36 landscaper. It is selling for just over 2000, and is currently on sale for 1750.
From looking at SCAGs, Bobcats, Ferris, and Landscaper, they all seem the same except for color and price.

gene gls
01-12-2002, 08:15 PM
Check out all the brands avialable in your area to compare differances and buy the one you feel best sutes your needs. I will point out two features that I don't like about a 36". First, the drive base is the same width as a 48" base making the deck edge even with the wheels so its useless trying to trim cut. Second, the blades are staggered, one slightly ahead of the other making for a longer wheel base inturn increases the scalping of uneven areas. I would suggest buying one unit small enough to fit your gatted yards and one 48"unit for the open yards. At least with a 48"you can trim cut to reduce your string trim time.

Do a serch, there is tons of info.


01-12-2002, 09:25 PM
The statement above is only half true, by using generalization.

the drive base is the same width as a 48" base

On most brands and types. There are some that differ.

the blades are staggered, one slightly ahead of the other making for a longer wheel base inturn increases the scalping of uneven areas.

A 36" is practicly a 3 spindle mowers missing one spindle, leaving 2 spindles, which still has the overlap set in it. It usualy the same length or less than a wider deck mower.

A 36" usualy tends to scalp less than it's larger counterparts. Also requiring less anti scalp wheels.

At least with a 48"you can trim cut to reduce your string trim time.

How so?

If you are basing your biz off smaller mowers I would suggest buying hydro static drive mowers to keep your limited times of mowing down and also give you more control of the mower, and more manuverablity.

The wosrt thing you can do is use price in considering a tool. Hence you buy the incorrect tool for the job then it will actualy cost you money you didn't know of.

looking to get the best bang for my buck.

Your best bang for the buck is a high horse power hydro mower.

01-12-2002, 09:45 PM
There is a nice 36 eXmark on Ebay right now, currently @ $850.
It looks brand new. Comes with Jungle wheels, and bagger.

If you are looking at the Lanscaper, there is brand new one direct from their CO. on Ebay - It is a 48" w/ KAW for $1850

I don't nec. recommend the Landscaper, since it is not repected real well on this site. ( PLus I've never demo'd one )

grass chaser
01-13-2002, 12:06 AM
I just purchased a 36" exmark hydro off of e-bay and it is the best mower I have ever bought. I bought it from a dealer going out of buisness. The mower was 2 years old but never used or purchased so I got a full warranty with it. The only bad part was I had to drive to Kentuky to pick it up, because shipping was so expensive. Make sure you e-mail the seller and ask a lot of questions before you purchase it.

01-13-2002, 11:40 AM
We run a 36" 12.5 kawi Yazoo/Kees belt drive. It puts out a great cut and sum great stripes. I'd give her 2 thumbs up, go demo one even though many people on here havent used them, there great machines.


Green Care
01-13-2002, 12:36 PM
Demo them yourself to find what you like.

EXmark is my favorite .

01-13-2002, 07:54 PM
Why 2 36"? Why not make one a 48" or 52"?

Anyway, I run exmarks. Had great results with them. If you can find a Gravely dealer nearby, you may want to look at them also. (How's that Barry?)

Eng Mwr Guy
01-13-2002, 08:04 PM
You da man!

Thank You!


01-13-2002, 08:44 PM
hey soakem'dry, you won't find a bad 36 on the market unless you really try. if you stick with kawasaki, kohler, or the vanguard briggs you can't go wrong. Just don't buy any briggs I/C's(industrial-comercial), or you will be sorry. I have used EXMARK,DEERE,SCAGS , they are all good machines. I think the main point is that you find a dealer who will take care of you, this means more to me than what brand of equipment that i have. After you have been in around , you will find out how important this is. A bunch of people try to say "this mower is better or that is better". What really matters is how you run your company,dealing with employees,clients,paperwork,callbacks(customer satisfaction, and getting up early and getting it done every day. If you want to know who the "bad" dealers just ask around, you will be amazed at how quick someone will tall you about thier bad serice. Good luck my friend.

01-13-2002, 09:12 PM
Hey Guys - Check out the pictures of a 36" JD belt drive Walk Behind with the flex-deck trimming attachment mounted (Flex-Deck Sponsor Forum)- makes the total width 54" and the owner loves it. It trims more places that most can believe, It floats with the terrain to contour mow, and It saves about 40 % mowing time, and almost eliminates string trimming totally. He has no problem with power. Thanks, Brad - PS. visit all the sponsor forums if you would

Bill Davis
01-13-2002, 09:35 PM
I recommed the gravely pro 150 with the great little kaw. motor. they are great machines if you take care of them and set them up right.

01-14-2002, 03:59 PM
Everybody here uses encore. The local dealer just does a fantastic job as far as service and loaners. I have only seen gravely at shows never tried one. Once in awhile I will see a exmark on a trailer.

01-14-2002, 07:30 PM
Have a 36 " Snapper belt drive w/ Velky. Very pleased with its performance. Cuts very flat and dependable. The only thing I do not lik about it is this- it has a 12.5 Kawasaki. It does not seem powerful enouph to really mulch up leaves as I would like. Maybe the 14 HP would do better. Other wise it is a great little trimming mower.


01-15-2002, 11:33 AM
Wow!, I can't believe the feedback on this in just 2 days. It's great.

I'm surprised though that there aren't any unbiased product reviews from this that compare different brands of lawn equipment out there.

Sponsors still have quite a bit of say I guess.

As for my mower search I'm thinking Lesco,Bobcat,Scagg,Toro,Exmark.

They are all pretty much the same, however these brands I know I'll be able to get service from the dealers.

I'll be sticking with the 36" and no bigger as I've found out that's about the widest you can get that'll still fit through fence gates but also highly productive in at higher speeds in open areas.

Possible Kawasaki, but I've hear there not as good as they use to be. Definately not a brigss.

My search continues.

Thanks to all

05-16-2002, 09:27 PM

So what did you end up with? It has been a few months since your post and I am curious. Also, I wanted to mention that I own a Gravely Pro 150 - 36" fab deck that I bought from Boston Lawnmower last year for just under $2k. It is a tank and superb at mulching. My use is as a homeowner, but this is far more machine than any residential owner will ever need, barring the rare 5 acre estate. For 2002 Gravely has redesigned their WB line mainly with improvements to the mower decks and now they are all Kawi twins. The Gravely is a value-priced machine with very heavy duty construction. You really can't go wrong with them, especially now that the stamped 50 inch deck was retired and replaced by a sweet 48" fab deck.


05-30-2002, 09:07 AM

As of right now I am trying to get into the 36" lesco's w/14hp kawasaki's. If the dealer doesn't come through with the machines, then I'm off to the TORO dealer for 36" T-bar walk behinds w/13 H.P. kawasaki's.

The Lesco dealer in N.H. won't commit to a delivery date yet they want a $500.00 deposit to get the mowers in. Not commiting to a delivery date to the customer is BAD BUSINESS in my mind.
I find it odd that they don't have at least one unit on the floor ready to go. Maybe they just like to push parts and fertilizers and not sell mowers, who knows. I'm waiting to hear back from Ohio's customer service. They were more freindly than the guys up there.

I did go to Boston lawnmower. I liked the Gravely's, but they were too heavy up front. The machine isn't balanced to make it easy when getting over curbs. If it was just for my house I'd consider it.

The quest continues.

05-30-2002, 11:08 AM

That "balance" thing that your talking about....Well the heavier the front end, the better on a WB! I have a 48" SCAG that is way to LIGHT in the front and all it wants to do is wheelies! I keep the gas tank 1/2 full to help some, and even bolted on 1/2" thick steel plates on the front of the deck and it's still like to wheelie like crazy.

Watch those 36" gates!!! Sometimes their actually 36" between posts! Most 36" mowers are 36.5 to 37" wide! Now what? My advise.....a 32" and a 48" or 52". You cant be running 2 mowers inside a fenced in area at the same time anyway. 32's will go everywhere! And the larger 48"/52" will save you time on larger plots.

Eng Mwr Guy
05-30-2002, 11:39 AM
Soak Em

The walks from Gravely are designed to be used with a sulky. One of the complaints I heard a lot was the front end popping up whilst mowing. So we fixed that.

The real question is can you live with poor mowing quality from front end bounce. If yes then buy a lighter front end machine.

I am surprised you find the 36 too front heavy. Most people add weights of some sort on the 32 & 36 we sell.

I could see your point on the 52" but the smaller decks generally "pop up" too much. But even on the 52 it hasn't been a huge issue.

Try the 36 Gravely while it is running with a sulky and you may find curb hopping isn't so difficult.

Just out of curiosity how many of your accounts do you have to "jump the curb" 50%, 100%????

Ariens / Gravely Guy

05-30-2002, 09:35 PM

So let me get this right - you are going to fund a purchase up front with no commitment to a delivery date? That's insane because you also risk losing your deposit. I suspect that your dealer is financially unstable. Otherwise he would have a full line of machines on display. A dealer without inventory is a dis-service to everyone especially the factory that is depending on him to sell the machines. Why would anyone do a deal like that for a key business purchase? Remember that as a pro you will be depending on the dealer network to ensure that you can service your accounts every day. Downtime cannot be tolerated since it directly affects your livlihood and reputation.

For what it's worth, today I cleared the field (lawn) in front of my home from about 3 inches of new growth in the past week. As you know, we've had about 4 inches of rain recently which made it nearly impossible to mow earlier in the week. The Gravely was flawless in bringing it down to a beautiful lush finish. My lawn has never looked better. The mulching on the Gravely 36is as good as anything you can find regardless of cost. Of the 30+ homes in my development, I can honestly say my lawn is by far the best in appearance thanks to the continuous supply of composting nitrogen from this marvelous mulching machine. I'd buy the Gravely ANY day over any brand from a dealer that wants you to fund his purchase from the factory. He is too crafty - ask to examine his inventory of parts before you assume that he actually has any. I am betting he has next to nothing on hand for the Lesco.

Good luck with your search!


05-30-2002, 10:18 PM
The best I have found is considering purch myself is exmark. The only thing i dod not like is the enhanced control system. I would consider the one where the speed is controlled by the knee shift. Down here it run about 2300 with a mulch blade. BTW did u purchase a mower yet?

05-31-2002, 07:16 AM
Guys, I thought the Gravely was a great machine It was also the least expensive. But the majority of my 30 weekly accounts I either have to get over a curb or patio, and like the offset balance.

As for pop-a-wheelies I've found that to only happen when I'm not in control of my machine. i.e., the machines ground speed is too fast and or I'm not paying attention.

The deposit thing, Lesco in Peabody, Ma will match N.H. price. I'm more comfortable with the guys at Peabody anyways, although I had to call the corporate office to get them to match the price. They have 3 in stock and will hold one until I get approved for financing. I'm trying to take advantage of the 90 day float (free financing). I will pay it off with my credit card around day 80, get 5% on my GM points. That's the accountant in me.

This gig is only part time for me. I only cut 1 day a week so I'm straight out. No time for breakdowns even when I do my own repairs.

I will probably keep 1 of my bobcat mowers as a backup just in case.

Next on my agenda is to sell my F-350 dump 4x4 w/plow, buy a 1 ton chevy/gm p/u 4x4 1996 or newer w/plow and install a ez-dumper with will suit my needs.

Over and out!

05-31-2002, 07:09 PM
Hey Soak'em,

Glad to hear you have located a better dealer arrangement in Peabody. When this sort of thing happens to me, I ask the dealer/factory to match price net of MA Sales Tax to make sure I am still getting the best deal. Maybe you should try this under the guise of a close competitive situation - Gravely, Exmark, etc..

One last thought about Gravely/Boston Lawnmower. I was by their store a week back for an extra set of blades and the store manager indicated they were doing a volume buy (12 mowers) of last year's Pro 150 36" Gear mower and would be able to offer them at <$2k complete with 2 year waranty of course. Now that's an unbelieveable deal. On a full time basis you could pay that off very fast. I respect your choice of Lesco, but thought you might want to know of this before taking the plunge.

BTW, if you are an accountant, you certainly are first I have come across that knows which end of a screwdriver to grab, much less actually attempting to do your own repairs. I am truly impressed!


05-31-2002, 09:02 PM
We just put a flex-deck on a 36" hydro eXmark in Sterling IL. That is a real mower now (Now mowing 54") - It is one of the very old eXmarks but runs great and is doing very well. I would say by the raving reviews by the owner that it is a testiment for the reliabilty of eXmark WB's and the tremendous trimming and mowing time saved by adding the flex-deck
Thanks, Brad