View Full Version : Another commercial walk behind question
05-01-2002, 01:52 PM
I am yet another homeowner who is ready to take the plunge and buy a 32 fixed deck, gear-driven commercial walk behind. I know there have been many prior posts, so I will keep this brief. By the way, I plan to mulch all of the time.
I have looked at many of the main brands (Scag, Bobcat, Toro, Exmark, Snapper, and Gravely) and know that they are all quite similar. Scag was too expensive and Snapper did not have a 32. Here are the specs I am now considering:
Exmark: $2,300, 12.5 hp Kawasaki single cylinder, mechanical blade clutch
Toro: $2,100, 12.5 hp Kawasaki single cylinder, mechanical blade clutch
Gravely: $2,200, 13 hp Kawasaki V-twin, electromagnetic blade clutch, tool-free deck height adjustment
Bobcat: $2,350, 13 hp Kawasaki V-twin (I think), electromagnetic blade clutch
I know everyone seems to love Exmarks, but I wanted to get opinions on the Toro and the Gravely which has been updated for 2002. The Gravely seems to be the only mower in its class that has a quick height adjustment without using spacers. I am leaning towards the Toro because of reputation and price or the Gravely because of the extra features at a good price.
Any thoughts about Gravely relative quality, resale value, the novel height adjustment, electromagnetic blade clutches, and especially mulching would be greatly appreciated.
05-01-2002, 08:12 PM
I can't see the use of buying something smaller than a 48 unless you have a gate to go through. The 32 is the same as the 48 minus one blade. More than likely the will actually scalp less than the 32. Also, the 48 is only a bit more money, since you're already spending over $2,100, so I'd get the 48. It sure isn't cost effective to get the 32 compared to a 48. I'm in NJ, and would be glad to help you.
05-01-2002, 08:28 PM
I agree with Switchless about buying a 48" instead unless you have a gate. The 48" will only cost you a few hundred dollars more but will cut quite a bit more grass in the same amount of time as well as it tends to scalp less due to the width of the deck. Hope this helps.
05-01-2002, 08:41 PM
I'm also in NJ, have gates to go thru and just picked up a 32" Exmark Metro, 12.5 Kawi, gear driven exactly as you mentioned. Dealer sold it to me for $2099 and $135 for the 3 bushel grass gobbler bagger, so I was around $2235+tax. ($2300 something out the door).
I've mower my lawn twice already (about 2 acres) to play around with it, once on Saturday and again tonight (Wednesday).
So far, I absolutly love it. Of course it's much quicker than a 21" which I was used to and then I had a 30 inch rider that wasn't a zero turn so I had to go around the whole yard twice....
What used to take me a solid 4+ hours I just did in 1 hour 25 minutes and I'm sure I'll get even faster.
I added a pro-slide on Tuesday night cause just after saturday's cut, all that quick walking at speed of "3" or 4 is tiring.
I did spin the wheels some, especially uphill near the side of the house and I am still practicing how to do a true 180 without leaving a mark.(divot). But that is on the proslide. I found that if I slowed the forward speed down some and got off the proslide, I do much better as far as not tearing up the turf. Of course the ground is still wet from yesterday heavy rain, so what did I expect. <G>
The forward speed of 4 is practically a quick jog and 5 is running, it's kinda silly.
I find reverse to be a true assist, even though the guys on here say that reverse is nothing more than neutral. You do have a tug a little, bit in reverse, it gains momentum and does start to come back to you at a fair enough speed considering its not a hydro.
The cut quality I find to be 100% excellent, I was going to take a picture of my "stripes" and I just have the stock blades and have done nothing else to the machine. I MAY try out a set of Jungle Wheels instead of the proslide if I keep tearing up turf, but other than that, it's great.
I'd go for the Exmark, hands down although I haven't tried any of the other machines. Good luck in whatever you decide.
By the way, Toro is the parent company of Exmark or vice versa. <G>
05-01-2002, 08:42 PM
My question to you is this.
How healthy is your lawn?
Your statement where you said you plan on mulching all the time is the reason I ask this.
We are cutting healthy, fast growing lawns every 5 to 6 days.
Mulching is not the answer for us in the spring using a 36 in the small back yards.
It turns the grass into thick soupy paste!!!
This is cutting at a high setting, and like I said cutting very frequently!
Mulching is great, but not in the spring for us.
05-01-2002, 09:13 PM
Thanks for the responses so far
Switchless, with regard to your 48 deck suggestion, you are correct about cost effectiveness. I do not have a gate issue. However, I do have some concerns about the larger machine including storage in my garage, my ability to handle it (I am only about 160 lb), and a tight 100 foot long swale that is roughly 48 wide.
Doogiegh, sounds like you got a very good deal on the Exmark. Since I was not ready to buy on the spot, I just asked each dealer for a price and did not negotiate. Glad to hear you are enjoying the machine.
1MajorTom, your advice is well taken. My lawn is about 1/3 of an acre and reasonably healthy. I agree that mulching is quite difficult in the spring. However, I have been doing it now for 5 years with a 21 Craftsman mower. I can only imagine the situation improving considerably with any of the above mowers.
Thanks again. I am looking forward to comments about the Toro or Gravely.
05-01-2002, 10:15 PM
I'm only 155, so don't give the machine size a thought. Once you get used to it, you'll think it's a 21". As far as garage room, don't force the wife to stay in the garage, let her stay in the house. OOP's only kidding. Seriously, just find room, the 48 isn't that much bigger, but it will cut 30% more grass. Also, you'll never get a 32 to truly zero turn "BUT", since a 48 has the same wheel base as a 32", it will zero turn. The reason for this is the deck over hangs the wheel base by enough that when you make the turn, the inside doesn't have to "stop and pivot" (like a 32), but actually only needs to make a small radius 180 to have the "deck" inline for the next cut path.
Once you start using the 48, you just love getting to the golf course a 1/2 hour earlier, and spend more time playing with the kids.
05-01-2002, 10:53 PM
I checked out Exmark's web site at
and found that the 32 weighs in at 420 lbs, whereas the 48 weighs 490. Either way, you're talking about a machine that weighs over 400 pounds and would be good to wrestle if it wasn't turned on.
But when running, manueverability is a different story from my point of view being a 32" owner.
There are seperate "drive handles" so to speak for the left and the right wheel. When you let them both go (not touching them), the machine tracks forward straight ahead, at whatever speed the transmission gear is in.
If you squeeze the left lever, that puts the brakes on the left wheel, with the right wheel still turning, thereby causing the entire machine to turn left. To make a right turn, do the opposite.
There is the ability in tight areas to only 'feather' touch either one of the handles to really get in and out of some tight areas.. Just like working a clutch on a manual transmission car. Just takes some getting used to in the handles as to how hard to grab (causing the brakes to work), or how much to let go, causing some grab and thus turning......
I'd check out the over-all dimensions of your storage area for the mower and see if you can accomodate the 48 being that you don't have a gate issue. If that is not an issue (storage), then I would go back and work on price on the 48 compared to the 32 (couple hundred) and see where that puts you financially. But remember that your own personal time is money, so it might be worth it to go for the 48 up front so you get back an extra 45 minutes every single time you cut the grass, week after week, year after year....
I'd also check that swail width to see if the 48 would be a problem with or without the deflector down.
Once you have those questions figured out, you should be ready to buy.
Best of luck,
05-03-2002, 07:40 AM
As far as the toro the deck is simple to ajust.
it has two long pins that the deck rides on just move them up and down.No spacers.
05-05-2002, 11:56 AM
Keifer, thanks for the reply. I think you are referring to the Toro Proline Gear Floating Deck machine. The one that I am considering is one step down -- it does have spacers for the front casters and no deck pin adjustments as far as I know.
Since you seem to know Toro machines, I have 2 other questions that maybe you could answer.
1. Do you have experience using these Toro T-bar controls? They are supposed to reduce hand fatigue. Most other mowers use pistol grips.
2. I know Exmark is owned by Toro and their machines share many parts. Are the Exmark Metro and Toro Proline decks mulching capabilities identical? The decks appear to be identical.
05-11-2002, 08:44 AM
Thanks to everyone that helped
I bought the Toro Thursday. Despite all the comments about upgrading, I was going to stick to the 32 deck. Given that the whole commercial WB proposition is already overkill for my situation, I was finding it hard to justify an even larger machine and price tag. However, in the end I was able to upgrade to the 36 with the 12.5 hp Kawi for just $100 more ($2,200 plus tax). Now I need to find a place to put it. I will comment after I mow on Saturday
05-12-2002, 08:08 PM
I mowed the lawn with the new Toro and loved it! The Toro was all that I expected. The Kawi ran great and the cut was excellent. I would say, the new mower reduced cutting time by 50%.
My lawn is about 1/3 of an acre, but I have lots of tight spots. I never used more than 1st or 2nd gear when cutting. I tried 3rd and 4th, but almost had to run behind the machine to keep up. I did not buy a bag or mulching plug yet, but did have the dealer install mulching blades. I tried to mow along a path that forced all the clippings toward the center of the lawn (i.e., started on the outer corner and spiraled in toward the center). This is possible on my large front lawn, but not easy on the tight sides or in my backyard. Since the lawn was dry, the mulching blades did a good job of cutting-up the grass, but I still ended up with a good size pile of clippings. In the front I raked-up the clippings and did a final few passes in the center. On the sides, I also ended up with some small piles that I had to rake.
The need to rake was primarily because of the extra tall height of the grass due to lots of rain and the cool Spring temperature. As summer approaches and growth slows, I expect this issue to go away. Still, I may install a mulching plug after a few more trials with the side ejection.
With my old 21" mower, I used to mow North-South one week and East-West the next. Now I need to optimize my new approach. Any comments about path selection and mulching would be great.
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