View Full Version : Overkill or not? Help me pick a ZTR.

03-10-2005, 04:08 PM
I've been researching and testing and sitting on mowers for about a year now, and need some help. This will be my own personal mower to mow about 1.8 acres (including house/driveway/deck, etc). The yard is a little rough in spots currently. I plan on slowly taking care of the roughness, but it probably won't happen in the next couple of years. Anyway, my current mower is an old Bolens 42" tractor. It's slow, and I don't know how long it will continue to last.

I have looked at Gravely, Hustler, Great Dane, Exmark, Scag and Ferris. Demo'd Gravely 260Z, Hustler Super Z and Great Dane Chariot LX. I didn't like the Gravely. It didn't handle the hills too good and overall I didn't like the handling of it. I liked the Super Z and Great Dane. I actually preferred the Dane's sticks between the legs.

Anyway, to continue, I am currently focusing on Ferris and Hustler. I don't care for Exmark, plus heard they aren't the best on hills. Scags look good, but seem to be pretty high priced. Of the Ferris machines, I would like to look at the new 1500 and the 3000. Hustler I would probably be looking at a Super Z or Super MiniZ, but have recently thought about Fasttracks.

Question is, is it overkill for me to be looking at a Super Z or Ferris 3000?

Because of the bumps in the yard, I like the thought of suspension, or at least the suspension seat. If I wanted to keep the price around $6500, I believe my choices are Ferris 1500 or Hustler Super MiniZ. Which one would you recommend for my application?

I want this to last a LONG time. Part of my looking at Ferris is also due to the horizontal shaft versus vertical shaft argument. I don't know which is better, but horizontals appear to be more highly regarded for longevity.

Maybe all these are overkill, and I should just buy a Cub Cadet or something....I'm getting tired of all this research! Please help.

I've found good dealers fairly close for all machines, so I believe that is a wash.

Give me your advide!

03-10-2005, 04:12 PM
Id go for something smaller like the fast track or mini z

03-10-2005, 04:36 PM
do you really need to spend so much money if it's just for your own yard? a fastrac should last you for at least ten years.

Stripe This
03-10-2005, 04:40 PM
If you're going to use the ZTR soley on your property, whether it's 1 acre or 5, any of those commercial riders will do the trick. They'll last you as long as you'll need. I put 600 hours on my Lazer Z HP last season (total of 900) and she runs just as well as she did the day I picked it up. Those units are built for commercial work and your residential property is a tease.

Any of those units will serve you for a long time to come. Good luck with whichever unit you purchase.

03-10-2005, 04:48 PM
do you really need to spend so much money if it's just for your own yard? a fastrac should last you for at least ten years.

i was going to say the same thing. why not just pay some one to cut your grass instead of paying $6500 to do it yourself ?

03-10-2005, 05:27 PM
If I were to pay someone to mow my yard, I'm sure it would cost at least $100/mow, for let's say 35 mows/season. That would be $3500/year. If I paid $6500 for a mower that last me 15 years, then I think I would be better off financially in the long run to buy my own quality mower.

Based on the responses though, it appears I am looking at a little too-commercial of a product. If it takes me about 1.75 hours to mow my yard with the current mower, how long would it take with a Fastrack? I got it done in 50 minutes with the 61" Great Dane. Also, wouldn't the Fastrack's ride be too bumpy?

Travis Followell
03-10-2005, 05:34 PM
If your yard is bumpy then Ferris is the only way to go IMO. I would suggest the IS 1500. The suspension will give you a lot smoother ride allowing you to go faster and the deck is mounted to a-arms so it will not bounce so the cut will be a lot better and the suspension also protects the mower from the rough ground allowing it to last longer. Hope that helps.

03-10-2005, 05:45 PM
Thanks for the response Travis!

Stripe This
03-10-2005, 07:49 PM
My post wasn't to discourage you from a commercial unit....you definitely want one if you need it to last and be dependable year after year.

03-10-2005, 08:04 PM
Your post didn't discourage me at all!

I'm just trying to figure out where to draw the line between acceptable for me and overkill. Any of these mowers are extremely expensive for me, but I would rather delay the purchase and get the right unit (whatever that is) and have it last as long as I live here, than buy an intermediate one and not be happy five years from now...

03-10-2005, 08:15 PM
check out the CUB TANKS!!!!!!!!! They are great on hills and last a long time. We have three of them and love um!!!! :)

Mark McC
03-10-2005, 08:27 PM
Depending on the layout of your lawn, hills and all, a walk might be a better choice than a ZTR. Any chance you can get someone in the business to take a look at your place and give you an idea whether a ZTR is really a good idea?

You don't want to find out after the fact that you've bought a mower that's too top-heavy or doesn't fit into some nooks. Watch the deck size as carefully as anything. Fences and so on are a major pain if you don't account for them and there's no point buying a ZTR and then having to whip out the old 21 if a mid-sized commercial walk-behind will get it all.

03-10-2005, 10:24 PM
I have no problems demoing all the units I'm looking at on my own property, so the hills, landscaping, etc. will all be taken into account. When I demo'd the Chariot I thought that would be too big, but it worked out great. I'm in a new house so we can design the landscape to be mower friendly!

As for the walk-behinds...I want to ride plus I want to be able to pull a cart occasionally.

03-11-2005, 09:51 AM
Rott, My situation was very similar to yours, 1 acre, rough in spots, plus two other yards to mow. After a year of research/saving, last month I purchased a Super Mini Z.

In the past mowing was a chore for me, now I can't wait for the grass to grow. The Hustler is a quality piece of equipment and the suspension seat is great, you just have to slow down a little over the rough patches.

My Super Mini Z was $6379 + tax so it is right in your price range. Good luck in your decision, Tom

03-11-2005, 10:13 AM
I too made this same decision recently. Mowing 3 acres with the Craftsman lawn-tractor's that wore out in 2-3 years. I decided to go with the Dixie Chopper Flatlander at the end of last year's mowing season. The flatlander might be overkill, but I got some added creature features and have considered the thought of this being perhaps the last lawnmower I ever buy...maybe, maybe not

03-11-2005, 11:15 AM
Can anyone compare the Super Mini Z to the Ferris 1500?

I haven't seen the 1500 yet except on the website. Also, any comments about horizontal shaft vs. vertical shaft engines and durability/longevity?


03-11-2005, 02:37 PM
I just purchased a commercial ZTR for similar reasons for my own 2 1/2 acre lawn when trying to decide if I should replace my aging Wheel Horse with another tractor. It just made no sense to buy another tractor ( high end) that would have had little impact on mowing time for close to the same price as a commercial ztr.

SOLUTION: I bought a left over 04 Scag Cub 52" w/ honda 24 hp for $6500 and will keep my Wheel horse tractor for misc. chores not suited to a ztr. I expect to average 2 hrs per week or 50 hours per year. Thus, with 2000 hours before a recommended overhaul, I figure I'll be long dead by that time.

BEFORE, I paid a guy $1000 per season to help cut a portion of the lawn ( $40 per week ) and did the rest myself with the Wheel Horse & tow mower that took me two hours per week. Although I will spend the same time mowing, I will now have a new machine doing a better job with less maintenance, save a $grand per year and still have money in the bank by way of its high resale value if I ever needed to sell down the road ( when I retire on a boat).

I doubt others that think in these terms will ever grow enough to effect the lawn care business, not to mention you first must convince the wife you want to spend..... HOW MUCH??!!, On a freak'in, @##!!**, lawn mower !!!!

As to your choices, I really like what I've heard about those Ferris ZTR's, which look every bit as well built as a Scag with added suspension.

Good Luck

03-11-2005, 03:17 PM
Thanks for the reply. I appreciate all the input I'm getting here on this site.

Travis Followell
03-11-2005, 06:31 PM
A vertical shaft engine is what I prefer because they are a lot easier to repair. If something goes wrong with a horizontal shaft you have to take the engine completely off the mower and sit it on a work bench to fix it most of the time just because everything is so hard to get to. That will run your repair bill up because it will take them longer to fix it and the vertical shaft engine can have almost anything done to it without taking it off the machine.

06-16-2005, 05:18 PM
Rott, Ive found a price on the 48" ferris of $5,400. That's the best I've found around here. Email me if you need any info! I'm also considering the IS 1500, but I'm torn because my buddy can get me a sweet deal on a ZG 20 Kubota (I just dont know much about the Kubota though)

06-16-2005, 08:57 PM
rott_dobe ,
Sounds like we might be in the same boat! I have almost 3 acres and some rental property that I might start mowing to justify spending the bucks. My advise to you would be to check out bad boy pup series- very economical and seems to handle as well as the rest.

06-17-2005, 01:21 PM
I would wait and get what I REALLY wanted. Don't try to justify a machine you really don't want. This mower will be your "baby" for a long time. So, get what you really want. You won't regret it in the long run.

06-17-2005, 04:28 PM
The hoizontal shaft means a mule drive and a higher center of gravity.

Mule drives are a power drain, and every one I've had any experience with belts come off too frequently. No mule drive for me!

Don't know where the info on durability difference comes from, but I seriously question that.

06-17-2005, 05:53 PM
There's no such thing as overkill. . .

06-17-2005, 07:04 PM
If your yard is bumpy then Ferris is the only way to go IMO. I would suggest the IS 1500. The suspension will give you a lot smoother ride allowing you to go faster and the deck is mounted to a-arms so it will not bounce so the cut will be a lot better and the suspension also protects the mower from the rough ground allowing it to last longer. Hope that helps.

IS1500 deck is suspended from main frame in the front - not the A arms. The IS3000 and IS1000 hang the deck from the A-arms in front. IS1500 rear suspension is not independent, rather it's a "live axle". The deck rear hangers are connected to the rear suspension via linkage, so that movement of the rear suspension does cause the mower deck to follow.

06-17-2005, 10:00 PM
I am a homeowner and I just bought a 2004 53" Scag ZTR with a Honda 24HP engine. Traded in a 1998 48" scag walk behind and got $ 2000 for it. Cost me $ 600 to mow my lawn for six years. With the walk behind it took me 45 minutes to cut my lawn being very fussy. Now it takes me 15 minutes and then I ride my Harley the rest of the day. So go ahead, it's lots of fun and takes less time. If you have the money go for it, life's short.

I mow less then an acre and sometimes my neighbors :)