Originally Posted by topsites
Every deck size has its sizes of yard that it was designed for...
For example, the 48" was designed for yards 1/4 - 3/4 acres in size. That is not to say it can't DO other yards, but it is to say that in the right size yard, the correct deck size is the right tool for the job. Translation: Best bang for the buck, both for you AND the customer, thus I believe it helps to have several deck sizes available and to know which one suits what, still it boils down to a compromise on what to load for what day, and if you carry two machines that is such a 'musical lawnmower' nightmare, oh man...
As for 48" vs. 60", my 48's run circles around the Z in yards 1/4 - 3/4 acres in size, it is only once you get into the bigger lots that the 48 sloths off.
I started with 2x used 52's but a year later found a used 48" and fell in love with it, so much in fact that last year I bought a brand-new 48". I ran those two 48's exclusively for all of last year and sold my last 52 early this year, to where all I had was 48's...
Mind you, the 48" is a fixed deck and thus much lighter than the 52" float. And since there isn't any floating (read: jumping and clanging around) of the deck at speed, you can fly as fast as you want, just you have to watch for the scalping.
There isn't much of a difference in deck size, but the 48" gets through a LOT more gates than the 52"... Matter of fact, the 52" will only go through oversize single gates OR double gates, where the 48" fits through MOST 4-foot wide singles and larger.
However, having operated the fixed 48" deck for 4 years gave me a distinct advantage when it came time to operate the 60" float, I find scalping to be no more of an issue with the 5-footer than my 48", but it has to do with practice and experience as well as float vs. fixed.
I would thou, personally, purchase a 48" over a 52" any day of the year, but not a 44", it has to do with the fixed deck's properties that I like so much.
No doubt I'm with you 100%, I wouldn't buy anything smaller than a 44" and even the 44 would have to be a really good deal.