32-36" Walk Behinds, standers, and zero turns

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by TomberLawn, Jul 27, 2008.

  1. TomberLawn

    TomberLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,299

    I've become interested in small-lawn, high-efficiency mowing lately. I'm going to start working on a business plan that I'll probably implement when I graduate from college (2 more years) with a marketing degree. I've been looking for mowers that would fit the bill for the lawn sizes (roughly 1/4 acre) and be highly efficient. I realize there are quite a few options and I'd like to get some opinions, preferably from people who have actually owned or demoed different mowers in this size.

    Here is a short list of some of the mowers I have found that fit this category:
    Walk Behinds:
    Any 36" dual hydro from a major manufacturer
    Quick 36
    Ferris HydroCut

    Gravely/Great Dane
    Any others?

    Zero turns:
    Exmark Phazer
    Gravely 34Z (fastest--10mph!)
    Hustler FasTrak Super Duty
    Scag Freedom Z (36" projected availability for 2008, not sure if it is out yet or not)
    Bob-Cat Fast Cat (slowest--7mph)

    I may have missed a few, but this is what I've seen so far. Without actually trying any of these machines, I would guess the zero turns would be the most efficient because of their speed and reduced fatigue. The standers should be pretty close or maybe even better, I don't know. The least costly, but perhaps least efficient, would probably be the walk behinds.

    One other issue to consider: I'd like to be able to transport the mowers in a Ford Ranger with the original bed and a tailgate replacement ramp like this: http://www.tailgateramps.com/

    The ramp is rated for 1350lbs. The zero turns are all less than 750lbs, so the ramp should be able to handle the weight. I don't want to do trailers as they add inefficiency--less fuel economy, more weight, less maneuverability, more liability, another tag and tax, etc. Depending on dimensions, I may need to put a landscape body on the Ranger for additional length and width for other tools/equipment.

    I know I have good local dealers for Exmark, Bob-Cat, Hustler, Gravely, Ferris, maybe Wright, and maybe Scag. The maybe's are because there are dealers near me, but I'm not sure how good they are.
  2. S man

    S man LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,562

    Can't go wrong with a phazer. It will out mulch any of the others, and has the 19hp.
  3. olde_blue

    olde_blue LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 349

    In reviewing similar option 2-3 years ago (there were less then!), I went with a fixed-deck 36" Wright Stander, and I am pleased. It may be hard to load in the back of a pickup, however.

    I would not buy a 34" or 36" midmount Z, because they do not handle very well. They are too narrow and too nose heavy (plus they tend to have long wheel bases). However, if you are looking, don't forget Dixon's commercial 34" Z "Black Bear", however. It has decent sized drive tires (23x8.5-12) and is light in weight. The 36" Scag Z-Cat is another option, although a little wide and very heavy.
  4. lawnbutch

    lawnbutch LawnSite Member
    from Colo.
    Posts: 177

    Wright Stander RH 36" and up!!!!!
  5. dago52

    dago52 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 249

    The Gravely 34z is a beast and cuts great. I was also on the fence between a wb or ztr. I chose the ztr because I thought why walk when I could ride. I have no customers (yet) where I cannot use my ztr. If you are only mowing smaller yards, you should be OK. I would look for a good used ztr or a new hydro wb.

    Good Luck
  6. Hawg City Lawns

    Hawg City Lawns LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,072

    i was looking at doing the same thing and i noticed bad boy has a 36" zt or pup series (i cant remember) that looks pretty durable and its got a hell of an engine on it also grasshopper has a 41" in the 100 series
  7. TomberLawn

    TomberLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,299

    Thanks, everybody, especially Hawg City. I just looked at the BBM website and saw the ZT 36" with a 23hp Vanguard!!! Talk about overkill of an engine!! I bet that thing mow a pasture without even lugging down. That ought to mulch like a Vermeer stump grinder with that much power. Just did a dealer search and found a local dealer that I've bought stuff from before and didn't know it was a BB dealer. It's only about 10 miles away. They have Bob-Cat, Hustler, Gravely, Great Dane, now Bad Boy. Looks like I'll definitely have to visit him before I make any big decisions.
  8. Puddle of Oil

    Puddle of Oil LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,203

    if ur gonna have a 36'' deck then go with a walkbehind. i think its stupid putting a 36 on a stander/rider. thats like putting car wheels on an f250. so id get a wb then when u get bigger lawns upgrade to a stander/rider. mmmmmmmk
  9. TomberLawn

    TomberLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,299

    Thanks for your input, andy, but the whole idea is to stay away from big yards. I already have a 48" zero turn and some big yards. I'm looking for the most efficient way to mow 1/4 or smaller yards without hauling tons of equipment on a trailer.
  10. Puddle of Oil

    Puddle of Oil LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,203

    hahaha, well then i would think a wb hydro drive will be perfect 4u.

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