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Best 36" wb for bermuda

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Thompson Lawns, Feb 26, 2003.

  1. Thompson Lawns

    Thompson Lawns LawnSite Member
    from OK
    Posts: 21

    First, I would like to thank everyone for sharing their expertise in the bussiness. This has helped me tremendously.

    I am purchasing a 36" wb in the next 30 days. Is the hydro worth the extra money? And which has the best cut? We have mostly bermuda and fescue, flat terrain, and I plan to mulch. I have fairly close access to virtually every make of manufacture there is. The mowers that I have been most impressed with were Scag, Hustler, and Exmark.
    Mostly Scag because of the spindle. I am open to other makes.
    Any Suggestions that you have would be appreciated. Thank you!

    edited (yes it will be a primary and the mentioned hydros are available with a floating deck)
  2. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,403

    I was looking at wb's for a month, and after lots of testing, came up with what I'd used for 11 years, a Toro belt drive T bar. I needed a 32" for gated areas, so it won't get a ton of use and I couldn't justify a hydro for that, plus very few hydros come in a 32" deck size. I find its steering easy to use and they've been reliable for me. It actually has an Exmark deck on it (toro owns them now) so it should cut like an Exmark. $2495 delivered from Alamia. MY local Toro dealers couldn't get their acts together, so I said screw em. One even tried to tell me they didn't make such a mower, then handed me a 1999 catalog! Another didn't have a single one on the lot to test, and yet another had ridiculous prices for this time of year. Their website has innacuracies too on what models are actually available, so shop carefully if considering them. (no 36" floater with mulching capable deck this year according to one dealer, which contridicts their website.

    If this is your primary mower, I would go hydro if you can afford it. You can back up with a hydro, zero turn, and it is generally less tiring to use. It also costs more if something breaks, but all these are reliable mowers.

    Scag: don't know much about these. Have heard some cut quality complaints on some models. Does it have floating deck in this size?

    Exmark: Turf tracer HP 36" with ECS steering was quoted at about $4400 or so. It has floating deck for easy height adjust, strong reliable engine, reliable drive system, great cut, mulches great, I just couldn't deal with the steering system (or any pistol grip or derivatives) If on a budget, they make the Viking, a fixed deck model. About $3800 I think on sale. I love my Exmark Lazer Z HP.

    Hustler: Their 37" hydro looks great. Built tough, floating deck, great steering system, very fast, powerfull 15hp kawi twin engine, big tires, couldn't find any flaws except no nearby dealers here. Similar price to Exmark, if I remember correctly. When I need a bigger wb , I would look hard at their 48" 17hp model.

    I'd also look at Toro prices if you decide on Belt drive. They're great belt drives. Forget the hoo ha about the stamped decks. I've owned 4 of them and never bent a deck. If you're the one using it I wouldn't worry too much. A 15hp 36" belt drive would run maybe $2800.

    Finally, don't forget resale value. Popular well known mowers resale easier and higher. Exmark and Toro are the most popular around here.
  3. Green Pastures

    Green Pastures LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,457

    Yes hydros are worth the money. I like the fact that you dont have to shift gears. Puch to go forwards, pull to go backwards.

    Out of the three you mentioned I have not used them personally, so I cannot say which has the best cut.

    While deck design does have something to do with the quality of the cut, I think sharp blades has more bearing on a quality cut. Not trying to go to fast while cutting, and not cutting when wet.

    Having said that, buy what you like that has local service. Keep your equipment maintained properly. Keep extra sets, yes I said SETS of sharp blades.

    We in the business tend to split hairs about equipment. Anything that spins blades under a sheet metal deck will cut grass. Is there a difference in the quality of cut (IN THE MAJOR COMMERCIAL BRANDS), sure, of course there is. Is it worth all the fussing and bickering that goes on here? NO.

    There are guy's who will swear on the lives of their children that Dixie Chopper gives the best cut. There are guy's that will say the same for Toro, Exmark, Walker, Bladerunner, Snapper, Grasshopper the list goes on and on.

    Every (COMMERCIAL) mower made will cut grass well within it's own design parameters. It's up to you to keep it within those boundaries.


    This is my opinion, I am entitled to it. If you don't agree, you don't have to belittle me or attack my intelligence level. Simply don't do things the same way. This way has worked for me. I'm not saying it's the right way, or the only way, by any means, just my way. It has worked for me.
  4. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,360

    Since this is about bermuda and 36" w/b mowers I guess I'm qualified to answer. We cut 95% bermuda here and all we do is mulch. I've owned a few different brands and I currently run eXmark's for front line mowers. When side discharging they have had a better quality than any others I have or had. But when mulching, no question about it. The mulching capability of the eXmark mulch kit is second to none. When you mulch with it, it leaves the turf looking like a Walker went over bagging. (I use walker due to best bagging mower around) Extremely clean cut. Also, it works awesome with Zoysia also. No clippings at all left on top of the turf.

    I have a 36" metro that since I put the mulch kit on in 2000, I have never taken it off. Period. You have flat terrain a fixed deck 36" will do just fine. The front caster wheels on a 36" are positioned so that scalping isn't much of a problem on them. Even the exmark guys will verify this. If you have some real rough areas the floating deck would be a benefit.
  5. mag360

    mag360 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,446

    Thompson Lawns--my experience with scag has been a good one. Spindles do last "forever" and i am pleased with quality of cut and striping, and the advantage deck does the trick for just about any application.

    --my experience with exmark is a good one too--plus they have the new ecs control system--that may be worth looking into(although my preference is the original pistol grip design)

    --I cannot comment on the hustler's quality but their controls look to be pretty easy to use (hard on the wrists maybe)

    good luck with your choice--I wouldn't expect many problems with a 36in anyway.
  6. Mowingman

    Mowingman LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 4,662

    I am not far south of you here in North Texas. I have used fixed deck, belt drive, walkbhinds for years. Have always had at least one 36" or 32" in my fleet. I see no reason to spend the big bucks for hydro unless you mow a lot of hills or mow in really wet conditions. I bet there are at least 150 midsize walkbehinds in use here in town, and you will not find one hydro unit. The belt drives work fine in our mowing conditions. I have always used Kees or Toros. They have done real well with mulch kits. If you are going to mulch, it pays to get the biggest engine avail. on the size mower you are buying. Mulching really can eat horsepower. :)
  7. greenman

    greenman LawnSite Addict
    Posts: 1,405

    I second what Hoss said. I cut Bermuda and some Zoysia using the Metro 36" with mulch kit.
  8. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    Since I have been through confusion about Toro models I thought I would add what I now know since I have the info. I hope this clears up any misunderstandings.

    The Classic T-Bar is available in hydro 15 hp Kolher single only 36" 44" & 52" floating deck

    The fixed deck is now available in hydro pistol grip, 15 Kawi Twin, 36" & 28"

    The fixed deck is also available in in belt with the above engines plus a 12.5 Kawi, T-Bar & pistol grip, 32" 36" and 48"

    The new style floater is available in belt, T-Bar, w/ 13-15-17 hp Kawi & 32" 36" 44" & 52". The same in pistol is only avalable in 15 &17 hp kawi & 15 Kolher, 36" 44" & 52". In hydro the pistol has the same engine/deck options.

    It appears the T-Bar has been droped for '03 in the new floating deck design. I don't see it anyways. Mybe someone interested could contact Toro to verify this. But if that is the mower someone wants I'm sure a leftover could be found.
  9. xpnd

    xpnd LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 378

    They're all good mowers. The question I always ask when someone states that the 36" will be a primary mower is how many 36" gates do you have versus 32" gates? AND how many 36" gates are significantly less than that at the bottom where the mower passes through? It's tough to get something 36" through an openning that's 36" or slightly less. In the real world 36" gates are anything but 36" wide.
  10. Mowingman

    Mowingman LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 4,662

    Around here, 100% of the 36" gates are well under 36" wide. I had to buy a 32"WB to get into backyards. All 36" gates I have to deal with, only have a 34" opening at the most.:(

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