big mower vs small mower

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by kdbetters, May 4, 2005.

  1. kdbetters

    kdbetters LawnSite Member
    Posts: 70

    well I dont post very much but something has been on my mind so I need to share something that may help others out. As I'm typing this keep a couple things in mind. This is a two man crew, and and the mowers are a 37'' toro proline w/ 15hp kohler and the famous beloved toro 21'' two cycle.

    Well, I have about 90 accounts that I service and they are all small residentials, under 12,000 sq ft. I have been using 21's since my inception, however I came across a good deal on the 37"(only $800). So i bought the mower to actually see for myself if it is as much as it hyped to be. So fars, heres is what I observed.

    Load/Unload: The 21's are quicker to load and unload bottom line. It does not take a whole lot longer to unload the 37" but it still takes longer.

    Mow time:This is where I was most suprised. On the smaller lots, the 37" is slighty quicker than the 21's but not alot. It does save alot of user fatigue, but also leaves alot more trimming for the triimer guy(usually myself) to do. Also, with the 21" it is easier to manuever than 37" and get in tight spots.

    Gates: To be quite honest my 37" fits through 95% of my gates. So this is not really an issue. However, on the couple where it does not fit, it does suck to have to load it and unload the 21".(Also, more time)

    Quality:I think alot of people will disgree with me on this but here I go. I personally think that the 21"s leave a better quality cut than do the 37". On the other hand I have cut many overgrown lawns this season and the 37" blazes through them without hesitation as to where the 21" will get bogged down and many times stop. Howver, be careful with the 37" on wet grass because those tires can do some damage to the turf.

    Cost of ownership/maintenance:I give a big edge to the 21's, because they are easier to maintain. (sharpen blades, replace parts, belts, tires, etc.)Also when it comes to initial price the 37"(3K-4K) wouldn't come close to the 21's(1k). Also the parts and maintanance is more expensive than the 21's. I will give you an example. Soon after I bought the 37" the clutch went out. Now for just the part it is $240, and I or my employee would have to put it on. I can get a short block for the 2 cycle for about $250, or a new 6.5 hp kawasaki engine for a little over $400. I am not going to even start on the belts, you guys get the point.

    Well , I think that about wraps it up. I would definitely like some feed back. But I thought about this post for about 2 weeks before posting, I was gathering info. I also wanted to give the 37" a chance before I criticized it.(maybe I wasn't using it right). I know it looks good on the trailer and I would recommend a bigger mower for sole operators, however if you have 2 or more men and you market small residentials I would strongly recommend sticking to 21's or trying the new metro 26's( if they ever come out). I posted this because there are many people out there like me who want to make the jump to a big mower but need to know the pros and cons.
  2. Ron's Lawncare

    Ron's Lawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 266

    The thing i found when i went to a 48'' mower is at first i wasn't using it to it's full potential.going from a 21'' to a larger mower you need to make sure your not overlapping your passes to much.this really negates the wider deck advantage.also with my walker i can mow some tight areas quicker than i did with my 48'' walk behind.

  3. Fareway Lawncare

    Fareway Lawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    from Canada
    Posts: 2,222

    Your Problem is:

    A)You have a 37" Belt Drive...Step up to a 36" Dual Hydro.
    b) You have a Toro Walk. Perhaps the worst Walk Currently on the Market...Horribly Outdated Deck...The 37" Recycler is Even worse than the SFS.

    That being Said if You're Running Crews on Very Small Lots You're Better off Giving them 21"'s.
  4. kc2006

    kc2006 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,442

    I will always take a 36" or up mower over a 21", heres why.

    We used to do alot of small lots in a section of town, the front yards would be anywhere from 750sq ft up to 1500sq ft, a 5" strip on the side of the driveway and same sized back yard. I would use either A) 60" lazer or B) 48" TTHP walk behind. If your good with a hydro mower its still very easy to trim so that was not a problem, 5-6 passes and your done, blowing was alittle more but still took a couple of mins only. If you put a 21" mower to the identical yard next to it and timed it I bet the bigger mower would do a much faster job, look better and you'd be finished faster all together. Now then belt drive mowers will take alittle longer since you don't have reverse but I still think they'll do much better. The key with the large mowers on the small properties was they all had mulch kits, there for you didn't have to worry about blowing clippings in beds and stuff.

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