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Help...analysis paralysis on mower choice

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by chuckcintron, Apr 19, 2007.

  1. chuckcintron

    chuckcintron LawnSite Member
    Posts: 54

    Please help me...I've made myself dizzy trying to figure out which lawnmower to purchase for my home. I have just over 1/2 acre of lawn. Today, I own a John Deere 21" WB mower (which surprised me by being very problematic). It takes me about 2.5 hours to mow.

    I want to get something that will cut the time down, and be an excellent mulcher. I do not want one of those typical riding lawnmowers...I don't like them, and I think they would not be too safe on my sloping side yard.

    I'm in upstate NY, and probably mow my lawn about 20 times a year.

    My only requirements are:

    a. It has to have at least a 33" cut, and no more than 36"
    b. I don't want the typical front-engine rider. Side yard slopes too much.
    c. It has to be a great mulcher.
    d. It has to be SUPER reliable. I take obsessive care of my tools, but I expect them to be well designed, and well made.
    e. It has to be less than $1400.

    I was leaning toward this:

    Cub Cadet

    Or this:


    I know these two look a lot alike. The Craftsman is made by MTD -- I'm not sure if Cub Cadet and MTD have any relationship (?)

    I know the commercial guys/gals here will probably sneer at either of these, but keep in mind that I'm only out there 20 times a year. However, I'm open minded and would like to really hear some other recommendations, as well as constructive comments about these two mowers.

  2. DCE

    DCE LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 311

    MTD owns Cub Cadet.

    Have you looked at the 33" Billy Goat finish mower? http://www.billygoat.com/site/intro.aspx?pid=17

    Not sure about its price or mulching performance [IF it has this capability] but you might want to add this one to your list of those to look at.
  3. dwost

    dwost LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,666

    It sounds like you are into quality and quite frankly you will be hard pressed to find something of "commercial" quality for 1400 unless you look at something used. If you are willing to spend a bit more ($2k) I think you'd be VERY satisfied with the Quick 36. It will probably last you a life time. Do a search on here and you will see that everyone is raving about them. http://www.betteroutdoorproducts.com/

    You can also check out RedHawk which I know was recently acquired by one of the big guys (The company name is escaping me right now but I'm sure someone will chime in) They take some heat from the commercial guys but they will last a homeowner a long time and they are priced right. http://www.redhawk-usa.com/
  4. DCE

    DCE LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 311

    Is it Dixon? Their WB's look like blue Redhawk units :)

    Speaking of Better Outdoor Products and the Quick 36, I visited them this afternoon and got to test run a Quick 36 Samurai. From what I saw, they are high quality mowers.For the price of a high end lawn or garden tractor, you can get a Quick 36.
  5. chuckcintron

    chuckcintron LawnSite Member
    Posts: 54

    Thanks for the pointer to Billy Goat. Looks like a nice mower. I have a couple of concerns, which I need to research a bit more:

    - Never heard of "billy goat". I realize that "craftsman" may fall far short of commerical expectations, but at least I know that I'll be able to get parts for it down the road. Could I be stuck with a billy goat 5 years from now that needs a new spindle -- and impossible to find a part (?)

    - I read the owner's manual PDF on the billy goat...the belt changing procedure looks to me to be pretty complex. At one point it says "remove the four engine mounting bolts, being careful to not let the engine slide off..." I wonder if this is normal? I was expecting belt changing to be a pretty painless event...

    So I guess at least I'm narrowed down to these choices. Oh, my local dealer also has a 2 yr old used Sutech 33" mower, in excellent condtion...for $600. Even though I know that they "suck", that price is tempting.

    That "quick 36" looks awesome...but I can't go down the path of dropping $2K on a homeowner WB. I need some money left over to buy grass seed ;-)

  6. leejp

    leejp LawnSite Member
    Posts: 129

    2-1/2Hrs seems long even for a 21". Is that cut/bag/trim/blow? I have just under 1/2 acre and when I do it with the 21" (my trim/backup), it's usually 1/2 that time cut/bag/trim/blow.

    For under $1400, a carefully used commercial may be the way to go. I got my Scag 48" for well less than 1/2 the price of a new one. Since you're not broke (have a mower to cut with), look around and try to find one that was homeowner owned. If you are near the capital district or the Hudson Valley check out the want ad digest (http://www.wantaddigest.com/). A couple of 36" commercial units for under $1K. You might have to sink some $$$ and sweat equity into these guys though. Sometimes you can take equipment to the local BOCES if you don't mind waiting and have it overhauled for a song.
  7. chuckcintron

    chuckcintron LawnSite Member
    Posts: 54

    Yeah, you are probably right. I have about 25,000 sq/ft of grass. If I'm cutting with a 4" overlap, I'm getting 17" of production, which is 1.41 feet, so to cut 25,000 sq/ft I have to walk about 17,730 feet or 3.4 miles. I'm not sure what speed the JD is on "high", but even with some margin I should be under 1.5 hours.

    I'm probably remembering trimming/blowing time as well. Also, the angst of not having a nicer mower is making it seem longer :rolleyes:

    Thanks (and thanks for the pointer to used equipment)
  8. leejp

    leejp LawnSite Member
    Posts: 129

    Been there... BTW... where the devil is verbilville? I've lived in just about every corner of the state... NYC, Hudson Valley, Albany, Buffaly, Rochester, Potsdam, Syracuse and have no idea where verbilville is... Near Endicott?
  9. chuckcintron

    chuckcintron LawnSite Member
    Posts: 54

    Good guess...actually about 25 miles outside of there. It's a nickname, not the real town name -- grew up here and never left...at one time (about 100 years ago) about 1/2 the population here was a Verbil or blood related to one (I'm not, and thus never really fit in!). There's only a few of the originals left in all of NY, now...

  10. Matts lawn care

    Matts lawn care LawnSite Senior Member
    from MD
    Posts: 829

    Go for the Quick 36! You can get billy goat parts from a billy goat dealer and you can get Quick 36 parts on the web. The Quick 36 is built like a tank and will outlast any of those other mowers you listed.

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