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Is a ZTR worth it for 2-3 acres?

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by DylanG, May 13, 2004.

  1. DylanG

    DylanG LawnSite Member
    Posts: 23

    I'm another newbie with ZTR questions. I've read a lot of posts but I'm still so confused. I went from .25 to 10 acres when I moved recently and I'm overwhelmed with the diversity of tractors and mowers available.

    I'll be honest, I'm not really "in" to my lawn. Mowing is a chore to me and I just want to be done with it. My goal is a tidy lawn that isn't overgrown. But I don't need perfection. (Please don't take offense. We all have our things we like to obsess over to perfection. Mine isn't my lawn but I have my own, for example, I've spent an entire Saturday calibrating my TV. :eek: )

    I'm intending to keep 2-3 acres trimmed and the rest will be cut once or twice a season for hay. Currently it is open field but we intend to plant a lot of trees over time with possibly some more elaborate landscaping. My land is gently sloped except for a small area near the house where they excavated.

    The most I can rationalize is $4K for maybe a Simplicity ZT or John Deere SST. But how much faster are they going to be over LT's like the Simplicity Regent and John Deere L series? It's not out of the question that I spend $4k but money is tight right now for us and I have to be convinced that I am getting value for that extra money. If we are talking a reduction like 3 hours to 1.5 hours every week for the next 10 years then that's probably worth it.

    An interesting model was a Cub Cadet RZT 22. A 22 HP twin engine and 50" deck for only $3k? I wonder how they can do that for $1000+ less then everyone else. It makes me wonder whether they made everything else really really cheap so they could bump up the specs that everyone looks at. But maybe it doesn't matter for my modest requirements?

    Thanks for reading this long message. My head is spinning with all of these choices. :confused:
  2. mowhigh

    mowhigh LawnSite Member
    from Dallas
    Posts: 198

    The variable steering of the JD SST has the advantage of a traditional steering wheel but will not slash mowing time as much as a regular ztr (will help around trees, but lousy on slopes). If you have a dealer nearby (see www.countryclipper.com) demo one of the JAZee models (all have easy flip-up decks, Kawi/Kohler engine options and available single joystick control). Even the base JAZeeOne (starts just under $3200) has a rugged fabricated deck and 19,000 fpm blade tip speed. If you want the option of handling all 10 acres, consider the fully commercial Charger (adds 24x12 tires, pivoting front axle and hydro oil cooler) that starts at just over $5500. Good luck!
  3. lahanko

    lahanko LawnSite Member
    from NY
    Posts: 173

    Mowing is a chore. So is building a house using a handsaw.
    ZTR’s are amazing mowers very fast and leave a nice cut.
    We bought one two years ago. Only regret, we did not get one sooner.
    Sure left a lot of time to do the things I really want to do.
    We did however come to terms with the price and realized the costs were not that much more than a good quality tractor mower. Based on an hourly wage and time spent (less time) mowing, the Z has been paid for.
  4. DylanG

    DylanG LawnSite Member
    Posts: 23

    I've decided it is worth it. The kicker was when I went to my friend's house and he showed me his barely used JD L110 (42" lawn tractor) in the garage. It made the job such a chore that he now pays a guy to do it.

    Thanks for the info on the Country Clipper but I don't have a dealer nearby and I want to buy local. I've upped my budget to $5k and am looking at models with a 50" deck. The Hustler FasTrak and Simplicity Consumer Z lines are my top choices now. Anyone have a reason to prefer one of those over the other?
  5. Simone Lawn Service

    Simone Lawn Service LawnSite Member
    Posts: 158

    I've never owned either, but I'm always impressed with the cut quality of the Simplicity mowers. I have an 04'Exmark and my friends 15 year old Simplicity really gives it a run for it's money (great stripes) I've demoed the Hustler-a nice mower-and fast, but I think the Simplicity has a nicer cut (just my opinion)

    Try to get a demo on each-I demoed several major brands before I bought my Lazer Z and I purchased with full confidence and never had any regrets.

  6. DylanG

    DylanG LawnSite Member
    Posts: 23

    Also, I drove the JD SST today and didn't care for it. It doesn't have the responsiveness and maneuverability of lever controls and my wife and I both found it uncomfortable to operate. I know there is a group of loyal SST owners on the net but I don't see it as a good alternative to a more standard ZTR. Though now that JD has dropped the price the SST15 and 16 compare well to a small lawn tractor.

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