ZTR or Tractor for 3 acre residential property???

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by pete326, Oct 19, 2013.

  1. pete326

    pete326 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 39

    Newbie looking for some advice here ... We recently moved from a home situated on about 1/3 acre to a new place plopped on 3 acres. The lot is reasonably flat, but does have some hills and ridges that I'll have to deal with. Some of the posts on this forum and articles I've read on the Web are giving me second thoughts about buying a ZTR. I'm getting the impression that a ZTR could give me problems when navigating certain areas of the property, and that a tractor might be a safer way to go. But it seems like very few garden tractors available in my price range ($5000 to $6500) come close in quality to some of the ZTR's that I'm thinking about.

    There are two tractors ... Kubota T2380 ($5000) and Simplicity Conquest ($5500) ... that seem to be put together considerably better than most of the others.

    The ZTR's that I've looked at locally are the Hustler Fastrak ($5700), Grasshopper 124V-48 ($6200), Ferris IS-600Z ($5700) and the Kubota ZG-127S ($5800).

    I'm hoping some of you can offer recommendations regarding (1) whether a conventional garden tractor or ZTR would be the better bet, and (2) your opinions on the tractors and ZTR's that I have under consideration.

    Thanks .......... Pete
     
  2. AlwaysBusy

    AlwaysBusy LawnSite Member
    Posts: 31

    While my experience with tractors has been limited to none of the caliber you are looking at I will never own another one again. ZTR all the way, provided your hills aren't deal breakers.

    If you are not in a rush, keep and eye on the for sale section here. I'm sure you can find something that fits the bill.
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  3. Jaybrown

    Jaybrown LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,160

    Wright stander. It can do all the steep hills and it's fast a manoeuvrable because it is a Ztr. I'm so impressed with mine I'm trading my big Ztr for another stander
     
  4. Ridin' Green

    Ridin' Green LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Michigan
    Posts: 13,783

    This is a professional lawn mowing forum. Almost everyone will say ZTR, even though most of them have never owned or even used a good garden tractor. I have. I still do. The Simplicity would be my choice if you go with a GT in your price range, but you may want to look at the JD X500's as well. I'm sure there at least one model in, or close to your price range.

    The thing you need to ask yourself though is-
    what do I want to be able to do with it? Mow only? Any gardening type work? Year around use for all of the above, plus snow removal?

    If the answer is either of the last two, then the GT is the only smart choice. Do you like to mow, and don't have to get done in the fastest time possible? The GT is the way to go. If you hate mowing and consider it a chore, the ZTR is the way to go since it is quicker (though not nearly as much as many guys would like to imagine). The ZTR will leave ruts and divots that no GT will. Read through the posts on this site. Even pros complain about the ruts and divots etc left by constant use of a Z, and I'm not talking about permanent ruts from the weight, but rather bare ground ruts from traveling over the same place due to ground cover, beds etc, where the heavier Z will eventually leave permanent bald ruts from each rear tire.

    A GT is easier to operate efficiently than a Z unless you use a Z every day. Mowing one time a week doesn't give you enough time to become proficient with the Z.

    The Z's have their place for sure, but I think more HO's are better off with a machine that anyone in the family can get on and do a good job with, without any previous experience.
     
  5. pete326

    pete326 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 39

    Ridin' Green --- A few additional questions. As an alternative, would you recommend that I conmsider a stand-on mower ... would it be a better choice than a ZTR? I have seen the comments about how a ZTR can damage a lawn even when operated by a knowledgeable professional. And, yes, that does concern me since I only mower once or twice a week. I also have a long (> 200 feet) driveway, so having a machine that also doubles as a snow plow/blower is another consideration. How does the price of an attachable blower compare to that for a free-standing unit? I expect to use a new machine primarily for grass cutting, but over time I can see myself needing to transport mulch and top soil around the yard so maybe a garden tractor best suits my needs. However, my main concern with a garden tractor is related to quality ... can I really count on it to hold up?
     
  6. Ridin' Green

    Ridin' Green LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Michigan
    Posts: 13,783

    The Simplicity will hold up great as long as you take care of it, perform regular recommended maintenance as suggested in the manual, and/or don't let any kids use/abuse it like a go-cart or 4 wheeler etc.

    They have heavy built frames and transmissions in them. The decks stripe as good as anything made. Opt for a Vanguard engine if at all possible.

    As for the front mount blower vs the separate WB unit- the attachment won't be cheap, but then, neither will a decent quality WB. You can always use a dozer blade instead of a blower, and also use it to move light dirt, gravel, mulch etc as well. The Simplicity has a limited slip rear end as well as a diff lock pedal, so traction is excellent. It will be lighter and easier on your turf, and with a 54" deck, it will make pretty good time on your lawn.

    I demo'd a Gravely pro Stance stander last year and the build quality and cut are excellent, but the stander is actually harder on my back than the ZTR's are. That is something else to consider- with a Z of any type, the tendency to go fast is always there, which leads to reduced useful life of the machine, and a lot rougher ride than a GT gives.
     
  7. pete326

    pete326 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 39

    Ridin' Green --- Can you tell me anything about the Kubota T2380? I've always been under the impression that Kubota makes real nice, high-quality equipment. Is that also true for the T2380? The closest dealer is only 10 minutes away and he sells both Simplicity and Kubota.
     
  8. TML

    TML LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 831

    The JD x500's are in your price range. They have commercial grade engines, commercial serviceable tranny, the decks are OK but I think 10ga vs the 7ga fab deck on full commercial ZTR. But for owner operator may not be as much if an issue.

    I was quoted $2300 out the door installed for the blower attachment including weights, chains, hood cover. That was for my x300 but the unit for a x500 is the exact same i believe.
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  9. pete326

    pete326 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 39

    OUCH!!! For $2300, I may have to insist that my bride grab a shovel. :dizzy:
     
  10. TML

    TML LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 831

    Yeah if you have a truck I'd put a good used plow on it for that. I did not buy it. Just the blower itself is $1800 I think. I can't comment on Simplicity or the Kubotas but more than one person has said the JD quality/durability has been slipping recently, but my x300 ran like a top when I owned it no problems.
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