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Best 48" or 52" ZTR

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by oaktree59, Jan 9, 2008.

  1. oaktree59

    oaktree59 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 25

    What is the best 48" or 52" Ztr
  2. zz4guy

    zz4guy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 901

    I would argue the 48" is better for getting into 4 foot gates. I mean if you are gonna step it up from the 48, why not go for a 60 since you'll be SOL on gated areas anyway?
  3. MarcSmith

    MarcSmith LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,157

    I have used 36" Wb, 48" wb and 48" Walker 52" Scag Exmark and 60" scag exmark

    I have found that the 52 has provided the best cut, more flexible in in that you can still get larger areas done efficiently, and you still throw it on smaller yards and not freak out the customers.

    the 60" will tend to scalp if its uneven terrain. the 52 is more forgiving, and the 48 is even more forgiving on uneven terrain.

    the gates were not an issue for me as I traveled with a 36" machine until I expanded all my gates to fit the 52", which at that point a stopped taking on gated lawns unless they widened the gate.
  4. MONTE

    MONTE LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 793

    If you buy in the upper grade machines they all are decent!
  5. Grits

    Grits LawnSite Silver Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 2,994

    I am a big Hustler fan, although I do not own one.......yet.
  6. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087

    That's my thoughts exactly because that was my experience.

    The 52" seems to be probably the most popular 1st "big mower" and a lot of guys stick with them. They must work well for some.

    Myself, I've had 48", 52" and 60" ZTR's.
    Personally, I found that once I got my 1st 60" that I had no use for either 52".

    For me, the 52's were too big to pull compact mower duty and at almost no production gain over the 48"... so too small to pull big mower duty.

    The 48's fit everywhere. They squeeze between a lot of places the 52's won't.... yet I never did find a place I on my routes that I could fit the 52's that the 60's wouldn't fit.
  7. Happy Frog

    Happy Frog LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,224

    I like my 52" mower: it's easier to get around, doesn't scalp as easy as a 60" and the extra speed of the Bad Boy makes up for the narrower deck.
  8. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,210

    i never understood the 52"... I mean 48" gets into most larger gates, 52s" may not.

    Personally ona ztr, id only look at 48" or even 44" for small gated areas, 60-61" decks and 72"s. The 52" just doesnt fit anything because its too big for your average gate, and if you have no gates, why not use a 60".

    If you have multiple mowers on your trailer, you probably have a 48/60/72 or 48/60/60.

    I have a 34" wb hydro, 48" ztr/ 61" ztr and this year a 72" ztr.

    Would i buy a 52" if it was cheaper than a 48" or the right discounted price, sure but its basically a 48" with some disadvantages, i wouldnt use it on a property that i could use the 61"+ and it wont fit the smaller gates so im stuck with the 34" wb

    CHUCK'SLAWN LawnSite Member
    Messages: 81

    I have a 52" exmark lazer and love it I personally would never change mowers. It gets the big work done fast and the finesse for the small lawns.
  10. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087

    I see where you are coming from.... to an extent...
    But it's really not that cut and dried... really it's not...

    Scalping has more to do with the entire machine design than the deck size. My 60's scalped less than the 52's 48's and 42's... because the layout is designed better.

    Even in your case with your Bad Boy...
    Your machine is no different than the 60" unit besides the deck and rear tire size.
    Should you decide to step up to the 60" in the same unit next time, you won't be able to tell a difference in a thing except a big productivity gain.

    Just like the old gearheads say that there is no replacement for displacement...
    There is no replacement for a larger deck for mowing productivity.

    Productively speaking... your 52" has a top speed that is 2 mph faster than my 60". Now, on paper you should be more productive. But in reality paper figures and the real world are very different.

    If you could cut in a straight line for a full hour solid, at full stick the whole time, and your mower does a full 14 mph the whole time... your actual area cut would be equal to mine.

    But mowing doesn't work that way... at all.

    In real world mowing conditions, you and I will travel at about the same mowing speed probably... because I figure your Bad Boy might be able to cut the same speed as mine, but not 14 mph.

    So right off the bat, if we go to actually mowing, and mow a roadside in one direction a solid hour, you're already at a 15-16% disadvantage.

    Then when we start mowing something normal like a lawn or a field, the disadvantage gets even greater... and the larger the area, the more apparent it becomes. The reason is because now you are making passes back and forth across the area.... and since you are working with a smaller mowing swath you are going to make more trips across... and stop to turn around and line up more times... and because you make more passes you are also going to loose more to overlapping between passes.

    So you will run at a 15-16% disadvantage or so, during the first few passes. By the time I get to 6 passes across, I have already cut an area of grass that will take you seven passes across... so at this point, you will have to make an extra trip all the way across and turn around an extra time.

    And while you are doing this... I'll be using the same time to gain another 5 feet on you.

    The wider the area is, the more passes are required, and the more passes required, the wider the productivity gap becomes... and the longer the area is, the more you loose in time every few trips having to make a whole extra pass.

    Myself, I spent two seasons waiting on some equipment to need replacing so I could field a 72".
    But I sold out before that happened.

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