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Comparisson of models - Advice please

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by lotsagrass, Jun 8, 2009.

  1. lotsagrass

    lotsagrass LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 783


    I've been looking at the following models and so far my preference is the Kubota ZG227 with the Toro G3 coming in at a close second.

    - Kubota ZG227 w/54" deck
    - Toro G3 w/52" deck
    - Scag Wildcat w/52" deck
    - Toro Z400 w/52" deck
    - John Deere Z520A w/54" deck
    - Cub Cadet Recon w/??" deck (not sure of true size choices for deck)

    The few things I really like about the Kubota are the shaft driven deck and hydraulic lift for the deck. In Toro's favor I like the bagging options. The only real choice I saw for bagging on the Kubota was a 2 bag deal (looks like the exhaust prohibits a 3rd (middle) bag?

    We're trying to keep the price between 7 and 8 thousand $. So far I'm not sure of the Toro G3 cost but I got a price of around $7600 for the Toro Z400. At this point the Kubota seems to beat the Toro in features and price. Kubota makes their own engine and slaps on the 27HP engine for the ZG227.

    I'm still more than open to suggestions and willing to keep an open mind about this but at the moment I really like the Kubota. But I also really like the Toro G3 (don't know the price yet though). Can you please give me some advantages and disadvantages of these models if you have personal experience with them? Not just Toro and Kubota, but all of them I have listed. I started out liking the Scag until I went to the dealer that sold Kubota and Scag side by side. The Scag was several hundred more than the Kubota and the Kubota seems to have more features I like and appears to be equally well built. I liked the Cub Cadet but haven't researched that one very much. I'd like to keep the deck size between 50 and 54 inches. I have a lot of hills to mow as well. Traction, transmission strength (not loosing lots of speed going up hills due to weak tranny), engine power and ability to cut somewhat tall/wet grass are what's important to me.

    I'd also like some good ballpark MSRP prices on these models if I didn't already list what I found.

    Thanks for your input!
  2. kaferhaus

    kaferhaus LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,444

    little to no advantage to the shaft drive or hyd deck (who the hell needs that anyway???) Just something else to screw up.

    My business theory is to keep equipment as simple as possible, the fewer bells and whistles the less maintenance and the less expensive maintenance is going to be.

    Most of the mower's you're trying to compare are apples vs applesl, just pick one.

    Unless bagging is a necessity in your locale I'd forget a bagger. Mulching is better for the lawn, faster and less expensive = more profit. A mower equipped with a bagger takes up more space on the trailer, weighs more (even more prone to rut lawns) and is yet again more stuff to take care of.

    Kubota makes good engines. It's only a plus IF you get the diesel. Their gasser wont' last any longer than any of the other liquied cooled engines but does get slightly better fuel economy. I'm not impressed with their decks or cut quality.

    I'd buy the cheapest mower I could find that has a good engine (kawasaki or Kohler) combined with the lightest weight (ruts).
  3. lotsagrass

    lotsagrass LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 783

    Thanks for your input. While this unit will be for personal use, the points you made still applies to my situation really. Reliability, simplicity, etc. Usage will be mowing (about once per week) around 5 acres or so of hilly lawn. I need something fast & reliable. The bagging issue is really more of an autumn requirement to get leaves off the ground and into a composting area.
  4. kaferhaus

    kaferhaus LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,444

    Then I wouldn't be looking at a commercial mower..... you'll get good service out of a residential ZTR if you buy one of the better ones. A commercial ZTR is overkill for 5 acres a week and very heavy. The commercial ZTRs rut badly and strip turf badly because of the weight. It takes a very experienced operator to run one without damaging the turf. And wet ground WILL lead to rutting with any of the bigger ones. The residential mowers are much lighter in weight and for your puposes would last many years. I'd sitll get a Kawasaki engine though.... or a Kohler Command (not courage) engine. Some do come with the Honda engine which is fine. Any of the briggs except the Vanguard are junk and should be avoided like the plague.
  5. lotsagrass

    lotsagrass LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 783

    The reason we want a commercial grade mower is for long-term durability (we're big believers in buying the best whenever you can afford it) and increased performance overall. As far as the rutting and so on goes, very good points. Thanks for mentioning that. I think we'll be pretty good in that regard though. We've got a John Deere 4120 tractor with a 72" Bush Hog finish mower and I've went over the yard a few times with that and it didn't really bother the yard very much. It will if it's really wet, but when it's fairly dry it does well. We've got thick clay soil where we are and it holds up to weight better. Also we have tall fescue grass and that takes a beating and then laughs at you when you try to destory it. It's tough stuff. We're not the well manicured fussy types of people. I've got my share of weeds in the lawn and it doesn't bother me. I have R1 style ag tires with 55LB weights on each side of the rider I have now and it doesn't really bother the grass even on the sharpest turn I can make. If it occasionally pulls up a spot of grass here and there, I don't really notice it and it doesn't bother me that much either. Over time I will probably have more grass to mow because in-laws live next to me and they're getting older and won't be able to mow anymore in the future. So my 5 acres could easily turn into 7 or more acres to mow.

    Again thanks for the input. It makes me think of things I hadn't thought about.
  6. lotsagrass

    lotsagrass LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 783

  7. lotsagrass

    lotsagrass LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 783

    Specific question regarding traction. With that rider I have right now, without the bar style tires and weights in the rear, I either spin and get no traction in places when mowing the hills sideways....or I slide right down the hill if I try doing the mowing going up and down. The original turf saver tires were a waste of time. However I notice all the zero turns I'm looking at have turf-saver type tires. The Kubota dealer has a hill on his lot (grass) and he says he can go right up it with no problems. What's your experience on hills with a fairly good incline? Steep enough that you need to lean to the uphill side on a regular riding mower so you maintain traction? I've even had the upper wheel raise off the ground on the regular rider. I realize the zero turns have a lower center of gravity but just how well do they do on hillsides in wet grass?
  8. IHusky

    IHusky LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 478

    Demo the Kubota on your land and if you like it buy it. There's nothing wrong with getting a commercial mower if you want. How much would it cost you to pay someone to mow your five acres, it will not be cheap. What if you want weekly service. That mower will pay for itself in 3 or 4 seasons on just your lawn. If you like the Kubota get it. Those are all good mowers. They all have thier good points and all have thier downsides. I would recommend considering a 61" deck for 5 acres. Good luck.

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