Consumer's Reports for lawn equipment???

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by andygold, Mar 30, 2005.

  1. andygold

    andygold LawnSite Member
    Messages: 50

    If I'm in the market for a new car, I can go to Consumer's Reports or the like, and browse through the repair history of a particular vehicle over the past few years. I could also look at the J.D. Power and Associates list of initial quality on the same vehicles.

    Is there something similar in the pro lawn care arena? I'm aware that choosing your dealer is as important, as choosing your equipment's brand, but I'm sure I wouldn't want to buy equipment from the greatest dealer around, if it turns out that the equipment is prone to breakage, and is therefore always at the dealership for repairs.

    I'm looking for a residential ZTR (3/4 acre), but hopefully with commercial quality. I'm leaning towards a Hustler FasTrak, or Mini FasTrak. I've also looked at Dixon, Ferris, Scag, and a host of purely residential machines. As a non-pro, this machine has got to last me a good 10 years or so, and at the relatively high price for homeowner use, I cannot afford to buy the automotive equivalent of a Yugo, or a Pinto, etc... (my apologies to Yugo and Pinto owners :angel: )

    So, getting back to my first question, is there some sort of ratings guide for this type of equipment?
  2. vipermanz

    vipermanz LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,773

    your best option is to, well, just ask here
  3. captken

    captken LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,704

    I'm with you on that, vipermanz, his best option is to, well, just ask away....
  4. green thum

    green thum LawnSite Member
    Messages: 162

    :blob3: have to agree with them,just ask.consumer reports does nt rate commercial the way all of my mowers are toro
  5. Pumper

    Pumper LawnSite Member
    Messages: 116


    There are a lot of entry level commercial machines. A couple that I like the looks of is the Dixie Chopper Silver Eagle and the Bad Boy Pup. I have demoed the Silver Eagle but I am waiting to Demo the Pup. I like the drive system and the engines. I especially like the Generac's on the Silver Eagle machines.
  6. andygold

    andygold LawnSite Member
    Messages: 50

    I've been using the forum and reading everything I can. It's just that you typically get responses from people that the particular piece they own is the best that there is? I remember last year there was a flame war against Scag owners and their so-called "DIS-Advantage" decks. I'm betting that those Scag owners believed that their machine was the best one for them, otherwise they wouldn't have bought it. Those posts did steer me away from getting a Tiger Cub, whether there was actually a problem with the decks or not.

    Getting back to my analogy with the Yugo, some people bought them probably thinking they were a great car at a great price. Within a few years they were gone from the roads. Maybe it was dealer service, and maybe it was parts availability. If you asked them at the time of purchase, they'd probably tell you they were the best thing made since indoor plumbing. A friend who purchased a Hyundai was tickled to tell people how great his car was, and at a great price. When the thing turned out to be a lemon, and was constantly at the dealer with engine and tranny problems, he switched gears to saying how they had the best warranty in the business (he neeeeeded it). He would not admit to having spent good money on a defective product. Looking at Consumer's magazine should have warned him off of that brand at that time. Yes, they've come a long way since then, and J.D. Power will attest to that.

    I was just hoping to find a somewhat impartial, informative source for purchasing equipment. Since I'm told one does not exist, I will continue to use this forum to it's fullest!!! Thanks!
  7. Advance The Man

    Advance The Man LawnSite Member
    Messages: 154

    I've bought several items based on Consumer Reports. Many backfire. i.e. my Compaq laptop, a 2001 purchased (rated #1 CR) has been a POS! It was serviced 4 times within the 3 year warranty, it is now dead.

    My Sears front-loader dryer was the most expensive and highest rated. It has been serviced 3 x in 3 years and still overheats and shuts down.

    CR will rate the quality of the product at the time of testing, they rarely ever look back at a product.

    What are you waiting for? You were researching this last year too? Go with any of the near commercial residential units and you will almost certainly be ecstatic with your purchase.
  8. vtx1300

    vtx1300 LawnSite Member
    from OKC,OK
    Messages: 36

    I tried CR as well to find a mower ... but they didn't have any ZTRs that were up-to-speed imho. Maybe only one or two if any ... I don't recall now. Mainly they just do the push/self-propelled and maybe yard tractors - that's it.

    I'd say it's a waste on that sort of thing.

    I'd say you are doing the right thing by posting/asking here - reading what others write.

    From what I can tell, people do like their own stuff HOWEVER I seem to also think that there's quite a bit of unbiased thoughts out there too.

    The other thing I'd do - and did - is go to the shops and talk the ears off the sales guys there and pick their brains. I tried taking what they said and filtered it and then compared it to what others said. Also, make a list of what is imporant to you ... ie, PRICE, BUILD QUALITY, SERVICE, etc...

    If $$s was NO OBJECT .. I probably would have gotten a commercial "grade" ZTR mower ... and looked at the Ferris full suspension (not knowing if they are good or not .. I'd just consider them now - if $$s were no object). Also, SCAG/HUSTLER would have been in my eyes more than they were -- on their higher end models.

    However, I'd still say it depends on what you're trying to do - it's different for everyone.

    sorry for the rambling... :)

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