Differences of ZTR mowers??????

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing Equipment' started by dchance, May 17, 2013.

  1. dchance

    dchance LawnSite Member
    Messages: 23

    Shopping a good residential ZTR and noticed that most all the brands are using common components. Same engines, same hydros, etc.

    so with the abundance of different brands, what are things to look for that may let you know of better quality?
    Let me know if I am off here:
    fabricated deck
    floating deck (chains vs linkage would like to confirm this)
    larger hydros the better??
    wheel size

    what am I missing?
  2. cfranzen

    cfranzen LawnSite Member
    Messages: 27

    Good question. I don't have the answer but have wondered the same thing. I know everyone has their preference and people tend to stand behind whatever they have put their money into. I have a Bad boy outlaw that should be delivered this week. I don't mow commercially, just my personal 3 acres. I wanted something that had everything easily accessible for maintenance and repair. And something that was a reasonable cost. The other thing that pushed me to the outlaw was the hydr gear 5400 pumps. I use my mower to push snow off my drive in the winter and didn't want to worry about burning anything up. Probably overkill really if there is such a thing. I won't be abusing this thing like these commercial guys so
    i expect it to have a long mostly trouble free life. It's a machine with moving parts, things will wear and need fixed. That's life. But I wonder the same as you, same hydro gear setups, same motors. Is there really that much difference in spindles, wiring, deck etc...
  3. weeze

    weeze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,746

    main difference is cut quality. every brand of deck is designed differently.
  4. dchance

    dchance LawnSite Member
    Messages: 23

    thanks....so when shopping, how can you compare cut quality? I assume reviews. but I am having trouble finding many reviews as the company is pretty new.
  5. weeze

    weeze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,746

    you should demo the mower on your own yard or customer's yards. sometimes you can't get a demo. if not then don't buy from that dealer.

    ..or you can just read on here. the overall general response is john deere, scag, and gravely all cut well in all sorts of conditions.

    exmarks cut well in dry conditions on well maintained lawns that aren't overgrown too much. if it's wet they don't do as good of a job and you have to double cut to get the yard to look nice.

    those are about the best out there. everything else is ok just not quite as good or at least it hasn't been proven that they are as good. it doesn't mean they are terrible.

    alot of it depends on what type of lawns you mow. that is why it's always best if you can demo a certain brand on the lawns you mow to see how it does. most mowers do fine if the grass is dry and well maintained but what do you do when the grass is sortof wet and overgrown or has alot of weeds in it? that is where some mowers are a cut above the others. they do a good job no matter what the conditions are. from bad, wet, overgrown, thick, weedy, etc. all the way to perfectly maintained yards.
  6. Four_Seasons

    Four_Seasons LawnSite Member
    Messages: 184

    Agreed, the larger hydros are better and last longer. Like on the Scag Cheetah, with two gear settings (ZT5400 Hydro System) you can virtually run in LOW mode (0-12 MPH) and never use the pumps to the max on HIGH (0-16 MPH) which will save life. As far as decks the best I have ever had experience running are Exmark and Scag. IMO they are at the top of the industry at this point.
  7. GMLC

    GMLC LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,345

    Weeze is right. It really comes down to the cut quality. Scag, JD, and Gravely cut well in just about all conditions. Exmark cuts amazing in ideal conditions, the rest are hit or miss. I can get into build quality and design but most major manufacturers can go 2000+ hours which is fine for most.
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  8. Tisdell's Lawn Serv. LLC

    Tisdell's Lawn Serv. LLC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    I'm just starting my lawn business out,don't have enough money saved up yet for a zero turn....I'm using my JD rider 100 series...so far so good...but a lot slower I know.I was wondering is the lap bar zero better than the steering wheel zero turns I been seeing advertised?
  9. weeze

    weeze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,746

    the only steering wheel z turn i've seen is a cub cadet. i don't think it would hold up as long as the normal commerical ztr mowers. i'm not even sure if that cub cadet is a commercial mower. it may just be a residential mower.
  10. dchance

    dchance LawnSite Member
    Messages: 23

    great yall thanks. Keep them coming.

    What are your preferences on floating deck vs linkage?
    My price range ($4000-$5000) and dealer availability kind of weeds out my choices. Are ZT-3100 that much better than ZT-2800 hydros?
    What are some thoughts on cut quality of Big Dog, Hustler, Bob Cat???

    I mow about 2-3 acres of my own private residence. the opposite of a professional lawn. I live in the country and do nothing but cut at trim. lawn is weedy and I do cut at times when grass is wet although I try to avoid it as much as I can.

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