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Does a ztr really pay for itself in time saved vs. a 36 inch midsize

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by bustutah, Jan 30, 2011.

  1. bustutah

    bustutah LawnSite Member
    Messages: 52

    I guess its time to make the jump to a ztr, preferably a walker, I do 11 lawns a day solo,(about 350$ worth) with my 36 inch ferris and toro walk behind.
    The ztr are much more expensive have you found the ztr's pay for themselves and more. I'd love whatever feedback you have thanks
  2. bustutah

    bustutah LawnSite Member
    Messages: 52

    I ve been looking at the other threads it looks like the exmark is more preferred than the walker
  3. BadRancher

    BadRancher LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,892

    Good question, but I think the biggest upside is comfort. You can almost get any hydro WB with the same width as a ZTR cheaper than a ZTR. On big open areas is where the ZTR is most beneficial. Faster speeds with the engine power allows you to cut nicely and efficiently.
  4. doubleedge

    doubleedge LawnSite Senior Member
    from ND
    Messages: 911

    What size are your yards? Do they have gates? I assume that they are smallish (perhaps a bit smaller than my avg yard) based on price. I also assume that you want to bag, or else you probably wouldn't have suggested walker. With that knowledge assumed to be correct, I'll proceed to answer with a story pertaining to a situation that I believe to be similar to yours.

    When I was looking for my first ZTR, I was dedicated to find a 36-42" wide unit because I thought any bigger would be too cumbersome; I also needed a good bagging system. The Walker/Navigator machines seemed perfect to me. I even tested out a Navigator; I wasn't as impressed as I thought I'd be. It really didn't go much faster than my 42" lawn tractor, which happens to be slower than my 36" dual hydro BOP walk behind mower.

    My other option was a mini mid mount type unit. The problem with those is that they usually only have 2 blades and usually only 1 anti scalp wheel. That blade configuration makes the deck take up more space between the front and rear wheels, which makes it more prone to scalping. It also increases the length of the unit to the same size a bigger units.

    Finally I reluctantly explored my final option, a 48" Kubota (which I had already narrowed down from the other 48" mowers in my area). I liked how it maneuvered and how fast it was, but I wasn't able to take it upon a full demo. I was tired of searching, and I had exhausted all other options, so I bought it. The Kubota is a good mower, by the way; it has been reliable over the past 500 hours, has dual deck belts, pto driven deck, clutch type pto activation, and the bagging system sits over the engine compartment to save space. The only negative is that it's bagging impeller gets clogged up with dirt during spring dethatching (and only then), which causes the plastic impeller to wear and fail (quite frequently if the dirt isn't removed regularly).

    The results? It turned out better than I had imagined. I can fit the mower onto almost any of my properties. The only things that stop me are steep hills, steps, and gates. If the ztr mower fits, it is almost always the fastest piece of equipment for the job. Only very small areas give the 36" walk behind an advantage.

    I bought an even bigger mower last year, a 54" Hustler Super Duty. I was again worried about it fitting, but I haven't encountered a problem. However, I prefer the way 48" mowers cut, so I'll be getting another one of those next time.

    Long story short: If your lawns are indeed similar in size to mine, and you need to bag most of the time, the 48" zero turn mower will be the fastest machine for the job. The Walker type units are most likely not for you, unless you like to mow slowly.
  5. bustutah

    bustutah LawnSite Member
    Messages: 52

    Everyone runs walkers around here thats why i've been shopping that brand. I'll do some research on the kubota hopefully it bags well. thanks
  6. bustutah

    bustutah LawnSite Member
    Messages: 52

    Half my yards are 1/2 acre or more. Several have small gates, i'll need to keep my ferris around. I'd like to see the investment of a ztr add the time for more lawns daily. Thanks for your post man.
  7. bustutah

    bustutah LawnSite Member
    Messages: 52

    anybody else seen an increase in productibility vs my 36 in walkbehind?
  8. Jason Rose

    Jason Rose LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,858

    :laugh: yeah riiiight. Try the other way around.
  9. turfbuilder

    turfbuilder LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from WI
    Messages: 554

    A Stander would work wonderfully on those sized properties.
  10. punt66

    punt66 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 8,536

    you cant get a good collection system for a stander. A ZTR would upgrade from a 36wb would be a huge production boost for you. Anybody who says otherwise just doesnt run a ztr. I wouldnt be in this business without one.

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