Entry Level Zero Turn


LawnSite Member
I am replacing my reliable 18-year old JD GT235 lawn tractor with 18hp Kawasaki engine. Keeping the tractor as a firewood hauler but would like to replace with an entry level commercial zero turn mower. This will be for my personal use and will be cutting 4 acres, flat lawn, tall fescue, twice a week then large fall leaf cleanup. Typically cut when it is dry and the lawn is pretty-well manicured, not many weeds but do get small patches of clover. Nearly all lawn service guys in my area run Scag/Exmark however the Tiger Cat well out of my price range.

What's important – 1. cut quality 2. reliability 3. durability
Kawasaki engine (FS/FT or FX)
48-52” deck - have some areas that get narrow
Budget is around $7K

Mowers I have looked at and like
Exmark Radius S - 48” Kawasaki FX651 with ZT-3100 Hydro
Toro Z Master 2000 – 48” Kawasaki FX730 with ZT-3400 Hydro
Gravely Pro Turn ZX 48” Kawasaki FX691 with ZT-3200 Hydro
Kubota Z411 48” Kawasaki FS651 with ZT-3600 Hydro
Ferris IS700 48” B&S Com. 27HP with ZT-3200 Hydro (like the ZTR not sure about B&S)

Any other suggestions or thoughts would be greatly appreciated.


JP in KC

LawnSite Member
Personally, if I was regularly mowing 4 acres, I'd want a bigger deck than 48" as long as there's nothing preventing you from using a bigger deck.


LawnSite Member
Thanks for the responses. I should have named the post "Entry Level Commercial Level Zero Turn."

Will check out the Ferris 800, ICD deck looks pretty nice based on the reviews I read.

Backyard has some narrow spots between flower beds, dog yard etc. so a 48" or 52" would be just wide enough to get through.

Would be helpful to understand if all the named mowers give the same level of cut or is one better. I have read the Scag V+ deck and JD 7-iron give about the best cut in wet or dry conditions. If you are primarily cutting in dry conditions, will an Exmark, Kubota, Ferris etc. all cut about the same?


LawnSite Member
East Peoria, IL
No. I'm partial of course. You just named the 2 best decks period. I love Kubota tractors...ZTR's not so much. And are you considering a higher end machine now? If you can stretch the budget a bit, if you're a veteran you could get into the Scag TC2 with the Kawi EFI 26 for around $8400...other wise around $8900 at retail. If your local dealer has any, he may be willing to deal a bit this time of year and come in lower than that. It will last a VERY long time for you!
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