I have a staris 48 and its my first ZTR so I can't compare it to anything else. I have 125 hours on it and here is what i know about it: On my weekly accounts it cuts very good. My EOW accounts if the grass is really long it will not mulch the grass at all. So if I'm cutting at 3 inches and the grass is 5.5 inches long all the clippings shoot out at 2.5 inches long. If I hit the clippings again, it doesn't mulch them much at all. Today I had the same situation and hit it first 4 inches then 3 inches and it cleaned up really good. I haven't had any problems with the front guard getting hot like I've read in some reviews.