eXmark vs. GrassHopper FINISH QUALITY??

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by RayoVac, Apr 29, 2002.

  1. RayoVac

    RayoVac LawnSite Member
    Messages: 87

    O.K. guys... don't beat me up... but, I really needs some guidance.

    I know that eXmark has a major following and for good reason!


    I am on the fence between a Grasshopper 618 (18Hp Kohler, 52" Front Mount) and an eXmark Lazer HP (20-23HP Kohler, 52" Mid Mount).

    Blade Tip Speed is stated as 18.8K on the GH and 18.5k on the eXmark.

    Major Differences seem to be:

    - Ground Speed Faster (using as a homeowner machine I don't think it will be a deciding factor)
    - HorsePower... eXmark offers some more HP. Will 18hp be enough for home duty 52"?
    - Mid Mount Deck... ???

    - Front Mount Deck - I have lots of trees and obstacles.
    - Flip-up deck for cleaning, storage etc.
    - Attachments... snow where I am at... blade or blower would be nice.

    An eXmark with 23hp Kohler and 52" deck will cost me about $500 more then a the GrassHopper with 18hp Kohler, 52" deck and Mulch kit.

    Biggest Concern QUALITY

    Has anyone used both lines? That can give me an un-biased report of finish cut? The eXmark dealer claims it will blow the GH away in quality of cut!!! What do you guys think?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. If the cut is actually that much better on the eXmark... I would be willing to give up the front mount deck and features assosciated with it, to go with the more expensive eXmark.


  2. Esby

    Esby LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 662

    I bought an Exmark Lazer Z HP 52" with a 23hp KAW. I LOVE THIS MACHINE:D You will too! The cut is outstanding, my one reccomendation is to get the MOST horsepower that you can. I have no regrets for going with the biggest engine they offered. Its worth the extra couple $100. Good luck.
  3. swn

    swn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 149

    I have never had an exmark so I can't comment on them.
    I have had 5 grasshoppers, including a 618.
    I think that it is perfect for the homeowner. You will appreciate the outfront deck, since you have a lot of obstactles. Also, I have never used a blade or a snow thrower, but have a friend that has used both and liked both.
  4. lawnkid

    lawnkid LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 935

    Both mowers are good but you might want to try out the Great Dane Chariot Jr. It is a very nice mower because the controls are between your legs like a walker, you can either install a snow blade or snow thrower, it offers a selection of engines, gives a great stripe and is not that bad of a price. Just my thought. Otherwise I would probably go for the Exmark.
  5. mowerman90

    mowerman90 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,491

    I've owned 2 GH and several Toros. I now use a 52" Husky with a 23hp Kawi on it. The Toros and the Husky, which are both very similar to the Exmark, all cut better IMHO than my 2 GH. I had a 720K (20hp Kohler) and a 725G2 (Kubota gas 25hp) both with the 52" mulching deck. One thing I do know is that when the Grasshopper gets to be over 1000 hours old it's going to start costing you BIG BUCKS for maintenance. My 725 broke a needle bearing in a wheel motor and it would have cost me over $2400 to fix the right side hydro and wheel motor. Repairing the same items in an Exmark would only be around $7-800. I'll NEVER buy GH again.
  6. LJ lawn

    LJ lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 356

    i think you should look into getting a grasshopper with more power 20 to 25 hp diesel if you can afford it.these machines are heavy and they can use all the power it can get. i think the quality of the cut is better-my opinion.i have a toro z also, but i have the g-hopper set up with the quick detatch vac system.it has the large hopper on the back.if i need to bag i just put the attachment on and go.it does a great job on the leaves.the grasshoppers are probably the most comfortable compared to the others.you do know they now offer a mid-mount machine.you'll have to weigh all your options.for every positive reply you'll get a negitive ,it's like that with everything.MOWERMAN- still slamming the grasshoppers i see.
  7. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,360

    I looked at the hoppers, and after talking with several people found that maintenance costs were huge and reliability was just ok.

    With that said, you just can't be an eXmark. Quality and reliability are awesome and the customer service at eXmark is second to none.
  8. TLS

    TLS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,943


    While the positives you mention about a Front mount GH being able to go under pine trees, etc., there are also some negatives to that design. The overall package is considerably longer, and heavier. Also, when you turn, the back end swings around and into other obstacles. Sometimes its a nearby mulched tree ring (no problem) and sometimes its going to swing into the side of your house!!! ($$$) Its just a common thing that happens, and it is something that will not happen on a ZTR.

    As for the attachments, well, GH does offer them. They aren't all that cheap, and often times you can buy a stand alone snow blower of better quality and more hp/" . No real outfront commercial lawnmower is going to be all that good with a front blade, there simply isn't enough traction/weight to get any real work done. The snow cant be too deep if your going to plow with it.

    Cut wise, I am not that familiar with the GH. Never owned one, and never actually seen one in person (not all that common with Pro LCO's in my area) But I would think that the Lazer would get the slight edge in cut quality.

    So....with the Lazer having more HP, smaller overall package, faster, 2 less tires, more fuel capacity, and many more dealers, I think that your best bet would be a Lazer HP 52"/23Kawi.

    Go test drive both, and watch out for that rear end swing on the GH.

    Good Luck
  9. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    Also. on top of that, 18 hp for a 52" deck is just not enough. It may work on a walkbehind, but by the time you power two hydro motors, and push the weight of the machine, your power is spent. Go with a higher horse.
  10. Mowingman

    Mowingman LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 4,714

    I bought a new Grasshopper midmount 428D and it is a great machine. Before buying it, I toured the factory with the president of the company to see how they were made. I was super impressed with their quality control and attention to detail. Everything is computer controled and much of the work is done with robotics. Now have 300 hrs on machine and it has performed great. I also have an old 721D front deck machine that has 3000 hrs on it. Has only had hydro trans. units replaced one time(at 2998hrs). It still is a good runner. As others have said, go with more horsepower if you can. Also, take a look at the Grasshopper midmounts. They are cheaper than the front mount machines and are really nice.:)

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