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First time ZTR buyer needs advice! Toro? Walker? Hustler? Other?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Brian@ELST, Nov 8, 2002.

  1. Brian@ELST

    Brian@ELST LawnSite Member
    Messages: 16

    I have a small lawn business with about 50 regular accounts, mostly residential lots between 6,000 & 10,000 square feet. Six of the accounts are around 25,000 square feet and one account is an acre. Also, my own personal property is one acre. Many of these accounts, especially the larger ones have mature oak trees that produce heavy leaf fall this time of year.

    I currently use a 37" Toro walk behind w/17hp Kawasaki on just about everything...and I mulch it all except for 3 properties that pay extra because they insist that I bag.

    What I need is a ZTR that I can do a great job mulching clippings with the ability to bag during leaf season. Many of my properties have extremely heavy leaf fall and mulching the leaves tends to cover the lawn with a thick coating that chokes out the newly seeded Fescue...so I must bag the leaves after the first week of November.

    I think a 50" cut (or similar) would be ideal, especially because I am still growing my customer base. When bagging leaves, I would like the ability to dump the bag while seated on the mower. I had the opportunity to use an older Hustler Excel that had the dump-from-the-seat bagger and it really made leaf removal a snap because I could just dump the leaves at the curb and suck them up with my leaf loader just before leaving the property. The older Hustler was not good for anything else though as the deck was quick to scalp and didn't have the option to mulch clippings so I got rid of it.

    Please give any advice or knowledge you might have about ZTR's that you own or have had experience with. I am prepared to spend up to 9K. I really like the Toro mowers as they have always been good to me, but I've never had a rider. What about the Toro Z Master?


    Brian Postlewait
    Express Lawn Services of Tulsa
  2. Green Pastures

    Green Pastures LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,457

    You're going to get a bit of Toro bashing here on this site, mainly because Exmark, supports this site. Toro and Exmark tractors SAME THING. < that's a period. They are made in the same factory probably.

    The decks are the difference. Toro's stamped decks probably are less durable than Exmarks welded decks, but I've never had a problem with the deck needing to be durable. Dont run into anything and you dont have to worry about your deck being made of titanium. I've also never had a problem with the quality of cut on my Toro 52" Z-Master. Now the Toro 62" and above decks are welded, I think this is because Toro considers these 62" and 72" decks to be the real workhorses of the commercial mowing line.

    I will say this to you, if you're considering a 52" deck, REALLY look at the 62". It's not much more $$ and I have a 52" that's less than 2 years old, and had I known then what I know now, I would have got the 62" FIRST. I'm getting a 62" now anyway.

    Finally, listen to people, but take everything you hear with a grain of salt. DEMO, every singly mower you can get your hands on. You may be surprised to learn that what you had never considered, or even a brand you do not "know" or "like" may be the one that will give you the best cut and work the best for you on your properties. I was predjudice against Walkers and thought I'd never own one. Now, my Walkers gonna get buried with me. :D
  3. ScotLawn

    ScotLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 309

    yes toro and exmark ztr's are the same from the rear wheels back. everything else is totaly differant. Exmark has better manufactur support. You don't see toro having a forum on a NATIONAL web site fielding questions and problems from users everyday. Heck, the exmark guys post there phone number and alot of times there email address to contact them. Lets see toro do that. Toro does make a good unit but exmarks deck is far superior when it comes to mulching. The ultra vac is awsome in picking up leaves. From what i hear after GIE in Nashville, Exmark will be showing off a new bagger. If you have a good dealer in your are for Exmark, go demo one. Hands down, it will mulch better than the toro. Just ask alot of the guys on here that have them. I know 65Hoss will agree and many others.

    On the size of mower, I would not go smaller than a 52" deck. 60 is nice for larger yards but make sure you can fit it through gates to back yards. trust me when you get a ztr, you will NOT want to get the Walkbehind off the trailer.

    I'm not bashing toro's mower, just saying exmarks deck is better.

  4. crazygator

    crazygator LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,048

    Scotlawncare is correct. Exmark has a dump from the seat bagging unit for the 60" and 72" Lazers coming out soon. I know this because of an advertisment I got in the mail showing the unit. Looks really nice and easy to dump. I look forward to seeing it in person.

    As far as which Z to get, go demo several machines. You will find one that fits your style and prices range. Also consider the dealer support, which is needed if you are down and need a fix.
  5. Bill Davis

    Bill Davis LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 397

    I also have a Lazer Z and let me say that it is great. I demoed the Toros and it wasn't for me. The Ultravac system is great also. The Vac they are putting on the toros now leaves a lot to be desired in my opinion. Just my thoughts, Bill.
  6. Lawn Sharks

    Lawn Sharks LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 394

    Consider a Walker GHS. Never drove one but hear they are second to none when sucking up debris. They also have the dump from the seat feature you desire.

  7. What you need is a Snapper Clipper ZTR.
  8. dschulte

    dschulte LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    Bought new John Deere Ztraks this year and it cut my time by 40%. Easy to maintain and tough as hell. Knocked down a brick cinder block wall with it, ouch, and it barely scratched the paint.
  9. TLS

    TLS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,943


    With most of your lawns being less than 1/4 acre, some considerably less. And only a handfull over 1/2 acre, I feel a ZTR may NOT be what you really need.

    Now if your going to start targeting larger props, then maybe you should include one in your lineup.

    What I would suggest for you in a ZTR is the Exmark Lazer HP 52" with 23hp Kawi. Need a bagger? , the UV is nice.

    I would however reconsider your approach, and maybe consider a 48-52" Hydro walkbehind. For the bigger yards, add a stand on sulky.
  10. kjfaulk

    kjfaulk LawnSite Member
    from NC
    Messages: 80

    WALKER, WALKER, WALKER all the way

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