How much HP do you need?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by DJL50, Sep 3, 2006.

  1. DJL50

    DJL50 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 269

    I read with great intrest on how much HP is needed on a ZTR. I was told by a lot of people the 19hp Kaw I purchased on my Toro 52" deck ZTR was too small and needed more power. This past week my grass got away from me with all the rain. It was 12" tall in some spots. I mowed it at a 4" deck hight and not once did I think the motor was having a problem. Did I mow at full speed? Of course not. I am reading where mowers HP is now in the upper 20's to lower 30"s HP rating. I remember at one time when I purchased Riding mower's for a retail store the reps from the company sat around and laughed at how customers were wanting/buying 17HP motors. How unnecessary it was to have a motor that big. Today 17hp is considered small. I have an old riding mower that was purchased in the 70's with only a 5hp Brigg's on it. We mowed for years with that thing.
    In a day of "bigger is better" and "you get what you pay for" mentality, do you think mower mfg. are just slapping bigger engines on their model ZTR just for the bragging rights and to make a few bucks extra? How long will it be before we see a 6 cylinder car engine?
  2. MTR

    MTR LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 1,280

    You did not mow at full speed, that is enough. Those guys do mowing for living, they have to be fast, in and out, no double cut, no double run, slowly cutting is not they have in mind. You have 40+ and more lawns per week, no time to play around. Z with most powerful and speed is the ticket.
    Yes, 52/19 can do the work, no question about it, but it will not be like 52/27, it is a no look back each path.
  3. SproulsLawnCare

    SproulsLawnCare LawnSite Senior Member
    from IN
    Messages: 365

    Time is money in this business. Sure, if you are going to use the mower on your own property then the smaller HP would be fine. But I have no time to waste waiting for my mowers engine to keep up with the amount of grass that is shooting out of it at the speeds that I mow at. I can't afford for the blades to slow/bog down and not cut the grass blades cleanly either. I'm using a 27HP water cooled engine on a 72" deck, and I would take a large HP engine any day. Sure it's enough for most instances, but I would rather have more for the days that the grass gets out of hand.

    TURF DOCTOR LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,138

    Good answer,thick lush turf we need em the high horses.
  5. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087

    Well... when you are only mowing like 3 mph once a week with a single blade 30" mower that weighs like 300-400 lbs, you don't need a lot.

    But we are talking mowers running all day long, and they keep getting bigger, heavier and faster.

    My 25hp 60" is just fine for weekly mowing for the most part. But throw in a big hill, some rain water, lots of top growth... and a mulching kit. Well then you either have to really slow down or divide and conquer. If there was a bigger engine option, I would have taken it without question.
  6. greenscapes inc.

    greenscapes inc. LawnSite Member
    from Utah
    Messages: 137

    I have a 23 hp on my 52" Z and the next one will be at least a 25hp. I cant imagine a 19 hp.
  7. WildWest

    WildWest LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 384

    I've got a 21 horse Kawi on my 48" Exmark. I couldn't imagine going any smaller, although a 19 horse would probably do just fine. Speed and power to keep those blades spinning is all that matters to me!

    When I buy another mower, whatever deck size, I will have the biggest engine I can get. Nothing like cutting overgrowth and not hear the motor groan at all! I just want the discharge chute to look like a salad shooter!
  8. Jordan River

    Jordan River LawnSite Member
    Messages: 47

    I've noticed the difference on a PUSH mower. I have some accounts where I use the 21"er. I made the mistake of buying a mower with a 5.5 Honda. It sucks big time. There is not enough torque to keep the mower from bogging down. I am thankful I learned my lesson on a cheap push mower than on an expensive ZTR. After only being in this biz two years, I have finally realized the value of buying commercial equipment, and getting the largest HP engine I can afford. I see now why a commercial push costs what it does....and why I want a bigger mower REAL soon!!
  9. J&R Landscaping

    J&R Landscaping LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,095

    Glad to see you learned something. Misson accomplished!
  10. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087

    Same thing here on the Toro 21"....
    Love the 2 cycle Suzuki, but I'd rather have it on a 20" or smaller PUSH.

    What do you think you will go with next time around?
    I like the Hondas too... but I'm thinking the Kawis... like the 7 hp is the way to go...

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