Lazer vs hustler vs Ferris

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by jsaunders, Oct 12, 2004.

  1. jsaunders

    jsaunders LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,781

    I know people find a brand that they like and stay with them but has anyone switched? And why? Exmark is known for the cut quality, hustler is speed-maybe cut quality a little less then exmark, and ferris has the suspension, which can have its pros and cons and a cut quality that could be less than the other 2. Please CORRECT me if I'm wrong! My situation is that the lawns are pretty bumpy but I've been contacted about mowing a towns 30+ acres of ball fields.
    Dealers- exmark 10 mins away, Ferris 15 mins, Hustler 1.5 hrs away.
    I'm looking for a 60'' machine and at least a 27 hp engine. Thanks Joel
  2. FrankenScagMachines

    FrankenScagMachines LawnSite Platinum Member
    from IN
    Messages: 4,739

    Ok lets think about this for a moment.

    -Faster will not do any good if you cannot stay on the mower to use that extra speed.
    -I have yet to see a mower that cuts at full speed in all conditions. Mine will cut at full speed in quite a bit of conditions, but not all conditions, and i expect this is the normal for most modern mowers, they will cut in some conditions at higher speeds than others, I am not bragging just stating a fact. I have some lawns i mow at full speed and look just as good as at 3mph. I have other lawns I cut at 6mph and any faster it just is too fast for that grass type and growth amount, like for instance the grass just can't get sucked up and cut clean in the very short amount of time that the mower is passing over it. You can only go so fast with any mower in such conditions.
    -Ferris has an excellent cut quality when it's setup properly. I've had both 52" eXmark and 52" Ferris. There is no difference when properly setup. In a few rare conditions the eXmark did slightly better, but as a whole it's even in my opinion.
    -Ferris gives a smoother ride especially with the 4 wheel independant suspension. Mine has it only on the front end, but it's a monstrously drastic difference over any non suspension mower.
    -What "cons" do you think there could be to the suspension on Ferris? I know of no cons to it. Yes it's slightly more complicated design but there is not really anything that would cause problems, it's a simple setup.

    -More pro's for the Ferris with suspension- more contoured cut, less scalping. Smoother ride for operator and smoother ride for machine. Machines without suspension are subject to much more frame stress due to frame trying to twist on every bump and uneven part of a lawn. Never heard of problems due to this really, but it makes it ride like a bucking bronco, and makes it harder if not impossible to mow some contoured or really rough sections of lawns and make it look decent. I can take mine diagonally through ditches and places where my uncle won't dream of taking his Dixie Chopper. He noticed it right away when he tried mine. He fell in love with the suspension and wants to modify his brand new Chopper to at least have a floating front end, if not with suspension.
    -Handling- The Ferris with suspension will handle better than any fixed front end mower. Why? Because constant ground pressure is on the rear drive tires. They constantly have traction because the front end allows the rear tires to maintain full ground contact at all time, instead of trying to torque or twist the frame, robbing one drive tire of traction. This makes a drastic difference when operating on rough ground and hills especially. I can turn around or operate on contoured areas of yards where other mowers you'd have to stop and back up and do a special turn to get around the obstacle without spinning tires and/or sliding. Remember everytime your tires spin you will do damage to the turf.

    As long as you have a good Ferris dealer, I would seriously consider something such as a IS3000ZX (60" 27hp Kohler) or larger model. They have a new model like, IS4500 series but I can't remember what deck and engine sizes are available. The 4500 series has improved suspension (rides better than previous designs due to relocating the pivot points of the suspension systems), and improved deck lift mechanism. I really like the deck lift mechanism on my mower. Do it all with your foot and it's easy to lift. Don't have to use your hand to latch it or unlatch it, just rock your foot as you push the pedal. Very nice.

    Don't get me wrong, Exmark and Hustler are excellent machines. I guarantee you'll be happy with the cut from an eXmark. I can't speak for the Hustler but from what i see they are a well built machine. But don't overlook Ferris, give them a chance. They will cut pretty much as good as an eXmark if setup properly, and they'll stripe at least as good as an eXmark. My Ferris has no striping kit but stripes as good as my friends' eXmarks with striping rollers on them.

    Dealer support is most important, but I don't want you to be sucked into the popular lawnsite myth that eXmark is the best cutting mower out there. They are definately better than alot, if not most, mowers, but that doesn't mean that others cannot do as good. Or the other myth, that Hustler is the fastest MOWING mower. Some manufacturers advertise speed. Who cares? The customer does not care how fast it cuts, they care how well it cuts. I assume that you care about your work quality too. While Hustler and others may have a higher ground speed, you will most likely not be using that speed for mowing unless your lawns are smooth as glass and happen to be receptive to such mowing speeds. Even then you'll probably want a suspension seat! Try all three mowers thorougly (keep in mind that the decks may not be setup properly and the blades may not be sharp, my deck was way way out of whack when i got it) and thoroughly research the dealers and their support. If you can, talk to other commercial cutters in your area and get their opinion of the dealers in question.

    Please make an informed decision. I checked out other mowers before buying my Ferris but I made a mistake with the dealer and it caused me many problems. I finally found a good dealer and am happy. The machine was good, but dealer was not. I would really hate to see someone else make the same mistake i did (buying from wrong dealer).
    Good luck with it all. :)

  3. Travis Followell

    Travis Followell LawnSite Silver Member
    from KY
    Messages: 2,206

    I completely agree with FrankenScagMachines. I would definately go with a dealer that is 10 or 15 minutes away then one that is 1.5 hrs away. If you need a part or something you could get it a lot quicker. All three are great machines and you would be happy with any of them.
  4. jsaunders

    jsaunders LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,781

    Thanks for the post Eric- I have demoed exmark and ferris but haven't got the super z to demo yet. For the record I run ferris DD w/b's. The CONS of the ferris that have started to come up on the different forumns its that the shocks/springs get worn and then the machine starts cutting unevenly. This can get costly if you have to replace them every couple of years.
    I would also like to add a flex deck to any new z that I get as well. How far does your machine throw the grass clippings- whats the blade setup? I was also thinking about adding a suspension seat to a ferris as well. I think it would lessen any bumps even more to help my back last a long, long time. Have you thought about adding a suspension seat- I know your pretty crafty:)
    Talk later, Joel
  5. Fescue Farmer

    Fescue Farmer LawnSite Member
    Messages: 202

    Great response Eric!


    We purchased 2 new Hustler 52/25 Super Mini Z's early this summer and have about 300 hours on each one and I can say that you should not overlook speed as well. We have been able to set our decks and blades up to get a very excellent cut.
    Like Eric said, some of our lawns we can mow at full speed and get a clean cut, others we need to slow down, yet more often than not, we are often double cutting in order to disperse clippings (the 1/3 clipping rule in the subtropical East Tn river valley is a myth in the spring and fall when everything is growing to beat the band, not to mention fertilizer :dizzy: ) ; or to sharpen up a new pattern or correct a "miss pass". When we have to double cut for these reasons, it is on this second pass that we "hustle" down the stripes.
    We have literally knocked many hours off of our mowing week due to the speed of the Hustlers - we price new lawns as if we had our old mowers and make an extra profit, or we can price more competitively if it is a high profile account that we really want and still make our necessary hourly income.
    And talk about hugging a hillside or backing up a hillside that you have nosed down - these Hustlers stick like glue with the stock turfmasters! Our 52" Exmark walkbehind hardly comes off the truck anymore - that has saved us alot of time.
    I have not demo'd a Ferris, but I have heard alot of good things about their suspension.
    Go demo the Hustler and make a list of pros and cons of each mower on a piece of paper - IMO, Exmark is overrated - I do not like our 52" wb for various reasons.
  6. ScCo

    ScCo LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 251

    we have a 60" super z that has been an awesome machine up to this point. No complaints worth mentioning. Cut quality has never been an issue with the machine. It did have an issue with dispersal of clippings early in the summer when grass was growing extremely fast and the engine had lost rpm's, but after bumping the rpm's back up, we haven't had any problems.

    I'm now looking at a ferris IS300zx and a ferris walk behind, but it is not for any reason other than the ferris dealer is within 2 miles of our shop and he is an exceptionally nice man who has been really awesome in letting us take machines out on demo and such. The suspension on the ferris is nice. The main thing I like about it is the deck moving with the A arms, which helps with scalping issues on bumpy turf. The ride is a little smoother than my super z with suspension seat, but still for 90% of the time the super z is pretty smooth.

    I'll definitely be keeping the super z on the trailer as it is unbeatable on the yards where you can just let it rip and fly. We do a 5 acre townhouse lot that is about 80% smooth and flat, and 20% STEEP slope. I can't imagine doing without the super z on stuff like this. We can mow the flat, smooth are mostly at full speed, then take that same machine over and do the slope. The ferris machines that I've demo'd haven't really been very fond of that particular slope.

    Anyhow, to end my rambling, the ferris and the hustler both are excellent machines. Go with what suits you best on the biggest percentage of your properties and you should be happy either way providing that both have good dealers.

    I don't own an exmark, and I haven't decided from my demos if they impress me yet or not, so I can really give any fair input on them. I won't knock them, nor will I promote them. There's plenty of opinions on them available though.
  7. jsaunders

    jsaunders LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,781

    Thanks for the replies, I do want to demo the hustler very soon. BUT the only problem is that the closest dealer is 1.5 hrs away from my house. If there was a closer dealer it would be an added plus for hustler. Alot of my lawns are double cut during the year which is where the hustler would be great because of the speed, I would be flat out on the 2nd pass.
    I did stop at the ferris dealer today and he said it looks like the deck has been changed and some other things. He said he's going to be taking a closer look at the new machines on tuesday. He quoted me a price of $8999 for an 05 is3000zx with the 61/ 27hp kolher. I have to see what he says about the new models on wed.
    Fesue farmer- your lawns look great
  8. ScCo

    ScCo LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 251

    just some info on 3000zx pricing. my local ferris dealer quoted me $7900 on the machine. So if it is the mower you decide to go with I would imagine that your dealer could make you a little better deal than what he quoted you.

  9. jsaunders

    jsaunders LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,781

    Thank you SsCo- it's nice to find out what other dealers are selling the same brand for. Joel
  10. Metro Lawn

    Metro Lawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,116

    None of our Super Zs have had to go in for service yet, so I guess that says something. I did take one in last Janurary for a basic go through since it is 2 years old. I guess it doesn't matter where the dealer is if you don't need them.....

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