Mower Options for 1 acre, need advice

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by Flounder, May 2, 2004.

  1. Flounder

    Flounder LawnSite Member
    Messages: 15

    This question has probably been asked a lot, I have searched this site for two days and I was hoping to learn some more. I have an older Honda 21" that has performed well but I'm spending close to 2 hours just mowing/bagging.

    I looked at the big warehouses and the Deers's at Home Depot (L110 got rated best by Consumer Reports Mag.) look the best, HD has a limited edition L118 with 20hp B&S INTEK V-Twin OHV engine and hydro automatic trans. for $1999, but after ready on this site I started thinking that a walk behind, maybe 36 inch would be better option. I like the idea of walking. I don't want to spend more than $2500 including bagger. I guess the $2500 puts hydro out of reach? How hard is 36" walk behind to maneuver? Can I bag my leaves with a 36" walk behind in the fall. I have a lot of hard woods and currently I use a Stihl back pack blower for that but I had hoped to bag with new lawn mower. The smaller Gravely looks pretty good and close to my budget. Are the Encore mowers good, I can't find any pricing info on them. Exmark seems out of my price range. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks for your help and recommendations.

  2. Bob E

    Bob E LawnSite Member
    Messages: 60

    I have a little over an acre myself. I bought a couple of years ago a used Bunton 48" walk behind mower. I paid $500 for it and it's the best thing I've ever done. These things are built like the proverbial brick outhouse and parts are readily available. You do need to be a little handy with your hands. I do not bag even in the fall. I just keep going over the leaves until they disappear with new sharp blades. I'm planning on this fall trying to use double blades and see how that does.

    If you can find a good commercial mower that has not been abused, buy it.

    My 2 cents worth
  3. Flounder

    Flounder LawnSite Member
    Messages: 15

    I looked at a Simplicity (42" deck and 16HP Kohler) riding mower today. I test drove the Simplicity and an Exmark 36. The Exmark 36 was really awesome but nobody else in my family would touch it. With the Exmark I'd be stuck doing all the mowing. This mower is so cool though maybe that wouldn't be so bad.

    However a small rider would probably be a better choice. The Simplicity appeared to be a great little rider to my unexperienced eye. I did notice the rollers at the rear of the deck (for striping I guess) and 14" turning radius. It didn't have any gauges, no hour meter. I assume the hour meter is really all you need on a small rider for maintenance intervals. Because I have so little experience with these mowers I can't understand the $1000 difference in price between the John Deere 110 with 17.5 HP Kohler for $1795 and the simplicity for $2799. JD has another 118LE that runs $1995 with 20HP V twin B&S engine, bigger tires and hi-back seat. However, from talking to the sale person today and reading here it appears the Kohler engines (Honda and Kawasaki) are more widely used in commercial equipment than B&S. So I have somewhat flipped back to buying the JD L110 with Kohler engine for $1795. But is the JD L110 a Piece of JUNK?

    Thanks in advance for any feedback or advice.

  4. ple_1969

    ple_1969 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 204

    One thing to think about is where you are looking for mowers. Do you rally want to buy a mower at Home depot or at a warehouse? The sales reps that are giving you advice, do they really know what they are talking about? What happens if there the mower breaks, will you take it to Home Depot to get it fixed?

    I'm a homeowner with 1 acre and bought a 48" exmark walk behind. I understand that you have a budget and your family members won't touch a professional mower. So it looks like a tractor. But do yourself a favor and go to a store that sells just mowers. You'll get the advise and guidance that you need. They will also be a lot more helpful after the sale as well.

    Just something to think about.

  5. Flounder

    Flounder LawnSite Member
    Messages: 15

    From your comments and others on this site my understanding is that the service is very important. I have talked to two local John Deere dealers. They have the same models and pricing as Home Depot. So my current thought is to buy from one of the John Deer dealers. The JD dealer I prefer happens to be in a county where the sales tax is 2% lower. BTW, in the local HD's they have signs posted that state service will be preformed by the local JD dealers.

    The Simplicity salesman called today and stated they have a $300 rebate through May 2004. That gets it down to $2500. Unfortunately the bagger is $600. It has an additional fan to help bag. I'm going to continue my research for another week or so before purchasing anything.

    Thanks for your input.

  6. dondinct

    dondinct LawnSite Member
    from CT
    Messages: 23

    I'm interested in this exact subject. I cut two small lawns that are about an acre combined. I like the JD 118 at $1995. I like the Simplicity Reagent at about $800 more. The expensive simplicity bagger is over priced. I want a great looking cut and wonder if the simplicity 'roller' system is worth the added money. Can anyone talk about the quality of cut on the JD 110/118 ?
  7. Flounder

    Flounder LawnSite Member
    Messages: 15

    I would prefer a commercial mower for product longevity but it appears a $2500 won't buy anything but residential rated equipment. The used stuff I have seen so far looks pretty worn out. Would a 32" walk behind be much of an improvement over a 21" Honda mower?
    The Yazoo/Kees brand walk behind appear to be within my price range. Are they built well? Some come with Kawasaki motors. There is a new 36" belt drive on ebay for $1800. Any comments or recommendations would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

  8. mowhigh

    mowhigh LawnSite Member
    from Dallas
    Messages: 198

    The commercial walk-behinds would certainly be an improvement. If you haven't given up on a rider and would like the maneuverability of a zero-turn, check out the Country Clipper JAZeeOne (starts under $3200). Its fabricated deck is much more rugged than the JD L110 (which deserves it top-ranking for residential mowers) and it also flips-up for easy access! Commercial mowers cut better and faster (JAZeeOne 6.5 mph vs L110 5.5 mph) in part due to their higher blade tip speed; generally at least 18,500 fpm (JAZee is 19,000), residential models rarely exceed the 17,000 range. Good luck!
  9. fprintf

    fprintf LawnSite Member
    Messages: 53

    It sounds like you are set on a rider because of your desire to have some help maintaining the lawn. If that is not your primary concern, may I recommend you reconsider a 48" walk behind?

    I had the same choice at the end of 2002. I purchased a Toro 48" proline fixed deck, belt drive for $2100 at the time and I have been so pleased with it. Perfect cut *except* where the hill meets the flat part of the lawn, great stripes and a feeling like I could earn a few bucks on the side if I had the time and inclination (or need) to mow the neighbors lawns.

    Whatever you get in one of the larger mowers, make sure you always wear eye and hearing protection. They are surprisingly loud, with most of the noise coming from the blades.
  10. dwost

    dwost LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,669

    Take a look at this

    They are getting good reviews on here. Personally, I'd go with a commercial product over a tractor but that's my opinion. I was in the same boat and looked long and hard at all the riders out there. I ended up with a 48" Gravely that smokes all the riders in cut and build quality. Personally I'd go bigger than 36" but that's just a preference. You will still cut down the cutting time drastically with a commercial 36" You can also get a sulky if you feel like riding in some spots. As for all the attachments (bagger, mulch kit, etc...) they are available.

    I will say, I was leaning toward Simplicity if I went with a tractor as I was impressed with their products. My neighbor has a Broadmore and it does leave a great cut. Not to mention it stripes very well also. Good luck in your search.

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