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Well this is a question where the answer is mostly a matter of opinion. I would look around at your local dealers and find out about the different features the mowers have. Also, I would decide on a dealer that you really like and that will help you down the road on service and parts for your mower. There are many different mowers out there, and if you want my opinion I would buy either a Toro, Exmark, or Scag.... thats JMO. Like I say, there are many different brands and its all an opinion and also a budget that you might want to meet. Are you looking for a walk behind or a rider? Hydro or gear drive?
I am looking at zero turns I've probably narrowed to exmark, kubota, and snapper but am welcome to the professional opinion. I know a commercial is not practical but if your gonna drop 3-4k on a regular mower, why not spend a few more and it last forever. Also what manufacturing design is most important to look for i.e. transmission design, pto clutch, spindles, etc.
is constructed by taking a sheet of steel (usually thin steel)..... and pressing it between two molds which stretch and bend the steel into the shape of the deck as you see it.
Most homeowner mowers (Lowe's , Home Depot) have stamped decks. These decks are ordinarily shallow and don't produce the vacuum that a deep "fabricated" deck can produce. They (stamped decks) also are ordinarily much less durable. I've seen gauge wheels break off.... spindles rust out and fall through the deck....
Bottom line is if you want a mower that will last for a LONG TIME.... spend the extra $1500 and keep out of Home Depot.
DISCLAIMER: I'm not a professional. Just a homeowner who tried to educate myself on this topic before making a $6k purchase.
Most commercial mowers have some sort of fabricated deck. Some are assembled with bolts/nuts.... others welded. However some of the "homeowner" models offered by the commercial manufacturers have stamped decks.
You should look at the websites for whatever product you are interested in to try and determine what type they offer. I may be wrong, but I believe the Simplicity/snapper, cub cadet and several other mfgs who offer a bigger line of homeowner models use some type of stamped deck on some of their more expensive models also.
Beware..... the dealers will try to sell you a $3500 - 4000 ZTR that has an inferior deck. They will say "you'll never wear it out". This may be true, but they probably won't produce the blade tip speed and suction to give a superior quality of cut like a deep deck will.
Blade tip speed and lift (vacuum) are VERY important if you want to have a good quality of cut in ONE PASS without leaving behind stragglers.