Tractor or Zero Turn?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by yamahatim, Jun 16, 2011.

  1. yamahatim

    yamahatim LawnSite Member
    Messages: 128

    I just bought a John Deere 534 4 wheel steer and everyone says I should have bought the zero turn. I personally like the tractor, especially when you have to tow a sprayer or trailer. Besides, you have to still trim with a push mower or trimmer. I am almost having second thoughts. What does everyone run for a mower?
  2. GlynnC

    GlynnC LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 911

    They both have their advantages, but for mowing, it's hard to beat a zero turn. Years ago (around 1980), my 1st exposure to a zero turn was a Dixon dish/cone drive. Years later, when it wore out, it was replaced by a wheel steer (Murray from Walmart). Dad hated it and refused to mow (getting old and could get by with it)!

    After having my 1st zero turn, I understood dad's feelings. I've not been around a 4 wheel steer so don't know how it compares, but I'm guessing it's much better than a traditional steer!
  3. Bumpmaster

    Bumpmaster LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,340

    I think a tractor is great if you are trying to save money, but if you are trying to make money I would go with a Z rider.
  4. yamahatim

    yamahatim LawnSite Member
    Messages: 128

    The JD 534 rides really smooth and they claim a 13" uncut circle at full turn. on the tar, maybe, but not on the turf! It leaves less wheel marks than the GT234 I replaced it with, and my buddy came over with his JD zero turn claiming he could mow a lot faster than me. He was bragging up a far, I am not impressed by the zero turn. I could easily keep pace with him. Plus, we switched mowers and I did not like not having a free hand when on the controls.
  5. GlynnC

    GlynnC LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 911

    Funny you mentioned the free hand--I live in Tennessee where we still wave at people driving by--do that with a zero turn and you've just done a zigzag. I've managed to learn how to hold both sticks with one hand for a short time so I can give the customary wave!!!
  6. mowerbrad

    mowerbrad LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,268

    Around the house, I think lawn tractors are probably your best choice. They offer a wide variety of attachments and can do a number of different jobs (tow a trailer, snowblow/plow, till a garden, bag leaves, use tow behind tools easily, etc).

    Zero turn mowers are great for commercial use. You really can't beat the manuverability and productivity of a zero turn when mowing, at least with an experienced operator driving the mower. I've used ztr's long enough that I can drive one with one hand the whole time if I wanted to and still make it look just as good had I used two hands. Its all about the operator.
  7. ALC-GregH

    ALC-GregH LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Messages: 7,051

    I bet you never cut with a Scag. I can light a cig while mowing and never miss a beat. I can free hand my Cub and it goes straight. One hand, two hands, no hands, it don't matter. I've mowed almost every property I cut, one handed!

    Oh yeah..... :waving: <my other hand is holding the cig. :laugh:
  8. GlynnC

    GlynnC LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 911

    I bet you're wrong on the Scag--I have a 61"TT, and love it--it's several years old, advantage deck, 25hp Kohler. I was stretching the one hand part for a bit of humor--but at one point, I used a newer version of the dish/cone drive Dixon--one handed driving was much harder. I still drive with both hands most of the time.

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