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tractor vs commercial walk behind

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by nov141992, Feb 28, 2005.

  1. nov141992

    nov141992 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 19

    My new house has .8 acre which I would have thought wouldn't have been that big of a deal to mow with my 22" mower. I was wrong. It takes over 3 hours and I have to refill the tank 60% of the way through it. So I need to buy something to deal with this since I'm not going to pay someone else to cut my grass (even if it costs less).

    So the main question is do I get a traditional lawn tractor or a commercial style mower? When I say commercial mower I am referring to a 48" walk behind mower that is self propelled. I'd likely buy a sulkie. My impression is these things go for over $4K new so I'd have to go used and likely spend around $2K. I've been considering used 48" belt drive Scags.

    It appears to me that most homeowners with a large lawn buy the tractor. But I've got to believe the mower is faster otherwise why is it that landscapers use mowers not tractors. So then why don't homeowners typically buy the faster mower? Is it only a matter of money or are they far less comfortable or some other reason?

    Could anyone offer some advice as to what's best for my situation. I wouldn't give a lot of benefit to attachments for a tractor. I just want to cut my grass faster. The lawn is pretty flat with some obstacles to go around but not a ton of them. Speed and reliability are the biggest factors.

    Thanks for any information/response.

  2. AEW

    AEW LawnSite Member
    Messages: 161

    If all I was going to do is use it around the house then why not a tractor, there is so much more you can use it for...if you are positive about not using it for any other reason then a walk behind would be ok. Professionals use these faster mowers because they know all they are doing is cutting grass with them and nothing else. It is really up to you but I would more than likely stick with a versatile tractor. And if you can find a used hydro walk behind go with that instead of the belt driven.
  3. kturf

    kturf LawnSite Member
    Messages: 181

    a walk behind will be quicker than a tractor

    For sale Exmark 48'' walk behind in NC


    For sale 2003 Exmark 48 " metro walk behind with velkey used one season has about 45 hrs on it used by homeowner.1750.00 call or pm at 336 280-3074
  4. procut

    procut LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,852

    Personally, I think a tractor with a 38"-48" deck would be more than sufficient for you. Also, you COULD use the tractor for other things around the house, ie. snow removal, lawn rolling, de-thaching or aerating, or maybe pull a lawn cart around yard. All a walk behind will do is mow.
  5. Moe Fish

    Moe Fish LawnSite Member
    from Fla
    Messages: 72

    Tractor = ride
    walk behind = walk
  6. nov141992

    nov141992 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 19

    I should mention a few other things. I already own a snow thrower. I don't have a need for a cart. I probably wouldn't ever buy an aerator since I'd use it once a year and don't want the additional storage item. I appreciate the point though of the added versatility of the tractor.

    Has any one with a similar size property (.8 acre, mostly lawn) tried both or switched from a tractor to a commercial mower or vice versa? How much of a time difference did you notice? Are we talking 5% or 50%? What were you more pleased with and why?

    If I were to get a tractor I'm leaning towards a new JD L120 48". After buying a bagger and paying tax it'd be close to $3K for it. Any comments on this choice?

    If I get a walk behind commercial I'm not as sure of what I'd try to get used but leaning towards Scag. My perception is I'm better off with the belt drive instead of hydro because they cost less (more likely to find something in decent shape), are a lot simpler and easier to maintain.

    Thanks for any help :waving:
  7. K&L Landscaping

    K&L Landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 657

    I understand wanting to save a few bucks but if you get a belt drive w/b you will be sick. Shop around and find a good hydro drive, TRUST ME. Anybody else that cuts grass professionally will attest to this.
  8. mattydjakd

    mattydjakd LawnSite Member
    Messages: 50

    If only mowing, def. walk behind. Besides that, you will be the envy of your neighbors with your lawn looking like YANKEE stadium...not those ugly stripes at fenway. At .8/acre, that wont take too long either, plus you will get a little exercise.
  9. J.Gordon

    J.Gordon LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 674

    I sold a 4-wd Kubota with a 5’ finish mower and bought a Hustler Super walk-behind with a BullRider sulky. It has saved me so much time its not even funny. About 4 hours every time I mow!
    The reason I bought a walk-behind is because I have a lot of trees with limbs falling all the time. With the walk-behind, I just pick the limb or rock up and I’m back to mowing before I could get back on the Tractor or ZTR. I have some good slopes that would require me to use the 4-wd wit the Kubota and it would tear the turf real easy. I can actually mow my place faster with my SWB than I could with a comparable Super Z. if your wanting to save a lot of time and have trees with limbs or other stuff that requires you to move while mowing, I would definitely get a good walk-behind with a sulky that will allow you to do a true zero turn. But I would not be without my 40 horse International either. I would not consider a garden style lawn tractor, they just wont compare. This has worked very well for me.
    You can get a Hustler super walk-behind with a 23 hp 48’’ or a 25 hp 54’’ deck and they are worth the money. (IMO.) I would definitely get the Hydro though, whatever you buy!
  10. rbeitz

    rbeitz LawnSite Member
    Messages: 138

    A commercial walk behind will beat a GT anyday. I have just over 2.1 acres. My neighbor has the same size lot. I mowed with a Scag SW48 belt drive for the last 7 years. I have a lot of trees, landscaping etc... It took me anywhere from 1:40 to 2 hours to mow my yard depending on the pattern I would walk. My neighbor has an 18hp GT with a 48 deck. It takes him 3.5 hours to mow the same size yard with a lot less trees and obstacles to mow around. My walk behind sold new for $2800 in 1998 and I believe they can still be had for around $3K.

    After walking for 7 years I moved up to a ZTR with a 6ft cut and I am now mowing my yard in 45 minutes. The extra 2 ft in deck size and the increased ground speed of the ZTR really made a difference.

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