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Zero Turn Purchase Dilemma

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by Big.Daddy.Gusto, May 7, 2014.

  1. Big.Daddy.Gusto

    Big.Daddy.Gusto LawnSite Member
    from PA
    Messages: 5

    I am just a homeowner who is considering treating himself and his family to a ZTR mower that may cut another lot or two here and there (which is very doubtful). We had an old 32 inch riding mower that would take me around two hours to cut our property, which is just over an acre. ItÂ’s gone dead and gone, and now I need a new mower. I was raised by an outstanding machinist and mechanic who taught me at an early age the value of a good tool and that of stout equipment (so keep that in mind). I want to get something that will last, so my children can use in ten years to mow the grass here. I just do not want to have buyer's remorse spending anywhere from 2500 to 4k.

    I am looking at a few models that go from what I believe are respectable budget ZTR mowers up to what I think should last me for a decent amount of time. The property where the mower will be used has some rough spots, dips, obstacles, trees, a slight hill in one area, one area does get a little wet and spongy.

    • For the budget ZTR mowers, I like the Husqvarna RZ46215 46inch or the Hustler Raptor 54 inch. My question to the pros here is can you point out which one over the other as I am having a hard time myself deciding.
    • And for a step up I am considering either the Exmark Quest S-Series 50 inch vs the Hustler Raptor SD 54. Once again, if other can chime in and offer some input, I would appreciate it.

    I know I am not alone out there as I read a few threads on this forum where others had a similar dilemma. I believe that it will utterly have to come down to wanting to pony up the extra cash for serviceable hydros, better decks or stronger transmissions, etc. I personally like the Hustler SD 54 mainly for the wider cut and tires along with the other upgrades over either of the budget zero turns.

    I do apologize for the long post. I guess I just want some people in the know to back up my decision to spend a little extra up front to have that much machine or for someone to tell me to save my money and get a budget ZTR.

    Thank you very much.

  2. theeplaymaker

    theeplaymaker LawnSite Member
    from PA
    Messages: 22

    I was in the same boat as you this year. I am of the opposite thinking of my father in that I buy a little more than I need so that it will last and help get the job done faster and easier. I checked out the Hustlers and the ones you mentioned are all very good looking mowers and I would have/almost bought a Fastrac from them. I didn't want buyers remorse either and the only way I wasn't going to get it was to get exactly what I wanted which resulted in a lot more than I wanted to spend but it was worth it. I got an eXmark Pioneer S.

    Anyways I think you would be happy with the Hustlers, my buddy in the end talked me in to the eXmark since that is what I really wanted and was worth the extra hundred bucks for the comparable Hustler model. I think you would be best suited with either the Hustler Raptor SD or the Exmark Quest S series. I am not sure what model my co-worker has but he has a Husqvarna that he says snaps the cables that run the hydros all the time. Like I said that model may not have that same design but he doesn't like his.

    I'm all for the theory of spending a little more up front to get something that will last and most likely cost less in the end. Plus you get the added benefits of it working better and giving you less worry free years of service. Fab decks are the way to go as well which you don't get with the budget ZTR's.

    Just my .02.
  3. nolimits76

    nolimits76 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 32

    I'm in the same boat. From what I have seen $2500-3000 gets you a decent residential machine like the Raptor. Going to the $4,000 range gets you a "mid-grade" mower that will give you a fabricated deck and the upgraded 2800 hyrdos (serviceable) -- Raptor SD, Toro MX5060, etc. At the $5,000+ mark, you enter into true commercial territory and have several different choices.

    Me personally, I'd drop the Husqvarna. I've owned other products of theirs before and just never been impressed with the quality for the money you pay. Also, the deck is only a 14 gauge stamped deck vs the 11 gauge fabricated deck you can get on the Raptor. Although in fairness, Husqvarna offers a 10 year warranty on their crap deck. I can't find the link now, but I thought the Hustler deck warranty was 5 years (might be wrong on this).

    An alternate to the Husqvarna you mentioned is the Toro TimeCutter SS5060.

    Everything usually comes down to money in the end. If you are realistically in the $4,000 range and stuck on new I think the Raptor SD or Toro MX5060 would be my choice. Both have fabricated decks (Hustler 11ga vs Toro 10ga), both have Kawasaki engines, and both have mid-grade 2800 hydros. I am going this weekend to look at both in person (my local dealer sales both brands). From what I've read, Hustler is typically the preferred machine because of excellent build quality and frame sturdiness, but reading specs tend to favor Toro a little (foot assist deck, hour meter, etc).
  4. dcfas

    dcfas LawnSite Member
    Messages: 146

    I just bought the Toro MX 4260. It has a 10 gauge frame and deck, 18", comfortable seat, 23 hp Kawi. The Raptor is a good alternative, as well.

    I would consider how well the bagger and mulcher work on the machines you consider. They both work great on the Toro.

    I don't know enough about the transmissions to gauge the worth in stepping up to 2800s or better, but it will cost.

    My only concern about the typical stamped deck is how well it would hold up, but with a warranty you may want to consider saving some cash and going with the less expensive machines. I do like my fabricated deck, though, a lot. It's not only tougher, there should be less flexing in the fabbed deck over time. With everything attached to it that means less trouble down the road.

    Bagger is around 500. Mulch kit 140. Tax ? It's hard to stay under 4k.

    Good luck.

  5. Nate'sLawnCare

    Nate'sLawnCare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,001

  6. SkeetShooter

    SkeetShooter LawnSite Member
    Messages: 54

    I'd second looking at the MX series from TORO. Another big factor should be what kind of dealer support and service you will get when purchasing a mower. I wanted a ZTR but later figured it wasnt worth it for me to get and got a walk behind 48" commercial belt drive.

    The things you would want to look for in commericial-ish (mid-grade) ztr's are servicable Hydro's (2800 or better), fabricated deck (hopefully 11ga or better), and a commercial grade engine (FS OR FX series Kawi's are best) Probably wont be able to get your hands on a FX for that price point. General consensus is to stay away from B&S.

    All depends on what you can get or want... I'd also say stay away from Husqvarna, I've had nothing but trouble with some of their other products. Cub Cadet makes a pretty good unit believe it or not. Snapper Pro is great, but pricey.
  7. whiffyspark

    whiffyspark LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,494

    You'd seriously recommend cub cadet over husqvarna? What problems have you heard of??

    I don't know Anything about rz. But mz or mzt are solid
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  8. SkeetShooter

    SkeetShooter LawnSite Member
    Messages: 54

    I would recommend the residential Cub over Husqvarna... Its a pretty good machine... I wouldnt buy it because it has no commercial qualities on it, but it seemed well put together and well thought out.

    My Husqvarna Snowblower is just a POS. the drive line system is terrible, the way that the auger system is designed has way to big of tollerances and vibrates something terrible. For the price I should have just stuck with Ariens.

    My Husqvarna Chainsaw, also a POS. I've had numerous issues with the bar adjustment coming loose, oil leaks, bar oil leaks. I hate to say this, but my old second-hand craftsman chain saw was better than this... So in my "personal" experience with Husqvarna, I will be staying away from them.
  9. whiffyspark

    whiffyspark LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,494

    Husky snow blowers and cub cadet are the same. As well as a few other manufacturers.

    Husky saws and handhelds are highly regarded.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  10. SkeetShooter

    SkeetShooter LawnSite Member
    Messages: 54

    Perhaps I just got a bad one, but if im buying a chainsaw again, its goign to be Stihl or Echo.

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