I need a new lawn mower!

   / I need a new lawn mower! #1  

tacticalturnip

Elite Member
Joined
May 6, 2018
Messages
3,372
Location
NW Atlantic
Tractor
Kioti CK2610HST
Hello folks,

After giving up on my 314 and sending it on down the line, I am without a mower; this hasn't been a problem, but it'll need to be rectified before we get into Spring. My lawn, if you could call it that, would currently be about an acre on a just under 2 acre property. It barely exists as a lawn, having seen much destruction over the last year, and it was a mess to begin with. However, over time it'll be smoothed out, dried out, and an attempt made to return it to normal.

Traditionally I have mowed with lawn or garden tractors; prior to moving here I had a D160 that I really enjoyed, however I found the lawn (before it's current state) beat the tractor rather hard, so I sold it before it caused any damage. That has me scratching the 100 and 200 series out of the running. That was replaced with a Cub Cadet XT3, which handled the property well, but those are no longer in production. The obvious alternative is the X500 series, but that would need to be used given their premium price. So, that leaves the X300 series; from that I've cut out the K46 machines. From there I've narrowed it down to the X380, or maybe even an X384.

The lawn tractor market is sad these days, the only real alternative to the Deere would be a Cub Cadet XT2 in the higher end. Those seem to be good machines, but the frame is similar to that of the 100/200 series Deere; they're pretty well put together, but I'm a big guy and the flex makes me a little uncomfortable.

Husqvarna isn't even in the running, their lawn and garden tractors are a bit of a farce. So I guess that just leaves the Deere X380/X384, or whatever I can find used.

Or...

I could get a zero-turn.

I've never operated one in my life, but they've taken over the market so there must be something to them. I have a few concerns; first and foremost, will my Big & Tall catalog self be able to operate one comfortably? Not far behind that, I wonder how they do on rough terrain? Mud?

I've looked around the local field, and I've found these machines. Does anyone have any thoughts on them? On zero-turns in general? How they compare to lawn and garden tractors? This will just be a lawn mower, other tasks are handled by the Kioti. That said, I've got a 10P cart I'll be able to use again.

Cub Cadet ZTS2 50

ExMark Quest X

Scag Liberty Z

Ariens IKON

Ariens APEX

Bad Boy ZT Elite

John Deere Z330R

Is there anything I'd be doing a disservice not to look at? I'm trying to stay right around 48" with the deck size. Is there anything to look for on a zero-turn that doesn't apply to a lawn tractor? Anything to avoid?

I'd like to figure this out quick enough, before the Spring rush I suppose.
 
   / I need a new lawn mower! #2  
If you have rough ground you will get a rough ride on the ZTR. The lighter your ZTR the rougher your ride.
 
   / I need a new lawn mower!
  • Thread Starter
#3  
If you have rough ground you will get a rough ride on the ZTR. The lighter your ZTR the rougher your ride.

That's kind of what I was thinking, though I'm sure initially everything will be a rough ride. Of course, with time the goal is to fix that and have a rather nice space when I'm done.
 
   / I need a new lawn mower! #4  
Its not even comparable, when you try a zero turn you will not want to go back to a lawn tractor, they are so quick and maneuverable its crazy... at 1 to 2 acres you definitely can justify a zero turn it would cut your mowing time in more then half compare to a lawn tractor.
 
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   / I need a new lawn mower! #5  
My reason for not buying a zero turn was all it does is cut grass. You said the Kioti would handle the other tasks, sounds like a ZTR is right up your alley. I wanted to tow trailers, aerate ect. I can't put my TYM674 on the grass.
 
   / I need a new lawn mower! #6  
Zero turns cannot be beat for cutting grass. Fast and easy.

But - I think you mentioned this - they can get stuck real fast in muddy areas. Then you need a method to “un-stuck” the mower. (I use the tractor).

Good luck.
 
   / I need a new lawn mower! #7  
I bought a commercial ZTR 14 years ago because I wanted to reduce seat time mowing. On the plus side it goes blazingly fast...on the minus it tears up the grass, and on rough ground areas I have to slow down to minimize the pogostick ride action. I finally resorted to adding an air ride suspension seat to give my sciatica a break.

Cheap machines will self destruct pretty quickly on rough ground and your physiotherapist and message therapist will be happy for your business.

From my experience buying a cheap machine is like buying cheap dollar store tools. The money you save just goes into buying them over and over again. I have a neighbour who made fun of me for spending $10K new on my ZD326 when he spent $3K on his cheap machine. After 3 of his "cheap" machines self destructed he finally bought a commercial JD ZTR paid more for it than my ZD326. Bottom line is you get what you pay for. At least now he doesn't have to ask me to weld broken parts on his cheap ZTR's anymore!

I've been actively trying to reduce the amount of lawn areas. There will be a point where the ZTR will be too fast for my aging reflexes and I will have to go back to a 4WD SCUT with big tires and a MMM.
 
   / I need a new lawn mower! #8  
I have a JD 570. Its four years old. Good machine. Expensive machine. I have about three acres of lawn. A two acre meadow that after several years of mowing - finally looks like a lawn. Then one acre around the house and out buildings.

I have no problems with the two acre meadow. It's a fun - easy mow. The other one acre - its just ME vs POCKET GOPHERS. Right now as the snow melts - it looks like a practice field for the First Armored Light Infantry. So...... as things dry out. I'll be out there - compacting the mounds with the large tires on the 570. Actually - this year I'm going to reverse the HD Rhino rear blade on the Kubota M6040 and drag the area with it. Quicker and just as effective.

I've trapped - I've poisoned - it's still a problem. For each pocket gopher eliminated - two more come down out of the brush. I'm just about to give up and turn the one acre into a corn field.

Anyhow - the JD 570 has been one really tough machine. I mow the meadow and meadow grass with it. I mow several areas of Buck brush with it. And finally - I've mowed several patches of Homestead roses.

After four years of use - still the same set of blades - still the same drive belts.

Like I said - one tough machine.
 
   / I need a new lawn mower! #9  
Years ago I went to a zero turn and never looked back several things I’ve learned as a result partially because of lots of joint and spine issues . Get a good seat really important. Second would be a quality machine it will cost more upfront but last for ever relatively maintenance free except for normal maintenance. Semi commercial/ commercial machines have better hydraulics that will last rather than the “ big box” ones . I have a diesel and swear by it and with a transmission on the deck I get higher blade speeds which allow for good leaf mulching .
now the only caution is rapid turns on damp soil/ grass will tear up the grass. Slowing down for the turns will minimize this . Zero turns are pure mowing machines that work . Mine is an over kill Kubota ZD1211 with a 60” deck I mow one acre at least once a week and sometimes up to 5 plus acres
 
   / I need a new lawn mower! #10  
If all you have is an acre, and not many obstacles, you could try a rear finish mower. I had one for years and it worked fine. You do have to be aware that's its back there when you're turning. I had a bunch of stuff to mow around, so I eventually went to a smaller tractor with a belly mower.

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