Need advice on buying first riding lawn mower

I have about 2 acres to mow. I live in a small town and the only mowers I have access to are those at a local Sears outlet and I can drive 30 miles to a Lowes. I just want the best buy for the money. If I could keep the cost close to $1000-1200, that would be great. Of the mowers in that price range, what would you recommend. THanks
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snipped-for-privacy@NOSPAMjuno.com wrote:

Depends. What is your acreage like? Is it grassy or weedy? Do you have lots of trees and shrubs to mow around? Do you want to do things other than just mow? You may want a lawn tractor if you need more cutting power, or if you dream of pulling cartloads of amendments or some day tilling/furrowing your garden patch with it. But if you only mow grass and want a nimble little number that goes fast and turns on a dime, a riding mower will probably do. At your price range, you can get a nice little low-horsepower tractor that will mow and pull... might even lend itself to uncomplicated snow "pushing" (as opposed to plowing), or a riding mower that will do what it does well.
One important question, and it's not as dopey as it sounds: Do you want to be able to mow in reverse?
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John Deere & Cub Cadet
wrote:

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A very good site with lots of good people: http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/tractor/
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Andy replies:
I have had two Murrays. The work OK, and I am able to make repairs to them as needed. Each lasted me about 15 years. I presently have a Sears Craftsman which cost $900. It is made better than the Murray, but will also be harder if I have to repair it.... My neighbor has a John Deer, which cost about $2000. It is like driving a Cadillac compared to the Murray or even the Craftsman, and is well constructed. However, it mows the grass just the same as the Murray, and requires essentially the same maintenance. I expect repairs and parts will be very costly for him.....
If you can maintain it yourself, there's no sense buying an expensive model, as it will work about the same. if your land has a lot of ruts and hills, and sticks, and all manner of stuff that is hard to mow, it will be very hard on the blade assembly housing. If you are mowing a golf course, I wouldn't spend the extra money.....
Those are just my opinions. I am a frugalista, and don't see any point in paying a lot of extra money for a name recognition brand, if my needs are such that something like a Murray will do the job just as well...
Andy in Eureka, Texas
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