Zero turning radius mowers best? Dixie Chopper ZTR?

I know nothing abt lawn mowing tractors.
However the guys who mow our lawn here at work use Dixie Chopper ZTR mowers...and man are those things neat!! Fast and can turn on a dime.
Question.... if one was going to buy a mower.... would it be wise to only look at the ZTR types only? I mean.... are the advantages so SIGNIFICANT as to just make it a no brainer?
Also..... Im assuming that Dixie Chopper is NOT the only ones who make ZTR mowers, true? If yes.. what other brands of ZTR mowers are worth considering?
Thanks in advance!
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How much do you want to pay? Last year when I was looking at and testing ZTR's, they were pretty much all in the $6500-$7000 range. Grasshopper, Exmark, Scag. I test drove an Exmark LazerZ and really liked it, but I like the Grasshopper's front mount deck (which flips up for maintenance) even more.
I finally came to my senses and decided to look at mowers in the $4000 range. I think that John Deere has a model in the same style and price range as the Dixon. I went with the Dixon mainly because a local lawn company has several of them, and the owner raved about them.
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Dixie Chopper certainly makes one of the better or best COMMERCIAL ZTR mowers. For consumer use, there are a few choices at a much lower price however.
Ariens, Snapper, Toro "Wheel Horse", Simplicity "Derby" and John Deere all make consumer grade ZTRs. I personally prefer the Snapper because of its JOYSTICK steering, no complicated dual sticks. The John Deere uses a steering wheel, which is also easier to use. But I have heard it is being discontinued. I do know that a company called Middlesworth, that is now owned by Simplicity, patented a steering wheel zero turn system in the early or mid '90s which is no longer marketted.
In the commercial arena, there are many BRANDS, but most are built by a few manufacturers: Magic Circle (Dixie Chopper), Toro (Exmark), Simplicity (Ferris), Electrolux Home Products (Husqvarna, Yazoo-Kees), Ariens (Gravely), MTD (Lesco, Cub Cadet), Walker, Encore, Bunton, and a few more. The price of these models usually start where the consumer models leave off, and go up from there. A new Dixie Chopper can cost as much or more than a new KIA Rio automobile.
Any of these machines will reduce the amount of time spent maintaining the lawn. I know of one man who replaced a 48" John Deere 417 tractor with a 48" Snapper ZTR and cut his lawn mowing time from just over two hours to about one hour, just about in half! They eliminate most of the need for trimming, and most of the time spent manuevering. But even the least expensive consumer models START around US$4000.
Matt
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