Lawn tractors

My aging riding mower is nearing replacement. Although it has served its purpose I think this time I'll go for a lawn tractor that better fits my 6'4" frame.
For my needs most of the advertised models in the $1,000 - $1,500 range seem sufficient. Question is the relative value of the automatic transmission over the regular.
My rider has the manual and has served well without any tranny work. Other than laziness is there any other advantage warranting the extra cost to go automatic?
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Depending on your lawn, it can really speed up the mowing. I recommend a foot operated hydrostat.
--
Jim Rusling
Partially Retired
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That depends on what "automatic" actually means to the particular manufacturer using the term. It's worth checking out. I notice some have started calling the "Shift On The Go: feature automatic now by removing the "notches" on the gear shift knob. Automatic seems to range from that, to a snowmobile-like force-shifting mechanism based on how much power is being applied and the resistance felt. It's still just conical pulley/s as opposed to anything truly automatic in the low price range most of us are can afford. If you go up in price and quality, I understand John Deere makes a truly automatic transmission, but I know nothing about it - way too expensive for my use at over 8k.
HTH,
Pop
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Main thing to me is that the blades can be ran at full speed all the time and you varry the speed you go over the yard to suit your need. I had a 3 speed and to get the blades fast enough I had to travel too slow to suit me. If I went to the next gear I could go the speed I wanted but the blades were not going fast enough. Also if you need to backup a few feet and then go forward again, all you do is move your foot on the one I have ( John Deer LT 120).
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a hydrostatic drive Cub cadet for close to 30 years... and when I cut my sons lawn last summer during his vacation using his "stick shift" Cub Cadet I was cussing up a storm... The next time I needed to cut his lawn I hauled my own Tractor up to his place...
Good tractors last a long time (mine is like I said close to 30 years old) ...the hydrostatic transmission is a bargin when costs are calculated over the tractors lifetime
I do favor Manuel transmissions in cars and trucks...I own 6 vehicles and only one is an automatic.. but for mowing the lawn ...give me an automatic...
Bob Griffiths
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the new hydro trans on the cheep mowers dont seem to hold up well, and are problematic. lucas
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Jim wrote:

How much area do you mow and how often? Unless it's a large area, I'd expect the possible time differential between operating the two virtually indeterminate. Also hydrostatic are nice for no-clutch shifting forward/reverse cycles if you need that kind of movement, but a ZTR will eliminate more of that than the hydrostat will in most situations. If you have really large areas, you may find that unless the hydrostat has a fixed velocity mechanism it gets tiring holding the pedal all the time--I notice it quite a bit w/ the JD 955 here (of course, it's more than a "lawn" tractor, it's a utility for the areas outside the lawn, but I think I'd find the same issue if the mowers were similar. It does have a hand lever-lock, but many smaller ones don't).
In the end, I'd try to look at places that will let you actually test-drive them first, even if it is more expensive than the box places. As someone else noted, good quality machines may last 30 years or more...I know the JD 110 Dad bought is at least 40 now and the S92 mower that I'm using routinely must be nearly 30 if not...the smaller GX70 I had in TN and brought out is 10 or so and might as well still be new...
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