I am in need or a new riding mower, I have 1 1/2 acres in rural Iowa to mow.
I would like something with a decent sized deck and decent wheels as I have
some bumps in my yard.
I am wondering if Dept store mowers are decent in workmanship or are they
cheap ? I really do not want to buy a new mower ever season or every other
I also would like to keep it in the $2,000-$2500 range if I could.
What do you guys recommend ?
In that price range I would look at John Deere and Toro zero turn riding
mowers or buy a used Exmark commercial Lazer Z rider.
Zero turn riders are far better than tractor type mowers for just cutting
I bought an Exmark hydro walk behind to cut my 3/4 acre yard.
The only reason I didn't buy a zero turn rider is because of a long steep
hill in the back that ends up in a creek.
You can get a John Deere for that price. Get it from a dealer instead of
the stores like Home Depot. If you would have any problem with it, they
will come and pick it up for you, unlike the department stores.
YOu can start here and look at the l 100 series.
Whatever you decided to do , get a mower with the hydrostatic transmission
instead of the fixed speed units.
You should be able to find a dealer from that web site.
My experience is different from the other advice you've gotten. I think a
ZTR is primarily a commercial product, best for the MB&G lawn services (Mow,
Blow and Go) because it minimizes trimming and is the fastest way to mow a
lawn. There's a big cost differential for a ZTR, and for a homeowner I
think the cost and complexity differential makes a conventional tractor
advantageous -- you'll get a more durable mower, larger engine, more
features and less potential maintenance problems with a conventional lawn
tractor. I also don't feel that a hydrostatic transmission is a necessity,
especially if it's a tradeoff between the hydrostatic transmission and a
larger, faster and more powerful mower with a five or six-speed. In
addition, although I bought my JD intending to use it primarily as a mower,
probably 90% of its use is as a lawn tractor, towing a cart around with
plants, paving blocks, bags of compost, etc.
Retail prices -- you can get all the retail prices you need with a visit to
a Home Depot, whether you decide to buy there or not. In my experience,
buying from another (local) source only makes sense if there is a cost
advantage. The JD retailer in this area does NOT make free home deliveries
or pickups, even if you bought the machine from him. OTOH, my previous home
had a good local JD dealer and I would buy from him if his prices were
competitive. It's not realistic to think that most local retailers will
give you special treatment if you have to have the equipment serviced a few
years from now. I would also try to bargain over the price, even at Home
Depot. Any time I have a large order at Home Depot I bargain with them over
the final price. There are several levers you can pull to get a 10%
discount at HD, and a local shop should have to stay competitive with the
I work for JD in a delivery aspect (delivering their product line). It is a
fact, the box stores do not sell the same quality as a JD dealer. In fact,
JD will not sell to the box stores the same items as they do to the dealers.
The dealer handles a better line. Box stores sell a walk behind with the
same model number, but the model is different than bought through a dealer
(drive gear especially noted). On the tractors, you will not be able to get
the same model as a dealer, shopping through a box store.
It would be a huge mistake to compare just on price. Buying just by price
would be a bigger mistake.
IMHO, it's a catch 22 for JD, a lot of people complain about JD quality,
when they have bought through a box store. JD is getting a black eye and
I was looking to replace my 21" this spring, so I went to the JD dealer. I
was looking for a commercial 21 and the JD salesman didn't want to sell me
one. He said that the commercial 21's had such a high warrenty return
that they were thinking about stop carrying them all together. They had 2
of them sitting on the show room floor, so I demo'ed one for the day. What
a heavy, gut-less pig it was.
What I also saw while at the JD dealer was all of these's Home Depo
warrenty return tractors in the repair shop. At first I thought that they
were for sale but then I noticed all the repair tags hanging on them. From
what I understand, JD is aiming for the bottom of the market and claiming
to be a "high end" consumer product. This is the same for cub cadet,
lawnboy and even toro (lawnboy is owned by toro now..) .
At this point, anyone who asks me about quality mowing equipment I suggest
that they look into bottom line commercial equipment. For 2000 to 25000
dollars, the op could get a nice exmark or even a toro. This will not look
or feel like your standard lawn tractor, but it will last your lifetime
unlike a Home Depo JD or a Lowes Cub Cadet. It's really all about what you
need. If a lawn tractor type is needed for your property, then look at
honda and toro (imho).
Yard Works Gardening Co.
If you want quality equipment that will last, you can't go wrong with GRAVELY.
Their lawn tractors are built tough and can reasonably be expected to last for
decades without any effort. We use ours year round, plowing snow in the
winter. In the spring we use it to plow and disk the garden. The company is
now part of the Ariens Company, but their quality is still top notch. (As is
Ariens too, so it's a good match.)
I am not real big on John Deeres. Green paint must be expensive not to
mention the parts. I had a older 212 and gave it to my son and told him
to treat it nice because the parts will get you. There is nothing wrong
with a MTD for the price and you can get parts anywhere because they
make most of them anyway. Sears is a MTD in grey paint and + price. I
would go with a ZTR.
From Mel & Donnie in Bluebird Valley
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