Which rider for 1500 or less?

osiris1975(5b)March 13, 2010

Hi There,

I'm looking for advice to buy the appropriate riding mower for my lawn. Heres the things I consider when looking for one:

- Lawn is half an acre.

- Lots of very mature trees

- Lots of roots at grass level

- Lots of pine needles and cones and leaves to deal with in the fall.

- I have a bad back, so need a good seat.

- I had a bad experience with a Husqavarna walk-behind mower.

- I'll be wanting to mostly mulch the grass, and use a tow sweeper to deal with the pine needles, cones, and leaves.

- I don't want to spend more than $1500.

So based on these criteria, I am looking at the following models:

-Craftsman YT3000 (http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_07128924000P)

-Ariens A20BH42


Both have hydro transmissions, the main difference that I can see between the two is the Craftsman has a larger deck while the Ariens has 2 cylinders. I like that Craftsman warrantees the frame and axle for 5 years(rest is 2). I'm not sure what the warranty on the ariens is.

The questions I could use help answering are:

- Is a 46in deck going to be much different on a half an acre lawn?

- Is a 2 cylinder engine going to make the ride more comfortable and therefore better for my back?

- Is there much difference between a hydro and auto transmission? I saw some cheaper models with auto trans.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Can't answer all your questions. However, if you're trying to avoid Husqvarna, then you'll have to say NO to that Craftsman, as it's the same thing except for the paint. My experience with a Husqvarna has been good, but I'm not married to 'em. Normally I would say that a half acre shouldn't require a rider, but the bad back thing has to be considered. On a half acre, probably very little difference mowing time between 42" and 46" deck; make sure the 46" will go through any gates. I see no reason why the twin-cylinder would give a better ride. Go with the hydro. You're going to get suggestions that you spend more, but if $1500 is what you're going to spend, then, personally, I'd go with the Craftsman. If you take care of it and perform the maintenance according to your owner's manual, you can get many years out of it.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2010 at 6:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

that's a nice price on that ariens.. which mowers have the best build quality in this segment or are they all the same? $1399 with 10% off would be less expensive then I expected to pay.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 5:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I bought that ariens... along with a tiller.. 1400 plus 400 equals 1800 plus 60 tax equals 1860... minus a $250 off $1500 coupon that worked when checking out.. down to 1610... plus bing 10% cashback which went through today... down to 1450.. so 1450 for this riding mower and a nice tiller as well... pretty sweet deal for this time of year, and free shipping on both.

Search around to find that coupon and it will work on any item on their site... bing cashback is hit or miss but it worked for me!!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 10:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'd go with the Craftsman. Better parts availability, more stores that sell them, and they'll last as long as you take care of them, oil changes, etc.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 1:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I ended up going with the Ariens, bought it yesterday. I just didn't see any advantage to having 46" deck. The Ariens mows in reverse, and is getting rave reviews since I posted this message here originally. I don't think I got the deal dissident got, but I got the mower and a brinly lawn sweeper with a 50% discount (about $150 off), also ordered a storage shed and all of it is free delivery.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 9:15AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Is the Ariens made by Husqvarna as well?

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 1:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

They are most definitely HOP... the one I just got today was assembled on Orangeburg, SC... which is a Husqvarna facility.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2010 at 12:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Just bought this bad boy about 2 weeks ago.

First of all...got the mower (A20BH42) from HomeDepot.com and $100 worth of random stuff I needed from home depot for $1503. Used a $250 off $1500 coupon I found online (supposed to be for bath products, but it worked, no questions asked. ((coupon: bath250sl)). Got free shipping on everything. Best deal I've found in a few years.

Paid a total of $1330 for everything including tax.

As for the mower itself, I have used it twice. It cuts like a champ, plenty of power, smooth and quiet too.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 12:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Does the Ariens (A20BH42) mower require a mulching kit? Tried asking the home depot but they are of no use. Any owners of this model care to help? Thank you

    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 5:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ask the horse's mouth.

Here is a link that might be useful: ariens

    Bookmark   May 19, 2010 at 7:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


I have been trying to find out about the mulching kit as well. I emailed Ariens and they did not respond. You are likely to get an answer from an authorized dealer, which you can find in the dealer locater on the ariens website linked above.

What I've done is to just buy mulching blades from the hardware store. I let it side discharge inwards towards the center of my lawn, which needs the most help from mulching anyway. Other than the blade, all you really need is a plug to stop the mulched grass from discharging sideways.

Please post back if you contact a dealer and let us know what they say.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2010 at 8:59AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am also thinking about the A20BH42-C($1499.99 for the California CARB model) from Home Depot, if I add the $202 dump cart and the $250 discount & free to home shipping I get the cart for free and total out $1577!

I just returned a Sears 'profesional' 24hp today, what I really wanted was the front scoop attachment and the salesman didn't know it would not fit that model made by MTD without a additional kit which was pretty flakey. I have also e-mailed Ariens to see if the sears/husqvarna scoop is a direct bolt up to this model.

Seems these are made by husqvarna but nobody seems to know if they use the same frame as the husqvarna models.

I would like to get in on the free shipping before it's over and can use the tractor none the less to mow but that scoop on the front would be nice to move loose dirt and gravel. Oh yes I am another bad back case with a bum knee so really want to get things done without laying in bed three days after moving a load of gravel around the property.

PS- cool forum, glad I found it

    Bookmark   May 19, 2010 at 7:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


hey would that mulch kit fit the Ariens Model # A20BH42? i too am thinking of getting the Ariens but would like to know if there's a mulch kit that'll fit. called my local HDs and they don't know lol.

Here is a link that might be useful: mulch kit

    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 5:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Probably best to ask Ariens directly, I got a fast response from them last week. Wish their website was better, took me a while to even find the 2010 product sheet but it does say mulching kit is avalable for the 42, 46 and 54" models.

How do you like your tractor, mine is somewhere between Atlanta GA and Santa Rosa CA rignt now, I should get it next week.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 6:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

hi Buzzard! well i haven't bought the Ariens quite yet, but very close. was still wondering about mulch kit availability...and also still considering the Cub Cadet LTX 1040.

biggest difference seems to be the single cylinder Kohler as opposed to the twin BS of the Ariens. and i love the sound of that high pressure deck wash feature on the Cub. what y'all think? should i go w/ the Ariens or the Cub?? thanky!

Here is a link that might be useful: Cub Cadet

    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 6:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Not sure who makes the Cub, the Ariens has been confirmed to be a Husqvarna built model, I went with that because I wanted to add the front loader scoop, I bought a Sears Pro a week ago and sent it back because it was a MTD model and the husqvarna scoop would not fit up without a very flaky adaptor kit. The Ariens and the Sears both have the deck washout port as far as I can tell. Not sure exactly how well that may work, I had a 21" Snapper I think had a cap on the deck to wash the deck and it did very little but got your shoes wet and left wet clumps of grass under the deck anyway.

Seriously go fill out the 'ask a question' thing on the Ariens site and ask them, they were quick to answer me. Since I looked at the HD ad, it looks like it fits Ariens, Poulan and Husqvarna, although one review said their was a air leak that dust and clippings came out of on the Ariens model.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 7:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

MTD does make that particular cub model...

    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 8:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

ooh! both the Ariens & Craftsman have the deck washout? great to know. leaning more towards the Ariens again lol. filled out the Ariens website contact thing few hours ago, but i'm betting that mulch kit would work decently.
the Cub is $100 more and NO free shipping so it's a tad more. i wouldn't care tho if it's the better mower

    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 10:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have been researching the Ariens A20BH42, the Husqvarna YTH2042, and the LTX 1040. I have come across a lot of people reporting that some Cub dealers would not sell the LTX 1040 due to problems with the CVT transmission (which is not a true hydrostatic transmission). Most people could only recommend the LTX 1042, which does have a true hydrostat. Just thought I would bring that to the attention of anyone looking at the LTX 1040.

I pulled the trigger on the Ariens due to the great price (with BATH250EU promo code). The savings from that allowed me to get the 17 cu ft Brinly poly cart. The features between the Husq and Ariens were very close. I think I prefer the vtwin BS over the single cylinder BS. Although not important, I think the Husq looks better.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2010 at 12:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Nice find Mookeylama! I believe that IS the correct mulch kit for the A20BH42. The confusing thing is Ariens has two different model numbers for the machines, one being the A20BH42, but the other being a number that 960 and is followed by several other digits. If you read the link it says it fits several of those models. I'm placing my order now.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2010 at 8:35AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

hey all, i got a reply from Ariens about the mulch kit. thank you Buzzard for suggesting i contact them! their reply...

"The part number for the 42 inch mulch kit is 73602200. this kit can be
ordered/purchased from Home Depot or a Ariens Dealer."

i sure don't see it at HD, but when Googling that number i found this...

about halfway down is our correct mulch kit! i bet that other universal type i linked to first would fit too, tho as Buzzard stated, 1 review states there's a gap. anyway, that kit from Jack's is the one, straight from horsey mouth.

Osiris, as for the 2 different numbers, i've noticed that too. when i called local Ariens dealers they wanted to refer to the machine using " a six digit number starting with 9" (her words). so i thought maybe the Store SKU # 932799, but i know that should just be for that store. maybe she got the amount of numbers wrong and it IS the MFG Part # : 960460011. so YES, very confusing lol. hell because of the 2 different numbers thang, that mulch kit at Jack's just could be the same one as the generic one at HD.

Yep Leukram, i've heard the same about the Cub LTX 1040's tranny. unfortunately HD doesn't have the 1042 that i can see. and i don't care much for the Ariens look either. big ole Halloween pumpkin lol.
i'm mad now though. i was gonna get the Ariens like 2 days ago and the Bing Cashback for HDepot was 10%. now it's at 5%. grr. may wait another day or so to see if it goes back up. i had planned on using both Bing and the BATH code. those, free shipping, (do they charge sales tax for Ohio??) should make for a nice deal.

Here is a link that might be useful: mulch kit!

    Bookmark   May 26, 2010 at 4:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You know you can negotiate with Home Depot. I negotiated free shipping and 50% off on the Brinley Lawn Sweeper as part of a package to buy the Ariens mower and a shed. So its easier if you wait for a promotion but not impossible to get a deal outside of them.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2010 at 8:25AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

yeah i know, but i think both Bing and the BATH coupon or only good if ordering online.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2010 at 4:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

ok, finally pulled the trigger. got the Ariens, a cover, and a ladder to bring me up to $1550. $250 off w/ online coupon (it changed now to BATH2506G), and got a email from Bing cashback stating $65 back in a few weeks, and free shipping. did get hit w/ state sales tax tho. anyway, all that for about $1320. not bad.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2010 at 6:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


When the truck arrives and you get off loaded, have a razor knife on hand (box cutter does not reach through the heavy cardboard), a claw hammer and catspaw to pull the top braces off and a couple of planks or plywood, the trucking company that delivered mine used a second pallet to move it on the pallet jack, between that and the overinflated tires I had to hoist it up and place planks under to roll it off the factory pallet.

Probably will not get moving till next week sometime, mine made it from SC to CA in 48 hours! Well then it sat over memorial day in a freight depot till the local trucker delivered it tuesday.

Checked the oil level, battery was already connected, added fuel and left it sit a few min with the key in run position (not sure if it has a fuel valve), put the throttle to choke and it fired right up after 3-4 short cranks.

Make sure to follow the manual to purge the transmission, other than that it's good to go.

I added the Sears front scoop to mine to move dirt and rocks around, it's a direct bolt on, both Husqvarna and Sears sell the same scoop made by Agri-Fab so I suspect whatever fits a Husqvarna YT2042 will fit the Ariens, I called a Husqvarna dealer the other day about wheel weights and he confirmed the bolt holes in the Husqvarna were 4-5/8" centers so I may order a pair. Ariens seems to not list any accesories and LOL the nearest Ariens dealer to me is in Lake Tahoe several hundred miles away and I am sure he sells more snowblowers than tractors.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2010 at 6:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

thanks much for the info Buzz. i don't have a Catspaw, but have a crowbar.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2010 at 9:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

if it comes in the factory crate, take nothing for granted. Chk tire pressures, deck levelness, all fluids, Battery electrolyte if not sealed type, ad naseum. Also chk bolts/fasteners to be secure/tight. Read the owners manual for both tractor and engine - there may be other things noted there needing to be chkd.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2010 at 9:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

About ready to buy an Ariens 42 inch tractor at Home Depot. Are these $250 promo codes still working? Appreciate any help in pointing me in the right direction or if anyone has the correct code to use. Thanks!

    Bookmark   July 4, 2010 at 2:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I could not get the 250 coupon to work, but I did get the 150 coupon to work.

However, I would remiss not to mention a couple of problems i've had with my A20BH42. Upon sharp turns, the front tires and grab ahold of the plastic and pull it off of the cowling. Also, when disengaging the blades, sometimes it will start to make a horrible noise while still vibrating and rotating the blades. This is the 2nd mower, as I returned the first one back to Home Depot..and this one is even worse. I'm trying to get in touch with Ariens to find out what the problem is, or else i'll be returning this one. Read the reviews on Home Depot website and some of them have experienced the same thing.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 10:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ok, know this post is old but thought I would add to as looking for a new or used riding mower as well. Here is my criteria -
Have 5 acres of pasture with many tall trees. Will be mulching around the trees in time so won't have to get close to them. Some of the area has slight swales. Area in back of property goes down a slope to access which I would like to still cut that area as well. My previous riding mower was able to get back up the slope, but had to put in 5th gear to do and had to stop and start mid-way up. Have looked at Ariens 46" and larger cuts, plus others.
Looking for durability, ease of maintenance, and access to local after market repair if needed.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2014 at 2:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Southpoint, you joined this forum in 2007. Surely you should know by now how to create an original thread instead of piggy backing your desire for help onto an old thread.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2014 at 8:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
larso1(So. CO Zone 5)

Wow. I guess you could also say that all questions like this have been covered at some time and searching in the archives is all that is needed. Really no need to ask any new general purchase questions, and for that matter most "mower won't start - mower shuts off after 45 min. - etc. etc." and new posts should just be closed since they've probably already been answered. Was up against this on another forum for a certain model car and many long time members became quite prickly with their responses. I know at one time a few longtime members on this forum moved over to another one for that very reason.

Southpoint, in my opinion, humble or otherwise, seems to me 5 acres is a LOT of grass to mow, and if you like spending all weekend mowing, then a rider tractor with a 46-in. deck is a fine way to go. But if you're like me and like to get it done ASAP, then the fastest device you can afford is the way to go...i.e., a ZTR with 60-in. deck minimum or vintage/compact tractor with big belly mower or multiple pull-behind mowers to cover a big swath.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2014 at 9:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yes, a thousand pardons. I was being lazy. Lash me with a weed eater. :)
As for your comment on the Ztr, sure that would be great but those puppies are expensive. As for the 5 acres, it's actually about 3. The rest mainly woods. Of that 3, I mow it maybe once a month. Our old riding mower was a 38" MTD Shift and Go that was 15 years old. Yeah, I know that's crazy but it did the job with no complaints. Course, had to give it a rest each time I ran out of gas.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2014 at 1:11AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Which model Deere for my yard?
My yard is one giant hill. 1.2 acres. I have about...
Poulan XT 38 in. mower dropped a part
So, had my mower serviced for the spring. Cut fine...
Plug vs. Spike aerators?
Plug vs. Spike aerators Why would someone use one over...
Craftsman LT 1000
Craftsman rider LT 1000 917.271851 032502D005822 Engine:...
John Deere 425 pto not working
I bought this tractor used,the pto worked when I bought...
Sponsored Products
Paper Table Lamp by Moooi
$1,703.00 | Lumens
Zaneen | Invisibili D8-6023 LED Recessed Lighting
Textured Lines Rug 9' x 12' - RED
$3,599.00 | Horchow
Hinkley Luna 4 1/2" Square Titanium LED Step Light
$99.00 | Lamps Plus
Black Interlocking Display Bookshelf
Furniture of America Single Storage Drawer Side Accent Table - IDF-AC100BK
$176.34 | Hayneedle
Winston Red 68 x 84-Inch Tailored Curtain Pair with Tiebacks
$42.95 | Bellacor
Estate Pre-lit Window Christmas Swag Christmas Decor
$129.00 | FRONTGATE
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™