5 Best Riding Mowers

gnomadJuly 18, 2009


I'm new here. Looks like a great forum. I'm considering buying a riding mower, and I trying to narrow down my searches to five.

Which would you consider to be the top 5 overall, and which would be the top 5 under $1000.

thanks in advance for your suggestions


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time to blow the dust off again...

Repost of Slammer's Rules...

1. Carefully evaluate the size mower you need and buy at least one size larger.

2. NEVER buy a mower from ANYPLACE that will not let you test drive it or at least a similar model. Ergonomics are just as important as performance and capability.
(Vitally important!)

3. DO NOT base your purchase on price or brand name alone! Do proper research and find all of the available models that fit your criteria and haggle, save, or trade to get the right equipment for the job. Do not compromise!

If you follow these three tips you will end up a happy camper with just the right unit for the job. If you disregard this advice your gonna end up with One or the other of the following problems:

A. Buyers remorse. Stuck with a piece of junk or simply a unit inadequate for the task at hand.


B. A teed off spouse when you start shopping for another tractor just 3 - 6 months down the road because you didn't buy the right unit in the first place.

Now go forth and shop and try and have fun!
Post back with some detail of what you will want/need to do with the unit - hard to give you suggestions without such info. And do spend some time using this website's search function - much has already been posted here that will interest you.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2009 at 4:15AM
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So true ... do your homework and plan carefully.

You can definitely find a nice machine for under a grand, my first one only cost me $250 (scotts 2046). I had to put about $200 into over the next few years (battery, belts, etc. but nothing major).

I am on my second tractor mainly because the first one did not suit my needs beyond mowing the lawn.

On my second round I did come up with my wish list (bagger, heavy duty GT, plow, etc) - and I eventually settled on a nice USED Ingersoll 444.

In my case I also had to contend with a low budget and an irate wife. On the bright side - when my wife starts complaining I just turn up the throttle a bit and it drowns out the noisy old lady.

Plan carefully, ask lots of questions to the group (i do), and take your time. If your not in a rush - you will probably look at many machines - after a while and only after looking at many machines you will start to know when you find that "good bargain"... Unless someone is helping you out.

Best wishes, happy tractor hunting...
and enjoy the ride - Dave

    Bookmark   July 19, 2009 at 10:29AM
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Consumers has a good writeup on riders.
they dinged badly the low end Bolens, etc,

Check at your bookstore for the 2009 Consumers book that
goes from A-Z

    Bookmark   July 19, 2009 at 7:34PM
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The best riding mowers under $1,000 will all be used. Check Craigslist, local dealers, classifieds, etc.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2009 at 9:42AM
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gnomad, many of us are hesitant to jump in when a question like this is asked; it's the Chevrolet-vs-Ford question.

The best lawn equipment, generally speaking, is the commercial-grade stuff (read high-dollar). For example, the Kubota line is excellent ... but this is equipment that is considerably more expensive than the consumer-grade mowers.

I'll go out on that limb, but keep in mind that this is just one guy's opinion. One of the top RIDING MOWERS (which is how your question is stated) is the Snapper rear-engine rider - this is NOT a lawn tractor, but is a tried-and-true piece of equipment that, with care, can easily last for 20 years or more (I know, because my Mother had one that was used and abused for more than 25 years, and I know of others with similar longevity.)

If you're buying a NEW lawn tractor for under $1,000 my thought would be to get a Craftsman on sale ... the Craftsman lawn tractors are made by Husqvarna, and tend to be pretty good. My father-in-law has one of the cheap Craftsmans that is over 15 years old (although it was probably made by MTD), and still works fine. THE KEY IS PROPER MAINTENANCE.

In the over-$1,000 up to $2,500 range, the Cub Cadets, John Deere, Husqvarna, and Craftsmans are pretty sturdy lawn tractors. Starting around $2,000 you can get a garden tractor in the Husqvarna/Craftsman lines, which gets you something that can handle ground-engaging equipment.

Personally, I buy used stuff ... safe, if you know how to check stuff out. Again, proper maintenance plays a tremendously important role in longevity.

I have no problem with the Consumers Reports recommendations, but they do not consider longevity in their ratings. All they look at is the performance of new machines ... keep in mind that even a Yugo automobile, when new, ran okay.

All right, now I'm ready for the chorus of boo's.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2009 at 2:11PM
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wrager(Z5 OH)

You can find a used Honda 1011 or 1013 for under 1G usually. This is a great little mower. Very expensive when new.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2009 at 9:39AM
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For the past 15 years I have used a craftsman 19.5hp B&S engine, 42" deck riding mower purchased at Sears and it has worked just fine mowing about an acre.
Over the years I have increased trails through the woods, roadways across the landscape increasing the area I mow to about 3.5 to 4 acres including the lawn.
My craftsman just don't have the same power it use to have and I am mowing more these days. Proper maintenance played a tremendous role in the longevity.
The landscape is uneven so my dreams of a Zero Turn LazerZ by Xmark is dead even though there is a dealership located in town it's just not practical for this application.
I would like to stay with a 42" deck so my trails want get any wider.
My choices based on dealership & service with 42" decks are:
1. Kubota T2080 42" mower Deck, 20hp OHV air cooled gasoline engine I think it has a cast iron front axle $4.1k.

2. Snapper LT Series...don't know a lot about snapper because I have never used one but, we do have a Snapper dealership where I live and I do like the color red. They don't give these away either.

3. Toro LX427, 19hp Koher courage twin cam OHV Engine 42" Deck= $1,899.00 cast iron front axle.

What's my best bang for the buck for quality results and longevity?

    Bookmark   August 1, 2009 at 4:37PM
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