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Lawn mower purchase help

Posted by fishingsetx TX (My Page) on
Tue, Jan 7, 14 at 18:26

I am in the market for a new mower and wanted to get some opinions on what to look for. I have 1.5 acres of a mixed bermuda and st augustine. I have been using a 2012 (bought in june) craftsman 46" Lawn tractor with mixed results. I really like the mower but have had some major trouble with it. The cut is poor at best, the deck has already been replaced once, the entire steering linkage has been replaced, the lights dont work (not a big deal), and the chute just fell off the deck the other day!!! Im looking for something more dependable.

Here are my needs:

No larger than 48" cut

Able to handle soggy ground as good as can be expected from a lawn mower.

Can handle a fair amount of crawfish mounds


provide a decent cut

able to pull a lawn sweeper

ZTR or Tractor style (ZTR prefered)

under $4k

Good warranty and parts availibility (craftsman is sorely lacking on parts availability)

Any help would be greatly appreciated

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Lawn mower purchase help

one suggestion - look around locally for people that have acreage similar to yours and find out what does/does not work for them. Generally, wet bermuda is not too easy to cut well..?

And, you will prolly be better off with a GARDEN tractor vs a LAWN tractor or ZTR - much beefier design/build, tranny, etc.

Working with a dealer may also be better than the BBS varieties...
good luck.

RE: Lawn mower purchase help

With real estate it's location, location, location.

With lawn and garden tractors it is DEALER, DEALER, DEALER.

Check you area for dealers and see what brands they carry. Look for John Deere, Simplicity, and Cub Cadet authorized dealers. They will have models the box stores don't sell and will be honoring the manufacturer warranty. Find what they offer in your price range and then tell them you want to test mow them at your house.

If you decide on a John Deere there is the "John Deere Promise"... you can return any John Deere rider within 30 days of delivery for a no questions asked full refund.

RE: Lawn mower purchase help

Thanks for the replies. Anyone have any experience with Snapper products? My closest dealer (close enough I could almost ride the mower there) only sells snapper mowers. I've had good luck with them on my string trimmer and chain saw (they also rep St IHL and echo). I know the old snapper rear engine riders were practically bullet proof for a home owner usage, but I haven't heard anything about their tractors or ztrs.

BTW, just out of curiosity, what is the difference between a lawn tractor and a garden tractor?

RE: Lawn mower purchase help

Garden tractors are designed/built to provide "ground engagement" (ie., can pull heavy loads, plow/disc/harrow with attachments,etc.) along with cutting grass. Lawn tractors are not as strongly built; pull smaller/light loads, no ground engagement and are primarily intended for mowing on finished yards/lawns. Lawn tractors will not take the load/abuse that a Garden tractor can endure.

For above reasons, Garden tractors are usually more expensive - but can handle the more demanding tasks such as you have described.
Also, be cautious when you hear the term "yard tractor". IMHO, such is a term used by the marketing people to pitch their products - often confusing prospective customers into thinking they are purchasing a garden type tractor at reduced costs when the product is really an embellished version of a lawn tractor...
Snapper tractors/ZTR's - can't speak to them, except Snapper is a well known brand with a solid product rep - they have gone thru several buyouts in the past few years - really don't have a feel for their "staying power". Such would be important if you intend to depend on their dealer for future product support/maintenance/parts. OTOH - if you are a practicing shadetree mechanic type, would make little difference.

The key thing you described is cutting grass in wet ground conditions - IMHO, few products (with the possible exception of the big commercial $$$$$ ZTR's) can handle such well. High grass moisture content, soft ground conditions don't bode well for any rotary mower to give a beautiful manicured result.

JAL suggested getting demos performed on your property - I agree. Such will tell you quickly if the machine can do what you want. After that, you can evaluate reliability/cost, etc.
Again, good luck.

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