Riding lawn mower recommendation

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
Topic Author
MJD
Posts: 46
Joined: Sat Aug 04, 2018 6:17 pm

Riding lawn mower recommendation

Post by MJD »

My wife and I recently moved into a house with an ~ 1 acre yard. Having spent my youth mowing this size yard and larger with a push mower, I'm not inclined to relive my childhood!

I'm looking for recommendations for a riding lawn mower. Budget is $2,500. That seems to put many zero-turn mowers slightly out of reach, but if they are *that* much faster than the regular front-engine models, I might be inclined nudged to up the budget.
I prize durability, speed of cutting, and ease of maintenance. I'm aware that speed/durability of a lawnmower in this budget range will not meet the level provided by pro-level models.

The yard is relatively flat (a couple slight rises, but not steep) and not any "obstacles"...basically a lot of straight-line mowing.

Side question - can anyone chime in on any maintenance differences between ZTR and "regular" riding lawn mowers? I'm fine doing basic lawnmower maintenance, but are there any considerations I should be aware of?
User avatar
MillennialFinance19
Posts: 297
Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2019 11:06 am

Re: Riding lawn mower recommendation

Post by MillennialFinance19 »

I bought a used Scag for my 2-acre yard. Paid a couple of grand and it’s amazing how fast I mow. My recommendation would be to find a used Scag, Toro, or Exmark zero turn and you’ll do just fine.

As far as maintenance goes, it’s quite a bit easier minus the hydraulic system. Oil changes take 5 minutes, blade sharpening is a breeze, etc.
For the love of God, stick to your plan!!!
User avatar
Sandtrap
Posts: 12758
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:32 pm
Location: Hawaii No Ka Oi , N. Arizona
Contact:

Re: Riding lawn mower recommendation

Post by Sandtrap »

Husqvarna Zero Turn
Had one, still use it, 8 years. Absolutely trouble free so far. . . . .
If you can expand your budget for it just a tad.
Wiki Bogleheads Wiki: Everything You Need to Know
Silk McCue
Posts: 4979
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2016 7:11 pm

Re: Riding lawn mower recommendation

Post by Silk McCue »

I've been considering this mower for my own use. Maintenance is almost non existent and reviews are overwhelming positive. It is isn't intended for "hills" greater then 15 degrees.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/RYOBI-38-in ... /300246266

Cheers
barreg
Posts: 124
Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2013 1:49 pm

Re: Riding lawn mower recommendation

Post by barreg »

We just bought a new Simplicity Regent lawn tractor to replace one that was about 15 years old. Have had good experience with Simplicity in the past. We have about a 1/2 acre of grass and a decent amount of hills and it does well. It was just under $2,500
JBeck
Posts: 147
Joined: Fri Apr 15, 2016 4:54 am

Re: Riding lawn mower recommendation

Post by JBeck »

Cub Cadet and Troy-Bilt offer some nice products, I'd check out Craftsman @ Lowe's too. Stay away from Husqvarna, they are getting out of the outdoor power equipment business after this year.
corysold
Posts: 957
Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2014 12:58 pm

Re: Riding lawn mower recommendation

Post by corysold »

Will you need/want to do any towing of a cart? Doesn't sound like it based on your post, but zero turns aren't great for towing.

Zero turns also have two transmissions, one for each back tire. Some can be difficult to repair, overall a tractor will be better than a zero turn for DIY repairs on average.

Width is just as important as forward speed. Here is a calculator to determine how much time you'll save by moving from a 36" to a 42" and moving from a 4.5 mph tractor to a 6.5 mph zero turn, etc.

https://www.landscapecalculator.com/calculators/mow

You will probably get a "better" tractor for $2500 build wise than you will a zero turn at $2500. But the zero turn will give you more forward speed and shorter cut time as you get good at it. You have to decide which is more important to you.

For weekly mowing though, one 1 acre of flat ground, anything in that price range should suffice.
megabad
Posts: 3586
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2018 4:00 pm

Re: Riding lawn mower recommendation

Post by megabad »

MJD wrote: Tue Mar 05, 2019 11:39 am My wife and I recently moved into a house with an ~ 1 acre yard. Having spent my youth mowing this size yard and larger with a push mower, I'm not inclined to relive my childhood!

I'm looking for recommendations for a riding lawn mower. Budget is $2,500. That seems to put many zero-turn mowers slightly out of reach, but if they are *that* much faster than the regular front-engine models, I might be inclined nudged to up the budget.
I prize durability, speed of cutting, and ease of maintenance. I'm aware that speed/durability of a lawnmower in this budget range will not meet the level provided by pro-level models.

The yard is relatively flat (a couple slight rises, but not steep) and not any "obstacles"...basically a lot of straight-line mowing.

Side question - can anyone chime in on any maintenance differences between ZTR and "regular" riding lawn mowers? I'm fine doing basic lawnmower maintenance, but are there any considerations I should be aware of?
If you can find a used commercial zero turn in your budget I would go that route (Scag, exmark, etc). You will be blown away. My tractor cut my mowing time in half from a push mower (just due to the increased deck size). My commercial zero turn cuts my tractor time by 75%. No lie. Do not buy a residential tractor. I can get a decent (not perfect cut) at a little less than top speed and the deck is twice the size of my tractor. Basically my cut swath is double and my land and turn speed is double. Mine only sees mild use so I only do limited maintenance. Once a season I lube the wheels, change the oil and filter and I am good to go. Every other season alternating I change the air and fuel filters. I think I have replaced spark plug once in a few years. I was told I might need to sharpen the blades eventually but the blades were sharpened right before I bought it a few years ago and it still cuts ok.
mrc
Posts: 1475
Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2016 6:39 am

Re: Riding lawn mower recommendation

Post by mrc »

If you have few obstructions, a riding mower will be fine. A zero-turn is great for going around trees, shrubs, and other obstacles. They also cut better in my experience. I have an eXmark zero-turn with which I pull a core aerator, and a broadcast spreader. I installed the mulching kit (discharge baffle and different blades), and the cut is outstanding. You can't tow significant weight with either a zero-turn or a lawn tractor. Unless you want to attach a blade (for pushing snow), or pull a large cart, a zero-turn (used is fine) is a better choice for cutting grass.
By the time you know enough to choose a good financial adviser, you don't need one. | bogleheads.org is my advisor: The ER is 0.0% and the advice always solid.
User avatar
marti038
Posts: 250
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2017 3:45 pm
Location: Birmingham, AL

Re: Riding lawn mower recommendation

Post by marti038 »

I have a somewhat flat 1 acre lot with several large hardwoods trees (and roots bulging from the ground). I bought a Toro MX4200 and love it. It takes a little practice, but once you have some time on it they're very easy to operate.

I also use mine to mulch and sweep up leaves in the fall with a lawn sweeper. I've never had any problems towing anything (aerator, de-thatcher, small yard wagon) with it. If my current mower disappeared and I had to buy another one tomorrow, I'd get the same thing.
mortfree
Posts: 2505
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2016 7:06 pm

Re: Riding lawn mower recommendation

Post by mortfree »

Ariens Ikon X

Check it out
Beach
Posts: 266
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2017 5:48 pm

Re: Riding lawn mower recommendation

Post by Beach »

BobCat CRZ....slightly more than your budget, much better than anything you will get at HD or Lowes. (in matter of fact, avoid big box stores and go to a dealer directly, regardless of whatever brand you pick - better for after purchase service anyways)

https://www.bobcatturf.com/products/zer ... iding/crz/

I have over 150 hours on mine, zero issues. 2 acre lot.
mancich
Posts: 924
Joined: Fri Sep 05, 2014 2:05 pm

Re: Riding lawn mower recommendation

Post by mancich »

We have about an acre and have a John Deere LA115 from 2008. So far so good. Just change the oil/filter and minor stuff like that, as well as keeping the blades sharp. I've had good luck with Deere so far.
Post Reply