Affordable commercial grade zero turn mower?

Mowers, blowers & other important tools of the trade
User avatar
ksturfguy
Posts: 1061
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2018 9:05 pm
Location: Kansas
Grass Type: Mostly TTTF/1k of Mazama KBG
Lawn Size: 20,000 sqft
Mower: Gravely Pro-Stance

Re: Affordable commercial grade zero turn mower?

Post by ksturfguy »

wiread wrote:
Mon Jul 19, 2021 5:22 pm
I do less damage with my 900+lb Ferris than I did with my 550lb Hustler Raptor. I get i better balanced machine and wider tires so less PSI into the ground than you might think. It's all how you mow with it. High end lawns everywhere are mowed with commercial equipment and most are not rutted messes, they're very much still high end lawns.
I think operator skill level comes into play for sure. I will say I do some damage from time to time on my Pro-Stance. I believe it weighs 900 LBS. Where I usually see damage is when making turns in wet turf. I do a 3 point turn but still from time to time it tears it up. Also I have a couple areas that are smaller and I pretty much have to mow the same way each time I will see the turf get a little worn out where I have to turn around an object.

So starting last year if the ground is wet I usually mow my smaller areas with my push mower and just mow my 15k area with the stand-on mower. When it's dry I'll do my whole lawn with the stand-on.

I think 90% of my issues are user error. If I was more proficient on it I think I'd see less issues. I have mowed my dad's lawn with a residential style mower and to me the cut quality isn't near as good and it takes a little longer.

Amoo316
Posts: 131
Joined: Thu Jul 08, 2021 7:15 am
Location: SW GA
Grass Type: Centipede/Bermuda
Lawn Size: 2acres
Mower: Scag Cheetah II 61"

Re: Affordable commercial grade zero turn mower?

Post by Amoo316 »

Living in farm country around my area, ZT mowers didn't get popular around my area until about 5ish years ago. It was always the same thing, "my lawn tractor works just fine, I don't need a ZT." This conversation reminds me of that.

It's honestly one of those things you have to try to appreciate. I'm not saying the first time you cut your grass with a commercial quality mower, you're going to have pixies dancing behind you and rainbows blowing out the exhaust pipe. I am saying that it's difficult to appreciate the advantages of a commercial grade unit over a residential unit without actually owning/driving one.

I have been on higher end residential Deere, Dixie, Bad Boy and Snapper mowers, all owned by friends in my small country neighborhood. I've physically driven them and cut grass with them multiple times. There are things I like about some of them over others individually, but at the end of the day, they are all running lower powered engines and lower quality hydros than a commercial unit. Some of the decks I prefer over others, some features on some I prefer over others. Overall they're all in that high end residential class 54-60" cut mower.

They do not hold a candle to my new commercial unit, and I would be saying that if it was mine, my neighbors, a different brand....etc. It's a whole different ballgame.

@hkfan45 If you're already a Stihl, pro quality guy to begin with and you end up buying a residential unit, are you going to spend the next few years wishing you had got something bigger/more durable/better components...etc? At $3-4K you're going to be in the used market, but I would physically go demo a few of both grades before making your final decision.

sam36
Posts: 153
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2020 12:11 pm
Location: San Antonio
Grass Type: Common Bermuda
Lawn Size: 55,000
Mower: Bad Boy Elite 54"

Re: Affordable commercial grade zero turn mower?

Post by sam36 »

I was in a similar issue a couple of years ago. Wanted a commercial mower but didn't want to pay $8k. Couldn't find anything decent used. Noticed there was a "Badboy mowers" dealer not too far from here so started looking into that brand. I walked out of there with a new ZT Elite 54" which had the same motor and transmission as the lower end commercial mowers for $5.2k. Felt like that was a great deal.

LoCutt
Posts: 204
Joined: Mon Jul 29, 2019 5:32 pm
Location: South of the border
Grass Type: Tifway 419-II
Lawn Size: 8,000 sq ft
Mower: Toro triplex, several others

Re: Affordable commercial grade zero turn mower?

Post by LoCutt »

As the former owner of a lawn care company, I found it difficult to stop employees from damaging lawns. The most damage was done when turning. I think commercial mowers can do more damage, but any (hydraulic) will tear lawns up with personnel who try to go too fast.

DFWdude
Posts: 385
Joined: Fri Aug 28, 2020 11:51 am
Location: Dallas, TX
Grass Type: Bermuda
Lawn Size: 15,500 sq ft
Mower: 20 & 25” Cali, Honda Rotary

Re: Affordable commercial grade zero turn mower?

Post by DFWdude »

JD 300 series will suit you well. 3k ish

Image
Lawn Journal; viewtopic.php?t=24210

metro424
Posts: 122
Joined: Thu May 25, 2017 9:30 pm
Location: Georgia
Grass Type: Centipede
Lawn Size: 1.5Ac
Mower: JD2500E, MZT52

Re: Affordable commercial grade zero turn mower?

Post by metro424 »

Being in South Georgia myself most of the lawn care companies down here use JD. I see a few others but JD wins the numbers game from what I’ve seen.

I bought a zero turn in 2015 and at the time Husky MZT line was the closest to full commercial that I could find without spending 8+. Ended up with a Kawasaki FS engine and ZT3400 hydros and have put *knock on wood* 520 trouble free hours on it and spent $5100 if I remember correctly.

I mow more like 3 acres a week between my house and the lot we bought to build our forever house on.
So you could definitely get away with a higher end residential mower and be perfectly happy with that size lot as that’s basically what size residential mowers were meant to mow and at your price range.

SLE equipment is an option to buy from and have them freight the mower to you and it might be cheaper than buying local but you also might not have the service support if you do that. They sell a lot of equipment including snapper pro that looks like a pretty good mower for the money. I think snapper pro is Ferris’s budget line. I also have two friends who love thier bad boy mowers from tractor supply and haven’t had any trouble with them. So just some things to think about.

Also i bought a JDWH48a at auction with is a 48” hydro walk behind mower with less than 10 hours on it for your price range as well. It was a new old stock auction from Everglades equipment group. A full commercial walkbehind is def in your price range as well.

User avatar
gene_stl
Posts: 771
Joined: Sun Oct 29, 2017 7:12 am
Location: St.Louis, Missouri
Grass Type: Cool Season Mostly unknown KBG
Lawn Size: 59,000 square feet.
Mower: Hustler and Grasshopper

Re: Affordable commercial grade zero turn mower?

Post by gene_stl »

I have always regretted not buying a better mower. I finally bought myself , first a Hustler residential (which is almost commercial) and then a Grasshopper. I have about 60,000 sq feet.

At my job I maintain a Cub Cadet new residential Zero Turn. It has had two spontaneous flat tires. It has a moronic feature that won't let you back up without the deck switching off. I am sure that feature will help them sell PTO replacement clutches. The deck won't stay level.

Budget as much as you can possibly manage (like buying a house it is good to stretch as much as you can if you are plannng on keeping it a while) Buy a good one. If you buy a cheapie when it starts giving you fits (and it will) you will grow to despise it.

(I despise my Stihl chainsaw because it always fails me. It never wants to start unless I do a bunch of work on it every time.)

User avatar
ksturfguy
Posts: 1061
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2018 9:05 pm
Location: Kansas
Grass Type: Mostly TTTF/1k of Mazama KBG
Lawn Size: 20,000 sqft
Mower: Gravely Pro-Stance

Re: Affordable commercial grade zero turn mower?

Post by ksturfguy »

@gene_stl mam that safety feature on the cub cadet pisses me off. My dad has one of their residential tractors and I mowed his lawn with it when he was out of town. Holy cow talk about frustrating.

Amoo316
Posts: 131
Joined: Thu Jul 08, 2021 7:15 am
Location: SW GA
Grass Type: Centipede/Bermuda
Lawn Size: 2acres
Mower: Scag Cheetah II 61"

Re: Affordable commercial grade zero turn mower?

Post by Amoo316 »

gene_stl wrote:
Wed Jul 21, 2021 8:43 pm
I have always regretted not buying a better mower. I finally bought myself , first a Hustler residential (which is almost commercial) and then a Grasshopper. I have about 60,000 sq feet.

At my job I maintain a Cub Cadet new residential Zero Turn. It has had two spontaneous flat tires. It has a moronic feature that won't let you back up without the deck switching off. I am sure that feature will help them sell PTO replacement clutches. The deck won't stay level.

Budget as much as you can possibly manage (like buying a house it is good to stretch as much as you can if you are plannng on keeping it a while) Buy a good one. If you buy a cheapie when it starts giving you fits (and it will) you will grow to despise it.

(I despise my Stihl chainsaw because it always fails me. It never wants to start unless I do a bunch of work on it every time.)

I was under the impression Cub Cadet was trying to clean up their act and make better quality mowers. That PTO thing would legit have it back on the trailer and where I bought it from first day. That's just silly.

Also I must have the best Stihl chainsaw in the world. 9 years old, fires in 3 pulls only because the 2nd one fires it on choke. Love my Stihl.

User avatar
cubsfan24
Posts: 100
Joined: Sun May 03, 2020 9:30 pm
Location: Northwest Indiana
Grass Type: Tall fescue
Lawn Size: 8000 sq ft
Mower: Toro Recycler

Re: Affordable commercial grade zero turn mower?

Post by cubsfan24 »

Really jealous, just don't have enough garage space for one 🙄

wiread
Posts: 81
Joined: Tue Aug 27, 2019 5:42 am
Location: NE Wisconsin
Grass Type: Northern blends
Lawn Size: 2 acres
Mower: Ferris SRS Z2

Re: Affordable commercial grade zero turn mower?

Post by wiread »

I would have to say, anything that killed the PTO when reversing would be a deal killer on any machine for me. What a PITA. Would that mean no Y turns? or just sustained backing up?

User avatar
gene_stl
Posts: 771
Joined: Sun Oct 29, 2017 7:12 am
Location: St.Louis, Missouri
Grass Type: Cool Season Mostly unknown KBG
Lawn Size: 59,000 square feet.
Mower: Hustler and Grasshopper

Re: Affordable commercial grade zero turn mower?

Post by gene_stl »

It can be defeated but I couldn't figure out how to do it. This means I have to dig up the manual and look up how to do it.
And when I backed up two or three times it took me a while to figure out that it was a "feature" It is wired through the ignition switch.

Amoo316
Posts: 131
Joined: Thu Jul 08, 2021 7:15 am
Location: SW GA
Grass Type: Centipede/Bermuda
Lawn Size: 2acres
Mower: Scag Cheetah II 61"

Re: Affordable commercial grade zero turn mower?

Post by Amoo316 »

gene_stl wrote:
Sun Jul 25, 2021 10:25 pm
It can be defeated but I couldn't figure out how to do it. This means I have to dig up the manual and look up how to do it.
And when I backed up two or three times it took me a while to figure out that it was a "feature" It is wired through the ignition switch.
If I'm not mistaken, the JD Lawn Tractor I bought in 2011 when we bought this house had this same "feature". I gave it to my mom years ago, but if I remember correctly "The Crown" was nice enough to give me a button to push while backing up to keep it from killing the blades. That thing doesn't have a bypass button anywhere on it like the old JD's?

Post Reply