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  1. #1
    New Member
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    Aug 2013
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    Salt Lake City, UT
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    Default Looking to purcase first ever riding mower/tractor

    I am looking to purchase my first tractor and would like some advice on what to consider.

    I have a half acre slightly hilly of just grass. I think for that size I would be fine with the lower end lines sold at the box stores but I also want to buy a snow blade for it as well. I am concerned about how a tractor will hold up when being used for pushing snow. My driveway is only about 50x60 and is completely flat. It is rare that we get more than 6 or 7 inches at a time.

    I am considering the Husqvarna YT46LS or even possibly the YT42XLS. I've done a lot of research (like everyone else) and have initially settled on these because of the locking differential that Husky offers. I did not see it available on any other makers' lines (including craftsman which is obviously a line of Husky mowers). Also, these two models have the Kawasaki engine which seems pretty universally to be a well respected engine (and accepted as a good upgrade to the B&S).

    I'm kind of concerned that these units appear to have no frame/structural upgrades from the less expensive units. they also have the same k46 tuff torq transmission/drive system that the lower priced units have. It seems to me that even though Huskys verbiage on their website (as well as what the dealer is telling me) infers that these units are built more heavy duty than the lower end (big box store) units, the only thing I see that is a real upgrade to the durability/ruggedness of the machine is the engine. All the other differences are just the added features, conveniences, thingees, and doo-dads. (With the exception of the fabricated deck on the XLS of course).

    I know everyone is partial to their specific brand of mower but I would like any feedback/help on specific build qualities or features that might direct me to a better buying choice for my use or to confirm that one of these units will be the best choice for me.

    Will these units work well and prove durable, specifically for my usage?
    Am I over-purchasing? (for what I am doing, could I go down to a lower model and be just fine?)
    Is there a compelling reason to consider a different brand or a more expensive model?
    Will the fabricated deck on the XLS be a useful for me (only a half an acre) or would I be just fine with the reinforced stamped deck? (Its 400.00 extra and I hate to spend it if it is overkill for my useage but am happy to pay if it a worthwhile upgrade, even for a small yard).

    Would I be better spending a little more to get a Craftsman garden tractor that doesn't include the locking diff but has a beefier trans-axle setup (hydrogear G7) and is rated for earth engaging tools??

    Also, Does everyone think that the electric PTO engagement is worth paying extra for? Is it a valuable feature/convenience?

    Any other thoughts that an expert/experienced person thinks would be valuable for a newbie like me.

    Appreciate any help,
    Happy "tractoring" everyone!

  2. #2
    Elite Member
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    Jul 2009
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    3,873
    Location
    SW WA
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    Kubota BX2360

    Default Re: Looking to purcase first ever riding mower/tractor

    My "first glance" thought about riding mowers vs garden tractor: if the rear wheels don't bolt on with lug nuts/bolts like a car, it is just a mower, not a garden tractor.

    Bruce

  3. #3
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    292
    Location
    Outside of Detroit, MI
    Tractor
    DK50SE Cab

    Default

    Generally speaking, snow blades don't work on machines of this size. Not enough weight or traction. The smallest machine I've seen use a blade well in 4 inches of light snow is a 4x4 ATV. A blower is a better bet, but for the cost of one, you can get the biggest, baddest walk behind you can find and still have money left over to buy something nice for the spouse.

  4. #4
    Super Member Gary Fowler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    7,201
    Location
    Bismarck Arkansas
    Tractor
    2009 Kubota RTV 900, 2009 Kubota B26 TLB & 2010 model LS P7010

    Default Re: Looking to purcase first ever riding mower/tractor

    I have JD 332 diesel garden tractor that weighs in at over 800 pounds and while it has plenty of power, I am not sure it would have traction enough to push a snow plow with only 2 WD even with chains. It sure doesn't have much traction on grass when going up even a small incline with the turf tires on it. I do think they made bar lug tires for it and with those and chains it might be good for snow plowing. A newer model of this type might work for you, but for the price difference between what you need for a lawnmower and adding a snow plow to it you would be above $10K. A good residential lawnmower with a walk behind snow blower would be the better choice.
    2010 LS P-7010C 20F/20R gear tractor & FEL, 2009 Kubota B 26 TLB, RTV 900 Kubota,17 foot Lund boat with 70HP motor, 2012-20 ft 12k GVW trailer, 2011- 52" Craftsman ZTR mower, 2013 Ferris Zero Turn, 3 weed whackers, pressure washer, leaf blowers, 7 foot bush hog, 8 foot landscape rake , 8 foot 3 PH disc, 2 row cultivator, 350 amp Miller AC/DC welding machine and all the tools needed to keep them all repaired and running.

  5. #5
    Elite Member
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    Mar 2009
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    2,830
    Location
    Lee, IL
    Tractor
    John Deere 1070

    Default Re: Looking to purcase first ever riding mower/tractor

    I haven't really researched smaller riding mowers recently but I will say that the simplicity regent my mom just bought as a second mower kind of impressed me for the price. It is of course a lawn tractor (vs. a "garden tractor") but thought I thought if was of better quality than what I see at the box stores. I don't think however that it is available with locking differential. I agree with the others about the snow plow... I feel it would be useless on a small tractor like that, especially if it's blacktop since it seems to be the slickest driveway surface.

  6. #6
    New Member
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    Aug 2013
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    Salt Lake City, UT
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    Default Re: Looking to purcase first ever riding mower/tractor

    thank you all for the advice.

    I have a friend who has an old John Deere (1981 JD 111 for any JD aficionados out there) It is 1 cylinder, 11 HP and he uses it to plow his driveway. He says it isn't great but it works. His driveway is smaller than mine and is sloped so he has the benefit of pushes down a slight grade. Still, it is only 11 hp and is 30 years old.

    If I were to pay a little more to get a garden tractor from Craftsman would that work better? thoughts? The only thing I really see that is different on the Garden tractors generally is that they pretty universally have a 1" axle (vs 3/4" on the lawn tractors) and beefier transaxle. Some of the less expensive ones even have lower quality engines (some of the Craftsman units even have an intek motor).

    also, I had also looked at doing the snowblower attachment and came to the same conclusion that rjwerth came to, they're just ridiculously priced. I don't understand why anyone would pay that much for a blower attachment. I'd just get a separate high end blower.


    This is a pretty confusing purchase to make. When we decided to get one I didn't expect it to be so much trouble to make a really good informed decision that safely met my requirements.

  7. #7
    Elite Member
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    Jul 2009
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    3,873
    Location
    SW WA
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    Kubota BX2360

    Default Re: Looking to purcase first ever riding mower/tractor

    About the 11hp tractor mentioned: it is mostly the weight that determines how much you can pull or push. The hp determines how fast you can do it.

    Bruce

  8. #8
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    9,198
    Location
    somewhere usa
    Tractor
    Deere 110tlb, 4520, x749, L130

    Default Re: Looking to purcase first ever riding mower/tractor

    Considering your needs and locale I would recommend a Deere x310 with the k58h transmission, power steering and hydraulic lift. From what searching I have done for equipment (used) in the southwest it is hard to find anything suitable. The x310 would be a nice mower for the 1/2 acre and would have the hydraulics for the front blade and mower deck. I think this will work for Salt Lake area with light snow, as I can easily push 15" snows in New Mexico without chains on my x749. In the East with heavy wet snow I couldn't do it.

  9. #9
    New Member
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    Aug 2013
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    Salt Lake City, UT
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    none

    Default Re: Looking to purcase first ever riding mower/tractor

    Quote Originally Posted by jenkinsph View Post
    Considering your needs and locale I would recommend a Deere x310 with the k58h transmission, power steering and hydraulic lift. From what searching I have done for equipment (used) in the southwest it is hard to find anything suitable. The x310 would be a nice mower for the 1/2 acre and would have the hydraulics for the front blade and mower deck. I think this will work for Salt Lake area with light snow, as I can easily push 15" snows in New Mexico without chains on my x749. In the East with heavy wet snow I couldn't do it.
    Thanks for the feedback. I've really kind of stopped looking at JD tractors. The series are really cool but they don't seem to be the best value when compared to other brands. Maybe it's because the power steering and hydraulic features aren't as valuable to me as other upgrades. Do these features really make a big difference and should I give them more consideration? It seems like most mowers at this size do ok with no power steering and the hydraulics for the deck and blade seem like luxury items (the blade hydraulics actually seem really nice but the deck is really only removed or replaced twice a year so I don't mind no hydraulics.
    Ultimately for me, in a comparison of new mowers JD's seem nice but are at a premium price. I would love the x310 but it's a lot for similar engine and build to 2100.00 Husky unit. I haven't looked at anything used. If I did though, wouldn't I still be paying a premium for JD units?


    Jenkinsph made a good point that I neglected. The snow here in utah is really light and dry. Very different from most of the country. Like I said, my neighbor moves snow with his old mower and it does fairly well. It sounds though like everyone agrees that if I want to do this right I probably need to get a better garden tractor level unit though.

    So if I were to ask...

    Craftsman Garden tractor with beefier trans (1" axle) but with basic B&S or Kohler Courage engine OR
    Husky Yard Tractor with kawasaki engine and locking diff.

    personal recommendations?

    keep in mind that I don't intend to use any ground engaging accessories, and I do have some good slopes in my yard but mostly it is flat.

    I'll probably try to plow snow and if it doesn't work well, I'll just buy a kick-butt walk behind blower for the money I would have spent on an x310.

  10. #10
    Elite Member
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    Mar 2009
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    Location
    Lee, IL
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    John Deere 1070

    Default Re: Looking to purcase first ever riding mower/tractor

    I think that engine is less of a concern on the smaller, lower-priced mowers as most any engine will probably outlast the useful life of the rest of the machine. I see a lot of older worn out "lawn" tractors that are broken and have been replaced, but they still run. I rarely see one that is in nice shape that has a blown engine.

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