Snapper Pro SW30 Dual Hydro 1st impression
Bought a snapper Pro SW30, its 20 HP with a 52 deck dual hydodrive walk behind. Thought I would post my experience so far with this machine. This was after looking at several different brand, a lot of net surfing and talking to people who have the units. Up until this year Ferris made a similar unit at about the same price point, but stopped for some reason.
Snapper is owned by Briggs and Stratton along with Ferris and Simplicity. The factory this was made in is about 5 miles from my home and I was able to tour the place about 8 years ago. At the time I was looking I went to a farm show and was told directly by guys from the factory everything is identical except the controls and the deck attachment. At the show they had many Ferris and Snapper models, but the only walk behind hydro was a snapper pro so I could not compare the 2 side by side. I have found this not to be the case now that I have the unit. The most glaring difference is, I would like to attach a sulky to this machine. The parking brake on the Snappers goes right through the center back of the motor frame. This is the area that the bracket attaches for the sulky. After I got mine I stopped and looked at a Ferris and not only is the parking brake different, but the frame is heavier on the Ferris. The brake on the Ferris goes down 1 end. I also find the frames funny because the Snapper weight is listed very close and in some cases much heavier than the Ferris. So I will have to make some kind of bracket to attach the Sulky and reinforce the rear. Not a big deal and for the $2500.00-$3000 price difference I can easily make a bracket myself.
So far I do like it, I am just using it as a walk behind at this point due to I have not attached the sulky. I felt it best I get used to the unit 1st then attach at a later date. It does take a little getting use to the controls. I've run most machines on a farm or a construction site, and this is different than any of them. I can see why as I was looking I came across stories of people getting hurt with this type of machine. It can whip around and turn inside it's own length without any effort at all.
Once the engine is started to take the parking brake off you have to have your hand on one of the 2 grips otherwise the units shuts off, it will also shut off even with parking brake on if the deck is on. To back up you squeeze the handle below the grips almost all the way up, the more you squeeze the faster you go. To go forward, the forward hydro control is a bar centered between the grips ahead of the dash. The further you press forward the faster you go. To turn you use the same handles below the grips that back you up. Now the more your squeeze, the slower you go and also can still back up. Releasing the grips and it goes as fast as you have set the speed with the bar. To stop you squeeze to the point between forward and reverse, then press down on a foot pedal. This foor pedal pushes your forward control back toward the dash.
The more I use this the more I like it. It replaced a Deere 720X with a 54 deck. I bought this because the slopes I mow in certain areas were just too steep for the Deere, it would leave wheel marks and I always felt like I was sliding down the slope. The 1st time I mowed with this I did the areas I mow in about the same time as the Deere. The 2nd time I dropped about 10% of that time. Mainly because the slope, this will go across very fast with no issue, and it can maneuver better than the tractor. I also think the blades have a higher tip speed, it seem to mow faster, throw the grass better and gives a slightly better cut. The other thing is not only the more I use this the better I get, sometimes the controls stick a little. The more I use it the more they "free up" and the smoother both I and the machine get. This also seem to use less fuel than the Deere for the same amount of mowing. Of course the Deere was a fuel injected 27 hp this has a carb and is 20 hp.
Before buying the Deere I had been using a trim mower and that was just no longer something I had the time for. 5-6 hours each time I mowed. Either of these machines I can now do the mowing in less than 1 1/2 hours.
Next step is to make the bracket for the sulky.
Really the only thing I don't like I the fact that to start out going forward or increase your speed. You have to remove one hand from the control grips to push the hydro bar forward. That is one huge advantage the Ferris units have with the comfort control. If I was into lawncare, no doubt that would be the unit I would buy. Just being a homeowner and putting a coupel hours a week, this is fine. I just couldn't see spending the extra cash to get the better controls. That would have been about $2500.00 more.
I haven't had to service anything yet so I don't know how hard that will be yet. Not crazy about the location of the engine oil filter. I don't see a way to change it without making a mess. It is horizontal on the side of the motor. I think this will be the case no matter what brand of mower I woud have bought.