Advice Sought!

   / Advice Sought! #1  

Anonymous Poster

New member
Sep 27, 2005
I have been reading this forum (and others) for several weeks now. I am in the market for a lawn/garden tractor. While my lawn is only 1 acre, I do have some hills and woulkd also like the option of snowblowing my drive and pad as well as hauling. etc. around my 2+ acre lot. After ten years of bagging clippings, I only want to discharge and/or mulch at this point.

I am considering Cub Cadet, John Deere, and even Simplicity (after reading the positive reviews here). I have studied all the specs and have ridden several of the Cub and Deere models. After many hours of research I am narrowed it down between a Deere and Cub. While I don't have any pre-conceived notions, I have had bad experiences with othe MTD products in the past. Having been a paint supplier to MTD I do know that the Cubs are made in the same Brownsville, TN plant that IH owned. I have it on good authority that they have not "cheapened" the Cub products to date. I think much of the bad press on Cubs has to do with their cheaper 1000 series and not their 200 and 3000 series. In my area a Cub that is comparable to a Deere is going for about $700 - $1000 less. I will get to specifics later in this message.

I have ruled out the Deere LT series due to the absence of a cast front axle (although Scotts do have them), cruise control, and Deere's recommendation NOT to tow a utility cart. For me, the Deere line starts with the LX series. An LX255 (42" deck) with a single cylinder 15hp Kohler Command is going for $3300. For $500 more I can get the heavier-duty GT225. Although it has the same engine, it does have a heavier frame and transmission. The same rational applies to the LX288/GT235 comparison (48"deck). I think the Deere GT series represents the best value in their line. Although I am impressed with these two models, the $3800 (GT225) and $4700 (GT235) prices seem high when compared to equivalent Cub models.

A Cub 2166 with a single cylinder 16HP Kohler Command and 42" deck is going for $2700. A heavier duty 2186 with a 18HP Kohler Command V-Twin is going for $3700. These seem like better deals than the equivalent Deere models. When I lok at spending $4700 for a Deere GT235 I also think about a Cub 3184 for the same price. This model has the same 18HP Kohler and 44" deck as in the 2186, but has a heavier frame, power steering, direct drive and hydraulic lift mower decvk, etc. The Cubs seem like better values on paper. I also like the "idea" of the steel drive shaft and beefier frames (Cubs weigh 200 - 300# more than Deeres). The Cub attachments also sell for somewhat less then the Deeres. I also like the idea of the Cub's being able to mulch with only a plug added. I don't want to get a dedicated mulch deck like Deere's Freedom 42 and I don't like the idea of having to add a mulch/baffle kit to the convertible decks.

While I have heard nothing but positive comments regarding the Simplicy models, they just don't seem as well built as the Cub and Deere models. A $3500 Broadmoor has a a steel front axle and "slip on" wheels. While it may cut better, I just don't know about it's overall construction for the money. My Simplicity dealer is also 10 miles further away than the Cub and Deere dealers.

After riding several Cub and Deere models I must admit that the Deeres seem to ride smoother and more comfortably. I was not able to compare the quality of the mower cuts however. Objectively (and financially)I like the Cub and subjectively I like the Deere.

I would like honest, experienced, and objective comments as to what choice I should make. i am willing to spend a little more for a tractor that will be reliable and last for 15 - 20 years. I also want a good cut on my lawn; after-all, this is what it is all about anyhow.

Sorry for the length - but I do want your comments and suggestions!
   / Advice Sought! #2  
VinceG, I felt the same way you do about MTD owning Cub Cadet, but I bought one of the cheaper Cubs ($2300), used it for 4.5 years and nearly 500 hours, mowed, pulled a little broadcast fertilizer spreader, occasionally towed a 5'x10' trailer, etc. and sold it to a dealer for $1,000 when I decided to start mowing with the Kubota and a rear discharge mower. I have a friend who has a John Deere and I like it, but I liked the Cub better, and one feature I liked especially was the ease of removing the mower deck on the Cub to clean under it, sharpen blades, etc.

I don't think you have to worry about going wrong with whichever one you choose, but my personal preference would be the Cub.

   / Advice Sought! #3  
Good Morning Vince.
John Deere,Cub Cadet,White,Power KIng etc... are all good tractors.

In 1974 my father purchase a new cub cadet 1450 hst with a blower,tiller,mower,heavy duty dump cart,and this unit still going strong and my father doesn't baby his equipment.

I had a John Deere 318 lawn and garden just for mowing and light work,but I guess it was just me for I couldn't get use to the tractor and sold it.

If you should be married don't forget about the comfort ride and handy controls for your wife.

I agree with you Vince about the frame issue also the more thee grease fitting the happier I'm.

Your dealer also important,does he or she keep a good inventory of parts and do they have good service.

Check different dealers and notice what tractors have been traded in the most,and ask why or take a close look at them.

My you have a good day also fun picking out your new tractor.

   / Advice Sought!
  • Thread Starter
Birdstar, Thanks for the feedback on your Cub. How was the quality of the cut as well as the ride/comfort level?
   / Advice Sought! #5  
VinceG, the quality of the cut with the Cub was very good so long as you kept the blades sharp. Mine got some very heavy duty use because I even did some pasture mowing with it before I bought a tractor and brush hog, and even after I got the brush hog, I still used it to mow the grass just as short as possible every Fall under the pecan trees in the pasture to make it easier to pick up the pecans, so I sharpened blades frequently. And I thought it was as about as comfortable as any machine of that size, and a lot more comfortable than the old Craftsman and Montgomery Ward mowers my brother and brother-in-law had.

   / Advice Sought! #6  
Say Vince, if it is not too late you might want to check out Wheelhorse. They are an old company that is now owned by Toro.

I have a HST 48" cut with a 16 hp. Onan engine. I can say that I have never seen a better grass mower. There is also a full line of attachment that can be purchased for the Wheelhorse.
   / Advice Sought! #7  
I would consider a goat. Not much goes wrong with them and they always give a even cut ! Seriously, I would consider the Wheelhorse also of just break down and go for the Cub.
   / Advice Sought! #8  
Vince, I noticed you mentioned Scott mowers but did'nt comment on them....I have an 18hp HST Scotts with the Kolher with oil pump and cooler...The things I like are the oil pump and cooler as well as the heavy cast iron front end( after breaking the front end on a 15hp murry I decide it was a must) and the grease fittings are nice too... I've had it around 3yrs....and had no problems at all.... The 1 acre have been cutting is pretty rough on the back half with roots and rocks and hilly slope....I've even used it to drag 200 or so # logs up the slope with no effort at all with nothing more than a tiedown....I now use it to help cut 8 acres I just bout and it has no problem cutting 8 & 10" high stuff as long as I'm patient....on moderatley rough pasture....Though I usually cut before it getts over 5"or 6" tall....BTW it's now made by John Deere....Someone told me the new 25hp can have a pto hook up added for a rear tiller and a snow blower option for the front.....Myself if want'd a pto I'd by a small tractor say the BX 2200 by Kubota(kinda expencive for a lawnmore at around 10,5k) especially if the other garden tractors you are looking at run 7k or so like some of the bigger ones I've seen..(just a thought) It's amazing at how the price climbs ant it...?One last thing (I don't know if this applies to the other hsd's)but my Scott has a sealed transmission.Sealed as in not serviceable...I found out by calling scotts service center and was given 2 #'s to call. Had to look on the hst for the maker...It's made by techumsa basically.....also carefull who you ask about it the local JD dealer told me it was serviceable and suggested I bring it in for the $50 service..(for you that remember this also the dealer that told me NO TRUE HSD has a differntial lock)....?/w3tcompact/icons/shocked.gif Good luck Vince.....

Lil' Paul
   / Advice Sought! #9  
I thought John Deere was just putting their name on the Scott Mowers.

No, I fail to grasp the idea of a sealed HST. Dumb and Dumber could do better. /w3tcompact/icons/laugh.gif
   / Advice Sought! #10  
I don't know if they'er just stamping it or if they bought them....Either way I doubt they'ed do either if the didn't feel they are good machines...As for sealed hst I asked my 2 local small engin repair shops and both said thay rarely work on the hst. and if it is bad it's usually bad from the factory and shows up farley early and covered by warrenty....Both also said most other dammage is caused by abuse..and sence they are sealed usually it's cheaper to just replace them....One told me he has only relpaced 2 in 20yrs and one was a defect. I guess only time will tell....My question is do all garden tractors do this? or only those under 5k...or what?

Lil' Paul