Zero turn thoughts on common models

   #1  

BigBlue1

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Joined
Mar 14, 2017
Messages
1,423
Location
Middle MN
Tractor
JD: 2520 & x758
I've been casually looking at adding a zero turn mower for a couple years. I have a JD x758 with 60" deck that works well for me but since I have almost 7 acres to mow it does take me about 4.5 hours. I know a zero turn can shave some time off of that. I love mowing but I could still love it mowing 2.5 or 3 hours a week... doesn't have to be 4.5. :)

My first thought was to look for a Deere ZT but I rapidly realized how much they want for them (new at least). I've researched other brands in the past and come up with a short list of ones I'd consider that seem to be fairly well respected. Being spring I'm back at it and figured I'd query folks here to see if there are any notable pros or cons of the ones I'm considering.

I'm looking for a commercial quality unit because I want it to last and I don't tend to buy lower-end equipment. But I certainly don't need the absolute best/biggest/fastest stuff out there. If we ranked ZTs from cheap-o to cadillac on a 1-10 scale, I'm probably looking for a 7 or 8. I want at least a 60" deck. My yard is mostly flat with a few slight hills and almost 800' of road ditch and similar sloped driveway to mow. I've mowed it all with a Deere z930M ZT a few years ago so I know none of it is too much for a ZT, slope-wise. I'm pondering a 72" deck.

Here are a few of the brands and models I'm looking into right now. They all seem to be in that $9-10k range, either for a sub-400 hour used model or new model. I'd be happier only spending $6k but I don't think that gets me to the features/quality I'm looking for.

eXmark Lazer Z X-series - several 2020 commercial models with under 400 hours available for a bit over $9k
Toro 6000 series - new
Bad Boy Outlaw Rogue - new, upper $9's for 61", low $10's for 72"
Deere Z997r - several used ones with ~300 hours from a local city trading in for about $11k
Scag Tiger Cat - new, upper $9's

I know the Deere is an outlier in features but because these happen to be close in price I'm considering them. I already have diesel equipment so another diesel would be nice - but not required.

The Bad Boy seems like it has some extra features that are kind of nice, like a rear suspension in addition to a suspension seat and separate hydraulic system for each motor/side, as well as extremely thick deck material. And more aggressive tires that are closer to HDAP than the typical turf tires. I'm sure that helps traction but that may also scuff more?

The Deere would be sweet, because it is a much higher caliber unit and diesel.

Scags get talked up quite a bit for their cut. I think they're known for high lift, which would help with my dandelions.

Anyway, appreciate any constructive feedback on pros & cons.

Thanks,
Rob
 
   #2  

kthompson

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Sep 12, 2008
Messages
3,293
Location
South Carolina
Tractor
Kubotas B2710, M6800, L6060 cab, Volvo EC excavator, 2 ZTRs and various implements.
The dealerships in your area for certain will drive the brands you find. Scag was very popular here for few years but that dealership only offers Snapper and the sister brands now in riders and they sell a ton of them. Have always been a snapper dealership. TSC sells a few Bad Boys and not aware anyone selling the Toro or Xmark within twenty miles or so of me so we see very few of them.

The last ztr which is my second one was a Ferris. Bought it for it's FULL suspension system. Recommend it greatly, the system and the mower.

I would want the separate pump system for each wheel. would also want mower with greaseable spindles and wheels and so forth. I would want a suspension system. Amazing when running about 10 mph how rough your lawn can end up being. Larger diameter wheels are smoother rides also. I have a 72 inch rfm and have some slope in lawn due to an old branch bed through it. No issue with it scraping. However I only have a 5?" and a 6?" decks on our ZTR and would not want a 72 on a ztr for my use. My 5?" inch ztr is my trimming mower, the Ferris is not so good, why? The smaller mower while much simpler is also much easier to see the deck, very clean view. It is a very clear view to the left side of the deck which also extends a good bit past the lest tires allow it to be watched to trim very near anything and the over shifted deck gives me a few inches overhang on cutting the ditch.

If buying used do check the drive belts, they can be very costly.
 
   #3  

Blue Mule

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Jan 11, 2021
Messages
159
Location
Central Kentucky
Tractor
New Holland Workmaster 40
This upcoming season will be #4 for the eXmark 60" that we bought brand new. I think it's the E-series, so it's mid grade and not top of the line. Has a 30ish horsepower Kohler engine.

Things that have gone wrong:

-Brake issue causing maneuverability to become poor, had to have it repaired under warranty
-Throttle cable issue had to be repaired under warranty
-PTO switch failed and had to be replaced under warranty
-Dealership said deck was bent when we took it in for routine service after the second season. How the heck do you bend a deck this thick? It's not like we bash it into trees.
-Last season the deck started to make a light roaring sound when mowing, sort of like the bearings in the spindles may be getting worn. Haven't looked into that yet because warranty has expired.

Otherwise it's been good. We generally mow 5-7 acres per week with it.
 
   #4  

rgr33

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Mar 21, 2012
Messages
637
Location
Hillsboro or
Tractor
John Deere 950. LS g3033. Kubota RTV 900. Exmark Lazer Z
I have a 13 year old Exmark that has been a really good machine. I bought it new with the Kawasaki motor, which I highly recommend. I am still running on the original spindles, which are not greasable, which kind of surprises me, as I use the mower more than the average owner probably does.

kthompson makes a good point about the rough ride on these machines when you mow at high speed. I replaced the original seat with a suspension seat after the first year. I don’t think I would buy a new mower without it now.
 
  
  • Thread Starter
#5  
OP
B

BigBlue1

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 14, 2017
Messages
1,423
Location
Middle MN
Tractor
JD: 2520 & x758
Yeah, my lawn is fairly bumpy. I am trying to roll it each spring to smooth things out a bit but that only helps a bit. I know bumpiness is one of the things that keeps me slowed down a bit with my x758. But that's why I'm thinking a suspended ZT would help a bunch.

Rob
 
   #6  

Bearsixty7

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Joined
Jun 10, 2015
Messages
716
Location
St. Paul TX
Tractor
LS MT240HE. JD LA145.
Check if you have a dealer for Spartan Mowers near you. They are one of the hottest selling and growing brands over the last 5-6 years.


Then regardless of which brand, go talk to them and see if you get a good feeling about the dealership and service abilities.

I have a 2016 SRT-HD 61" 26HP Kohler and it has been problem free for 125 hours. Dad has a 2016 SRT-Pro 61" 26HP Kohler in MO. that has had the control panel and a coil pack replaced under warranty, he mows about 8 acres and has over 250 hours on it.
 
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   #7  

tradosaurus

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May 8, 2017
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918
Location
Texarkana, TX
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Kubota MX5400 HST, heavy duty bucket, 3rd function, R1 tires (rears filled), 2 remotes
7 acres? Wow. I would go with 72" if your terrain is mostly flat.
I mow 2-1/2 acres with a 60" Toro HD 2000. Takes me about 2 1/2 hrs. I change the blades twice during the mow season and don't bother sharpening since I tend to hit small branches.
 
   #8  

MF2604h

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Oct 20, 2019
Messages
237
Location
Gilbert, South Carolina
Tractor
Massey Ferguson 2604h
I just traded in a JD z915 with over 1,000 hours on it. It had the Kohler engine. The only problems was a pulley that went bad and a coil. Both replaced under warranty.
I traded it for a exmark lazer z e series. It has a 52 inch deck and a Kawasaki engine. It’s also the first lawnmower I have owned with a suspension seat. I won’t have another one without it.
I also have a snapper pro 52 inch deck with a mulch kit on it. I only use it to mulch leaves. It has been great, but you can’t cut as fast with a mulch kit.

Between the three the exmark and snapper pro dont slide as much on hills as the JD. The exmark is more responsive than the JD and snapper pro.

I only have 50 hours on the exmark so far. At this point I would buy another. You can’t go wrong with either of these three.

Good luck on your search
 
   #9  

stevem5215

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Jul 9, 2006
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519
Location
Pittsburgh, Pa
Tractor
Steiner 420 - Black Craftsman Pro 24hp - Simplicity 48 ZT-2500 - Simplicity Citation XL 61" - Chainsaw CS-5720
I bought a Simplicity Citation XT with a 61" deck with a Briggs 27hp Commercial engine. It has FULL SUSPENSION front and rear and rides great on my 4 acre cuts. I use about 2.5 gals of fuel to cut all of it each time and I can easily run full speed across the field with out issue due to the suspension give and take. While all of that sounds expensive I paid $6,000 for it brand new. It has been perfect and I've changed the hydro oil and filters once on it and of course the engine oil regularly. So far nothing has broken on it. This will be my third cutting season with it. I would highly recommend one of these and especially so if you have bumpy fields like I do. Suspension makes a difference.

Steve
 
 
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