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View Full Version : I am so overwhelmed by lawnmower shopping...isn't there something under 5k?



TrotTrotPumpkn
Aug. 2, 2012, 10:30 AM
So I've been researching riding lawn mowers. We will have about 3-4 acres to mow, until I bring horses home. I am not buying a tractor this year as we won't have any livestock on the place and I'd rather wait, so if your suggestion is tractor attachment it isn't really an option I'm considering today.

It looks like a zero turn is much faster, but they slip on hills, unless you get one like this: http://www.cubcadet.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_10051_14101_1403522_1209604_-1_600002_1209604

Of course in reviews Club Cadets and all Sears mowers get destroyed by the ratings. Then again, if I read recommnedations, the only thing I should use is a Scag Tiger Cat for 12k or a Exmark or whatever all the commercial lines are.

Stamped steel is bad, welded steel is better--check!

BUT I'm not spending more than 5k on a mower...

There has to be a mower under 5k that won't die immediately?? Really, reading reviews is just the most horrid, disheartening thing ever. If I have to go commercial, how do I find a good used one? The prices on Craigs List are practically the "new" prices...

pds
Aug. 2, 2012, 11:09 AM
I have had a Cub Cadet for four years now and have been very pleased with it.
This is the model I have. http://www.cubcadet.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_10051_14101_1565773_33810_-1_1353414_33810

Only ever had to do normal maintenance such as oil changes, sharpen/replace blades, replace the mover deck belt.

I have a lot of grass to cut so I did adjust the speed control so it goes faster in forward and slower in reverse. :)

Forte
Aug. 2, 2012, 11:21 AM
$5000? That's crazy for a lawn mower. I just bought a John Deere D120 ride on mower from Home Depot. It was on sale, plus I got another 10% for using my HD credit card and then they knocked off another $100 because there was a tear on the seat. It came to about $1300 + taxes. I've only had it for a few years, but so far I'm very pleased with it. Agreed that the used ones are not much cheaper than new.

TrotTrotPumpkn
Aug. 2, 2012, 11:22 AM
I have had a Cub Cadet for four years now and have been very pleased with it.
This is the model I have. http://www.cubcadet.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_10051_14101_1565773_33810_-1_1353414_33810

Only ever had to do normal maintenance such as oil changes, sharpen/replace blades, replace the mover deck belt.

I have a lot of grass to cut so I did adjust the speed control so it goes faster in forward and slower in reverse. :)

How long would you say it takes you to mow an acre? Just for reference. Thanks!

TrotTrotPumpkn
Aug. 2, 2012, 11:25 AM
$5000? That's crazy for a lawn mower. I just bought a John Deere D120 ride on mower from Home Depot. It was on sale, plus I got another 10% for using my HD credit card and then they knocked off another $100 because there was a tear on the seat. It came to about $1300 + taxes. I've only had it for a few years, but so far I'm very pleased with it. Agreed that the used ones are not much cheaper than new.

Well I thought so! But then when I started talking to friends and farming clients who mow 3-4 acres I find out they all have commercial mowers that start around 10k! Ouch!

Really the reviews on the mowers in the big box stores are just horrid. Maybe only pissed off people write reviews?

What size deck is that Forte?

53
Aug. 2, 2012, 11:29 AM
We just bought a small 5 acre farm, with moderate hills, and the previous owners had a John Deere X500: http://www.tractor-review.com/john-deere-x500.html

It has a 'posi-traction' pedal that minimizes slipping on the hills, and in snow, ice, etc.

It was strong enough to mow, pull their manure spreader, and drag the arena with a simple chain drag. John Deere has 4yr/0% financing for new right now.

2DogsFarm
Aug. 2, 2012, 11:29 AM
My riding mower came with the farm when I bought it 8 years ago, so the thing is probably 10yo.
MTD YardMachine, 17HP with a 42" deck.

I mow about 2ac of lawn regularly (= twice a month) & 2.5ac of pasture about 2-3X a year.
It takes me about an hour to do either.
So far it has not needed more than an annual tuneup & blades sharpened, belts replaced & one carbuerator replacement last Summer.

I can not recommend using your mower for pasture - mine weeps whenever I head that way and the dirt stirred up is hell on the air filter and carbuerator, not to mention what bumpy fields do to a belly-mounted mowing deck..... :uhoh:

But as much as I'd love a zero-turn for the lawns the budget says I make-do with what I have.
I can also haul a dumpcart with about 300# of "stuff" and use that in lieu of a manure spreader & to haul composted manure to my gardens.

A decent riding mower that can handle your acreage should cost you around $2K.
And that would have some bells & whistles: cupholder, etc

Guilherme
Aug. 2, 2012, 11:30 AM
With most motorized equipment you get what you pay for.

Buy cheap and you'll regret it. Buy quality and you won't.

One alternative: buy a good quality, used tractor now along with an appropriate mowing deck. You'll pay more than $5000 but you will soon wonder how you lived without the tractor. And then when you do have stock on the place you won't have that expense then.

G.

sk_pacer
Aug. 2, 2012, 11:44 AM
I got a Simplicity ride-on for around 2500.00 brand new. Works good, behaves properly over rough grounds. The only thing I will tell yuo regaring brand is this: Ariens is highly overrated and overpriced and rough ground tends to separate the mower deck from the power unit. Here, the thing is JD, Sears and Simplicity - they seem to take the rigors or farm mowing better than the stuff listed as estate mowers.

Wayside
Aug. 2, 2012, 12:05 PM
My mother uses an Ariens riding mower to mow her 7 acre pasture. She bought it used for a couple hundred dollars 10+ years ago, and it still runs really well. It does get regular maintenance at least every spring, though. She's never had a problem with the mower deck separating, but again, her mower is an older model, which may make a difference.

So I think your plan is totally feasible. And if you can find something decent used, that might be a good way to go.

muleygirl
Aug. 2, 2012, 12:22 PM
Check out Craigslist, I bet you will find what you want for much less than 5K.
We bought an older well kept John Deere for $700, works great mowing, and I drag the arena with it pulling a handdozer.

TrotTrotPumpkn
Aug. 2, 2012, 12:34 PM
Check out Craigslist, I bet you will find what you want for much less than 5K.
We bought an older well kept John Deere for $700, works great mowing, and I drag the arena with it pulling a handdozer.

How much horse power does your mower have?

jawa
Aug. 2, 2012, 12:47 PM
I'd go with the largest deck you can manage in your space. Obviously with a larger deck you will cover more space in less time, but it doesn't help if you can't fit it between obstacles and then have to go back and weed eat or use a push mower to finish the job.

The other consideration with a large deck is if you have it trailered, do you have a way to do that.

We have 2 zero turns. We bought the first one brand new. This (http://www.husqvarna.com/us/landscape-and-groundcare/products/zero-turn-mowers/pz6029fx/) is the one we have. We have had it for 8 years and have had to regular maintenance and replace the spindles (our fault for having a less than ideal storage situation for a year).

We bought the second one used. Similar (http://www.dixiechopper.com/mowers/xcaliber) to this one. Ours has a 72" deck. I can get some grass cut with that machine.

The other consideration is how high the deck can be raised and still mow. The husqvarna can be raised to cut grass at 6". This is awesome when cutting your pasture. The dixie chopper can only be raised to 3 1/2". Great for lawns, but short pastures.

The husqvarna does better on hills, but I think it has more to do with the tires than the machine.

My brother in law has this (http://www.ferrisindustries.com/zero-turn-mowers/) type because of the suspension.

We paid just under $3,000 for the used Dixie Chopper. It is well made and I expect it to last a long time before we need to replace it.

I cut close to 20 acres. It takes me 6-8 hours to cut everything depending on how thick the grass is. If it is really thick and tall I have to cross cut to get it looking nice. I have a VERY small yard that I cut 1-2 times a week and the rest is cut every 2-4 weeks depending on weather and location.

I use the husqvarna to cut the 2 dams on our property and all the hilly areas.

TrotTrotPumpkn
Aug. 2, 2012, 12:55 PM
60" wide is the largest I can currently trailer.

RacetrackReject
Aug. 2, 2012, 01:04 PM
I have had a Troy-built zero turn mower for about, uummmm, 5 years now. Besides regular maintenance (oil change, clean filters, change blades), I haven't had to have anything done it to it and it runs great. I believe it was right at $2700-3k when I bought it. The thing is super fast.
The one thing I do not like about it is that I have no way to hook my lawn cart up to it, so I have to use the ATV to pull the cart.

pds
Aug. 2, 2012, 01:11 PM
How long would you say it takes you to mow an acre? Just for reference. Thanks!

I would say on avg. about 45-50 min. Longer if I have let the grass grow longer than normal and I have to go slower.

There are many variables that will effect cutting time.

Obstacles you have to mow around
How tall/thick the grass is.
How sharp you keep your blade.
How bumpy the ground is

and how short you are cutting.

This biggest thing is to keep the blades sharp and the mower deck clean.

everafterfarm
Aug. 2, 2012, 01:49 PM
I have bought 2 since I got my farm. I have close to 9 acres that I mow.

One is a Scotts which is built by John Deere(i don't even know if they still make these). It's a garden tractor with a 54" deck. I can't remember the HP but it's 23 or 24. Bought it in 2000 new from Home Depot and it was 4k. It is still running although it looks like it could star in a Mad Max movie, we use mulching blades because of our sandy soil. We also use it to drag the arena and pastures.

The other one we bought last fall when they were on sale and it's a Craftsman from Sears and it has the same brand of motor as the old one but with 25hp. Also a garden tractor with a 54" deck. It was right around the 3k mark. It is a nice machine so far although the blades it came with sucked so we switched it to a mulching blade. Now we have been using this one to do the main yard and letting the old one do the harder stuff like dragging. The old one is a bit heavier duty than the new one, but both are fine for what we need them for.

2BayPonies
Aug. 2, 2012, 02:47 PM
I have this one http://www.homedepot.com/Outdoors-Outdoor-Power-Equipment-Riding-Mowers-Gas-Riding-Mowers/Ariens/h_d1/N-5yc1vZbx9bZ2ci/R-202518949/h_d2/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10053&langId=-1&storeId=10051

So far am very happy with it. My main requirement was a gear driven machine as I'd killed about 5 belts a year on my previous mower


I have 8 acres to mow, a decent grade & pretty tough ground. Nothing has stopped me yet. The max mowing height is only 4 inches, but that's not an issue for me here in north TX

I purchased thru Home Deopt using their card which gave 1 year interest free and free delivery.

mroades
Aug. 2, 2012, 09:29 PM
Also, you will still have to mow once you bring the horses home....just a thought

TrotTrotPumpkn
Aug. 3, 2012, 10:11 AM
Also, you will still have to mow once you bring the horses home....just a thought

I know, but horses = time for a tractor in my book, so I will probably bush hog the pasture at that point. :)

JB
Aug. 3, 2012, 10:24 AM
What's your actual budget?

I agree that you might be able to find a great old tractor for hardly more than a higher end zero turn mower at Lowes/HD.

How lumpy bumpy is your pasture? IME most riding mowers just cannot stand up to that. They can mow, and go, and put lots of hours on them, do hills and whatnot, but if you're jiggling around in the seat, most of the riding mowers, the ones that aren't very high end professional things, are going to fall apart.

How much longer is your mowing season? It might be worth paying a farmer to mow once a month or so, or a bit more frequently if necessary, for the relatively little time left in the year, while you search for a good used tractor.

I realize we got a great deal, but to prove deals ARE out there - we got a mid 70's Ford 4000 with a 5' finish mower for $4k.

Check CL, check ads in your Ag Extension service, check any feed mill bulletin boards, ask farmers and feed mill workers, etc.

TrotTrotPumpkn
Aug. 3, 2012, 10:46 AM
I know it is ridiculously low to most on here, but I really want to stay under 5k for all yard stuff, so I can pay cash. There is just so much to do in the house as well, that I don't have a ton to spend on equipment this year.

Edited to add:

I went lawnmower shopping last night and the 54" John Deere mower (rider) is on sale for $2,385 at Lowes (that's with all discounts). This is the cheapest I have seen for a similar type (deck size, etc.). So far it is in the lead.

I think Deere offers a 2 year or 120 hour warranty, but Lowes will let you buy a four year no hour limit, for about $444. I never buy warranties, but was kind of thinking about it after all the horror stories on lawn mower reviews. Someone can remind me why I never pay for warranties...

I am also really intrigued by the gang reel style mower for the big yard. I realize you don't want to use it in a rough or rocky pasture, but does anyone have one of these? http://www.mowersdirect.com/ProMow-FLEX58/p2786.html

Christa P
Aug. 3, 2012, 12:00 PM
I picked up an older Cub Cadet off my local craigslist for $1000 with a 45" snowblower and a 48" mower deck. It is also plenty big enough to tow my 25 bushel spreader around.


http://i620.photobucket.com/albums/tt284/cap7297/Equipment/4-7A7A1AE5-1191252-800.jpg


http://i620.photobucket.com/albums/tt284/cap7297/Equipment/IMAG0098.jpg


Christa

datdog
Aug. 4, 2012, 09:26 AM
We just bought an Exmark for my mom and it came in right at 5,000, and was worth every penny and then some. It's fabulous and cut her mowing time in half plus it's way easier to ride on then her old Sears riding mower. I believe this was the model we bought her. http://www.exmark.com/Products/Default.aspx?ProductType=75&TypeOfProduct=mower

We purchased locally and they delivered for free and spent over an hour at the house teaching my mom how to drive it. They also do the first two services on the mower for free and will pick up and drop off for no charge. Just can't beat the peace of mind.