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Zero-turn mowers - Scag, Toro, Kubota or Grasshopper?

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  • Zero-turn mowers - Scag, Toro, Kubota or Grasshopper?

    The "search" function on COTH was of no use, I apologize if this is a recent repeat.

    I need a zero turn mower ASAP. This was NOT in the budget and my max is about $9k. I am considering ONLY Scag, Toro, Kubota, or Grasshopper because there are accessible service centers. Which of these 4 brands would you recommend or avoid?

    6.25 acres total, 5 acres are horse pasture. Thick north Texas bermuda grass needs mowing 10 months/year, and we mow the entire property every 7-10 days during prime growing season in our residential equestrian neighborhood. Flat, wide open property, no hills, few trees, primarily wire mesh fence lines.

  • #2
    I know nothing of the other brands but my husband's family has a 200 acre farm and when we bought our 20 acres he insisted we buy a Scag commercial (we have a Turf Tiger ZTR) and we have abused that thing for 7 years. Mowing now 8 acres. We have paid money to have it repaired hitting stumps and bending blades etc. It does a beautiful job of mowing. We mow mostly flat areas but that does include our 4 acre pasture at times which is bumpy. We did also buy the $500 nicer seat.

    Will say though - we have been eyeing a Ferris - I'm told by someone who knows that a Ferris has a better shock system and is a better machine.


    • #3
      John Deere has 0% financing right now on zero turns, and they do have commercial grade. My nephew bought one on Monday and my husband is now looking. My current John Deere garden tractor is over 22 years old, and was well worth every penny.
      "You can't fix stupid"- Ron White


      • #4
        Scag has a residential ZTR, the Liberty Z - the 61" is ~$5k. I got one recently, and have only managed to put about 8 hours on it so far. The plan originally was to get a (compact, not lawn) tractor and a brush hog for the bulk of the mowing, and maybe a commercial walk-behind (my dad had one I used as a teenager, also a Scag) for ~2 acres around the house, but I just was not ready to pull the trigger on the tractor this spring (not totally confident about my needs, the local dealers, used/new options, financing, etc.). When I found out about the Liberty Z, it was basically a no-brainer. We'll get a tractor eventually, and then hopefully the Scag will be limited to 5 acres. Property is 12 acres, with only 10-ish mowable.

        I love it so far, though I'm definitely trying to push it beyond its intended use, beating back a weedy overgrown former hay field. I stay away from the woody bits, so I don't think I'm abusing the blades too much overall, but sometimes I do end up scalping massive ant colonies. We've got about 5 acres under control, but still have to make a first pass around 5 more.

        Main complaint is that the operator area is definitely designed for someone much larger than I am, so at max speed (7 mph), even on flat ground, it's hard to stabilize myself in the seat. If you are tall enough for your feet to reach the foot plate in the front, you shouldn't have this problem.


        • #5
          We bought our first ZT back in March for our 4.5 acre Florida farm (aka, the land of constant mowing). We talked endlessly with local lawn businesses about what they used and didn’t recommend, and the answer became clear: Toro.

          We purhased the Toro Titan HD commercial grade ZT with the “My Ride” suspension system (which turned out to be a critical, worthwhile upgrade). All total, about $6k and we are in love. Not only does it mow super fast, but we don’t have a tractor at the moment so our poor Toro does double-duty by pulling our lawn sweeper and harrow when we need it to. Highly, highly recommend and appreciated that it wasn’t a total budget-buster like John Deere was for us.


          • #6
            We have a Skag that I love. Whatever brand you go with go the commercial line. The metal on the decks tend to be heavier grade and the depth of the deck is normally deeper. The commerical ones are better designed to take a beating and rack up the hours. We purchased our Skag used from a landscaper friend who was getting out of the business. We co-own it with my neighbor. DH does the maintenance and we split the costs with the neighbor.

            The only thing I don't like about this particular Skag is that we have a lot of trees on the property and the roll bar does not have the option to fold down. I have hit tree branches more than a few times and popped up the front end. Other Skags have the option to fold down the top of the roll bar.
            Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)


            • #7
              Love my Grasshopper • can handle anything and makes all areas look nice !

              Just a bearcat !!!
              Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


              • #8
                We traded our Kubota for a Scag, and no regrets. Love our Kubota tractor, but the zero turn is a newer thing for them.


                • #9
                  Mr. IF is in love with his Bad Boy ZTM. He bought commercial grade given our property is rolling and he is hard on equipment.
                  Where Norwegian Fjords Rule


                  • #10
                    We have 24 acres, approximately 5 we mow. The previous owner had a paddock system with grass lanes between each paddock and there are 4 outbuildings to mow around. He also planted trees absolutely everywhere. We bought a Grasshopper. In my opinion, the best thing about the Grasshopper is the front-mounted deck. I bump it up to everything, which drastically cuts down on weed-eating. However, it is a much longer machine and you have to watch your engine and when turning. I've spun it into the fences a time or two.


                    • #11
                      What ever brand you get, make sure to get a commercial model. The amount of mowing that you do on a farm is WAY more than the average homeowner. We bought a 72" JD diesel mower a couple of years ago. I can cut a ton of grass in no time. The only warning is to measure your narrowest space to maneuver around and don't get a deck bigger than that...or go with the bigger deck and figure out how to deal with the maintenance of the narrow areas (weed eat, spray, mulch, gravel). The other issue with a bigger deck is being sure you have a trailer it will fit on to get it to the shop for repairs or maintenance.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by PaddockWood View Post

                        Will say though - we have been eyeing a Ferris - I'm told by someone who knows that a Ferris has a better shock system and is a better machine.
                        We have a commercial grade Ferris. That is correct re the shock system.... love it
                        Roseknoll Sporthorses


                        • Original Poster

                          Appreciate all the input! Ended up with a 52" Scag TigerCat II - absolutely love the quality of cut and the suspension seat!


                          • #14
                            Ferris all the way
                            Click here before you buy.


                            • #15
                              We have the SCAG Cheetah which they list as a heavy duty commercial grade. I love it. I use it for around the house and for about 20 acres of hilly pasture. It really reduced my mowing time as compared to the old NH tractor I had.

                              It is a loud machine. I had to go buy some earmuffs.
                              A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.


                              • #16
                                Ear and eye protection any and every time you are using the mower. You will think that you are only going to cut this little spot and before you know it you've been on the mower an hour.


                                • #17
                                  I’ve been very happy with our Grasshopper for mowing 13-acres of Bermuda. Be sure you get or add on a roof for the shade. Makes a huge difference.
                                  Hindsight bad, foresight good.


                                  • #18
                                    Not on your list....but we have a HD Hustler for our yard and paddocks and are totally pleased with it!
                                    Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma