Looking for help selecting a riding mower

Jaybau

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Hello to all willing to provide some advice,

I am in the market for a riding mower. My family had moved late last fall and my push Honda isn't the right fit. It's nearly brand new, but I need to find a rider with a cutting deck greater than the 18" or so it has. Currently, it takes me 2 or more hours to cut the lawn and that's tough time to give up with 3 young kids running around; even though I do enjoy doing it.

My lot is only a half acre and it is flat. Pretty open outside of a few trees. The grass does grow rapidly, so I do need to move at least 2x a week in the summer, but I try to get out 3x if I can find the time. There is a decently large area that does collect and maintain water, so wet grass is something I am looking to plan around with the new mower.

My budget isn't stiff, but my expectations are for what I buy. I want a rider that will last me a decade plus for my needs. I don't need something that is overkill, but I do want something built to last. Currently, the John Deere X series is what I have my eye on.

Does anyone have any feedback on the X series performance and longevity? I am also more than happy to hear suggestions of other models or makes that you would think are in my wheelhouse here. I do not need my mower to fulfill other purposes, just need it to still be running well when the kiddos get to learn how to drive it!

Thanks much for taking the time to read. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Best,
Jay
 

beddy85

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I'm assuming you are looking at the x300series, there are a broad range of options in that line up, all of which would be fine for .5 acres. Unless you are against a zero turn, I would highly suggest checking out a toro time cutter. A zero turn would greatly reduce your mowing time, especially if you are going to mow 2-3 times per week.
 

bertsmobile1

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The articulated riders are a real hoot and worth a look at being an out front mower you can put them almost everywhere that the Honda went .
I have a thing against the Time Cutters being that way too many seem to come into the shop with a failed brake module and that automatic electric brake seems to cause the owners a lot of grief to get used to .
Apart from that well built and should last for decades
For small yards I point people towards the small EZ series Deeres .
Apart from them there is nothing I could honestly recommend under $ 5000 .
Everything is definately build down to a price and it starts to show the day warranty expires.
 

Jaybau

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I'm assuming you are looking at the x300series, there are a broad range of options in that line up, all of which would be fine for .5 acres. Unless you are against a zero turn, I would highly suggest checking out a toro time cutter. A zero turn would greatly reduce your mowing time, especially if you are going to mow 2-3 times per week.
Yes, Beddy. The x330 and the x350 are the two I had in mind. From everything I have read they both will serve beyond my needs but are know to last a decade plus...which is my biggest desire.

I am certainly not against zero turns. Just thought they may be more than what I need; but your point on time management is certainly a good one. Does the Toro time cutter have a long shelf life? I will be certain to look into them myself, but I always feel personal replies from a place such as this weigh far greater than random online reviews.

Thank you much for your time and advice!

Best, Jay
 

Jaybau

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The articulated riders are a real hoot and worth a look at being an out front mower you can put them almost everywhere that the Honda went .
I have a thing against the Time Cutters being that way too many seem to come into the shop with a failed brake module and that automatic electric brake seems to cause the owners a lot of grief to get used to .
Apart from that well built and should last for decades
For small yards I point people towards the small EZ series Deeres .
Apart from them there is nothing I could honestly recommend under $ 5000 .
Everything is definately build down to a price and it starts to show the day warranty expires.
I hear you, Bert. Appreciate the reply. I always go for the larger price tag (within reason and needs, of course) if I know the product will last. I'd rather pay more up front knowing it will last over two life cycles of the less expensive models.

The S series of Jon Deere, at least from the 100-400, have sounded like they give out after 3-5 years. That's why I went looking into higher models from them. I'd be more than happy to hear suggestions of riders in the 5 grand territory, provided they do have the track record of ave life span of a decade or more.

Thanks again for the help!

Best,
Jay
 

beddy85

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I hear you, Bert. Appreciate the reply. I always go for the larger price tag (within reason and needs, of course) if I know the product will last. I'd rather pay more up front knowing it will last over two life cycles of the less expensive models.

The S series of Jon Deere, at least from the 100-400, have sounded like they give out after 3-5 years. That's why I went looking into higher models from them. I'd be more than happy to hear suggestions of riders in the 5 grand territory, provided they do have the track record of ave life span of a decade or more.

Thanks again for the help!

Best,
Jay
I believe you are doing the right thing by looking at the x series in a garden tractor. Now back to the zero turns. If for say you had a budget of $5500, that then opens the door to a ton of options. Imho, at that price point on a 1/2 acre, you could get into a machine that should very easily last you 10+years if property maintained, and that is being conservative. I'm not trying to seem like a zero turn fanboy, I only suggest that route if you are going to be strictly mowing with the machine, and if saving time is important. These days all the major ztr manufacturers make a pretty good machine, I would suggest going to the dealers that are near you look at, sit on, drive..etc. Once you start researching you will find that with some brands you can get more for your money vs others, like bigger transmissions, better seat, deck, and various options. I actually farm for a living and wr run all jd equipment, we have a great relationship with our local dealership, but I can tell you that in a ztr you can get much more for your money with other makes. Sometimes you end up paying a premium for the green paint. Now, it is my believe that jd does have the best garden tractor, simplicity also makes a good one, but I would take the x series over a simplicity in a comparable model any day. Do you have many lawnmower dealers near you?
 

Jaybau

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I believe you are doing the right thing by looking at the x series in a garden tractor. Now back to the zero turns. If for say you had a budget of $5500, that then opens the door to a ton of options. Imho, at that price point on a 1/2 acre, you could get into a machine that should very easily last you 10+years if property maintained, and that is being conservative. I'm not trying to seem like a zero turn fanboy, I only suggest that route if you are going to be strictly mowing with the machine, and if saving time is important. These days all the major ztr manufacturers make a pretty good machine, I would suggest going to the dealers that are near you look at, sit on, drive..etc. Once you start researching you will find that with some brands you can get more for your money vs others, like bigger transmissions, better seat, deck, and various options. I actually farm for a living and wr run all jd equipment, we have a great relationship with our local dealership, but I can tell you that in a ztr you can get much more for your money with other makes. Sometimes you end up paying a premium for the green paint. Now, it is my believe that jd does have the best garden tractor, simplicity also makes a good one, but I would take the x series over a simplicity in a comparable model any day. Do you have many lawnmower dealers near you?
Sorry for the delay in response, Beddy. Been busy here the past couple days.

I do have a few dealerships in the area. I think you have steered me in the direction of the zero turns at this point with the jd x series as the fall back if I can't find anything I like; which seems hard to do. Toro, cadet, jd and husqvarna are the ones I see most available so sounds like I'll have plenty to look at when I get there. Thanks again for all the help!
 

Rivets

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Personally I would stay away from Husqvarna and Cub Cadet (which is made by MTD). Both are of a lower quality and if I remember right Husqvarna is going to stop making tractors. Just my opinion.
 
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