Your Guide to Buying a Zero Turn Mower
It’s been a long hard winter but the grass is growing and Spring has finally sprung. If you are in the market for a new mower this season, especially a zero turn lawn mower, here are some things to keep in mind as you begin to shop.
Quality of Machine
If you are visiting a big box store to look at mowers….buyer beware. It is unlikely that you will get a knowledgeable employee to go over the details of the machine.
- Is the deck stamped or fabricated?
- Does the machine have ball joints and bearings or pin & hole construction?
- Is transmission serviceable or non-serviceable?
- Is the machine constructed using metal parts or plastic?
Not all warranties are the same. We all know that they have a specified period of time for covered repairs, but here are a few more questions to ask.
- What is covered by the warranty?
- Is Labor and Parts covered for the entire lifetime of the warranty or is there a sliding scale of coverage?
- Is there a separate warranty for certain components on the machine (i.e.- engine, hydraulic pumps)?
- Who can perform warranty work on the machine?
- This is a big point and deserves more than just a bullet point
- There is one particular maker of mowers (green paint job) that is called Self Servicing. That means everything on that mower must be serviced by one of their dealers. Even the engine—which could otherwise be serviced by hundreds of local service centers that handle Briggs & Stratton, Kawasaki, and Kohler.
- So let’s say it’s the middle of spring and your brand new mower is experiencing a problem. With just a handful of servicing dealers, they are going to have a service queue that is weeks long. And there is nothing you can do but wait it out if you want the repair to be covered under the warranty. Do you now see the issue with these Self Servicing brands?
Class of ZTR Mowers
Shopping for a zero turn lawn mower is similar to shopping for a car. There are economy cars, luxury cars, and sports cars. All get you from Point A to Point B, but how they do it is different.
All ZTR lawn mowers cut grass, but do it with varying degrees of speed, comfort, and class of components.
Let’s break these down into 4 classes to help you see the differences and decide the class that fits your need.
Notice that yellow symbol…..this is that ‘buyer beware’ category. Purchase at your own risk but don’t say we didn’t warn you!
Examples of Mid-Grade machines would be Toro, TroyBilt (sold by a dealer not big box store), and Cub Cadet.
Some models to choose from in the Light Commercial category would be Bob-Cat CRZ, and the 100 and 200 series from Grasshopper.
And just about every maker has several Commercial models, both sit-down and stand-up. Though we are partial to Bob-Cat and Grasshopper.
Now that you know a little bit more about the classes, you are likely aligning your need & budget with the Class of ZTR that is going to be your best fit. Our biggest take away here is—DO NOT make your decision based on the price-point, instead pick a machine based on your mowing need.
Ready to start shopping?
Awesome! Now head to several dealers and kick the tires. Take test drives. Ask questions. Get a quote and negotiate a price that fits your budget. On a class of mower that fits your need. And most important, find a shop that you’d like to develop a long-term relationship with—if you are buying a quality machine, you are going to know each other for years to come.
And if we can help you with this buying process in any way, know we are here for you, regardless of whether you buy a machine from us or not.