Hustler Raptor 52 in. Zero-Turn Mower Review – Home Depot Model: 933077

Hustler Raptor 52 in. Zero-Turn Mowers – Are They Really That Different?

Is this mower the best for you? In this review I will go over the features, strengths and weaknesses of this zero turn mower and compare it to the brands you are familiar with.

I never heard of Hustler Mowers!

RaptorBackview There is a reason why Cub Cadet, Craftsman and Toro are all household names. You see their names every time you walk into a home improvement center, hardware store or your local Sears. You probably have never heard of the dozen or so other brands that make heavy duty commercial mowers. Well, one company is out to change that.

Introducing the Hustler Raptor and Raptor SD by Excel Industries. Three high quality mowers now at a homeowner price. You may have never heard of this brand but I’m here today to tell you that if you want a zero-turn mower this is one first brand you should consider.

The first zero-turn mower to be patented was by Excel Industries in the early 60’s  and they have been making the Hustler line of zero turn mowers ever since. Over the years they have focused mainly on industrial and heavy duty commercial versions. You may not have noticed the brand but if you ever saw a yellow mower at an airport or other large industrial area it probably was a Hustler. Don’t worry about service and parts. The mowers will be serviced through their 1600 dealers.

They don’t make lawn tractors so they don’t put lightweight stamped lawn tractor decks on their Raptor zero-turns. All the decks are fabricated, welded decks. They make zero-turn mowers that are all but indestructible up to 100 inches wide and up to 12 mph mowing speed. They took what they know from years of industrial mowing and made very rugged, dependable zero-turns at a price homeowners can afford.  

Raptor 52 in. Zero-Turn Mower Home Depot Model: 933077

Brand: Hustler
Manufactured By: Excel Industries
Model/Series: 933077/Raptor
Item Number:   204612929
See All Buying Options Here:  Hustler Lawn Mower. Dealer Locator
Street Price: $2999.99

Hustler calls this a Residential Zero-Turn. It has more features than a yard tractor but less pulling power than the G5500 garden tractor.

Compare it to:  54 inch Craftsman Model 20414, or the John Deere Lawn Mowers Z425 54 in. 22 HP Hydrostatic Gas Zero-Turn Riding Mower BM24656

Quick Summary Review

Pros:

  • Kawasaki Premium V-Twin engine
  • Top Speed 6.5 mph!
  • Heavy duty fabricated deck and frame. 4.5 inch cutting height!
  • Low Seat Height.
  • Patented Automatic Park Brake System.
  • Heavy Duty Front Caster Forks
  • Disperses clippings evenly in side-discharge mode.
  • Mulches well, leaves fine clippings with little or no clumps.
  • Optional engine guard .
  • Maximum mowing area per hour (acres): 3.0 acres at 5 MPH
  • Recommended for moderate slopes? Yes, Moderate slopes
  • Excels in mowing around obstacles? Yes
  • Will Mow In Reverse? Yes

Cons:

  • This is a heavy duty residential zero-turn but it still has the EZT transmissions that all the residential’s have. You will not be able to pull heavy loads like a leaf vac.

My Full Review:

Raptor Hi Right The Raptor is Hustler’s entry-level zero-turn mower and you can buy one for less than $3000. It features a fabricated deck that cuts just as well as the stamped decks on the other residential machines. Overall it is a well built mower for the price. The Hustler Raptor is designed and built by the manufacture with the most zero-turn experience, Excel Industries in Hesston, Kansas

Features:

HydroGear EZT Transmissions, Mowing Speed 6.5 mph, Patented automatic Parking Brake, 52″ Cutting Width, 1.5″-4.5″ Cutting Height

Raptor Engine Kawasaki Engines
23HP- FR691V Kawasaki V-Twin. Kawasaki Premium V-Twin engines offer durability, dependability, and the power you need to get the job done. Many owners prefer the Kawasaki over the Briggs and Kohler engines.  Because of the way Kaw rates their engine, 23 hp is plenty for this zero-turn.

Heavy Duty Welded Steel Deck
Raptor Deck 700x700 The heavy duty welded steel deck offers superior strength and durability. Owners like the cut and tell me it cuts as well as a fabricated deck. It has welded in wear strips that keep the sides of the deck from getting dented. It is the strongest deck you can buy in this price range. Even though this is a fabricated deck it side-discharges so well that you do not need and aux blower for a bagger.
Heavy Duty Fabricated Frame

Raptor Frontcaster 8ga, 1/8 in, .120 welded steel tube frame.
Hustler’s heavy duty fabricated frames are the best in the category. Hustler took everything they know about building heavy duty commercial machines and used that knowledge to make a tough chassis. I see no problems with cracking of flexing over time.  The front caster forks
are built-up 1/4 in steel with a tall 11in x 4in front caster tire.

2014 0003 low-center-gravity
Low Seat Height
The low center of gravity makes this zero-turn more comfortable to use on hills and slopes. It is one of the few zero-turns in this price range that will handles 15 degree slopes well. Watch the video below:

Patented Automatic Park Brake System
A simple, convenient and patented system that automatically engages the parking brake when you open the steering levers. It just works and keeps the mower from wandering around when parked on a slope.

Hustler Mowers are available through the 1600 local dealers. If you need financing Sheffield Financial is the only lender Hustler uses and they have 0% financing programs with zero down for qualified buyers. They also have rates that start at 3.99% and go up from there depending on credit score. Sheffield Financial has been great to work with. You can apply online as well as in the dealer’s store. Many new owners come in and walk out in less than 30 minutes with a new mower and nothing out of their pocket. You can find you nearest dealer here: HustlerTurf Find A Dealer

If you live near Grand Junction, CO check out Duffys Outdoor Power Equipment

Please give your city and state when you comment

  1. Donald Baron Central MN
    You talk about the Raptor 52″ with the Hydrogear EXT and how that won’t haul a lawn vac. Would you recommend pulling a lawn vac with the Raptor SD 54″ with the Hydrogear 2800? Also I have a standard ditch in my front yard; will the Raptor do well on a standard ditch?

    • @Donald, Yes to both questions. The ZT-2800 drives are a lot stronger. I actually pulled 600 lb wing mowers (sometimes 2 at a time) for over 200 hours without the ZT-2800 drives showing any sign of wear. The Raptor SD will have no problems in that ditch. The standard Raptor will handle the ditch alright but it is a lighter machine and you may have traction issues on wet or drought dry grass.

  2. Brett, The Colony, TX:
    Looking at specs, I see that the Hustler uses a 23 HP Kawasaki engine, but it is a 603cc. The Toro uses the larger 763cc Kawasaki, also rated at 23 HP. To get this engine on the Hustler you must but the SD model. Why is this? Both Toro Hustler are same $2999.

    • @gina, I don’t believe the Raptor has an hour meter. If you own one you just have to measure how long you use it every week. Use your owners manual and multiply that to figure when to change your oil and do the other maintenance.

  3. I bought a 42″ Rapture. From day one, whenever it gets hot (30 minutes of mowing) it won’t start without cranking 30 seconds or more. When it cools off for 10 minutes it starts right up. Been in the shop as much as I have had it, they can’t figure it out. Is there a “lemon law?”

    • @Gary, It’s nice to know not everyone loves their Kawasaki engine. (Just kidding) That is typically a carb/carb gasket issue and it vapor locks. You didn’t tell me where you live, high altitude can cause this.

      This is an engine issue, so make sure the dealer is talking to Kawasaki about the problem. They are usually very good at following through with an issue like this.

    • Gary, I am a Hustler dealer as well as a warranty center for Kawasaki engines. The problem that you are experiencing is not the Kawasaki engine or the Hustler mower. The problem is today’s gasoline with the Ethanol blend. TODAY’S engines are made to tighter tolerances for emissions and power. Like the cars of today, we are getting more power out of smaller engine sizes and as a result will act differently than the small engines of even 5 years ago. Ethanol is supposed to be at a max of 10% and the fuel cap on the Hustler states the same thing, but it has been our experience that the fuel companies has Ethanol up to 20%. Fuel that is left in a can for as little as 5 days will start to separate and the Ethanol will become concentrated. Ethanol has a lower boiling point, 173 degrees at sea level, and will cause vapor lock in a hot engine. Our suggestion is simple, use Ethanol free gasoline and your outdoor power equipment will last longer, run better and give you less headaches. Download the free app from pure-gas.org and you can find who is selling Ethanol free gas in your area.

      • Thanks David, If you can’t get ethanol free I always recommend Sea Foam or another good fuel stabilizer. Use it all the time.

  4. Before you start your first cut, lift the mower at rear and check/tighten the mounting bolts for the 2 hydraulic motors. Mine were loose with no lock washers, lost 2 and this resulted in ripped belt that drive the motors. Not easy to replace even with guidance in Manual. Installed lock washers and double nuts on the mounting bolts to prevent spin-off from vibration. Total surprise that assembly did not use lock washers or Nyloc nuts. Otherwise a great machine.

    • @Vince, If you don’t want to use lockwashers, I suggest Permatex or Loctite Threadlocker. Threadlocker. I also suggest that you should go through your new tractor or zero-turn and check all the nuts and bolts sometime in the first 5 hours and again at 50 hours. 30 minutes checking it out can save you hundreds of dollars later on.

  5. Just bought The 52 inch 23 hp Kawasaki Hustler Raptor…Cut for the first time today…mowed 3 acres…so far I really like it…runs great, cuts nice and is pretty comfortable. For the money..a great mower….Mocksville, North Carolinal

  6. Thanks Paul, advice taken hubby very happy with the results! We still have to get the push mower, for a small 45 degree slope in the corner though…. Keep up the good works we learned a lot from your blog posts!

  7. Hi Paul! How deep of a slope can I handle with this one? I was sold on the husqvarna yt48xls that you recommended me until I read your last post….