Husqvarna R 120S Review – A Better Zero Turn – At a Better Price

Husqvarna has a dilemma. They know they have a better riding lawn mower than what the U.S. is accustomed to. They know once they get this mower into the hands of the U.S. consumer they will realize that it is the best cutting mower they have ever owned. So what solution to this perplexing problem did Husqvarna come up with? For a limited time Husqvarna cut the price $1000 and is offering the 42 inch R120S Articulating Riding Mower, Model 967181801 at an introductory price of only 2147.89 through Amazon. That price includes shipping to your home. To make the deal even better Amazon is offering 12 months no interest financing through the Amazon Store Card.

This is $1000 off the regular price! Buy it here from Amazon: Husqvarna 967181801 R120S Articulating Riding Mower, 42-Inch

Is This Mower For You?

RS120 Right Front If you are the homeowner who always complains that your lawn looks better when you mow with a walk-behind. That you can never get a good looking lawn with a lawn tractor or zero-turn. This mower is for you! The R120S uses a full floating deck to follow every bump and dip in your lawn. No Scalping, no gouging, just the best cut possible. In addition the out front, “ground hugging” deck allows you to trim closer than you ever could with a lawn tractor or zero-turn.

I highly recommend this mower for up to two acre lawns. It is faster than most lawn tractors so it will cut up to 2 acres an hour. Beside cutting a little faster than you lawn tractor it will eliminate most of the trimming you now use a string trimmer for. This won’t “cut your mowing time in half” but it just may cut your mowing and trimming time in half compared to a conventional lawn tractor. If you are in the market for a new riding lawn mower with the best possible cut – seriously consider this mower!

Raven MPV-7100

The mowing curves are to follow the contours in my lawn.

I’ll be honest. I’m spoiled. I’ve been using front mounted mowers and articulated riders similar to this one for years. One of my first mowers was a Bolens Articulated. When I started my lawn business we did not yet have mid-mount zero-turns so front deck Toro Grounds Masters, Walker’s and 3 wheel mowers like the Scag STHM’s or Gravely Pro were the mowers of choice. All of these mowers used ground hugging out front decks so you had almost no trimming to do when you finished mowing.  Many of these mowers had such a low center of gravity that hills were never a problem.  Go here to see the mowers I have owned.

Why did we change? Because you can fit three mid-mount zero-turns on a trailer in the same space as two three-wheelers. The commercial operators jumped on mid-mount zero-turns not for the quality of cut – but for the space saving on their trailers.

I currently mow with a 2001 Husqvarna model 970. It is very similar to this R 120S Husqvarna is selling at such an extraordinary price. I have access to all the new style mowers including the Raven MPV-7100 you see in the picture but my front lawn is so sculpted with dips, mounds and curves that to get the even cut I like I either have to mow with a push mower or use the Husqvarna rider. The Husqvarna rider is so maneuverable it even trims around square landscape beds without leaving any marks on the lawn. What little trimming I have left is easily done in a few minutes with a small cordless trimmer. 

The price is so good on this mower that I am considering buying one for myself.

Benefits of the Husqvarna R 120S Rider:

 RS120 Side This rider is about the same physical dimensions as your 42 inch lawn tractor. It will take up about the same amount of room in your storage shed or garage.

–  The rider is a lot easier to learn than a zero-turn. It drives like your car.

– The deck is out front so you can always see exactly where you are mowing. The front-mounted cutting deck lets you get into corners, under bushes, etc. Trim under your children’s swing set without using a string trimmer. Stick it under the pine tree that always tries to knock you off the tractor. It’s hard to find places this mower will not reach.

– Rear attachments follow in the same path as the lawn mower. When you pull a yard cart or dethatcher you don’t have to worry about hitting stuff with the yard cart. 

– It follows the contour of your lawn. Dips and bumps get mowed at the height as the flat areas.

– Comfortable driver’s platform. With the Rider you get safety, stability and traction on both flat ground and slopes. The low center of gravity makes the Rider very comfortable to use.

– Pivoting axle rear wheel drive. The rear traction is better than a zero-turn because both rear wheels are in full contact with the ground at all times. The mower can twist through dips or go over bumps and all four wheels stay firmly planted on the ground. (No trimming around the mailbox with one wheel sticking up in the air)

– Engine behind the driver: The 19.5 HP Briggs Endurance engine is behind you and the exhaust points straight out the back.  This makes the rider a lot quieter for you than a lawn tractor. In addition the engine is completely enclosed so it is even quieter than a zero-turn.

RS120 Front The R120S rides differently than a lawn tractor or zero-turn. Your body is over the front axle so there is a little more “side-to-side” sway than on a lawn tractor.  But you only feel these bumps. Because the rider’s rear axle pivots you don’t feel any bounce from the rear.  One of the best parts of the ride is you don’t get that front “bounce” you get with a zero-turn. (which many women feel uncomfortable) Any bounce over a rough lawn is more up and down instead of jerking your head back and forth. This rider is not quite as maneuverable as the R220 and R330 “Swedish” Riders.

Buy it here through Amazon: Husqvarna 967181801 R120S Articulating Riding Mower, 42-Inch

Features of the Husqvarna R120S:

RS120 Truning Articulated steering: The articulated steering gives excellent maneuverability and facilitates driving around obstacles such as trees and bushes. Note: This mower is not a true zero-turn. It will mow completely around an 8 inch post without leaving a mark but it will not pivot inside it’s own length. 

Pedal-operated hydrostatic transmission: Speed and direction are controlled with your foot. This lets you keep both hands on the steering wheel for maximum control.

Single lever height adjustment: The gauge wheels stay on the ground with this deck. When you raise or lower the cutting height you always get the same consistent cut.

Deck is very easy to remove: You can quickly remove the deck to clean underneath or sharpen the blades. Changing from mowing to using the optional snow blade is a 5-10 minute task.

Engine behind the driver:  Thanks to the rear-mounted engine, you get better view of what you are mowing. No looking around a big hood. No looking down and back to see what you are trimming.  

External Fuel Cap: The tank is easy to fill and is transparent so you can easily see how much is in the tank.

7 MPH Forward Speed: A lot of owners state they can mow faster with this deck than their old lawn tractor.

RS120 Right There is a snow blade for this rider. It’s part number 967 16 73-01.

Buy it here: Husqvarna 967181801 R120S Articulating Riding Mower, 42-Inch

I found this review of the R120S on the Husqvarna site.

From Pleasantly Surprised,

The R 120S is my third lawn cutter. I started with a typical riding mower to handle a 1 acre lot and then moved to a top-of-the-line Gravely Zero Turn mower to cut a 3 acre lawn. I recently moved to a smaller 3/4 acre property and decided to get the R 120S over its bigger R 220T sibling or another zero turn mower. I can honestly say: I made the right choice.

RS120 Right Front Zero Turn (ZT) mowers can be very fast. My previous unit could cut at 12 mph! But that is hard on machinery and the rider too. Cutting accuracy also suffers as the machine starts bouncing and rocking. Then there is the biggest ZT drawback: ‘turf tearing’ when you make a less than perfect 180 degree turn. ZT mowers skid when making many manoeuvres. You get damaged grass all the time. When I had 3 acres to cut, I could live with these deficiencies. With a 3/4 acre lot, I want better cut quality.
Traditional riding mowers suffer two shortcomings:

1) Handling. Turning circles are really measured in feet no matter what the brochures say.
2) Ground Speed. Most cut at 5 mph or less. After my super fast Gravely Zero Turn, 5.5 mph feels like I am backing up!
Now on to the R120S. Here’s what I like:
1) Front mounted deck. Putting the blades out front means you get to cut grass before it is flattened by the front wheels. I am sold on this design.
2) Speed. The R 120S cuts at 7 mph. Not blinding speed but just about right for my smaller property. Note that the bigger R 220T cuts at 6 mph. I have tried both. I am happier with the R 120S.
3) Handling. It takes a little practice but it’s worth the effort. I can cut closer and more accurately than any of my former mowers.
4) Smoothness. Surprise! The one cylinder Briggs & Stratton motor is smooth and relatively quiet compared to the V-twins I had previously. Having 2 blades rather than 3 also means quieter operation
On the downside, I am disappointed with the amount of plastic on the R 120S. I also don’t know how well the pivoting motor will hold up to long term use. The more expensive R 220T uses a different pivoting rear axle.  Given the low purchase cost and the fact that the front axle is solid, I expect the R 120S will deliver better than average value in the long run.
My overall Summary: The R 120S features and design are unmatched in a cutter that costs less than $2000. I had a mower that cost six times as much and could not cut as cleanly or accurately. If you have the right-sized property and appreciate handling and speed over other features, I highly recommend this product.
This just may be the best mower for you! Feel free to ask any questions in the comments below.

 

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35 Comments on "Husqvarna R 120S Review – A Better Zero Turn – At a Better Price"

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John
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Paul, great site. We live in Indianapolis, Indiana. Just under 1/2 acre. Several flower beds out in the yard, 6 or 8 trees out in the yard. All have landscape blocks around them, and the house is surrounded by beds with landscape blocks as well. Mostly flat, the back is a little bumpy. A slight slope in the front down to the sidewalk. I have an old lawn boy walk behind and an old wheel horse rear engine today. Both work, but I’ve rebuilt several times and know at some point something new is needed. It is now April 2016.… Read more »
Doug
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Hi John. I would be curious to know what local dealer is selling them for $1999. A dealer in NC recently put a few up for sale for that price and I was to slow on the trigger. They all sold by the time the weekend was through. Thanks.

John
Guest
I live in CT and have about 1 acre mostly flat, some slopes not too steep and I had been considering the Craftsman Model 20390, but the R120S has caught my interest. I really like the Craftsman because of the description in your review of the dependable engine and transmission. How would the R120S stack up up in comparison? I would like to use it to pull a sweeper as well, would this have any negative consequences for the transmission? I’d also be interested in your comments of using a sweeper vs a bagger. Thanks very much, and I really… Read more »
Drew B
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Hi Paul. I’ve been looking at a lot of lawnmowers recently and I really like the Husqvarna R 120S Rider. I have a lot of trees and obstacles to go around on my property but its not too large about one acre. I want a mower that can handle a lot of leaves. Also the property is on a dead end which drains water into it when it rains and turns pretty swampy in one spot. I’ve read on this site that the hydrostatic transmission is not as good as a CVT, please help me to decide as a first… Read more »
Jake
Guest
First off, great site! Thank you for providing such great info. I just bought a house with a 1.2 acre lot and a bunch of landscaping — raised beds, trees, shrubs, etc. It’s quite a maze but mostly flat. There’s a bit of a slope on one side of the house, but that area is small enough that I could cut it with my current push mower in probably five minutes, anyway. I am intrigued by both this Husqvarna model and the Toro TimeCutter SW4200. In one of the comments below, you say that you like this model yourself, but… Read more »
Earl from DE
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Thanks Paul…Now that I’ve decided on the Hustler Rapture, should I go with the Rapture 52″ or spend the extra 1k for the Rapture SD? Any advantages to buying the SD? Also, if I do go to a 4k mower, are there any other choices that would eclipse the Hustler?

Thanks, Earl

Brian
Guest
Paul, Thanks for the quick response and the Amazon tip for ordering parts. My Juneau Hometown Sears has been telling me that they would process the Warranty Order if something went wrong while under warranty. Otherwise, they say I would have to hassle with a local shop directly to get that warranty repair process started. I’ll have to call the local contracted repair shop in town and see if that’s worth the online savings. Also, maybe I should see if I can quickly get a Sears card. Again, thanks for having the most informative resource I’ve ever seen!
Brian
Guest
Paul, Thanks for an elaborate, informative site of articulating, ZT’s, and riding lawn mowers. I have a small customer base of mostly residential and one large yard at a 4-Plex, Do riding mowers (with the mulch cover plugged) present a mowed lawn (virtually free of visible clippings) like a gas mower with the discharge chute also covered? I want to use a riding mower on a 1 acre 4-Plex and 2 acre Condo, and not have to drive in smaller (right turn) circles to get rid of the row of discharge clippings trailing behind me. I bought a used 30″… Read more »
Ron
Guest

I bought the mulching plug. $45.00 for my new r120s , couldn’t be happier. Ellensgurg Wa.

Earl from DE
Guest

Paul, I just read your review of the Hustler Rapture 52″ and it’s price is similar to the Toro. Which of the two would you recommend?

Earl from DE
Guest

Hi Paul, I’m ready to start the season off by buying a new mower. Which of these do you recommend; Toro Zero Turn Tractor or the Husqvarna R 120S Rider? I have a little less than an acre with lots of obstacles, gardens beds, etc. Slight swales, but mostly flat. I will only do some pulling of mulch once a year.

Michael Betz
Guest

Hi, Paul. I’ve spent Saturday morning in Mattawan, Michigan reading through your excellent website. Lots of great advice, and I’ve learned a lot from the comments section. I need to replace my Toro ZTR (rusted out mowing deck, still a great motor) and I’m really leaning toward the Husqvarna articulated mowers. When I saw this post – about $1,000 off the price – I’ll admit I almost headed for my wallet. But when I clicked the link, it says it’s $380 off. Do you know if the deal has changed?

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[…] steering wheel that may work better for you. When you get through reading this article head over to Husqvarna R 120S Review – A Better Zero Turn – At a Better Price before you make your final […]

Phil
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I called my local Husqvarna dealer about this deal and they indicated that Amazon’s delivery to your home does not actually included taking it off the truck, for which there is an extra “forklift” fee. Whether or not this is true I can’t confirm. However, they also indicated that the R120S is actually being discontinued and thus the reason for the special price, which they could match. I’m in the market for a new mower before spring and I am having trouble deciding. I love the design of the Husqvarna articulated riders. I wish the R120S had a mulching kit… Read more »
Maiko
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The HU42 (Model: 531 30 96-41) is the mulching kit for the Husqvarna R120S.

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