Hustler Raptor 42 in. Zero-Turn Mower Review

Hustler Raptor 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.

If your main concern is price, this is not the mower for you. This mower does have one feature not found on the other residential zero-turns. Because of that the price is higher than all the rest. Read on to find out why it costs more.

Raptor 42 in. Zero-Turn Mower 

Brand: Hustler
Manufactured By: Excel Industries
Model/Series: 931741/Raptor 42
Item Number:   204612934
Find your nearest dealer here:  Dealer Locator
Street Price: $2799.99

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:  Craftsman 42 inch or Craftsman 46 inch zero turns

Quick Summary Review


  • 21.5 HP Kawasaki V-Twin engine
  • Top Speed 6 mph
  • Heavy duty fabricated deck. 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): 1.5 acres at 5 MPH
  • Recommended for moderate slopes? Yes, Moderate slopes
  • Excels in mowing around obstacles? Yes
  • Will Mow In Reverse? Yes


  • This zero turn has the EZT transmissions that all the residential zero-turns use. You will not be able to pull heavy loads like a leaf vac.

Find your nearest dealer here:  Dealer Locator

My Full Review:

Raptor Hi Right The Raptor is Hustler’s entry-level zero-turn mower and you can buy one for less than $2800. 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. The Husler Raptor is designed and built by the manufacture with the most zero-turn experience, Excel Industries in Hesston, Kansas


HydroGear EZT Transmissions, Mowing Speed 6 mph, Patented automatic Parking Brake, 42″ Cutting Width, 1.5″-4.5″ Cutting Height

Raptor Engine Kawasaki Engines
21.5 HP Kawasaki V-Twin. Kawasaki  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 but I am not going to argue which Brand has the best engine.

Heavy Duty Welded Steel Deck
Raptor Deck 700x700 If you are really hard on your equipment the heavy duty welded steel deck may be the best choice. Owners like the cut and tell me it cuts as well as a stamped deck. Instead of a rolled edge 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 an aux blower for a bagger.
Heavy Duty Fabricated Frame

Raptor Frontcaster 8ga 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.

It will handle 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.

Find your nearest dealer here:  Dealer Locator

Hustler Mowers are also 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

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48 Comments on "Hustler Raptor 42 in. Zero-Turn Mower Review"

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I have flat yard about 1/2 acre of Bermuda grass in Pueblo Colorado. Currently takes an 1 1/2 to mow with a 22 in Toro Recycler. Looking at the following zero turn mowers, Hustler Raptor 36 or Raptor 42, Toro Timecutter SS4225, Cub Cadet RTZ L42 and the Troybilt Xp Mustang 42. Looking to cut at 2 inchs and side discharge. I think that these are all overkill but 3 hours mowing twice a week is not my idea of fun. Ian am open to a wide area mower, however, they seem to be twice the price of a residential… Read more »
Paul, Love your sight and value your opinion. I really been eyeballing the Hustler Raptor SD 42″. I sat on one and I was squished. I know they make control arm extenders. The main issue is my size I’m 6’4″ and 375lbs. I have to mow a .51 acre manicured bluegrass lawn which is all slope that starts gentle and get more aggressive, there is a 20’x30′ section that is steep enough to make using a self propelled walk behind tough to use for my old knees. My thought is I need need to look for at mowers based on… Read more »

Hi Paul. Wondering if you had any insights and/or preferences on the Hustler Raptor 42″ vs the Toro TimeCutter SS4225 for my less than an acre flat lawn. The main difference that stands out to me is the fabricated vs stamped deck. Anything else that might help me decide on the two?
Algonquin, IL

Paul, Thanks for the site, lots of good info. We live in Stillwater, OK and bought a house with 2.6 acres, fairly flat with about 1.3 acres of open pasture and 1.3 acres with 4-5 trees, flower bed and light pole. Which takes us about 4 hours with current equipment. We have been using 2 old Craftsman LT 1000 movers one with 18 HP and 19.5 HP engine and 42 inch Cutting deck. We are looking to upgrade to a zero turn or better mower. Have been looking at 54-60 inch decks and have looked at the Hustler Raptor SD/… Read more »
Devin Wanzor
Hi, I live in Tulsa, OK and just purchased a home with a relatively flat 1 acre yard. I have read a lot of the posts on your site to try and determine what mower I need (currently have a small yard that I push mow). I have looked at: Craftsman Pro Tractor style 46″ Hustler Raptor 42″ Toro Timecutter 42″ Here are some concerns I have. The sales guys at the dealers are trying to talk me out of the lower end Zero Turns because they have stamped instead of fabricated decks. Should this matter to someone like me?… Read more »
Daniel Lee

was mowing yard and hit small bump. Motor went dead. will not start, will turn over but noy crank. can remove wire from solenoid on front of mower and it will crank and run for about 3-5 seconds.

Duane David
We have about 1/3 acre of lawn and also a windbreak that we have been developing for the past couple of years. The lawn is relatively flat, but somewhat rough. Several times a year I also need to mow around all of the trees in the windbreak, avoiding the trees and also the drip irrigation system that is in place. I have been considering a zero turn mower for sometime and am especially interested in the Hustler Raptor 42 model due to the price range involved and the overall quality of the brand. A neighbor has a 2014 Raptor 42… Read more »

Hi Paul,
I’ve been doing research and came across your site (very helpful!). I am very interested in the 42″ Raptor, because it will fit through my shed door. I am now learning from the Hustler site and Loews, that the 42″ Raptor is equipped with a Kohler 22HP and not the 21 HP Kawasaki. What a disappointment. Did that change recently? I love the Kawasaki engine on my 27 year old JD.

I mow 1 flat acre with lots of trees and landscaping.

New Albany, OH


Hi Paul have a question i saw the youtube with corey and he says he uses his for a busness i have about 2o yards in florida that i keep up with a 42inch craftsman with the kohler mower been doing them for the last 3 years with it but thinking of the raptor being im not indepently wealthy lol would you suggest to use it for it they are all residential yards .5 to 1 acre which only 2 are a acre corey says his does great what is your input

Hi Paul! First off, great work on this website (and reviews) that I have been browsing for almost a year now since I just seeded my lawn last fall. I have been reading about mowers since I have been using a very old craftsman rider left by the previous homeowner. I have a about an acre of run-off-the mill lawn with 10 trees, big planters and decked above ground pool to avoid so I’m down to a ztr mower. Because of a gate and other factors (price) I’ve limited myself to the Toro SW4200 vs Hustler Raptor 42. I’ll be… Read more »

My first ZT, looking at 42 inch. Trying to decide between Hustler Raptor and Gravely ZT 42 (same/similar as Ariens?) I like the Kawasaki engine and fabricated deck of the Raptor, but am concerned about cut quality. I have some uneven areas that are susceptible to scalping with my old floating-deck 38 in. lawn tractor. As best I can tell from photos, the Raptor deck only has one anti-scalp wheel? The Gravely has 3 (I think) and may also have 3 blades compared to Raptor’s 2 blades. Appreciate your thoughts/advice.


I am trying to find the Hustler 42″ “SD”, is that worth the extra money? And any idea what the price is as I can’t find it.

I had pretty much decided on getting my first zero turn (52 Hustler Raptor) but I have been looking at the redesigned Raven at Lowes – for about 1000 more I would get so much functionality, but the reviews on the new Raven are extremely hard to find, from owners, because it is new, and the Lowes stores can only stock/sell 2 at a time, because of the new production of them. I like the idea of towing, no belts, and a generator on-board, but can it handle rugged use like a Raptor? I asked Jim to explain a little… Read more »

Hello I have a pond dam that is 40 degree hill do you have anything that can mow this?

Michael, New York. I am trying to decide between a hustler raptor 42 and a JD x304 42. I am currently using a snapper rear engine rider 28″ to mow my relatively flat approx. 1/3 acre of grass. I have a few beds trees and walkways to go around. The snapper takes 1 and a 1/2 plus hours and leaves endless clumps unless grass is very dry and Boggs down if gras is slightly tall and damp. I mulch most of the time. I bag and thatch at start and end of the season. I am looking to get my… Read more »

I sold my John Deere 42″ mulcher last fall after 13 years of great service. My yard (1.1 acre) took three hours to complete with the JD. With the 42″ Raptor it took two hours…I’m assuming the cut time will decrease as I get better with the ZTR as opposed to the steering wheel. The engineering on the Raptor is outstanding: welded, forged deck, uber heavy duty frame and a dependable Kawasaki engine. My neighbor bought the Raptor last summer and let me use his to cut my lawn three times. I was hooked!!!


Acushnet MA
I am looking at Hustler Raptor 42 inch and the John Deere Z235. Was wondering which one cuts the best? Also which is built to last?
Thanks Curt

Paul, Finally bit the bullet and purchased the 42″ Hustler Raptor. Two mowings so far and I’m quite impressed. Fast and Nimble, and a good cut. Mower with mulch kit and hour meter $3100 and some change from Lonestar Mower repair in Burleson Tx. These guys delivered 30 miles away didnt charge full retail for the mulch kit and will come to my house at he 8 hour mark for a free oil change and adjustment.I’ll keep you posted on the mowing adventures as they unfold. Thanks to your blog there is a place to go and see lots of… Read more »
Marc, Nebraska Love the site. Been thinking about a hustler 42 inch Raptor, but would like your input. I live at a lake and have a small backyard that I entertain people on, so I need a bagging system. I also have two large areas with numerous bushes and trees that would take some time with a tractor, and one is fenced in. On top of that, I have to clean heavy loads of water-logged leaves, tumble weeds and other debris out of my bay each year, so I would like a mower that can pull a cart. I like… Read more »

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