Home >2017 Lawn & Garden >2017 Riding Mowers >The Best Lawn, Yard & Garden Tractor Buying Guide 2017 – How To Pick The Best For You!The Best Lawn, Yard & Garden Tractor Buying Guide 2017 – How To Pick The Best For You! Paul February 17, 2017 2017 Lawn & Garden, 2017 Riding Mowers Please Share You are currently browsing comments. If you would like to return to the full story, you can read the full entry here: “The Best Lawn, Yard & Garden Tractor Buying Guide 2017 – How To Pick The Best For You!”. Related Posts Rebates up to $350 on John Deere Lawn Tractors and Zero Turns at The Home Depot Until April 19th! Best Craftsman, Craftsman Pro Garden Tractors 2017 – Buyer’s Guide Is Owning a Ryobi RM480E Electric Riding Mower Cost Effective? Going Green – 2017 Electric Riding MowersAbout The Author Paul201 CommentsNewer Comments » Randy May 19, 2017 Great site with lots of info. I have read quite a bit. I was considering a zero turn for use on a 2 acre long but narrow lot with a slope of approximately 10 degrees.I see you suggest Craftsmen often. I am considering a Craftsman 48″ 24 HP V-Twin Briggs & Stratton Garden Tractor Hydrostatic w/ TurnTight® Model 20407. What is your opinion of this tractor for my application? Reply Paul May 19, 2017 Hi Randy, if you are mowing across the slope it’s a good choice but if you are mowing up and down the slope I feel the transmission may be too weak to last more than 5 years or so. In other words it’s a Garden Tractor with the big tires and heavy frame but it has the smaller lawn tractor trans in it.If you have the room for a larger deck, I suggest one of the other Garden Tractors on this list: Best Craftsman, Craftsman Pro Garden Tractors 2017 – Buyer’s Guide.If you don’t want the big decks I also suggest the: Craftsman Pro Series 46″ 24 HP V-Twin Kohler Hydrostatic TurnTight Extreme® Riding Mower w/ Smart Lawn Bluetooth Technology. Reply Randy May 19, 2017 Thanks for the quick reply. The other Craftsman tractors on the provided link have the foot operated control which I do not like, even though cruise control is provided. I also do not need Bluetooth. Is there a comparable GT to the Craftman 20407 with the heavier trans by another manufacturer? Reply Paul May 19, 2017 @Randy, Just ignore the bluetooth. You don’t have to use it. It comes on about half the tractors today.Here is an article that lists all the mowers that don’t have foot controls: Riding Mowers, Lawn Tractors and Zero Turn Mowers for People With Disabilities.The 20407 is considered a light garden tractor. Husqvarna calls it a LGT. Basically anything listed as a garden tractor that costs less than $2600 will have this lightweight transmission. Anything listed as a garden tractor above $2600 will have the heavier transmission. Reply Randy May 20, 2017 I am considering the Craftsman Pro Series 46″ 24 HP V-Twin Kohler Hydrostatic TurnTight Extreme® Riding Mower w/ Smart Lawn Bluetooth Technology Model 27042 based on your comments. Does this have the GT trans or the LT trans? Paul May 20, 2017 Hi Randy, a good rule of thumb, if it costs less than $2600 it has the lawn tractor transmission. The 27042 has the K46 hydro and it is sized correctly for that mower. Jay May 16, 2017 I’m looking at both Zero Turn and lawn tractors. For both the zero turn and lawn tractor, based on specs and reviews, Craftsman comes to the top of the list.For lawn tractors, I have narrowed down to : Craftsman Pro Series 46″ 24 HP V-Twin Kohler Hydrostatic TurnTight Extreme® Riding Mower w/ Smart Lawn Bluetooth Technology (Model # 27042)Do you know who makes this particular mower? My concern with the Craftsman products is that with Sears potentially going bankrupt, how can I get parts for it and serviced if needed?Source: Sears financial situation: https://www.fool.com/investing/2017/03/23/heres-why-sears-holdings-finally-admitted-the-end.aspxRegards, Jay Reply Jay May 16, 2017 Also, if going the lawn tractor route vs zero turn, is there another brand/model you recommend that is comparable to the Craftsman Pro Series 46″ (model 27042)? Reply Paul May 16, 2017 Hi Jay, If you are trying to decide between a ZTR and lawn tractor the Craftsman Pro is the best choice of the tractors. The 5 inch turn tight extreme and the great cutting deck make it the best on the market for maneuverability and a great cut. Every other lawn tractor on the market that cuts comparably has a 16 inch turning radius. Reply Paul May 16, 2017 Hi Jay, The facts are: Nothing has actually changed with Sears. What happened is FASB changed the way companies must report financials and now if you are a publicly held company and don’t have AT LEAST a year’s worth of cash reserves you must list that as such. Of course most of the news media today can only generate “Dire” headlines so of course they jumped on this like a pack of wild hyenas with an injured wildebeest. The truth is the news media has been crying the sky is falling with Sears since the early 80’s. Every year without fail they proclaim “This is the last year for Sears!”That said, The problems with Sears has to do with the Mall Stores. No one goes to the mall – let alone drives 10-50 miles to the mall to buy tools and other items they can get at the nearby hardware or big box store.The Independently Owner Sears HomeTown Stores, Sears Repair and Sears Parts Direct are alive and well. You will be able to get service and parts through them. In addition Craftsman is now owned by Stanley – Black & Decker and Craftsman Lawn & Garden accounts for almost half of those sales. S/B&D won’t let Craftsman fail even if all the Sears mall store close.The Pro is made by MTD. 90% of the parts inside it are the same as the parts in the Cub Cadet XT2. It has the better 5 inch turn tight steering and few other items that set it apart. Reply Jay May 16, 2017 Thanks.I see that Sears sells a 3 and 5 year protection agreement with this mower. Looks like it comes from Sears (not Sears HomeTown Stores, Sears Repair and Sears Parts Direct?). I’ll have to look into this further..This will be my first riding mower. Is an extended protection agreement worth it for a riding mower (this one specifically)? What typically can I expect to go wrong within the first 3-5 years of normal residential use (mowing/mulching 1/2 acre or less) Reply Paul May 16, 2017 @Jay, Yes, please keep asking questions. Sometimes it’s hard to explain this stuff in words. Sears sells the protection plan but it is administered by Sears Repair Services. Sears Repair does all the warranty and protection plan service at your home. You never have to take your tractor anywhere. (Lowes and others do the same thing. i.e. Lowes sells you the plan but another independent company actually does the work.)Sears sells some maintenance parts like mower blades and oil filters but all your other parts like fenders, tires, light sockets etc, come through SearsPartsDirect. Reply Jay May 16, 2017 Thanks for input.Saw your other response regarding the low warranty claims on the Craftsman Pro series. Looks like it may not be worth it (5 year plan costs 38% of the purchase price). Jay May 16, 2017 I’m reading that the Craftsman Pro Series 46″ mulches very well. I want to mulch, not bag the clippings. Is the craftsman mulching blade that comes in their kit (model 19B30005799) a good blade or is it better to get the Oregon Gater G3 blades for mulching? Reply Paul May 17, 2017 Hi Jay, The blades that come in the kit are standard mulching blades and are the ones Consumer Reports uses to compare the mulching capabilities to the other lawn tractors. I suggest using those blades first and next year when you replace the blades switch to the Gator Blades.By the way, if you are not happy with how it mulches you may have to adjust how you mow. Let me know the type of grass you have and where you live if you have any problems.I like the gator blades a lot. They are the best mulching blade on the market. They make blades for just about every mower sold. I can’t explain how well they work on mulching and shredding leaves in the fall. Reply Sonja May 16, 2017 Hi Paul, I am still going back and forth between the 46″ ZT Cubcadet and the 46″ Craftsman Pro. After reading some more I am wondering if I wouldn’t be better off with a dome deck versus the fabricated for my 1.6 acre fairly flat yard with lots of wet spots though. Right now they have a good deal on the Craftsman, I am not sure if it comes delivered fully assembled though. Sounds like that is one of the biggest complaints about the ZT Cub Cadet, that it takes quite a while to unpack and assemble.Also is it worth to get an extended repair protection agreement? Seems to me one might be better off saving the money and put it toward any possible upcoming repairs.Thanks Sonja Reply Paul May 16, 2017 Hi Sonja, A general rule of thumb is a stamped/dome deck cuts better, a fabricated deck takes more abuse. The stamped deck on the Craftsman Pro is reinforced so I doubt it will ever give you problems.I’ve mowed a lot of wet areas over the years and a lawn tractor like the Craftsman Pro always goes through them better than a ZTR. The rear end is lighter so it doesn’t sink in and get stuck as quickly. The front tires are wider and steerable so they also go thru the spots better.The Craftsman Pro tractor will be taken out of the crate and assembled. Depending on the actual delivery guys the only thing you may have to do is hook up the battery – and put gas in it.I can give you the entire sales pitch on why you should buy the Protection Plan but in reality this new Craftsman Pro is not having any warranty issues. It’s just a great mower! I don’t feel you need the Protection Plan on this one.Buy link through sears.com: Craftsman Pro Series 46″ 24 HP V-Twin Kohler Hydrostatic TurnTight Extreme® Riding Mower w/ Smart Lawn Bluetooth Technology Reply Sonja May 16, 2017 Thank you 🙂 Biting the bullet and ordering the 46″ Craftsman Pro. On sale for 1869 right now, don’t think I can beat that. Sonja Reply Sonja May 16, 2017 After some more research, looks like that Sears service is pretty poor in my area. When I went to a store to look at the Craftsman, they had a Husqvarna sitting right next to it with a 48″ deck and advertised as also 5 degree turning radius. Can that be? Price wise they were pretty close. Reply Paul May 16, 2017 Hi Sonja, What happened? The independently owned sears hometown store’s husqvarna is also serviced by the same people as the new Craftsman you were going to order. The price was pretty close? No, the price on the Husqvarna should be $300 less. I sent you a link for the 27042. It’s now $1869 through that link.The Husqvarna is a completely different tractor. Yes, it has the 6 inch turn-tight but it’s not the same as the Craftsman Pro. In fact Craftsman has a red tractor identical to the Husqvarna. It’s $1399. Consumer Reports rates the Husqvarna much lower than the Craftsman you were going to buy.Here is the link to the $1399 Craftsman that is like that Husqvarna Craftsman 46″ 19 HP Briggs & Stratton Fast Auto TurnTight® Riding MowerHer is the link to the tractor you were going to buy. Buy link through sears.com: Craftsman Pro Series 46″ 24 HP V-Twin Kohler Hydrostatic TurnTight Extreme® Riding Mower w/ Smart Lawn Bluetooth Technology Sonja May 17, 2017 Went and looked at the 46″ ZTR cub cadet, but at a grand more… My concern is the many reports of no start on the Craftsman Pro and the difficulty many have to get service to their house. Are those just isolated incidents? Paul May 17, 2017 @Sonja, One thing about the Internet today. You can find something about everything and anyone. And most of the time it’s negative.Consider this – There are easily 10,000 of these tractors sold. Probably closer to 20,000. If two people complain it doesn’t start does that make it a problem? or 50 people or even 100? Remember, 90% of the people who like their tractor will never leave a review but 90% of the people who have a problem will. Online reviews (unless someone pays for positive ones) are always skewed to the negative.Sears Repair. a. 20 years ago Sears Repair was very good at getting to your house, finding the problem, ordering the part and then getting it fixed in 7-10 days. Today that has stretched to 1-3 weeks for about half the lawn tractor repairs. b. I keep track of all this stuff and it’s not as good as if you buy the mower from a local dealer. But even then this time of year they may be 2-3 weeks behind. c. Sears Repair is no worse and in most cases better than the 3rd party repair shops other big retailers use.Sonya, I really want you to find the best mower for you. If you are nervous about a Craftsman don’t buy it. Buy from a local dealer instead. Tell them what you wanted to buy and let them find the equivalent lawn tractor in their brand. Sonja May 17, 2017 Ha, I am nervous about buying any 😉 It’s a big investment and with it just being me, upkeep I will have to learn how to deal with. One of the reasons I was leaning toward the Craftsman Pro. The Cub Cadet model available was the 46″ ZTR without Bluetooth and the 18 hp Kawasaki engine, however the sales person did say they would buy my old mower off of me, even if it is only $100….decision, decisions… Pete S May 13, 2017 Hi Paul, I see on your reviews here you like to recommend the craftsman. I was looking for a new mower, we have about 4 acres and mostly flat, with 1 small hill. and a 180′ driveway, I may plan on a snowblower attachment in the future. Which model would you recommend in this case? Reply Paul May 14, 2017 Hi Pete, Yes, Overall Craftsman still has the best value tractors.If you are mowing 4 acres I suggest a 50-54 inch deck and since you want to add a snow blower the best choice is a garden tractor. It has the larger tires, larger engine and is the easiest to use with a snow blower attached. Any one of the 50-54 inch Garden Tractors in the article below will do a good job but I think the 50 inch Model 27048 is the best choice. It has the locking rear differential. That way in the winter you can have twice the traction when using the snow blower.The 50 inch deck will take you about 6% longer to mow your 4 acres but the differential really makes it the best choice.Here is the article for all the GT’s: Best Craftsman, Craftsman Pro Garden Tractors 2017 – Buyer’s Guide Reply Pete S May 14, 2017 Thanks a lot Paul for the quick reply! I’m going to check that model out now Reply Chris R May 9, 2017 Hi Paul. I’m hoping you can provide some quick insight to help push me one direction or the other. We have a .4 acre, mostly flat lawn and smooth with zero obstacles to mow around – with the exception of landscaping near the house. It takes a little bit over an hour to push mow, so we’re looking for some time savings by stepping up to a tractor or entry-level zero turn. I really don’t see using whatever machine we choose for more than mowing the lawn. I’ve definitely been suffering from paralysis by analysis. We likely would have settled for a tractor, but a few friends swear by their steering wheel Cub Cadet RZT S 42 zero turns. I was going to just take the plunge on one of those, but came across the Craftsman 20400, which seems to be essentially the same as the RZT S 42. The Craftsman ends up being about $800 less after all of the Sears points/rebates/cash back/etc. That got me looking at Craftsman tractor options – Tractor #27039 is the same price as the Zero #20400. That said, my questions:1. What are your thoughts on the Cub Cadet RZT S 42 vs the Craftsman 20400? 2. Would we be better off with Tractor #27039? 3. Or – to throw another wrench in the works – would you save some money, drop the power steering and move down to Tractor #27042? 4. I’d say our primary motivations are to get the lawn mowed as quickly as possible, while still getting a decent cut. I know the zeros have a speed advantage, but would we be able to mow at full speed in the open lawn? 5. Anything else I might be missing or another comparable suggestion? My wife is more comfortable with steering wheel zeros, so I’d like to stick to those.Thanks in advance! Reply Paul May 9, 2017 HI Chris, 1. The Craftsman and Cub Cadet Steering ZTR’s have good decks and are good machines but I don’t like them. The tractor is wider than the deck. You can’t trim or get close to anything on the discharge side of the mower. It’s weird trying to figure out how to take a full width cut with one. By the way, the Toro steering wheel ZTR does not have this problem. 2. The 27042/27039 is arguably the best lawn tractor on the market. The deck cuts really well, it has a great engine and it rides well. In reality, the turn-tight steering will let your trim and mow just as fast as the Steering wheel ZTR. (On a 1 acre lawn the difference will be less than 5 minutes) 3. Ladies who buy the 27039 love the power steering. The 27042 is also easy to use and probably easier to steer than the steering wheel ZTR’s but there is nothing like power steering on a lawn tractor! 4. The residential ZTR’s have the same deck as the lawn tractor. So, they will not mow faster in a straight line any better or faster than the 27042. You can not mow at full speed and expect a great cut. The advertised time savings is because of the maneuverability of a lap-bar ZTR over a conventional, 16 inch turning radius lawn tractor. The steering wheel on the ZTR will slow you down compared to a lap-bar in when turning at the end of a row, But the turn-tight on the Craftsman Pro tractor will turn just a well for maneuvering around obstacles.No, you are not missing anything. The choice is power steering or not. Reply Chris R May 10, 2017 Thanks for the quick reply. I should have waited on my post. I actually went and test-mowed a friend’s lawn using his Cub Cadet RZT S 42 and I definitely agree with your conclusion on the size. It makes sense for him in his yard since he has some narrow spots, but even though we have a smaller yard, it’s wide open and I think I’d be interested in a 46″ deck size. Moving up to the 46″ has me looking at the Cub Cadet LX46 FAB. I think I know the answer to this, but I’ll ask anyway – is a fabricated deck overkill for a tame/wide open lawn like mine? Reply Paul May 10, 2017 Hi Chris, If you want the best looking lawn in the neighborhood the 46 inch reinforced stamped decks on the Craftsman Pro and Cub Cadet mowers cut better, side discharge better, mulch better and bag better than the 46 inch FAB deck. If you have teenagers or someone else who drives your tractor who can’t mow without hitting something – then the FAB deck may be a better choice. Reply Scott R Miller May 10, 2017 Hello Paul, great stuff here. I live inWisconsin, have 5 acres, sloped with a mix of open and obstacles. I’d like a garden tractor with diff lock so I can snow blow. Looking at under $4000. The research I’ve done seems to point me to a Husqvarna GTH52XLS. was comparing to a craftsman pro series 50″ 27048, but that has a 1″ smaller rear tire, and k62 hydro where the husky has a k66 and a fabricated deck over a stamped. I’m 6’5″ 300 and pull a roller and sweeper, plus a trailer with firewood. My 06 lt1050 has 600hrs on it and it’s tired, and very undersized, (it came with the house). Just have one cut out for a hill, but several 100 ft of sloped yard that I really can tell labors my current cub. I have 2 decent dealers close, being husqvarna and cub cadet/troy-bilt dealers, and would own anything they sell. I’m just looking at the rear end seeing the husqvarna has the larger hydro. BUT the craftsman has the 26hp Kohler compared to the husqvarna having the 24hp Briggs. The larger cub cadet would be above the $4,000 mark to get the bigger rear end than the husqvarna. Thanks for your input. -Scott Reply Paul May 10, 2017 Hi Scott, I am assuming you mean the XT3 Cub Cadet when you say “larger cub cadet.” That tractor is a completely different machine and on par with the John Deere X750 series. That has a cast iron rear end, diff lock power steering, and a full drive shaft. There are no belts except for the deck. It a much better value than the Deere and well worth the money if you want tractor to last 25 years.The K62D trans is on the Xt1 and Xt2 cub Cadets. The K62 has very similar specs to the K66 and from a long life aspect will handle what you want it to do just fine. The K62 is a mechanical diff versus the K66 which is electronic.The XT2 GX54″ D 54 inch FABRICATED deck on the Cub Cadet cut’s better than the Husqvarna deck. Reply Scott R Miller May 10, 2017 O.k., I definitely like manual locking diff, and have a shop full of craftsmen tools. Maybe the pro 50 I mentioned will do the trick? I really like the Kohler 26hp. Unless I went with a cub xt2 with diff. That electronic diff with the husky was a concern. Reply Barbie May 8, 2017 Hi, Paul. I am new to your forum and really appreciate all your knowledge and experience. I have recently purchased a large farm with a lot of wooded areas, pasture which will be hayed, but around the house driveway and a few paddocks there is grass I will mow. I am considering a larger garden tractor which had enough horsepower to pull a smaller bush hogger or field/brush cutter. Some grass is 8″-10″ with some blackberry bushes and the like. I am considering the Husqvarna GTH52XLS 24-HP V-Twin Hydrostatic 52-in Garden Tractor and wondered what your thoughts are. Reply Paul May 9, 2017 HI Barbie, The Husqvarna is a heavier framed tractor that will pull ground engaging equipment like rototillers and such but it is still a lawn mower and is not designed to mow long grass, saplings and brambles like the blackberry bush. The Husqvarna may work for pulling a rough cut mower but the deck will only give you about 4 inches of clearance so it will be tough going through tall grass and may get stuck on saplings. Most people nowadays pull the rough cut mower with an ATV or utility vehicle. The Husqvarna will not last very long out is rough paddocks. It’s just not designed for that type of work.You may be better off buying a subcompact tractor. That size will easily pull a mower and you can add a lot of other attachments like a bucket loader for many tasks around the farm. Reply Barbie May 9, 2017 Thank you so much, Paul, I truly value your comments and am very impressed with all your knowledge and experience! This is a really great forum amd the amount of information you have available is really amazing and so helpful. Blessings, Barbie ☺️ Reply Barbie May 10, 2017 Hi, Paul. I took all your comments, did some number crunching & looked at costs for sub-compact tractors but can’t justify spending that kind of $$ as I’d like to keep it under $4,000. What I am thinking is that I will hire someone to initially get the overgrown areas & paddocks bush hogged & mowed & then keep them maintained and mowed myself. With that being said, I am still considering the Husqvarna GTH 52 XLS 24HP as the reviews & specs I have read indicate it has a better transmission, axels & deck & seems to be a heavier-duty machine with higher HP which could pull attachments Iike a field mower and wagons. I have some hills which have a pretty good slope to them so I need a tractor which has a pressurized oil system so oil starvation won’t be an issue on the slopes. I’d like a tractor which will last a long time with minimal electronic & electrical systems to go wrong (simpler can be better) I’ve even looked at some older vintage tractors but even those can be pricey. What are your thoughts as to this particular Husqvarna model as well as other makes & models you’d recommend? 🤔 Thanks so much! Barbie Reply Paul May 12, 2017 Hi Barbie, I’ve thought and thought about this and I really don’t have any good choices for you. What you want to do just seems to be more than any of these under $4000 riding mowers can handle. Reply Barbie May 12, 2017 I truly appreciate all your insight and value your opinion, Paul. I have done a lot of research and agree that I really need and actually want a larger tractor not just for mowing, but for other purposes on the farm. I guess I will just have to purchase a garden tractor now for mowing and smaller tasks and look into purchasing a compact tractor down the road, maybe a used one at a good price when I have the funding. In total I have over 141 acres, the bulk is forest but a good 40-50 acres of pastures and fields and there are a lot of work to be done on the farm and a larger tractor is definitely needed. I will keep doing research and following your excellent forum here as you’ve taught me so much already!!! Blessings, Barbie 🙏 Paul May 12, 2017 HI Barbie, you are very welcome. Bill Chriswell May 7, 2017 Great article…so much info…but that being said…Just purchased a country home w/ 5 acres….3 of which is a hobby apple orchard….fairly level…all “lawn” not field. Recently retired so my top end budget is around $2800….So far the Cub Cadet GT50/Kohler is looking good. I don’t have a need for attachments other than pulling a 12cuft wagon. Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated! Bill Reply Paul May 7, 2017 Hi Bill, The Cub Cadet XT1 GT50 (at Home Depot) is a good choice and I do recommend that tractor, but I would like you to seriously look at one more tractor. It’s very, very similar to the GT50 but has two features that will make mowing your orchard a much easier and faster task.The Craftsman Pro Series 54″ 26 HP V-Twin Kohler Garden Tractor Hydrostatic w/ TurnTight Extreme has a slightly wider deck. It also has the 5 inch TurnTight Extreme Steering. The turntight steering is a lot tighter than the 16 inch radius on the GT50. The 54 inch deck in combination with the Turn-tight steering will mean most of the time you will be able to make one pass around each apple tree instead of 2-4 passes with the smaller deck and larger turning radius on the GT50.In addition the steering on the Craftsman Pro is the strongest and uses an automotive type front axle with kingpins for extra strength. It will take more abuse over the years if you accidentally bang into the trees. By the way, owners really like how easily it steers.It’s a little more money but you get the wider deck, the 5 inch turn-tight steering, a better bumper and a better seat. Reply Bill Chriswell May 7, 2017 Thanks so much…I’ve looked at the Craftsman also…they seem to be on sale at times…we close in a couple weeks….the pressure is on 🙂 Reply Zach May 4, 2017 Hi Paul, Thank you for all the information. I first came across your site because of the article you wrote about Poulan Pro through Amazon being the best deal of 2016. I am interested in the Poulans, but wanted to make sure I am looking at the right models. I want one built to last.I live on 2.5 acres but only mow 1.75 or so. 1 acre is sloped (5-10 degree). This will mow and pull a cart. I won’t use a snow blade on this but would like to have the option (I’m going to keep my current tractor for snow as long as it lives). I’m looking at 48″ deck. What do you recommend? Thank you. Reply Paul May 6, 2017 HI Zach, The prices for a 48 inch Poulan Pro on Amazon this year are too high so I’m just ignoring them. Now, Poulan Pro is made by Husqvarna and is essentially a Husqvarna lawn tractor with a different engine and hood. So, you can go to your local Husqvarna dealer and buy the Husqvarna YTA24V48 48 inch, 24 hp tractor and get what you want for around $1999.You can use the dealer locator link on Husqvarna.com to find your local dealer. Reply Andrew April 24, 2017 Thanks for the articles. Wondering what you would suggest for my yard: About 2 acres Almost all of the yard is on a slope — averages about 10 degrees, with some steeper parts close to 15 deg. Few obstaclesTrying to figure out what kind of tractor to get that can handle the constant hill without killing the transmission. Currently looking at 48″ models. Thanks again! Reply Paul April 25, 2017 Hi Andrew, The tractors with the heavier transmissions are listed as garden tractors. A few of the Cub Cadet and Craftsman have 50 inch decks but the rest all have a 54 inch deck.The Cub Cadet Models are listed in this article: http://todaysmower.com/2015-cub-cadet-xt1-xt2-lawn-garden-tractor-review/The Craftsman Models are listed in this article: http://todaysmower.com/best-craftsman-craftsman-pro-garden-tractors-2017-buyers-guide/I don’t have a list of the Husqvarna Garden tractors.There are no John Deere or Simplicity tractors under $4500 with that heavy duty transmission Reply Andrew April 25, 2017 Thanks for the quick reply! $4500 is way over my budget — I hope I can find something that’ll work much closer to $2500. I see a few options on the pages you linked, so I’ll investigate those more thoroughly. With as much sloping yard as I have, am I just resigned to either replacing my lawn tractor or buying an expensive garden tractor? What other features do I need to pay special attention to (wheel size? weight? locking rear differential?). Really appreciate the help. Reply Paul April 25, 2017 Hi Andrew, Please read the articles and your questions will be answered. Reply Bob April 25, 2017 Andrew, My yard is similar to yours, with maybe an acre or so at 15 degrees. After mowing this with a low priced Murray hydrostat for about 16 years, the transmission died and I bought a Craftsman T3200 with the CVT transmission. It takes a little getting used to the CVT after using the hyro drive for so long, but this machine pulls effortlessly on the hills and is much, much faster than a standard hyrdostat, probably reducing my cutting time by a third. I wish it had a locking differential in some situations, but this lawn tractor has worked well so far on the hills. Reply Andrew April 26, 2017 Thanks for the tip! I’d actually been looking at Craftsman in particular lately, though I’ve been looking at the Craftsman Pro series which has a hydro trans. Seems like the reviews of the Kohler engine are positive and the 5″ turn radius is staggering compared to my current 16-18″ radius. Thanks again for the comment! Tim Hildebrandt Campbellsport, Wisc. April 24, 2017 Hello Paul- Thank you for the invaluable information! I`m torn between getting a `17 Deere X730 with liquid cooled Kawasaki or a `17 ExMark Radius with Kawasaki ( X series ) air cooled 726cc engine. I will probably stay with a 48″ or 52″ deck. The Deere is attractive to me as I could attach a snow-blower in the future for my 370 foot driveway- but the way winter`s have been lately I probably will put that off. Would you recommend the ExMark over the Deere for grass cutting on my 1-1.5 acres? As for the engines, what is your opinion of the air-cooled Kawasaki in the Radius and the liquid cooled Kawasaki in the X730? The liquid cooling does seem desirable for long term dependability and long-life. Also, the Radius is available in the S-Series with Kohler engine. I`m getting a 2nd machine as my 21 yr. old Simplicity Sovereign seems a bit tired. TIM Reply Paul April 25, 2017 Hi Tim, With 1.5 acres to mow the Kaw liquid, Kaw FS or the Kohler will last forever. They are all rated in thousands of hours before any repair. Plus they can all be overhauled. You are only looking at 30 minutes mowing time and living in Wisconsin you are going to be using the ZTR less than 20 hours a year. With both the Radius and the X730 you should not be looking at any major repairs for at least 2000 hours.Personally, with your long driveway and the possibility that you may want to clean it later on – I’d go with the tractor. You will still be able to mow your lawn in 30-45 minutes and you’ll have that option of doing other chores with it when you want later on. Reply Brett April 18, 2017 Hi Paul, First off, thanks for all the information so far provided. Hope you can help me out with my current decision. I just moved to a house on a half acre. Back yard is a minimal 5 degree or so slope overall and the front yard is flat with the exception of one ~12 degree slope at one end. I have a 600′ private drive about 10′ wide with an additional 1500sf driveway and would like to use a snow thrower attachment. Mid atlantic region so snow happens so there are generally 2-3 decent snow falls throughout the year but nothing crazy like the north east.A couple weeks ago I went with a budget friendly Poulan Pro 42″ 19HP mower. It broke literally on my first mow, hit a pile of leaves and stalled (not a stump, rock, etc, just leaves), raised the deck and moved forward, when I went to engage the PTO again there was a metallic smack and the idler pulley arm bent dropping the belt and pulling the pulley to the deck.Raising my budget now to the $2000 mark and really trying to find the best mower for my purposes. Lawn I’m not overly concerned with, just about anything will likely handle my grass, concerned more with the continued use of the snow thrower over the years for the relatively large area I have to clear. For the price point I’m looking closest at the CubCadet XT1 46″ 22HP currently at $1700 and the Craftsman Pro 42″ 20HP running $1750 on the current sale. In a previous comment I saw you compare the XT1 42 vs the Craftsman Pro 42 and the craftsman won out because of the motor and consistent cut tech. Ultimately I’m looking for advice on which deck is going to treat me best over the years, really hoping to get more than 1 mow out of it…, and which is best suited for clearing snow. I’d love to get a garden tractor with more weight and power but I’m unfortunately really trying to stick hard to the $2000 price range. If there’s something else better suited, please advise! Thanks again for your help and expertise.–Brett Reply Paul April 19, 2017 Hi Brett, Too bad about the Poulan. That actually appears to be a factory assembly defect because the deck drive system would not break like that if it was put together correctly.Personally, I would go with the Craftsman because you have a more economical snow blower option. The 42 inch Craftsman snow blower is usually on sale for $1199 or so. With weights and chains you are under $1400. But:I actaully would like you to consider the Craftsman Pro Series 46 Model 27042. It has the best cutting deck in the industry and the strongest front axle of all the lawn tractors. The cut is rated much better than your neighbor’s “green” tractor. You will also like the fact that the wider deck sticks out of the tractor a little more making it easier to trim around stuff. The front axle is the 5 inch Extreme Turn-Tight so it turns almost as well as a zero-turn mower. Plus you get the front bumper. I know it’s bumping right up on the top of your budget but it’s really worth the extra $200. Reply Mike April 17, 2017 Awesome site, great information. Hoping you can steer me in the right direction. I think I’ve at least landed on the category, wanting a Garden tractor. I have less than 2 acres, mostly flat, quite a few trees, some areas in the back a little rough. I do want to pull accessories from time to time, so I want heavier duty. I know that’s not a lot of info but what would be your recommendation for which brand and product if I want durability and reliability, something that will last, so I’m definitely not interested in the economy versions. Thanks so much for your insight. Reply Paul April 17, 2017 Hi Mike, Here is a good place to start. Best Craftsman, Craftsman Pro Garden Tractors 2017 – Buyer’s Guide Reply Mike April 17, 2017 Thank you Paul. Good info. Reply Greg Tinkler April 16, 2017 Hi Paul,Love this site. I have the dreaded Husqvarna LGT2654 and I can’t seem to find the paperwork from my purchase, and given that I’m pushing up against the 3 year warranty deadline I’m likely going to have to address my dying K46 transmission myself. I have the pistol grip accelerator on my model, not sure if that will complicate things at all. I found a brand new K66Y for dirt cheap and wonder if you have any insight into the swap. I expect that the K66Y will, based upon feedback from other places, provide the necessary torque for my hills but be slower. Is this speed reduction something I can mitigate by swapping out pulleys to get the right ratio?I was also told that I’ll probably have to keep my hand on the accelerator since the K66Y has a return spring that pulls everything back to neutral. (Ideally I’d be able to afford a new tractor, I know, but right now that’s not in the cards.) Given that my terrain is very sloped and hilly, this isn’t a huge issue since my hand is almost always on the throttle anyway…. Reply Paul April 17, 2017 Hi Greg, I don’t mess with that type of modification. I suggest a Google search on replacing a K46 with the K66. There are quite few conversations on the tractor forums about the change. There is also a guy with a website that discusses the changeout at length.Basically, you have a garden tractor frame so the K66 will bolt right in but the K46 has 3/4 inch axles – the K66 has one inch axles. That means you will have to get new axle hubs. Of course like you mentioned linkages for the speed control is always a pain. Reply Greg Tinkler April 17, 2017 I totally get it. Thank you sir! Guess I’ll have to hunt for some hubs… Reply Sonja April 16, 2017 Wow, so much great info. I have a 2000 16hp 42″ deck Scotts (I was told back then was still made by John Deere) with a Kohler Command engine. More and more things are going wrong on it and it is time to look for a new one. I have not quite 2 acres of fairly flat lawn, well actually more weeds with quite a few mole mounds throughout the summer and the back 1/3 tends to be on the wet side in the spring and early summer. The Scotts has treated me well by lasting that long and I have not been easy on it, but it does take me quite a while to mow. I was looking into Zero turn mowers but do like the familiarity of the tractor. The tractor does seem to take up less space in the garage by the looks of it as well and might have the option to help with snow removal during winter times. Would like to stay under $3000 and fairly easy maintenance. Would appreciate your suggestion for either Zero turn or tractor. Thank you for any advice. Reply Paul April 16, 2017 Hi Sonya, Yes, your Scotts was made by John Deere. JD wanted an economical model but didn’t want to tarnish the high-price they were getting for the other JD lawn tractors. It was a decent tractor but it didn’t sell weel so they came out with the D100 series instead. The direct replacement for you is the D125. Here is a Home Depot link: John Deere D125 42 in. 20 HP V-Twin Hydrostatic Front-Engine Riding Mower.A great replacement mower is the 46 inch Craftsman Pro. It has a great Kohler mower, it cuts well and drives a lot better than your old Scotts. At Sears: Craftsman Pro Series 46″ 24 HP V-Twin Kohler Hydrostatic TurnTight Extreme® Riding Mower. They also have it with power Steering! Craftsman Pro Series 46″ 24 HP V-Twin Kohler Hydrostatic Power Steering TurnTight Extreme® Riding Mower I have an article over on mycountryacre.com that lists the better residential zero-turns. I suggest a 48-50 inch for you. 8 Best $4000-$6000 Heavy-Duty Zero Turn Mowers For Homeowners Reply Sonja April 16, 2017 Thank you for your reply. The only thing I really like about the tractor I have right now is that it lasted this long and that it was more then reasonable to start out with 😉 It takes me quite a while to mow the little bit I have since I find myself going over areas twice to get a somewhat even cut. After poking around on this awesome website some more I really like the Cub Cadet RZT-S 46 in. with Steering wheel. Somehow 50″ and above is a little intimidating to me I guess. This one would be more in the price range I am looking for, but not sure how it compares http://www.homedepot.com/p/Cub-Cadet-RZT-S-42-in-22-HP-Kohler-V-Twin-Dual-Hydrostatic-Zero-Turn-Riding-Mower-with-Steering-Wheel-Control-RZT-S-42/204694626. I do like the online app that some of the Craftsman have, since I find myself on my own these days and that would be a good help to remind and help me do maintenance needed. Again thank you for your expertise. Still trying to decide between Tractor and Zero-Turn… Reply Paul April 17, 2017 Hi Sonya, I really don’t like the RZT-S 42 because the deck is smaller than the tractor. That means you can only trim on the left side of the machine. The 46 inch decks stick out more so they are easier to trim with. That said, The Cub Cadet 46 in. Fabricated Deck 24 HP Kohler V-Twin Dual-Hydro Zero-Turn Mower with Cub Connect Bluetooth is more but you get the heavy duty fabricated deck. That 46 inch fab deck cuts very well and will last the life of the mower.The Cub Cadet Bluetooth app is very similar to the Craftsman app.I have a steering wheel ZTR myself and I like it a lot. I’ll never go back to a tractor for mowing. My wife can use it without tearing up the yard and it works very well for the few slopes we have. Reply Sonja April 17, 2017 Thank you. Even though it is a bit more then what I want to spend, I think I am leaning toward this one Cub-Cadet-RZT-S-46-in-Fabricated-Deck-24-HP-Kohler-V-Twin-Dual-Hydro-Zero-Turn-Mower-with-Cub-Connect-Bluetooth-RZT-S-46-FAB/206795828. Will look at the Craftsman and the one above in the next few days 🙂 Sonja April 19, 2017 Sooo if you had a choice, which one would you choose? Craftsman Pro 46 or the Cub cadet 46 with steering column. Craftsman can be had for 2000 right now while the Cub Cadet would be 3100…Thank you Paul April 19, 2017 Hi Sonya, I really can’t make that decision for you but: If you are comfortable using a lawn tractor the Craftsman Pro is a very good choice. It mows really well and has a really good service record. It will get the job done quite a bit faster than your old machine. It turns almost as tight as the Cub Cadet ZTR.If you really want a zero-turn mower but are not sure the lap-bar model is something you would like the Cub Cadet is a good choice. It will mow about 10% faster than the Craftsman Pro and with practice will trim, turn around, etc. about 10% faster than the Craftsman Pro. It also sits more like a car so if a lawn tractor is uncomfortable to drive it may be easier to use for you.One last thing. Sears Repair Services always come to your home to do warranty repair or maintenance service on your tractor. The Cub Cadet you will have to take to a dealer for repairs (either haul it yourself or pay the dealer to get it) Brian April 15, 2017 Lot of great information on this site, thanks for being such an enthusiast its providing others with plenty to contemplate. I wish I had read a lot of these articles prior to heading to the local box store to pick up another tractor; I would have been informed instead of buying on impulse.I’ve been mowing around 1.75 acres the last 7 years with a box store Husqvarna YTH2348; the land is mostly flat, though there are a couple landscaping berms that have grass on the sides; both 10-12°. I also will pull a sweeper to collect leaves and occasionally grass clippings. The last few years we’ve had a mole issue and it’s gotten to be a pretty bumpy ride on about 1 acre of that and I think its taken a toll on the 2348.I was looking to upgrade to a higher level of mower this year, but wasn’t sure zero turn was the way to go with my slopes; that and they start out a few grand more. Anyway I found myself a couple weeks in that box store looking at mowers and seen a “cheap” yah I know you get what you pay for, but I couldn’t resist the look of those 22″ tires and I didnt bother to ask what the transmission was, and plopped down a couple grand on a troy-built super bronco xp. Then I came home to do my research and found your site – LOL yah thats backwards isnt it? HAH! Anyway, the good thing is its not scheduled to be delivered for another week so I am headed back to return it.I know I want something, i know I need something, and I don’t know what it is. I seen you recommend a Craftsman Pro series recently to someone else who wanted to tow a roller. Considering my mole issue I think I should get one of those too; then again I’ve been digging on really stepping up to products not on this site, scag, exmark hustler etc, but not sure I really need that much step.What will make me happy? Reply Paul April 15, 2017 Hi Brain, to get a better ZTR than the Troy-Bilt Tractor you really need to go over $4000. Here is an article I wrote on the best ZTR’s I’ve seen for homeowners. Remember a $3000 ZTR is still a lighter machine. It doesn’t matter who makes it – and you can’t pull a roller with them. 8 Best $4000-$6000 Heavy-Duty Zero Turn Mowers For Homeowners< /strong>.The lowest price Scag, Exmark, Hustler etc will not work either.To pull a roller you need a Garden Tractor over $2600 or a ZTR over $4000. Reply Brian April 15, 2017 I was looking at the popular used sites for a used commercial ZTR, but even they are min 3 to 4k and have 1500+ hours. Sounds like my best option is a garden tractor because I really don’t want to spend that much on something with that many hours.I had read a lot of bad reviews about the k46 tuff-torq, and read here not to be taken by the low cost mowers disguised as garden tractors – thats what sparked my return of the super bronco.The last several hours I’ve been looking at the craftsman pro series but confused by the sears site. They have a 27055 for $3199 but I see it references “tuff-torq” is it using the same k46 transmission as the bad reviews I have read? Is the 27047 at $3999 with power steering worth an extra $800? Reply Paul April 16, 2017 Hi Brian, the Craftsman Pro over $2500 use the heavy duty garden tractor transmission – K58. Is power steering worth it? The Craftsman Pro steer easily but the power steering is just like driving your luxury car. You’ll have to decide on that. Reply andrew chan April 14, 2017 HI Paul , very helpful in every respect ,I had many lawn tractors mostly purchase from big stores like Home Depot and Lowes. I used 2 lawn tractors for different occasions. My everyday use tractor is made by MTD (yard works ) its a 15.5 hp model .I Do cut less than a acre time 2 ( parents property and aunts ) one is flat and smooth and the other property a bit rough and bumpy , but in the last 5 years I broke the frame where the motor mounts twice , once after the warranty expired and after I installed a second one about 2 years later. Now on my third frame. and third deck. First time the deck broke was a bracket held by two 1″ welds on a angle hanger , The second broke in the same spot but from under side . the third is still holding on but this time I was both under side and top side .This tractor does everything from grass and leave pickup for my garden ,so this is my everyday user. Totally bad design but still cost me $1800.00 new . I then purchase a second hand craftsman lt2000 with a 18hp with a blown motor , replaced it with a new 18.5hp platinum engine from a ebay seller. This tractor actually had a thick stronger frame than the MTD and cuts more evenly than the MTD. but slow in reverse ( short story ) the craftsman frame just cracked last week after starting up and cutting some grass .( Engine vibrated the whole tractor ) I looked at new lawn tractors , the MTD models are still using that weak frame that’s whether used in big department store . I went to the local club cadet dealer and hes always asking to change to a better unit ltx2 . ( most use the kohler engine ) not my preference. Look at the sears craftsman looks just like some john deere and even close similarity to club cadets. I know that the Husqvarna looks much sturdier and even has a warranty on the frame , deck but its a 46″ 22 hp B/S. I will be going back to the club cadet dealer , sears , to check them out more. The only issue are you can’t test drive them like cars and trucks. My needs would be a something stronger enough to pull a 650lb lawn roller which of course a 18.5 hp or more would be capable , 42 or 46 inch cut and a budget of $2500.00, cast iron front axle , up in the air about the hydrostatic. One last question would it be damaging a transmission ( hydro ) by constantly pushing ? Pin disengaged of course ! Reply Paul April 14, 2017 Hi Andrew, You didn’t state where the frame was cracking. -If it’s cracking by the engine the cause is loose engine bolts. Also single cylinder engines have more vibration especially the 18.5 HP B&S Intek. I don’t remember Craftsman ever using an 18.5 – they had a 19 HP. – If vibration is a concern you want a V-Twin engine. -If it’s cracking in the rear the cause is loose transmission-frame bolts, or your are pulling too heavy of loads, or you are carrying to much weight and pulling heavy loads. -In the $1500 – $2500 range all the tractors use the same thickness frame. Under $1500 tractors like the MTD do have a lighter frame. -Craftsman actually has the best frame/front axle warranty. Husqvarna is second, Cub Cadet doesn’t need one. – The Craftsman Pro, Cub Cadet XT1 and Cub Cadet XT2 all use the exact same frame. The frame is not stronger on the XT2. If the dealer is trying to tell you otherwise have him go to the parts department and show you that the frame numbers are different 🙂 – The CRaftsman Pro, Cub Cadet XT1 and XT2 actually have the stiffest frame right now. But if you want a heavier frame you have to go to the Red Craftsman Garden Tractors or the XT3 Cub Cadet. ($2700 and $4000) – The Kolher 7000 series engine in the Craftsman and Cub Cadets has a wonderful reputation. Don’t be afraid to get one. – Pushing a hydro around by hand won’t damage it. Towing a hydro at walking speeds or faster will damage it eventually. _ I strongly suggest NEVER pull a 650 lb roller with a lawn tractor that costs less than $2500. There is no John Deere under $4000 that is strong enough to handle that lawn roller. They are not built for it and you will break them.The best tractor for your situation, rough land – pulling the roller is the Craftsman Pro Series 50″ 26 HP V-Twin Kohler Locking Differential Garden Tractor Hydrostatic Model 27048. It has the strength you want. The deck is bigger but there are no tractors in the 42-46 inch range that are heavy duty and have a thick frame. Reply andrew chan April 15, 2017 HI Paul , the cracked frame is where the 4 holes fro the engine mounting , the last time I notice is when you change the oil and when you wiped the area all down that’s where I notice the cracks. This was the first frame , and for the second frame I used a impact wrench to tighten as it was the only way to remove those bolts. I think that the frame on these lawn tractor are to thin around the motor and when you look carefully on the left rear side of the engine where the brake pedal goes through the frame , there is very little material in that area. As for the sears craftsmans lt2500 that’s the one with gold color instead of the normal green . the orginal engine is 18 hp intek , but I bought a 18.5 B&S professional series , Do you know if a frame is still available for purchase ? I did picked up another craftsman with a blown twin turbo engine as they call them , with a hydro static ( seized ) . I was wondering if the frame could be used if anew one is not available. The overall frame is in good condition except for the mount holes of the engine. As for your recommendations I can’t get a 50″ into my parent fenced yard , its 48″ What do you think about the Husqvarana with a 20 hp with a 46 ” cut , hydrostatic , it comes with a 5 year deck warranty , 3 year frame Reply Paul April 15, 2017 Hi Andrew, if you would like recommendations on a lawn tractor, I need either the model number off the frame or on a Husqvarna the hood number will work. In other words I don’t know which model you are asking about because Husqvarna has at least four lawn tractors and three zero-turns that use that engine/deck combination.That said, if you are looking at a Husqvarna YTH series is uses the same frame the old gold Craftsman used. Probably right down to the exact holes and notches.The old Craftsman, I think you got a long, well used life out of the gold Craftsman. That tractor is over 10 years old and it sounds like you are extremely rough on your equipment. I would guess that only one in 50,000 frames crack from use and you’ve broken two already! Reply andrew chan April 30, 2017 HI Paul , to the best of your knowledge , isn’t MTD a major builders of 90% of all lawn tractor made now. Parts like frame , front axles , transmission are just rebranded with different hoods and seats , and major company like sears , club cadet fall in this category ? I went back to the local stores to take a look and the sales person states they are all basically made by MTD in some way. I don’t want another yardworks/MTD product The club cadet dealer says it made by club cadet as I was looking at the xt2 lx46. Reply Paul April 30, 2017 Hi Andrew, I can say with 100% certainty that your sales person is misinformed. The truth of the matter is there are five riding lawn tractor manufacturers building products in the U.S. Each manufacturer sells and makes their own products and they would NEVER let a competitor make their products for them.But, where your salesperson may have things confused is the small circle of info that he works in. In that small circle in influence 90% of the products he sells may be made by MTD. That said,Here are the five manufacturers that sell lawn tractors and rear engine riders in the U.S. and the brands they sell under.MTD: Cub Cadet, Troy-Bilt, Columbia, Yard Machines. For Craftsman they make the Craftsman Pro and the inexpensive Craftsman Lawn Tractors (under $1300) They also own 25 or so other names like Yardworks that show up from time to time.Husqvarna: Husqvarna, Poulan Pro, Jonsered. For Craftsman they make the Red Yard tractors and Red Garden tractors. They also own a dozen or so other names but don’t currently sell any lawn tractors under those names.John Deere: All John Deere lawn tractors are made by John Deere including the ones sold at Lowes and The Home Depot.Briggs & Stratton: Simplicity, Snapper. Again they own other names but currently they only sell lawn tractors under the Simplicity and Snapper namesRyobi: RM480e electric riding mower.Here is my updated article on who makes what: 2017 Who Makes What? – All Zero-Turn, Lawn And Garden Tractor Manufacturers Reply Marc April 12, 2017 Hi Paul,Per your recommendation late last year i purchased a Cub Cadet XT1 GT50 with a 3 stage snowblower for my 600 ft driveway in MA. First off i wanted to say thank you, i was cringing at spending that kind of money, but after a few major storms this winter i am realizing it was the best investment ive ever made. The only “complaint” i could possibly have with it is the placement of the chute lever for the snow blower, it is right in the way of the gas tank fill so it makes its difficult to put gas in it in 2 degree February weather. Aside from that it saved my tail.Now that we are on to nicer weather, I would like to get a bagger for it. I was wondering if you could recommend any aftermarket baggers for this mower. I will buy the Cub Cadet if i have too but i would really rather not spend $500 for something that big if i can avoid itThanks again ! Reply Paul April 12, 2017 Hi Marc, The glitch in the lawn tractor free market system is: There are no aftermarket baggers for it. Each manufacturer makes their own baggers for their own mowers. Reply Bob April 3, 2017 Paul, This is off topic for this thread, but I don’t know how else to reach you.I purchased a Craftsman T3200 last summer and it has been doing a stellar job on our hilly terrain – if it only had a locking differential it would be perfect. The only problem I’ve found is that it takes a good 5 to 10 seconds of continuous cranking to start after it has been sitting for a few days, presumably because it takes awhile for the pulse fuel pump to get fuel to the carburetor. Contrast this to my gravity fed 16 year old Murray that will start on the first bump of the starter after sitting all winter.Is it normal for the pulse pump type system to take so long to start, and if so, do you have a good work around to prime the system after it’s been sitting?Thanks. Reply Paul April 3, 2017 Hi Bob, I don’t know what a T3200 is. Whenever you ask a question about a Craftsman please use the model number under the seat.Actually the throttle/choke is out of adjustment. The choke is not closing completely.If there is one lever for both the throttle and choke on your tractor loosen the clamp out by the carb and move the cable so the choke closes completely.If it’s a V-twin with the separate choke loosen the clamp out by the carb and adjust the choke so it closes completely.It’ll start right up all the time once that’s adjusted. Reply Johnna King April 3, 2017 Hi Paul,For the sake of time I have not been able to read every single article and comment, but was wondering if you could help us. We have 5 acres of land, and will likely be mowing about 3.5. The land is flat, we have a small front yard and plan to put chickens/goats in one area which cuts down the mowing area. My husband would love a Kubota BX Tractor with mower attachment, but at $16000 it seems out of our budget. We could put some down and do monthly payments, but same price overall. Do you have any thoughts on what might be best for us? Thank you so much! Reply Paul April 3, 2017 Hi Johanna, To be clear the Kubota BX is a sub-compact tractor and it will do two things that none of the riding lawn mowers I review on this site will do.1. It will last longer than you. Give the the proper “tender loving care” and you will be able to will it to your grandkids. It’s many time tougher than anything I review. 2. You can add just about any attachment to it for any task over time. For example, right now you may just want to mow the lawn so you buy the belly mower. Later on you may decide you want to add a bucket loader so you can quickly clean up after the goats, sheep and chickens. It is strong enough that you can pull a manure spreader with a 1000 lbs of manure in it. You can add a grading blade in the back to level your driveway. You can add a rototiller to till your large garden and and charge all the neighbors to till theirs. There are well over 100 different tasks you can use it for.Be aware there are about 20 different brands of compact tractors and the Kubota is the top of the line in both quality and cost. John Deere is also up there in price. Other brands like Massey Ferguson, Kiota, Mahindra, and many others are just as high of quality at a more affordable price.Take a look at the Rural Lifestyle Dealers in your area for more info.So, if you want to do more than just mow the lawn the sub-compact is really the way to go. I know it’s more money than you expected. If you really only want to mow a lawn please write back and I’ll give you a few ideas in the $5000 range. Reply Greg Bardsley April 2, 2017 Hey Paul,I am trying to decide between the craftsman pro 46″ with the K46 or the 54″ GT with the K58 trans axle. I have a 1 acre fairly level yard. My question is will the GT have a longer life than the LT? I do not plan to use any attachments, bit I like to buy a bit more than I need but the difference is over 1000$.Thoughts? Reply Paul April 2, 2017 Hi Greg, One acre, fairly level, a yard cart, a bagger or sweeper – The Craftsman Pro Series 46 is the perfect choice. The 20 inch rear wheels and 46 inch deck at what the K46 is designed for and it will give you years and years of dependable use. Reply Craftsman guy April 1, 2017 Hi Paul,Do you have an email address where i can send you questions?I have a Craftsman 20442, while changing the oild, i overtorqued the plastic drain hose cap. I can’t seem to find a replacement part for it and the sears parts direct pointed me toward part 5401K, which is not the same part. Could you tell me what the correct replacement part is? Or if there is a 3rd part part with metal caps so i don’t break it again? Reply Paul April 1, 2017 Hi Craftsman Guy, That is a Kohler engine specific part and the brands like Craftsman don’t do well getting those types of parts. (They’ll sell you the whole engine.)Take a picture of the engine model number/serial number if you can find it on the engine shroud. Also take a picture of the drain hose. Stop in to a lawn & garden dealer and their parts dept should have it. Last resort search for it on Amazon. “kohler oil drain cap” Reply Kumar March 31, 2017 Hi Paul, Thanks for your valuable insight, I am totally new to lawn care and planning to buy a mower soon. I have 1/2 acre lot and most of it is flat except a small ditch in the front of the house and no obstacles. I was looking at Craftsman 30 inch rear engine rider and 42 inch lawn tractor. Both look good and price is almost same ($100 difference). I am unable to decide on which one to go with. I am worried about the cut, turning radius and time difference to cut for each of them, Which one would give a clean and easy to turn around to get neat and parallel line cut?I am totally new to this, your advise is much appreciated. Thanks. Below is the comparison for both. http://www.sears.com/shc/s/Compare?storeId=10153&catalogId=12605&partNumber_1=07120372000P&partNumber_2=07129000000P&prodCount=2 Reply Paul April 3, 2017 Hi Kumar, In the under $1500 price range you get what you pay for and a few hundred dollars make a huge difference in the quality and longevity of the tractor. Because of that I am going to suggest one more tractor. It’s a little more money but it will give you the cut you want, the tight turning radius you want and it will last many years. In addition is has a better, larger Briggs & Stratton engine. I put the comparison together for all three.Comparing $999, $1099 and $1399 lawn tractors.The mower I am suggesting made the Seven Best Riding Mowers Under $1500 for 2017. The other two mowers did not make the list. Reply Jarrett March 31, 2017 Paul,Thanks for all the helpful information, I’m looking into buying my first lawn tractor and it’s been really helpful. I think I need an economy lawn tractor as all I want to be able to do is mow the grass without using a push mower and to pick up leaves as I have a lot of oak tress and that drop them. Whole lot is about a third of an acre so I’d say the area to be mowed would be about a quarter acre or so. It’s pretty straight forward, not a lot of edges to trim around so I don’t think I need a zero turn. My question is (1) do you agree with my assessment on what I need and (2) I’ve seen some places online and my father in law says that the tractors you buy from the big box store i.e. sears, lowes, home depot are inferior models built cheaply to be sold at a discount in those store. I saw your page recommending tractors had links to some of those stores sites to buy them. Do you disagree with this and think it’s ok to buy from a big store? Thanks. Reply Paul April 3, 2017 Hi Jarrett, Your father is correct if you have unlimited funds and don’t mind spending $4000-$8000 on a riding mower that will be worth a little when you trade it in 5-8 years from now. For most of us though we just want an affordable riding mower that will mow well and last 10 years or so.The other major factor is all the tractors sold at Lowes and Home Depot are also sold at your local dealer so the argument about “discount Junk” is no longer valid. Now to be fair, some dealers do have more expensive lines of riding mowers than what is sold at Lowes and Home Depot but – when you actually look under the hood and compare the main components (engine, transmissions, drive components) there is real argument if that “dealer Model” is worth twice the cost of the Lowes or Home Depot model. IN other words are you paying for better quality or just better profit for the dealer?I can go on for many pages about what your father said, but I’ll leave at that.So, for what you want to do the Number one and Number two tractors on this list are quite capable of doing the job well for many years. Seven Best Riding Mowers Under $1500 for 2017If you want a great mower that cuts just as well as the $4000 “green” dealer tractors, has the same transmission and actually has a better rated engine check out the Craftsman Pro Series 46″ 24 HP V-Twin Kohler Hydrostatic TurnTight Extreme® Riding Mower w/ Smart Lawn Bluetooth Technology Reply Jarrett April 3, 2017 Paul, I bought a craftsman 21380 Saturday. Picking it up tomorrow. I think I’ll be happy with it. Reply Martin March 29, 2017 Paul, I took your advice on the 27390 but I didn’t want it delivered while there is still snow between my driveway and shed, so I used layaway. Sears’ layaway online site is really screwed up. It wouldn’t allow me to make the required payment (online or in store) until I figured out that the payment amount the site showed was wrong and used the higher figure they’d sent me in an email. So SEARS ONLINE LAYAWAY BUYERS BE AWARE!Is there any chance you could update your article on sweepers? Reply Paul March 30, 2017 Hi Martin, The pictures should be working on the sweeper article now. As far as an update: I still like that sweeper and it has given me no problems. I use it to pick up wet grass, leaves, pine cone and pine needles. I leave the unit outside but store the bag/hopper part inside a storage shed. There is nothing to rust up on the unit and the galvanized pieces look like new.I will say, DON’T buy a pull behind sweeper that costs less than $300. The $200-$275 models don’t hold up. The Ohio Steel 50 inch unit is also a heavy duty unit. Home Depot also has the best price on it right now.Home Depot: $299 with free shipping. Agri-Fab Lawn Equipment Parts 44 in. 25 cu. ft. Tow-Behind Lawn Sweeper 45-0492 Reply Martin March 30, 2017 Hi Paul, I saw that Home Depot has the best current price (all of your links to retailers were working fine) and I will likely buy it. I was hoping to see comments from any of your readers who’d also purchased the 42″ Tine Dethatcher attachment, as that piece of equipment had mixed reviews on Amazon, where it is listed for 38″, 42″, & 46″ sweepers, but NOT for 44″ ones. Because your sweeper review is an older article, no one can add any new comments. Reply Paul March 30, 2017 Hi Martin, The tines are made for the A-Frame front hitch on the 42 and 44 inch sweepers. There is no dethatcher for the Pro models with the adjustable/sliding hitch. Personally, I don’t need it. The pine needles are the hardest to pick up on my property because they fall down into the turf. But I can drop this sweeper into the turf and still sweep them up. I don’t get in a hurry and try to do it all in one pass. I’ll go over the same area a few times and then it gets all the needles. On everything else, including fresh grass clippings it picks them up well.I do want to warn you. All of these sweepers use a plastic drive wheel. Only lower the sweeper enough to do the work. If you leave it too low all the time you will strip/wear out the gears inside the wheel quickly. In other words, I read reviews all the time about people stipping the gears but I have a feeling they are leaving the pickup too low all the time. The 44 inch has the heaviest parts. Reply Martin April 1, 2017 Thanks for the tip, Paul. I’m not in a hurry either so maybe I’ll just borrow my neighbor’s dethatcher and go over the lawn twice. I’d seen some of the comments about stripped gears, on AgriFab and Brinly, as I recall, but probably for others as well. Now that I know “the rest of the story” I’ll be careful with the height adjustment. Bob Schmidt March 29, 2017 Hi Paul, Is there such a thing as a heavy duty garden tractor with a deck 42 inch? I am now considering Cub Cadet GT50 but would like a smaller deck. I only need to mow about half an acre. Thanks, Bob Reply Paul March 29, 2017 Hi Bob, No there is not. The garden tractor transmissions used are all wider than a 42-46 inch deck. The wheelbase is wider than a regular lawn tractor. Right now the smallest deck option is the 50 inch on the Cub Cadet/Craftsman Pro and the 52 inch deck on the Husqvarna GT52XLS. Reply Matt March 28, 2017 Hey Paul,Appreciate all your work here! I’m comparing the Cub Cadet XT1 and Craftsman Pro 27038. They seem like they are essentially the same exact mower. Is there a crucial difference between the two that makes up for the difference in cost?Appreciate the help! Reply Paul March 28, 2017 Hi Matt, I’m assuming you mean the XT1 LT 42 in. The difference is the Craftsman has a v-twin and the engine is slightly better. Consistent-Cut™ technology gives you faster response when mowing heavy growth. 2 horse is $200 in this market.It also has the Smart Lawn Bluetooth Technology and a better seat. Owners say the seat has more padding and doesn’t want to throw you forward all the time.Cost is relative. It appears the LT 42 is a leader item this year. It was $1599 last year. Reply Dan March 22, 2017 Hi Paul, After several coupons, I picked up the YTA24V48 from lowes for $1,650 today. Figures it is surging in idle or times when it’s not required to provide as much power (such as going down a hill). Is this something worth taking it back to them or something I can easily adjust and fix?Thanks Dan Reply Paul March 22, 2017 Hi Dan, Lowes does not want me to help. They feel they are better suited to help you. Please contact them about your new tractor. Reply Mike Holbrooks March 22, 2017 Hi Paul, Thanks for your very informative website. I’m looking to upgrade from my old Craftsman rider. I have ~ 1.75 acres of uneven lawn and a fair amount of trimming. No large hills. I was intrigued by your reviews of the Husqvarna R220T Articulating Mowers, but it appears that Husqvarna has discontinued US sales. I guess there wasn’t enough demand. There are some clearance sales of them on the internet. Are you still a fan of them and would you be concerned about parts support from Husqvarna? Reply Paul March 22, 2017 Hi Mike, The R220T is alive and well. It’s one of the most popular mowers in Europe but there are three problems with them here in the U.S.1. Even though they have been around since 1996 or so but your local dealer has probably never sold one so he won’t even bring one in to display on the sales floor. 2. They are a very high quality riding mower so the cost is a lot more than most U.S. homeowners want to spend. The rider will easily last 20 years but we are unwilling to spend the extra money up front for that quality. In addition Husqvarna has been trying to figure out which deck and snow blower best fits the U.S. needs. In Europe they demand combi mulching/side discharge decks that mow around 2 inches. Here we want side discharge/mulching decks but we mow at 3.5-4 inches. The European snow blowers are much heavier built than what we want to pay for here so they have to adapt a U.S. snow blower which makes the whole unit quite long.They actually have a very large range of riders. From the 100 series all the way up to the Commercial 500 series.3. We have been taught that more speed is the only criteria needed for a good mower. We feel we have to get done as fast as possible so we can go do something else – also as quickly as possible. So, we have become accustomed more speed and more power. Hence, zero-turns are the most popular mower and it’s not how well they cut but how fast they cut. The Europeans call their properties gardens and mowing the lawn is part of the enjoyment of that garden. They don’t have huge open areas where they can rush around and get done as fast as possible. Instead they have nooks and crannys, landscape beds and vegetable gardens all with a little lawn in between. Their riders need to be as agile as possible and they must be able to get close on both sides. They mow a lot shorter so their mulching has to produce a very fine clipping. No multipurpose decks that side-discharge, bag and half-ass mulch. It the grass is too long they discharge it out the rear and sweep or vacuum it up right away.It quite interesting that here we won’t even look at the articulated riders and over there they just laugh at a zero-turn. Robotic Mowers are the same way. The robotic mower industry is growing exponentially in Europe – over here it’s “crickets.” No one wants to spend $2500-$4000 here for that “little thing”Husqvarna’s support for the rider will not be an issue. I have a 1999 and a 2003 model and I can get all the parts for it. A few of the oddball parts like the timed spindles I have to wait 10 days or so but I have no worries that I won’t be able to get parts.You will have to decide if one is worth pursuing. Reply Mike Holbrooks March 22, 2017 Paul, Thanks for the quick and detailed response. You’ve given me some great points to consider. Reply Phil Wilson March 22, 2017 Hello Paul, Great information on your site! Here in Sacramento, CA and I’m in the market for a new riding mower now that my 21 year old MTD 42″ 17.5 B&S I bought at Montgomery Wards has been worn out by me. Looking through all of the available information and reviews on lawn tractors has given me information overload. What I have is a little under 1 acre of mostly level lawn with a number of obstacles to mow around. 1/3 of the acre is a square, level pasture grass that always gets very high 6+ inches, for the first cut of the spring, after that its not an issue with grass height and beginning in summer doesn’t need to be mowed at all. The MTD would mow the pasture area even though the grass was very high as I would go very slow to get through that first mowing. The rest of the lawn is 2 to 4″ max height. What I’m looking for is something that will replace the durability and dependability I had with this old mower. Not sure if I should stay with 42″ deck or go to a 46″. I would prefer not going any higher than $1700 for the mower as I know I will also get the bagger and maybe the mulch kit. Being here in CA I’ve seen were a lot of the suggestions you have given to others with similar mowing needs, the lawn tractor isn’t available here because of CA’s strict ARB regulations. What would be your suggestions for lawn tractors for my needs. Thanks! Reply Paul March 22, 2017 Hi Phil, I don’t mention the CA version most of the time because it’s confusing for everyone except the CA residents. Craftsman has the most CARB compliant models. Here is a good replacement for your MTD within your budget.CARB Compliant Craftsman Yard TractorsHere are the CARB models at Home Depot. On the list I don’t recommend the Poulan Pro but the John Deere and Cub Cadets are all good mowers.CARB Lawn Tractors at Home Depot Reply Phil March 22, 2017 Thanks for the information Paul! As always a wealth of info on your site! A few things I didn’t mention before is I to like the non gas pedal type lawn tractor. Is everything made today hydrostatic? I can’t see why would want to have to have your foot always on the gas to make the mower go. Get more than enough of that with the car! Also I’m a big guy, 6’3″ and 290 so would like comfort to be part of this new tractor also if its within or not too far outside the budget, which I might be able to increase to $1900-$2100. Thanks again! Reply Paul March 22, 2017 @Phil, No, not everything is hydrostatic. CVT transmissions are becoming very popular but they are also foot controlled. Everything was foot controlled but Craftsman came back out with the fender control this year on a half dozen models. Again, they are not CARB.While Craftsman and Troy-Bilt both have decent models with a fender controlled speed control none of them are CARB. Yard tractors and Garden tractor all have the same “size.” The only way to get more room is to have the fender control.Craftsman has one manual six speed yard tractor but again it’s not CARBThe best choice for a big guy is the Craftsman Model 20407. It has big, tires, big seat and the fender controlled hydro. Again there is no CARB model. Do you know someone who lives out-of-state? Reply Phil March 23, 2017 Hello Paul, Looks like I will have to select from the hydrostatic models, cruise control mandatory. Went and looked at a few yesterday, the XT1 Cub Cadet and Husqvarna 46″ 22hp felt the most comfortable. The craftsman 46″ 19hp seemed small and the steering wheel was too close. The Craftsman 48″ 22hp was much better, but 48″ deck will be too wide for some areas. The 46″ 24hp Craftsman Pro seemed to have everything, will have to try and make the cost workable. Didn’t get to test any, but the Cub steering seemed the easiest. Paul March 23, 2017 Hi Phil, Everyone likes the steering on the Craftsman Pro. The cruise control on the Cub Cadet and Craftsman Pro work very well. If the models were sitting on different materials like concrete or tile it’s not a fair test. The Craftsman Pro 46 and Cub Cadet 46 have the best cut for most lawns. Bob Schmidt March 18, 2017 Hi Paul, I am trying to narrow down just what I need and can afford. I would be mowing half acre plus, the terrain is level and some uphill kind of rough. I want to pull a heavy duty rake attachment with sturdy tines about 4 foot width. Also a yard cart to haul dirt to different areas. I am considering the XT1 Enduro Series GT 50 25-HP Hydro sold by Home Depot for $2699, also the Sears Craftsman three different models, model #27055 at $3200, model 27047 at $4000, and model # 27048 with locking differential at $3500. I know pulling the rake will be somewhat of a workout. What do you see as a right choice for what I have to deal with? I value your expertise. Thanks Bob Reply Paul March 19, 2017 Hi Bob, The locking diff is always the best choice pulling heavy stuff because in reality these tractors are very light in the rear end. With a regular transaxle they don’t have a lot of traction. The locking diff doubles that traction.So, if you feel all of the tractors will have enough traction, even the XT1 is a good choice. Reply Gary Tillotson March 15, 2017 Hi Paul, I really enjoy your articles on the new mowers but before I buy a new one I have a question on an older one. I have a Craftsman GS 6500 Model number 91727692 that is about 10 years old and in very good condition. It mows good but on hills and wet spots it has very poor traction. In the past I always just got off and pushed when necessary but at 72 that is getting too hard. I was looking at a replacement for it that had a locking diff but all I really need is a locking diff on this one. I see many used locking diffs on ebay in the $150 to $200 range but I have no way of knowing if they will fit my mower without modification. Do you know or have any idea where I might find this info? Thanks, Reply Paul March 15, 2017 Hi Gary, the 27692 used a G730 Hydro-Gear. I’m not aware that Hydro-gear had a diff lock version. Modifying you tractor to fit a different transmission is something I won’t even comment on. There are too many things to get right let alone finding a used unit that will last.The Craftsman Pro Model 27048 Series 50″ 26 HP V-Twin Kohler Hydrostatic Garden Tractor w/ Locking Rear Differential & Smart Lawn Bluetooth Technology is the replacemnt tractor for you. Reply Gary Tillotson March 16, 2017 Thanks for the information. Reply Bob Schmidt March 14, 2017 Thanks again for your time. Is there a garden tractor that has a cast iron transmission and axles? If there are which ones are available? And are there any for a reasonable price? I know reasonable depends are your circumstances. Bob Reply Paul March 14, 2017 Hi Bob, there is only one. The Cub Cadet X3. Everything else under $10,000 uses aluminum transaxles. The only other way to get a cast iron rear end is to buy a sub-compact like a Kubota BX or John Deere 1023E Reply Youssef March 14, 2017 Hi Paul, I am a first time home owner that just bought a house on 9 acres. 3 acres are fences and contain the 1100 sq ft home small detached office, and 20×25 enclosed pole barn. About 1/3 to 1/2 of what is left inside the fence is sand. the rest is grass. I would like to purchase a mower capable of not only mowing, but that is able to mow anything it can push over (IE limb loper sized). I will be hauling firewood (Rarely), pulling an aerator, and maintaining the wooded area for foot paths and managing under brush to have a forest gallery with LARGE trees and shrubs scattered about rather than dense woods. What equipment would you recommend? Reply Paul March 14, 2017 Hi Yousef, There are no lawn tractors, garden tractors or zero-turn mowers that cut brush and they are not designed to mow tall grass. There are a few pull behind units like the Acrease Rough Cut that can mow the tall grasses and small brush.I strongly suggest if you have a lot of improvements to do on the property that you look at a sub-compact tractor. The Kubota BX or John Deere 1023E are a good place to start but there are over 20 good brands. They have the heavy mowers and other attachments you need. I suggest talking to your local rural lifestyle dealer (small farm store) to see what’s popular in your area. Reply Youssef March 15, 2017 thank you for the quick response. I am a little frustrated to hear that. I simply will never have that kind of budget. 9k for the kubota and 12k for the JD 1023E are so far from the money I have to spend they might as well be in another solar system and the Acrease I would have to pull with foot power. I have 3k max to spend. I regularly cut 2 acres of seeding bahai with a JD z655 with the blades locked fully raised. as well as 1 and 2 thumb round shrubs and the occasional small palmetto. For 6 years on that mower. What do you mean that aren’t designed for it. Possibly not but I would think that if I had been abusing it that badly it would not still be going strong today. I would use that mower but it belongs to my mother. Just about any Zturn is out of my price range. What about the Craftsman 54″ 24 HP V-Twin Briggs & Stratton Garden Tractor Fast Hydrostatic w/ TurnTight®?? Reply Paul March 15, 2017 @Youssef, lawn tractors, garden tractors and residential zero-turns all use aluminum spindles and most use a 1/8 – 3/16 inch thick blade. Also the metal of the decks are not thick enough to handle any kind of abuse. You were just lucky that you didn’t break a spindle, twist the deck, or bend a blade. NEVER try to cut down woody plants thicker than your thumb.The Craftsman you list is a great garden tractor. If you go that way always have the deck raised all the way up and let the grass flow out the discharge – don’t use a mulch plug. Don’t ram the front axle into trees or other obstacles. It mows lawns well at 3-4 mph. The fast speed is for running around your property. Reply Youssef March 15, 2017 the craftsman is my back up if I cannot not convince my wife to got withe a cub cadet xt3 gse. We will have to finance part of it, but after reading some reviews and checking specs, it appears to be A G.T. that will last me a decade or so. Bob Schmidt March 13, 2017 Hi Paul, From what I have found on line it looks like the model # is 20408 , Craftsman 54 inch 24HP Briggs & Stratton Platinum engine. What is your opinion of this tractor? And how good an engine is the Briggs? Does it compare to the Kohler? Thanks again for your time. Bob Reply Paul March 14, 2017 Hi Bob, if it is a 20408 it will have arm rests, 23/24 inch rear tires the the big brush guard front bumper. If it is a 54 inch lawn tractor like the hood implies it will have 20 inch rear tires, no armrests and no front bumper. YOU DO NOT WANT THE LAWN TRACTOR! You really need the model number to make the right decision.The Briggs V-Twin is a good dependable engine. It’s been around a long time and B&S keeps it updated with the latest carbs, etc. The Kohler 7000 is the newest kid on the block and is getting the reputation as the best residential engine on the market.The easiest explanation is to use failure rate. For example, if the Kohler 7000 has a failure rate in the first 500 hours of 1 out of 5000 engines the Briggs would have a failure rate on 4 out of 5000 engines. In other words the percentage difference is so small that you can’t go wrong with either engine because they are built to last. Reply Jeff March 13, 2017 Hi Paul,Love your articles. Ive got about 2 acres of lawn for mowing, pretty flat. Also have 400′ of driveway with a slight 4% incline. live in wisconsin so was considering a snow blower attachment. Was looking at the cub cadet xt3 for this. In your opinion is that the right tractor for the job? Was also looking at a john deere x570 but it is quite a bit more money. Is an extra $1500 to $2000 for the john deere woth it? Reply Paul March 14, 2017 Hi Jeff, Not only is the tractor more but the deck and snow blower will cost you more. You are probably closer to $3000 difference once it’s sitting in your garage.I’ve never demo’d the X3 but owners really like it. They like how it cuts, how it drives and really like how it steers. The X3 is unique in that it still has a cast iron hydro rear transaxle. Everyone/everything else is the lightweight aluminum hydro’s. The rear end is tough enough that you can use a moldboard plow to turn over your garden and never worry about the tranny failing.If you are going to use a snow blower be sure to buy the model with the locking differential. You will also need chains but with the cast iron rear end you may not need extra rear weights.They are both great machines. I’d also take the dealer into account. I usually buy from a dealer I like and trust – even if the equipment he sells is more money. Reply Jeff March 14, 2017 Thanks for the information….do you think the XT3 is overkill for my needs? would the XT2 GX54D work for me and still be durable? it has locking differential but the transmission is the K62 which I believe is a downgrade from the XT3 shaft drive. I have visited both my local cub cadet and John Deere Dealers and am very comfortable with either. Right now leaning more towards the Cub Cadet but am struggling to figure out the right model for my needs.thanks. Reply Paul March 14, 2017 Hi Jeff, if you are the type of person who keeps stuff forever the X3 is the best choice. If you are the type who likes the latest and gets bored with stuff after a few years the XT2 is a better choice. The X3 may be the last tractor you ever need to buy.If you are not afraid to spend the money and get the best the X3 is a better choice. If you need a Garden Tractor but are on a budget the XT2 will get the job done. The XT2 is durable and one of the most durable tractors in the under $4000 market. With a little maintenance it will easily last 10-15 years. The X3 though is a solid step above that in quality and long life. The basic engine/drive shaft/ cast iron transmission combination in the X3 has been around for over 30 years and is still rated as the best system for durability and long life.The Cub Cadet name’s reputation is built on the basic X3 chassis. The only way you can get a better tractor is to move up to a Kubota style sub compact, John Deere 700 series or Simplicity Legacy XL. Reply Bob Schmidt March 13, 2017 Paul, What do yo know about the Sears Craftsman T3500 garden tractor? Thanks, Bob Reply Paul March 13, 2017 Hi Bob, I don’t know what that is. No one pays attention to the number on the hood. The model number is under the seat or online it’s listed as the model# fer the item number in the description. Sorry.Craftsman garden tractors usually start with G on the hood like G5000 Reply brad wilson March 13, 2017 im looking for a zturn for home use ive been looking at the snapper line the 360z 52in,400z 48in cut and the 550z 52 and 61in cut all have the hydro 2800 except the 550z it has the 3100 ill be using it to cut about an acre and a half 2-3 times a month but im also looking for something to last me 15-20 years I have a john deere riding mower that about 7yrs old and it only has 101 hours on it so theres not much over kill, do you have any info on these snappers or recommend any other brand under the 4000 mark Reply Paul March 13, 2017 Hi Brad, Snapper/Simplicity/Ferris is sold at the dealers only so it’s hard to get any info on them. No one reviews them online. There are quite a few dealers in central Illinois but otherwise I don’t know how wide their market is.I know at GIE-EXPO last Oct all the demo booths were full – except the Snapper/Simplicity area. The sales reps at that booth were talking to themselves….. Reply Brad wilson March 13, 2017 Lol that’s not good. Might have to rethink this. If I’m looking for the transaxle to be serviceable do you think a 2800 would be fine for me or should I go to like a 3100 or 3200 Reply Paul March 13, 2017 Hi Brad, If your ground is no more than 10 degrees slope, yes the ZT2800 will last you a long time. Reply Bob Schmidt March 13, 2017 Paul its on the Home Depot website where it gives the list of what this tractor has as optional equipment it can handle, such as twin bagger, snow thrower, snow blade, steel or poly carts etc. You have to scroll down to find this info. That is the XT1 Enduro Series LT 46 in. 22HP V-Twin Kohler Hydrostatic. Is this inaccurate info or am I misunderstanding . Thanks, Bob Reply Paul March 13, 2017 Hi Bob, Ground engaging is a separate designation. All the Cub Cadet XT1 and XT2 lawn tractors will handle those attachments listed. But they imply a cart is only used for leaves, brush and not hauling 500 lb loads of dirt. Ground engaging in the Cub Cadet line is GT or GX designation. Ground engaging has larger wheels and heavy-duty transmission that will pull tillers and of course heavier loads. no, don’t trust Home Depot or any retailer’s description to be completely accurate. Reply Bob Schmidt March 13, 2017 Paul, The Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro Series LT 46 in 22 HP V Twin Kohler has ground engaging capability. How can that be? Thanks, Bob Reply Paul March 13, 2017 Hi Bob, I don’t see that on the Cub Cadet website. It doesn’t – it has the K46 lawn tractor transmission and 20 inch rear wheels. If you read that somewhere the clerk typing in the info on the website may have been looking at the wrong line on the datasheet. Reply Dan March 12, 2017 Hi Paul, I am looking for a machine that will haul dirt, wood, etc around my 6 acre lot. I’ll also have to mow about 2/3 of that acre. Does that warrant upgrading to a garden tractor? Right now I am between the Deere X330 and Cub Cadet XT2 LX46, mainly as I want to make sure I have the HP and transmission to last a long time (with proper maintenance).The Deere dealer is 1 mile away and the x330 is 200 off, so $2799 for the name, durability(based on my research), warranty, and convenience . Xt2 is $2000, but I know little about the cadets. Am I comparing the right two or do you have any other suggestions? Reply Paul March 13, 2017 Hi Dan, both of those machines have the K46 Tuff Torq transmission. It’s designed to mow lawns and pull light loads around the lawn. 400-500 lb loads of dirt, etc over rough terrain and hills will wear the trans out. It will do just fine with 200 lb loads of firewood though. One, other factor is the rear tires are 20 inch. They give very little clearance and little traction of the ground is rough, wet or muddy.You’ll have to go up to the X370 to get the heavier trans or a GX54 in the XT2. For the money and durability I suggest the GX54 D. It has the clearance, the strong transmission and a heavy-duty fabricated deck that will last you a long time bouncing around your acreage.If you need a smaller deck and still want a heavy-duty tractor the XT1 GT50 is a good choice. Reply Dan March 14, 2017 Paul, Most of my work is going to be hauling firewood, mulch in the spring, brush etc, so I think the K46 will be ok. With further research, I have starting thinking about the Husqvarna YTA24V48 “fast tractor” as I find the CVT transmission to be interesting. If I am comparing that to the XT2, is there any other difference between the two that you know or have experienced? Both are priced the same, with similar HP just different engines. On a side note, is the fast tractor carried at Lowes the same as the ones carried at dealers?I thought I saw a link where I could possibly purchase the machine through that would give you a percentage. This site has been very helpful and i would like to utilize it if possible. Reply Paul March 14, 2017 Hi Dan, The YTA24V48 is a fun tractor because you can go faster when pulling your cart. The trans is also stronger than the K46. I don’t know if the Lowes tractor is the same. I’d have to research the stock number of the Lowes tractor and the stock number of the one the dealer has. Lowes has a small undocumented history of leaving something off the machine so they can sell it for less than the dealers can.Two little items about the CVT trans in the YTA24V48. First, it has a “digital” reverse. When you put it in reverse it backs up at one speed, there is no slower or faster in reverse. Some owner don’t like that. Second, the late 2016 and the current 2017 models have a cover over the transmission to keep dirt and debris from binding up the linkages. This is a problem with the older models. Dirt would collect on the top of the trans – owners didn’t clean it off – the linkage would bind and they would stomp on the pedal causing the linkages to break. Even though the operator’s manual suggested that they clean off the trans a few times a year the owners (and mechanics) always blamed the transmission instead. Personally, I like that tranny a lot and suggest it over the K46 most of the time.The build date is built into the serial number under the seat. Have the dealer show you by the serial number that it’s not a 2015 or early 2016 model. If he is within a $100 or so of Lowes, I’d suggest buying at the dealer. He will take care of you a lot quicker than Lowes if something does go wrong.If would you like to buy from your local dealer or store that I don’t link to but still want to support TodaysMower just click on the following link and buy anything you need. I’ll make a small commission from the sale. Buy at Amazon. TodaysMower.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, and we get a commission on purchases made through our links. Reply Bob Schmidt March 9, 2017 Paul I read the material about the 2017 Craftsman Pro Series. I am thinking the model 27055 would be good. You also said to check Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro Series GT50 , and I have. The Craftsman comes in at $3199.00 the Cadet at $2699.00. Is there that much difference that I should choose the Craftsman? Thanks Again, Bob Reply Paul March 9, 2017 Hi Bob, I’m not sure why the GT50 is that cheap other than Cub Cadet/Home Depot may be going after the Husqvarna LGT2654 at Lowes. Too many people buy on price at the big box stores – not features. At least Cub Cadet/Home Depot is not ripping the public off – the GT50 actually has a heavy-duty ground engaging transmission in it.With the Craftsman you get a better seat, arm rests, better bumper, slightly better engine. In the world of mowers that’s $300. In addition you get the 5 inch Turn-Tight Steering. It’s the tightest and strongest front axle you can get on a garden tractor.The Craftsman is closer to the XT2 GX54. The main difference with the GX54 is it has a fabricated deck but the Craftsman has the 5 inch Extreme Turn Tight Steering for abut the same price. The Craftsman deck is rated the best large deck – the fabricated deck has not been rated by anyone at this time. Reply Dave March 8, 2017 Hi Paul – I’m up here in Northern Minnesota and I’m in the market to spend about $1500 to handle my completely flat 1-1/2 acre property (very few trees, mostly wide open) which I only mow May-October. It’s quite smooth near the house but due to clay soil, the larger yard is often muddy during May/June; contrast with wide deep cracks (4-6″!!!) once the soil gets really dry in August. Because of this, the yard tends to get rather bumpy late in the season.Thanks to your excellent site, I’ve done some homework & I’m currently considering either the Cub Cadet XT1 (Enduro Series LT 42 in. 18 HP Kohler Hydrostatic) Craftsman #20831 (19 HP Briggs & Stratton Hydrostatic fender control TurnTight). Due to some developing arthritis etc, I’d prefer not having to keep my foot on foot pedal the whole time I’m mowing so I like the sound of the Craftsman fender control, but I’d like to know if the Cub Cadet Hydro (foot control) but with cruise control would be equally comfortable? How does the cruise work compared to the fender control?I’m an avid CR reader and I know you’ve commented on the old reliability data that has Cub Cadet rated quite a bit lower than Sears, but I’m willing to pull the trigger if you say it’s equal or better to the Craftsman & really worth a try. The high user ratings on Home Depot site for the new Cub machine sound really good, too.I’ve been using a good old JD 111 with strictly manual tranny for the past 20 years & managed pretty well, but it’s really showing it’s age lately and I’m very interested in your take on these new machines especially regarding mowing, seating & operating comfort. I see myself staying on this property for at least another 20 years or so. Thanks in advance! Reply Paul March 9, 2017 Hi Dave, Yes, the reliability data CR has is only based on people that write into the magazine. Also it’s not current to this new chassis. This the the 3rd year for this chassis and so far there are just no issues at all with the Cub Cadet, Craftsman Pro and Troy-Bilt Super Bronco lawn and garden tractors. MTD really did the engineering right!A big advantage of the fender control is no pedal on the right floor board. You can stretch your leg any way you want.The cruise works well for mowing. It doesn’t unlatch if the ground is rough. The cruise will not engage for very slow or very fast speeds. The foot control does not take a lot of ankle movement to use.You will really like how easily the steering is on these new tractors. You’l like how easy they are to get on and off. Your seat springs are most likely wore out on the JD so the new tractors will have a little more bounce until you get used to them. The proper tire pressure is 12 lbs. All these new tractors come with too much air in the tires. Reply Bob Schmidt March 8, 2017 Hi Paul, Thanks for answering my question. I feel I still need more info. From what I read it seems Cub Cadet XT1 can handle ground engagement attachments. It does not look like the Sears 27042 can do that. I want to be able to drag a rake attachment with the tractor I buy.I see Cabelas has a 50 inch rake i am thinking of buying Do you know where I could find a rake attachment? And what is the least expensive Craftsman that can do the job? Thanks Again, Bob Reply Paul March 9, 2017 Hi Bob, Rule of thumb. You have to spend over $2500 on a Cub Cadet, Craftsman or Troy-Bilt to get the heavy-duty ground engaging transmission. You have to spend over $4000 to get the larger transmission on an X300 Deere or Simplicity.So the only Cub Cadet XT1 that will handle ground engaging is the Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro Series GT 50 in. 25-HP V-Twin Kohler Gas Hydrostatic Garden Tractor with Cub Connect Bluetooth Model# GT50. There are a few XT2 dealer only models that are more expensive.I’m going to ask you to read this article about the Best Craftsman, Craftsman Pro Garden Tractors 2017 – Buyer’s Guide. It will explain the different models. Again – the $2499 tractor is not a real ground engaging garden tractor.The same goes for Troy-Bilt – you need a GT. Husqvarna you need a GT. The LGT models are too light.I make a rake out of angle iron and chain link fence but here is good sized one for garden tractors http://blog.drpower.com/new-dr-power-grader-model/ Reply Graham March 8, 2017 Hi Paul, Thanks for a wealth of information and expertise here on the site! You’ve been a huge help to me in finding a lawnmower for my 2.3 acre lawn. I’m no longer seeing the Craftsman 20391 at Sears (discontinued?), so I suppose I’m on to the John Deere D140 or the Cub Cadet XT1 LT 50. (I’d also consider spending a couple hundred extra on the D155 or XT2, but I’m not seeing a compelling reason to do so off the bat.) Of the two, the CC looks a bit better on paper (bigger fuel tank and longer warranty, mostly), but from what I’ve seen on your site, it looks like you lean more towards the JD D140. Are there any additional considerations between the two that I should be paying attention to? I’ve noticed that Consumer Reports continues to slam Cub Cadet on reliability in its latest ratings – is your thought still that the 2016 redesign pretty much mitigates these concerns? Or is John Deere still the safer bet, reliability-wise? My yard has a fair number of obstacles and a bit of a grade in the front, but the back is wide open and relatively flat. It rolls a bit, but I wouldn’t classify it as “super challenging terrain.” I know you mentioned that the Cub Cadets do better on very flat terrain -just how “very flat” are we talking about?? Thanks for the help! Reply Paul March 8, 2017 Hi Graham, It almost impossible to keep up with all the new tractors, old tractors, discontinued and so on. This doesn’t settle down until about the middle of May.Yes, the Model 20391 Craftsman 48″ Fast Auto 22HP Briggs & Stratton Turn Tight® Riding Mower is discontinued and if you not seeing it on Sears.com there are none left in your area.The 2017 replacement is Model 27394 Craftsman 54″ 24 HP V-Twin Briggs & Stratton Hydrostatic Riding Mower w/ Smart Lawn Bluetooth Technology. The new model has the 54 inch deck and a fender controlled hydro. The 48 inch deck is gone – again. I actually lean more towards the Model 27042 Craftsman Pro Series 46″ 24 HP V-Twin Kohler Hydrostatic TurnTight Extreme® Riding Mower w/ Smart Lawn Bluetooth Technology. The 46 inch deck cuts a lot better than the John Deere 48 inch and in reality you only lose about 7% mowing time over the Cub Cadet 50 inch deck. It has all the features you liked about the 20391 including the Turn-Tight Steering and a great seat. It has the best engine out of all the mowers we are discussing and the steering is very easy – almost like power steering.The actual mowing time difference on 2.3 acres between a 46 inch deck and a 50 at 4 mph is 8 minutes. Reply Graham March 8, 2017 Thank you for the advice! I hadn’t really been thinking about anything below 48″, but I guess the difference is pretty small between that and 46″ – and mostly made up for by the advantages of the two blade design. The two Craftsman models look great, and I’ll probably put a bit more thought into those two. It sounds like the difference in mowing time between 46″ and 54″ (if I’m extrapolating correctly) is just barely enough for me to consider significant, but there’s that engine — plus the tight turn would probably save me more in weed whacking time than I’d lose. Interesting that it appears the 2017 Craftsmans I’ve looked at have largely ditched the CVT — I guess too many customers were unhappy about the reversing noise? Reply Paul March 9, 2017 Hi Graham, You are on the right track. A 46 inch also cuts a lot more evenly that a 54 so your lawn looks better after a mowing.Three reasons I’m guessing Craftsman changed. 1. Many Craftsman owners want the fender control and for some reason Husqvarna could not/ would not develop the proper linkages so that a fender control would work well with the CVT. They had the parts/tooling already laying on the shelf for the hydro trans. 2. Craftsman was the first with the GT Transmission. People didn’t understand how it was different so a lot of the complaints were not actually valid – it’s just a different type of trans. The trans is good but because of the way the industry tracks repairs it took a long time to understand and figure out that the top of the trans would get a lot of grass clippings – that would cause the linkages to bind up and break. The mechanics blamed the trans and replaced the whole trans instead of just the broken linkages so the trans got a very poor reputation. The way owner reviews are listed now-days on the retail sites you can sell 10,000 lawn tractors but if only 4 or 5 say they have an issue sales got down the toilet. I feel because of that Craftsman just had to walk away from the CVT or a year or two. 3. We have very few mechanics now-days who can diagnose and repair equipment. Many of them are just parts changers and will replace an entire $1000 transmission or $2000 engine or $800 deck even though only a $2-$10 part is the only problem. We have a terrible vocational skills gap in this country and the small engine repair is one of the most affected industries.What is so interesting is the fact that this tranny is used all over the place but since Craftsman was the first – their sales were affected. By the way the 2016 CVT has a cover over it so that grass clippings don’t bind up and break the linkages. Reply Scott March 7, 2017 Paul,Thanks for the wealth of info you provide. I have just a little over 1 acre to mow with a fair amount of trees. I’m down to 2 mowers. The Cub Cadet XT 46 or the Craftsman 27390. The Cub seems rated little higher on many sites and I like the seat (very nice), but I like the Tight Turn technology of the Craftsman. Do the engines compare pretty similar to each. The Cub has 2 more HP and Kohler vs the B-S. I think generally they both are nice machines but just wanted to see if you had a opinion. Thanks Reply Paul March 7, 2017 Hi Scott, Both machines are excellent choices. The reason the Cub Cadet has more reviews is because that model number has been around longer. The Craftsman tractor has been around for a long time also but has a new model number this year because it now has the 20 HP v-twin and the fender controlled hydrostatic transmission. Hence fewer reviews.Both cut, bag and mulch well. Both will last.The choice then is the Craftsman has the 6 inch turning radius for getting around your trees. The Craftsman has the fender speed control. The cruise control is built in because the lever stays where you put it. The Cub Cadet has a foot speed control. To use the cruise you have to lift a lever on the dash. I like the east on the Craftsman better but that’s just my opinion.I am going to throw in one more tractor. The Craftsman Pro Series 46″ 24 HP model 27042 comes off the same assembly line as the Cub Cadet. It has a 5 inch turn-tight steering, better seat, bumper, and slightly larger/better engine than the Cub Cadet. Reply Scott March 8, 2017 Thanks Paul for the quick response. Dont get me wrong I love the Pro 27042 its just a couple hundred $$$ more than I wanted to spend. I think Sears has the friends and family sale this weekend so I hope the 27390 is even little cheaper and will get it. Reply Scott March 12, 2017 Paul,One more quick question. I purchased the 27390 and got a really great deal on it with all the sales. It says on the website that its a 3 in 1 blade. I assume that means them blades will mulch. I realize I need to get the mulch kit to get the plug, but does it mean i could leave the blades on and save the ones that come with the kit for later? Thanks again for your help. Reply Paul March 12, 2017 @Scott, the mulching blades will do a better job than mult-purpose blades. If you want this tractor to mulch well use the mulching blades please. Bob Schmidt March 7, 2017 Paul, I am not sure this will get to you, but here goes I want to buy a new garden tractor that can pull a small trailer and possibly some kind of ground rake if I can find one. I have a little over half an acre to mow. Am thinking about Cub Cadet XT1 or a Craftsman equivalent. Which Craftsman would be best, and where would you get the best customer service? Hope you get this. Thanks Bob Reply Paul March 7, 2017 Hi Bob, Craftsman tractors are serviced by Sears Home Repair. You never have to load up a Craftsman tractor or zero-turn and take it to a repair center. The technician comes to your home for warranty work and also will come there for normal service if you desire. Sears offers an upfront Protection Plan that covers all warranty work including the labor and most wear and tear repairs.An excellent Craftsman comparable to the 42 inch Cub Cadet XT1 is the Craftsman 42″ 20 HP V-Twin Briggs & Stratton 90th Anniversary Auto Riding Mower (LTD Edition), the Craftsman 42″ 19 HP Briggs & Stratton Hydrostatic TurnTight® Riding Mower or the Craftsman 42″ 19 HP Briggs & Stratton Fast Auto TurnTight® Riding Mower Reply Pat March 6, 2017 Poulan Pro 960420188 – PP20VA46 is listed on Amazon as having a 6″ turning radius while the Home Depot model is listed as a 16″ turning radius. Will the model with the 6″ turning radius be available either at Amazon or Home Depot and when will it be available? Reply Paul March 6, 2017 Hi Pat, I didn’t see that part number on this page. It’s a discontinued model and is no longer available. If you know the page where you found it – I’ll get it changed.Here are the current Poulan Pro Models at Home Depot: Poulan Pro At Home DepotHere are the current Poulan Pro Models at Amazon: Poulan Pro At AmazonI can help you find the differences with the current models. Reply Martin March 1, 2017 Hi Paul, I’ve been following your site (wonderful information) since last fall when I decided to sell my 2002 Craftsman LT1000. I had used it to mow my 3/4 acre central CT lawn and, up until I replaced my driveway with concrete pavers, to clear snow with the Craftsman 42″ two-stage snow blower. I tried to adapt it (weighted ribbed tractor tires, rubber scraping edge) but it was getting tired so bought a Toro single stage snow thrower with rubber paddles. But I kept on mowing with it until I sold it. So now I’m looking for a replacement mower. I like Craftsman and, like you, I dislike foot pedal control. So it looks like it’s between model 20383 and model 27390. The slight (5° – 7°) slope, front to back has never been an issue. I have a few trees and a couple of moguls where previous trees were inadequately stumped. Which model would you recommend, or is there an alternative I’m overlooking? I prefer the best value to the lowest price Reply Paul March 2, 2017 Hi Martin, Personally, I like the Craftsman V-twin Model 27390. The engine is very smooth and there is less vibration when mowing.There is one model you missed. The Craftsman 48″ 24 HP V-Twin Briggs & Stratton Garden Tractor Hydrostatic w/ TurnTight Model 20407. The 20401 has larger tires so it rides well and has the heavier garden tractor frame. It’s twice the tractor of your old LT1000. Reply Martin March 9, 2017 Thank you Paul, for your recommendation and the link to the model I missed. It looks like for $800 more, in addition to the frame and tire upgrades, I’d get 4 more horses (to push the extra 20# of machine at .3 mph higher top speed), 2″ additional deck width (and 3 vs 2 blades), arm rests, and a shorter warranty on the frame and axle. I understand not needing to warranty the welded frame for as long, but the axle? Or is the lifetime warranty on the 27390 axle just a marketing gimmick? Also, except for the arm rests, are the seats the same? Thanks again for all the information you provide. Reply Paul March 9, 2017 Hi Martin, Yes, the seats are the same. You can add the arm rests to the Yard tractor seat though the kit is hard to find.Cast iron axles don’t break. The reason everyone had “lifetime” warranties on the front axle is because back in the early 90’s everyone was using a welded tube axle. A few companies had real issues with the front axle breaking so all the brands went to the lifetime warranty (and cast iron) to recover their sales.For example, The front axle breaking was so bad back in the mid 90’s I had a local repair shop near me that had over 400 lawn tractors laying in a scrap pile out back. The only problem with 95% of them was a broken front axle. All of them were just out of warranty when the axle broke. Replacing the axle was a $500 repair – on an $800-$1000 tractor.Craftsman is the last brand to stop the lifetime warranty.The frame cracking really only happened on the larger garden tractor frames and that only happened between 1995 and 2004. The front axle did not have enough up-and-down movement which caused the frame to flex too much and the frame would crack. The problem was fixed with a redesigned chassis with fewer holes and more gussets. Again to save sales everyone added an extended chassis warranty. We’ve have had no issues with Craftsman, John Deere or Cub Cadet Lawn, Yard and Garden tractor frames for years now. Reply BART February 28, 2017 Hi Paul, I recently purchased 2.3 acres in Coweta, Okla. The front 1.5 acres is mostly flat grass a couple trees, the back aprox, .8-1.0 acres is rough, mostly flat pasture type setting aprox 10-15 trees. I have never had this much to mow… I actually love the new property I am currently looking at a 2015 gravely (new with 3 year warranty) #915180 for 2700.00 (50 inch cut) I have also been recommended the 2016 toro titan zx5400 for 4400.00 would you recommend either of these for my needs, or something altogether different. thank you for your time and expertise. BART Reply Paul February 28, 2017 Hi Bart, Both are good mowers and both would work well if the entire property was a lawn, meaning it was all smooth and you mowed it all every week. Since the back is rougher and you most likely won’t mow it as often as the front the Titan is the better choice. It has a heavier duty deck, transmissions and frame than the Gravely.Another way to think about this is the Gravely is a good quality 1/2 ton pickup. The 1/2 ton works well for hauling light loads like straw bales and running into town for a few sacks of feed. The Toro Titan on the other hand is a 3/4 ton pickup. It still rides well but you can pull a grain wagon, haul 1000 lbs of feed and tromp through the timber without worrying that it will break down.Don’t let the back get too long. All of these lawnmowers – no matter how much they cost only mow well if the grass is less than 12 inches tall. Reply BART March 1, 2017 Thanks Paul, I really appreciate your advise and expertise. have a great day! Reply Nelson February 25, 2017 Great site! Thanks for all the thoughtful comment answers. Very informative. I’m having sleepless nights over what size Toro Speedcutter to get. 42″ vs 32″ I just moved from a .13 to exactly 1 acre lot, wedge shaped, level with no trees. Imagine a half football field in the back-yard. The only obstacle is a 50LF swale in the front yard which I will move with my push mower to avoid scalping.MY ANALYSIS SO FAR: – 42″, I fear, is overkill since I have no trees and it will probably cut it in 30-40 minutes according to various estimates I found. I worry the larger deck will be uneven and scalp with the minor bumps.– 32″ seems attractive because the smaller deck will be more forgiving with minor bumps. The downsides would be longer mowing time but I can’t find any estimates. I worry the single blade won’t mulch as well as the 42″.– Why not a lawn tractor? Even with no trees, I’m leaning towards a Zero Turn for efficiency on the turns… I grew up driving Bobcats so the learning curve will be short for me. Making a 3 point turn on every stripe seems cumbersome. I welcome all feedback….if you think i’m dismissing a lawn tractor too quickly, let me know. Money is not an issue because the difference is only $200. Can you sanity check my analysis and offer any suggestions? Reply Paul February 25, 2017 Hi Nelson, I will try my best to discourage ANYONE from buying a 30 or 32 inch zero-turn. 1. They are unstable compared to the 42 and larger. They get tippy on even the smallest incline. 2. They all have traction issues. The wider stance of the 42 gives a lot more traction so it will not tear up your lawn. It’s almost impossible to zero-turn a 32 inch on an “average” lawn without leaving a divot. 3. The tractor is wider than the deck so you can only trim on the left side.4. Actually the 32 inch deck will scalp easier than the 42 inch deck. The blade on the 32 is 32 inches so it takes up a 32 inch length (in line with the tractor chassis) when going through depressions or over bumps. On a 42 inch deck the blades are only 21 inches so they will actually go through a depression or over bumps without gouging as soon.Here is my lawn mowing chart: http://todaysmower.com/press-kit/mower-acreage-chart/ ReplyNewer Comments »Leave a Reply Cancel reply Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.