Husqvarna has a dilemma. They know they have a better riding lawn mower than what the U.S. is accustomed to. They know once they get this mower into the hands of the U.S. consumer they will realize that it is the best cutting mower they have ever owned. So what solution to this perplexing problem did Husqvarna come up with? For a limited time Husqvarna cut the price $1000 and is offering the 42 inch R120S Articulating Riding Mower, Model 967181801 at an introductory price of only 2147.89 through Amazon. That price includes shipping to your home. To make the deal even better Amazon is offering 12 months no interest financing through the Amazon Store Card.
This is $1000 off the regular price! Buy it here from Amazon: Husqvarna 967181801 R120S Articulating Riding Mower, 42-Inch
Is This Mower For You?
If you are the homeowner who always complains that your lawn looks better when you mow with a walk-behind. That you can never get a good looking lawn with a lawn tractor or zero-turn. This mower is for you! The R120S uses a full floating deck to follow every bump and dip in your lawn. No Scalping, no gouging, just the best cut possible. In addition the out front, “ground hugging” deck allows you to trim closer than you ever could with a lawn tractor or zero-turn.
I highly recommend this mower for up to two acre lawns. It is faster than most lawn tractors so it will cut up to 2 acres an hour. Beside cutting a little faster than you lawn tractor it will eliminate most of the trimming you now use a string trimmer for. This won’t “cut your mowing time in half” but it just may cut your mowing and trimming time in half compared to a conventional lawn tractor. If you are in the market for a new riding lawn mower with the best possible cut – seriously consider this mower!
I’ll be honest. I’m spoiled. I’ve been using front mounted mowers and articulated riders similar to this one for years. One of my first mowers was a Bolens Articulated. When I started my lawn business we did not yet have mid-mount zero-turns so front deck Toro Grounds Masters, Walker’s and 3 wheel mowers like the Scag STHM’s or Gravely Pro were the mowers of choice. All of these mowers used ground hugging out front decks so you had almost no trimming to do when you finished mowing. Many of these mowers had such a low center of gravity that hills were never a problem. Go here to see the mowers I have owned.
Why did we change? Because you can fit three mid-mount zero-turns on a trailer in the same space as two three-wheelers. The commercial operators jumped on mid-mount zero-turns not for the quality of cut – but for the space saving on their trailers.
I currently mow with a 2001 Husqvarna model 970. It is very similar to this R 120S Husqvarna is selling at such an extraordinary price. I have access to all the new style mowers including the Raven MPV-7100 you see in the picture but my front lawn is so sculpted with dips, mounds and curves that to get the even cut I like I either have to mow with a push mower or use the Husqvarna rider. The Husqvarna rider is so maneuverable it even trims around square landscape beds without leaving any marks on the lawn. What little trimming I have left is easily done in a few minutes with a small cordless trimmer.
The price is so good on this mower that I am considering buying one for myself.
Benefits of the Husqvarna R 120S Rider:
This rider is about the same physical dimensions as your 42 inch lawn tractor. It will take up about the same amount of room in your storage shed or garage.
– The rider is a lot easier to learn than a zero-turn. It drives like your car.
– The deck is out front so you can always see exactly where you are mowing. The front-mounted cutting deck lets you get into corners, under bushes, etc. Trim under your children’s swing set without using a string trimmer. Stick it under the pine tree that always tries to knock you off the tractor. It’s hard to find places this mower will not reach.
– Rear attachments follow in the same path as the lawn mower. When you pull a yard cart or dethatcher you don’t have to worry about hitting stuff with the yard cart.
– It follows the contour of your lawn. Dips and bumps get mowed at the height as the flat areas.
– Comfortable driver’s platform. With the Rider you get safety, stability and traction on both flat ground and slopes. The low center of gravity makes the Rider very comfortable to use.
– Pivoting axle rear wheel drive. The rear traction is better than a zero-turn because both rear wheels are in full contact with the ground at all times. The mower can twist through dips or go over bumps and all four wheels stay firmly planted on the ground. (No trimming around the mailbox with one wheel sticking up in the air)
– Engine behind the driver: The 19.5 HP Briggs Endurance engine is behind you and the exhaust points straight out the back. This makes the rider a lot quieter for you than a lawn tractor. In addition the engine is completely enclosed so it is even quieter than a zero-turn.
The R120S rides differently than a lawn tractor or zero-turn. Your body is over the front axle so there is a little more “side-to-side” sway than on a lawn tractor. But you only feel these bumps. Because the rider’s rear axle pivots you don’t feel any bounce from the rear. One of the best parts of the ride is you don’t get that front “bounce” you get with a zero-turn. (which many women feel uncomfortable) Any bounce over a rough lawn is more up and down instead of jerking your head back and forth. This rider is not quite as maneuverable as the R220 and R330 “Swedish” Riders.
Buy it here through Amazon: Husqvarna 967181801 R120S Articulating Riding Mower, 42-Inch
Features of the Husqvarna R120S:
Articulated steering: The articulated steering gives excellent maneuverability and facilitates driving around obstacles such as trees and bushes. Note: This mower is not a true zero-turn. It will mow completely around an 8 inch post without leaving a mark but it will not pivot inside it’s own length.
Pedal-operated hydrostatic transmission: Speed and direction are controlled with your foot. This lets you keep both hands on the steering wheel for maximum control.
Single lever height adjustment: The gauge wheels stay on the ground with this deck. When you raise or lower the cutting height you always get the same consistent cut.
Deck is very easy to remove: You can quickly remove the deck to clean underneath or sharpen the blades. Changing from mowing to using the optional snow blade is a 5-10 minute task.
Engine behind the driver: Thanks to the rear-mounted engine, you get better view of what you are mowing. No looking around a big hood. No looking down and back to see what you are trimming.
External Fuel Cap: The tank is easy to fill and is transparent so you can easily see how much is in the tank.
7 MPH Forward Speed: A lot of owners state they can mow faster with this deck than their old lawn tractor.
There is a snow blade for this rider. It’s part number 967 16 73-01.
Buy it here: Husqvarna 967181801 R120S Articulating Riding Mower, 42-Inch
I found this review of the R120S on the Husqvarna site.
From Pleasantly Surprised,
The R 120S is my third lawn cutter. I started with a typical riding mower to handle a 1 acre lot and then moved to a top-of-the-line Gravely Zero Turn mower to cut a 3 acre lawn. I recently moved to a smaller 3/4 acre property and decided to get the R 120S over its bigger R 220T sibling or another zero turn mower. I can honestly say: I made the right choice.
1) Handling. Turning circles are really measured in feet no matter what the brochures say.
2) Ground Speed. Most cut at 5 mph or less. After my super fast Gravely Zero Turn, 5.5 mph feels like I am backing up!
2) Speed. The R 120S cuts at 7 mph. Not blinding speed but just about right for my smaller property. Note that the bigger R 220T cuts at 6 mph. I have tried both. I am happier with the R 120S.
3) Handling. It takes a little practice but it’s worth the effort. I can cut closer and more accurately than any of my former mowers.
4) Smoothness. Surprise! The one cylinder Briggs & Stratton motor is smooth and relatively quiet compared to the V-twins I had previously. Having 2 blades rather than 3 also means quieter operation
Paul, thanks for your help. I have 1.25 acres to mow with a huge, flat front lawn with a fairly steep 4′ ditch. The back is small and not so flat. I currently have a 2012 JD x300 with a 48″ deck. I can get most of what I need to with this mower but I would like to reduce the mowing time. Recently I borrowed a ztr and reduced my mowing time significantly. I don’t mind spending up to $5000 or so, but am unsure what to get. I’ve been looking at JD ztrak 300 or 500, toro timecutter, husqvarna articulated. Not for sure if I should go with a bigger deck either. Any suggestions?
Hi Jesse, a 48-52 inch deck is a great size for 1.25 acres. You can get done quickly and the deck is small enough so it can maneuver around trees, shrubs, etc. well. If you plan on mowing your ditch with the ZTR I suggest the John Deere 500 series, Toro Timecutter HD Ariens IKON XL etc. In other words mowers with a heavier ZT2800 or ZT3200 transmissions. If you buy from a dealer be sure you can return the mower if it won’t mow your ditch.
The articulated 4 wheel drive Husqvarna is a good mower for going up and down a slope but trying to mow across the slope (like a ditch) you may feel it’s too top heavy.
Awesome! A few of the reviews on the toro timecutter state that it gets stuck easily, I wonder if that is due to the size of the tires being smaller on most models. The JD z500 comes with 22 and 23″ rear tires depending on the model. Also, with the JDz500 I believe it goes from 48″ deck to 54″. Do you think the 54″ is overkill for 1.25 acres?
Thanks allot for your help!!!
Hi Jesse, Trust me on this: Mowing commercially over the years I stuck every ZTR I ever owned at one time or the other. The bottom of ditches and waterways are the worst. In fact, I used to carry 300 feet of rope in the truck just for the time I got a ZTR stuck and the entire lawn was too soft to back the truck onto.
With the decks raised all the way up you only have about 4 inches of clearance under the deck so soft, wet areas of the lawns always get you in trouble.
That said, Larger rear tires do make a small difference – front caster tires also make a big difference. There’s a lot of weight on the front so if you have a lot of soft ground to mow the largest front casters tires you can get are the best. The Z500, Ariens Apex and Toro MX series all have the larger rear and larger front wheels.
The John Deere 48 inch decks will give you a more even and better cut than the 54 inch – especially if your lawn is rough and has dips and bumps.
Paul, great site. We live in Indianapolis, Indiana. Just under 1/2 acre. Several flower beds out in the yard, 6 or 8 trees out in the yard. All have landscape blocks around them, and the house is surrounded by beds with landscape blocks as well. Mostly flat, the back is a little bumpy. A slight slope in the front down to the sidewalk. I have an old lawn boy walk behind and an old wheel horse rear engine today. Both work, but I’ve rebuilt several times and know at some point something new is needed.
It is now April 2016. I recently stumbled upon the Husqvarna 120 and am intrigued. It looks like it has been discontinued, but my local dealer still has a few for $1999. I am also looking at the Toro SW4200 and Gravely ZTX 42. Any suggestions for me on these 3 diverse options?
Paul, I went for the Toro sw4200. They delivered it today. I mowed with it and was very happy with the results. It felt a little akward, but I’m sure as I get used to it, it will be great. Thanks for the insight.
Hi John, The steering wheel ZTRs do take a little time to get used to because there is no castor in the steering and they slow down so you don’t tear up your turf. Give it a few mowings.
Paul, we have an 145 RV Park in Kennewick Washington 99338 with 12 acres. we want to break it up and assign areas to teams who are our camp workers who live here part time. Lots of inside corners, which some are bordered with timbers and some are just asphalt &concrete to grass. The sites are mostly flat with some common areas of slope and lots of newly planted trees and flower beds. Currently using Grasshopper which will continue to mow about 1/2 or 6 acres. Just bought Cub Cadet Z Force lap handle-entry level commercial they said and Cub Cadet Steering Wheel 52 inch deck light weight. So not go to far into into it, we are trying set up teams and lessen the trim time and hand mowing around inside corners in which each site has at least 2. I really thought I found the right mower with the Husqvarna R120 and 220 but they are discontinued. I don’t see very many used ones for sale and only one place I found has 3 for sale on eBay with $225 shipping. Would it be wise to purchase this, will it be hard to get service? is there any other front deck riding mowers for my aging workers that can get inside corners:) I would really appreciate you help. You are welcome to google map or go to our website to see our layout. http://www.columbiasunrvresort.com, 103907 wiser parkway, kennewick wa 99338. I really appreciate your website. Thanks, Missy
Hi Missy, Sorry, I am behind this week. I’ve been visiting my new grand daughter. In my area of the country we pronounced your last name “slow felt” or is it “slow flet”?
There are very few choice for good front deck mowers and even fewer choices for front decks that will last with crews.
The R120 is not the right choice. It’s not built heavy enough for use by multiple people. If you teams try to trim with it they will have the deck knocked off within a couple of mowings. The R220 will do better, especially with the Combi cutting deck but unless you have a local dealer who knows the unit I would not suggest it.
The best choice by far is a Walker S or C series with a mulching deck. If you have leaves, etc to pick up buy the collector model for clean up and the extra mulching deck for the rest of the year. You can trim on both sides. One will be able to do all of your trimming – two will be able to do all of your mowing faster than the three units you have now. The Walker’s are commercial mowers and built to outlast even the Grasshopper two or three times over.
Start here: The Walker Advantage
Hi John. I would be curious to know what local dealer is selling them for $1999. A dealer in NC recently put a few up for sale for that price and I was to slow on the trigger. They all sold by the time the weekend was through. Thanks.
I haven’t seen any for a while now. I’m wondering if they have sold off the back stock. The 220 and 330 are still available.
I live in CT and have about 1 acre mostly flat, some slopes not too steep and I had been considering the Craftsman Model 20390, but the R120S has caught my interest. I really like the Craftsman because of the description in your review of the dependable engine and transmission. How would the R120S stack up up in comparison? I would like to use it to pull a sweeper as well, would this have any negative consequences for the transmission? I’d also be interested in your comments of using a sweeper vs a bagger. Thanks very much, and I really appreciate your column and all the good info it provides!
@John, A bagger is attached to the tractor so you don’t even know it’s there (until you get it caught in a bush) A bagger does make your tractor about 12 inches wider because of the tube from the deck to the bagger. Baggers don’t work well on wet grass. Baggers can be very dirty when cleaning up dry leaves in the fall. Baggers are easier to dump.
I use a sweeper because I have the front deck Husqvarna’s. (Old Husqvarna 970’s) But I also use it when I have to clean up wet grass. My wife wants the dog yard mowed short so I had a situation 2 weeks ago where it was very humid and when I mowed that yard the clippings just turned to a wet mess. Instead of the dogs tracking all that into the house I used the sweeper to clean up those clippings. It didn’t do the job on the first pass but after going over the yard twice I had all those clippings picked up. I would not have been able to do that with a bagger. With a sweeper you need and area where you can dump the clippings and then shovel them into a pile. I compost them so I just dump them in front of the compost pile and then work them in. If you buy a sweeper don’t be cheap. Buy one of the two Craftsman or the Agri-Fab 45-0492 Lawn Sweeper, 44-Inch. These are high speed sweepers that pickup even small grass clippings.
The R120S is capable of pulling a sweeper.
Hi Paul. I’ve been looking at a lot of lawnmowers recently and I really like the Husqvarna R 120S Rider. I have a lot of trees and obstacles to go around on my property but its not too large about one acre. I want a mower that can handle a lot of leaves. Also the property is on a dead end which drains water into it when it rains and turns pretty swampy in one spot. I’ve read on this site that the hydrostatic transmission is not as good as a CVT, please help me to decide as a first time buyer, any comments or suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
Hi Drew, The R120S can handle leaves but there is no bagger for it. You will have to mulch and then collect them with a pull-behind sweeper. (That works well for me)
Yes, the new CVT’s are strong tranny’s but don’t rule out a hydro if you mainly mow.
Please read this review. It will give you a good understanding of what lawn tractors are capable of and then we can narrow your selection down to one or two. 2014-2015 Craftsman T3000 Model 20390 42 in 22 hp Yard Tractor Review
First off, great site! Thank you for providing such great info. I just bought a house with a 1.2 acre lot and a bunch of landscaping — raised beds, trees, shrubs, etc. It’s quite a maze but mostly flat. There’s a bit of a slope on one side of the house, but that area is small enough that I could cut it with my current push mower in probably five minutes, anyway.
I am intrigued by both this Husqvarna model and the Toro TimeCutter SW4200. In one of the comments below, you say that you like this model yourself, but you recommend the SW4200 for everyone else. Why is that?
Hi Jake, From your description the SW4200 sounds like a great choice for your yard. You may be able to do that slope with the Toro but not the R 120s.
Earl from DE
Thanks Paul…Now that I’ve decided on the Hustler Rapture, should I go with the Rapture 52″ or spend the extra 1k for the Rapture SD? Any advantages to buying the SD? Also, if I do go to a 4k mower, are there any other choices that would eclipse the Hustler?
Hi Earl, No, lets stay with the Hustler Brand. Everyone makes a model at that price point but none stand out as better that the SD.
The Raptor SD is heavier all around. Frame, deck, transmissions. If you are going to run it hard the ZT-2800 Transmissions will not let you down. The front tires and rear tires are larger and it will ride better.
There is about 150 more pounds of metal in it.
The SD seat is a lot better. You sit up nice and straight so you won’t get backaches as quickly.
A lot of small landscapers use the SD and it can easily handle 20 acres a week.
Earl from DE
Thanks Paul, greatly appreciate your wisdom on this topic.
Earl from DE
Hi John, just wanted to throw this in the mix since you rated it as a ‘Best Value’. the 54 inch John Deere Model Z425 or the Hustler Raptor SD 54″?
@Earl, The Raptor SD. It is more like the Z600 series Deere than the Z425
Thanks for the quick response and the Amazon tip for ordering parts. My Juneau Hometown Sears has been telling me that they would process the Warranty Order if something went wrong while under warranty. Otherwise, they say I would have to hassle with a local shop directly to get that warranty repair process started. I’ll have to call the local contracted repair shop in town and see if that’s worth the online savings. Also, maybe I should see if I can quickly get a Sears card. Again, thanks for having the most informative resource I’ve ever seen!
@Brian, You can apply during checkout online or if you are going to buy at the store you can apply during the sale (it only adds 60 seconds to the transaction) If you want to buy at the store see if they will match the extra 5% off online.
Thanks for an elaborate, informative site of articulating, ZT’s, and riding lawn mowers.
I have a small customer base of mostly residential and one large yard at a 4-Plex,
Do riding mowers (with the mulch cover plugged) present a mowed lawn (virtually free of visible clippings) like a gas mower with the discharge chute also covered?
I want to use a riding mower on a 1 acre 4-Plex and 2 acre Condo, and not have to drive in smaller (right turn) circles to get rid of the row of discharge clippings trailing behind me. I bought a used 30″ Murray that you can’t order a mulch blade or mulch plug.
I was thinking of the $4000 Husqvarna R220T (too bad the $2000 R120S doesn’t have an optional $20 mulch cover plug for the discharge chute). The Craftsman 48″ 22hp model #20391 for around $2000 with optional mulch kit (3 blades and plug cover) model #24148 seems like a better option and half the price. I have a big lawn at a condo that I’m probably going to have to do this summer that is 90% riding capability. I would even use it on a couple small residential yards if it could mulch as good as any $350 6hp mower.
My remote small town has a Home Depot that doesn’t carry Riding Mowers. The (Hometown) Sears here will order, but repair would be contracted out. I have a friend that Manages a small repair shop in town who can order any parts except for TORO, but says Husqvarna parts (this Craftsman) are usually higher in price than others like MTD. But an MTD 42″ Columbia model YT4220SE costs $2000 plus shipping. Sears is free shipping if I order at the store here.
Anyway, since the Sears reviews are conflicting, does the Craftsman #20391 with mulch kit do a good job as I stated above?
Hi Brian, Remember – To mulch you really need the mower deck up as high as it will go on a lawn tractor. With the 20391 you will be mowing about 3 1/2 inches. Your lawns will end up thicker over time and they will stay greener longer if you mow that high.
Of the mowers you are looking at the Craftsman appears to be the best deal. As far as cost of repair don’t forget Amazon. It’s a great place to get blades, oil filters, air filters, spark plugs, etc. You can usually save 30 to 50% over buying through a dealer.
Just so you know: this week if you order it through this link online you get an extra 5% off the 2089.99 price. With a Sears card you can also get either another 5% off or no interest for 12 months. It will be delivered to your Juneau Hometown Sears store. Craftsman 22 HP V-Twin 48″ Turn Tight
I bought the mulching plug. $45.00 for my new r120s , couldn’t be happier. Ellensgurg Wa.
Earl from DE
Paul, I just read your review of the Hustler Rapture 52″ and it’s price is similar to the Toro. Which of the two would you recommend?
Hi Earl, Both machines are some of the best. They are both built well and will last you years. I would recommend the Hustler if you don’t mind lap-bars and don’t have slopes. Also, I feel it will mow just a little faster than the Toro. Lap Bar ZTR’s are really fast at turning around on the ends of your mowing rows.
I’d recommend the Toro if you and/or others who use it don’t have a lot of experience with zero-turns. Many people have problems learning to drive a ZTR and they tear up their yard. The Toro is also going to handle slopes better. It will handle septic mounds, shallow ditches, etc, very well. It will also turn a lot better going down hill. The Toro also comes with a hitch and it backs up like a yard tractor. Some people have difficulties learning to back up a trailer with a ZTR.
Earl from DE
Hi Paul, I’m ready to start the season off by buying a new mower. Which of these do you recommend; Toro Zero Turn Tractor or the Husqvarna R 120S Rider? I have a little less than an acre with lots of obstacles, gardens beds, etc. Slight swales, but mostly flat. I will only do some pulling of mulch once a year.
@Earl, Even though I like the Husqvarna myself, I’m going to recommend the Toro Lawn Mowers TimeCutter SW4200 42 in. 24.5 HP V-Twin Zero-Turn Riding Mower with Smart Park 74784 for everyone else. I really like the new Toro. It’s a solid, well-built mower.
Here is a review of it. 2015 Toro Zero-Turn Tractors | My Review
Hi, Paul. I’ve spent Saturday morning in Mattawan, Michigan reading through your excellent website. Lots of great advice, and I’ve learned a lot from the comments section. I need to replace my Toro ZTR (rusted out mowing deck, still a great motor) and I’m really leaning toward the Husqvarna articulated mowers. When I saw this post – about $1,000 off the price – I’ll admit I almost headed for my wallet. But when I clicked the link, it says it’s $380 off. Do you know if the deal has changed?
@Michael, I’m using last year’s price in my article. Last years price was $2999.
Amazon’s pricing can be a little confusing because there is more than one seller for this mower. If you look under the price you will see a “6 new from $1,999.99” That shows all the sellers and their deals. Amazon and BrandNewEngines have the best deal, not because they are the cheapest but because those deals are covered by Amazon’s A-Z guarantee and includes delivery to your door. In other words a truck shows up at your door and the truck driver takes it off the truck and parks the crate by your garage door – usually they will roll it into your garage. (Some of the other offers only include the truck parking along the road and you have to help the truck driver get it off the semi. Once it’s on the ground you have to move it to your garage. i.e., lift gate service is extra)
I called my local Husqvarna dealer about this deal and they indicated that Amazon’s delivery to your home does not actually included taking it off the truck, for which there is an extra “forklift” fee. Whether or not this is true I can’t confirm. However, they also indicated that the R120S is actually being discontinued and thus the reason for the special price, which they could match.
I’m in the market for a new mower before spring and I am having trouble deciding. I love the design of the Husqvarna articulated riders. I wish the R120S had a mulching kit or combi-deck as an option. If it did then I’d probably be sold on it.
The dealer tried to convince me that the TORO Timecutter SW (zero-turn) series might be what I am looking for. I saw you published the press release for these new Toro mowers. Do you have any more information that could help my decision?
Phil -Wichita, KS
@Phil, It’s interesting what a few dealers will say. Amazon has delivery to your door. What that means is the freight company will unload it from the truck and place it by your garage door. They will not remove the packaging and place it in your house or garage.
My local dealer stated it’s just a promotion. The articulated rider is staying around. But I’ll verify that with a second source in the next 24 hours.
I actually have an article on the steering wheel zero-turns that will be published in the next 24 hours that should help you with your decision. Hint stay far away from the 32 inch model.
I’ll throw another idea your way. If you are going to spend the kind of money they want for the steering wheel zero-turns you might as well buy the R 220T with a combi deck and get the mower you really want.
The R220T is one I’ve had my eye on, but it is pricey at around $4k. At that price I’d be tempted by the Raven MPV even though it doesn’t mulch.
Phil -Wichita, KS
@Phil, The Raven does mulch (I have a kit here) and they will have a really cool 3 bin bagger for it this spring.
The HU42 (Model: 531 30 96-41) is the mulching kit for the Husqvarna R120S.