Hustler Raptor Zero-Turn Mowers – Are They Really That Different?
Is this mower the best for you? In this review I will go over the features, strengths and weaknesses of this zero turn mower and compare it to the brands you are familiar with.
If your main concern is price, this is not the mower for you. This mower does have one feature not found on the other residential zero-turns. Because of that the price is higher than all the rest. Read on to find out why it costs more.
Raptor 42 in. Zero-Turn Mower
Manufactured By: Excel Industries
Model/Series: 931741/Raptor 42
Item Number: 204612934
Find your nearest dealer here: Dealer Locator
Street Price: $2799.99
Hustler calls this a Residential Zero-Turn. It has more features than a yard tractor but less pulling power than the G5500 garden tractor.
Compare it to: Craftsman 42 inch or Craftsman 46 inch zero turns
Quick Summary Review
- 21.5 HP Kawasaki V-Twin engine
- Top Speed 6 mph
- Heavy duty fabricated deck. 4.5 inch cutting height!
- Low Seat Height.
- Patented Automatic Park Brake System.
- Heavy Duty Front Caster Forks
- Disperses clippings evenly in side-discharge mode.
- Mulches well, leaves fine clippings with little or no clumps.
- Optional engine guard .
- Maximum mowing area per hour (acres): 1.5 acres at 5 MPH
- Recommended for moderate slopes? Yes, Moderate slopes
- Excels in mowing around obstacles? Yes
- Will Mow In Reverse? Yes
- This zero turn has the EZT transmissions that all the residential zero-turns use. You will not be able to pull heavy loads like a leaf vac.
Find your nearest dealer here: Dealer Locator
My Full Review:
The Raptor is Hustler’s entry-level zero-turn mower and you can buy one for less than $2800. It features a fabricated deck that cuts just as well as the stamped decks on the other residential machines. Overall it is a well built mower. The Husler Raptor is designed and built by the manufacture with the most zero-turn experience, Excel Industries in Hesston, Kansas
HydroGear EZT Transmissions, Mowing Speed 6 mph, Patented automatic Parking Brake, 42″ Cutting Width, 1.5″-4.5″ Cutting Height
21.5 HP Kawasaki V-Twin. Kawasaki V-Twin engines offer durability, dependability, and the power you need to get the job done. Many owners prefer the Kawasaki over the Briggs and Kohler engines but I am not going to argue which Brand has the best engine.
Heavy Duty Welded Steel Deck
If you are really hard on your equipment the heavy duty welded steel deck may be the best choice. Owners like the cut and tell me it cuts as well as a stamped deck. Instead of a rolled edge it has welded in wear strips that keep the sides of the deck from getting dented. It is the strongest deck you can buy in this price range. Even though this is a fabricated deck it side-discharges so well that you do not need an aux blower for a bagger.
Heavy Duty Fabricated Frame
8ga welded steel tube frame.
Hustler’s heavy duty fabricated frames are the best in the category. Hustler took everything they know about building heavy duty commercial machines and used that knowledge to make a tough chassis. I see no problems with cracking of flexing over time. The front caster forks are built-up 1/4 in steel with a tall 11in x 4in front caster tire.
It will handle 15 degree slopes well. Watch the video below:
Patented Automatic Park Brake System
A simple, convenient and patented system that automatically engages the parking brake when you open the steering levers. It just works and keeps the mower from wandering around when parked on a slope.
Find your nearest dealer here: Dealer Locator
Hustler Mowers are also available through the 1600 local dealers. If you need financing Sheffield Financial is the only lender Hustler uses and they have 0% financing programs with zero down for qualified buyers. They also have rates that start at 3.99% and go up from there depending on credit score. Sheffield Financial has been great to work with. You can apply online as well as in the dealer’s store. Many new owners come in and walk out in less than 30 minutes with a new mower and nothing out of their pocket. You can find you nearest dealer here: HustlerTurf Find A Dealer
Hustler would not post this on their website:
This was my first zero turn mower and i did a lot of research before purchasing. I decided on the Hustler Flip mostly because it would be easy to service the blades. I’m an older person and I have had back surgery so crawling under a mower just wouldn’t work and didn’t want to spend another $200 on a mow jack. Issue 1: After the first season, I noticed the paint under the deck was completely gone and the deck had started to rust severely. NOT covered under warrantee. This thing cost more than my first car and you would think they would have used better paint or at least used some sort of rust retardant. Issue 2: 2nd season, the starter died and gas gauge stopped working. Fortunately, covered by warrantee. Issue 3: Just got the mower out for 2020 season and noticed a rattle when starting the blades. Back in shop – two blade spindles and pullies need replacing. Hopefully under warrantee since I only have 138hrs on it. Even though this mower has had llllissues, It is still one of the best I have owned and Hustler has so far honored their warrantee.
I have flat yard about 1/2 acre of Bermuda grass in Pueblo Colorado. Currently takes an 1 1/2 to mow with a 22 in Toro Recycler. Looking at the following zero turn mowers, Hustler Raptor 36 or Raptor 42, Toro Timecutter SS4225, Cub Cadet RTZ L42 and the Troybilt Xp Mustang 42.
Looking to cut at 2 inchs and side discharge. I think that these are all overkill but 3 hours mowing twice a week is not my idea of fun. Ian am open to a wide area mower, however, they seem to be twice the price of a residential zero turn.
Hi Bryan, I’m Sorry. I have gotten way behind this week.
I don’t recommend the 36 inch ZTR. They are too small and have traction issues. You will hate it because it will tear up your yard. I also don’t care for the Cub Cadet and Troy-Bilt 42 inch. The tractor is wider than the deck so you are running over uncut grass twice before it’s cut. The 46 inch versions I like though.
The leaves the Toro and Hustler 42 inch. I have not seen any reviews of the Hustler on Bermuda grass so I don’t know how well it will cut it. I do know the Toro does a decent job of cutting Bermuda. I suggest talking to your local Toro and Hustler dealers about which one will cut better.
Love your sight and value your opinion. I really been eyeballing the Hustler Raptor SD 42″. I sat on one and I was squished. I know they make control arm extenders. The main issue is my size I’m 6’4″ and 375lbs. I have to mow a .51 acre manicured bluegrass lawn which is all slope that starts gentle and get more aggressive, there is a 20’x30′ section that is steep enough to make using a self propelled walk behind tough to use for my old knees. My thought is I need need to look for at mowers based on which transmissions they have. Do you think a ZT-2800 will have enough to move my heft around on a slope and last? I have 48″ inch gates which limits the size of mower I can get. I am also looking at the Gravely ZT XL 42″ and its Ariens counterpart. I would like to have you weigh in your opinion on this situation. I would live to get something with a ZT-3100 or better even at the ZT-3100 price range equip mowers the prices really jumps up. Thanks.
@Travis, The biggest problem is the drives overheat and then they don’t have the holding power on slopes. But you have a very small area so that won’t be an issue. I’m a lot more worried about a zero-turn being able to stay on that slope. Remember, you only have one wheel giving you traction.
I do have to say that the manufactures only rate these mowers for 15 degree slopes or less.
I like the Gravely ZT XL and Ariens IKON XL a lot. Don’t be afraid to get one if the price is right.
Hi Paul. Wondering if you had any insights and/or preferences on the Hustler Raptor 42″ vs the Toro TimeCutter SS4225 for my less than an acre flat lawn. The main difference that stands out to me is the fabricated vs stamped deck. Anything else that might help me decide on the two?
Hi Joe, Typically stamped decks cut better, fabricated decks take more abuse. Consumer Reports rates the Toro decks and give it an above average cut, bag and mulch. They do no rate fabricated decks.
One thing I do like about the Toro is the Smart Speed. You set a lever between your legs for mowing, towing, trimming. The speed selector helps increase the life of the transmission and makes the ZTR easier to use for trimming.
Thanks for the site, lots of good info. We live in Stillwater, OK and bought a house with 2.6 acres, fairly flat with about 1.3 acres of open pasture and 1.3 acres with 4-5 trees, flower bed and light pole. Which takes us about 4 hours with current equipment. We have been using 2 old Craftsman LT 1000 movers one with 18 HP and 19.5 HP engine and 42 inch Cutting deck. We are looking to upgrade to a zero turn or better mower. Have been looking at 54-60 inch decks and have looked at the Hustler Raptor SD/ Big Dog Alpha MP and a few other brands but were not sure what would benefit us best. Have had some experience with husqvarna semi pro mowers but they cost much more than the Hustlers. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Ultimately looking to save time but also buy a mower that will last and is durable.
Hi Zach, Good, you know that Hustler and Big Dog are the same.
Since your yard is fairly level and you just want to upgrade the 54 inch Raptor/Big Dog will cut your mowing time down to an hour or so. Going to the Hustler Raptor SD/ Big Dog Alpha MP gives you a heavier built machine that will last longer. Because of the deeper deck you may be able to cut your mowing time to under and hour.
The Hustler Raptor SD/ Big Dog Alpha MP are worth the money if you have it to spend.
What is your thought on a 54 inch versus 60 inch of the Hustler/ Big Dog. You said in an earlier post 60 inch is the way to go. We have clearance for most of the yard to use a 60 inch and have a push mower and weedeater for the areas that the 60 inch can’t make it through. Also for the price are there any other mowers I should consider for the money? Thanks!
Hi Jach, If you have the room I would always buy a 60 inch over a 54 from the name brand manufactures like Hustler/Big Dog. The longer blades usually give you more lift so they cut better and also throw/mulch better.
There are so many good mowers in that price range that it’s almost just as easy to go around and pick one of two local dealers that you like and trust. Then narrow your choices down between the models that they sell.
I live in Tulsa, OK and just purchased a home with a relatively flat 1 acre yard. I have read a lot of the posts on your site to try and determine what mower I need (currently have a small yard that I push mow).
I have looked at:
Craftsman Pro Tractor style 46″
Hustler Raptor 42″
Toro Timecutter 42″
Here are some concerns I have. The sales guys at the dealers are trying to talk me out of the lower end Zero Turns because they have stamped instead of fabricated decks. Should this matter to someone like me?
They are also trying to talk me out of the lower end zero turns due to the non-serviceable components they have in relation to the higher end models with serviceable components.
I have no brand loyalty here and don’t really care about whether I get a tractor style or zero turn. I am just trying to find the best machine for my money that will last a long time. All things being equal, I would rather spend less time mowing my lawn if I could.
Do you have some other ideas/suggestions for me?
Thank you for the reply.
I measured the gate at my new property today and I have 70″ of clearance to get into the back yard. I don’t have very many obstacles to mow around. Maybe 3-4 trees in the front yard and 7-8 trees in the back yard. None of of them are very close together.
My next question is – should I stick with a 42″ machine based upon the above? I went a physically looked at the machines this weekend.
I was a bit concerned about the Toro Timecutter. The deck seems very flimsy. I shouldn’t be running into things but it still just seems very flimsy to me.
The Craftsman Pro tractor is nice but I am thinking I’d like to go the zero turn route because I am an avid golfer and the most important thing to me about mowing the yard is getting it done so I can go and play some golf on the weekends.
I looked at the Hustler 42″, nice machine. I also looked at the Hustler SD machines and I quite liked these. These seemed very well built and I was especially impressed by the larger front wheels on these machines, and the seat seemed much nicer.
The thing about the Hustler SD is that the 42″ version is $3799 and it only costs $3999 to step up to the 54″ version.
I am fairly certain I am leaning toward the Hustler brand at this point because based on the options I have looked at, it seems to be much better built.
The dealer I am looking at has been around forever and they seem to do a good job with service, etc.
OK – so any thoughts on the regular 42″ raptor, regular 52″ raptor and the 54″ raptor SD?
I am comfortable with the cost of any of these machines and just want to get my yard done quickly, pretty good cut quality, and want the machine to last a long time for me.
Hi Devin, The Raptor SD is the best. It has a thicker frame and larger transmissions.
The regular Raptors use the lightweight EZT transmissions like the Toro.
was mowing yard and hit small bump. Motor went dead. will not start, will turn over but noy crank. can remove wire from solenoid on front of mower and it will crank and run for about 3-5 seconds.
Hi Daniel, I am not a mechanic and I don’t know anything about the wiring on a Hustler Raptor. I would call the dealer where you got it from.
We have about 1/3 acre of lawn and also a windbreak that we have been developing for the past couple of years. The lawn is relatively flat, but somewhat rough. Several times a year I also need to mow around all of the trees in the windbreak, avoiding the trees and also the drip irrigation system that is in place. I have been considering a zero turn mower for sometime and am especially interested in the Hustler Raptor 42 model due to the price range involved and the overall quality of the brand. A neighbor has a 2014 Raptor 42 for sale that has only a few hours on it. It belongs to his son-in-law, who will be moving to a larger acreage next year and is planning to upgrade to a larger mower at the time. Our neighbor isn’t exactly sure what its worth, but has suggested maybe $2400 for the mower. Can a mulcher kit be purchased for the Raptor 42? Also, what would be a fair price for this mower? They only used the mower to mow a fairly small lawn during one season. The mower looks to be in almost new condition.
Hi Duane, I don’t do used here but that ZTR sold for $2799. If it’s like new I suppose $2400 is a good price from someone you know. It should have a mulch kit. Check out their website or your local dealer.
I’ve been doing research and came across your site (very helpful!). I am very interested in the 42″ Raptor, because it will fit through my shed door. I am now learning from the Hustler site and Loews, that the 42″ Raptor is equipped with a Kohler 22HP and not the 21 HP Kawasaki. What a disappointment. Did that change recently? I love the Kawasaki engine on my 27 year old JD.
I mow 1 flat acre with lots of trees and landscaping.
New Albany, OH
Hi Tom, Yes, The water cooled Kaw’s have held up well. Their FR series residential motor is no better than any other brand now days though. You will like the the new Kohler 7000. It runs well, has a great torque curve for grass cutting and is very fuel efficient.
I don’t know exactly what Kawasaki did but all the manufactures are running away from that brand as fast as they can. I know most dealers and brands are very sensitive about warranties. If you are a primary supplier and you make them jump through extra hoops to get warranty parts or deny warranty claims for no good reason – it won’t be long before they look somewhere else.
Hi Paul have a question i saw the youtube with corey and he says he uses his for a busness i have about 2o yards in florida that i keep up with a 42inch craftsman with the kohler mower been doing them for the last 3 years with it but thinking of the raptor being im not indepently wealthy lol would you suggest to use it for it they are all residential yards .5 to 1 acre which only 2 are a acre corey says his does great what is your input
Hi Joel, To become independently wealthy you have to buy equipment that will pay for itself instead of keep you in debt. The Raptor has residential EZT transmissions and you will never cost-justify the equipment. Meaning, Take the money you charge to mow, minus your weekly expenses. That leaves you with the money you have to pay off your equipment and maybe make a little for yourself. Let’s call this amount your gross profit.
Take the amount of time it takes to mow those lawns with a Raptor. My guess will be 15 hours a week. You mow about 40 weeks a year. That’s 600 hours of run-time a year.
A residential ZTR will give you about 1000 hours before it’s needs major repairs. So about every year and a half you need to replace the Raptor or put major money into it.
So, Take the cost of a Raptor and divide it by a year and a half or about 65 weeks. Take that weekly gross amount and use it to figure how much of it you will have to pay each week to justify the Raptor.
You never really get it paid off before it’s junk do you?
Now, Take a Hustler Fastrak. It’s more money but it will last 2500 hours or more without major money. Go through your income and expenses again. See! you actually get it paid off long before it’s wore out. Spend the money up front allows you to make a lot more over time.
First off, great work on this website (and reviews) that I have been browsing for almost a year now since I just seeded my lawn last fall.
I have been reading about mowers since I have been using a very old craftsman rider left by the previous homeowner. I have a about an acre of run-off-the mill lawn with 10 trees, big planters and decked above ground pool to avoid so I’m down to a ztr mower. Because of a gate and other factors (price) I’ve limited myself to the Toro SW4200 vs Hustler Raptor 42. I’ll be able to source either from two nearby dealers.
Now, comparing these two which do you prefer? These ff factors are important for me: longevity, ruggedness, cut quality, and parts availability. I understand that the Toro SW4200 is steer-type while the Hustler is lap-bar which I don’t mind.
Again, thanks and more power to you.
From Brick, NJ
Hi Sakuji, The Toro is great because it is a zero-turn mower but drives like a lawn tractor. I do like some of the features like the tilt-steering wheel and automatic parking brake.
The Hustler also has the automatic parking brake. I think the deck is heavier on the Hustler and I like the way the mower is balanced. It’s very easy on your lawn for a zero-turn.
Both machines have proven reliability. The Toro uses 80% of the same parts as the Time cutter Series and the Hustler is sold worldwide.
The Hustler will be a little faster getting the job done. Once you get used to the lap-bars you can really make that mower dance.
Hi Paul, I agree, the Toro SW4200 drives like a tractor and is very front-end heavy, in fact the machine is 700+ lbs. The Raptor 42 on the other hand is more nimble and my opinion, not as apt to scalp the yard.
My first ZT, looking at 42 inch. Trying to decide between Hustler Raptor and Gravely ZT 42 (same/similar as Ariens?) I like the Kawasaki engine and fabricated deck of the Raptor, but am concerned about cut quality. I have some uneven areas that are susceptible to scalping with my old floating-deck 38 in. lawn tractor. As best I can tell from photos, the Raptor deck only has one anti-scalp wheel? The Gravely has 3 (I think) and may also have 3 blades compared to Raptor’s 2 blades. Appreciate your thoughts/advice.
@Karl, Anti-scalp wheels on a 42 inch ZTR are really not needed because the deck is so close to the wheels. You only really need one nose roller in the front.
The decks are going to cut a lot different than a floating deck and you probably will have to cut higher than you do now. (bluegrass/fescue should be cut a 3 1/2 inches)
Personally, I’m not a big fan of 3 blade 42 inch decks. The blades are so small that it’s hard for the deck to get good lift and cut cleanly. Before I bought the Gravely I would want to see how well it cut on my lawn.
Thanks Paul. The one anti-scalp wheel I could see in pictures of the Raptor is on the left (when seated) rear of the deck; no nose roller. Can you confirm what the 42 in. Raptor has for anti-scalp wheels? I’m in Maine, BTW, with the closest dealer out of state and more than 100 miles away, so I have not seen the machine in person. I can order one through Lowe’s though, if I go with the Raptor. Thanks again for all the helpful information.
Hi Karl, Here is a video review where Corey goes over the complete mower 42 in Hustler review. You are correct there is only one anti-scalp wheel on the deck.
I am trying to find the Hustler 42″ “SD”, is that worth the extra money? And any idea what the price is as I can’t find it.
Hi Bob, As far as I know the 42 inch is only made in the Raptor. The Raptor HD only comes in a 48, 54 or 60 inch deck.
I had pretty much decided on getting my first zero turn (52 Hustler Raptor) but I have been looking at the redesigned Raven at Lowes – for about 1000 more I would get so much functionality, but the reviews on the new Raven are extremely hard to find, from owners, because it is new, and the Lowes stores can only stock/sell 2 at a time, because of the new production of them. I like the idea of towing, no belts, and a generator on-board, but can it handle rugged use like a Raptor?
I asked Jim to explain a little more:
This mower will be used, primarily, for cutting a few unimproved acres (the land is classified as wetlands by the Corps of Engineers, but is mainly grasslands and some small oaks, and pines). It is a somewhat rough ride, at times, but if I set the deck up to the maximum height, and wait until dry periods to cut it, I don’t have many issues. We live in a subdivision of small homes and small lots, and this property is my “large backyard”, because it is behind my house backyard…. I bought this land years ago because I looked at it every day, and thought it would be cool to have it – it has been a mixed bag, so far, in the 15 years I’ve had it, and slowly made it more like a big park than thick brush and the neighborhood dumping-ground. I may be buying the acre next to it, and cutting a path through that one, so I may end up with 3 acres, although I will not be cutting all of that – will be leaving treed aread and
will not cut the softest spots.
For about 3 years, I used an ATV and a Swisher mower deck, but before that I used a Murray riding mower. Last year I didn’t cut it at all, and over the winter I used a push mower to get it back under control. I sometimes have to cut/remove a tree that falls or dies, and it would be nice to be able to tow a cart, if I wanted to, and have the generator for power outages due to storms (Hurricanes, here, most likely).
But, I know the Hustler has proven durability, but the Raven is a more updated design…. I can literally change my mind back and forth anytime I think about it. It will get bumped around some on the non-perfect ground, but will be kept inside a garage, even though this is a high-humidity area.
As I said, lots to think about, on this one!
Hi Jim, A couple of things to remember:
1. None of the zero-turn mowers, lawn tractors, or the Raven MPV-7100 are designed to cut brush. If you want you mower to last any woody plants like the oak and pines bigger than your thumb need to be cut off before you mow the area.
2. None of the zero-turn mowers, lawn tractors, or the Raven MPV-7100 are designed to cut tall weeds and grass. But – if the grass is taller than the frame of the mower you can get the job done if you follow this procedure.
You won’t damage the mower but the grass may wrap around the spindles underneath the mower deck.
Raise the deck up all the way.
When you mow it the mower will just knock the grass down and will not mow all of it on the first pass. Go in one direction and then turn around and mow over it again in the opposite direction. You may have to do this two or three times before it mows it off cleanly. You may find that instead of turning around backing up for the second pass may cut it faster.
If you smell burning rubber at any time – Stop the mower. (In the case of the Raven one or both blades will turn off) Turn the mower completely off and look under the deck. Grass will be wrapped around the spindles. Cut it off with a utility knife.
Every 30 minutes or so stop the mower. Turn it off completely and look under the deck. If there is a lot of grass wrapped around the spindles cut it off.
When you are done, especially if the grass has a lot of moisture in it the deck will be full of grass underneath. Clean that out with a putty knife, old board, or even a kitchen spatula. Cut the long stuff off the spindles. If you want to remove the mower blades and that makes it very easy to get the grass off the spindles.
If the grass is really dry there will be a lot of clippings on top of the deck. Clean that off with your hands and then blow the rest off.
One last thing, If you feel safe to do this and there will be no one in the area, tie the discharge cover up with a rope or bungee cord. This will help the deck clear the grass faster. Remember, with that cover raised up your deck can throw a baseball sized rock, piece of wood or other debris 200 meters or more.
One of the big issues of using a zero-turn on this type of grass is traction – especially if the ground underneath is water saturated. What I mean is most of the time this type of field has a lot of clumping grass – the grass grows in mounds and there is little or no vegetation between the mounds. These bare spots will cause a zero-turn to get stuck. Even though I like the Hustler a lot it uses EZT transmissions and only 18 inch tires so it will not have a lot of traction and the trans may actually stall out if you get it stuck in a mud-hole. Zero-turns have very little traction because of the stiff frame.
Another big issue with clumping grasses and zero-turns is the grass mound itself can be so dense that when you go over it with the deck the mower does not have enough traction to push the mower past the mound and the zero-turn gets stuck on the clump of grass. I’ve seen this happen a lot with the midwestern prairie grasses. You can’t get the deck high enough to mow over the prairie grass mounds.
The Raven has fewer issues with taller grass. I’ve used it to mow 18 inch grass along the highway and it cut it off cleanly. Because the motor cover inside the deck is larger than a spindle on the Raptor it also doesn’t wrap as quickly.
The Raven also has fewer traction issues. The tires are also 18 inch but there is a lot of weight on the rear because of the cast iron transmission and the generator. In addition the front suspension allows the Raven to shift it’s weight better in potholes and rough ground so it spins the tires a lot less. In fact I am really amazed at the traction it has.
So in my opinion the Raven is the better choice. It will mow the taller grass better, it will not get stuck as easily, and you can pull stuff.
If you decide to go with the Raptor Denver Global does make a portable generator with the same capacity as the Raven for about $650. You can get it here: Raven GEN6500E 6500-watt Electric Start Generator with Wheel Kit
Waller, Texas – Hi, can you explain what you meant by this with the raptor?
“If you smell burning rubber at any time – Stop the mower. (In the case of the Raven one or both blades will turn off) ” The part about the Raven will shut down the blades. Does the Raven have some sort of a slip clutch like an outboard motor or something when the blades encounter an obstacle of a certain resistance? Thanks..
Hi Eric, The Raven does not use v-belts to drive the blades like a conventional lawn mower. It uses individual electric motors. So when the Raven has to much grass to mow the electronic controls send a signal to the over-loaded motor and it shuts down until the obstruction is cleared. It is a lot simpler than a mechanical slip-clutch.
Thanks for that information. I actually bought a Raven a few weeks ago and have used it twice. Love, love love this mower, but your post cleared up something I have been trying to figure out since last weekend. I hit something in the grass, and the blades stopped. I limped on over to the garage, as I thought I had a broken belt (like my old Lawn Tractor would do often). I looked under the deck, and looked at everything else, and everything appeared to be intact. Surprised, I started the Raptor up, and turned on the blades. Lo and behold they were spinning just fine. I scratched my head, and finished the yard.. Decided to look in the manual and saw nothing about this. I happened to see your blog and was scrolling down the comments, and saw this posting. Wow, that just makes me Love my Raptor 42 even more! Also as you get used to the Zero Turn, you never want to go back to a regular mower. The other huge thing, is mowing in the Texas heat, a regular lawn tractor with the engine in front blows all the heat back on you. With the Raptor, the heat blows behind you as you move forward. That right there is a huge benefit.
Thanks again Paul!
@Eric, you are very welcome!
Hello I have a pond dam that is 40 degree hill do you have anything that can mow this?
@andrew, Not in a riding mower unless you want to spend 35 to 40 thousand. All the riding mowers sold in the U.S. are only rated for 15 degree slopes.
Depending how much you have to mow, a Husqvarna 4 wheel drive walk-behind will work well for 1/3 acre or less. A good commercial walk-behind like a Toro T-bar will work well for a larger area. When I owned the landscape company I kept a 36 inch Toro T-Bar walk-behind around for just those tasks.
I also used a 60 inch Stand-on commercial mower for slopes that I didn’t feel safe on with a zero-turn. I was comfortable using a Great Dane stand-on on slopes that steep (even though it wasn’t rated for it)
If you only want to mow the top part of the dam and already have a good heavy mower or ATV a wing mower like the Acrease 60 inch will mow down the slope while the ATV stays up on the top of the berm. (The Swisher wing mowers do not have a motor that will handle slopes)
Michael, New York. I am trying to decide between a hustler raptor 42 and a JD x304 42. I am currently using a snapper rear engine rider 28″ to mow my relatively flat approx. 1/3 acre of grass. I have a few beds trees and walkways to go around. The snapper takes 1 and a 1/2 plus hours and leaves endless clumps unless grass is very dry and Boggs down if gras is slightly tall and damp. I mulch most of the time. I bag and thatch at start and end of the season. I am looking to get my mowing time under 1 hour and have a higher quality looking cut. Please let me know your thoughts. Thank you.
@Michael, The Hustler is the way to go. The Hustler Lawn Mower. Raptor 42 in. 21.5 HP Kawasaki V-Twin Hydrostatic Zero-Turn Mower 931741 will cut your time by more than half over the snapper. If you buy the Raptor from HD you will have to go to a dealer to purchase the mulch kit and bagger.
If you have not used a zero-turn before it will take you one or two mowings to get really good with it, but you’ll soon be amazed at how much faster you will get your lawn done.
I sold my John Deere 42″ mulcher last fall after 13 years of great service. My yard (1.1 acre) took three hours to complete with the JD. With the 42″ Raptor it took two hours…I’m assuming the cut time will decrease as I get better with the ZTR as opposed to the steering wheel. The engineering on the Raptor is outstanding: welded, forged deck, uber heavy duty frame and a dependable Kawasaki engine. My neighbor bought the Raptor last summer and let me use his to cut my lawn three times. I was hooked!!!
@Phillip, Yes, Hustler is going to change the way homeowners look at zero-turns.
I am looking at Hustler Raptor 42 inch and the John Deere Z235. Was wondering which one cuts the best? Also which is built to last?
@Curt, I would be more inclined to go with the Hustler. It has the fabricated deck. One thing I don’t like about the Deere is the seat height. I’m and old fart and I can’t raise myself up to get off it. I would have a backache riding it more than an hour the way it sets.
Finally bit the bullet and purchased the 42″ Hustler Raptor. Two mowings so far and I’m quite impressed. Fast and Nimble, and a good cut. Mower with mulch kit and hour meter $3100 and some change from Lonestar Mower repair in Burleson Tx. These guys delivered 30 miles away didnt charge full retail for the mulch kit and will come to my house at he 8 hour mark for a free oil change and adjustment.I’ll keep you posted on the mowing adventures as they unfold. Thanks to your blog there is a place to go and see lots of options and make a decision
Love the site. Been thinking about a hustler 42 inch Raptor, but would like your input.
I live at a lake and have a small backyard that I entertain people on, so I need a bagging system. I also have two large areas with numerous bushes and trees that would take some time with a tractor, and one is fenced in. On top of that, I have to clean heavy loads of water-logged leaves, tumble weeds and other debris out of my bay each year, so I would like a mower that can pull a cart.
I like the hustler 42in raptor, but am unsure of the bagging quality and if it could pull the heavy cart loads.
I’m also looking at the John deere x304’s and Craftsman turn-tights, but I don’t know if they would be able to get the small back yard without the help of a trimming mower, or be albe to navigate around the squared-off fence.
Any thoughts? Thanks!
@Marc, The Raptor uses EZT hydrostatic transmissions. While they are great and last just fine when the mower is used with a bagger, they are known to not last very long when pulling stuff. I have had some experience where the trans only last less than 50 hours pulling a yard vac.
Many owners who own a zero-turn also have an ATV or an old yard tractor for pulling a trailer.
Based on your explanation The X304 will not work. Also based on your explanation a Craftsman 42 inch tractor also will not work. (The deck does not stick out far enough to trim inside curves)
The best tractor would be the Craftsman 20391. The 48 inch deck will let you trim inside corners but… you need at least 60 inches between obstacles for the deck and discharge chute/bagger chute.