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Old 05-05-2010, 01:52 PM   #1
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Anyone got any suggestions for a riding mower? Our new house is on a little more than an acre, and most of that will be usable. Also, I would like to have a small towable trailer to haul stuff around the yard, etc.

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Old 05-05-2010, 02:14 PM   #2
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craigslist... seriously large savings. I have been very happy with both John Deere and Simplicity lawn tractors.

If you are using it purely for mowing and for towing a trailer, I highly suggest a zero turn radius mower. I had a Great Dane brand Chariot and it ran like a beast forever.

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Old 05-05-2010, 02:21 PM   #3
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Yeah, definitely looking on craigslist. How much can a zero turn mower tow? I like the speed of those mowers, my father in law has one, but I wasn't sure it could tow a trailer full of yard stuff.

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Old 05-05-2010, 02:45 PM   #4
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I guess it depends on what you are hauling and the terrain... but the Great Dane had way more power than I could have used. Now if you are doing some heavy landscaping, tilling, plowing, pulling stumps, etc. then you will likely want a small utility tractor.

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Old 05-05-2010, 02:52 PM   #5
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It's pretty flat, or it will be once we grade the yard. I don't anticipate doing any major work with the tractor, but I don't want to be limited by it either.

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I guess it depends on what you are hauling and the terrain... but the Great Dane had way more power than I could have used. Now if you are doing some heavy landscaping, tilling, plowing, pulling stumps, etc. then you will likely want a small utility tractor.
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Old 05-05-2010, 03:07 PM   #6
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I have owned a Craftsman for like 12 years and have had good luck with it. YMMV. Only this year I had to patch teh mower deck due to rust. If I had not parked it in the yard for most of it's summers, instead of the shed where it was supposed to be, it would probably have lasted much longer.

My FIL has a John Deere, and MANY people swear by them, but he's had more work on his, and frankly, I did not care for it that much. I suspect a different model would have been more my style. So, even though I am not a fan of mowing with his, I think they are great machines.

I'd just stay away from anything that Walmart sells. My dad had one of those and it was pretty weak in a lot of areas.

Practically any mower over 15 HP will tow your basic trailer. Bigger is better, and if you are using other powered attachments, like a tiller or snowblower, you may want a yard tractor, not a mower.

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Old 05-05-2010, 04:01 PM   #7
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I got my Craftsman for $350 off of Craigslist- runs great and I am happy with it. Like Homer said, just about anything over 15HP will pull your basic "yard cart". But if you want to use it to move anything big-like a boat or camper- like say you want to maneuver it into a tight spot or something, then you will want one with hydrostatic drive, and this will cost more than one that uses a belt drive. Just something to think about.

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Old 05-05-2010, 04:13 PM   #8
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I have a craftsman 42-in. 18HP I think. I have had no issues with it (had it six years now) other than regular maintainance. I bought one of those plastic bed dump trailers at HD. I regularly fill that with sand/soil/my kids to move around the yard and it works great. Much better than the old wheelbarrow!

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Old 05-05-2010, 08:52 PM   #9
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I just bought a tractor and researching which one to buy was probably the most frustrating purchasing research I've ever done. When it comes to tractors, everyone has their opinion. Some are objective and some are blinded by green and yellow. I ended up buying a Cub Cadet GT2542, but that sounds like more than you need and I wouldn't necessarily recommend any of the lighter duty Cubs.

A few things I did learn that may help:

-Stick with tractors/mowers that have Kawasaki or Kohler engines. Consumers seem to have mechanical problems with the recent Briggs & Stratton engines.

-Turn radius does not equal uncut grass radius. You could find tractor with a pretty tight turning radius and a 28" uncut grass radius.

-A 42" deck is better than a 44" deck simply because that is typically the line between 2 blades and 3 blades. Not that 3 blades are bad, but 3 blades = more belts to eventually replace and for 2 inches, it's probably not worth it.

-Horsepower has little to do with the tractor's performance power/torque. Not saying higher horsepower is bad, but I'd much rather have a 17 Horsepower Kawasaki engine John Deere (or similar) than a 26 horsepower piece of junk.

-Dollar for dollar, it's better to buy a well-maintained used, higher-end tractor than to spend that same amount of money on a new consumer-end tractor.

-The big box store tractors that are made by MTD have been reported to have some quality issues. MTD makes several well-known brands... including Cub Cadet. But these quality issues more relate to the "consumer" line of products typically available at big box stores. So, some of these issues could be more associated with parts and engineering, rather than the workmanship itself.

-You'll get better overall service (including future service issues) by buying from a dealer, but you may pay a little more.

Also, IIRC, one of the consumer research websites I looked at rated the John Deere LA115 as a best buy. It is available at the big box stores and does little more than mow and tow a cart, but it sounds like it might be right up your alley... unless, of course, you're considering zero-turn tractors, which are the bomb for fast mowing times.

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Old 05-06-2010, 06:28 PM   #10
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Thanks alot menschmaschine. That is quite a comprehensive list.

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