Best entry level riding mower

UncleDave

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Oddly it was easier to find good used lawn, farm gear closer to the city. Stuff sold out of my local area is so used its done I cant find good used stuff inside about 500 miles. On the Kubota - that'd be sweet, even the cheaper Mahindra would be cool to. Everything Ive ever touched from Kubota has been great. Being a guy from Peoria, I bleed cat yellow, but have to admit Kubota product us stellar. Im actually considering it, but at the moment it seems so much more than I need- as the garden expands and UD
 

CT8

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Start with at least a high end consumer model and go up . A large ZeroTurn would save time and be serviceable .
 
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My experience with Deere is that they are like a BMW.... Great name, good performance, lousy reliability, and parts prices that make you think they should be gold plated.
 
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Originally Posted by UncleDave
Originally Posted by walterjay
Cub Cadet, Husqvarna or if you want to take it up a notch, John Deere
What is better about each? Why John Deere at all? Thanks Dave
Husqvarna and Cub Cadet are at the higher end of ENTRY level mowers. Better than MTD. Should give you 7-8 years without too much trouble. John Deere 300 Series should give you 25 years and maybe more and parts will still be available. Now I am not talking about the ones sold at the Depot. Ask me how I know.
 
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Massachusetts
I think this is a great topic UD. I currently have a 2003 Murray Select 13.5HP / 40". Pretty much the King of Entry Level! I mow about 1 1/4 acre of mowable land. I have some pretty steep hills and this mower always pulls. I heat with wood in the winter, and I sometimes hook up the garden trailer and move blocks around to the splitter. I maintain it religiously and it runs like a champ. If the old girl somehow bought the farm and I had to buy another entry level riding mower - I have it down to two mowers: The Craftsman T110 or the Troy Bilt Pony 42x. Pretty much the same mower. They both have good reviews and decent power and felt good when sitting on them when I was recently at Lowes and TSC. I think I would shy more towards the TB, as TSC is right in town and I actually like the look a bit better. All that said regarding entry level - at this point, I would probably pony up the few hundred bucks more and buy a Cub Cadet XT1 42". The seat is awesome. I love the high hood and stance and the controls when I sat in it fit right in your hand and made you do the Tim the Toolman grunt - argh - argh -argh!!!
 

ls1mike

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I mow and acre and half. For years I did with a Craftsman LT1000. It was a 1998 20HP Briggs V-twin. I retired it this year. I also have 1996 19.5HP opposed piston LT1000 that I swapped on an off with the 20HP one. I picked up 2020 Cub Cadet XT2 24HP 46 inch cut. I like it. I can tell you it isn't put together as well as my old Craftsmans, but it is quiet and comfortable. I think for an acre, just about any Box store mower will do just fine. smile
 

UncleDave

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Originally Posted by slacktide_bitog
Get one with a Honda engine smile
This doesnt seem like a a combo thats easy to get, Briggs, Kohler, Kawasaki (I like as much as Honda) but I havent yet seen an entry level rider with a honda engine. FWIW Honda makes it very hard to find their riding mowers and few seem to carry them they seem to be special order machines, its odd to me. UD
 
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Originally Posted by UncleDave
Originally Posted by slacktide_bitog
Get one with a Honda engine smile
This doesnt seem like a a combo thats easy to get, Briggs, Kohler, Kawasaki (I like as much as Honda) but I havent yet seen an entry level rider with a honda engine. FWIW Honda makes it very hard to find their riding mowers and few seem to carry them they seem to be special order machines, its odd to me. UD
Members keep posting the more expensive brands in their replies and you want to economize. Buying used is always a gamble that I never take. Be sure to include purchaser reviews online when you shop. Use Google to find the best cheap riding mowers. Three years ago I purchased an el-cheap Yard Machine push mower at Home Depot It was the easiest to mechanically push and that's what my #1 goal was to find. I've had it almost four years now and no complaints yet. That Yard Machine is much easier to push than my former Honda push mower. That thing was a bear to push and I gave it away at 7 years old.
 

ls1mike

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Originally Posted by Triple_Se7en
Originally Posted by UncleDave
Originally Posted by slacktide_bitog
Get one with a Honda engine smile
This doesnt seem like a a combo thats easy to get, Briggs, Kohler, Kawasaki (I like as much as Honda) but I havent yet seen an entry level rider with a honda engine. FWIW Honda makes it very hard to find their riding mowers and few seem to carry them they seem to be special order machines, its odd to me. UD
Members keep posting the more expensive brands in their replies and you want to economize. Buying used is always a gamble that I never take. Be sure to include purchaser reviews online when you shop. Use Google to find the best cheap riding mowers. Three years ago I purchased an el-cheap Yard Machine push mower at Home Depot It was the easiest to mechanically push and that's what my #1 goal was to find. I've had it almost four years now and no complaints yet. That Yard Machine is much easier to push than my former Honda push mower. That thing was a bear to push and I gave it away at 7 years old.
I agree, I went a little pricier than box store mowers this time. I only mow an acre and half, but if you are mowing an acre? Any 42 inch cut box store mower will be fine. Plus, in my area at least, there are tons of decent used buys out there. I put about 2 hours a week on my mower for 6 to 7 months of the year. Not really taxing it. The 19.5 hp LT1000 I have, mowed a yard from 1996 to 2020 (I traded my V-twin for it because I like the opposed piston Briggs) 3 to 4 hours a week for 7 months. That is over 2000 hours and it runs fine. That is the one I turned in to TRACZILLA. So I have my two Craftsman and a Cub Cadet. I almost bought this guy, but wanted the long warranty on the Cub, plus I wanted to shop a local mom and pop place. Craftsman But if you can live with a manual like I did for years, they are even cheaper.
 
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Look up MTD, then stay away from any brand under their umbrella! MTD is the Walmart of power equipment, it is the absolute cheapest made garbage sold. They swallowed most of the familiar consumer market brands and turned them into junk! If you buy it at a big box, it's likely MTD made. If you want a quality machine, go to an equipment dealer.
 
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I myself bought a new S240 John Deere last year. I made a compromise between the e-series and the x-series. I wanted a mower better then the e-series but I didn't want the briggs engine that the x330 has the S240 has the Kawasaki v-twin engine which is highly reliable. and it was in my price range. I looked at a few other brands like the Husqvarna and cub cadets and even simplicity but what sold me on the John deere other then the engine was the pedal setup, the other mowers seemed to have the same cheaply designed pedal system that I just didn't care for.
 
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Those Simplicity tractors look nice! I may have to buy myself one for my 50th Birthday. I'm buying myself a Toro Super Recycler for my 40th. I've got a Cub Cadet XT1 42 inch that I've had for 4 seasons. I've loved it so far, but I really worry how well the steering is going to hold up, so far so good but it just looks chinsy. I can say it really cuts nice, my front yard looks great after I mow.
 
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Ohio
All depends on what you want to spend to mow that one acre. For entry level, I would look into Husqvarna, non hydrostatic (42-44 inch deck, supported with four wheels)or one of their re-labels. You will get a two year warranty and last atleast 20 years with reasonable care. I wouldn't go the used route because even the best ones will leave you working on it more. . Cubs and Deere's are over priced, "consumerized" and aren't much better.
 
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Indiana
If you want something cheap but durable, look into a late 60's early 70's Wheel Horse. 1 acre won't use up too much gas either.
 

4WD

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My 42" Sears Craftsman (Husky) lawn tractor required a battery and starter solenoid (cheap/easy) in 8 years so far. I got a short turn model that has a wider cast iron front axle with lots of grease fittings. Has a 19 HP Briggs that has been stellar.
 
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Kevil,Ky
I have an old J.C.Penney from about 1977 that has a n 11 HP Briggs motor and it pull a 42" 3 blade deck. I inherited it from my Dad when he got another one. The motor has never been apart for anything. The Spark plug is its 3rd. Constant oil replacement since the lower main seal leaks when it sits. Have re-bearinged the deck couple times and replaced belts and idlers. Had to replace one rear axle and a bearing in the transmission. This thing is still cutting grass. Got a front blade kit with it and pushed snow and driveway rocks several times. This is a very old Murray mower and until recently, getting parts has not been a problem. I guess it is getting too old now. It just always starts right up and is ready to go. I have other mowers too, but I can't say enough good about how this one has held up to all the work its done.
 
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Connecticut
Originally Posted by dlundblad
If you want something cheap but durable, look into a late 60's early 70's Wheel Horse. 1 acre won't use up too much gas either.
Those things are tanks. Super simple and a cast iron Kohler K-series engine.
 
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missouri
Many consumer grade mowers the blade tip speed is lower than commercial mowers. So they do not mow as well. In my RZT42 Cub, they did it by lowering the engine speed. I have raised it up to 3600RPM from about 3000RPM and it cuts a lot better. Been this way for about 10 years now on a Kohler courage 1 cylinder mower. They would have you believe this is certain engine failure, if it is I will get a predator clone motor. But no problem so far. Right at 500 hours. Change oil 10W30 rotella X1 year. Rod,
 
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477
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VA
I had an MTD yard machine that lasted 14 years, I only sold it to buy a wright stander. I think the majority of the budget riders are made in the same factory and you'll most likely rot out the deck before the mower quits on you. I consider any mower with a stamped deck to be a budget mower, as the deck is the first place you'll have issues.
 
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KY
Originally Posted by nascarnation
My experience with Deere is that they are like a BMW.... Great name, good performance, lousy reliability, and parts prices that make you think they should be gold plated.
I'm sorry to hear of your bad luck with both brands. What BMW and what John Deere mower treated you so badly?
 
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