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Best American made riding mower (42 to 48" cut)

Doc

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My sister in law needs a new mower. Her one requirment is that it be American made. :clap::clap:

I have not shopped small lawn tractors / mowers for years so I know next to nothing about them. Any advice on what is the best American made to give her the best bang for the buck? She wants hydrostat and American made.
 

Melensdad

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Ventrac

I'm still using mine and happy with it, but at some point I'm going to have to replace it, probably with another Ventrac
 

EastTexFrank

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Doc, I can't offer any constructive advice because I haven't used one in probably 20 years so all my experience is 'way out of date.

Usually in these cases it comes down to a few things, how much does she have to mow, how quickly does she want to do it and how much does she want to spend?
 

Doc

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She is not real excited about ZTR's, but I think that would be a good fit if she could afford it. She was going to buy a husquvara but then this virus stuff make her want to go American made. She could have bought the husquvara for 2300.

I doubt she would spring for a Ventrac. From what I remember they are mowing machines. Awesome but expensive. She only has 3/4 acre to mow. She's been using a little cub cadet with 42" deck. I will check to see if we have a Ventrac dealer in the area. I've never seen one but I never looked before. Same with Country Clipper. I will do a search and see who nearby sells them.

Thanks guys.
 

bczoom

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What ever she does, do NOT let her buy a John Deere, they are POS and just relying on the name.
Well... I think Deere and Husqvarna make different levels/qualities of mowers in the same size. The models you buy at the box stores are generally garbage. The models you buy at an actual tractor dealership are much better. E.g. Box store versions will have a Briggs engine, dealership models will have a Kawasaki.
 

Doc

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Well... I think Deere and Husqvarna make different levels/qualities of mowers in the same size. The models you buy at the box stores are generally garbage. The models you buy at an actual tractor dealership are much better. E.g. Box store versions will have a Briggs engine, dealership models will have a Kawasaki.
That is my experience also. No way will I let her buy from a big box store. I'm shocked anyone will buy a lawn and garden tractor from them.
 

EastTexFrank

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That is my experience also. No way will I let her buy from a big box store. I'm shocked anyone will buy a lawn and garden tractor from them.

Doc, I haven't had much luck buying from the JD dealership either.

When my wife was mowing the property for her beloved library, I had to load my sub compact tractor on the trailer and bring it in for her to use. Well, you can guess that I got tired of that and told her to go to the Kubota dealer and get a riding mower for the job. My wife, being my wife, wanted to spend her money locally so she went to the JD dealership and got one. Okay, it works but it goes back in to the dealer at least twice a year and I mess with it a couple of times a year.

When I wanted a UTV I really wanted a Kubota diesel model but couldn't justify the cost for the hours that I would put on it. So, I got a JD gator. That was not one of my better decisions. No, I'd stay away from John Deere altogether. They've been living on their reputation for years as far as their small gas engine stuff is concerned.
 

Doc

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Thanks Frank. Good to know. My son's father in law bought a JD with FEL and belly mower. Same experience as you with that tractor. Sad but we will avoid JD.

Plus I probably should not have said 'Best' in the thread title. She is definetly on a limited budget for this and I'm not sure what the top dollar is. We plan to start shopping once the places open up next month. Thought I'd get a little heads up from FF experience.

Any experience with Cub Cadet? Are they made in America? Are they more reliable than JD? Her current Cub Cadet has issues but I suppose it's 15 years old.
 

EastTexFrank

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Any experience with Cub Cadet? Are they made in America? Are they more reliable than JD? Her current Cub Cadet has issues but I suppose it's 15 years old.

Cub Cadet used to produce excellent equipment in the States. At the time, if you wanted a small tractor with implements they were one of the few games in town. About 40 years ago they were bought out by MTD and MTD was a low cost, bottom line kind of manufacturer. I'm told that quality of Cub Cadet dropped slightly subsequently. Having said that I have one of their walk behind mowers and a walk behind, push string trimmer that served me well for many years. I still have them down in the barn but haven't used either for quite some time.
 

jwstewar

Active member
Cub like Deere have different levels of quality. The ones you see at TSC are garbage. Some of the higher end models at a dealer appear to pretty decent. I'm actually considering a Cub ZTR. Of course, for 12k it better be a good machine. I'm considering it, but it isn't at the top of the list at the moment.
 

bczoom

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I'm actually considering a Cub ZTR. Of course, for 12k it better be a good machine. I'm considering it, but it isn't at the top of the list at the moment.
A good friend of mine has a Cub commercial ZTR. He really likes it and what little I drove it, I was impressed. When you look at the gauge of the steel on the components, you'll quickly realize it'll never break or rust through. Not sure of the weight of the machine though.
 

Doc

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Turns out no need for the best American made mower for my sister in law. She decided what was best for her and her 3/4 acre lot is to have someone else do it. Her sister's preacher is contracting to do a few yards and agreed to do the mowing and weed eating / trimming for her for 40 dollars each week to 10 days.

I balked at the idea but after considering cash outlay for a new mower and she needed a weed eater and her frustration with dealing with all things mechanical this is the best option by far for her.

If shopping for a ZTR's in the 12k price range I'd suggest considering Scag, Kubota and Gravely. I was in the market a few years ago and bought the Scag Cheetah. 27hp Kawasaki engine. Awesome machine all the way around.
 

EastTexFrank

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When my S-I-L was in the market for a new zero turn she got a Kubota diesel. Now, I couldn't drive the thing worth a darn but she is a mowing maniac on it. It's served her very well with no problems except that she's never heard of preventative maintenance. She drives me nuts when it comes to equipment. She's her mother's daughter.
 

NorthernRedneck

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I've got an older Jacobsen turfcat t528d. It still looks a little rough but works great for our property. That little kubota diesel engine will run forever. I might have burned through a touch over half a tank of fuel all last summer. And that's mowing probably 3 hrs a week. It's got a 60 inch triple head front mower attachment.
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NorthernRedneck

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You also have a flat tire on your ATV. ;)
It's already aired up. Lol. I had literally just pulled the tarp off it and hauled it out of it's winter storage. The battery wasn't even installed yet. I used the side by side and winch to haul it out so I could access the Jacobsen in behind it. Both the Jacobsen and the atv now have new batteries and have had their spring once over to service them.
 
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