Buying a riding mower is a big expense and you want to get the exact right one for you. Cost is the biggest thing to consider, and if your property is really not that big you might consider a gas or electric walking mower instead but if you really need a ride on, then take these into consideration after you have established what your budget can handle. Make sure you do not get a bigger riding mower than you need. You would do better to get a higher quality mower that has the right horsepower and size fuel tank for your property. Another important factor is the turning ratio. If you have a lot of flower beds to go around, you will need a tighter turning ratio than if you just have a flat expanse of lawn. As for picking accessories, don’t go crazy and get everyone you want, just get everyone you need. You can always go back and by more later.
As with anything you buy, check out the merchant with the local Better Business Bureau and Consumer Affairs agency to see if there are any complaints either about the manufacturer, the dealer if you choose to buy from an independent dealer. Some of the companies do give you an option to buy direct from them on the web site. Also check to see if there are any complaints about the particular model you are interested in. It is your hard earned money you are going to spend and you have the right to all the information you want and need.
The Toro company has 2 different series of riding mowers, with prices starting at about $1,500.00. They also have 3 other series available, but they are more tractor and are really for large acreage and not comparable to the home user lines. Lets take a look at each one, see what the differences are and then see how they compare to the other manufacturers.
LX Lawn Tractor Series
Manufacturer’s Suggested List Price: $1,499 – $2,099 USD
These are the smallest of the Toro line and are perfect for the average yard of up to a 1/4 acre or so. There are three riding mower models in the series, with the biggest difference being in the horsepower. They come with a two-year limited warranty. The accessaries include Twin and Triple Baggers, Mulch Kit ( get one or the other, you are either going to bag or mulch, not both) 42″ Two-Stage Snowthrower, 46″ Front Blade,
Folding Loading Ramps ( only if you plan or transporting to a different location), 10 Cubic Foot Dump Cart( really optional unless you plan on doing a lot of hauling and if your lot is not that big, it is really not necessary.) 36″ Residential Sweeper will rake up the lawn.
Manufacturer’s Suggested List Price: $2,499-$3,299 USD
One difference in this series is that you get a heavy duty transmissions with cruise control. The horse power is higher too, starting at 23 and going up to 26. These models can handle just about any size residential yard. The gas tank is the same 3 gal capacity and 2 year warranty The attachments are the same except that the twin bagger is not available.
John Deer has a large variety of mowers available. We are going to look at the ones that are comparable to the Toro in price and features.
The John Deer “100” line of riding mower has five models ranging in price from $1,500 to $2,800. The horsepower goes from 18.5 to 26.5, about the same as both lines in the Toro series. So price wise the 18 HP models cost about the same, where when you get to the 26 HP models, the Toro is about $500 cheaper. John Deere has a huge selection of options and you can really customize your riding mower on the web site.
Northern Tool and Equipment
Northern Tool and Equipment has a large variety of mowers, with prices starting below both Toro and John Deere. Their prices start at about $1,200 and go up to a high of $5,000. Poulan Pro Lawn Tractor – 19 HP, 42in. Cutting Width; Model# PB19H42LT Is the one that is for $1,200. It actually has more horsepower than the lowest priced of either Toro or John Deer, with 19, but it only has a 2 gal fuel tank where the others have a 3.
Husqvarna Riding Lawn Mower – 42in. Cutting Width, 20 HP, Model# YTH2042 goes for $1499.95 and the situation is the same, more horsepower, but only a 2.5 gal tank.
Husqvarna Zero Turn Mower – 48in. Cutting Width, 18 HP, Model# CZ4818 At about $2,600 is the closest to the highest of John Deere and Toro, but only has an 18 horsepower engine, actually lower than the 19 horsepower one on their lower priced model.