Re: Need a mower now.! Help
I'd look at some Gravely, Skag, Bad Boy, Husqvarna, Toro, Cub Cadet, Grasshopper as a start.
A stamped deck will be cheaper than a fabricated/welded deck. All commercial/pro type mowers have fabricated decks along with heavier spindle assemblies.
Look for grease zerks on the spindle assemblies. If you can't grease the blade spindles(mandrels) --- look at a better upgrade/different model.
Kawasaki motors seem to be in the better models, but I wouldn't turn my nose up if it happened to have a B&S Commercial(PRO) motor.
I saw my first Gravely in action just yesterday mowing a pond bank side, and wow what a mower.
Have seen Grasshopper's at local home/farm store and I really like the fully tilt-back deck to get to blades.
I wouldn't get anything with a deck over 60"(5 foot). This deck size seems to be the best size in giving good to great cuts for what a zero turn can do, and the belts/blades are still reasonably not too expensive, than a deck of 72"(6 foot).
I mow about 5 acres a week with my old '90 Kut Kwick CL20-60 and while this mower isn't a true zero-turn, the 60" deck is perfect size for getting around without scalping our pond bank crowns, uneven yard areas, and fitting in more dense tree areas. Whereas, using a 72" deck would have a tire too far over the bank side and drop the deck down too low due to width, or trying to menuver around all the fruit trees we have.
Also, my mower doesn't have a side discharge. It uses a deck that's built like a small Brush Hog field cutter(drive shaft that goes to a 90* turndown box) that in-turn drives 2 belts for its 3-blades. It also uses rear deck flappers instead of the normal side discharge. It's a beast that weighs somewhere around 1200#s. I have a couple pictures on here around 3-5 pages back in the Front Deck ZTR section.