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Need some advice, buying a riding mower from Lowe's

16064 Views 76 Replies 38 Participants Last post by  PA318Guy
I'm going to be buying a riding mower, 42 or 46 inch, from Lowe's, and I need some advice. I'm buying from Lowe's because I have about $500 in gift cards from there, plus I get a 10% discount for being retired military. I need a mower that is reliable, simple to service, and comes with a good warranty. I know that is asking a lot, but hey, you never know until you ask, right? My yard is maybe 1.2 acres, completely flat, with only a few trees. I don't want or need a zero turn mower. Any help or guidance would be very much appreciated!
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Many people have posted their bad experiences with buying at Lowe's or other big-box stores, but I guess I got lucky. About 13 years ago I bought a Husqvarna YTH2348 (23 hp, 48" deck) at Lowe's, and like you I got the military discount. I also bought the triple bagger at the same time, with the same discount.

After 13 years of mowing, with some on a slope, and towing a dump cart, and towing a lawn sweeper, and pushing a front dethatcher, it's still going strong. I've just done regular maintenance at home, and replaced the deck belt and drive belt once.

They don't sell the YTH2348 anymore, but this has similar specs if you can find it: Husqvarna It's out of stock around here. Cal
Some people do get lucky with the big box stores. The MTD tractor I have has served past it's excepted life span, even with me owning it and using it for nearly 4 seasons and asking it to do considerably more than it ever should have. More often than not, people don't get lucky with them.
Many people have posted their bad experiences with buying at Lowe's or other big-box stores, but I guess I got lucky. About 13 years ago I bought a Husqvarna YTH2348 (23 hp, 48" deck) at Lowe's, and like you I got the military discount. I also bought the triple bagger at the same time, with the same discount.

After 13 years of mowing, with some on a slope, and towing a dump cart, and towing a lawn sweeper, and pushing a front dethatcher, it's still going strong. I've just done regular maintenance at home, and replaced the deck belt and drive belt once.

They don't sell the YTH2348 anymore, but this has similar specs if you can find it: Husqvarna It's out of stock around here. Cal
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I also had an MTD that was unbelievably tough for what it was. Mine was a Huskee from TSC. It lived well past it's expected life and I beat it mercilessly. Some of them were built just right to take this but there are also many that won't take the abuse.

On these cheaper mowers I'd read all the reviews and research the heck out of them before buying.

One other thing I feel the need to add is that there are a few members who like to brand bash whenever discussions like this arise. That is addressed in the "posting do's and dont's" in the Getting started forum. Long story short WRT brand bashing--Don't
Some people do get lucky with the big box stores. The MTD tractor I have has served past it's excepted life span, even with me owning it and using it for nearly 4 seasons and asking it to do considerably more than it ever should have. More often than not, people don't get lucky with them.
I'm not giving up on the old girl (my 46" cut yard machines by MTD with the 24HP Briggs Intek V-Twin)..

She needs some love, gotta put the drive belt back up on it, the variable speed belt on it.. replace a few broke springs, straight up the PTO pulleys (they seem to hang down further than they should... are not "straight" with each other) and clean it all up, put the deck back on it (it's a real bear to put the deck back on this thing). I figure in the fall of this year I'll likely spend a saturday or two with it, get it cleaned up and running right, tune the engine up (mostly set the valve lashing) and then send it on it's way to a yard more "it's own size" so to speak. It'll give someone many good years of service, provided they have a nice, flat, <1 acre yard.

Brand of the tractor to me doesn't matter at all. Heck even brand of components really doesn't. In a world where Husqvarna can make a Craftsman tractor with Craftsman stickers... or Cub Cadet residential line isn't owned or made by Cub Cadet... brand really doesn't matter. Even component builders.... Briggs made some really good engines, and some really bad ones... same with Kohler and so on.
I also had an MTD that was unbelievably tough for what it was. Mine was a Huskee from TSC. It lived well past it's expected life and I beat it mercilessly. Some of them were built just right to take this but there are also many that won't take the abuse.

On these cheaper mowers I'd read all the reviews and research the heck out of them before buying.

One other thing I feel the need to add is that there are a few members who like to brand bash whenever discussions like this arise. That is addressed in the "posting do's and dont's" in the Getting started forum. Long story short WRT brand bashing--Don't
I, think brand bashing goes on no matter what product.
I also had an MTD that was unbelievably tough for what it was. Mine was a Huskee from TSC. It lived well past it's expected life and I beat it mercilessly. Some of them were built just right to take this but there are also many that won't take the abuse.

On these cheaper mowers I'd read all the reviews and research the heck out of them before buying.

One other thing I feel the need to add is that there are a few members who like to brand bash whenever discussions like this arise. That is addressed in the "posting do's and dont's" in the Getting started forum. Long story short WRT brand bashing--Don't
Pretty sure my old Huskee had an Intek as well and it was a fine engine. On the brand bashing one thing that dismays me is when someone buys the lowest priced mower they can find, abuses the heck out of it, it breaks, then claims it was the biggest piece of junk ever.

I feel like if you want to buy an LT or GT and want it to last, start at the transaxle--buy the most heavy duty one you can afford. Only caveat to that is the Husqvarna TS348s with the K66 and weak frame. Man, that is close to the best deal in a new GT available--if not for that frame. Almost worth it to buy one and immediately reinforce it. To heck with the warranty.
I'm not giving up on the old girl (my 46" cut yard machines by MTD with the 24HP Briggs Intek V-Twin)..

She needs some love, gotta put the drive belt back up on it, the variable speed belt on it.. replace a few broke springs, straight up the PTO pulleys (they seem to hang down further than they should... are not "straight" with each other) and clean it all up, put the deck back on it (it's a real bear to put the deck back on this thing). I figure in the fall of this year I'll likely spend a saturday or two with it, get it cleaned up and running right, tune the engine up (mostly set the valve lashing) and then send it on it's way to a yard more "it's own size" so to speak. It'll give someone many good years of service, provided they have a nice, flat, <1 acre yard.

Brand of the tractor to me doesn't matter at all. Heck even brand of components really doesn't. In a world where Husqvarna can make a Craftsman tractor with Craftsman stickers... or Cub Cadet residential line isn't owned or made by Cub Cadet... brand really doesn't matter. Even component builders.... Briggs made some really good engines, and some really bad ones... same with Kohler and so on.
Only thing I have to add it make sure the engine has oil in it before starting it. Many don't and even come with a label stating such. Last and only one I had purchased from Lowes came that way. No oil is not a good thing regardless the brand.
Agreed. It seems to me that the rest of the machine will often start having problems before the engine wears out. Deck rusting through, tranny problems, etc.

Looking for the best problem tranny seems like good advice to me. If shopping at Lowe's, etc, options will be limited. But I'd at least look for a K46, rather than the lower-end TL-200 (I think that's the name), or one of the plastic CVTs.

Husqvarna does seem to almost offer quite a value with that K66 machine. If they redesign the frame to be stronger, that could make it a nice capable option.
I feel like if you want to buy an LT or GT and want it to last, start at the transaxle--buy the most heavy duty one you can afford. Only caveat to that is the Husqvarna TS348s with the K66 and weak frame. Man, that is close to the best deal in a new GT available--if not for that frame. Almost worth it to buy one and immediately reinforce it. To heck with the warranty.
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Like recruiting in hockey, you always build from the goalie outward.

Same with tractors. Start at the transmission and build outward. Get the best quality you can on each component.
I figure I can replace, weld, and reinforce any major broken frame or even mower parts for cheap. Major trans and engine failures, not so cheap.
Just get a Ron Beer and be done with it

:whistle:
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A dude galavanting around in Daisy Dukes. Ew
Just get a Ron Beer and be done with it

:whistle:
I have known at least two guys like that guy driving the Ron Beer. Super Duper hyper, jumping and bouncing and with their volume turned up to 10. They were a lot of fun on small doses, but you wouldn't want to spend a week in deer camp with them. I love the Ron Beer mower. That is some highly refined hillbilly engineering there!
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A dude galavanting around in Daisy Dukes. Ew
I have known at least two guys like that guy driving the Ron Beer. Super Duper hyper, jumping and bouncing and with their volume turned up to 10. They were a lot of fun on small doses, but you wouldn't want to spend a week in deer camp with them. I love the Ron Beer mower. That is some highly refined hillbilly engineering there!
I hear ya, I couldn't handle him or his Daisies at all but got a kick out of the mower. If my old 4Runner doesn't sell it gives me an idea though, complete with a/c.:unsure:
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Just do us all a favor with your attire...no nutters.
I hear ya, I couldn't handle him or his Daisies at all but got a kick out of the mower. If my old 4Runner doesn't sell it gives me an idea though, complete with a/c.:unsure:
I'm old enough to remember when guys wore shorts that were that short. Check out NBA pics from the early 1970's
I hear ya, I couldn't handle him or his Daisies at all but got a kick out of the mower. If my old 4Runner doesn't sell it gives me an idea though, complete with a/c.:unsure:
My advice is never buy from a Big Box store. The quality is missing for price. find a dealer that sells machinery, tractors and mowers.
I'm going to be buying a riding mower, 42 or 46 inch, from Lowe's, and I need some advice. I'm buying from Lowe's because I have about $500 in gift cards from there, plus I get a 10% discount for being retired military. I need a mower that is reliable, simple to service, and comes with a good warranty. I know that is asking a lot, but hey, you never know until you ask, right? My yard is maybe 1.2 acres, completely flat, with only a few trees. I don't want or need a zero turn mower. Any help or guidance would be very much appreciated!
And this is mistake number one.
I'm going to be buying a riding mower, 42 or 46 inch, from Lowe's....
John Deere is the best choice for a big box store. Where will you store it? I’ll suggest S130 model (VTwin) if available and fits where will store. Less expensive John Deere machines will provide a 2 year warranty. The 300 series offer 4 year warranty, but much more money. Never buy Craftsman! Owned several, they have inherited the old Ford mantra, FIX AND REPAIR DAILY. I strongly suspect what you might want is not available. I ordered a John Deere X350, hopefully to be delivered in late June.
I'm going to be buying a riding mower, 42 or 46 inch, from Lowe's, and I need some advice. I'm buying from Lowe's because I have about $500 in gift cards from there, plus I get a 10% discount for being retired military. I need a mower that is reliable, simple to service, and comes with a good warranty. I know that is asking a lot, but hey, you never know until you ask, right? My yard is maybe 1.2 acres, completely flat, with only a few trees. I don't want or need a zero turn mower. Any help or guidance would be very much appreciated!
I just bought a Cub Cadet XT1 LT46 (22HP) Tractor along with the Snow Thrower attachment and twin bagger from Home Depot. Nobody had everything I needed to just buy and take home that instant, so I wound up having to order on-line, and wait.... I spent 3800 in all. Everything came shipped in crates and boxes, and there was difficulty getting help and support putting everything together. Private dealers suck! They had nothing in stock ready to sell, and they want nothing to do with you once you purchase from HD or Lowe's. After calling Home Depot back, they were nice enough to send someone to my house to help me assemble the snow thrower. Apparently, they will add a service charge if you select that option, but I was never asked for that option, so they came out as a courtesy which I was grateful for. In summary, I really like my CC XT1 so far. I think I made a good choice. Good luck!
While Lowe's or any big box store is not high on the list of my acceptable places to purchase a tractor. there may be some good in it.
The first thing is not to purchase what they have outside and ready to go. You have zero idea if it was even assembled correctly.
Take a look at Lowe's website, enter tractor in the search term. When the new page appears, click on price high to low.
If you purchase a tractor from something they have to ship in, they usually have a local dealer assemble it instead of one of the store clerks.
Get the most tractor you can buy now.
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Hellnbak, you didn't state your whole budget, so looking at Lowes website, here's my $.02 on what you asked for. (In this order)

1. Model #960430319 (K66)
2. Model #960450066 (K66 I think)
3. Model #CMXGRAM1130047 (K46)

My personal opinion is go with the 48" deck, unless your lot is super flat. The 48 gives a nicer looking cut.

I've been cutting grass for 50+ years, and I currently have a garden tractor (54" cut) and a Zero turn (48" cut). I rarely use the GT for grass cutting, mostly utility work. My garden tractor is a 2008 Craftsman with a Kohler and a K66, with over 900 hours on it. I've had zero trouble out of it, but I do regular maintenance. Oil/filter change, belts, grease is pretty much it.

Good luck to you,
Dave
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