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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have never owed a riding lawn mower before. But I am in the market now to get one.

We don't have a big yard. like a 1/3 of an acre. I currently have a toro self propelled mower, but I have been having some back problems and need to make the switch. The yard is mostly flat, though there is one small incline (see below).

I would like to get something in the $1000-1500ish range. Though lower is always nicer, I don't want to buy something that I will regret later. There is also a chance my inlaws would be moving down the street, and if that happens, I will mow their yard (which would be give or take the same size).

Since I am at the beginning of this process I am open to suggestions. I like the idea of a used mower for the cost saving and getting more for less. Although I am not handy with engines, and I can admit that I would have no idea what would constitute a well maintained vs a well cleaned mower. As such my wife hinted that while I typically never buy extended warranties, this might be an area to break that rule... though I am not 100% sold on that idea.

Basically, I am open to suggestions from those with more knowledge on the topic.

 

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The Cub Cadet LTX 1040 would fall into that price range. However, I recommend the LTX 1042 KW. It's a bit more than the 1040, but has the Kawasaki engine as opposed to the Kohler in the 1040. That's definitely worth the extra $$$. Both models have a 42" deck.

The 1042 KW is a 'dealer only' model, so you would have to go to a Cub Cadet dealer to buy one.

http://www.cubcadet.com/equipment/cubcadet/lawn-and-garden-tractors/series-1000
 

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I think that a "ride on" mower -think Forest Gump- will be more than adequate for your smallish lot (once you plant your garden on that hillock).

Ask around among your neighbors and co-workers to find at least one competent and experienced LOCAL source for information (even if biased by a brand preference) and occasional help when something goes wrong (it will).

On the point of brands... yeah there are differences and some will even matter objectively, but when buying used at the low end of price range brand matters even less than when buying new.

"Survivors" exist because someone took care of them. Find one.

This guy is asking too much but it's close to what you want:
http://richmond.craigslist.org/grd/3793061252.html

If you want new, here's one example:
http://www.sears.com/craftsman-420c...7129000000P?prdNo=11&blockNo=11&blockType=G11
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I think that a "ride on" mower -think Forest Gump- will be more than adequate for your smallish lot (once you plant your garden on that hillock).
As of now, I don't think we would plant a garden on that hill. It is too high traffic of an area - the driveway is just to the left of it.

I looked at the ride on mowers. They are very appealing, though they seem to be the very low end of the price.... which often time equates to lower reliability. I don't want to buy one that will have problems.

Other then cost, what is the difference between the the "ride on" mower and a standard one?

I took a look at the cub cadet. The standard 1040 is $1400, but the other one is a bit too steep.

Thanks for the advice. It is really helping decide what I should do.
 

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Other then cost, what is the difference between the the "ride on" mower and a standard one?
Size. You're yard doesn't need more or bigger.

I looked at the ride on mowers. They are very appealing, though they seem to be the very low end of the price...
That's a GoodThing. Since you don't need more... why pay for more?
Aside from your back... you don't need more than the self propelled walk behind you already have.
Related to that... try to find one that has the bagger (no more leaf raking)

It is really helping decide what I should do.
Find someone LOCAL to help. Neighbor? Work? Church?
Someone willing to go with when you look at a couple of used ones.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Size. You're yard doesn't need more or bigger.

That's a GoodThing. Since you don't need more... why pay for more?
Aside from your back... you don't need more than the self propelled walk behind you already have.
Related to that... try to find one that has the bagger (no more leaf raking)

Find someone LOCAL to help. Neighbor? Work? Church?
Someone willing to go with when you look at a couple of used ones.
My one concern would be that because of how this kind of mower is designed with the engine in back, it would be hard to mow the incline without it tipping over.

When I buy this, I plan on getting rid of the other self-propelled mower.
 

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My one concern would be that because of how this kind of mower is designed with the engine in back, it would be hard to mow the incline without it tipping over.
Mine too. That's why I mentioned putting in the garden.

I'll defer to people who own and use one (I don't) but I suspect that the lower center of gravity is probably better/safer on an incline than a regular lawn tractor will be. In either case it's about how you use it.
 

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You really need to mow with some different types before buying one to see what you like. The grass need to be cut and you might as well get some enjoyment out of it.I have a Snapper rear engine rider it's the most awkward mower I have ever used. Reverse is a real pain to use. It is a good mower if you can over look the above. I have never used a tractor type mower that wasn't more comfortable and easier to use. That's my opinion and it isn't going to change. The only time I used the Snapper is when I have the deck off my tractor. The only reason I have the Snapper is that it was my dads mower. It won't tip over on an incline, but you need to mow up and down. My dads yard we had to mow across the incline not a good feeling. When I had to mow my dads yard I used my tractor mower. A friend had one his girls use it as it would not pull him up a grade. He weight around 300# at that time. I use three mowers to do my yard. The tractor for the biggest part. A self propelled walk behind for ditches and banks, and a Echo weed eater for what I can't get with the other two. Out of the three the Echo is the only one still been produced.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
You really need to mow with some different types before buying one to see what you like. The grass need to be cut and you might as well get some enjoyment out of it.
About 10 years ago, we lived in my inlaws farm house. While we were there, I used thier cub cadet to mow the multi-acre lot. I liked it fine. I am pretty sure I would prefer a tractor style as opposed to sitting on the engine.

I went to lowes tonight to get a feel for what they had. I think that is a good way to gage size and the feel. While I was there, the guy told me about a smaller husqvarna (SRD17530). The size looks perfect for my needs. But I can't find much additional info other then what is on the product page. Anyone have any any addition info on this one?
 

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the tractor style mowers are nice to look at and they make you feel like you are on a real tractor sometimes. but the snapper can do all of the things one would expect from a mower. We have had one close to 30 years now and would not trade it for any new mower on the market today, I own 3 deere's and a zero turn kubota. I dont mow with any of the deere's as the snapper out performs them in the cutting department, we have 3 acres to mow and the snapper does all of the mowing perfect even thou it is getting sort of old.
 

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I would say a small rear engine would fit your bill, but then I would also recommend a hydrastic tranny so you will have little shifting to do, especially if your back problem gets worse, I do not think the rear engines comes in hydro. I would say some lower end tractors will have hyrdo for under $1500, but you can also find used ones a few years old on CL for 5-700 all day long that will last you many more years. You have a relatively flat land so the concerns some have with light duty trannies would not be a concern for you, it will handle it fine. My dad has a 1998 Yard Machine ( MTD) 46" cut hydro we cut regularly on steep hills and it's never had any problems.
I would say if you go with a used one, stay away from anything with the Kohler Courage motor, seems a lot of cracked blocks are popping up all over on all makes that use those motors.
I would keep the pusher, there is always those times you need to trim up under something the tractor wil not fit.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I talked to a snapper dealer about one of the rear engine riders and explained that there is an area of my yard that is 23ft wide and 17ft long that has about a 35° incline. He basically said that the RER would have problems with that.

His advice was a regular tractor style mower.

So now I am torn. I agree that a smaller mower would be great for my yard.... if it wasn't for that one area. On the other hand, for the cost of the snapper, I could get any entry level mower out there from JD, CC, etc. If it wasn't for that slope I would just get the RER style and be done with it.

I want to make a decision soon. My wife thinks that Memorial Day may have some big sales, though I am not sure if that is true.
 

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He basically said that the RER would have problems with that.
His advice was a regular tractor style mower.
I really don't think a lawn tractor will be any "safer" on that hill.
So now I am torn.
I agree that a smaller mower would be great for my yard...
Reconsider putting in the garden bed.

Have you found the local guy (work? church? neighbor?) yet?
You're at the stage to do a "test run" on each type.
Be sure.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Have you found the local guy (work? church? neighbor?) yet? You're at the stage to do a "test run" on each type. Be sure.
We paid a young man the other day to mow the lawn. He used a regular riding mower without a problem going straight up and down. Also, the slope closer to the house is steeper then the other side. It might be closer to a 20° - 25° slope on the other side, closer to the house it is more like 35°.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
So I went by a local snapper dealer and we talked over the slope in my yard. After some discussion we figured out a way to make it work.

So now the new question is which model? It appears that there is nothing used around me.

I don't think I can swing the RE210 which is $1900. I know that this one has the Hydrostatic transmission. Now I'll be honest, I am not sure I know what that difference really means.

Based on the other three (RE100, RE110 and RE130), I am not sure what the real practical differences are. Obviously the RE100 & RE110 are 28inch and the RE130 is a 33inch. I don't think that the size difference matters much to me. So removing that from the differences, what else really is merits the $150 more for the RE110 or the $300 more for the RE130.

I feel like narrowing it down to these four is a bit liberating that I have at least narrowed it down to a brand and a place that I will probably buy it. One other question, should I expect that dealers are going to charge strait MSRP or is there some wiggle room on these?
 
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