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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All,

I'm a new member. This looks like a great site!

I've ever owned a lawn tractor before, only push mowers. Just purchased a new house with 1.2 acre lot so I'm looking at upgrading. Relatively flat yard, although one section has a medium grade. A number of huge old oak trees, but no other significant obstacles. I'll be using the tractor for mowing (obviously), but clearing leaves from the yard and long driveway is also important (the oak trees drop a huge amount of leaves). I always just mulch the grass. At my current house I just mulch the leaves, but there aren't that many trees. At the new house I don't have to bag leaves and could potentially just do a leaf pile if I don't mulch them.

I went to two different local dealers this week looking for advice. Both salesmen were knowledgeable and helpful, but they gave me two different recommendations.

One recommended the S240. He said it is more than capable given my yard size. For the leaves he recommended just using the mulching feature and not collecting them. I'm not totally sure, though, how I'd manage all the leaves on the long driveway.

The other recommended the X350. He said it was more powerful and therefore would be able to handle a chute and hopper system for the leaves. He said mulching the volume of leaves from the oak trees probably isn't practical and I'd need the chute/hopper.

A few questions:

1). In general, thoughts on S240 vs X350? Obviously the cost is higher on the X350. I'm not totally sure what I'm getting for the extra money.

2). Thoughts on leaf management? Is mulching going to work for a large volume of leaves, or am I going to need to collect them?

3). If I collect the leaves, thoughts on the Power Flow system vs cut and throw?

4). 42" vs 48"

I asked all of these questions to the salesmen, but I just received different recommendations and advice. Probably just based on different experiences.

Thanks in advance for any help! Sorry for all the questions.
 

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Both of them are very similar, same engine and transmission so not sure why they say X350 is more powerful for anything. Larger deck will likely make mowing less time consuming. If you don't plan on doing anything beyond what you indicate here the S240 would be my recommendation.
 

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Welcome!

Are you set on buying new?

1). In general, thoughts on S240 vs X350? Obviously the cost is higher on the X350. I'm not totally sure what I'm getting for the extra money.
For starters, the x350 comes with an extra year warranty. You get a slightly bigger fuel tank with the x350, and the x350 (from my understanding) has the more user friendly deck leveling set up and the anti-scalp wheels that rotate for removing the deck and that are adjustable. It's an $800 difference between the units (depending on whether the dealer gives the same discounts on both units), so its not that great of a leap to get into the x350. the s240 may be a little more nimble if you have tight areas.

2). Thoughts on leaf management? Is mulching going to work for a large volume of leaves, or am I going to need to collect them?
I haven't lived under an oak tree for some time, but when I did, there was no way I was mulching and discharging the leaves when they fell. We had to move them. I think the second recommendation about a bagger might be accurate, but I don't use one so I'd have to leave their effectiveness up to someone else around here.

3). If I collect the leaves, thoughts on the Power Flow system vs cut and throw?
I can't really answer that one for you, sorry.

4). 42" vs 48"
personally, I'd stick with the 48" if your property doesn't have any tight areas that it won't fit into. You just want to consider how much trimming is left over if you cant get the deck in between objects. There are some treads about the 42" deck on the s240 around here, so those might have more info. That 48" accel deck on the x350 (not sure if its the same on the s240 with the 48" option) is a great deck. One of my favorite things about upgrading was getting that deck. Cuts well and doesn't leave wind rows of clippings to clean up even if the grass is longer.
 

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I have the X350's predecessor with a 42 inch deck and blow the leaves all the way to the back of an acre and a half lot. Its more than capable if you have somewhere to blow them and take your time, but plan on it taking some time.
 

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I’d probably go with the S240 with a 48” deck based on what you’ve described. I don’t find the lower end X300’s that enticing.

Mulching or collecting... I do both. I chop what I can with the mower, but then use a Husqvarna leaf blower/vac for the thicker/heavier stuff as needed. The collection systems just seem like a waste of money to me, but that’s just personal preference.

If you’re at all handy, maybe consider a larger, used machine. Do you plan on any winter maintenance at all? That also plays a part in what to go with...
 

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It sounds like you’re dealing with a lot of leaves. If so, skip the standard bagger and go with a powered tow behind or powerflow for more capacity/shredding capabilities.

If you have an unmanicured tree line around a good amount of the yard, consider counterclockwise pattern with no bagger to grind them up as you move them toward the tree line. For this method, either a good set of mulching blades or higher cleanup frequency will help a lot.

A standard bagger will fill very quickly. This can be mitigated by first making a pass or two over the entire area to make them smaller and more compact for more efficient bagging, at the cost of more seat time. That could be either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you want to spend time.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Good stuff. Thanks for the insight. Thankfully little to no snow where I live. I like the idea of combining blowing and mowing the leaves.
 

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You can also buying mulching blades and still side discharge. (Gator blades are popular) I'll generally double mow leaves, and let them lay. Personally, I'd buy the x350 with the 48" deck. Probably has more resale value when you got to upgrade, after you ask the forum the next question. They always answer "buy bigger". :)

I started with an x300, went to x530 and now have an x534. (Love the 4 wheel steer)
 

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Personally, I'd buy the x350 with the 48" deck. Probably has more resale value when you got to upgrade
I respectfully disagree on resale factoring into anything. For instance, are you going to get $800 extra back in resale? No. Maybe $100-$200 if that. It’s insignificant and is a waste of money in the present. Sort of like the car salesman taking you into the $2500 package to get a $500 discount...

Buy the machine for you, not for a future owner. Like not sleeping with your wife to save her for the next guy...
 

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Lol. I think an x350 is an easier sell than an S240. Maybe not more value, but most non-forum members probably couldn't tell you what an S240 is.
 

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My rule is buy one step up from what you need.
 
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Lol. I think an x350 is an easier sell than an S240. Maybe not more value, but most non-forum members probably couldn't tell you what an S240 is.
I doubt they could tell us anything about a X3-anything. What most people look at is price - they won’t find utility in anything priced in the range a used X300; I can almost guarantee it is easier to sell a S/D/E than any X series just based on the price range. These are people who don’t get on forums or FB groups - they’re just looking for a cheap tractor and don’t even want to spend the money on a new box store model.
 
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I have an X300 (equivalent to the X350) with a 42" Edge Extra deck. The 42" deck has two blades, while the 48" deck has three blades. There are some that say two blades give a better cut. I am not convinced, but I guess it depends on the quality of your lawn. Mine is more field than lawn.

We get a lot of maple and cottonwood leaves in the fall. While the mower will do something to them, you probably won't like the results. I have a wheeled leaf blower (that I have to push), a BR600 backpack blower, and a handheld blower. I use all of them for various tasks. The BR600 is nice, but I had to get both the hip strap and the shoulder keeper to make it reasonably comfortable for more than 10min. It also uses a lot of fuel. The wheeled one blows really well, but it is not that easy to aim (luckily close counts in blowers too). The handheld one is great for blowing off the mower deck and detail work, but it gets really heavy really quickly. I usually run the deck/blades on the X300 when I drive down the driveway to blow any leaves that are there to the side. It works pretty well, but when there are a lot of them, it just makes a mess.

I have never really been happy with the X300, but never so unhappy that I did anything about it. When I bought it, my wife was going to do the mowing. We were looking at the LA100 (or there abouts). The salesperson let me try out the 100 series on and the X300. I thought the X300 was much better. She probably could have convinced us to buy the X500 (which would have been a better choice for our property and stated needs) but was just happy to get the sale on the X300.

Depending on where you are, used machines can be plentiful and reasonably priced, or not really much of a savings over new.
 

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A couple of large oaks drop more leaves than most people see. Oak leaves are very acidic and are definitely not a good idea to mulch. When you get a wet year like we had last year, they were a bear to pick up/mulch, even with the Cyclone Rake. Early on, I raked, raked onto tarps and drug to the woods. Then I got the Scotts L17.542 with two bag bagger. That was a huge improvement. Then I got older and climbing on and off the tractor got very painful. It still worked well, just painful. I did a widow and widower’s lawns down the street, 100’ wide lot and not too deep, minus the house. I ran into a year with mega leaves. I filled both bags going one pass across the lot. 22 bags latter, I finished the widow’s lawn and about the same with the widower’s lawn. That’s when I went looking for something better. The Cyclone Rake (285 gal box) clears the entire lawn with moderate leaves in one load, two loads for heavy leaves. I used it on my Scotts and was great if I didn’t get on any slopes. The tractor is too light and the weight of the Cyclone filled will twist the rear of the tractor sideways. Using it on the X738 54” deck is amazing. The neighbor had blown leaves into a pile maybe 18” tall in the center, 20’ long, 15’ wide, very damp leaves and I was able to raise the deck a little and drive right over slowly. I think I picked up three loads from that pile plus a little more. He had been there for hours and I was done in maybe 20 minutes with that pile, maybe 45 minutes for his whole yard. He was so impressed, he said he would pay me that time and any time I would do it for him. He normally does it with his Craftsman pulling a lawn sweeper. Don’t get me wrong, you can go too big too. I help a friend with his large lawn in the woods with his Cyclone Rake Z10 (415 gal box) on his Kubota BX2380 54” deck which works for him, 2-3 loads each time, several times each fall. It would be too big to maneuver around my house or either of the other lots described before. You have to kind of experience it to appreciate other options and then decide if it is too expensive.

For an acre lawn, I too would recommend a 48” deck, but wouldn’t avoid considering a 54”. It totally depends on how tight the area you mow gets and how much maneuvering you will have to do. That’s why most will recommend trying the tractor on your lawn.

Keep in mind, the time it takes to do the job also factors into what you think is good enough. For a lawn care business, time is money, for a retiree not so much as it is comfortable, young married with kids get it done and maybe be a teaching experience for the kids.

Have you tried the X350? Keep in mind, a 42” will take longer to mow (maybe 1.5-2 hrs/acre), but won’t require a Power-Flow for bagging. The X350 has the foot assist lift, the S240 has a hand handle lift (similar to my Scotts) and some places I prefer it, but haven’t used a foot pedal lift, just hydraulic. Keep in mind, even an E1xx would handle just mowing for a long time if cared for. That’s about all my Scotts 17.5 hp 42” is (purchased October 2002) plus 2 bag bagger.

I would prefer:
  • a little more horsepower that’s in the X350, but would lean toward an X390 to get the power steering and EFI engine, but that’s just me and a few others on here. The higher horsepower stems from me using it for snow removal.
  • a separate engine on a lawn vac rather than use a Power Flow and bagger.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I've been studying the Cyclone Rake after reading your post. It looks awesome and may be just what I need. Also likes they stand behind their product and have good service from what I've read.
 

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After more than 35 years with tractors that didn't have real hydraulics I won't own a tractor without hydraulics and power steering. If that takes you up to an X580 then so be it. In the end you'll be more than happy with your selection for many, many, years to come.

The S240 is a niche machine specifically for people who don't want to say they own a box store tractor thinking the name indicates a much better machine. Not the case. Buy once, cry once.
 

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After more than 35 years with tractors that didn't have real hydraulics I won't own a tractor without hydraulics and power steering. If that takes you up to an X580 then so be it. In the end you'll be more than happy with your selection for many, many, years to come.

The S240 is a niche machine specifically for people who don't want to say they own a box store tractor thinking the name indicates a much better machine. Not the case. Buy once, cry once.
S240 is great for a lawn tractor - it has a purpose. For light duty (and younger/first time buyers) then hydraulics aren’t really necessary. It’s also a significant price jump from the lawn mowers to a X500.

Not everyone can just go get “the best” right away, especially people who may be starting a family, are only maybe a decade into their career, still paying student loans, etc. Not everyone is a retiree with free time and free money.
 

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Only the OP knows his budget and desires. I would say the S240 is capable. If it meets your needs and you like using it, it would be money well spent. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) you don't know what you haven't tried. There are a LOT of choices. Since you just bought a new house, money is probably tight with all the other expenses. Maybe get something used that won't lose too much when you decide it isn't exactly what you need/want/desire. I certainly don't need an X739. I am not sure I even want one. But, reading this forum makes me think I should desire one ?. I "upgraded" from the 100 series before I even bought one, because I rode on both an LA100 and an X300. The S240 didn't exist at the time. The X300 is now the X370. The X300 has been okay and done all that I have asked of it, which is likely more than it was designed to do. I don't know that I would have been willing to pay for an X500 series at that time. I know I looked longingly at the 2305, but it was too big and too much for just mowing. I still have the X300, 13 seasons later. I still feel the same way about it. It works and it is fun to drive, but it gets stuck too easily and doesn't cut that well, but it is good enough, so why spend thousands of dollars more?

If I had bought the LA100, I am sure it would have died or broken enough times I would have replaced it already.
 
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Remember, if you purchase either one with the power chute its a 1000 dollars more on the S240 and 1130 dollars more on the X350. If you get the mulch kit on the S240 or the X350 its 169 more. Its 356 more on the X350 if you want it controlled on your dash.

In my opinion, If I needed a new tractor, I would buy a E180 from a box store like Home Depot. It has 25 HP and a 54 inch deck. There's only a two year warranty but I would take the chance on buying it and Home Depot has inexpensive extended warranties. I have three quarters of an acre and it can handle it. I would never buy from a dealer because they work off commission and their prices are real high where as box store employees work hourly and sometimes they have deals. Especially if your military, law enforcement, and/or on holidays.
 

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If you choose to go with an E180 or any Exxx, I would pay the extra $$ for the adapter kit to use regular oil filters and change all the oil each time.
 
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