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My father in law will be in the market for a zero turn mower for next season (Northern Illinois). I'm a JD lawn tractor guy, so I don't know a whole lot about what's out there and available. He's currently rocking a 2008 Cub Cadet 1050 LT that he's owned since new.

They live out in the middle of a corn field (literally) and live on a bit over an (1) acre. He enjoys mowing, but he had to retire early because he had a severed nerve in his spine and he can't feel much of one leg and his back is always sore. The Cub Cadet doesn't do much for his back, as there's no suspension at all. He REALLY wants a zero turn (and has for a LONG time) and I used to mow my grandfathers large yard with one, and enjoyed the **** out of it, so I've got him all hyped up - lol.

He's eyeballing Toro, but I don't know if that's the way to go or not... His max to spend is around $4,000. Please throw ANY ideas my way. :)
 

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Likely any of the main brands (Toro, Gravely, JD, Ariens, Scag, Snapper) in that price range will do a good job. I have a Gravely ZT XL 42" that I bought some time ago, and it worked really well for me (it's a backup machine for me now, as for the big jobs I use a Snapper Pro 52" hydro walkbehind (gives me some exercise and takes up less space on the trailer.
 

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I just bought a John Deere 757 60” deck a month ago and used it once to mow the local Christian school soccer field, about 2 acres. I bought it to keep the time similar to my Deere X758 54” deck as well as keeping the ride smooth. Sometimes, during the summer, I mow around the school as well. The 2 acre soccer field is obviously flat, but not supper smooth. I can mow it in about 1 1/4 hrs, but expect it to be less. The 757 is a commercial grade mower that I expect to last a long time. There are similar newer models at higher prices, but they hold their value. There is a knack to driving one. Commercial units I think are easier. I really liked the Scag mowers. I went with used to keep the cost down. New, you won’t get a good unit in that price range.
 

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To get a nice suspension seat, you generally need to go commercial and $4,000 won't cut it off you are buying new. I've owned residential and commercial zero turns. The commercial ones I have bought used. There is a lot of good used stuff out there. For an acre, you don't need commercial, but they're awfully nice. I've used a bottom of the line JD z225 and it's been a great machine. It would probably take 45-60 minutes too do an acre with it. With my commercial Husqvarna, which I love, I can do an acre in 15 minutes. Got it for $3700 used. Check out sales going on at Husqvarna dealers with the mz-t52. Nice, entry level commercial. Probably closer to $5k though when in sale
 

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I am looking at the Toro line of zero turn mowers because they have a NEW "MyRide" seating system that rides on 3 coil over shocks. My sister has had a Toro ztm for about 10 years with NO problems. The ones I'm looking at are right in the $4000.00 range but I can not figure out the Toro 5 digit model number system. I realize things like engine mfg. and cut width will be reflected in the model number but with the ones I'm looking at the unit specs are identical but have different 4 digit model numbers, and different prices.
 

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My brother has a Kubota ZD25. Older diesel zero turn, but better than most and gives a great cut, while giving a great ride. His son-in-law is using it for now and thinks it’s better than any of the ZTR’s that he used in his lawn care business. I considered one when I was looking, but they were more money than I was trying to spend. The Deere 757 I found was $2850 and a 4 hr drive each way. Most are in the $4000+ range. The ride was most impressive. I did try a Z655(?) local, but hadn’t figured out how to drive ZTR’s yet. It too would have been a good choice. I even tried a year old Kubota that was about $6000. Monster machine, but again more than I wanted to spend.

$$$ were the governing factor for me and is for many people. Lower prices means a lot more searching and a lot more studying to find a good one that will satisfy you for a long time and last as well.
 
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