Industry insiders have long been saying that there are far too many brands of zero-turn mowers out there. Results from a recent survey of Green Industry PRO readers could help explain why.
Three out of every four brands are not viewed favorably by more than half of landscape contractors. This creates a rather muddled, highly competitive middle of the market. Check out the survey results.
Many brands also suffer from poor name recognition. According to the PRO survey results, the main reason a brand is saddled with a below-half favorability rating is because most contractors have not had experience with the brand, or are altogether unfamiliar with it. This lack of name recognition is typically the result of poor distribution and/or dealer support in a given region, and/or a lack of marketing prowess. Additionally, when veteran contractors in a certain area are fiercely loyal to a brand they have operated for years, it can be difficult for other brands to establish a strong presence there.
Contractors rarely say that they actually do not like how a certain brand or product performs. The average was 13%. Cub Cadet (23%), John Deere (21%) and Husqvarna (19%) led that list.
7 things you should look at
In addition to dealer support, there are six main areas that contractors should closely examine when deciding which mower is right for them:
- Cut quality
- Operator comfort
What makes some of today's mowers "unique"
Many commercial zero-turn mowers share several similarities, including engines, cut widths and heights, etc. But each has its own unique features that help set it apart in some of the six key areas mentioned above. Here's a look at some of this year's models—and what helps make them different.
BOB-CAT FastCat Pro H Models
These mowers are designed to provide efficient cutting speed, traction and handling.
- Large, 23 x 10.50 - 12, drive tires
- 10-mph ground speeds
- DuraDeck features front and rear anti-scalp rollers, a patent-pending double-wave baffle system, extra-wide discharge opening and molded rubber chute
- Lightweight (840 pounds, 900 pounds) for 52- and 61-inch machines
- Low maintenance requirements: self-adjusting belts, maintenance-free cutter spindles, maintenance-free caster wheel bearings
Country Clipper Boss
- Patented stand-up deck simplifies under-deck maintenance, such as blade changing or cleaning; no extra tools necessary
- Patented Power Lift allows you to electrically stand the deck up or adjust the cutting height with just the push of a button
- One-handed, easy-to-use joystick steering option for ergonomic comfort; traditional dual-lever steering with a forward tracking system is also offered
- Welded-steel decks feature steel plate lamination at stress points for extra strength; a bullnose leading edge protects deck from obstructions
- Articulating front axle and floating deck help reduce gouging and scalping
Cub Cadet Tank SZ
Cub Cadet says its Tank SZ (which denotes Steering wheel Zero-turn) delivers enhanced maneuverability, turf protection and traction—even on steep inclines—due to Cub Cadet’s exclusive four-wheel steering and steering wheel control. The Tank SZ also features the Cub Cadet Signature Cut, which includes an overlapping, heavy-duty, triple-blade cutting system. Signature Cut was designed by aerospace engineers to create a combination of superior deck design and system components that are optimized for improved performance, low maintenance and a high-quality cut.
Featuring the exclusive, patented operator-forward design, the Evolution places the operator in the most ideal ergonomic position for mowing, according to the company.
- Operator's weight is evenly distributed with back, shoulders and neck aligned to minimize discomfort and fatigue
- Location of operator's position is ideal for getting on/off the mower quickly and easily
- Integrated operator suspension platform designed to deliver supreme comfort and performance
- Controls are simple to use and are placed right at the operator’s fingertips
- Overall compact, low stance and easy maneuverability, providing for excellent visibility and allowing for mowing in tight places or highly landscaped areas
- Footprint is smaller than a commercial walk-behind of similar deck width