PRODUCT REVIEW: Ferris IS 3100Z Series Zero-Turn Mower

Tom Tuminelli, operations manager with YardApes in New Milford, CT, is trying out a new mower this year: the Ferris IS 3100Z. Tuminelli purchased three of the mowers, which are now being used by three of the company’s five mowing crews.

A fourth crew has been using a Ferris IS 1500Z for the past year and a half, which is a smaller, scaled-down version of the 3100Z. Tuminelli says he began speaking with representatives from Ferris in June 2012 about the larger mower. They arranged for a two-week demo. Tuminelli gave each of his mowing crews a full day to test out a 3100Z. “They (crew workers) are the ones running the equipment all day, so I needed to get their feedback,” Tuminelli says.

Comfort. This is a big concern for Tuminelli. “My crews can’t come back to the shop at night saying their backs are killing them after mowing for eight hours. The suspension on this mower is really nice. It takes a lot of the bumps out, especially when mowing fields. You can still feel those bumps, but not nearly as much.”

Power. The IS 3100Z is offered with either a 30-, 32- or 36-hp engine. Tuminelli has gone all out for the 36. “The mower doesn’t bog down as much when cutting taller grass,” he relates. “Our crews were cutting 12- to 18-inch grass this spring with no problem.”

Cut quality. So the mower can blast through thick grass, but does it do a clean, quality job of cutting that grass? “The cut quality is on par with other mowers we’ve used,” Tuminelli says. “The extra horsepower helps with the blade speed, for sure. I also make sure to maintain sharp blades. We have two mechanics. One comes in every other afternoon to sharpen blades and help load trailers.”

The only downfall Tuminelli has seen thus far has to do with bagging. “I’d like to see a little more capacity, like we have on our Exmarks,” Tuminelli points out. The Ferris can come with an optional 12.5-cubic-foot catcher, while the Exmark Lazer Z offers roughly 16.8 cubic feet.

Dealer support. Before Tuminelli was willing to incorporate Ferris-branded mowers into his fleet, he told his contact at Ferris to set up a dealer nearby. Next thing you know, West Street Power was selling and servicing Ferris equipment.

“I spent a lot of time talking with one of the owners (Collin), and we talked about how our two businesses could grow together,” Tuminelli says. “We’d already bought a couple of Husqvarna snowthrowers from them, so we knew they were a great dealership. And they’re literally two miles from us. Collin is right on it anytime I call and need anything. That makes a big difference.”

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