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Which lawn tractor to get?

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  • Jul 20th, 2020 4:43 pm
[OP]
Deal Guru
Mar 20, 2003
10451 posts
629 upvotes
New-Brunswick

Which lawn tractor to get?

Hi folks,

We've moved to a 1.4 acre property so I'm looking at getting a lawn tractor to also use for smaller jobs like pulling dirt for flower beds. I've been looking model around the 3k range but the salesman was telling me I'd want locking differential to have it do a good job hauling and that takes me out of my price range for something I'm not sure I'd need.

Based on availability I've narrowed it down to 3 options so looking for opinions on them or if there are others I should consider:
John Deere E160 (~3100$) - 48 inch deck with 24HP - internet says engine is sourced from Briggs&Stratton
Cub Cadet XT2 LX 42KW (3100$) - 42 inch deck with 18HP Kawasaki engine
Husqvarna TSX148X (3000$) - 48 inch deck with 24HP - Engine is Briggs&Stratton

Some people seem to have a real dislike for B&S engines but I know nothing about them. I originally wanted the Cub Cadet XT1 LT 46C with the Cub Cadet engine at 22Hp for 2699$ but the store doesn't have any and couldn't say if they'd get more. I don't know if the XT2 is worth the same price as the other 2 when you consider it seems quite a bit weaker- the larger KW engine is 3249$ but then we're talking the E170 or the Husqvarna TS 146XD for 3100$ which the internet says DOES have the rear locking differential but I don't know where to get it locally.

Suggestion? Is the rear locking differential really something I want to haul dirt for gardens, etc.?

Thank you
15 replies
Deal Guru
Jan 25, 2007
11736 posts
6924 upvotes
Paris
A friend of mine was in charge of warranty for a large manufacturer of these types of lawn equipment and he said that B&S quality has dipped so much they got way more warranty claims on them than the Chinese made motors they also used in some product lines. Just something to think about.

With 1.4 acres you dont need the biggest of the big with hydrostatic gearing and a locking diff. You need to cut grass and pull a small dumping trailer that is a glorified 3x wheelbarrow. Your budget is fine, pick one you like and go for it. None of them in the sub $6k range are made to any exacting standards that you will be passing them down to your kids. You should get 15 years out of any of these with minimal maintenance (sharpening blades, oil changes)

If you have a hilly lot, be careful of the wider cutting models as you can scalp the grass. If you have straight always, look for cruise control. If you have a lot of trees, look for a model you can backup with the blades running.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Oct 12, 2007
7571 posts
5736 upvotes
Ottawa
I have a 20 year old Craftsman with a 22 hp 2 cylinder B+S mower and it still works very well and parts are readily available for whenever I need belts or whatever. I also have a B+S motor on my 16 y.o. snowblower and on my 8 y.o. pressure washer. No problems with any of them. I hadn't heard that the quality had dipped recently but it's possible. As one can tell by the age of my equipment, I haven't been in the market recently.

I got my Craftsman tractor during an end-of-season sale and got the bagger thrown in plus another $500 off the MSRP. After 20 years, it owes me nothing.
Deal Guru
Jan 25, 2007
11736 posts
6924 upvotes
Paris
CaptSmethwick wrote: I have a 20 year old Craftsman with a 22 hp 2 cylinder B+S mower and it still works very well and parts are readily available for whenever I need belts or whatever. I also have a B+S motor on my 16 y.o. snowblower and on my 8 y.o. pressure washer. No problems with any of them. I hadn't heard that the quality had dipped recently but it's possible. As one can tell by the age of my equipment, I haven't been in the market recently.

I got my Craftsman tractor during an end-of-season sale and got the bagger thrown in plus another $500 off the MSRP. After 20 years, it owes me nothing.
My buddy dealt with literally hundreds and hundreds of them over their first 2-4 years of life and their warranty claims on B&S were high. That data is about 4-5 years old now I think, so who knows today.
Deal Fanatic
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Oct 12, 2007
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Ottawa
Jerico wrote: My buddy dealt with literally hundreds and hundreds of them over their first 2-4 years of life and their warranty claims on B&S were high. That data is about 4-5 years old now I think, so who knows today.
I don't doubt you. I am a sample size of one. Of the four stroke small engine category, I have had Honda, B+S, Tecumseh, Stihl, and Kohler engines in my life and none have given me trouble. I have been pretty lucky with the two-stroke engines as well. Good storage procedures and regular oil/filter changes is really all I do. Perhaps B+S are sensitive to good/bad maintenance?
[OP]
Deal Guru
Mar 20, 2003
10451 posts
629 upvotes
New-Brunswick
Anyone have thoughts on the Husqvarna TS 146XD? At 3100$ with a locking differential it has something that you need to pay much more for a CC or JD to get and I found a dealer half an hour away with it in stock. It does have the B&S engine but without going higher priced or staying with CC that appears to be what I'll have to get.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Feb 10, 2011
1254 posts
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No need for locking diff unless you are going to blow snow or plow or maybe if you had huge hills. Anyone of those models you suggested are fine. But if you can go up to $3600 I’d get the John Deere s240 from a dealer. Has the Kawasaki twin and is a great mower.
No One Goes to Palmerston Ontario
Deal Guru
Jan 25, 2007
11736 posts
6924 upvotes
Paris
CaptSmethwick wrote: I don't doubt you. I am a sample size of one. Of the four stroke small engine category, I have had Honda, B+S, Tecumseh, Stihl, and Kohler engines in my life and none have given me trouble. I have been pretty lucky with the two-stroke engines as well. Good storage procedures and regular oil/filter changes is really all I do. Perhaps B+S are sensitive to good/bad maintenance?
Keep in mind we are getting into fuzzier details here, but at dinner one night someone mentioned “it’s no B&S but it’s good” and he said “B&S isn’t B&S anymore either, they are just another Chinese engine company”

Basically, they had the name plate but were doing the same as all the other China, Inc motor companies.
Deal Guru
Jan 25, 2007
11736 posts
6924 upvotes
Paris
Our 1985 Kubota compact utility tractor doesn’t have a locking diff and it’s been fine pushing snow etc.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Oct 12, 2007
7571 posts
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Ottawa
Jerico wrote: Keep in mind we are getting into fuzzier details here, but at dinner one night someone mentioned “it’s no B&S but it’s good” and he said “B&S isn’t B&S anymore either, they are just another Chinese engine company”

Basically, they had the name plate but were doing the same as all the other China, Inc motor companies.
Yup. I have a generic Chinese engine in my chipper and it works fine but I've had to have a number of pieces replaced (fortunately, under warranty). I may have to sell the thing before it blows up. But the quality definitely suggests that the race to the bottom is well underway. If that's what B&S has come to, it's a darned shame.
Sr. Member
Feb 27, 2007
580 posts
408 upvotes
If the price is the same grab or close the Deere or an equivalent Kubota if available. You won't beat the service and parts availability makes a big difference over the long term - just buy from an actual dealer vs. a big box store so you have an actual connection with the place that's going to fix your machine (which it will need). Husqvarna is overpriced junk - in equipment Deere and Kubota eat their lunch, and in small engines Stihl is an infinitely better machine.

Just my experience with having a lot about 3-4 times your size in grass and family members with actual farms running into the hundreds of acres and likely 10 tractors all told from subcompacts to 70+ hp machines and dealing with most major manufacturers.
Deal Addict
Nov 16, 2011
1496 posts
1201 upvotes
HAMILTON
to cut your grass the fastest and easiest, you need a zero turn. And you should buy the most HP and deck size that you can afford.


MTD makes most of the consumer market lawn tractors. They just tweak them for the various brand names.

It would be preferable to buy from a dealer but, you will spend more.

Relative to price, most people will only spend bout 25-35 hrs cutting their grass per year. Consequently, most consumer riding mowers will last the entire life mowing life time of the original owner providing they do regular maintenance so is it really worth the premium price for a mower.

You will spend far more than just a little bit to buy a John Deere or Kubota lawn tractor from a dealer.
Deal Fanatic
Oct 6, 2007
9802 posts
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Kootenays
luckystrike1 wrote: to cut your grass the fastest and easiest, you need a zero turn. And you should buy the most HP and deck size that you can afford.


MTD makes most of the consumer market lawn tractors. They just tweak them for the various brand names.

It would be preferable to buy from a dealer but, you will spend more.

Relative to price, most people will only spend bout 25-35 hrs cutting their grass per year. Consequently, most consumer riding mowers will last the entire life mowing life time of the original owner providing they do regular maintenance so is it really worth the premium price for a mower.

You will spend far more than just a little bit to buy a John Deere or Kubota lawn tractor from a dealer.
Pretty hard to haul dirt (OP's requirement) with a zero turn.
Deal Guru
Jan 25, 2007
11736 posts
6924 upvotes
Paris
smacd wrote: Pretty hard to haul dirt (OP's requirement) with a zero turn.
All the John Deere ZTRs come with a spot for a ball. I wouldnt pull my boat around with it like we do with our CUT, but they will pull a roller, small dump wagon, etc just as any smaller lawn tractor would. A good ZTR is 3x OP’s budget.
Deal Addict
Nov 16, 2011
1496 posts
1201 upvotes
HAMILTON
there is no big deal to put a small hitch on the back of zero turn to haul light loads ........ similar to a lawn tractor.

People do it all the time and no, if it does not cause the zero turn to do wheelies unless, of course, you are ridiculous with the weight.
Deal Addict
Nov 16, 2011
1496 posts
1201 upvotes
HAMILTON
wheelies included......

Actually, I was trying to point out that the fastest way to cut grass and, usually, the most comfortable way to cut grass was a zero turn.

Believe me, after a while, trying to find time to cut an acre + of grass becomes a challenge what with family, work and other commitments.

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