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  • Exmark vs Ferris vs Toro Walk Behind

    I'm returning the Husqvarna RZ5424 ZTR that I just picked up in January.
    Never even cut a blade of grass, but today I went to take it out to practice driving it, and it wouldn't start. Buh-bye. I'm getting my money back and putting it towards a commercial grade walk behind.

    That said, my local dealer carries Toro. A sister business (different name, but same owner) of theirs about 30 minutes from me carries Ferris and Exmark. I confirmed with the second dealer that the "Toro shop" WILL service an Exmark/Ferris if purchased from them. Good to know.

    THAT said, the Exmark/Ferris dealer is having an open house tomorrow with special pricing on Exmark/Ferris including 0% interest for 3 years (2 years is the norm - 3 year for the open house promotion event)
    The Toro dealer is having their open house later this month, BTW.




    Now, I'm scrambling trying to decide what I should get and trying to do so OVERNIGHT. Sigh.


    I'm looking to get either a 32" or a 36".
    I don't think I can go over $5,000 - less would be better.

    I was there the other day when I found out about tomorrow's open house and he has a 36" Ferris Comfort Control DD (floating deck/hydro) for $4,999 (show special)



    I'm off to research the different mowers/online pricing, but wouldn't mind any input on any of these brands.

    I must say that I'm not a fan of the bushing height adjustment that I see on most fixed deck mowers - seems like a pain in the A$$. I assume that the floating decks are easier to adjust for cut height - the Ferris I saw has two cranks to quickly adjust - seems easy enough.

    I do have some lawns with hills if that makes any difference.

    I don't bag if I can help it, so a GOOD mulching mower is preferable.

    Help. (please)


    Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    ... I must say that I'm not a fan of the bushing height adjustment that I see on most fixed deck mowers - seems like a pain in the A$$. I assume that the floating decks are easier to adjust for cut height - the Ferris I saw has two cranks to quickly adjust - seems easy enough. ...
    The bushing adjusters aren't really that bad. You don't change them very often and the fixed decks are lighter and easier to lift by hand to switch the bushings. My floating deck Toro is FREAKIN heavy and much harder to adjust for height than my old fixed deck. Instead of two bushings there are 4 pins. I'm going to look at a Grandstand I think if the financing is good.
    Boughter's Lawn Care Services Mowing and Fertilizing in New Castle, PA

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    • #3
      Thanks for the info. That's the kind of thing you can't learn by looking at the Toro website. There's NOTHING to indicate HOW height is adjusted - only the amount.

      I change heights on my push mower more than I thought I would, so I'm looking at the features that make life easier. If I'm spending thousands of dollars on something to be more productive, I don't want to be cussing every time I need to change the deck height.

      One bad strike for Toro I suppose.

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      • #4
        Thanks for the info. That's the kind of thing you can't learn by looking at the Toro website. There's NOTHING to indicate HOW height is adjusted - only the amount.

        I change heights on my push mower more than I thought I would, so I'm looking at the features that make life easier. If I'm spending thousands of dollars on something to be more productive, I don't want to be cussing every time I need to change the deck height.

        One bad strike for Toro I suppose.

        i have a exmark viking 48" and the hydros and the grips are like butter and with a sulke you can motor right along.
        i am not too much of a fan on the floating deck and it does add to the price but i guess it depends on the terrain you mow.

        i knew you would be needing a mower in the future buying that crappy home owner mower back in january and i sure got flammed away on suggesting you buy a real mower.
        but the important thing is you seen the light and and now if you are gonna spend the money get the exmark over the toro and the ferris.

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        • #5
          i have a exmark viking 48" and the hydros and the grips are like butter and with a sulke you can motor right along.
          i am not too much of a fan on the floating deck and it does add to the price but i guess it depends on the terrain you mow.

          i knew you would be needing a mower in the future buying that crappy home owner mower back in january and i sure got flammed away on suggesting you buy a real mower.
          but the important thing is you seen the light and and now if you are gonna spend the money get the exmark over the toro and the ferris.
          When you say "depends on the terrain you mow", what do you mean.
          I hate asking what must seem to be the obvious to those more experienced, but I don't know what makes one better than the other.

          It's hilly here. There's almost always a slope, or a gently rolling hill to mow somewhere on the property. Very few purely flat lawns.



          I'm also still up in the air on what size to get. I know that with a 32" I can get through gates, but some may be problematic with a 36".
          That said, at the moment, the only yards I cut with gates I have to use the 21" on anyway because they are simply too small to bother with a larger mower, so I'm leaning towards the 36".

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          • #6
            Random thoughts:


            Looks like the Ferris is the only one with the "crank" height adjustment.
            At least they make it simple for me, in that they only offer ONE model. They don't have a fixed deck, OR a belt/gear drive.

            Looking at the handle controls, the Exmark Enhanced Control System APPEARS that it would be more ergonomic/comfortable than the Ferris.
            The Toro? Cripes, I can't even wrap my head around how THAT contraption works - lol!


            Back off to teh interwebs to continue the comparison!


            (I'm sort of freaking out, but I'm excited too!)

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            • #7
              ... The Toro? Cripes, I can't even wrap my head around how THAT contraption works - lol! ...
              What, the T-bar? I won't use anything else. I wish the Grandstands came with T-bar. It's the least fatiguing, most intuitive steering I've used on a mower.
              Boughter's Lawn Care Services Mowing and Fertilizing in New Castle, PA

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              • #8
                What, the T-bar? I won't use anything else. I wish the Grandstands came with T-bar. It's the least fatiguing, most intuitive steering I've used on a mower.
                Good to know. When I saw it at the dealer, I thought that perhaps it was grafted on parts of the space shuttle or something. Trying to figure out what I was looking at made my eyes bleed! I figured you have to use "the force" to control it or something, cuz THAT bunch of bars does not look like a steering device.

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                • #9
                  Still wracking my brain...

                  It would sure be nice if you could find PRICES for this stuff online.
                  SOME of us need to factor that in when making a decision.



                  Anyone else have anything to add?
                  No matter how minor, your input is appreciated, as I have no experience with walk behinds. Every bit of info is helpful.

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                  • #10
                    Well, it looks like Toro is out if I want a hydro.

                    According to the book, the hydro drives start at 48" units, which I don't want.



                    I mean I don't know what I'll end up with, as I also need to compare the units in price, but if the hydro is that much easier to maneuver, I'm leaning that way. I'm not a big guy, so fighting a 600 lb. machine does not sound like my idea of fun. If I'm throwing out good money on a new unit, I wanna get something that makes my job easier.

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                    • #11
                      Well, I've set $5,000 as a maximum I'll pay.

                      That's the price of the 36" Ferris hydro floating deck. If the Exmark is less, I'll consider it. Finding pricing is impossible, so I guess I'll have to see what they say tomorrow.
                      I'm sorta bummed that Toro doesn't offer a hydro so I can compare apples to apples when pricing.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Any other opinions out there?

                        I'm headed out in about an hour. I'll probably be there for a while looking and listening to seminars/talking to factory reps.

                        I'm currently leaning towards the Ferris or Exmark.
                        The new(er) controls on the Ferris LOOK pretty user-friendly, but the Exmark design looks even better - "pistol grip" style as opposed to typical "wheelbarrow/bicycle grip" style.

                        Of the two hydro floating decks:
                        Ferris is electric start and has the crank height adjustment for the deck.
                        Exmark is recoil (elec only on larger 20hp models) and has pin adjustments.

                        I also don't have a price on the Exmark yet to compare the two.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          When you say "depends on the terrain you mow", what do you mean.
                          I hate asking what must seem to be the obvious to those more experienced, but I don't know what makes one better than the other.

                          It's hilly here. There's almost always a slope, or a gently rolling hill to mow somewhere on the property. Very few purely flat lawns.



                          I'm also still up in the air on what size to get. I know that with a 32" I can get through gates, but some may be problematic with a 36".
                          That said, at the moment, the only yards I cut with gates I have to use the 21" on anyway because they are simply too small to bother with a larger mower, so I'm leaning towards the 36".
                          they say the floating decks are less prone for scalping but i have yet to really see a difference.

                          why is changing the height such a concern? i usually cut all my lawns the same at 3 inches and in the heat i jump it up to 3 1/2 inches but for the most part i rarely ever got to screw with the height.

                          when i did homes for my first 17 years i always used a 36 inch walk behind in the hard to get to back yards and i never had a gate it could not make it through.
                          36" is the usual standard size opening and a 36" mower will fit through that and i have even got my 36 through slightly smaller openings by jockeying it through.

                          the exmark viking series is hyrdo and they do make that in a 36" and the whole lineup is a well built that will give you many years of reliable service and if you want to use a sulke the hydro is far better to handle it.
                          Last edited by dpld; 03-08-2012, 08:10 AM.

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                          • #14
                            THANKS ^^^


                            I dunno... I DO change heights a few times currently with different lawns due to type of grass/terrain/client preference. I understand that "most people" set it and forget it, but like I said, if I'm shelling out this much loot for a new unit, I may as well look for the features I'd like. If buying used, I'd be less "picky", as you don't often get that many choices.

                            A sulky is a thought for the future as well, so that info is appreciated as well.


                            Just confirmed that I can take it to EITHER dealer for service, so that makes me happy.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              THANKS ^^^


                              I dunno... I DO change heights a few times currently with different lawns due to type of grass/terrain/client preference. I understand that "most people" set it and forget it, but like I said, if I'm shelling out this much loot for a new unit, I may as well look for the features I'd like. If buying used, I'd be less "picky", as you don't often get that many choices.

                              A sulky is a thought for the future as well, so that info is appreciated as well.


                              Just confirmed that I can take it to EITHER dealer for service, so that makes me happy.
                              I have not commented on this as I do not know walkbehinds as well as some(they do not sell well around here, I only have 4 customers that use them) I would test drive a few and see what you like they should have demos available for you to test on the property.

                              As for the floating deck scalping more I do not see that, I have found that all mowers can scalp about the same, in fact most companies that say they do not scalp as much do it more such as pivoting front axles cause mowers to drop when you hit a hole in the yard scalping.
                              I am the owner of www.AllOutdoorParts.com an online mower parts distributor. I am also a Briggs Master Service Technician and Expert Certified Mechanic for Kohler. If my posts helps you please like my facebook page at www.facebook.com/alloutdoorparts

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