Mower Madness 2015 – Vote for your favorite lawn mower brands

Mower Madness 2015

Mower Madness 2015

Mower Madness 2015 is here! 64 lawn mower brands go head-to-head to determine which one is the favorite. Vote today at Mowers Direct and be sure to share!

http://www.mowersdirect.com/stories/1072-Vote-for-Your-Favorite-Brands-in-Mower-Madness-2015.html

Recommended Zero Turn Mowers

Cub Cadet 17BIDAGC010

It’s almost spring, so you have a little time to research your next lawn mower purchase.  You have several resources to start off with, you can look for best sellers, top rated models, or recommendations from industry experts.  Here at Mowers Direct, we give you all three in one place.

If you’re unsure of which type of mower to buy, you can consult our guide which will lead you through all the styles, starting prices, features, and applications.  I’ll be posting various recommendations over the coming weeks, so be sure to come back.

Here are our recommendations for zero turn lawn mowers:

Husqvarna  967 00 37-01

Husqvarna RZ5424 Zero Turn Mower

Good: Husqvarna RZ5424 (54″) 24 HP Kawasaki Zero Turn Lawn Mower, Model 967 00 37-01

The Husqvarna RZ5424 includes large 54” deck, reliable 24 HP Kawasaki FR730V engine, and Hydro-Gear EZT transmissions which is often found on professional grade machines.

Other features include an electric PTO blade engagement, user friendly controls, and comfortable padded steering levels and seat.  This model combines maneuverability, efficiency and reliability at an affordable price.

Better: Toro Timecutter MX5050 (50″) 24 HP Kohler Zero Turn Lawn Mower, Model 74770

toro 74770

Toro MX5050 Zero Turn Lawn Mower

The Toro MX5050 features a Kohler 24HP V-twin engine and a hydrostatic transmission that gives speeds up to 7 mph. The Toro Smart Speed™ control system allows you to change speed ranges with the flip of a switch. You can mow large open areas at the higher speed setting, or use the lower speed setting for maneuvering around obstacles in you yard.

It has 50″ welded steel deck you’ll typically find on pro models.  Foot-assisted deck height change adjuster allows you to easily change deck height.  The Toro MX5050 includes many heavy duty features normally found on pro models, at a much lower price tag.

Best: Cub Cadet Z-Force LZ54 (54″) 24 HP Kawasaki Zero Turn Lawn Mower, Model 17BIDAGC010

Cub Cadet 17BIDAGC010

Cub Cadet Z-Force LZ54 Zero Turn Mower

The Cub Cadet LZ54KW is a tough mower.  It has a rugged design with a fully welded, 12-gauge steel frame with Cub Cadet’s corrosion defense system for additional durability.  It features a heavy duty Hydro Gear ZT2800 hydrostatic transmissions with fan cooled 10cc pumps and 16cc wheel motors. This will allow you to mow up to 3.5 acres per hour.  It’s equipped with a 24HP Kawasaki FR-series V-Twin engine known for reliability & performance. The 54-inch welded steel deck improves grass lift and gives a really nice cut. The deck is constructed of 11-gauge steel with greaseable mandrels, anti-scalping gauge wheels, and a nose roller that gives a great cut when mowing an uneven lawn.

You can find more zero turn mowers here:

Zero Turn Mowers @ Mowers Direct

DIY: Aerate Your Own Lawn

Tow Behind Aerator

It may be easy to just have a lawn service aerate and overseed your lawn, but you can save a lot of money doing it yourself.  All you really need is a riding lawn mower, a lawn aerator, some weight, and a little bit of time.

Aeration is essential to the health of your lawn.  After months or years of foot traffic, mowing, debris, grass clippings, and water weighing down on your lawn, the soil needs to be loosened to allow vital moisture, nutrients, and oxygen to reach deep into the roots of the grass.  If you have a patchy lawn, aeration will provide the room necessary for new grass seed to germinate and grow healthily.

Tow Behind Aerator

Lawn Aerator

A lawn tractor can typically handle a tow behind aerator, but if your lawn has been compacted quite a bit, a garden tractor or high HP lawn tractor may be your best bet to handle the additional weight needed to drive the aerator plugs and spikes deep into the soil.  Anything that carries a decent amount of weight in a small space works really well, like cinder blocks, salt bags or sand bags, just make sure they are secured with bungee cords or straps.

Under the right conditions zero turn mowers can be used for aeration as well.  But again, if your aerator is going to require a lot of weight in order drive those plugs and spikes into the ground, you’ll need a decent amount of HP and dry conditions to aerate effectively.

Aeration should be done in spring while it’s cool and the ground is still soft.  If you wait until summer, the ground may become too hard to effectively aerate, and the heat can dry out the turf pretty quickly.  Waiting for fall is okay, but make sure it’s done a least a month before the first frost.

lawn_sprinkler

When you  aerate, do so after a rain shower or watering so that the soil is moist (not the actual grass blades), as it will help the aerator pull plugs easier.  If there are highly compacted areas, make multiple passes to ensure the ground has been sufficiently loosened up.  Once the plugs dry out, you can rake them to break them down and return the soil and it’s nutrients back to the lawn.

2015 Toro Lawn Mower Lineup

Toro 47490

The new lineup of Toro lawn mowers is now up at Mowers Direct, and they have a several cool new features for 2015.

While their walk behind mower line has stayed relatively the same, they have added an all wheel drive version of their classic Personal Pace self propelled mower. Powered by a Briggs & Stratton 725 series 163cc engine, the AWD system delivers power to all four wheels providing great traction for hilly yards and damp conditions.  They also added a traction assist handle that helps you monitor your cutting speed when mowing around obstacles and uneven terrain.

Toro zero turn mowers are known for their innovative, user-friendly features and have continued this into the new season, introducing steering wheel models to their TimeCutter zero turn lineup.  There are 5 models available that come in deck widths of 32″, 42″ and 50″.  The entry level models (SW4200, SW5000, SW3200) are tagged with “SW” and the mid-grade models (SWX4250, SWX5050) with “SWX”, much like the step up from TimeCutter SS models to TimeCutter MX models.   The two SWX models are available in 42″ and 50″, and feature thicker fabricated decks (10 gauge as opposed to 13 gauge), hour meters, arm rests, contoured seats, and bull nose bumper.

What Type of Mower Should I Buy?

74633_9942_600

The type of lawn mower you buy should be reflective of the type of lawn you have.  If you have a sprawling expanse of a yard, you probably don’t want to walk it.  On the other hand, using a riding mower on a small lawn might be overkill.

Cub Cadet Push Mower

Push Lawn Mower

If you have a small or medium sized suburban lawn a walk behind lawn mower should do you just fine.  There are a few styles to choose from – reel mowers, electric mowers and gas mowers.  Reel mowers and electric mowers are for the most part maintenance free and eco-friendly, and are a good option for smaller yards.

If you go the gas route you have two basic options – push or self-propelled.  If you have a relatively flat lawn, or don’t mind the workout, a push mower is a good option.  However, if you have a hilly lawn, a self-propelled mower is the way to go.

For large lawns & folks that enjoy the convenience (or the prestige) a riding mower can get you through your mowing duties with ease.  Your basic options here are lawn tractors and zero turn mowers.

Toro Zero Turn Mower

Zero Turn Mower

Lawn tractors are great for their strength.  They are attachment capable and can handle hills, but speed and agility are lost.  If you plan on doing more than just mowing, like aerating, hauling carts, or attaching a snow blower, a lawn tractor will help you get the big jobs done quickly.

If speed and maneuverability are important, zero turn mowers are the best option.  They can fly through open yards and turn on a dime to get in close to obstacles and edges.  They can take some getting used to, but are worth it if you want to tackle large lawns quickly.  With a zero turn mower, you can expect to cut your mowing time in half when compared to a lawn tractor.

3 Tips for Keeping Your Lawn Looking Great!

yard_mowing_care_patternAnyone can mow a lawn, but how many people keep their lawn looking great?

If you’re one of those people who wants to stand out on your block as having the best lawn, here are 3 tips on how to easily improve your lawn’s health and appearance.

1. Grass Cycling

If you don’t already own a mulching kit, get one! Cycling your grass is one of the best ways to keep it looking thick, full, and healthy. Grass cycling is where you use a mulching kit on your mower to cut, re-cut, and re-re-cut your grass clippings into tiny little pieces that get recycled into your lawn as fertilizer.

Because your grass clippings are 85% water, they break down quickly and easily to provide your yard with nitrogen and nutrients to nourish it. This is quite possibly one of the easiest things you can do to improve your yard’s health and appearance.

2. Slow Down!

For lawn tractors, riding mowers, or self-propelled walk-behinds, adjust your speed according to where you’re mowing. You should never mow on full speed. Doing so will cause uneven cutting. High speed should only be used when moving to the area you’re planning to mow.

For wide-open areas that take a while, it’s okay to use medium speed, but don’t go any faster. A medium speed will give you a good balance of even cutting and shorter cutting time.

To trim around flower beds, trees, bushes, sidewalks, and borders, use low speeds. This will not only give you more control, but it’ll help you get a real sharp looking edge that will look much better and reduce the amount of string trimming you have to do later.

3.  Change it up!

Each time you mow, change direction. Don’t use the same pattern every time. If you mow in a circular fashion going clockwise, go counterclockwise the next time. The time after that, maybe you could go back-and-forth in rows or columns.

By changing direction, you ensure you’re getting a more even cut. It prevents your grass blades from “leaning,” and it helps to hide any little imperfections.

Do you have any tips you’d like to share? If so, please comment below. I’d love to hear them!

What’s the Difference Between Lawn Tractors and Garden Tractors

You’ve likely heard of both – lawn tractors and garden tractors. What you may not have heard is that they’re not interchangeable terms. Lawn tractors are a bit lighter and feature less horsepower. Garden tractors tend to be heavier duty with more horsepower and geared more toward pulling heavier loads.

Lawn Tractors

13A2775S000_12545_600Lawn tractors are strong enough to pull light carts and spreaders for fertilizers. They can be converted to snow plows or snow blowers during winter months.

Lawn tractors also feature two-blade cutting systems. The deck sizes range from 42- to 54-inches, but sometimes smaller or larger ones hit the market.   You won’t be able to tow ground engaging attachments, so you can’t till soil or use a grader; but because they’re smaller than garden tractors and have less power, they’re less expensive.

Garden Tractors

960-43-01-49_9894_600Garden Tractors are the tough guys!  You’ll find engines in the 20-29 HP range and larger back tires for enhanced ground grip for using ground engaging implements.

Garden tractors have wider decks, which is another reason they require more power than lawn tractors. They usually have 3-blade decks that range from 48″ to 54″. These beasts have the power to tow attachments like tillers and box scrapers thanks to a locking differential.

So depending on what you’re trying to accomplish, lawn tractors and garden tractors serve different purposes. Lawn tractors are more ideal for level-surface yard work such as mowing, spreading grass seed or fertilizer, and towing carts full of grass clippings or leaves. Garden tractors are more ideal for larger lawn projects with uneven surfaces or handling garden tasks such as cultivating soil and pulling dead vegetation out by the roots.

Advantages of Zero Turn Mowers

Lawn mowerscommercial_zt_bg_200 come in many shapes and sizes, but most of us know that the zero-turn is considered the king of lawn mowing.  What many people don’t know is why zero-turns are the “bee’s knees.”

One huge advantage of a zero-turn mower is the ability to cut grass in tight spaces and to be able to get close to objects like trees and retaining walls.

With lawn tractors, it’s not as easy to get that close. Zero turn lawn mowers maneuver you into these hard-to-reach places so you can avoid having to break out the string trimmer as often.

Zero-turn lawnmowers also have much larger engines, and their deck sizes are much larger as well, so you can move faster and cut more grass with each pass, enabling you to finish your yard work in less time.

Because zero turn mowers have rear-mounted engines located behind the seat, you will have an unobstructed view while you mow, unlike with lawn tractors, which have the engine in the front, blocking your view of what’s immediately in front of you.

If you’re a professional landscaper, a zero-turn lawn mower is crucial for completing jobs sooner so you can earn more income each day. But even if you’re a homeowner using it on your own lawn, they make mowing the lawn a breeze.

What to Consider When Buying a Used Cordless Electric Lawn Mower

Rem_Bat_500Cordless lawn mowers are a great way to cut out gas and oil, produce less noise, and even save yourself the trouble of pulling a string until your arm falls off.

But if you’re searching for a used one, there are a few things you ought to consider to ensure you get a few quality years of service out of your investment.

The Battery

When considering a cordless lawn mower, remember that the source of all of it’s power is the battery. Ask how new the battery is, and if it’s old, try asking for a drop in price. If it’s an old battery, you’ll want to buy a new one before long.

Consider the type of battery it has. The amount of volts the battery produces determines how long your motor will run and how much grass you can cut before recharging or swapping out the battery.

Manual or Self-Propelled

Depending on your health, or perhaps just your preference, you may want to inquire about whether or not the mower is self-propelled. Not all mowers move themselves.

If you’re in poor health or just don’t have the stamina to keep pushing your mower around, some mowers come self-propelled. These mowers will move themselves, and you just have to follow along and turn it where necessary.

Brand

Brand is a major factor when shopping for a used mower. The more popular brands are likely to carry replacement parts for their mowers so you don’t have any trouble finding what you need to make necessary repairs down the road.

Researching Used Pricing

You’re online now, so open another window or tab. Search for used cordless mowers online and in classifieds to get a general idea of how much they go for. This way you know if you find a deal or if someone’s trying to rip you off.

Previous Use

Ask questions. You’ll notice sales people ask more questions than they answer. They do this to lead the conversation and find out what they need to know about you to close the deal.

Ask how old it is. Ask to see all of the user manuals and papers that came with it. Ask them why they wish to get rid of it. If it’s really a great mower worth having, then why don’t they want it for themselves?

Was it used commercially or once per week by a homeowner? Commercially used equipment gets used as many as 8 hours per day, and they’re not always gentle with the equipment when they’re transporting it.

How Does it Run?

Quite possibly the most important thing to do is test it out. Chances are, the person selling it has grass nearby. Ask to mow a small area of longer grass to find out how well it runs.

 

Turning on a Dime – Tips for getting your first zero turn mower.

product_7603_500So you’ve seen people using them. They look like something out of a sci-fi movie, and they cut grass like a dream, but you may be wondering what you should look for in a zero turn mower.

I recommend that the average homeowner with a large yard go for the mid-grade zero turn, because it gets you the best combination of quality and features for the cost.  However, some yards are going to have things that will limit your size options.  Gates found at most homes are 3 feet wide, so if you have one, measure it, and make sure the deck width will fit through.  Keep in mind that most sizes listed in product specifications list the size of the deck alone.  Look for the size of the deck with the discharge chute down; you don’t want to tear that off thinking you’ll fit through your gate.

Zero turn mowers have small, smooth tread front wheels, so although they have a lower center of gravity than lawn tractors, they may have issues getting up and down a very hilly yard.  If you are going to be dealing with a hilly terrain, consider a new steering wheel model, which tend to handle hills a bit better than their lap-bar counterparts.

To pick the right mid-grade zero turn, you’ll want to pick out a deck size that’s appropriate for your property. For anything from 1-2 acres, I’d suggest a 42-48″ deck. If your property is over 2 acres, you may want to consider a 50-60″ deck.  The larger the deck, the fewer passes you have to make, but don’t always think bigger is better.  If you’re cutting more a couple acres, and have wide open spaces, models are available from 61″ to 72″, but in many cases it is just too much deck to be nimble around a landscaped lawn.

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