Below is a list of things we recommend you consider before buying your next ride on mower:
1. What size block will you be mowing?
As a general rule of thumb, the larger the block you are mowing, the larger the ride on mower you will need. Larger ride on mowers with a a larger size cutting deck and faster ground speed will reduce your mowing time. As a rough guide we recommend a ride on mower with a cutting deck size of between 30″ and 42″ for 1, 2 and 3 acre blocks. We recommend a larger ride on mower with a cutting deck size of least 42″ and above for acreage blocks larger than 3 acres.
2. The condition of the block you will be mowing. Will you be mowing rough, rocky or undulating ground?
This is probably the most important consideration you need to take into account. If you purchase the wrong ride on mower for your block, you will inevitably end up damaging the cutting deck of your ride on which can result in costly repair bills. There are two type of cutting systems on most ride on lawnmowers, a bar blade system and a round cutting disc system with swing back blades. Most of your USA built ride on lawn mowers like Toro, Husqvarna, Craftsman, MTD, John Deere, Cub Cadet, Dixon, Hustler, Murray, Victa, Troy Built and McCulloch all have one, two or three solid bar blades fitted to their cutting decks. Your Australian built ride on mowers like Cox and Greenfield have a round disc with two or four swing back blades.
If you have a rough block, rocks, tree stumps or tree roots, we strongly recommend that you purchase a ride on mower with a round disc and swing back blades. This type of cutting system will prevent damage to your blades, jack shaft and mandrel housing if your blades come into contact with a solid object, for example a rock. We sell a proper swing back blade conversion kit for our Husqvarna ride on mowers. The conversion kit consists of 2 round steel discs and 8 swing back blades. This system is ideal for rougher blocks. The other alternative for a rougher block is to purchase a ride on mower with a fabricated or welded cutting deck. These cutting decks are much thicker than pressed cutting decks. Husqvarna ride ons with fabricated cutting decks have stronger mandrel housings and thicker, heavier duty blades.
Ride on mowers with pressed cutting decks like Husqvarna, Toro, MTD, Murray, Victa, Craftsman and some John Deere models are better suited to mowing established acreage blocks with lawn.
3. Is the area you are mowing flat or does it have slopes?
Acreage blocks with slopes can be tricky to mow. Ride on mowers with a hydrostatic gearbox are much safer on slopes. These gearboxes operate under hydraulic pressure. If your remove your foot from the drive pedal, the oil pressure in the gearbox will prevent the ride on mower from free wheeling down the slope, there is no need to depress the brake pedal. Beware that not all ride on mowers operated with a foot pedal have hydrostatic or automatic gearboxes. Greenfield ride on mowers, for example, do not have a hydrostatic gearbox but rely on a mechanical drive with a two drive plates and a drive belt. If the drive belt snaps your ride on mower will free wheel, possibly causing injury on slopes.
We do not recommend the use of ride-on mowers with manual gearboxes on slopes. Most manual ride on mowers require you to depress the clutch / brake pedal before changing gears. This action releases tension on the drive belt, momentarily placing the gearbox into neutral. This can lead to the ride-on free wheeling before the brake is applied.
The safest option for mowing slopes is to purchase a ride on mower with a diff-lock. Most models in Husqvarna ‘s range of ride on mowers come with a differential-lock. The diff-lock automatically locks both rear wheels if one wheel looses traction.
You should also carefully consider which type of engine your ride on mower should have for mowing slopes. The oil level in your sump will change depending on the angle at which you are mowing. Make sure you purchase a fully oil pressure fed engine with an oil filter. This will ensure your engine receives proper lubrication even when mowing on angle. Splash fed engines may not provide sufficient lubrication on steep slopes. Ask the sales person if the engine is a pressure – fed engine.
We do not recommend mowing steep slopes side on. You should always mow up and down a slope. Never turn on a steep slope. Don’t tow a trailer with heavy loads up or down a slope. If you are unsure as to whether or not the mower will cope with your slope, arrange a demonstration before purchasing the ride on mower. Make sure that you drive the ride on mower on the slope to ensure that you are comfortable operating the ride on mower on the slope.
4. Does your block have tight corners or lots of restricted spaces you need to mow. What type of turning circle should your ride on mower have?
Most ride on mowers with a differential have a turning radius of below 60cm. Husqvarna ride on mowers have a maximum turning radius of 41 cm and some Husqvarna models have a tighter turning radius of 20cm. A tight turning radius will ensure your ride on mower is easier to maneuver between garden beds and trees. Not all ride on mowers are fitted with a differential, some ride on mowers like Greenfield and Cox have a fixed rear axle. These ride on mowers do not have the same turning circle or maneuverability.
5. Would a manual or automatic ride on mower be better suited to your application?
Automatic ride on mowers are far more popular than ride on mowers with gears. Automatic, heel-toe or hydrostatic ride on mowers are very easy to drive. The drive pedal acts like the accelerator on your car, the further you push the pedal down, the faster the ride on mower will drive. The added benefit of ride-on mowers with hydrostatic gearboxes is that when you release your foot from the pedal, they stop. Automatic ride on mowers are better suited to applications where you will be changing speeds and regularly moving between forward and reverse gears. You can change from forward to reverse by simply releasing the forward pedal and pushing the reverse pedal.
Geared ride on mowers are not like manual cars. You don’t have to start in first gear and change through the gears. You can start mowing in which ever gear suits you. Most geared ride on mowers do however require you to depress the clutch / brake pedal before changing to another gear or when changing from a forward gear into reverse. Depressing the clutch / brake pedal will cause the ride on mower to stop which will result in it taking longer mow your lawn, particularly if your lawn has more obstacles, requiring constant changing of speeds or shifting from forwards to reverse gear.
6. What size cutting deck should your ride on mower have?
As a general rule of thumb, the larger the cut, the faster you will mow your lawn. Larger cutting decks however require more horsepower to cut longer or thicker grass. Make sure the ride on mower you purchase has sufficient horse power to drive the larger cutting deck through thicker grass. If you are looking at a ride on mower with a wider cutting deck, make sure the cutting belts are easy to access and change. Try to purchase a cutting deck that only has one cutting belt. See point number 1 above for our recommendations on the cutting deck size to suite different sizes of acreage.
7. What size horsepower would be suitable for your block?
Ride on mowers are being fitted with larger and larger engines. Today you can purchase the Husqvarna GTH3052 ride on mower which is powered by a massive 30HP twin cylinder engine. The smallest ride on mower engine we sell is 18HP. Whilst horse power isn’t everything, it is an important consideration to take into account when considering the size of cut of the ride on mower, the thickness of the grass, and the slope the ride on mower will be mowing. Make sure the ride on mower you purchase has a good power to cut ratio, in other words the engine has sufficient horse power for the size cut.
8. Do you require an oil pressure fed engine for your application?
As discussed above, we highly recommend that you consider purchasing an engine which is full pressure fed, in other words it has an oil pump which pumps oil to the top of the piston. These engines will ensure that you have sufficient oil lubrication when operating on a slope.
9. Do you require a pressed or a fabricated cutting deck?
As discussed above, fabricated cutting decks are much better suited to rougher blocks with rocks, tree roots, undulations or stumps. Welded or fabricated cutting decks are much stronger than pressed cutting decks. We highly recommend you purchase a ride on mower with a fabricated cutting deck for a rougher block.
10. Do you require a ride on mower with catcher?
Can I purchase a catcher for my ride on mower? This is a very popular question which is asked by a number of our customers. Catchers are an expensive accessory and have some limitations. First off, no matter what a sales person tells you, ride on mowers with catchers which have a tube running along the side on the chassis from the deck to the catcher do not pick up wet or long grass. The tube will block with grass. These catchers only work well in short, dry grass. If you want a good pick up with the above type of catcher system we recommend you fit our swing back blade system with 8 blades.
A ride on mower with an integrated rear catcher will give you a good finish and will collect grass more efficiently than any other system. We recommend you look at Husqvarna’s CTH model ride on mowers, these are excellent catching ride on mowers.
We always recommend you first try a mulch plug before purchasing a catcher. Husqvarna ride on mowers fitted with mulch plugs will leave your lawn with a fantastic finish and will even mulch gum leaves.
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