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best residential ztr for the price. 48 inch deck would be fine i have a toro time cutter 42 in deck right now and just not happy with it. deck constantly gets out of level.
i have a 1023e tractor and very happy with jd equipment. so anyone with some knowledge of these machines that could give me some insight on the ztr's
i have bermuda grass and a small section on one side with slight slope
 

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What is your budget? That might help.


You can get a Z915E/B with a 48" deck. That is a commercial grade mower with a slightly less expensive deck. In residential use it should last a long long time. That is how I use mine. Mainly it doesn't have the step welded to the deck (not a big deal) but there is a bit of grip tape and doesn't have all the anti-scalp wheels. They make a kit to add them on if you need to add them. It has a slightly less expensive engine being powered by I think a Kohler or is a Brigs? I don't remember. The more expensive ones are Kawasaki powered. It also doesn't have the rear weight/bumper but it can be added. Not much else different from the M series other than the sticker price from what I remember. The deck, even the less expensive one on the E/B is a lot better than the residential yellow decks.

Price, of course this will differ depending on dealer and location. I would expect somewhere in the $7500 for ball park. MSRP being $8380 but you should be able to do better than that. I don't know if you are looking at a $2K budget or $12K though. For what you get, the price is hard to beat. The M versions are going to be starting around $8500 ball park. The R closer to $10K.

Just to clarify the Z915B and Z915E are the same machine as far as I know. If you find a B it has been sitting on the dealer lot for a while so try and bargain with them. They changed the letter from B to E to better align with what they do on the tractors.
 

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I bought a Z540R in june this year. I've run just about every kind of mower there is but this is my first Z-turn and I absolutely love the thing. Comfortable and powerful. You mentioned deck leveling as an issue in the past for you. I have the 54" on mine and its the easiest mower deck I've ever worked with. I've done one oil change on it and it took all of 10 mins from start to finish thanks to the near perfect layout and accessibility of the service items. The Z500 series is worth a look if you haven't already.
 
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I'd be the first to tell you that spending 15k on a lawn mower is the dumbest idea I've ever heard of, until I bought one. Now, it's been one of my most favorite purchases. I use it to mow around the house. Maybe an acre or 1.5 if that. But the cut, power, and durability are great. Due to its size it is very comfortable. If you can be comfortable at a commercial level machine I would strongly encourage you to do so! One of those things that once you use it, you'll understand the all the hype

Brett
 
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I bought a Z540R in june this year. I've run just about every kind of mower there is but this is my first Z-turn and I absolutely love the thing. Comfortable and powerful. You mentioned deck leveling as an issue in the past for you. I have the 54" on mine and its the easiest mower deck I've ever worked with. I've done one oil change on it and it took all of 10 mins from start to finish thanks to the near perfect layout and accessibility of the service items. The Z500 series is worth a look if you haven't already.
That's what I'm looking at. Good to hear you like it!
 

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I bought a Z540R in june this year. I've run just about every kind of mower there is but this is my first Z-turn and I absolutely love the thing. Comfortable and powerful. You mentioned deck leveling as an issue in the past for you. I have the 54" on mine and its the easiest mower deck I've ever worked with. I've done one oil change on it and it took all of 10 mins from start to finish thanks to the near perfect layout and accessibility of the service items. The Z500 series is worth a look if you haven't already.
Shoot, I missed this post. Yes the 5 series is the minimum I would look at. They have some great features. The entry level ones don't hold up. Atleast that what two of my friends say. They have both broken the frame and had several little issues also. I think the 5 and 9 series are layed out much better.

Brett
 

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Was just browsing JD's site. I'd go Z535 or bigger.
 

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There many ZTR mowers on the market. I looked a lot of them before I bought one. Scag works for me on mowing 3 acers around the house some times the field behind the house.
Take a look around before you buy. You will be suprised the differance in the brands.
 

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Under $4000 (I am trying to stay under $3) if you don't want anything Deere under the Z5xx line I would look at the Simplicity Courier, Ariens Ikon and the Exmark E series. I have another thread going on here about trying to decide on one under the $3k mark. I am looking at the Z345m, I haven't heard of any major problems with them.
 

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From my point of view here, you will not find a newer model ZTR under $3000.00. In fact, anything under the age of 10 will be over that figure. John Deere lawn tractors keep their value up and hardly any models worth having will be over the money you want to pay. I have a 1999 JD345 with 987 hours and if it was on a JD dealers lot it would sell for over $3000.00. Expect to pay between $4000.00 and $6000.00 for any ZTR worth having.

This last May I lucked out on getting a ZTR. I located a 2012 Z710A with 37 hours and 54" deck for $3999.00 in Ohio and paid $575.00 to have it shipped to my home here on the Missouri-Kansas borders.


Here is a picure of that dude

 

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He wants to stay under $4000 and he is currently using a 42" deck, only want to go to a 48"er. I would rather buy a Deere too, but for that budget if you don't trust the Z3** line you can buy a Z525e for $3999 or look at other manufacturers. You can get the Simplicity Courier 48" for $3800 retail cost, comes with a Briggs professional engine, life time deck warranty, 3 year machine warranty and a full suspension.
I have the same decision to make as you on a under $3000 machine, where I want to stay with Deere...
I know I don't need a high end machoine for an hour a week of mowing.
 
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