There are three kinds of commerical grade lawn mowers: Zero-Turn Riders, Walk-Behinds, and Standers. Since it is never an easy decision which to buy, here is a detailed review of the top brands…

Zero-Turn Riders (ZTRs)

Rider Mower Cut Durability Handling Available Maintenance
& Balance Accessories & Ingenuity
Bad Boy Outlaw B+ A- B+ A B+
Bobcat Predator Pro B+ B+ B+ B A
Dixie Chopper A- B+ B A B
Exmark Lazer Z B+ B+ A- A B+
Exmark Next Lazer Z A B+ A A A-
Ferris ZTR A- B+ A B+ A
Gravely Pro-Ride B+ B+ B+ B B
Gravely Pro-Turn A- A- B+ B+ B+
Hustler SuperZ A- A- A- B+ A
John Deere ZTR A B+ B+ B B+
Lesco/Cub Cadet B B+ B B- B
Scag Cheetah A A- A- A A-
Scag Turf Tiger A A B A B+
Scag Wildcat A A B A B+
Walker ZTR A B B+ A B

Walk-Behind Mowers

The top walk-behinds are all hydraulic-drive mowers instead of belt-drives. The hydros have more advantages. They are easier to maintain, can pull a sulky, and are more maneuverable. If you can afford buying a hydro over a belt-drive, you won’t be sorry.

Walk Behind Mower Cut Durability Handling Maintenance
Quality & Balance & Ingenuity
Bobcat Hydro B+ B+ B+ B+
Exmark Turf Tracer A B+ A A
Hustler Super WalkBehind B B+ B+ B+
John Deere Hydro-Drive A B+ B B+
Lesco/Cub Cadet B A B B+
Scag Hydro Walkbehind B+ A B B+

Stander Mowers

The standers are an intermediate between a walk-behind and zero-turn rider in many ways: price, ground speed, productivity, size, and weight. Many users with back problems find them more comfortable than sitting in a ZTR. The standers are better on hills than a ZTR, but not as stable as a walk-behind.

The Stand On mower market has gotten much more competitive in the past two years.

The Great Dane, Everride, and John Deere standers are all made by Auburn Consolidated Industries. They are similar in design with a few noteworthy differences.

The Wright stander is made by Wright Manufacturing. (This small innovative company also invented the velkie, later known as the sulky.)

Exmark and Toro will be reviewed together due to similarities in the units and Toro owns Exmark.

Some newcomers to the Standers are Scag, Exmark/Toro, Badboy, and Gravely. They have all released or will be soon releasing new or redesigned units. Bad Boy’s and Gravely’s redesigned Standers are too new to give reviews at the moment.

There are not too many accessories available for the standers. Mulch kits are available. However, still no real collection systems exist similar to an Ultra-Vac or Hulstler Bac-Vac. With a Stander’s visibility and operator positioning, I’d like to see some innovation.

Stander Mower Cut Durability Handling Maintenance
Quality & Balance & Ingenuity
Exmark Vantage A B+ A- A+
Everride Scorpion B+ B+ B+ A
Great Dane Super Surfer B+ B+ B+ A
John Deere Quik-Trak A B+ B+ A
Scag V-Ride A A- B+ A-
Toro GrandStand A B+ A- A+
Wright Stander B+ A A B
Wright Stander X A A- A A-
Wright Stander ZK B+ A- A- A-