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I refurbish a handful of tractors and snow blowers as a hobby and labor of love.  This site reflects the equipment I've completed and the ethical approach I take in selling these machines.  I also perform service and repairs on tractor-mowers, riding mowers, zero-turns, lawnmowers, and snow blowers.

This Library of Articles enables the homeowner to shop for, care for, and improve the ownership experience. 

Article 20: Categories of Front Engine Mowers and Tractors

Homeowner Tractor-Mowers Within the Context of Kubota Products

This article summarizes the mainstream, homeowner, front engine tractor-mower platforms from MTD, AYP, John Deere, and Simplicity and attempts to place them in categories (homeowner LT and YT, GT, Subcompact, and Compact) and align them where possible.  It gives the reader a broader understanding of traditional homeowner platforms within the context of larger and heavier tractor machinery.

Mainstream Homeowner Tractor-Mowers

Almost all homeowner, front engine, tractor-mowers are made by Husqvarna and MTD.  John Deere and Simplicity also manufacture similar machines for the homeowner.  John Deere’s 100 Series and Simplicity’s Regent and Regent EX Series are comparable to higher-quality Yard Tractors from the other two makers.

Most mainstream homeowner units that are marketed today reside at a significant level below Kubota’s entry-level T Series.  These come from all four of the brands listed above.

MTD-Made Tractor-Mowers

MTD sells many machines built on their entry-level platform, including Bolens, MTD, MTD Gold, MTD Pro, Remington, Troy-Bilt (Pony, Bronco, Super Bronco, etc.), White Outdoor, Yard Machines, and Yard-Man.  This chassis also underpins the current Craftsman LT Series from Sears.  This Lawn Tractor platform employs a very light chassis with a thin steel fender, cutouts for the controls, and many plastic components.  This chassis weighs less than 400 lbs.  It is at a level well-below anything from Kubota and others.  [Note: we do not consider any riding mower on this platform acceptable.]

MTD supplies equipment for Cub Cadet and Toro.  Their “premium” chassis is generally reserved for these two brands.  Occasionally, we see the better chassis under some Troy-Bilt, Yard-Man, and White Outdoor products.  This Yard Tractor chassis weighs about 500 to 550 lbs and employs a full-length, robotically-welded, 12-gauge steel frame, a noticeably stronger and wider fender, heavier components, and a superior sector and pinion steering system with dual drag links.  Some high-end GT-labeled models on this chassis approach Kubota’s entry-level T Series products.

AYP-Made Tractor-Mowers

American Yard Products (AYP), owned by Husqvarna, sells Lawn Tractors built on their entry-level platform, including Husqvarna single cylinder LTH and YTH, and selected McCulloch, Poulan Pro, and Weed Eater (all) machines.  This platform can be distinguished by its narrow fender, which only covers about ½ of the rear tires and it’s hand lever-controlled transmission.  Like its MTD counterpart it uses a lighter steel chassis and fender.  This chassis weighs between 372 and 419 lbs.  Unfortunately, this platform was de-contented versus its predecessor in 2007 with lighter components from the mowing deck and its hangers to the frame, dash, and hood.  [Note: we do not consider any riding mower on this platform acceptable.]

AYP also produces a mid-level chassis that is used for most of their mainstream Yard Tractor products, including Husqvarna YTH (excluding entry single-cylinder model) and YT (excluding XLS) models.  It is also used on selected McCulloch and Poulan Pro machines.  This chassis also underpins all Craftsman YT, YTS, and DYS models.  Even though it looks nearly identical to the entry-level platform, it is distinguished by its wider fender and foot pedal-controlled automatic transmission.  It weighs between 440 and 509 lbs depending on configuration

AYP produces a “premium level” chassis that is reserved for their Husqvarna LGT, GTH, YT-XLS, and GT Series Tractors.  Effectively, these comprise Husqvarna’s Garden Tractor line.  These weigh in at between 550 lbs for the LGT and 635 lbs for the GT-XLSi models.  These tractors approach Kubota’s T-series in structural content.

John Deere- and Simplicity-Made Tractor-Mowers

John Deere manufactures the Scotts and Sabre tractor brands.  Simplicity manufactures tractors for Snapper and snow blowers for John Deere.  Each produces identical siblings for these brands with differences limited only to cosmetics (paint color, hood and grille design, and decals).

Kubota Mower

So, Kubota’s T Series Mower is closest to the high end of mainstream homeowner tractor-mowers.  The T-Series MSRP ranges from $3,598 (T1880A 18 HP gas 42-in) to $4.898 (T2380A 20 HP gas 48-in).  These 2WD mowers are the most compact at 72-in long and roughly 620 lbs.  These are closest to, a higher-end John Deere 100 Series or an X300 Series, a Husqvarna GT-XLS, or a Craftsman GT (or earlier GT3000 and GT5000), a Simplicity Broadmoor or Conquest, or a GT from other brands such as MTD, Toro and Cub Cadet depending on model.

Kubota Premium Mower

From here forward, the Kubota line moves upward from the traditional homeowner tractor-mower categories, including homeowner GT models, into the premium mower, subcompact, and compact tractor categories.

The GR Series Mower is a premium 2WD tractor that is 72-75-in long (est.) and weighs 870-970 lbs.  MSRP ranges from $8,362 for the GR2020 20 HP gas with 48-in mowing deck to $9,388 for the GR2120 21 HP diesel with 54-in stamped steel mowing deck.  These mowers are 72-75-in long (est.) and weigh in at 871 lbs to 970 lbs.  These premium homeowner tractors have shaft drive, power steering. and hydraulic mower lift.  They are most similar to Cub Cadet's 2000 GTX-series with power steering and shaft drive along with selected models from John Deere and Husqvarna.

Neither the T Series nor GR Series model line offers 4WD like the big, BX Series tractors.

Kubota Subcompact Tractor

Next we move up to Kubota’s BX Series subcompact, 4WD, diesel tractor with hydraulics.  It’s quite a bit bigger than its Mower and Subcompact little brothers at 95-in long vs 65-in to 75-in long for GTs and subcompacts.  It’s significantly heavier at between 1,345 and 1,587 lbs.   MSRP ranges from $11,544 for the BX1870 18 HP diesel with 48-in mowing deck to $14,971 for the BX 2670 25.5 HP diesel with 54-in mowing deck.  The BX25D 23 HP diesel comes with a loader and backhoe.  Equipped with a 54-in mowing deck, the MSRP is $22,225.  The BX Series is capable of handling really major jobs, e.g., on a farm or performing landscape development.

John Deere offers 4WD starting at $10,899 (no mowing deck) in its X738 Signature Series 25.5 HP gas mower and $12,099 (no mowing deck) in its X758 Signature Series 24 HP diesel mower.  Simplicity offers 4WD in its Prestige Series, priced between $7,899 and $9,199. They offer 4WD with diesel power in their Legacy Series, priced between $10,599 and $13,549.  Also, they offer a Legacy 2WD diesel for $8,349.

Conclusion

For most homeowners with 1 to 3 acres to mow, a good quality Yard or Garden Tractor made by one of the main four tractor manufacturers, MTD, AYP, John Deere, and Simplicity.  If you value the added quality and durability of a premium homeowner tractor and have 3 or more acres to mow, consider Kubota’s T or GR Series Subcompact Tractor-Mowers, John Deere’s Select Series Riding Mowers (X300 and X500), or Simplicity’s Broadmoor and Conquest Series Mowers.  If you require 4WD and such features as power steering, rear suspension, and real heavy-duty performance, consider Kubota’s BX Series, John Deere’s X700 Signature Series, or Simplicity’s Prestige and Legacy Series machines.  If you need a versatile 4WD subcompact platform that can take a small front loader, backhoe, or other ground-engaging equipment, look at Kubota’s BX Series, including the BX25D.  If you require more power for light construction or nursery work on a small farm, you may be ready for Kubota’s B Series tractors (not covered herein).

 

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