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Mower Trends 2019

For Outdoor Power Equipment(OPE) magazine’s annual “Mower Trends” focus, OPE recently asked representatives from major mower manufacturers to share their insights into market trends and provide their outlook regarding 2019 mower sales. 

OPE: What trends, in general, are you seeing with regard to mowers?

We continue to see a focus on value. Commercial end users want a value machine that can stay in the grass and make them money. We keep the design simple and robust on all of our products. Another is operator comfort, so all of our commercial units have suspension seats with operator comfort in mind. 

– Brad Unruh, director of new product development, Excel Industries (Hustler)

Productivity is becoming even more of an emphasis with landscapers, as finding quality help is more challenging than ever. Products like our Super 104 that takes a job site from two operators down to one is a major improvement in productivity for our customers. 

– Adam Mullet, VP sales and new products, Excel Industries (Hustler)

A trend we have noticed is the large landscape service companies keep getting bigger and bigger by merger/acquisition with the resulting tendency to make landscape maintenance more of a commodity. These large-scale operations also tend to purchase and use outdoor power equipment as a commodity. In contrast, and with a considerable gap in size, there are still a sizable number of viable and competitive smaller landscape service companies that deliver more personalized and quality-focused service for their clients; many of these are one- and two-person owner-operator companies. A lot of these smaller companies rely on their OPE dealer to service their equipment. While a few of the larger companies use our equipment, it is the smaller “owner-operator” companies that have put Walker on the map.

– Bob Walker, president, Walker Manufacturing Company

For residential use, Honda sees the expansion of robotic mowing continuing its upward trend in the coming mowing seasons. As customers continue to gain awareness and acceptance of the technology, robotic mowers, like the Honda Miimo, will likely continue to expand the range and lawn size capabilities of the mowers, as well as their application of wireless connectivity to mobile devices at home.

– Elisha Lipscomb, senior marketing strategist, lawn & garden, Honda Power Equipment

Alternative fuels, like electric, are certainly gaining interest in the mower industry, as well as smart technology and after-market informational interface. Features that make the mowers easy to own and operate, such as DIY maintenance, and quick access for cleaning, as well as attributes that help the landscaper be the most efficient that the crew can be, during the current labor shortage, is important to the market segment as well.

– Ron Scheffler, senior product manager, Bob-Cat

Greenworks continues to serve the professional landscape contractor and the prosumer with industry-leading lithium-powered outdoor power products. We see the market continuing to move from gas to gas-replacement rechargeable products. Every major product category is seeing significant trending toward rechargeable product. There are now more than 500 towns or municipalities with some form of noise regulation or outright bans of gasoline product in the U.S. Battery technology continues to move forward, and allows us to make stronger and longer runtimes to serve the commercial landscape contractor.

– Tony Marchese, commercial business unit leader, Americas, Greenworks Commercial

Comfort and improved performance have gained importance with the commercial contractor in the last two years. When we listen to commercial contractors, they identify two important focus points: reducing operator fatigue and improving the operating experience aids in employee retention. Additionally, I believe products that reduce time for the commercial contractor will be the next area of development for mower industry. More and more customers are using commercial contactors for turf maintenance, and, as the demand grows, they will need to reduce their on-the-job time to be competitive.

– Tom Vachal, Kubota senior turf product manager

With labor shortages, we see a focus on reliability and performance. Landscape contractors are buying equipment that helps them do more with fewer people.

–Ed Wright, CEO, Wright Mfg.

The rapid rise in market share and consumer acceptance of battery-powered products has surprised many in the industry; and although the dealer channel has not been leading the charge with this new technology, dealers are also now looking into the options on offer to them. We have met the challenge head on, and believe a significant percentage of our sales in the future will be battery powered. As with gasoline-powered outdoor power equipment, dealers need a point of difference to the big box stores if they are to compete profitably in this new growth segment of the market. Brands that specialize in servicing the dealer market and don’t offer their product through the mass retailers offer dealers a product they can confidently promote without fear they will be undercut in pricing by the big box stores on the same item or held to ultra-low retail price points that squeeze profitability out of the dealer channel.

– Steve Hughes, managing director, Masport Ltd

Operator comfort is one of the more prominent trends, as operators are requesting features that improve the operator experience. At John Deere, we continue to introduce features to address this trend. Most recently, John Deere unveiled its ComfortGlide fore/aft suspension seat, available on every John Deere 900 Series ZTrak mower seat option. ComfortGlide allows the operator to move with the machine, boosting comfort. Additionally, the M and R Series commercial walk-behind mowers were redesigned to improve comfort by improving the weight distribution and lowering the handlebar, thus requiring less effort to raise the front end of the mower. Productivity is another major need for our customers, especially as labor becomes more expensive and more difficult to find and retain. A solution John Deere has developed to help operators be more efficient is the Mulch On Demand (MOD) technology, exclusive to John Deere. MOD enables the operator to switch between mulching and side-discharging without ever leaving the seat. Mulch on Demand reduces the time spent cleaning up clippings from driveways and sidewalks by allowing the operator to easily close off the discharge chute.

– Nick Minas, product marketing manager, John Deere

Stand-ons continue to gain popularity with commercial cutters looking to increase productivity and be more efficient with their trailer space. Stand-ons allow the operator to get on and off the mower faster than on a riding z – saving time when moving debris, gutters, lawn ornaments, etc. And their shorter length takes up less space on the trailer, allowing additional equipment to be transported. We are also seeing more focus on comfort and ergonomics. For Ferris, we spend a lot of design time ensuring operator comfort. Through easy-to-operate control systems and independent suspension technology, Ferris mowers ensure that our operators can work hard and finish feeling good so they can take on tomorrow.

– Dan Roche, director marketing, commercial products, Ferris

We expect to see continued retail growth in both commercial and consumer product offerings in 2019. We’re seeing greater interest than ever in stand-on mowers, in particular. Increasingly, customers are looking for stand-on models that are more productive, comfortable and easy to operate, while also being more durable and easier to maintain. As labor shortages continue, landscape professionals are placing a high value on mower productivity, so we’re working to expand our product line with products that better meet their needs. Whether it’s a more compact stand-on mower to give contractors a more productive solution for small properties, or a larger, more powerful zero-turn rider for professionals with acres of grass to cut, we’re building more productive mowers at both ends of the size spectrum.

– Jamie Briggs, director of marketing, Exmark

In general, it seems there will be continued worker shortages that will likely deepen for landscape companies. The solutions that offer improved productivity and efficiency can offset the shrinking pool of skilled labor and the associated salary increases driven by the shortage. Products such as Husqvarna Fleet Track and Monitor will provide the tools managers need to optimize routings and maximize profit per hour per employee. Extremely efficient and highly durable engines are also valuable tools to keep hardworking landscape teams up and running longer. The new Husqvarna Yamaha EFI-powered product line is a superior product to help increase owner profit with power, speed and most importantly uptime. Commercial landscapers now, thanks exclusively to Husqvarna’s new professional Automower, have the ability to dramatically increase their number of clients without having to hire additional employees.

– George Reister, product manager North America – wheeled, Husqvarna

We expect a major shift to innovative, smart connected products that reduce the labor burden on landscape contractors and consumers tight on time. Time is the new premium with acreage homeowners and labor-challenged landscape contractors. Companies that can add value beyond just the wholegood will ultimately be the winners, and investment in this space means only good things for contractors and consumers. Toro has already made incredible strides in the battery-powered equipment segment with the introduction of the 40V PowerPlex lineup, which features a hedge trimmer, chain saw, blower and two trimmer/edgers – all powered by the same long-lasting and durable battery pack. Also in development is a suite of 60V battery-powered products that we expect launch soon.

– Chris Vogtman, senior marketing manager, Toro

OPE: What factors do you think will impact mower sales this year?

So far we are seeing good moisture throughout most of the United States. This should help kick off a good spring selling season if we can get the temperatures to warm up and stay warm. The overall economic environment seems positive with most people working, so that should help in a strong mower selling season. 

– Brad Unruh, director of new product development, Excel Industries (Hustler)

Weather and economy always impact mower sales. Government policy and politics also have influence on equipment purchases, as appears to be the case in 2019 with tariffs increasing costs, a divided government, and a feeling of more uncertainty about the future.

– Bob Walker, president, Walker Manufacturing Company

At Honda, we look forward to a healthy mowing season this year. Weather plays a major role in the power equipment industry, and while some areas of the country continue to live with drought conditions, others have received record rainfall. At Honda, we continue to push forward with new products and lawnmowers that can handle a variety of conditions, and believe that today’s strong housing market benefits mower sales, too.

– Elisha Lipscomb, senior marketing strategist, lawn & garden, Honda Power Equipment

The mower market will be impacted economically with the tariffs currently in place, and potentially increases in labor costs for higher-priced employees as labor shortages continue. Commercial cutters will need to find ways to be as efficient as possible with smaller workforces, and thus may make purchases based on smaller crew sizes and DIY maintenance.

– Ron Scheffler, senior product manager, Bob-Cat

Obviously, the usual factors of weather and economics will play some part within the 2019 season. Favorable rain patterns and strong economics lead us to believe that the season will be strong. We also believe that the transition from gas to rechargeable will continue unabated in both the consumer and professional markets. 

– Tony Marchese, commercial business unit leader, Americas, Greenworks Commercial

As it does every year, the weather will be a large factor. So far, optimism exists, as many areas have had above-average precipitation this fall and spring – that is a good sign. Some areas have seen cold weather lingering, so if spring breaks early it will drive early sales, but if spring breaks late the ramp-up may be slow. Many manufactures have also increased prices, and many expect interest rates to rise slightly. Both factors may cause commercial cutters to hold on to current machines for longer, slowing sales.

– Tom Vachal, Kubota senior turf product manager

Equipment prices have increased more than in most years; however, the biggest impact will be mid- and late-season rains.

–Ed Wright, CEO, Wright Mfg.

As always, weather plays a large part in the success of the push mower market. A long spring coupled with a wet summer and spillover into fall will aid in a longer selling season, increasing the potential from more push mower sales.

–Steve Hughes, managing director, Masport Ltd

New technology entering the market will directly impact mower sales, as more manufacturers like John Deere are developing solutions to common problems and concerns, like comfort and uptime. As these new introductions hit the market, landscapers will be interested in learning more as they search for ways to increase productivity and profitability.

–Nick Minas, product marketing manager, John Deere

The winter produced snow in many areas, which provided income for landscapers throughout the winter. This could translate into more optimistic purchases early in the season for mowing and turf equipment. Connected technology that allows fleet tracking and maintenance reminders continues to gain more and more interest as landscapers look for more ways to be efficient with their business. As it becomes harder to find skilled, reliable labor, landscape owners will need to focus more on job satisfaction and comfort to keep/recruit the labor they need. This can be seen in more ergonomic controls, suspension systems, suspension seats, and overall creature comforts.

– Dan Roche, director marketing, commercial products, Ferris

While we’ve had a cold winter in many parts of the country, dealer optimism remains high. As we move from winter into spring, the weather will be a key driver of sales. If the moisture continues, we expect sales to be strong.

– Jamie Briggs, director of marketing, Exmark

Continued buying trends among millennials suggests the continued growth for residential landscape services, as larger percentages are beginning to invest in homes more and more. The pride in ownership, lack of time, and decreasing blue collar bases are factors that certainly add up to increased hiring of professional landscapers.

– George Reister, product manager North America – wheeled, Husqvarna

One key factor, as always, is weather. With a normal to above-normal snow year in many markets, we anticipate contractors will reinvest in other seasonal equipment such as their mowers, blowers and trimmers. On the coasts and Sun Belt we are off to a good start with plenty of moisture, which is encouraging. Outside of the normal weather factors, business owners now have more tools at their fingertips to analyze a sound return on investment, and homeowners and acreage owners have more equipment options than ever before. Because of this, we’ve remained committed to strengthening our innovative and industry-exclusive GrandStand Multi Force series and the suite of attachments that goes along with it. This product line embodies the principle of doing more with a single machine. Affordable comfort solutions, like Toro’s innovative MyRide suspension system, remain a key part of the industry’s focus. We also strive to provide revolutionary, yet practical solutions on our walk-behind product offering including the PoweReverse feature, which allows the operator to effortlessly mow in both forward and reverse, or SmartStow functionality, which allows the mower to be stored upright, maximizing space in the garage. 

– Chris Vogtman, senior marketing manager, Toro

OPE: What is your overall outlook with regard to the mower market in 2019?

We are very positive. With the introduction of the Dash mower for consumer and the new Raptor SDX for consumer/light commercial we have some exciting new products. With the upgrades we have made to our existing lineups, we have a solid portfolio of mowers for consumer through commercial cutters. I feel we are set up for a good year as long as the moisture and temperatures cooperate. Our dealers are excited for spring to break and to show off all they have to offer. 

– Brad Unruh, director of new product development, Excel Industries (Hustler)

We predict the market will range from being even with last year up to 2- or 3-percent growth. The earlier picture in late 2018 was more robust growth, but the market does not seem to be moving to support the forecast. An early spring season in some of the best markets would be a big boost for this year.

– Bob Walker, president, Walker Manufacturing Company

Here at Honda, we look forward to another great year of mowing. With a variety of compelling new products available for customers and OEMs alike, we believe that we’re poised to address the needs of lawns of all shapes and sizes. Whether you’re looking for a robotic mower for your perfect suburban lawn, a premium walk-behind mower for a hands-on experience, or an engine to power you company’s brand new ZTR mower, Honda has a solution for you in 2019.

– Elisha Lipscomb, senior marketing strategist, lawn & garden, Honda Power Equipment

As long as the weather is favorable, we anticipate growth in the commercial and entry-level commercial market in 2019, especially with our new professional mower lineup and the quality of traits that our mowers have, and that our customers are looking for.

– Ron Scheffler, senior product manager, Bob-Cat

We look forward to it being strong. Early demand for product is occurring in the southern markets, and we believe we will see this across all major markets. New placement of our models within the dealer channel will help our year over year comps. We also have an aggressive marketing campaign to tap into the landscapers wishing to go green or bid green projects. The town/municipal, university, and corporate properties customers are also looking to transition from gas to rechargeable products, which we believe will yield strong year over year activity.

– Tony Marchese, commercial business unit leader, Americas, Greenworks Commercial

Based on current weather forecasts, economic pressures and industry trends, I believe that the commercial cutter segment will see an overall gain in unit sales and spending over 2018. I also expect this customer segment to grow by a similar gain as well. I also expect the stand-on segment to continue to be the quickest-growing segment of the commercial mower category, as it was in 2018, as more cutters are seeing the benefits in action. 

– Tom Vachal, Kubota senior turf product manager

The market remains strong with stable housing starts and an increasing portion of our society moving into retirement and hiring lawn services.

– Ed Wright, CEO, Wright Mfg.

Our selling season started in October, and since that start we have seen double-digit growth over the same time last year. As the Masport name continues to grow as a leader in the push mower market, we are excited for the upcoming mowing season, and expect it to be a good season. 

– Steve Hughes, managing director, Masport Ltd

We see several positive indicators in commercial landscaping, with many landscapers expecting to grow this year. From a John Deere perspective, following our 2018 GIE+EXPO product launches, we have seen a lot of excitement around our new offerings. We’re looking forward to another successful year.

– Nick Minas, product marketing manager, John Deere

We continue to be optimistic about, and focused on, the commercial landscape category. The overall demographics of an aging population and a younger set of homeowners who tend to outsource services points toward continued growth in commercial cutting. As for Briggs & Stratton, we have aligned our brands and strengthened our portfolio to help turf pros extend their revenue streams and compete in more profitable service areas such as fall cleanup and fertilizing. All this with a commitment to user-driven, problem-solving innovations that address both the operators running the equipment and the operations, and dealer base that supports a profitable ownership experience.

– Dan Roche, director marketing, commercial products, Ferris

In 2019, we anticipate continued retail sales growth, particularly with products that increase productivity, target operator fatigue, and provide reduced maintenance.

– Jamie Briggs, director of marketing, Exmark

We will continue to see cannibalization of tractors by residential zero-turns, and more and more robotic lawnmowers will enter the market. Housing starts will slow, and this will have an effect on the total market.

– George Reister, product manager North America – wheeled, Husqvarna

There’s a lot of confidence in the U.S. economy right now, which is a great sign for OPE dealers across the country, as well as manufacturers. The popularity of zero-turn mowers continues to be on the rise, and there are a lot of first-time homeowners beginning to invest in outdoor power equipment due to the current strength of the housing market. Because of these factors and others, The OPE industry continues to be a strong segment for Toro, and we’re optimistic about the future of the industry. 

There will always be factors that experts are unable to predict. For OPE dealers and mower manufacturers, weather is one of those. Over the past few years, late starts, unplanned frosts, late-season snowfalls for some northern regions and long, wet springs have all impacted the OPE industry in ways even some climate experts didn’t see coming. All that said, we’re optimistic that it will be a good year for the industry, specifically Toro end users and channel partners. 

– Chris Vogtman, senior marketing manager, Toro

Mower Trends 2019: Innovations

As part of Outdoor Power Equipment (OPE)magazine’s 2019 Mower Trends coverage, OPEasked respondents to share insight into their latest mowers and and/or any new products and upgrades coming soon.

Excel Industries (Hustler)

According to Hustler, its new Dash mower for consumer will be a fantastic quality compact unit for the 1/4- to 3/4-acre homeowner. With its patented automatic park brake, foot operated deck lift and ability to easily fit through most gates, the Dash is ideal for front and backyard mowing. Available in two welded, fabricated steel deck sizes – 34- or 42-inch – with a heavy-duty 1×2 fully tubular frame, the Dash is small enough for easy storage in a garage. 

The new Raptor SDX will be a great consumer/prosumer model for Hustler in 2019. The Raptor SDX is an aggressive mower with exclusive 22-inch big bite tires. Built to handle yards up to three acres in size, the Raptor SDX is equipped with luxury features, including Hustler’s SmoothTrak steering for responsive and precise control. It also boasts a patented automatic park brake, a premium, bolstered adjustable seat with internal suspension and a foot operated deck lift. The Raptor SDX is powered by a Kawasaki FR Series engine and is available in a 48-, 54- or 60-inch welded fabricated steel deck. 

Hustler has also added upgrades to its FasTrak family of mowers, including suspension seats and many other upgrades. The X-ONE family also has upgrades including suspension seats.

Walker Mfg.

Walker Manufacturing is celebrating its 39th year in the mower manufacturing business. Its newest tractor unit, introduced mid-2018, is the MH37i with the 37-hp. big block Vanguard engine installed in the MH chassis; and its newest mower deck is a 52-inch dedicated mulch deck, Walker’s largest deck of this style. In addition, Walker’s engineering department has several brand new product designs in the works that will be introduced in 2019 to significantly expand the company’s product offering. Factory sales training for dealer sales personnel will be offered in six, two-day sessions this spring and summer starting in May. The sales training facility on the factory grounds was enlarged last year to provide more landscaping features and a bigger demonstration area for the hands-on portion of the training. More than 600 dealers have participated in the training over the last several years.

Honda Power Equipment

Honda just launched the new HRX Series walk-behind lawnmowers, which went on sale in January. This is Honda’s premium residential mower series, powered by Honda’s all-new GCV200 engine, with 10 percent more power and torque, and greater efficiency than ever. The new models are easy to service, provide superior cut quality, and include features such as the rust-free Nexite deck with limited lifetime warranty; Honda’s Microcut twin-blade system; and the 4-in-1 VersaMow System with Clip Director for bagging, mulching (or simultaneous bagging and mulching) and rear discharge of grass clippings in varying degrees through 10 separate settings – all without separate tools.

Also available for customers who want more convenience, crave the latest technology at home, or who may see mowing as a chore, Honda’s Miimo robotic lawnmower is available in two models that can mow up to three-quarters of an acre. Miimo automatically clips lawns with computerized precision, resulting in a perfectly manicured lawn. Using a microcomputer, timer, and sensors, Miimo mows and charges independently, resulting in a beautifully groomed lawn with minimal owner interaction. 

Finally, Honda recently debuted its new fuel-injected, electronically controlled iGX V-Twin engines. These new engines, including the iGX700 and iGX800, open the door to the zero-turn radius lawnmower industry for both residential and commercial application opportunities. The new V-Twin engines provide OEMs more versatile power and greater adaptability with excellent fuel efficiency in a compact, lightweight package.

BOB-CAT

For 2019, Bob-Cat Mowers launched four new sit-down zero-turn commercial series of mowers. From the ProCat 5000 professional mower through the industrial Predator-Pro 7000 models, these new families of mowers provide landscapers the best user experience in the industry to help them through the long work day. The all-new operator interface includes almond-shaped control handles, ergonomically friendly control locations and operations, tool-less adjustments, anti-vibration characteristics, and full mechanical suspension seats. For these mowers, the AirFX deep deck cutting system – with bull-nose front end design and cast-iron spindle assemblies – provides the quality of cut that landscapers demand. This cutting system not only delivers an excellent quality of cut through improved clippings disbursement, but also provides a cleaner deck at the end of a long day, with Bob-Cat’s Air-Gap baffle design. Zero-T drive tires are exclusive to Bob-Cat, giving the operator an improved grip on hill sides, better puncture resistance, fast tight turns without turf damage, and better self-cleaning than other tires in the marketplace. The Predator-Pro 7000 series also comes with a two-speed option that allows transport speeds up to 19 mph, a rotating bumper for quick cleaning access, and a hitch. 

Bob-Cat has improved its commercial stand-on mower family by launching the new QuickCat 4000 series mowers. With deck sizes ranging from 36 to 61 inches, landscapers can rely on a great quality of cut with the DuraDeck cutting system and cast-iron spindle assemblies on larger deck sizes. The taller tower with dampened controls, tool-free adjustments, and improved control locations give the operator a more comfortable ride. Serviceability under the removable rider pad has also improved to allow faster maintenance times. 

Bob-Cat also launched two new XRZ Pro RS mowers with the TufDeck Pro cutting system available with either a 52- or 61-inch deck size. The new Bob-Cat XRZ Pro RS models come powered by Kawasaki FX850 series engines and come standard with a full mechanical suspension seat, professional-grade spindle assemblies, 9.5-gallon fuel capacity, large 23-inch Zero-T drive wheels, 6.5-inch-wide front caster wheels, ROPS, and Hydro-Gear 3400 transaxles.

Greenworks Commercial

Greenworks launched its new 82Volt line of commercial ride-on and stand-on zero turns in 2018. For 2019 Greenworks has continued to move forward by adding new deck 52-inch options to this commercial lineup. This commercial lineup includes industry-leading technology of UL-approved batteries and a can-bus control system.

Greenworks is also introducing its first 42- and 48-inch rechargeable 82-volt prosumer zero turns this year. Additionally, Greenworks will also be introducing a twin-blade 25-inch 82-volt self-propelled walk-behind mower for the 2019 season.

Kubota

Kubota Tractor Corporation unveiled two new commercial mowers at GIE+EXPO last October: the Z700 Series EFI models and the SZ Series stand-on mowers. 

Kubota added three new Kawasaki Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) models to its popular Z700 Series, bringing a total of nine mowers to the line. The Z700 Series is powered by Kawasaki’s industry-proven FX and FX EFI engines and Kohler’s Command Pro engines, engineered to ensure superior performance and results.

Kubota’s new stand-on mowers, the SZ Series, is comprised of three models, including the SZ19-36, SZ22-48 and the SZ26-52. The new stand-on mowers are designed for properties with smaller turf areas that difficult to be mowed with zero-turn mowers.

Wright Mfg.

Going into the Spring 2019 season, Wright Manufacturing is offering the Stander B, a new, lighter commercial stand-on mower; a productive-yet-less-costly option for start-up landscapers.

Masport Ltd

Masport offers a wide range of mowers that come with features such as a handle lift system, single-point height adjustment, and adjustable dual-bearing wheels. The Masport mower lineup consists of steel and aluminum decks that range from straight push to single- and variable-speed options, as well as an edger product.

Masport also offers a commercial self-propelled mower branded as a “Contractor,” which provides commercial cutters a mower that will withstand the rigors of daily use. The “Contractor” offers commercial cutters a machine with a robust gearbox made by General Transmission (MG512) with 3 speeds ranging from 2.3 to 4 mph, single-lever height adjustment, a high cut of 4-3/4 inches along with a strong axle system that will withstand heavy daily use. The “Contractor” offers two engine options; Briggs & Stratton (850 Series Ready Start IC) and a Honda (GXV160). This dual engine offering gives Masport and the dealers a great opportunity for growth in the commercial cutter arena.

Masport offers the dealer a low buy-in at six units and parts availability coming from their U.S. distributor, Power Distributors. This dealer-exclusive line relieves the dealer of the headache of having to worry about and compete with the big box stores when it comes to push mowers.

John Deere

In October, John Deere unveiled two new products, the M and R Series commercial walk-behind mowers, and the Z994R Diesel ZTrak zero-turn mower.

The M and R Series machines feature completely redesigned controls and improved weight distribution, enhancing operator comfort and requiring less effort to raise the front end of the mower. In addition, the R Series offers 8.5 inches of ground clearance, minimizing the interference with curbs and reducing the risk of property damage. The Z994R mower is powered by a three-cylinder, liquid-cooled Final Tier 4 diesel engine. The high-torque, low-emission diesel engine provides power for tough conditions with low vibration and noise levels. To increase productivity, the Z994R is equipped with a single 11.5-gallon diesel fuel tank with an easy-to-read fuel gauge, and three seat options, each with adjustable armrests. All seat options feature the ComfortGlide fore/aft suspension that provides up to 2 inches of fore and aft travel to absorb bumps for enhanced ride quality.

Ferris

The all-new Ferris ISX 800 offers the patent-pending ForeFront Suspension System, utilizing four upper and lower control rods that ensure the front caster bearing remains vertical through the full range of travel. This controlled motion results in a smoother ride, precise tracing of the terrain and an improved cut. The ISX 800 is powered by Briggs & Stratton Commercial Series engines or Kawasaki engines, and offers a 52- or 61-inch iCD cutting deck.

The SRS Z3X is built to deliver superior traction and performance. A pivoting front axle allows the Z3X to grip steep inclines allowing users to mow more efficiently on even the most difficult terrain. The suspension platform system is adjustable for a large range of weights and operating conditions, optimizing operator comfort and increasing productivity. This year, the SRS Z3X is available in a 52-inch cutting width – in addition to 61- and 72-inch widths.

Exmark

For 2019, Exmark introduced an all-new stand-on zero-turn riding mower, the Staris.Reinvented from the ground up, Staris delivers the commercial performance, durability, ergonomics and ease of service landscape professionals need to maximize productivity and profitability. Staris models deliver increased stability, traction and maneuverability in a wide range of cutting conditions. The engine, fuel tank and battery are specifically designed to optimize balance and lower center of gravity. Intuitive controls are easy to operate, and Staris S-Series models feature Exmark’s smart controller, which reduces downtime with maintenance reminders, on-screen machine health diagnostics, as well as engine and PTO hours. The smart controller also includes an enhanced LCD screen for increased visibility. Staris is available in E-Series models, with a choice of 32-, 36- and 44-inch UltraCut Series 3 cutting decks, and S-Series models, with a choice of 48-, 52- or 60-inch UltraCut Series 4 cutting decks. The 32-inch and 44-inch Staris E-Series models are new deck sizes in the category. With the ability to fit through gates as narrow as 36-inches, the compact 32-inch Staris E-Series gives landscape maintenance professionals access to more yards, more quickly, with a design aimed to reduce fatigue.

Exmark also introduced a new 44-inch model of the popular Radius E-Series zero-turn riding mower for 2019. The new model offers an MSRP of just $4,999. The new two-blade 44-inch UltraCut Series 3 cutting deck offers superior cut quality thanks to longer blade lengths and higher blade tip speeds, with easier maintenance and reduced weight as well. Powered by the Exmark V-Twin engine, the 44-inch Radius E-Series is a high value, high performance option for both commercial and residential applications.

Husqvarna

Husqvarna has added a number of mowers to its lineup for the 2019 season, including a full line of high-cut Automower models designed for grass types that flourish in a higher cut setting, a zero-turn mower and connected tractor models, and Husqvarna also introduced Yamaha engines as a new part of its commercial zero-turn lineup. Along with these new models added to the product lineup, Husqvarna offers a 3-year limited bumper-to-bumper warranty on all wheeled consumer products – that includes the engine.

Toro

Product innovation continues to be a core principle for Toro, which contributes to a continuously evolving product offering built directly from end-user and dealer feedback. 2019 will be no different, in that Toro is introducing new, innovative products to the marketplace to meet the needs of its professional customer from start to finish of their day. The development of the GrandStand Multi Force with Pro Force blower attachment, which was launched at GIE+EXPO last year, was largely based on feedback from those who work with these machines every day and are looking to get the most out of their equipment investment. Toro will continue to invest in a broad toolset of attachments so Multi Force owners can get more done. 

On the consumer side, Toro made a number of enhancements to its TimeCutter and Titan zero-turn mower lines, incorporating commercial-style components into consumer models for even more durability, comfort and productivity.

Delta Systems, Inc.

Delta Systems, Inc. recently launched more automotive-like styled products that are changing the operator cockpit, such as their Push Button Ignition Switch and 4.3-inch color, touch-screen display.

Delta Systems also developed a new Sealed Universal Power Take-Off Switch. It’s designed to provide the safest and most dependable experience for ride-on mower operators. With an IP67 rating, this switch is dust-tight and protects against water ingress, ensuring a longer part life. It also has a universal application from 10mA to 10amps and is fully autonomous with no need for a controller.

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