For a zero-turn mower that's fast, fun and precise, the Toro TimeCutter SS5000 is a great choice, reviews say. With its hydrostatic V-twin Kawasaki motor, it can cut efficiently at up to 7 mph. Owners say the controls are easy to use even for novices, and its high-back seat is comfortable. The wide 50-inch deck delivers an even cut, but some say the SS5000 lacks adequate traction for slick lawns and hills.
Good for getting the job done fast. Reviewers call the Toro TimeCutter SS5000 one of the best zero-turn mowers, saying it tidies your lawn very efficiently. With forward speeds of up to 7 mph and up to 4 mph in reverse, the Toro is also fast. The "SS" refers to the Smart Speed feature that provides a lower speed range to make it easier to maneuver around obstacles. The mower also gets high marks for its mulching, bagging and clip dispersal. Toro includes a three-year warranty and is one of the most reliable brands of zero-turn mowers, according to a leading consumer organization. Though a handful of owners have reliability complaints, most say they're happy with the mower's quality.
Comfortable, but has some minor omissions. The Toro TimeCutter SS5000 uses levers instead of a wheel to steer, and users switching from a lawn tractor report it takes some getting used to. Overall, experts give the mower their highest rating for ease of use. A reviewer says controls are "within easy reach," including the choke and electric power takeoff. With the engine in the rear, users say there's plenty of legroom for tall drivers. The mower also has an adjustable high-back seat and a cup holder. However, it does lack a few conveniences: There is no cruise control or dash-mounted fuel gauge. Some owners also wish for a standard hour gauge to track service intervals.
Not the best on hills. Owners say the Toro TimeCutter SS5000 has a solid frame, but caster-style wheels on the front reduce traction. Experts don't recommend zero-turn mowers for hills greater than a 15 percent grade, and several users say the Toro slides on slopes and slick terrain. To keep the mower from rolling, the parking brake automatically engages when the steering arms are in the outward position. A safety interlock system also prevents the engine from starting if the blades are engaged or the levers aren't in park position. The engine stops if the mower isn't in park and the driver rises from the seat. A few owners wish the mower came with a roll bar. Few reviewers mention noise.
Editors test and rate 19 zero-turn tractors as part of a large 61-model report on lawn tractors. To evaluate performance, they follow the same procedures for every model to ensure accurate results. They also evaluate how well each lawn tractor discharges to the side, mulches and bags. The report also features brand-reliability rankings.
Review: Lawn Mowers & Tractors, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not Dated
Product expert Jose Castellanos recommends the SS5000, rating it an A-minus. He points out its oversized tires, comfortable seat and wide frame, calling the SS5000 "rugged and reliable." More than 25 owners give the SS5000 4.5 stars out of 5.
Review: Toro TimeCutter SS5000 (50") 23HP Kawasaki Zero Turn Lawn Mower, Editors and Contributors to MowersDirect.com, As of April 2014
The Toro SS5000 gets 4.6 out of 5 stars in more than 75 reviews. Owners call the mower fast and fun, saying it maneuvers and cuts well. Although a couple of owners have mechanical problems, most say the warranty covers their issues with minimal hassle.
Review: Toro TimeCutter SS5000 50 in. 23 HP Kawasaki V-Twin Zero-Turn Riding Mower with Smart Speed, Contributors to HomeDepot.com, As of April 2014
Tractor-Review.com combines a detailed description of the Toro TimeCutter SS5000 and its features with consumer reviews. Fewer than 10 owners post comments, but all give it high marks for performance, reliability, safety and overall satisfaction. The main complaint is that the SS5000 doesn't come with an hour meter.
Review: Toro TimeCutter SS5000, Contributors to Tractor-Review.com, As of April 2014