Hustler Raptor Zero Turn Mower Review
The Hustler Raptor mower series is a collection of zero-turn residential mowers that are perfect for homeowners with larger yards. All models mow at a speed of at least 7-8 mph, have deck sizes of 42” or more, and can be easily financed through the Hustler website.
The Hustler brand itself has been around for over 55 years, developing a great reputation for producing quality zero-turn mowers for both residential and commercial use. As one would expect from a top-tier mower manufacturer, Hustler offers a warranty on all of the mowers in the Raptor series (3 years or 300 hours of use).
Hustler has revamped the entire Raptor lineup for 2021. They’ve made several improvements, including appearance, better/larger tires, and new seats. These mowers were due for an update, and Hustler really outdid themselves with these mowers. I was able to demo a couple of these mowers, and they are really great.
Comparison of the Raptor Lineup
|Deck Size||42″ and 54″||42″ and 54″||42″, 48″, 54″, and 60″||48″, 54″, and 60″|
|Deck Type||11 Ga. Fabricated||11 Ga. Fabricated||11 Ga. Fabricated||10 Ga. Fabricated|
|Engine||Kawasaki FR600 or FR651||Kawasaki FR651 or FR691||Kawasaki FR651, FR691, or FR730||Kawasaki FR651, FR691, or FR730|
|Transmission||Hydro-Gear ZT2200||Hydro-Gear ZT2200||Hydro-Gear ZT2800||Hydro-Gear ZT3100|
|Speed||7 mph||7 mph||7.5 mph||8 mph|
|Fuel Tank||3 gal.||3 gal.||3 gal.||3 gal.|
|Comfort||Mid-back seat||High-back seat; flex forks||High-back seat||High-back seat|
|Warranty||3-year/300 hours||3-year/300 hours||3-year/300 hours||3-year/300 hours|
|Price||Starting at 3,899||Starting at 4,299||Starting at 4,899||Starting at6,099|
Pricing updated as of July 28, 2022. Check with your local dealer for the most accurate price.
The zero turn mowers in the Raptor series use a small variety of engines and transmissions. The specific options available will vary by model, so we’ve included a list of the various options below. They are exclusively Kawasaki for engines and Hydro-gear for transaxles. This makes the lineup very simple and easy to compare. The power options are below.
Kawasaki FR600 – This 18HP 4-cycle V-Twin motor is available only in the Raptor X. It has a maximum torque of 32.3 ft-lbs at 2,200 RPM, and a compression ratio of 8.1:1.
Kawasaki FR651 – This 21.5HP 4-Cycle V-Twin motor is available in all models of the Raptor series. This engine produces a peak torque of 39.3 ft-lbs at 2,200 RPM and has a compression ratio of 8.2:1.
Kawasaki FR691 – This 4-Cycle V-Twin motor puts out 23 horsepower. It’s used in the Raptor XL, XD, and XDX models. With a compression ratio of 8.2:1, this engine has a maximum torque of 39.3 ft-lbs at 2,200 RPM.
Kawasaki FR730 – At 24HP, this is the most powerful 4-Cycle V-Twin engine used in the Raptor series. You can find it in the XD and XDX models. It has a compression ratio of 8.2:1 and a maximum torque of 39.8 ft-lbs at 2,400 RPM.
Hydro-Gear ZT2200– This transmission is used in both the X and the XL models. It can support a gross vehicle weight of up to 900 lbs, runs up to 7 mph, and can produce up to 215 lb-ft of torque.
Hydro-Gear ZT2800– This transmission is only used in the XD model. It can run at speeds up to 8 mph (although the Raptor XD only has a top speed of 7.5 mph), can support a maximum gross vehicle weight of 1,000 lbs, and produces up to 300 lb-ft of torque.
Hydro-Gear ZT3100-Used only in the XDX model, this transmission can run at speeds of up to 9 MPH (although the Raptor XDX’s top speed is limited to 8MPH). Perfect for larger machines, it outputs up to 350 lb-ft of torque and can support a gross vehicle weight of up to 1,200 lbs.
Although specific features vary by model, all of the Raptor series models share some basic features. Every model has an adjustable height deck, which is adjusted by pushing a foot pedal on the right and then choosing the height by using the pin system (also on the right side). You won’t even need to get off the mower, thanks to the convenient location of the adjustable pin!
Each model also includes an automatic parking brake, which is activated whenever the steering arms are fully separated. Available deck sizes vary by model, but Hustler currently offers 42”, 48”, 54”, and 60” deck sizes.
Every mower in the Raptor series comes with an adjustable seat, which has two armrests and a cup holder on the left. The seats are designed to provide lumbar support but also feature an air hole to increase the airflow on your back. Behind the seat, you’ll find storage spots for additional small items such as gloves or clippers on either side of the mower.
All of the mowers feature BigBite tires, which should provide adequate traction on most surfaces. There are also a variety of accessories you can purchase for these mowers, such as a light kit (for nighttime mowing), a variety of baggers, Flex Forks (which are front caster forks that provide additional suspension), a stripe kit, and a mulch kit.
All the mowers in the Raptor series provide a near-commercial-grade cut at a residential price. These mowers handle thick grass well and can mow most grass effectively at near or maximum speed. This is due to their deep decks, which range from 4.5” on the X, XL, and XD models to the 5” deep deck on the XDX. All of the models have the same height range of 1.5” to 4.5”. It’s extremely hard to find fault on these models, but this would be our only complaint since most commercial mowers can cut up to 5”.
A common complaint about previous Raptor models was grass getting caught in the belt cover, eventually derailing the belts. Hustler addressed that problem with these models, adding ports to the belt cover, which makes it easier to clean and less likely to fall off due to a buildup of grass underneath.
You can reasonably expect to get a long life out of these mowers. It uses parts from reputable brands and also features some heavier duty parts (such as upgraded spindles) compared to previous models. These mowers are still relatively new, but there aren’t any specific weak points that we could find so far.
Most people will enjoy mowing with their new Hustler Raptor mower. Comfort starts in the seat, which is adjustable, provides lumbar support, and features an air hole in the back of the seat. You also get a cup holder on the left-hand side and two storage bins behind the seat on either side of the mower. If big bumps are a concern while mowing, Hustler has you taken care of. Although you need to purchase it as an accessory for most models (with the expectation of the Raptor XL), Hustler offers shock absorption in the form of their proprietary front caster forks, called Flex Forks These are designed to reduce bumpiness during your ride and provide a more even cut on rough terrain.
This mower carries the standard Hustler color scheme. Visually, it’s nothing special, but it doesn’t look bad either. There is a lot of plastic near the seat, but when you take the metal engine guard on the back (found on all models except the X) into account, we think it’s an acceptable amount.
The Hustler Raptor series mowers are well-built, providing proper seating, upgraded spindles, high-traction tires, a variety of deck sizes, and a small selection of motor/transmission options. We did find it somewhat disappointing that the Flex Forks was only included on the Raptor XL, though. You’ll need to purchase them as an accessory for the other models, despite both the XD and the XDX costing 500-1,800 more.
Pros / Cons
Deep decks perfect for cutting thick grass
Available in a wide variety of deck sizes
Automatic parking brake comes standard on all models
❌ Flex Forks aren’t included with the higher-priced models
❌ Gas tank stays at 3 gallons across all four models
❌ Cutting height limited to 4.5”
The price of the Hustler Raptor mowers is very competitive. They compete with many of the other brands like Ariens, Husqvarna, and Cub Cadet in this category. There is a fairly wide gap in the price between each of the mowers within the lineup, but they also come with many different features.
Wrapping It Up
The Hustler Raptor series has the perfect mower for you if your lawn is of a larger size. That said, we think most homeowners will be satisfied with the Raptor XL and can save some money instead of opting for a larger (and more expensive) model. Hustler is a well-known brand, and since they’ve partnered with other reputable brands to create these machines, we don’t anticipate any issues when using these models. That said, should it happen, you won’t have an issue, as Hustler covers all of these models for three years (or up to 300 hours of runtime).
What do you think?
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For more information on this mower, check out Hustler’s official site. To find a dealer near you, check out their dealer locator.
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The Mowers You Want: Hustler Raptor vs. Spartan RZ Models
As an experienced property owner, you’ve likely upgraded your mowing equipment over the years to better suit both your lawn’s needs and how you like to mow.
But, have you made lawn mowing truly fun? If you’re looking at your rider and don’t feel inspired to drop everything and saddle up for mowing right this instant, the answer is no. Luckily, the latest zero-turn lineups from a few of our customer-favorite brands, Hustler and Spartan, offer a remedy to lawn maintenance boredom!
What if mowing was more like zipping around the motor speedway in a ridiculously powerful stock car than driving your humble commuter to work? Both the Hustler Raptor and Spartan RZ Pro series mowers can give you this adrenaline-pumping thrill that your current workaday lawn tractor can’t match.
Today’s post gives a little background on both of these standout ranges to show you what you’ve been missing in mowing excitement. And don’t worry—both fleets are available to test drive and fully appreciate in person at your nearest PowerPro location!
The Hustler Raptor Mowers – Rugged Yet Refined
We previously reviewed some of the best Hustler residential mowers—including the full Raptor line—in our earlier post on taking the hassle out of mowing with Hustler. But, these mowers just keep getting better with each new model year.
Currently, there are five individual Raptor mowers in total, each with a unique feature set, but you can expect several strong shared benefits across the family of models. Whether you choose the ground-breaking original Raptor, comfortably upgraded Raptor Limited, performance-focused Raptor SD, premium Raptor SDX, or easy to store and maintain Raptor Flip-Up, you can count on:
- An Incredibly smooth and fluid zero-turn experience
- Hustler’s exclusive SmoothTrak steering
- High performance and reliable engines from Kawasaki and Kohler
- Precision mowing from a variety of deck sizes to address any terrain challenges you may have—from 36” to 60”
The rugged yet refined models of Hustler’s Raptor zero-turn riding mower will delight you with impressive engineering that prioritizes durability. Each Raptor design features a sturdy, welded-steel deck—in a fantastic range of size options—and heavy-duty fabricated frame that’s built to last.
What you may not expect is the extremely comfortable ride and fluid mowing experience brought to you by Hustler’s exclusive SmoothTrak steering. Step up to the Raptor Limited, SD, and SDX trim levels, and you’ll discover luxury seating and more refined suspension options to make mowing feel nearly effortless. No matter which Raptor best meets your needs, you’ll almost certainly fall in love with the aggressive stance, impeccable build quality, and smooth ride that’s easy on your back no matter how many acres you have to mow.
The Spartan RZ Mowers – Capable and Good-Looking, Too!
As we covered in our earlier post on why you should choose Spartan mowers over the rest, Spartan is a different kind of mower brand that’s relatively new to the marketplace—these mowers only roared onto the scene in 2015, though they’ve been winning fans at a record pace. These mowers may look intimidating with their stealthy black and gray styling, but these are user-friendly riders like you’ve never experienced before.
Made in America and designed for fun—and maybe more importantly—speed, the Spartan RZ mowers perform like commercial grade equipment at a residential price point. They’re built by true mowing enthusiasts to win over the most demanding property owners who maybe don’t love mowing today even though they may want to. Spartan is determined to make you an enthusiast, by maximizing rider comfort while offering precision cutting and incredibly well-designed zero-turn machines!
The Spartan RZ mowers, which come in three different flavors at this point—the RZ, RZ HD, and RZ Pro—all feature everything you want in a zero-turn with an overall uncomplicated design that makes maintenance a snap and onboard tech that’s easy to operate, including a state-of-the-art keyless, push-start instrument panel. You’ll also discover:
- An ergonomic cockpit that offers a commanding view and ultra-comfortable operation
- Spartan’s GT-TRAC system that provides the best traction on inclines
- An array of engine options from Briggs Stratton, Kawasaki Kohler
- Precision cutting at 15 different heights from your choice of 48″, 54″ and 61″ deck sizes
Which zero-turn mower is right for you?
It’s true that Hustler offers more individual zero-turn models than Spartan—this is typical of a more mainstream brand versus one that’s a little more niche. To help your decision-making, you may want to consider if you’re often more likely to enjoy tried and true brands that onlookers instantly recognize (that Hustler yellow is hard to miss) or if you’re more of a renegade who’s looking to pretty much intimidate your lawn into almost cutting itself!
But seriously, depending on your property size, terrain, and even how you plan to store your mower, you may have important points to consider that you may not even realize. You’ll want to talk with the experts at PowerPro to help you zero in on the perfect zero-turn.
PowerPro is the premier Hustler zero-turn mower dealer in Pennsylvania—and we’re one of the only Spartan dealers! Visit any of our showrooms to test drive the high-performance Hustler Raptor or Spartan RZ models now, or contact us with your mowing questions. We’re looking forward to working with you as you discover that perfect new mower!