hustler raptor zero turn mower review

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 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 one a couple of these mowers and they are really great.

Comparison of the Raptor Lineup

MowerRaptor XRaptor XLRaptor XDRaptor XDX
Deck Size42″ and 54″42″ and 54″42″, 48″, 54″, and 60″48″, 54″, and 60″
Deck Type11 Ga. Fabricated11 Ga. Fabricated11 Ga. Fabricated10 Ga. Fabricated
EngineKawasaki FR600 or FR651Kawasaki FR651 or FR691Kawasaki FR651, FR691, or FR730Kawasaki FR651, FR691, or FR730
TransmissionHydro-Gear ZT2200Hydro-Gear ZT2200Hydro-Gear ZT2800Hydro-Gear ZT3100
Speed7 mph7 mph7.5 mph8 mph
Fuel Tank3 gal.3 gal.3 gal.3 gal.
ComfortMid-back seatHigh-back seat; flex forksHigh-back seatHigh-back seat
Warranty3-year/300 hours3-year/300 hours3-year/300 hours3-year/300 hours
Price$3,099$3,499$4,099$5,199

Power

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.

Engine Options

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.

kawasaki fr730 engine

Transmission Options

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.

Features

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 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.

BigBite tires

Cut Quality

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”. 

hustler raptor deck

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.

Durability

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.

Comfort

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.

Aesthetics

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.

hustler raptor mower

Build Quality

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® were 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”

Our Rating

Performance:4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)
Cut Quality:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Durability:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Comfort:4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)
Price:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Overall:4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

Price

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 difference features.

  • Raptor X – $3,099+
  • Raptor XL – $3,499+
  • Raptor XD – $4,099+
  • Raptor XDX – $5,199+

Wrapping It Up

The Hustler Raptor series has the perfect mower for you if your lawn is on the 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 3 years (or up to 300 hours of runtime).

What do you think?

Do you want to get this mower? Let us know in the comments below what you think about the Hustler Raptor.

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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.

Images are from hustler.

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