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it may be posted here somewhere but i can't find...my question...is there any difference between buying a rider at say lowe's , walmart etc over buying one at a dealer..quality wise...i've heard both sides of the coin
 

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This can be a touchy subject depending who you ask :D. Most people agree that the tractor quality is the same at a box store or a dealer if you are comparing a specific model. However, the box store will not service the lawnmower or stand behind their product with warranties and soforth.
 

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In the case of JDs they are exactly the same as will be the price. Having said that if you buy any lawn equipment from the dealer I would bet you money you would get better/quicker repair service no matter what the brand. Roger
 

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However, the box store will not service the lawnmower or stand behind their product with warranties and soforth.
Agreed. Those in my mind are the biggest differences.
 

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If I have a choice I will chose a local dealer over a box store every time! I would rather my money stay in my community than go to a large corp. that have driven several businesses out of existence!
 

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I'm not even box-store, my MTD is 24 years old and second hand :)

The stuff I see at Home Depot and Lowes these days is kind of dissapointing. Mowers with loose handles, mowers missing parts, mowers with documentation strewn about the aisle. Lowes is a little better and has a better selection, but not that impressive.

What I miss is when the "box stores" like Ace Hardware, lowes,and Wests used to display their new walk-behinds with some dignity. I remember being a little kid in ace hardware and EVERY MTD, Murray, Cub Cadet, or Lawn-Boy was sitting on a polished up chrome rack, all shiny and new, and lowes used to do the same thing. Now they just chain a bunch out front while they weather away. The only box store that still does that is Sears.
 

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In the case of John Deere and Honda, I know the products are the same at the dealer as they are at the box store. For the Deere tractors, someone from a nearby Deere dealer does the unpacking and basic setup of the new tractors, so you'll find the dealer's sticker on the machine somewhere.

As was said above, it may be the same product, but it's not treated well at the box store. For example, over on MyTractorForum there was a recent thread about some experience with the employees at Lowe's incidentally destroying JD tractors by using a forklift to get them up and down from high shelving - they're putting the forks under the mower deck and lifting it that way! The person posting the thread had two tractors delivered and returned with bent parts before he figured out what was happening.

For something as big as a tractor, I'd support the local dealer because you'll need them someday for service. JD parts and maintenance items (filters, oil, belts) are also cheaper at the dealer than at the box store.

It seems most stores put very little effort into assembling display models these days, whether it's power equipment or shelves or furniture. The problem is that if the floor model looks like it's not made well, I'll hesitate before buying it. I often have to figure out if it's really a poor product or just poor assembly. Often, it's the assembly of course.
 

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For the most part box store and the John Deere dealer sold the same thing. I had for years bought box store tractors as it was either what I could afford or I had other more pressing needs for my money (as in getting my home paid off in eight years instead of 30) The quality of the machine depends as I seen some really cheap stuff in the box store. It also depends if I want something that will do the job for a set number of years or if I want it to last I ended up going to the dealer, it all depends on the budget at the time I am shopping.

For most folks they do not have the size of the property I maintain so a budget lawn tractor will suit their needs fine.

I also laugh at the folks that are still mad at John Deere for going with a mass market home owner tractor and I am sure that JD is also laughing all the way to the bank.
 

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John Deere does not make their entire product line available to the box stores. Always go with a local servicing dealer. It is so aggravating to buy anything somewhere and not being able to get a filter or blade or any replacement parts for it. My local JD dealer will service big box mowers but you go to the front of the line if you bought it from him.
 

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Lawnboy lawn mowers in big box was cheaper metal deck and the dealer where I bought my gold series had alum deck and the deckers have commerial models. Can not go wrong with dealers .
 

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Big-Box stores...

I'm not even box-store, my MTD is 24 years old and second hand :)

The stuff I see at Home Depot and Lowes these days is kind of dissapointing. Mowers with loose handles, mowers missing parts, mowers with documentation strewn about the aisle. Lowes is a little better and has a better selection, but not that impressive.

What I miss is when the "box stores" like Ace Hardware, lowes,and Wests used to display their new walk-behinds with some dignity. I remember being a little kid in ace hardware and EVERY MTD, Murray, Cub Cadet, or Lawn-Boy was sitting on a polished up chrome rack, all shiny and new, and lowes used to do the same thing. Now they just chain a bunch out front while they weather away. The only box store that still does that is Sears.
I bought my dad a $1k log splitter from Lowe's this xmas. Like Mad Mike says, they were all outside chained up and sitting in the rain. Got the thing home and filled with oil, gas, hyd. fluid, tried to start - nada. Noticed rusty water seeping out of the muffler. Pulled the plug and spun it over and a spew of water gushed forth... A sorry way to sell if you ask me. They did take it back and brought out another fresh from the supplier. That one leaked gas after a few days... Sorry, indeed...
 
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