It’s amazing how many companies believe they make the best commercial zero-turn mowers on the market. Of course, the company that has “Simply the Best” in its slogan is also in the running.
While Scag has an impressive lineup of mowers, one we are particularly excited about is the Scag Patriot.
The patriot was made with one audacious goal: to help landscapers make as much money as possible.
If that doesnt excite you, I don’t know what will. This Scag Patriot review will reveal if it lives up to the hype or if it’s just another usurper of Toro’s throne.
Who Makes the Scag Patriot?
The Scag Patriot is one of the great commercial models made by Scag Power Equipment.
Scag is an American brand that has been making commercial and residential lawn mowers in Mayville, Wisconsin, since 1983.
The company was bought by Metalcraft of Mayville in 1983 and has since grown to be one of the largest lawn mower makers in the world.
Despite their astronomical growth, Scag still makes all of their components themselves out of their Mayville plant.
Scag has a strong emphasis on build quality, ride quality, ease of maintenance, and profitability.
Scag Patriot Reviews – How Good is the Scag Patriot Mower?
The Scag Patriot mower is the entry-level commercial zero-turn mower made by Scag. It is an upgrade of the Scag Freedom Z, which was made for both residential and commercial use.
Despite being the base model, the Scag Patriot is a premium product but at a price that is friendly to new professional landscapers.
There is a lot to digest about the Scag Patriot features, so we’ll break them down one at a time.
1. Scag Patriot models
There are six Scag Patriot mowers – three with a 52″ cutting deck and three with a 61″ cutting deck.
Each cutting deck size can come with either a Kohler Command PRO engine, a Briggs Vanguard Cxi Series V-Twin engine, or a Kawasaki FX engine.
The different-sized decks are nearly identical in performance, with only minor separations in speed and drive system.
The 61” Scag Patriot series uses a Hydro-Gear ZT3400 transaxle compared to the Hydro-Gear ZT3100 for the 52”, which is a marginal improvement. They are also slightly faster.
Frankly, you’ll barely notice the difference and the only reason to get the larger decks is if you mow larger lots.
Each Scag Patriot can mow over 20 acres per day, which is significantly more than what you’d typically need.
The Scag Patriot delivers as much power as you would expect from a commercial lawn mower. However, how much power you get will depend on the model.
The 52” Hero Cutter Deck can come with a 23 hp Kohler, 27 hp Briggs Vanguard or a 22 hp Kawasaki. The larger decks have a 25 hp Kohler, 27 hp Briggs and a 23 hp Kawasaki.
Even though the Kawasaki FX engine has less displacement, it is still the highest-rated engine maker for lawn mowers. Whatever you choose, you’ll have plenty of power for commercial tasks.
3. Build quality
This is where we nearly lost our minds looking at the specs! This is by far one of the best-built zero-turn mowers, and you can tell by looking at it.
But let’s start with what you don’t see. The cutting deck for all models is made from 10-gauge steel.
However, the decks hava an 11-gauge steel reinforcement plate through the spindle area and a 7-gauge skirt, making this one of the toughest decks ever.
Unless you try to fell a tree, these decks should last a lifetime. One area of vulnerability for mowers is the spindle, but not for the Scag Patriot.
The heavy-shaft spindles come in an aluminum housing and sealed ball bearings. This means you don’t have to take them apart and clean them every once in a while because they are maintenance-free.
Every part of the mower deck was made with attention to detail, so as long as you keep up with maintenance, you can use the Scag Patriot for the next decade and a half.
4. Cut quality
You can’t call yourself Simply the Best at residential and commercial lawn mowers without delivering a pristine cut.
The Scag Patriot uses the aptly named Hero Cutter Deck to deliver exceptional cuts every time, whatever setting you use.
Side discharging is the default mode, but you can also use the mulching and bagging options. Once the electronic PTO is engaged, you can adjust the cutting height from 1.5″ to 5″ in ¼” increments.
The Scag Patriot uses an adjustable air gap to ensure a long life for your mower deck.
Commercial zero-turns are all about speed, and the Scag Patriot does not disappoint.
The 52″ models can go up to 8.5 mph forward, while the 61″ model has a top speed of 10 mph. Both sizes can reach 5 mph in reverse.
While this might seem like the 52″ is inferior, the recommended mowing speed is 6 mph anyway, so the extra speed only comes in handy when driving to different locations.
The Scag Patriot was designed for people that might be working long hours. The estimated productivity for the 52” models is cutting 20.2 acres per day, while that of the 61” options is 23.7 acres.
That’s a lot of time to spend on a machine, and that is why Scag made the Patriot mower very comfortable. The Scag Patriot has a high seat made from a thick, padded cushion.
The texture is feather soft, and you won’t feel the vibration from the deck or the bumps in the road thanks to the Torsion-spring suspension seat.
The iso-mounted footplate also absorbs a lot of the vibration. All of the controls are within easy reach, and the lap bars are padded.
7. Other Scag Patriot features
Safety is a big part of the Scag lineup. Every Scag Patriot has rollover protective structures (ROPS), a seat belt, and safety switches.
The parking brake is another great safety feature that allows you to halt the zero-turn mower when you lose control.
Other features we like include a digital hour reader, the larger 6.5-gallon gas tank, and the cup holder. This is also one of the easiest mowers to maintain, as it has fewer grease points.
The Scag Patriot uses 40 micron spin-on oil filters that are easy to swap out, and you can also easily access the air and fuel filters.
How Much Do Scag Patriot Mowers Cost?
Given that the Scag Patriot is a premium commercial zero-turn riding mower, you would expect the price to be earth-shattering.
Luckily, you can get a Scag Patriot mower for just under $9,000 for the 52″ option, while the most expensive models go up to about $9,900.
While these prices are significantly higher than a residential mower, it is a great price for a commercial zero-turn that is built in the USA.
plus, many owners like the Scag Patriot for residential and commercial use, thus maximizing their investment. Scag offers financing deals via a number of their affiliated dealers.
What Scag Mower is Best?
As much as we love the Scag Patriot, it is not the best Scag mower. That honor goes to the Scag Tiger Cat II.
It uses the Velocity Deck, which delivers the best cut possible and is made of ½” thick steel. It has a compact body, a huge 9.5-gallon tank for all-day running, and it can go as fast as 12 mph.
This has everything you’d need from a commercial zero-turn riding mower, like ROPS and adjustable air gap, and suspension seat, so you can comfortably use this beast for more than two decades with the right maintenance.
Common Scag Patriot Problems and How to Solve Them
Yes, even an absolute beast like the Scag Patriot mower will have occasional problems. Most of these are due to user error.
When these problems are due to manufacturing defects, you’d typically notice them before the 2-year warranty. If you notice any of these problems, here’s what to do:
The engine doesn’t start
If you have seen any of our articles on common mower problems, then you know this happens with other mowers too.
In the case of the Scag Patriot mower, some people notice this problem either after leaving it idle for months or after a long day of use.
There are several reasons why this might be, but first, you need to ensure that the PTO is off and you’ve followed the proper starting sequence.
Once that is ruled out, the most likely cause is the wiring harnesses. If you are still under warranty, don’t try to diagnose this yourself.
Go to a Scag dealer and get it checked out. Other causes could be the solenoid or the fuse. You are free to replace the fuse yourself, but let a dealer look at the solenoid.
Trying to make repairs outside what is stated in the user manual will void your warranty, so always stick with the script.
Engine runs poorly
There are different reasons for an engine to run erratically
- Using the mower with choke activated: The Scag Patriot uses a manual choke, so you need to switch it off when you start riding.
- Problem with the spark plug: If the spark plug wire is loose, it will cause inconsistent power flow. Tighten the wire or replace the spark plug as needed.
- Stale fuel: When you leave fuel in your gas tank all winter without a stabilizer, it will go stale. This can cause your engine to not start or to run inconsistently. Empty your fuel tank and check the fuel line and unclog as needed.
- Water or dirt in the fuel system: Drain the fuel tank and pour in fresh gasoline.
- Dirty air cleaner: You are to clean the air cleaner element every 100 hours, but you can do it sooner if you notice dirt buildup.
Many things could cause an engine to overheat, but the two most likely causes are when there is a problem with the oil or the airflow.
When the oil level gets too low, it can cause the engine to overheat. So also can using the wrong engine oil.
Also, remember that after the first 20 hours of use, you need to change the engine oil and the oil filter.
To diagnose a problem with the airflow, check the cooling fins and remove cut grass and other debris.
When we say uneven cuts, we mean the different ways grass can be improperly cut.
If you’re new to the lawn care industry, you might think there are just two: uneven cut and scalping, but actually, there are several of them.
You could have stringers, streaks in cutting path, streaks between cutting paths, wavy uneven cuts on flat ground, wavy uneven cut on uneven ground, and several other faults that fall under uneven cuts.
For a full list, you can consult the manual. But the summary of how to fix uneven cut problems is to:
- Run the engine at full RPM
- Cut at a decent pace – 6 mph on flat ground and 4 mph on slopes
- Keep your blades sharp
- Wash the deck
- Maintain the right belt tension
- Maintain adequate overlap
- Only cut dry grass
- Replace bent blades
The iso-mounted footplate on the Scag Patriot does a great job of absorbing vibrations. The torsion springs suspension seat also makes you feel like you’re floating.
So, it will take a lot for you to feel any jarring vibrations. However, if the mower blades are loose or severely bent, it will cause vibrations even the suspension seat won’t be able to suppress.
Fortunately, this can be easily corrected by tightening or replacing the blades.
Scag Patriot: Best Bang for your Buck
It is impossible for Scag Patriot reviews to adequately cover everything, but we’ve shared enough to prove that this is a phenomenal machine.
And yes, we agree with Scag that this is the best commercial zero-turn mower for small-scale and entry-level professional landscapers.
You get a lot of premium power, performance, comfort, and safety features for a sub $10,000 zero-turn riding mower. This machine is a true workhorse, and the 61″ deck is blazing fast.
Just to be clear, every great brand has problems. To put the Scag Patriot problems, into perspective, here are 10 Common Spartan Mower Problems.