Grasshopper are a well respected manufacturer and innovator in the field of zero turn mowers. Like Hustler Turf, Grasshopper was founded in Moundridge, Kansas.
In 1969 the company introduced what they claim was the world's first commercially viable zero-turn-radius-mower. This early mower proved to be the genesis of a range of mowers over the years which have proved to be tough, manoeuvrable and relatively low maintenance. These features in particular have endeared Grasshopper to commercial users and the discerning residential user alike.
This early innovation in the field has continued to the present day and Grasshopper have a strong line up in the mower marketplace.
The following timeline is a great guide to the innovations Grasshopper has introduced over the years.
- In 1973, in an industry first, Grasshopper introduced dual swing away controls, which gave the operator better access, as well as enabling handling to be more precise.
- 1983 saw Grasshopper introduce another industry first: ZTR mowers fitted with liquid cooled three cylinder diesel engines. The increased fuel economy of the diesel models was great news to user struggling with gas prices.
- A year later, in 1984 the company introduced cutting height adjustment from the operators seat as well as a vacuum selection system allowing operators to switch between collection in discharge in industry leading times. Such innovations were a real boon to the commercial user for whom time is money and also to time starved home users who were faced with monumental energy sapping lawns.
- 1986 saw the introduction of power coated paint systems. Importantly powder coating does away with the need for solvents, as well as excess powder being recyclable. Such environmentally friendly innovations have won Grasshopper awards such as the 2012 P2 Pollution Prevention Award from the state of Kansas.
- A couple of years later in 1988 Grasshopper introduced dual hydrostatic drive systems, moving away from chain transmissions.
- 1994 marked an important year for operator comfort with the debut of the View-Eze console system. In later years Grasshopper would build on and improve this system, bringing comfort to many a tired user.
- Just a year later, in 1995, Grasshopper brought the Combo Deck to the market, allowing the operator the options to discharge bag or mulch from just one deck.
- An important attachment was released in 1996. The AERA-vator aerator allowed Grasshopper zero turn mower owners to extend the usefulness of their machines and aerate their lawns.
- The millennium in 2000 saw Grasshopper become the first manufacturer to offer both front mount and mid mount ZTR mower models.
- 2004 witnessed a maintenance milestone. The new "PowerFold" lift from Grasshopper allowed inspection and work on the deck without the necessity of heavy lifting.
- Another labour-saving device made it's debut in 2005 - the "PowerTilt" hopper allowed the operator to discharge the collection bags with the flip of a switch.
- 2006 saw the introduction of the mid mount 100 series, which packed the reliability and comfort of bigger models into a much smaller size.
- In 2009 PowerFold became standard on some 72" models, allowing for effortless deck lifting and deck height adjustments.
Like many other manufacturers Grasshopper makes both mid-mount and front mount zero turn radius lawn mowers. There are advantages and disadvantages to both types.
Grasshopper mowers are considered by many to be among the best commercial mowers. Many contractors swear by them and use them exclusively. Grasshopper front mount models are often a particular favourite, loved for both the quality of cut and smoothness of the ride that they deliver. It must be remembered though that a front mount model will take up both more storage space and will also be slightly harder to transport due to its length.