Zero turn mowers are fast, efficient and can make the task of cutting a large lawn much easier. Investing in a zero turn mower is one of the easiest ways to simplify your mowing task and potential, and even allow you to get a little enjoyment out of mowing.
However, not all zero turn mowers are equal, which is why it’s important that you learn as much as you can about them in order to ensure you choose the best model that meets your needs and your budget.
Our Top 4 Picks for the Best Zero Turn Mowers
What Is a Zero Turn Mower?
A zero turn mower is a special type of riding mower that’s characterized by its rear-wheel drive. Unlike the wide-turning front-wheel drive mowers, a zero turn mower’s rear-wheel drive allows it to spin on a dime.
The name comes from the fact that these mowers have a zero-degree turning radius, which is why these mowers are sometimes referred to as ZTRs.
What Are the Benefits of Zero Turn Mowers?
Thanks to the tight turning radius, zero turn mowers are highly maneuverable to allow you to pivot in place instead of having to make wide turns. This maneuverability lets you get in and out of tight spaces with ease—ensuring that you can mow your lawn in a more efficient way and thus shorten the time the task takes.
In addition, these mowers tend to feature a large deck that cuts more grass with each pass to further add to the efficiency. Most manufacturers now use electronic-fuel injection to provide superior fuel efficiency and thus make these mowers less harmful to the environment.
Like other types of riding lawn mowers, zero turn mowers are also far easier to use than traditional push or walk-behind mowers—giving you the ability to mow even the biggest yard in record time without spending an ounce of energy.
Zero turn mowers can also be outfitted with either a mulching kit or bagger, which allows you to recycle your clippings into super-fine, nutrient-rich mulch or collect them in an easy-to-dispose bag that’s usually large enough to handle all but the biggest, thickest lawns without needing to be changed.
Types of Zero Turn Mowers
There are a number of different types of zero turn mowers, each of which offers slightly different performance. This means you’ll need to carefully consider which type of mower is best for your needs and your lawn to ensure you end up with a model that suits your needs.
Lap Bar Control
The most common type of zero turn mowers features lap bar steering. With these lap-bar control mowers , you use two folding levers to steer and move the mower.
Steering Wheel Control
As the name suggests, this type of mower features a steering wheel similar to the one you use to drive your car. These mowers also feature foot pedals, again just like you’d find in any car.
If you’re a fan of video games, you might find that joystick control mowers give you superior control over the other styles of steering. However, if you’re not familiar with using a joystick, it could take you some time to get used to this style of control.
Stand On Mower
You can also find a range of stand-on mowers where you stand on a deck on the back of the mower instead of sitting. These mowers are usually controlled by two levers, similar to those found on lap-bar control mowers. Although these tend to be used more by professionals, some homeowners with extra-large lawns are also starting to opt for this style as they tend to provide even greater maneuverability.
Mid Deck Mower
In addition to the style of steering, you can also choose between mid-deck and front-deck style mowers. Mid-deck style mowers, where you sit over the top of the deck, tend to be more common.
Front Deck Mower
On a front-deck mower, the deck sticks out in front of where you sit, which gives you slightly more control and maneuverability and also provides a more even and efficient cut.
Is Zero Turn Mower Right for You?
Although zero turn mowers can be a huge benefit when mowing larger lawns, they’re not necessarily the best choice for every situation. Like all riding mowers, there is a danger of rollover if you attempt to use a zero turn mower on a steep slope.
For this reason, you should always follow the manufacturer recommendations and never use your mower on a slope that exceeds the manufacturer’s recommended limit. If you don’t know the manufacturer’s recommended limit, OSHA suggests to never operate your mower on a slope with an angle greater than 15 degrees just to be safe.
Although manufacturers generally equip zero turn mowers with a range of safety equipment, they still tend to be slightly more dangerous than push mowers. This means that there are a number of additional zero turn mower safety tips you’ll need to be aware of to ensure safe operation. In addition, it also means that these mowers should never be used by children.
There is no doubt that zero turn mowers are worth considering if you have a large lawn. As long as there isn’t too great of a slope, a zero turn mower can definitely cut down on the time it takes and ensure you don’t have to spend hours on weekend lawn maintenance. Still, it’s essential that you take the time to do your research as not all types or models will provide the same level of performance or be suitable for all situations.
Our Zero Turn Mower Reviews
The Poulan Pro P54ZX boasts a 24 HP Briggs V-Twin engine which is more than enough in terms of power and durability. The EZT transmission adds even more versatility to the already powerful build of this zero turn mower.
The engine is supported with a 54 inch cutting deck, which is quite big considering you don’t usually get much bigger than that even in larger riding lawn mower. With a 54 inch cutting diameter, your lawn can look tidy and fresh in no time.
The front tires are 11 inches, while the rear tires are 18 inches. The wheels are great considering the amount of cushion support you get while enjoying your lawn mowing ride. The electric clutch adds great utility and the 3.5 gallon fuel tank ensures you get a lot of run time.
The Husqvarna Z254 looks nice with its vibrant orange and metallic grey colors. Equipped with a Briggs & Stratton V-Twin 724cc engine, this ZTR mower has quite a powerful engine that can help you in getting the job done quickly.
Durability was kept well in mind with this mower, considering the chrome plated valves, the large cooling fans and the immaculately finished bearing surfaces. All of these factors add more to the life expectancy of this machinery.
The cutting deck has a 54 inch cutting diameter, ensuring you get a large area of effect with every yard you ride across. In terms of utility, this zero turn radius mower is easy to operate due to the fact everything is at the reach of your arm.
The Troy-Bilt Mustang zero turn mower has a powerful engine with its 24 HP V-Twin Briggs & Stratton engine. This engine is supported by an oil filter as well as a Dual EZT Transmission which would make shifting gears almost unnoticeable.
The cutting deck comes in at 46 inches, which ensures a shorter run time per lawn mowing and also has a triple blade side discharge with deck wash. Furthermore, the deck height adjustment comes with eight different options, and the adjustment is initiated with a mere push of a button.
The high back seat is cushioned with springs so that you feel no stiffness or shocks while enjoying your ride. In addition, this mower comes with a large fuel capacity which will give you a long run time.
The cutting deck measures in at 34 inches in diameter, which is the smallest in our list but is by no means small. A cutting area of effect of 34 inches is still indeed quite high and can still get you finish your job quite quickly.
As with any zero turn lawn mower, the zero turn radius allows you to execute tight turns avoiding any hurdles such as rocks, trees or sharp turns. All in all, this lawn mower is a well-rounded machine that still compares favorably to the competition in terms of power and cutting width.