Zero-turn mowers seem like a big initial purchase. This is somehow true. We can’t deny that this particular type of lawn mower is a bit heavy on the pockets.
It is quite difficult to find cost-effective products on the market today so we’ve made your search easier by narrowing them down into categories for both residential and commercial use.
Of course, we will also consider quality and performance. Most of the time, the price you pay for a mower equates to the benefits that you can reap from it.
Low-cost mowers usually have cheap quality. However, the main point is that regardless of its price, it should be able to do the job it was intended for efficiently and last a decent amount of time.
Zero-turn lawn mowers, since they are heavy duty, they are usually designed for commercial use. But that doesn’t mean you can’t also use them for your residence, especially if you have a large yard.
Whatever your purpose is for a zero-turn lawn mower, whether for personal use or business, there is always something that works for you.
Read on for more information coming your way.
Table of Contents
When you talk about zero-turn mowers, Husqvarna is one of the most reliable brands in the market. Their Z254 has a 26-horsepower Kohler engine with a maximum speed of 6.5 miles per hour. Not the best, but it will suffice for average-sized lawns.
This particular model also sports a patented park brake that automatically activates and deactivates upon detection of a shift in the lap bars. It also has air induction technology in its mower deck for a clean and even cut.
You can dispose of the lawn clippings by mulching, bagging, or simply discharging and all of these can be done by the Z254. But you may need to purchase the mulching kit and bagger separately.
All these features can be yours for a reasonable price. The Husqvarna Z254 is one of the best choices for residential mowers.
- Power: 26 horsepower
- Cutting width: 54 inches
- Fuel capacity: 5 gallons
- Max speed: 6.5 mph
- Powerful Kohler engine with hydrostatic transmission
- Special patented technologies from Husqvarna for improved performance
- Slow for a zero-turn mower
- Mulcher and bagger are not included in the package
Lastly, the Craftsman Z550 zero-turn mower should not be overlooked. When it comes to comfort in use and durability, it does not fall short.
The 50-inch cutting deck width is suitable for residential spaces and can handle different types of lawn grass. The cutting height can range from 1.25 to 3.75 inches.
This model may not be the largest, most efficient, or most heavy duty but it performs well enough considering its reasonable midrange price. It is built with a 24hp Kohler engine with quality Craftsman construction for guaranteed durability.
- Power: 24 horsepower
- Cutting width: 50 inches
- Fuel capacity: 3.5 gallons
- Max speed: 7 mph
- Reliable Kohler engine with hydrostatic transmission
- Durable steel construction
- Small fuel tank
- Short cutting width for a zero-turnA
Husqvarna MZ61 61 In. 24 HP Kawasaki Hydrostatic Zero Turn Riding Mower
Another Husqvarna product is the MZ61 61 in. 24 HP Kawasaki Hydrostatic Zero Turn Riding Mower that is equipped with a heavy-duty engine along with its large size and remarkable speed.
Enclosing the engine is a steel frame that adds to the durability of the equipment. It also has an extremely efficient cutting deck. The ease in maneuvering the MZ61 is also one of the things that users love about it.
You can make a 180-degree turn without hassle even though its wheels are not the same size. It can go around narrow and tight spaces and makes for a smooth finish for your mowing job.
The cutting deck of this mower is adjustable to different heights so you can set the grass blade size that works for you. Its ultimate highlight is its engine which is a masterpiece of the popular brand Briggs & Stratton – a renowned maker of quality mower engines.
The engine can handle a maximum of 27 horsepower, with speeds of 8.5 mph and 5 mph in the reverse direction. According to our calculations, this speed can already cover 3-4 acres in under an hour.
- Power: 24 horsepower
- Cutting width: 61 inches
- Fuel capacity: 5 gallons
- Max speed: 8.5 mph
- Automatic start
- The roll-over protection system allows operations in all conditions
- Multiple options for disposing of clippings
- Comfortable padded high-rise backseat
- Features capable vibration dampers
- Durable steel frame construction
- The seat may be a bit too high for other people
- Not easy to store
Troy-Bilt Mustang Fit Riding Lawn Mower – Best Manual Transmission Lawnmower
A good deal of power and cost-efficiency can be met with the Troy-Bilt Mustang Fit Riding Lawn Mower. The 452cc power output, along with the EZT hydrostatic transmission, equates to powerful and precise action.
The cutting deck is able to accommodate thick and rough grass in a breeze.
The engine of this mower is high-end but compact and lightweight nonetheless, making this model easy to handle, place, and store.
It’s simple to maneuver and make sharp turns which work well for gardens and yards with many road blockages you have to get around. It has a double-lever for precision control during use.
The Troy-Bilt Mustang is a sturdy mower that is resistant to vibration, shock, and impact. Its reinforced steel construction that encloses the interior components also protects from environmental debris like water, dust, and snow.
With this model, you have a zero-turn mower that will last you for years.
Don’t be fooled by the slim design because the Troy-Bilt’s construction is so reliable that it can withstand vibration and impact and remain stable under strenuous conditions.
The steel frame protects the interior from debris, water, and snow. The engine is also built with quality construction that guarantees several years of stability.
- Power: 34 horsepower
- Cutting width: 34 inches
- Fuel capacity: 1.2 gallons
- Max speed: 7 mph
- Uses a powerful 452cc engine
- Powerful hydrostatic transmission
- Zero-turn maneuverability
- Features reverse capabilities
- Wide cutting deck
- Very smooth cutting action
- May rip the grass when performing a zero-turn
- Emits quite a loud noise
- 1.2-gallon fuel tank is small
Ariens Edge 52 In. 726 Cc Zero-Turn-Radius Lawn Tractor
If you want a budget-friendly zero-turn mower designed for residential use, the Ariens Zoom 915254 is great for a land area of 3-5 acres. The cutting deck is 52 inches, great for maneuvering around tight spaces.
It is also of decent size that is not difficult to store yet performs greatly for the lawn maintenance of medium to large lawns.
It features a 726cc Kawasaki FR651 engine (the quality standard engine), integrated with an overhead valve for a cooling mechanism upon operation. The Twin EZT hydrostatic transaxles serve as the hydrostatic transmission.
You can adjust the cutting deck from 1.5 to 4.5 inches depending on your grass type, using the mechanical foot lift to elevate or lower down the cutting deck as well. Regarding tire measurement, the front is 11 inches, and the rear tires are 20 inches.
It can reach a maximum speed of 6 mph and 3 mph for reverse, and it can power through uphill and uneven terrain.
Since this is a gas-powered mower, it has a fuel tank capacity of 2 gallons and a dual cylinder motor.
Husqvarna Z246 46” Zero Turn Mower
It’s safe to say that the Husqvarna Z246 (967323903) is somewhat of an upgrade when compared to the previous models that we have listed, but the price is competitive too. This can work for medium to large properties.
Its features include a Briggs & Stratton 23HP V-Twin endurance engine and a 46-inch cutting deck that minimizes working time. The mower is large and bulky, so you have to allocate a good amount of space for storage.
Despite its large size, it is still quite easy to maneuver since it’s a zero-turn technology. It is very user-friendly and easily operated, with ergonomic controls.
Everything you need is right there in front of you, within arm’s reach.
We see this particular Husqvarna model to have the potential of being an all-around property management machine due to its capability of withstanding extreme conditions, reliable and durable construction, and hardcore performance.
You can attach additional accessories to it to further improve its versatility in lawn maintenance.
Bradley Stand-On Zero Turn Commercial Mower
This commercial mower from Bradley has a 36-inch wide cutting deck. There is another variant that is 48 inches wide, but we opted to list down the model that is within the price range that we set for this post.
A less wide cutting deck means a smaller mower that does not take up a lot of space. It is also simpler to maneuver around narrow spaces and move around small areas.
It has a 23hp Briggs & Stratton electric start engine with a twin hydro gear drive. This type of engine construction ensures that you finish the job quicker.
The mower is also convertible from stand-on to walk-behind to accommodate whatever mowing style preference you have. That makes the product more versatile and flexible since it caters to multiple consumer tastes.
The Bradley dual blades can be adjusted from 2 to 5 inches with sensitive zero-turn controllability for a smooth and even lawn finish.
The fuel tank capacity of this mower is 5 gallons, and that usually takes a lot of time and multiple uses before it runs out, so that lessens the frequency of refilling it. Just remember to monitor now and then to make sure.
The manufacturer offers a one-year warranty for commercial use and two years for residential use.
Swisher Response ZTR2460KA
Normally, this specific lawn mower would not be included in this list, but it is currently on sale at a tempting price, and it would be a shame not to let you know about it.
We can say that with its current price, it is already a worthy investment for a zero-turn mower.
The Swisher Response (ZTR2460KA) has a 24hp Kawasaki engine with a 60-inch cutting deck width. With that power and cutting width, it is perfect for large properties and heavy-duty maintenance jobs.
The fuel tank can carry 8 gallons designed for long hours of use, typically for commercial purposes. It has a maximum forward and reverses speed of 8 mph.
It is easy to operate with a fast reaction time and user-friendly controls.
Furthermore, the height of the cutting deck can be adjusted from 1.5 to 4.5 inches using the foot lift. It also features a rear-wheel drive and a hydrostatic transmission.
Accessories like an engine guard, armrests, a trailer hitch, an hour meter, and even a cup holder are included with the unit, along with a storage unit and 12-volt adaptor.
Out of all the models listed, this is the one that offers the most for its price. From the accessories to the durability and performance, the Swisher Response ZTR2460KA is a tough contender.
We are not exactly sure when the sale is going to last, but we will notify you with any updates regarding this.
What is a zero-turn lawn mower?
To make things clear, a zero-turn lawn mower is not the same as a lawn tractor (riding mowers). Yes, they may be similar in a lot of ways, but there are also distinct differences that set them apart.
Their main difference is the ease of maneuvering. The wheels of zero-turn lawn mowers turn at sharper angles compared to lawn tractors which make steering and turning in another direction much easier.
If your yard has a lot of roadblocks like trees, plants, and another garden decor, it would be easier to move around them using zero-turn mowers. They are also faster than lawn tractors. However, these aren’t designed for uphill slopes.
Any elevated part of your yard may not be covered by zero-turn mowers. We recommend riding lawn tractors for that scenario.
Important considerations for zero-turn mowers
Not all mowers have the same structural and physical specifications like size, weight, horsepower, and fuel source. These are some things you should consider when you are planning to buy a zero-turn lawn mower.
You have to know their operation, cost, and performance to make a wise decision.
Commercial vs. residential zero-turn mowers
Before, zero-turn lawn mowers were only intended for commercial use. They are typically used by landscaping businesses and ground maintenance workers that do lawn maintenance jobs for large properties.
But lately, zero-turn mowers are now being used for residential areas as well. Newer models are being made for home use.
Power and price are the two differences between commercial and residential mowers. Since commercial mowers usually do large-scale jobs, they are built with more power, wider cutting decks, bulkier, and heavier.
Residential types, on the other hand, are smaller, which makes them more comfortable to handle.
They are also powerful but not as much as commercial ones. The highlight is the ease of maneuvering, so you can be assured that the feature remains constant along with a lower price.
If your yard is less than 3 acres, a residential zero-turn mower with horsepower between 20 to 25 is the way to go. For lawn areas beyond that size and more frequent use, you may want to opt for the commercial type.
How much horsepower is required?
The average horsepower of zero-turn mowers can be between 10-25 HP. Yard size smaller than one-half of an acre will do with a 10 HP, but if your yard is less than 3 acres, a residential zero-turn mower with horsepower between 20 to 25 is the way to go.
This type also works for uphill terrains with up to 15 degrees of inclination. Mowers with more than 25 HP are too much for a typical household lawn.
Gas or electric lawn mowers
Electric, battery-powered mowers can work for yards less than an acre. They are pretty powerful, and the technology integrated into them keeps improving over time.
Manufacturers keep coming up with innovations for electric lawn mowers to improve their performance.
They cost just about the same as gas-fueled mowers while also reducing your carbon footprint. You cannot do this with gas mowers because of the tendency of fume emission.
However, the cost that you have to face is the frequent purchase of batteries. Even if your mower is energy-efficient, you still have to go through the hassle of recharging it when it’s running low.
It all boils down to the purchase you are capable of making.
It’s not a secret that gas-powered mowers are more powerful but only by a slight bit. They tend to perform extremely well on elevated and uphill terrains and on rough roads as well.
Electrical mowers are the practical choice for the typical yard, but if your yard requires more power, you can go for gas-powered types.
What is cutting deck size required?
The cutting deck refers to the slot where the cutting blades are placed. You might get the impression that a bigger cutting deck is always better, but in some cases, that does not always apply.
The usual sizes can go from 32 inches to 60 inches. Any more beyond that is just unnecessary.
You also do not need a large size cutting deck if your yard is not that large of an area. Especially if you have a lot of roadblocks and obstacles in your yard, big cutting decks may not work for you.
The common size for suburban households is usually around 32-40 inches.
Steering and stopping
Zero-turn mowers are best known for their lever steering characteristic that is unique to them only. There is no steering wheel like in riding lawnmowers. Instead, you have two levers for steering and making sharp turns.
These levers control the mower’s pivot points. Pulling back the right lever and pushing the left one forward steers the mower to the right.
Experts advise mowing the lawn in a Y pattern or direction and not making sharp, sudden turns that might cause the wheel to dig deep into the ground.
You have to keep in mind that zero-turn mowers do not usually have brakes. To make a stop, you have to hold both levers in neutral.
You should practice handling the mower first before actually using it for mowing. They’re pretty easy to learn but try practicing it on a wide space in your lawn first and away from hedges or important plants.
Go slow at first and allow yourself to get the hang of it before moving on to more difficult terrains.
The majority of the zero-turn mowers on this list are powered by gas. They only operate as long as the tank is filled.
A large fuel tank capacity means that you can fill it with larger volumes of gasoline for longer running times. If you usually do large-scale jobs, you need a mower with a huge gas tank.
Zero-turn mowers are generally faster than lawn tractors or riding lawn mowers, but the speed still varies on the model. For wide and open spaces, you would do well with high-speed mowers.
You get what you pay for, they say. The more features, power, and accessories a lawn mower has, the pricier it will surely be.
You do not need a lot of additional features if your main purpose is only for your home and typical lawn maintenance. You would only be paying for things you don’t even need.
Having a lawn mower does not always have to be a heavy purchase. You can find budget-friendly mowers in the market today that can do the job well.
The minimum price for a zero-turn lawn mower is around $2,000. If that is way out of your budget, you can check out push mowers.
The comfortability of your seat is important, especially when you usually spend a couple of hours on the job. There are mower models in the market with good padding and ergonomic design.
It contributes a lot to reducing fatigue and providing good body support while you mow.
Levers and controls
The ease of operation relies on the convenience of the levers and other mower controls. There are models with ergonomic controls that reduce driver fatigue with easily accessible controls.
You can navigate and operate the mower without too much hassle and effort with the appropriate placement of the controls.
Digital display panels are helpful for viewing essential information about the mower’s status, like the operating rpm and the height of the cutting deck.
You can easily monitor and change some parameters of your zero-turn mower with the help of digital display panels without manually checking them.
The wheels of zero-turn mowers are similar to the wheels of a go-kart. They are air-filled and provide proper friction and traction against the ground. The more threads a wheel has, the better they are on wet ground.
Some safety features integrated into zero-turn mowers are automatic chokes and kill switches to prevent accidents if the mower malfunctions.
Capabilities and limitations of zero-turn mowers
It’s not an easy task to learn how to maneuver a zero-turn lawn mower. It takes time, patience, and practice to be able to master operating such equipment. But once you do, it will be one of the most efficient lawn maintenance methods you will ever use.
Heavy duty mowers allow you to conduct mowing jobs with ease and speed. It can cover large acres of ground in just a short amount of time., making it a great choice for large properties compared to push and walk-behind mowers.
Zero-turn mowers are also built in such a way that it can also cover narrow and small spaces. You can easily avoid road obstructions and hindrances. This is one of the advantages of lawn tractors with cutting blades installed.
Fertilizer spreaders can also be attached to zero-turn lawn mowers as an additional accessory, as well as collection bags and dethatchers. It is safe to say that it is one of the, if not the most, versatile types of lawn mowers on the market.
In terms of limitations, you must be aware that they don’t always work on wet ground. They tend to lose control of their spinning mechanism, and as a result, the cutting deck receives most of the damage.
They are also not intended for use on inclined terrains of 10-15 degrees since most of the motion of the mower is governed by the rear wheels, and therefore, the front wheels cannot support the weight of the mower enough to be able to climb uphill slopes.
You must be well informed of the operations and the mechanisms of a zero-turn mower, so you can successfully handle one. Take note of all its advantages and disadvantages and rationalize whether or not it would work for you before you make the purchase.
Benefits of a zero-turn mower
Efficiency is the key highlight of zero-turn lawn mowers. That’s why many commercial businesses that deal with lawn maintenance prefer this type above all the rest. Their ability to make sharp turns renders them easier to maneuver.
Larger lawn tractors have a hard time with this because of their size, and you will end up taking longer than necessary when mowing.
You will also get a clean and even finish with zero turn mowers. They have an adjustable cutting deck for the precision of the cut. You can set the cutting height to whatever you prefer, even as low as half an inch up to 5 inches.
Customizability is also one of the things consumers love about it. You can attach other accessories so it can perform various jobs at once and whenever necessary without the need to buy different equipment.
You can simply incorporate it into the mower. Common accessories include mulching blades, snow plows, front bumpers, headlights, and collection bags, among others.
Lawn mower tractors vs. zero turn mowers
While they do not differ too much in terms of function and performance, their operations are completely different. Lawn mower tractors have the cutting deck placed behind the machine, while zero turn mowers usually have the cutting deck in front.
Lawn tractors are more heavy-duty and are better to use in large properties. Zero-turn models are faster, and therefore it would take less time to finish mowing.
How do you operate a zero-turn mower?
The steering levers are the main maneuver controls of a zero-turn mower. When seated, these are usually positioned near your lap. The mower is stationary if the levers are in a neutral position.
When both are pushed forward, the mower also moves forward in a straight direction. Alternating the pushing and pulling of either levers results in either turning right or left.
You can make sharp pivotal turns and even 360-degree turns. Remember to practice.
Maintaining a zero-turn mower.
Having a zero-turn mower is a big deal. It is an expensive piece of equipment that requires proper maintenance and care so you can get the most value out of it. They are complicated machines that require technical and even expert knowledge.
You should not mistake handling any kind of maintenance or repair on your own if you do not want to risk voiding your warranty.
If you experience any sort of malfunction, you have to contact an authorized repair service or take it to a dealer that handles repair jobs for your specific model.
You may need to do some servicing every 6-12 months, depending on the frequency of your usage, to keep your mower running smoothly and effectively.
Some jobs that need to get done are blade sharpening, motor checks, cutting deck checks, and clearing out debris.
How long does a zero-turn mower usually last?
They can serve you for at least 10 years with proper care and maintenance. They are typically built with maximum durability.
Of course, it varies on your usage and the conditions that the mower usually goes through with every job.
In the unfortunate event that one of the components of the mower is damaged, replacements are quite easy to find, and they do not cost that much.
But these rarely happen just as long as you do regular cleaning and maintenance and not put it through situations that are way beyond its capacity.
What is the average lifespan of zero-turn mowers?
Unfortunately, no. Zero-turn mowers are the only mower types that do not have a brake system incorporated into their mechanism. You only have two levers to control it.
If you want to slow down or stop, you just have to release the pressure on the lever to put it in neutral mode.
As you push the levers forward, the mower also moves forward. Speed increases with the pressure you put on the levers.
To go in a reverse direction, you only have to pull the levers back.
Incorporated in the levers is a turning circle that allows you to spin the mower in place for an even cutting line. For a wider circle diameter, you only have to pull one of the levers.
For a sharp turning circle, pull the levers in opposite directions.
Do zero-turn mowers work on slopes?
The maximum slope angle that zero-turn mowers can handle is up to 15 degrees. Models that have hydrostatic transmission and split differentials can give more power to the front wheels to be able to gain traction to move up elevated terrains.
Roll-over protection is also included to prevent the mower from falling backward.
Does a zero-turn mower have a brake?
You really can’t put a number on the lifespan of these kinds of equipment. They generally last longer because they are intended for heavy duty use and outdoor conditions.
But it all really boils down to how often you use it and whether or not you conduct regular and proper maintenance. As long as you follow the maintenance instructions given by the manufacturer, your mowers can last for as long as 10 to 15 years.
Are there affordable zero-turn mowers?
We initially get the impression that zero-turn mowers are very expensive. Most mowers cost more than $4,000, but you can find zero-turn lawn mowers in retail stores being sold at just $2,500.
There are even yard tractors that are around the same price.
If you purchase a cheap mower, be prepared for the lack of other additional features. Obviously, a mower with lots of features and options will cost more.
While your initial intention of buying one is to save in the long-term, you might end up spending more on repairs and maintenance as time passes by.
The models we reviewed in this post are not exclusively found in one store only. These are mostly available in general retail stores.
They are reasonably priced and even offer different payment methods. As of today, a zero-turn lawn mower is no anymore a luxury item or exclusive only for commercial use.
Even common households can buy one without it being a huge strain on their finances.
Any personal recommendations for a zero-turn mower?
There is no particular model of zero turn mower that I can recommend to everyone because we all have different needs and preferences.
There is no zero-turn mower model I can think of that addresses everyone’s needs at once.
Personal picks for zero-turn lawn mowers with the best value for money
Zero-turn mowers are preferred by people who own lands beyond 0.25 acres, which are usually for commercial use.
You can also use them for residential purposes, especially for large properties.
Last update on 2024-02-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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