Coolest Gadgets is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Best Zero Turn Mower [2020]

Husqvarna New RedMax RZT54
  • Designed with ergonomic comfort in mind
  • 24 horsepower Kawasaki engine
  • 54” cutting deck


The Husqvarna RedMax RZT54 looks a little different from other units in the Husqvarna line. Yet it doesn’t depart from their reputation for overall quality and thoughtful design.

The RedmMax RXT54 has a Kawasaki engine that was engineered to 24 horsepower. It has a hydrostatic transmission as well as an integrated cooling fan to reduce the risk of overheating. Its 54-inch cutting deck can clear a significant amount of square footage in a single pass. While the 3.5-gallon fuel tank also reduces time lost to refueling during a single cutting session. It also has ergonomic controls, with padded control handles and high back seat for superior comfort.

At first glance, you get the feeling that the Husqvarna RedMax was designed to appeal to commercial lawn care companies as well as homeowners who need to efficiently tackle a large lawn.

Craftsman Z560 Zero Turn Riding Lawnmower
  • 24 horsepower Briggs & Stratton engine
  • 54-inch cutting deck with a deck wash system
  • Comfortable cockpit with a sturdy wheelbase


Craftsman started out in 1927 as a subsidiary of Sears. In the decades since the line has evolved to becomes its own entity, including a well-established reputation for producing quality lawn care products.

The Craftsman Z560 sits in the gray area between residential and commercial grade zero turn lawnmowers. It has a 24 horsepower Briggs & Stratton engine with a “Ready Start” feature for convenient, reliable ignition. The Z560 was engineered with a dual hydro-gear EZT drive transmission system with a 360-degree turning radius. This riding lawnmower also boasts a mow in reverse feature.

It also has a sturdy wheelbase with 20-inch diameter rear wheels and 11-inch diameter front wheels. This gives it the ability to comfortably maneuver over soft or otherwise uneven terrain with minimal impact on the underlying layers of turf.

Husqvarna MZ61 Zero Turn Riding Lawnmower
  • Designed for lawn care professionals with a rollover protection system
  • Ergonomically designed cockpit
  • 24 horsepower Kawasaki engine


The MZ61 Zero Turn Riding Lawnmower sits near the top of the Husqvarna line. Just looking at it, you get the sense that it was specifically designed to cater to the needs of professional lawn care experts.

It has a heavy-duty 24 horsepower Kawasaki engine with a power to weight ratio that translates into astonishing ground speed. This allows it to cover a massive amount of square footage in a relatively short amount of time.

The Husqvarna MZ61 has a large 61-inch cutting deck fabricated from heavy-duty 11-gauge reinforced steel. This zero-turn lawnmower is initially set up for side discharge. However, Husqvarna does offer mulching and bagger attachments as a secondary accessory purchase.

How We Picked

Zero-turn lawnmowers are essentially the next step in the evolution from the traditional lawn tractors of old. Their superior maneuverability reduces the chances of leaving uncut patches of grass behind. That being said, there are a few features that set a quality zero turn lawnmower apart from the rest of the field. It’s also worth noting that some units are designed to appeal to commercial lawn care professionals as well as homeowners who simply need a convenient way to cut a residential lawn.

Horsepower is important in that you need the kind of power to weight ratio to move the riding lawnmower quickly. This power is also used to propel the often-large cutting deck blades. While a residential zero-turn lawnmower might do just fine with less than 20 horsepower. However, a commercial-grade unit should have at least 20 horsepower or more to do the job efficiently.

Cutting deck size is an important factor to keep in mind. With traditional riding lawnmowers, a smaller deck makes it easier to cut around trees and landscaping features. With a zero-turn lawnmower, the relationship between maneuverability and deck size isn’t as strongly linked. However, a larger deck can still cut more total square feet with a single pass. A smaller deck might still be more preferable for residential lawns with complex landscaping obstacles.

Comfort and safety are also important factors. They are typically a critical priority for commercial lawn care companies where the operator could theoretically spend all day in the cockpit, five days a week in the peak of summer. High back seats, armrests, cushioned control arms, and suspension systems can all be an important feature in the cap.

Husqvarna Z254 Zero Turn Riding Lawnmower

Husqvarna Z254 Zero Turn Riding Lawnmower

Specs:

  • 26 horsepower Kohler engine
  • A maximum speed of 6.5 MPH
  • Hydrostatic transmission
  • 54-inch reinforced steel cutting deck
  • Air induction discharge system
  • Mulching and bagger accessories available

Husqvarna is a trusted name in the lawncare product industry. They have a long-standing reputation for quality and durability. Most of their riding lawnmowers in the North American marketplace have outsourced engines from manufacturers like Briggs & Stratton, Tecumseh, or Kohler.

Husqvarna Z254 Zero Turn Riding Lawnmower

This is the case with the Husqvarna Z254 Zero Turn Riding Lawnmower, which uses a 26 horsepower Kohler engine to power the hydrostatic transmission system and blade pulleys. The power to weight ratio translates into a maximum speed of 6.5 miles per hour, which is blisteringly fast by riding lawnmower standards.

Husqvarna Z254 Zero Turn Riding Lawnmower

It has a wide 54-inch cutting deck made from reinforced steel. It was engineered with special air induction which propels the cut grass clippings out of the side discharge.

Husqvarna Z254 Zero Turn Riding Lawnmower engine

Husqvarna also offers accessory bagger and mulching attachments as a secondary purchase.

What We Liked

The fact that this mower can be set up for bagging and mulching is certainly a nice touch, which can save you money on seasonal aeration costs. At the same time, the 26 horsepower Kohler engine with a top speed rated at 6.5 miles an hour also makes this a great option for quickly cutting large lawns and even professional golf courses.

This zero-turn lawnmower is also backed by Husqvarna’s standard three-year warranty against manufacturer defects.

Overall

The Husqvarna Z254 Zero Turn Riding Lawnmower is a solid choice for professional lawn care companies and homeowners who have a large lawn. Though it’s probably not ideal for smaller lawns that are roughly half an acre or less in overall size.

Husqvarna Z254 Zero Turn Riding Lawnmower

  • 26 Horsepower Kohler engine
  • Hydrostatic transmission
  • The 54-inch cutting deck can be set up to mulch or bag

Husqvarna New RedMax RZT54

Husqvarna New RedMax RZT54

Specs:

  • 24 horsepower Kawasaki engine
  • 3.5-gallon fuel tank
  • 54-inch cutting deck
  • Hydrostatic transmission system with a cooling fan
  • Ergonomically designed controls

The Husqvarna RedMax RZT54 departs a little bit from their normal orange and black corporate identity. Yet it doesn’t skimp on the quality or comfort.

Husqvarna New RedMax RZT54

It has a Kawasaki engine that produces 24 horsepower for the hydrostatic transmission, and cutting pullies. There is also a cooling fan integrated into the system to help it run for longer cutting sessions with a reduced risk of overheating. This is an especially nice feature for commercial lawn care companies who need to operate for eight or more hours a day during high temperatures.

The 54-inch cutting deck allows you to chew through a large amount of grass in a relatively short amount of time. The 3.5-gallon gas tank also means fewer refueling stops.

It’s also worth noting that the Husqvarna RedMax RZT54 was designed with comfort in mind. The ergonomic controls, padded control handles, and high back seat allow an operator to run this zero turn lawnmower with minimal physical exertion.

What We Liked

The ergonomic comfort design is certainly a nice feature for professional lawncare companies who understand the impact on an operator during the course of a long day. The Kawasaki engine isn’t one of the most common in this niche, but they are still a quality small engine international brand that offers a powerful 25 horsepower unit.

The RedMax is also backed by Husqvarna’s standard three-year warranty against manufacturer defects.

Overall

The Husqvarna RedMax RZT54 slides perfectly into the gray area between being a high-end residential riding lawnmower, yet one that can also be very appealing for a lawn care professional.

Husqvarna New RedMax RZT54

  • Designed with ergonomic comfort in mind
  • 24 horsepower Kawasaki engine
  • 54” cutting deck

Craftsman Z560 Zero Turn Riding Lawnmower

Craftsman Z560 Zero Turn Riding Lawnmower

Specs:

  • Briggs & Stratton engine
  • 24 horsepower
  • Read start ignition system
  • 54” cutting deck
  • Mow in reverse
  • High back cushioned chair
  • Sturdy wheelbase

The Craftsman Z560 Zero Turn Riding Lawnmower was designed to appeal to commercial lawn care professionals as well as residential homeowners. It features a 24 horsepower Briggs & Stratton engine that produces 24 horsepower. It also comes with Craftsman’s “Ready Start” feature for easy, reliable ignition.

Craftsman Z560 Zero Turn Riding Lawnmower

It has a dual hydro-gear EZT drive transmission system that is precisely linked to the easy-to-operate dual levers. This gives the Z560 the ability to turn in a 360-degree turning radius. It also has a built-in mow in reverse feature, though you likely won’t need to use it with precision control.

Craftsman Z560 Zero Turn Riding Lawnmower

The Craftsman Z560 Zero Turn Riding Lawnmower also has sturdy wheels for tackling soft or otherwise uneven terrain. The rear wheels measure in at 20-inches while the front wheels have a nimble 11-inch diameter.

Craftsman Z560 Zero Turn Riding Lawnmower

This zero-turn riding lawnmower was also designed with an eye toward comfort. The control handles are padded, and the high back chair is nicely cushioned.

What We Liked

The sturdy 20 and 11-inch wheels might not seem like a very big deal on paper. Yet if you’ve ever used a riding lawnmower with small front wheels that are little more than casters, on soft or uneven soil, you know how frustrating small front wheels can be. In this configuration, the Craftsman Z560 Zero Turn Riding Lawnmower rides smoothly across even the most challenging terrain.

The Craftsman Z560 is protected by a three-year manufacturer warranty. Which is about on par for what you will see with other zero degree lawnmowers in this price range.

Overall

The Craftsman Z560 Zero Turn Riding Lawnmower has the features homeowners look for in a zero-turn riding lawnmower, while also appealing to lawn care professionals. The sturdy wheels, large 54-inch cutting deck and powerful 24 horsepower Briggs & Stratton engine allow you to mow through large swaths of lawn quickly and efficiently.

Craftsman Z560 Zero Turn Riding Lawnmower

  • Sturdy wheelbase
  • 54-inch cutting deck with a deck wash system
  • Designed with comfort in mind

Husqvarna MZ61 Zero Turn Riding Lawnmower

Husqvarna MZ61 Zero Turn Riding Lawnmower

Specs:

  • Kawasaki Engine
  • 24 horsepower
  • Rollover protection system
  • A 61-inch cutting deck made from 11-gauge steel
  • Adjustable seat
  • Padded armrests and control arms

These days when Husqvarna wants to produce a riding lawnmower to cater to professional lawncare experts, they tend to turn to Kawasaki engines. This holds true with their MZ61 zero-turn riding lawnmower, where the engine produces a strong 24 horsepower. Not only does it give you the ability to cut grass efficiently, but the power to weight ratio also equates to a faster than average ground speed.

Husqvarna MZ61 Zero Turn Riding Lawnmower roof

Safety and comfort were also priorities when Husqvarna designed the MZ61. It was engineered with its proprietary Roll Over Protection System known as ROPS. The cockpit was designed with ergonomics. This includes an adjustable, padded, high back seat. It also has padded grips on the control arms as well as armrests.

The Husqvarna MZ61 has a 61-inch cutting deck made from 11-gauge heavy-duty steel. It comes set up for side discharge. However, there are mulching and bagging attachments available as a secondary purchase.

What We Liked

The ergonomic cockpit with its comfortable high back seat, padded controls and armrests make it a great option for lawn care professionals who might operate the mower up to 8-hours a day. The ROPS protection against rollovers is also nice for professionals who need to operate on uneven terrain like a golf course or resort.

The MZ61 zero-turn riding lawnmower is also backed by Husqvarna’s standard three-year warranty against manufacturer defects.

Overall

If you are looking for a lawnmower to cut a half-acre residential lawn, then this mower is likely overkill for your needs. The Husqvarna MZ61 has truly been geared to appeal to lawn care professionals who prioritize comfort blended with high performance.

Husqvarna MZ61 Zero Turn Riding Lawnmower

  • Designed for lawn care professionals with a rollover protection system
  • Ergonomically designed cockpit
  • 24 horsepower Kawasaki engine

Ariens 915213 Zero Turn Lawnmower

Ariens 915213 Zero Turn Lawnmower

Specs:

  • 19 horsepower engine
  • Hydrostatic transmission
  • 42-inch cutting deck
  • 2-gallon fuel tank
  • A maximum forward speed of 6 MPH

Ariens takes up its own impressive chunk of the pie in the zero-turn lawnmower industry. Their 915213 Zero Turn Mower was specifically geared to appeal to homeowners who want a convenient way to mow a lawn around half to perhaps one full acre.

It has a 19 horsepower engine, which supplies power to the hydrostatic transmission. Flat out, with the blade pulleys disengaged this mower can run at up to 6 miles per hour. It has a built-in 2-gallon fuel tank.

The cutting deck measures in at a nimble 42-inches. This is just about right for cutting a modest size lawn, with some landscaping features that you might need to dance around.

What We Liked

The hydrostatic transmission is a nice touch for a zero-turn riding lawnmower this size. It allows you to simply press the accelerator pedal and go.

The Ariens 915213 Zero Turn Lawnmower is also covered with a 3-year limited warranty against manufacturer’s defects.

Overall

If you are a lawn care professional looking to expand your fleet of equipment, then this zero-turn riding lawnmower is perhaps a little on the small side. If you are a homeowner with a modest-sized lawn with a few tricky planting beds and trees to mow around, the Ariens 915213 Zero Turn Lawnmower deserves your consideration.

Ariens 915213 Zero Turn Lawnmower

  • Designed for residential lawns
  • 42-inch cutting deck
  • 2-gallon fuel tank with 19 horsepower engine

Troy-Bilt Mustang Zero-Turn Riding Lawnmower

Troy-Bilt Mustang Zero-Turn Riding Lawnmower

Specs:

  • 24 Horsepower Briggs & Stratton engine
  • Twin hydrostatic Dual EZT transmission
  • 46-inch cutting deck
  • Electric Power Take Off
  • High-speed blades
  • High back seat with suspension
  • 360-degree maneuverability
  • 3-year warranty

Troy-Bilt is one of the more trusted names in the lawn equipment industry. They make a point to source as many materials, components and manufacturing in the United States as possible. All without compromising on quality or performance.

Troy-Bilt Mustang Zero-Turn Riding Lawnmower

Their Mustang zero-turn riding lawnmower was designed to ride the line between being a commercial grade or a residential lawnmower. It’s Briggs & Stratton V-Twin engine produces an impressive 24 horsepower, which is strong for a riding lawnmower this size. The net result is an impressive top-end speed of 7 miles per hour!

Operating Troy-Bilt Mustang Zero-Turn Riding Lawnmower

It’s twin hydrostatic dual EZT transmission directs the power of the engine to the wheels as well as the electric power take-off (PTO) system. This configuration allows for a faster than average blade speed, which under the right circumstances can nearly mimic the effect of a mulching mower.

Troy-Bilt Mustang Zero-Turn Riding Lawnmower in the yard

Troy-Bilt also paid attention to the need for comfort when designing the Mustang. It comes with a high back seat, with cushioning and suspension built-in.

What We Liked

The 24 horsepower and power to weight ration are very attractive. It’s especially nice if you have a complex lawn where you need to move from one place to the next, or you need to quickly chew through wide-open stretches of turf.

The Troy-Bilt Mustang Zero-Turn Riding Lawnmower is supported by a three-year warranty against manufacturer’s defects. The fact that Troy-Bilt does their best to keep their materials and manufacturing in the United States, is also a nice feather in their cap.

Overall

The Troy-Bilt Mustang rides the line between the commercial and residential lawncare niches. If you had to choose one side of the coin, then I would say it is more of a residential riding lawnmower. The simple lack of armrests and sparse padding on the handles, combined with a 46-inch cutting deck could lead to gradually increasing discomfort for an operator who had to use it all day.

Troy-Bilt Mustang Zero-Turn Riding Lawnmower

  • 24 horsepower
  • Briggs & Stratton V-Twin engine
  • Twin hydrostatic Dual EZT transmission

Cub Cadet Ultima ZT1

Cub Cadet Ultima ZT1

Specs:

  • 23 horsepower
  • Twin-cylinder OHV Kawasaki engine
  • Dual hydrostatic transmission
  • 50-inch heavy-duty fabricated deck
  • Reinforced AeroForce cutting system
  • Mow in reverse
  • Safety lap bar

The Cub Cadet Ultima ZT1 was designed to appeal to lawn care professionals who need to cut up to 4 acres of grass in a session. The wheels and handling system were engineered to let this riding lawnmower be nimble when maneuvering around landscaping obstacles as well as uphill or over uneven ground. You get the feeling that it was specifically intended to maintain a golf course.

Cub Cadet Ultima ZT1

It has a 23 horsepower twin-cylinder OHV engine made by Kawaski. It delivers power via a dual hydrostatic transmission system. The Cub Cadet Ultima ZT1 also has a mow in reverse feature, which is handy for times when the operator needs to carefully manicure around a landscaping obstacle.

Two Cub Cadet Ultima ZT1 in a big garden

The 50-inch heavy-duty steel fabricated deck consumes a large amount of turf in a single pass. It was also engineered with Cub Cadet’s AeroForce cutting system which mimics a mulching effect to reduce grass clippings to tiny bits which decompose quickly to refeed the turf layers before it turns into suffocating thatch.

Being geared toward professionals the Ultima ZT1 has had all the necessary safety and comfort features you want. This includes a lap security bar and rubber floor mat in the cockpit area.

What We Liked

The AeroForce cutting system engineered into the 50-inch steel-reinforced deck helps clear grass efficiently. At the same time, the fine cutting feature reduces time lost to cleaning up thatch, while also reducing the need for seasonal aeration.

The Cub Cadet Ultima ZT1 is backed by a 3-year warranty, which is in step with many residential zero-turn lawnmowers. However, this might be a little light for companies shopping for a professional-grade machine.

Overall

The Cub Cadet Ultima ZT1 checks pretty much every box that a lawn care professional looks for in a zero-turn riding lawnmower. You get the sense that the engineers were thinking about the kind of machine you want to maintain a golf course or country club.

The only complaint might be the accessory comforts. It doesn’t have any armrests to speak of, and the padding on the control handles is arguable sparse.

Cub Cadet Ultima ZT1

  • Designed to cater to lawn care professionals needs
  • 50-inch reinforced steel AeroForce cutting system
  • Dual hydrostatic transmission system with mow in reverse

Buyers Guide

Zero-turn riding lawnmowers are a somewhat new innovation in the lawn care industry. They are the answer to excess grass left behind by the limited turn radius of traditional lawn tractor mowers. Being able to literally turn on a dime not only allows the operator to cut grass efficiently, but they also reduce the need for trimmers or weed whipping afterward. This makes them especially attractive to homeowners with large yards, as well as commercial lawn care companies.

With that in mind, there are a few things that zero-turn lawnmowers have in common with traditional lawn tractor riding mowers, and other features that make them very different.

Horsepower

Horsepower is the basic unit of measure used to rate the amount of work an engine can produce. In technical terms, 1 horsepower is equal to 550 foot-pounds. This mechanical energy is then diverted to the machine’s drivetrain as well as the blade system housed in the cutting deck.

Power to weight ratio can become a more significant factor for commercial lawn care companies who often need to manage hills, uneven terrain, and other turf obstacles. In this way, horsepower also impacts overall speed as well as torque.

Transmission

A zero-turn lawn mower’s transmission essentially transfers the power generated by the engine to the wheels as well as the blade assembly system. There are four different types of transmission that you might see. They can vary depending on whether the mower is engineered for commercial or residential use.

A manual transmission is an old standard for older lawn tractors. However, they’ve become very rare in modern designs. You essentially select the gears you want via a lever and clutch system, very much like a manual transmission car. This makes them responsive and sometimes more fuel-efficient. Unfortunately, they are more complicated, which makes them decreasingly popular in the riding lawnmower industry.

Hydrostatic is one of the most popular transmission types you find in zero-turn lawnmowers. They essentially use an incompressible hydraulic fluid to automatically shift gears. This makes the lawnmower very responsive, while also making the process of shifting gears off your shoulders.

Friction discs, automatic transmissions are more common on smaller lawnmowers and pieces of equipment. They incorporate a special spinning disc with a top-mounted movable wheel. With this type of transmission, the wheel essentially moves across the disc from the center to produce varying degrees of speed as well as transferring engine power into torque.

They tend to cost less, which makes them a little more attractive in consumer lawnmowers. However, they do require more general maintenance. As they get older friction disc automatic transmission can start to lurch or jerk the machine as they engage the gear. Ultimately, putting in the extra effort to properly maintain this type of transmission is essential for seeing a maximum return on your investment.

A Continuously Variable Transmission or CVT is growing in popularity. They use a highly durable metal band which is held tightly between two pullies. As they alter their cone-shaped diameter it essentially alters the gear ratio. While CVT systems do a great job of utilizing the power produced by the engine, they can tend to have a slight delay in initial take off that feels a little bit like turbo lag or stretching out a rubber band.

Cutting Deck Size

The size of the cutting deck directly influences the amount of grass a riding lawnmower can cut in a single pass. With traditional lawnmowers, you had to carefully debate size versus nimbleness. A large cutting deck was often challenging to mow around trees and landscaping features.

With a zero-turn riding lawnmower, their inherent nimbleness and maneuverability make it possible to have a large cutting deck, while also being able to dance around lawn obstacles.

The Size Of The Fuel Tank

The fuel tank is more of an issue for commercial zero-turn lawnmowers, as a larger tank allows you to run the mower for longer periods of time. Every minute lost driving back to the trailer to and refueling is essentially profits lost.

Even in residential applications, a small fuel tank means more frequent stops, which can be annoying on their own.

Comfort And Control Features

By their very nature, zero-turn riding lawn mowers are designed to be easy to control. The vast majority have two control handles that operate very similar to a skid loader or similar type of machinery. Foot pedal controls and deck adjustment levers further give you command over the cutting performance.

Height control, in particular, can be an important factor. It allows you to cut the grass low when times are wet and the turf is growing quickly. When times are dry and dusty, you can then adjust the cutting deck height to leave the grass longer, which preserves turf moisture levels.

At the same time, comfort is also very important. All riding lawnmowers cause excess vibration, which can transmit to the back, neck, shoulders, and even affect the hands.

Padded or soft comfort grip control handles ease hand distress. While seat suspension systems and high back cushion seats take the stress off the neck, back and shoulders. This is even more of a priority for commercial lawn care businesses where the operator might spend eight hours of more riding on the lawnmower.

Safety Features

These days most riding lawnmowers have a pressure or weight control kill switch, which will disengage the blade assembly and often stop the engine when the operator gets up. However, there are other features that you might want to also consider looking for, such as blade controls, as well as a parking brake.

Take a moment to think about the kind of lawn you will be cutting most often. If there are a lot of hilly features, you might want to prioritize some type of emergency braking feature just to make sure that the mower stays where you want it to.

Discharge Method

Most zero-turn riding lawnmower come set up for side discharge which is an affordable option. However, it is not the only discharge method worth considering. There are some zero-turn lawnmowers that can be set up to work with an accessory bagger or mulching accessory. Just bear in mind that they usually come as an additional cost added onto the initial purchase.

With a side discharging lawnmower the blades of grass are cut and essentially propelled out a small side chute. If you are good about keeping your grass cut short, this is usually not a problem. However, long grass clippings during the peak of the growing season can sometimes dry out and fail to decompose. This “Thatch” can start to buildup in the upper layers of your turf gradually suffocating your lawn.

A mulching attachment is a very convenient solution to this problem. It essentially uses high-speed rotation in the blades to chop grass clippings into fine pieces which then decompose before they have a chance to compact. The net result is often more nitrogen being fed back into the layers of your turf maintaining a nice balance of aeration.

One of the bigger complaints with a mulching mower attachment is that they tend to cause a lot more vibration. Over the course of a long mowing session or a single day, this can lead to operator discomfort as well as fatigue.

A bagging attachment essentially collects the cut grass clippings and stores them in a compartment or durable mesh bag. When it’s full you simply empty the bag in an out of the way location or mix it into your garden’s compost pile.

The problem with a bagger attachment is that it does require frequent stops. The bag rarely fills up at the same time you need to refuel. If you live in a suburban neighborhood, or simply don’t have a garden, dealing with a full season’s worth of grass clippings can be a major frustration. Some municipalities will take them in special bags, but this too is an added cost.

Wheel or Tire Configuration

Most zero turn lawnmowers have large wheels at the back and slightly smaller wheels at the front. This contributes to their overall maneuverability. However, small or hard front wheels can sometimes bite into soft or wet soil which can hinder a turn. If you live somewhere that frequent summer rain is an issue, or your turf is very soft, you might want to prioritize a zero-turn riding lawnmower with larger wheels. The units that essentially have oversized casters might cost a little less money, but they cost you more in time spent dealing with minor maneuvering problems.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Should I Pay Attention To The Engine Manufacturer?

A. There are some people who are passionate about particular brands and they will certainly extol one over another. If you aren’t a particular purist when it comes to small engine manufacturer these nuances might not matter much to you.

When turning a discerning eye on a zero-turn riding lawnmower engine, you want to look for more well-known names. Manufacturers like Briggs and Stratton, Kawasaki or Tecumseh have spent decades developing a proven reputation for quality materials, engineering, and manufacturing. I would recommend prioritizing them over more obscure brands.

At the same time, there are some riding lawnmowers that prefer to source their engines in-house. So, don’t take that as a deal-breaker. You just might want to steer clear of engines by unfamiliar sounding manufacturers.

Q: What Is “Mow In Reverse”

A. Mow in reverse is a somewhat new innovation in the riding lawnmower industry. Older riding lawnmowers either didn’t have a reverse gear or putting it in reverse would steal so much of the engine’s power that you couldn’t effectively cut with the blades. In an extreme situation, where there might be an incline involved, it could cause the riding lawnmower to stall.

Modern technology and sound engineering principles now allow the engine’s drive train to propel the blades while traveling in reverse as well as maintaining power on challenging terrain.

This feature is more appealing for residential zero-turn lawnmowers, where the operator might need to touch up a missed spot.

Q: Do Zero Turn Riding Lawnmowers Require Any Special Maintenance?

A. Nearly all zero turn riding lawnmowers use 4 stroke gasoline engines as their primary power plant. This means that they will need the occasional oil change and replacement filters. Just how often can vary from one manufacturer to the next, as well as the amount of use.

A residential riding lawnmower might only need an oil change in the spring and again in the middle of the summer. One that’s used on a regular basis by a commercial lawn care company might need to have the oil changed once a month.

Just like other lawnmowers, the blades will occasionally need to be sharpened and periodically replaced. It helps to order a second set of blades when you first purchase the mower, just to make sure you always have them on hand when you need them.

Of course, changing oil and maintaining blades often requires lifting the lawnmower, which can be tricky. Many commercial lawn care companies have the specialty jacks and lifts available to them.

For a residential zero turning lawnmower, the temptation is to experiment with ramps. Still, if you’re not familiar with these techniques, it’s likely worth the money to invest in a lift jack that’s specifically designed for zero-turn riding lawnmowers. They are surprisingly affordable when you consider the damage that can be done when improperly lifting these heavy machines.

Before purchasing one of these special lift jacks, you want to double-check that it’s rated to handle the gross weight of your riding lawnmower. Some of the more popular options include: MoJack MJPRO, Pro-LifT T-5355A, Goplus Mower Lift.

Q: What Is A Deck Washing System?

A. Grass clippings and other organic deposits that are allowed to buildup undercutting deck can impact cutting performance and potentially lead to a loss of power or stress on the blade pulley system. In the long term, the inherent moisture in these deposits can also promote rusting and corrosion issues.

A deck washing system is typically a port on the cutting deck, which attaches to a standard garden hose. When you turn on the water it sprays underneath to release stuck-on grass clippings and other organic matter.

Q: Are Armrests Important?

A. With a traditional riding lawn mower or lawn tractor armrests are often a matter of personal preference. When it comes to a zero-turn riding lawnmower the presence of armrests becomes more important.
If you need to occasionally mow a small residential lawn of half an acre or less, you might be able to get by without someplace to rest your elbows. If you need to mow a larger lawn, or you are in the market for a professional-grade zero turn mower, then armrests need to be a high priority.

Q: What Other Comfort Features Should I Prioritize?

A. If you are a homeowner who frequently struggles with neck, back or shoulder pain, or you are a lawn care professional, then comfort features need to have a high priority. This includes things like an adjustable high back padded seat, padded armrests, and foam padded control arms.

Conclusion

Zero-turn riding lawnmowers represent the next step in the evolution of the lawn tractor. They are specifically designed to be astonishingly maneuverable. Not only does this make it easier to manicure a lawn with complex landscaping obstacles, but the tiny turning radius also allows for a larger cutting deck than you would find on a traditional lawnmower.

When shopping for the right zero turn lawnmower you first need to keep in mind the characteristics of your lawn. This is easier for homeowners, where the landscape changes very little from one week to the next. If you are thinking about making your first forays into the world of professional lawn care, the details can vary greatly.

Just bear in mind that the longer the operator will be sitting in the cockpit, the more important comfort features will be. If you need to tackle challenging areas including things like hills or tight turns near an incline, then safety features like a lap bar will likely zoom up the list of priorities.

Even after you have found the right zero-turn riding lawn mower for your conditions, you will still need to periodically invest in maintaining it. While replacement blades, filters, and high-quality oil are relatively inexpensive, you should still give serious thought to investing in a quality lift jack as part of your initial purchase.

Product Boxes: Last updated on 2020-10-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API