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6 Best Zero-Turn Mowers Comparison – Reviews & Buying Guide

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If you have a medium to large sized residential lawn or property, keeping it under constant maintenance; having the grass neatly mowed and trimmed can sometimes be a struggle. But not anymore! There is one machine that can save you time and effort: a ride-on mower, and not just any ride-on mower, a zero turn mower.

A zero turn mower has normally been the main tool of the trade for commercial landscape contractors, but now this gardening gem is firmly within a householder's grasp, due to their affordability. Once you buy a zero turn mower, you may find yourself fighting with the kids over whose turn it is to mow the lawn.

In a Glance:​

Our pick

THE BEST ZERO TURN LAWN MOWER

Husqvarna 967323903 V-Twin Zero Turn Mower

With dual hydro-gear EZT transmission, oversized cooling fan, electric clutch, 3 anti-scalp wheels, and improved grass lift, this mower guarantees that you have more driver control for all those hard to reach areas.

Traditional Ride-on Mowers vs. Zero Turn Mowers

While traditional (steering wheel controlled) ride-on mowers or tractors are a good choice for medium to large sized properties, they have many deficiencies: they can find it difficult to negotiate sloping gradients, hills, curves, slants, and they are difficult to manoeuvre in tight spots, and do not mow effectively around trees and other obstacles. And with the heavy engine located in the back of the mower, using a traditional ride-on mower can make mowing up and down hilly areas quite dangerous as well.

What is different about a Zero Turn Mower

The zero turn mower has multiple design advantages over a traditional ride-on mower.

Zero Degrees Radius. The term 'zero turn' means the mower has a zero degree turning radius. It can pivot in a circle, allowing you to spin 180 degrees so that you don't leave any uncut grass and it provides a better view of your mowing cutting tracks.

Rear Wheel Design. Unlike a traditional ride-on mower, most zero turn mowers come with two levers or lap bars (although there are some models that do have steering wheels). Each lever is connected to the rear wheels (one for the right and one for the left), and they have their own individual transmission. The levers control forward and backward momentum, and you can curve left or right or spin just by using the levers.

Front Mowing Cutting Deck. With zero turn mowers, the mowing desk is located in front of the mower instead of underneath like traditional ride-on mowers. This nifty idea allows you to get up close and personal in tight spaces like around flower beds and under bushes.

Overall, the levers, the individual wheel motors, and the front mowing deck provides you with effective maneuverability, greater mowing control, and a faster cutting speed.

Unlike a traditional ride-on mower/tractor, a zero turn ride-on mower is more versatile and is a 'must-have' for both domestic and commercial properties. Its unique mowing capabilities make it the ideal choice for all your mowing needs.

Eight benefits From Using a Zero Turn Ride-on Mower

  • For models with a cutting deck over 42 inches work well on sloping and steep gradients.
  • They can turn 180 degrees on the spot, which means you can mow in a single pass, and there is no need to have to turn back and re-mow the grass. You can just manipulate the levels and spin and then continue on mowing.
  • Faster due to a powerful engine, from 19 to 24 horsepower.
  • Hydrostatic transmission provides greater maneuverability.
  • Highly durable with reinforced stamped steel.
  • Wide anti-scalping wheels that provide great grips even on damp grass.
  • Trim difficult areas around small bushes and narrow flower beds.
  • Extra attachments are available like ergonomic control panels, integrated LED lights, adjustable controls, anti-slip foot area, comfortable mid back seat positioning and cup holders. Some models come with one-touch starting and keyless security.

What is the cost?

A lot of well-known manufacturers, like Husqvarna and Poulan, are synonymous with zero turn ride on mowers, and prices can range from an affordable $2800-3000 up to $10,000 depending on the engine size, design, and cutting deck width.

To be able to find the best zero turn mower that will ultimately be your perfect gardening partner, will firstly depend on whether you have a small to medium residential property or large acreage.

Secondly, it will depend on what type of lawn, garden or acreage you have: flat ground, hilly uneven areas, rough terrain or trees and bushes.

Seven Important Tips for Maintaining Your Zero Turn Mower

To get the best performance out of your mower there are a few things to remember.

  1. Read the manual thoroughly before using the machine for the first time and follow the manufacturer's instructions.
  2. Grease your machine regularly for optimal performance.
  3. Sharpen the cutting blades so that your grass is cut smoothly every time.
  4. Clean the machine. Ride on mowers cut through high-level amounts of grass and other kinds of vegetation, so keeping your machine clean will guarantee better performance and increased longevity.
  5. Maintain regular oil changes. Just like your car, a zero turn mower functions at its best when it has clean oil.
  6. Take care when mowing on wet grass. Some of the larger sized mowers can slide on slopes even if the grass is only slightly wet.
  7. Protect your eardrums, wear noise protection ear plugs.

Getting to Know Your Zero Turn Mower Sizes

Zero turn mowers came in different sizes, which relates to the size of the cutting deck. They range from smaller models at around 34 inches which is ideal for small lawns and up to 72 inches for large estates and commercial properties.

Whether you own a residential property, acreage, an estate or a commercial property, the size of the cutting deck can make all the difference to your mowing experience.

30": This small sized entry-level cutting deck is good for narrow gates and flat lawns but is not suitable for any type of slope as it still has quite a heavy build.

34" - 42": This style of zero turn mower is more effective for flat lawns and larger properties up to 2 acres, and they can maneuver well around detailed landscaping and trees.

46": This type of mower is ideal for medium sized lawns, landscape tripping and for getting underneath bushes and for sloping gradients.

48": The 48-inch mower can handle medium sized lawns, gentle to moderate slopes, and hills up to 15 degrees.

50" - 54": This larger model is good for a property up to three acres, and it can handle slight to moderate slopes, and large open areas and rough terrain. It has a larger frame, which gives you more stability when mowing up or down slopes, especially diagonal mowing of moderate slopes.

60" - 72": These heavy-duty models can effectively mow large areas, rough terrain, sloping gradients, and hills up to 15 degrees.

These larger cutting decks are commonly used by landscape professionals, and can easily cut up to 5 acres an hour.

When it comes to the size of the cutting deck, size is everything.

Reviews: 6 Best Zero Turn Mowers

To help you find the best ride-on mower that is tailored made for your mowing needs, we have compiled and reviewed SIX of the best zero turn mowers on the market.

1. Ariens Zoom 34 Kohler 6000 Series V-Twin Zero

The Ariens Zoom with a 19 horsepower engine is a great choice for a residential property with a small to medium flat lawn with no sloping gradient or minimal obstructions. You can raise the mowing deck to go over tree roots and it discharges clippings with minimal clumping. It provides maximum cutting performance as it travels up to 6 mph for forward movement and 3 mph in reverse. The twin EZT hydrostatic transaxles are designed to deliver highly responsive, smooth and effortless control. It has fully adjustable control arms and its mid-back seat offers that extra comfort for those longer jobs.

What we like:

  • Powerful
  • Good for small lots
  • Can mow in and round tight spots
  • Good for tall grass

What we don't like:

  • Have to remove clogged up grass underneath
  • Cannot carry too much weight or the unit is unable to turn on wet grass.

2. John Deere Z335E Dual Hydrostatic Gas Zero-turn Riding Mower

The John Deere Z335E zero turn mower delivers a cleaner, fast, and high quality cut every time. Although it is primarily designed for residential customers with small to medium sized flat lawns, its hydrostatic transmission, and twin cylinder 20 horsepower engine with speeds up to 7 MPH, means it can also easily power through mowing chores on larger properties up to two acres.

The new design of the Accel Deep mower deck provide a quality cut in a variety of turf conditions, and the flat top design allows for a clean flow of grass, and improved mulching capabilities. The Accel Deep mower deck is also compatible with the innovative MulchControl™ kit, which allows operators to quickly switch between side discharge and mulching with an easy flip of a lever.

The MulchControl also returns finely cut clippings to the soil that acts as a natural fertilizer that will potentially enhance your lawn health. John Deere also has the operator's comfort in mind with a 15” adjustable seat, and multiple position motion control levers, and lift up spindle covers which makes cleaning and servicing a breeze.

What we like:

  • Fast
  • Delivers a good quality cut
  • Maintains stability on slopes
  • Cutting deck cleans itself well

What we don't like:

  • The engine can stall
  • The deck can get caught when cutting close to objects

3. Husqvarna 967323903 V-Twin Zero Turn Mower

Husqvarna is one of the most well-known names in the manufacturing of outdoor power products, and its attention to detail and dedication to delivering high-quality products is clearly seen in the 967323903 model. The Husqvarna 46 inch Zero Mower delivers an enjoyable gardening experience, and the Briggs and Stratton 23 horsepower Endurance Series V-Twin engine means power mowing and reliability. The premium air filtration and oversized cooling fan and anti-scalping wheels will have you gliding across your lawn or acreage with ease.

The twin cylinder engine means fewer vibrations and more power, the cutting deck is reinforced with heavy flat-stock steel, and the robust frame means greater durability. Its cutting edge design, electric clutch for easy blade engagement, dual hydro-gear EZT transmission, and improved features like the ergonomic control pad, anti-slip foot area, and integrated headlights, means extra driver comfort.

What we like:

  • Affordable price
  • Good speed
  • Powerful engine
  • Easy to maneuver
  • Wheels grip well on slippery areas

What we don't like:

  • May have problems with starting engine
  • Noisy engine
  • Rear fenders are easily cracked

4. Poulan Pro 967331001 P54ZX Briggs V-Twin Pro Cutting Deck Zero Turn Radius Riding Mower

The Poulan Pro is a testimony to Poulan Pro’s dedication to product reliability and customer satisfaction. The Poulan Pro P54ZX boasts a powerful 24 HP Briggs and Stratton engine, a 54-Inch reinforced cutting deck, and its Heavy Duty EZT Hydro-gear Transmission, which allows you to easily mow medium to large properties and negotiate moderate slopes. The 4 anti-scalp wheels guarantee good grip. The triple blades and 6 position cutting height adjustments will guarantee that your lawn will look professionally manicured. It also has a digital hour meter to help you keep on top of your maintenance schedule, and its medium back vinyl seat and foam padded hand grips provide you with extra comfort.

What we like:

  • Easy to setup and use
  • Highly responsive engine
  • Smooth ride and good cutting ability
  • Navigates well around trees and rocks.

What we don't like:

  • Belt slips off when using high RPMs
  • Lacks speed for larger properties over 5 acres
  • Seat is not comfortable after long periods of mowing

5. Husqvarna 967324101 V-Twin Zero Turn Mower

If you are looking for a mower that can handle a larger sized property, moderate slopes and rougher terrain, the Husqvarna 967324101 is the perfect model for the job. It has cutting edge design, dual Hydro-Gear EZT Hydrostatic Transmission, 3.5-gallon tank, oversized cooling fan, wheel motors on each drive wheel, and 4 anti-scalp wheels that guarantee greater maneuverability.

If it is power you need, the 24 horsepower Briggs & Stratton Endurance Series V-Twin 724 cc Engine means you can effectively mow up to 2.8 acres per hour at speeds up to 6.5 mph.
Husqvarna has your driving comfort in mind with a 15-inch sliding seat with spring suspension and ergonomic controls. The spring-assisted hand controls offer precise height adjustment, the choke, throttle, and ignition are located in one location for easy access. The foot area has an anti-slip material and the bumpers come equipped with powerful LED lighting.

What we like:

  • Affordable price
  • Minor assembly required
  • Easy to start
  • Fast
  • Great cutting power
  • Can handle thick grass

What we don't like:

  • The engine can sometimes cut out
  • The parts are expensive to replace
  • Can slip on slopes when slightly wet

6. Swisher ZTR2460BS Response B&S ZTR Riding Mower

Swisher has established its reputation as a dependable manufacturer of outdoor electrical power products for over 60 years. The Response model packs a powerful punch with a new rapid response control system, and with a 24 horsepower HP Professional Series Briggs & Stratton engine, you will be effortlessly rolling along at speeds up to 8 mph in forward and reverse.

It is specifically designed for maneuverability and quick responsiveness, which makes this machine a perfect choice for people who have uneven lawns and large properties that are difficult to manage. With a massive 60 inch cutting deck, 3 Gator mulching blades, heavy-duty fenders, and a massive 8 gallon fuel capacity, means the Swisher Response can easily handle rough terrain. As well as an electric start button, Electric PTO clutch, it will provide you with extra comfort with a high-back seat and arm rests. Additional extras also include a 12 volt adapter, a storage compartment, and a cup holder.

What we like:

  • Responsive and easy to drive
  • Offers great control and driver comfort
  • Handles rough terrain and overgrown spaces well

What we don't like:

  • Expensive
  • Some issues with the belt design

Conclusion: Our Top Pick

Our top pick for the best Zero Turn Mower is the 46 inch Husqvarna 967323903 V-Twin Zero Turn Mower. Husqvarna first started building lawnmowers in 1918 and motorized mowers were first launched in 1947. For over 60 years they have consistently shown a dedication to high-quality mowers with groundbreaking designs.

Our pick

THE BEST ZERO TURN LAWN MOWER

Husqvarna 967323903 V-Twin Zero Turn Mower

With dual hydro-gear EZT transmission, oversized cooling fan, electric clutch, 3 anti-scalp wheels, and improved grass lift, this mower guarantees that you have more driver control for all those hard to reach areas.

​The reinforced steel deck means strength and durability. The Briggs and Stratton 23 horsepower Endurance Series V-Twin engine gives you smooth power output.

For those long jobs over rougher terrain, Husqvarna has the driver in mind, with the choke, throttle, and ignition conveniently placed in one location for easy access. There is a headlight for mowing in low light, an anti-slip foot area, and a cup holder.

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