Zero turn mowers have changed the way people manicure their home lawns. Sure, zero turn mowers have been around and used by commercial landscapers for quite some time. Now that zero turn mowers have been designed and made specifically for homeowners the game has changed.
You can get a beautifully manicured lawn in a significantly shorter time it would take to do it with a regular mower. But what exactly is a zero turn mower? How did it get its name?
The term “zero turn” basically refers to the turning radius of the mower. The turning radius is essentially zero inches, which means that the mower can turn within its own axis. Many have compared the zero turn mower to the steering wheel lawn mower tractor.
Much of the difference lies in the controls. With the zero turn mower, each rear wheel has its own motor, which is controlled by two steering handles. Because of the two independent steering controls, the mower is given infinite maneuverability allowing you to go around obstacles much more easily.
You also get to drive faster at speeds ranging from 5-8 mph whereas the lawn mower tractor only reaches speeds of up to 3-4 mph. Using a zero turn mower also eliminates follow up trimming and allows you to mow well in just a single pass.
How to Choose the Best Zero Turn Mower
There are a lot of zero turn mowers out there today, which gives you plenty of brands and features to choose from. But how to you choose the best zero turn mowers out there? You can begin by looking at the different types of zero turn radius mowers. These range from entry level, mid-range, semi pro, and commercial grade ZTR mowers. Let’s look at the differences below.
- Entry Level ZTR mower – This type of mower is great for weekend use. It’s called entry level for a reason. It is dependable and affordable but in terms of build, it won’t hold up for homeowners who wish to mow on a frequent and regular basis.
- Mid-grade ZTR mower – This is a step up from the entry level and differs from it because it is heavy-duty where it needs to be. Cutting decks are more durable, and heavier and durable materials are used in critical joints and the like. In fact, some mid-grade ZTR mowers even use the premium Kawasaki v-twin engine.
- Semi-pro ZTR mower – If you want to start a business in landscaping but are new to the market, you can go for a semi-pro ZTR mower. These mowers are durable enough for daily use, have larger fuel tanks, use heavy-duty transmission, and use heavier and more durable frames. You can even trim up to 4-5 acres of lawn without having to refill for gas.
- Commercial ZTR mowers – One thing you need to know about commercial ZTR mowers is that they are big. Big cutting decks with powerful engines mean your lawn cutting time is significantly reduced – up to 3 to 4 acres per hour.
What to Look for in the Best Zero Turn Mowers
You may have already found a zero turn mower that you’re interested in and are willing to buy it already. However, if you want to be a more careful consumer, a little patience is required. It’s best to explore your options. If you want the best zero turn mowers, you need to look into important details regarding the product. Here are some things to consider.
- Durability – This is perhaps one of the most important things you should look into when considering a zero turn mower. Is it durable? This is especially true if you’re going to use your mower often and on a large lawn.
- User-friendly – Most, if not all, zero turn mowers need some breaking into. There’s always a learning curve to consider especially if you’re used to the walking mower or the steering wheel lawn mower tractor. The ZTR uses dual levers for control and in order to master the zero turn mower, you need to practice the technique as well. Don’t worry, the technique can be learned quickly.
- Cutting deck construction – The cutting deck is where your grass cutting is going to be happening. It’s going to get used a lot, hence it’s one of the areas of the ZTR that can get damaged quickly. Commercial ZTR mowers have welded cutting decks using heavy-gauge steel, while entry-level to mid-range mowers usually have stamped cutting decks with lighter steel.
- Easy cutting height adjustment – This lets you have control over the kind of trim you want your lawn to have. Adjusting the cutting height adjustment should be easy for you and should be accessed using an easy-to-reach control. If your ZTR requires you to get off your seat to check the cutting height regularly, that will reduce your productivity, not to mention tiring you out.
- Engine – The best zero turn mowers make use of engines with varying degrees of power as well as design. Entry-level ZTRs usually uses single-cylinder engines, whereas commercial or even semi-pro ZTRs use the enviable double-cylinder engine.
- Comfort – You also want to look for comfort when choosing a ZTR. You don’t want to get a stiff back, sore bum, and tired arms after you operate your ZTR. Comfort comes in little details such as foam padded grips, extra-high back seats, and the like.
It’s big, strong, and powerful – everything you could ask for in a zero turn radius mower. This 54” model from Husqvarna will have you finished mowing your large lawn in no time. If you’re slowly breaking into the business of commercial landscaping, you’re all set with the Husqvarna 967324301 26 HP Kohler 7000 V-Twin Zero Turn Mower 54”.
- Powerful dual-cylinder engine – Kohler 7000 26 HP
- 54” reinforced stamped cutting deck for greater durability
- Easy blade engagement with an electric clutch
- Easy maneuverability with the dual hydro-gear EZT transmission
- Comes with 4 anti-scalp rollers
The Husqvarna 967324301 26 HP Kohler 7000 V-Twin Zero Turn Mower, 54” is big and powerful. This combination gives you fast and reliable performance. There won’t be any instances of a second round of mowing when you use this model from Husqvarna.
You are also assured of a strong and reliable reinforced stamped cutting deck. This will give you smooth performance without gouging out your grass. Engaging your blade is quick and easy with the help of an electric clutch.
You can maneuver around obstacles in your lawn easily with the help of dual hydro-gear EZT transmission. Learning to operate the dual steering levers is quite easy. With a little patience, you’ll get there eventually.
Lastly, it gives you a mowing performance with a zero turn radius capability. That in itself is a leap compared to the standard riding mowers with turning radius ranging from 14” to 18”.
Things to Be Aware Of
The Kohler 7000 26 HP v-twin engine is powerful but it is also not the quietest engine out there. When operating the ZTR, you might find the noise just a bit distracting. If so, you can always wear ear muffs to protect your hearing.
Also, the unit does not come completely assembled. You will have to install the seat and steering levers yourself but it is quite easy to do. Check the instruction manual to make sure you’ve done all that’s needed before operating your ZTR so that you won’t get disappointed.
The Husqvarna 967324301 26 HP Kohler 7000 V-Twin Zero Turn Mower 54” gives quite a rougher ride than you’d expect. But the comfortable seat rest and padded levers will keep you from getting sore when using the machine.
If you can afford it, have a big enough lawn, and have a wide gate entry, the Husqvarna 967324301 26 HP Kohler V-Twin Zero Turn Mower 54” will not let you down.
Zero turn mowers are quite new to homeowners, so if you want a mower that’s absolutely familiar to operate, you might want to go for the Troy-Bilt 420cc OHV 30-inch Premium Neighborhood Riding Lawn Mower. It’s compact, and with its familiar steering wheel controls, you won’t have a problem using this mower on the first run.
- The 30” cutting deck is perfect for medium-sized lawns with even terrain
- 420cc Single Troy-Bilt Engine is reliable and moves to speeds up to 4.25 MPH
- Has a 6-speed transmission
- Blade engagement is controlled using manual power
- Cutting deck features 5 adjusting settings
- Has an 18-inch turning radius
The Troy-Bilt 420cc OHV 30-inch Premium Neighborhood Riding Lawn Mower is the perfect piece of equipment for homeowners who want to upgrade their standard trimmers and walking mowers without having to adjust a lot to the technology.
The Troy-Bilt can be operated and maneuvered with the help of steering wheels and a 6-speed transmission, it’ll just be like driving a small car or tractor on your lawn.
The engine might seem quite small compared to the bigger ZTR models but it’s built to give solid and clean performance. It can even speed up to 4.25 MPH, just enough speed to reduce your lawn cutting time significantly.
The large 1.3-gallon tank capacity has a fuel sight window, which makes it easier for you to check from time to time if it’s time to refill or not. Handling the steering wheel is quite comfortable with its 13” soft grip wheel design.
If you want a clean cut, you’ll get just that with the Troy-Bilt’s 5 height adjustable blade. Blade engagement is also quite easy so you will have a smooth and unhampered experience as you manicure your lawn to perfection.
Things to Be Aware Of
It’s not a zero turn mower so it does require some technique to fully manicure your lawn. The Troy-Bilt 420cc OHV 30-inch Premium Neighborhood Riding Lawn Mower gives an 18-inch turning radius. If you want to trim your lawn in one go, you need to learn the technique to be able to do that.
Some aspects of the design, although well thought out, are not as impressive on the second look. If you’re looking for a machine that looks as durable as it works, then the Troy-Bilt is not for you.
Also, if you have a large lawn with some slopes here and there, the Troy-Bilt’s performance on slopes may be a disappointment to you.
If you’re into mowing your lawn on weekends and have a narrow gate opening, you’d be better off with the Troy-Bilt 420cc OHV 30-inch Premium Neighborhood Riding Lawn Mower.
The Poulan Pro 967331001 P54ZX Briggs V-Twin Pro 24 HP Cutting Deck Zero Turn Radius Riding Mower 54 inch is a way to make yourself noticeable in the landscaping industry. It is a powerhouse and it doesn’t shy away from giving an excellently manicured lawn. It also helps that it’s a zero turn radius mower.
- Boasts of a 24HP Briggs V-Twin Pro Engine
- With a durable 54” stamped reinforced deck complete with 10 year warranty
- Easy maneuverability thanks to the hydro gear EZT transmission
- Large 3.5 gallon fuel tank
- Electric clutch for easy blade engagement
This is the perfect equipment for a large lawn. If you’re tired of always having to trim your wide area of land on a regular basis, you should switch to the Poulan Pro 967331001 P54ZX Briggs V-Twin Pro 24 HP Cutting Deck Zero Turn Radius Riding Mower 54 inch. It’s wide and strong build makes it able to handle constant usage on large areas.
Thanks to the powerful engine, this Poulan Pro model is able to mow up to 2.8 acres of land per hour. Don’t forget that it’s also a zero turn radius mower, so you’ll only need to go over your lawn once and there won’t be leftover patches to trim again.
Your comfort is at the heart of the Poulan Pro 967331001 P54ZX with its 15” extra-high back seat and foam-padded grips. You won’t be sore and bruised after you’ve operated your mower.
You will also like the warranty on the Poulan Pro 967331001 P54ZX. It has a 10-year warranty on the stamping deck and an overall 3-year limited homeowner warranty so your purchase is protected.
You have complete control over how manicured you want your lawn to be with its cutting blade adjustment ranging from 1.5” to 4”.
Things to Be Aware Of
It is a rather big ZTR mower, so if you have a relatively small area of land or have a narrow gate opening, you might have a problem fitting the Poulan Pro 967331001 P54ZX into your lawn.
It doesn’t come delivered completely assembled. You do have to put in some elbow into assembling the seat and the control arms, but other than that, you’re good to go. You can even change the belt or blades without having to completely take out the cutting deck, which is a thoughtful improvement on this model.
It’s a great purchase with a great warranty. If you want to take good care of your lawn and bring back your money in savings by removing the need for commercial landscapers, then the Poulan Pro 967331001 P54ZX is worth buying.
Poulan Pro gives you a lot of choices when it comes to your mowing needs. Their ZTR mowers come in different sizes to suit your land size and make sure that it fits through your gate, if you have one. The Poulan Pro 967330901 P46ZX Briggs V-Twin Pro 22HP Cutting Deck Zero Turn Radius riding Mower, 46 inch is just as great as the bigger model (54 inches) – only a little bit smaller.
- Reliable power from the 22HP Briggs V-Twin Pro Engine
- Strong performance from the 46-inch reinforced stamped deck with a 10-year warranty
- Maneuver easily with the help of hydro gear EZT transmission
- Easy blade engagement with electric clutch
- Large fuel tank capacity at 3.5 gallons
It may be smaller than the 54-inch model but it is just as powerful, thanks to the 22HP Briggs V-twin Pro Engine. It can run to a speed of up to 6mph and can even cut up to 2.4 acres per hour, quite impressive.
Because of the large fuel tank capacity, you won’t need to refill your gas quite often as anticipated (depending on lawn area). But because you only need to go over your lawn once, with the help of zero turn radius technology and highly adjustable cutting blade height, you save more gas than expected.
Like all Poulan Pro ZTR models, you get a 10-year warranty on your cutting deck. Although it is already reinforced and quite durable, it does help assure you to have a 10-year warranty in hand. Aside from that you also get to enjoy an overall 3-year limited homeowner warranty. When it comes to after sales service, Poulan Pro is an excellent company.
Driving the Poulan Pro 967330901 P46ZX may require some adjusting to in the beginning, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll enjoy the experience. You can top that off with comfortable high-back seating up to 15” and foam-padded hand grips on your levers.
How does it perform? Well, you have a 6-position cutting height adjustment from 1.5” to 4”, have a digital hour meter, 3 anti-scalp rollers, and a nose roller, too. Everything you need to manicure your lawn beautifully is at the tip of your fingertips with the Poulan Pro 967330901 P46ZX Briggs V-Twin Pro 22 HP Cutting Deck Zero Turn Radius Riding Mower 46 inch.
Things to Be Aware Of
Just because it’s cutting deck measures at 46”, that does not mean that it can cruise easily through a 48” wide gate. You’ll have to buy a smaller version if you have the same gate measurements.
If you were expecting it to come with certain attachments, you might be disappointed. You need to buy those separately, even the mulching kit. Doing so might add to your expenses especially if you’re already considering a ZTR mower, but your expenses will be worth it in the end.
The Poulan Pro 967330901 P46ZX Briggs V-Twin Pro 22 HP Cutting Deck Zero Turn Radius Riding Mower 46 inch is a great buy that delivers great performance. This is a good bet if you’re not just up for the larger models.
It’s everything you ever wanted in a ZTR mower but packaged in a smaller frame. The Husqvarna RZ3016 30-inch 16.5 HP Briggs & Stratton Gas Powered Zero Turn Riding Lawn Mower is a great machine for first-time users of ZTRs and for homeowners with minimal land to maintain.
- Stamped 13” gauge cutting deck measuring 30 inches
- Reliable power from 16.5 HP Briggs & Stratton endurance engine
- 1 blade with manual engagement
- Maneuvers easily with dual hydro-gear EZT drive system
- Large rear tires
If you’ve always wanted a powerful ZTR for your own lawn needs but have been hesitant because of size or even price, then you’re in for a surprise. The Husqvarna RZ3016 30-inch 16.5 HP Briggs & Stratton gas-powered zero turn riding lawn mower is a small workhorse with just about the same features as a powerful ZTR.
The engine runs pretty decently and can be relied upon especially since it’s a 16.5 HP Briggs & Stratton endurance engine. It’s not as powerful and fast as the bigger models, but it’s perfect for small landscapes.
The 30” stamped cutting deck fits smoothly through 46” or 48” wide gates. You won’t have to worry about placing your ZTR in your home, because it’s small enough to store in your garage or shed.
You can maneuver the Husqvarna RZ3016 just as easily as you would a bigger model because of the dual hydro-gear EZT drive system. Though it’s small, you still get a comfortable drive with the foam-padded levers and vinyl seating with built-in slide.
Things to Be Aware Of
It only has one blade, so you might not get the perfect manicured lawn in just one go. You might also want to make sure that you’re mowing on dry grass so that you won’t gouge out your grass or cut in clumps as you’re mowing with the ZTR. A ZTR with dual or triple blades usually solves this problem. You can see such blades in bigger models or semi-pro to commercial models.
It’s small, but it’s efficient. It’s a great experience builder especially if you’re just new to the whole ZTR landscaping scene. Adjusting to it is easy and if you have a small lawn, you won’t have a problem with the Husqvarna RZ3016 Lawn Mower at all.