Best Zero Turn Lawn Mowers
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Zero turn lawn mowers are the fastest and most maneuverable style of riding lawn mower. If you don't want to spend entire weekends mowing and trimming, a zero turn mower is almost certainly the best solution. The catch is to make sure that you get the right ZTR or zero turning radius mower to meet your specific requirements.

Husqavarna RZ3016 Zero Turn Lawnmower

Comparison of Zero Turn Mowers

There are broadly three different grades of zero turn lawn mower. They correspond with the requirements associated with small, medium and large yards. The key differences between them relate to cost, speed, deck size, horse power, transmission systems and the size of the gas tank. To choose the best riding lawn mower to meet your requirements, we would recommend that you compare the options designed for a yard of a similar size to your own. The zero turn mower reviews below are categorized on this basis.

One Acre or Less

Entry level zero turn lawn mowers cost between $2,000 and $3,300.

  • Maximum speed: 6 MPH
  • Deck size: 34" to 50"
  • Engine: max. 22 HP
  • Cylinders: usually one
  • Gas tank: 3 gallons

These units will make short work of areas under an acre in size, however don't expect too much in the way of creature comforts such as: automatic transmission systems, cruise control, high back seating or cup holders. Structurally they are generally constructed from cheap components and feature stamped metal decks. On the other hand they are unlikely to be be used more than once a week. On that basis there is an argument against paying for an overbuilt mower.

In our opinion we would advise against using these units on sloping areas. They are unlikely to have sufficient torque to tackle even gentle slopes.

The top brands of entry level ZTR mowers include:

  • Toro mowers
  • Husqvarna mowers
  • Ariens mowers

One to Two Acres

Mid-level zero turn mowers cost between $3,300 and $4,000

In terms of value for money, it's generally worth spending a bit more to get into this league. Mid-range riding lawnmowers are manufactured to a more rugged specification including thicker gauge materials and more powerful motors. They can be expected to do a better job, as well as being more robust and reliable. From user point of view the features that make the difference include:
  • Maximum speed: 7.5 MPH
  • Deck size: 42" to 54"
  • Engine: 22-26 HP
  • Cylinders: two
  • Gas tank: 4+ gallons

Larger gas tanks should enable users to complete the task without stopping to refill. If you intend bagging, it's definitely worth checking on how efficiently it is done. Some mowers do an excellent job of filling and leveling bags, while others require constant attention and frequent emptying. All of which can make the job take significantly longer than it should.

The top brands of mid-range ZTR mowers include:

  • Snapper lawn mowers
  • Toro lawn mowers
  • Simplicity mowers

Two Plus Acres

Top tier residential zero turn mowers cost between $4,000 and $6,500

The mowers in this league have many of the features found in commercial zero turn mowers. They are constructed from heavy duty components and can be expected to perform reliably, even when used seven days a week. They are fitted out for maximum comfort and convenience: big tires, front and rear suspension, hydrostatic transmission, comfortable high back seating and commercial grade drive systems that increase traction.
  • Maximum speed: 8 MPH
  • Deck size: up to 60"
  • Engine: up to 27 HP
  • Cylinders: two
  • Gas tank: 12 gallons

The only downside to high end zero turn lawn mowers is that they are bigger in all respects than entry and mid-level alternatives. They may in fact be too big to get through small gateways or entrances. On the other hand, if you have a large open expanse of lawn to mow you may well have so much fun that you never want to put finish.

The top brands of semi-commercial ZTR mowers include:

  • Simplicity lawn mowers
  • Ariens lawn mowers
  • Swisher lawn mowers

Summary

There are obvious similarities between choosing the best riding lawn mower and the tale of Little Red Riding Hood. Except in the case of a lawn that is well under an acre in size, we generally recommend one of the mid-range options. They are without doubt better value for money and are more likely to deliver long term satisfaction.

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