Whether you are the proud owner of a lawn in your own home, or whether you just provide this service for others in your community, you need to know about zero-turn mowers. Especially if you dread mowing and call it a chore. If this is you, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the fact that zero-turn mowers were invented to make your experience and life easier.
In this zero turn mower review, I will highlight some of the benefits of using zero-turn mowers, how to choose the right one for you and your needs, and most importantly, I’ll share my list of the 10 best zero turn mowers in 2017. Keep an open mind though, as there are hundreds of models available, and the decision will ultimately belong to you!
Overview of the Top Products
Poulan Pro P46ZX Briggs V-Twin Pro 22 HP Cutting Deck Zero Turn Radius Riding Mower, 46-Inch
Husqvarna RZ3016 30-Inch 16.5 HP Briggs & Stratton Gas Powered Zero Turn Riding Lawn Mower
Husqvarna 967334101 MZ54S 25V Commercial Zero Turn Mower, 54" Twin
Ariens Zoom 34 - 19hp Kohler 6000 Series V-Twin 34" Zero Turn Lawn Mower
Troy-Bilt XP 25HP 60-Inch FAB Deck Zero Turn Mower
Troy-Bilt WC33 420cc 33-inch Wide Cut RWD Lawn Mower With Electric Start
Z-BEAST 48ZB 48ZB 20HP Heavy Duty 48" Zero Turn Riding Mower
What separates the Poulan Pro-line from other brands is the fact that it has a long history of innovation dating all the way back to 1944. The Poulan Pro P46ZX Zero-Turn mower features a 46-inch reinforced deck which comes with an impressive 10-year warranty. In addition, it has a hydro gear transmission and big resistant tires (11-inch front and 18-inch rear). You’ll also love the considerable fuel tank capacity (3.5 gallons) and the digital hour metal, which can come in handy.
In terms of its functionality, the mower has an integrated high and comfortable back seat. In comparison to other mowers on the market, the Poulan has a considerable size, measuring 61.5 x 78 x 35.5 in yet it doesn’t actually weigh as much. The dual wheel hydro transmission will allow you to benefit from maximum maneuverability. In other words, your ability to control each wheel independently will give you the room you need to go forward, backward, right, or left.
The RZ3016 raises the bar when it comes to compact products, as this powerful mower weighs only 395 lbs. What impresses though is the fact that it doesn’t compromise on its performance, incorporating a Dual Hydro-Gear EZT Drive System. Also featuring a high-performance cutting desk (30-inch stamped 13 gauge), the Husqvarna RZ3016 has a 12-volt electric start and 1 or 1/2-inch to 4-inch cutting height.
In addition, the gas tank accommodates for 3 gallons of fuel, and the mower comes with a built-in slide and vinyl-looking seat. What I love about it is that you can smoothly go about your work, and that’s due to the simplified controls and maintenance free drive system. Overall, best zero turn mower for the money.
Giving you the ability to turn a full 360 degrees, the Swisher ZTR2454BS has differentiated itself from its competitors because of its exceptional maneuverability (due to the lower center of gravity). There shouldn’t be much surprise though because the company has over 60 years of experience in designing and producing these products.
Three gator mulching blades make this mower powerful and heavy duty. Another feature you may find interesting is the 24 HP Briggs & Stratton engine, the Hydro Gear 2800 transmissions, and Ogura clutch, in addition to the full engine wrap.
The hour meter, the 8 MPH forward and reverse will make it easier for you to have a professional-looking lawn in a shorter amount of time, all without needing to spend an excessive amount when making the purchase. In terms of dimension, the Swisher ZTR2454BS is 79 x 63 x 45 inches and weighs 592 pounds.
The Husqvarna 967324101 is known for its superior performance and durability because of to the efficient cooling fan. Like any other Husqvarna product, the design of the mower relates to both power (due to the heavy stock steel) and classiness (the chrome plated valves clearly display that). What I personally like about the Husqvarna is the ergonomic control panel. Everything is conveniently placed around you; the controls are just next to your fingertips. Other features you may enjoy include the anti-slip foot area, bumper with integrated led headlights, and rear engine guard.
In terms of the product’s engine, it is actually a Briggs and Stratton 24 HP v-twin endurance engine, which also features an air filtration system, in addition to the impressive 54-Inch reinforced cutting deck. Just to make things easier for you, the mower also has an integrated electric clutch which allows for easy blade engagement!
According to the creators of this mower, the MZ series zero-turn mower takes performance, productivity, and comfort to a whole new level. For those who are used to and love Husqvarna products, this one may actually be a stealer.
What people love about this mower is the intuitive operator interface and the commercial hydraulic system, in addition to the cyclonic air filtration system. When combined, the 3 features are designed to bring you the ultimate mowing experience, mixing power (25 HP engine) with smoothness.
Another important feature is the steel cutting deck, which has been reinforced with heavy flat-stock steel. This adds durability and power, whilst the oversized chassis improves the overall ride quality. The pedal-assisted cutting deck lift also adds value in terms of the cutting experience, since it offers precise cutting height adjustments, meaning that what you envision from your garden can now materialize.
Unlike other products available on the market, this is a gasoline-powered unit. It is one of the more compact mowers on our list, which is ultimately perfect for small or fenced yards. This product comes with a 3-year warranty, but the feature that people seem to love is the 34-inch 12-Gauge steel stamped xlerator deck which allows for excellent cutting quality.
There are also two different speeds which you can choose from, more specifically 6 MPH forward and 3 MPH in reverse. Although not as strong as other mowers, a well-deserved praise should go to its foot operated deck lift, which has 7 different height positions. Ranging from 1.5 to 4.5 inches, this feature will allow you to make sure you’re cutting at a perfect cut height.
You may be looking for a powerful mower, capable of cutting through debris such as twigs or hard grass. If so, you may have just found your dream product, as people swear by the Poulan Pro! Made of sturdy, reinforced steel, the 54-inch cutting deck can be considered a work of art. This means that you are able to choose to cut your grass around 1.5-inches, or all the way up to 4-inches. This is also where the zero-turn features come in handy.
Since we all live such busy lives, most of us aren’t able to dedicate many hours to mow the lawn. The zero-turn technology along with the strong engine gives you the possibility to move fast and efficiently, avoiding obstacles and much more. Another advantage is the gas tank because the Poulan Pro 967331001 P54ZX can hold up the 3.5 gallons of gas, meaning that you won’t need to stop as often in order to refill the tank.
If you believe that bigger is better, then this may just be the product for you. Featuring an incredible 60-inch cutting deck, this premium mower will provide both power and durability. What reviewers seem to love about the product is its power, more specifically the impressive 25HP Briggs & Stratton commercial engine with superior "Power Take Off" technology. This technology allows for simple and speedy blade engagement and this is obviously truly helpful when you’re short on time.
In terms of comfort, the mower has an integrated 18" high back seat and dual suspension springs, and this means that your ride will be smoother than you can imagine. This is especially helpful if you struggle with higher or lower back pains.
Measuring 65 x 83.5 x 35.5 in and 900 lbs, this product is a bit of a beast. In addition, the product has a 3-year limited warranty, and I personally love the brand. With over 75 years of experience, I know that the company values its customers and products. Hence, if there is any problem, there are multiple avenues of getting the issue resolved.
Created by the same brand, this mower is powered by a gripping 420cc OHV engine. In order to power it, you just need to turn the key, and voila, the mower is yours to use.
Featuring a twin-blame at around 33 inches, the cutting deck gives you a workout while still keeping some of the characteristics of a riding mower. It has an integrated deck wash, in addition to the ability to cut grass at eight different levels, ranging from 1.25"-3.5". In terms of the fuel capacity, the Troy-Bilt WC33 can hold up to 2 gallons of fuel, which is pretty standard for a mower like this. Measuring 57.2 x 39 x 34.5 inches and 323 pounds, this is not a heavy-duty product but is valued more for its portability and ease of use. It even comes backed by a 3-year limited warranty.
This mower is, as the name suggests, a beast! This 48-inch mower is indispensable for owners of large plots of lands who require both reliability and high-end performance. Featuring a 20 HP Professional Series Briggs & Stratton engine, the mower allows for grass cutting in less time. This is partly due to the dual hydrostatic drive system which provides speed and maneuverability, while some credit should be given to blade speed (speeds of up to 12 MPH).
People love how easy and effortless it is to start the Z-Beast 48 ZB, as you benefit from an electric start, but most importantly, the product comes fully assembled. This means that you won’t need to pay an extra 150 to 200 $ for it being put together, and you won’t need to wait for that to happen either.
Another interesting and unique addition is the seat belt, and I think many mowers forget or underestimate the importance of it. Another bonus item is the cup holder, so those hot summer days won’t get the best of you and your cold beverage.
Buying Guide - What To Consider When Buying
There are many aspects which you need to consider before making your purchase. For a novice, choosing a zero-turn mower can seem a bit daunting. There are some important factors to looks at whilst making your decision.
WIDE DECK SIZE
Something which plays an imperative role is deck size. Bigger doesn’t always mean better, and so there are certain steps to consider before choosing the size. If your lawn is around 2 acres or maybe even less, a zero-turn mower that is over 48 inches will cut larger areas, however, might not cut as evenly as a 42-inch product.
That’s why it’s vital to go around your lawn and measure the landscape. This means everything in between trees, buildings, sheds, gazebos. For example, a 48 inch to 50-inch deck will allow you to finish your work about 20% faster than a smaller unit. This means such mowers can be perfectly for plots in between 1 and 3 acres.
In comparison, if you have large areas which have few obstacles in the way, then you will save so much more time using a 50 to 54-inch mower. That’s also due to the fact that the wheelbase of larger mowers can be used on slopes, and so you may benefit from that if your lawn is on a hill or similar area.
In addition to what I’ve mentioned above, a larger deck size will also allow for better maneuverability and turning options, because obviously, it will be easier for you to do so in a larger area.
TYPES OF MOWER
There are 3 types of mowers available nowadays. One is Lap-Bar, the other is Steering Wheel/Joystick, whereas the third is the Stand-on mower.
The Lap-Bar Steering is probably the most common, and it features two levers which you use in order to both drive and steer the mower. The steering wheel is a bit more fun, because you can easily compare it to your childhood toy car, the one you drove around like a madman, one foot on the speed pedal.
In comparison, the Joy-Stick models may remind you of your adolescence, because it’s much like driving in a video game. It may just be due to the Joystick, but this type might transform a potential chore into a walk on memory lane.
Last but not least, the Stand-on mowers are the basic and more professional products which use two levers.
There are two styles of mowers, the mid-deck, and the front deck. The most common one is the mid-deck, and you just sit over the deck of the mower. In comparison, the front deck unit is designed in such a way that the deck is actually in front of the mower, allowing you to fully maneuver it and achieve a high-quality cut.
POWERFUL ENGINE AND SIZES
If you haven’t heard of zero-turn mowers before, you may be surprised to find out that they have larger and more powerful engines. And there is some logic behind that fact: due to the fact that you may need to cut through thick grass, twigs or even small trees, more horsepower is needed. In addition, if for example, the area where you are is hilly or uneven, you will need the horsepower to make your life easier.
EASY CONTROLLING OPTION
The controlling option is just as important as the other points made earlier. As a general rule of thumb, a zero turn mower has a dual level system. In order to operate straight lines, two gears need to be at the same level.
If this already sounds overly complicated for you, then you can opt for an ergonomic joystick. There is no doubt that this will help you better control the mower and will improve your ability to maneuverer it. Thus before making your purchase, do a bit of reading and ask yourself about what will make the whole experience easier for you.
ZTR (zero-turn mowers) have four fuel options: gasoline, diesel, propane, and flex fuel. There are many mowers out there which have electronic fuel-injection (EFI) engines, and these are known for increasing your fuel efficiency and execution. While some may say that these fuel injections will give around 25% fuel savings, there are many other options which you may consider.
For example, if you have diesel on your land, then a diesel mower will pop into mind, as this will fit with your lifestyle. Alternatively, there are many gasoline and propane models out there. Fuelling stations may hold the two options, and ultimately this may help you save money, but you will need to ask around your community.
According to farming experts, there are certain things which you need to determine before clicking buy. The goal is for you to understand where you are going to use the zero turn mowers, how much land you will need to cover, and how often you will use them. There are both commercial and residential mowers available, and the way in which you will use it will ultimately determine your purchase.
If you’re looking for a commercial grade mower, you are going to get a more durable engine. The integrated air filtration system and liners are designed to support heavy-duty usage, something that may ultimately be needed by a professional landscaper. In addition, a commercial unit should run about 2.000 hours, whereas a residential one will probably come close to 500 hours in comparison. Although you won’t get the same engine motors, they will be just as efficient if you’re going to use them for your home.
THE LOCATION OF DISCHARGE
To manage clippings, you can choose between side or rear discharge. As a general rule, the rear-discharge mowers tend to be a bit more expensive than the side-discharge models, around $200 to $500 more. Therefore before choosing a mower, you will need to be aware of the location of the clippings.
The rear discharge option has increased in popularity over the last couple of years, and this means that innovative ideas are soon to come. This clipping location is perfect for cutting grass in rougher situations, whereas the side discharge is useful for normal/few obstacle situations.
Just like any other product out there, prices range significantly. If you’re looking for a residential mower, you can find one for as low as $2,000, whereas more advanced commercial models can reach even $15,000. There is not much that I can help with in regards to that, expect to remind you to think about how often, where and why you will be using the ZTR. This will ultimately help you make the right decision, for the right price.
As mentioned earlier, innovative inventions are coming to light. Mowers are becoming high-end tech because of an increase in EFI engines and their controllers. These help with fuel consumption and performance, thus there is no surprise that there is a high demand for these products.
As seen above, each mower has both individual and similar features. Certain mowers are designed for household owners, whereas others are used for commercial purposes. I have outlined the best ways for you to choose the best residential zero-turn mower while keeping in mind that different people will be looking for different products. The top 10 best zero-turn mowers will help give you an overview of the best products on the marketplace, but ultimately the decision belongs to you.