Best (Residential) Zero Turn Mower [For The Money] 2018

Zero turn lawn mowers have many advantages. They’re quick, incredibly agile, and easy to operate. This combined with the unobstructed front-view makes that you can mow around obstacles more precisely, saving you time trimming around trees and other edges.

Best Zero Turn Lawn Mower

This mower will work perfectly for those who need a durable mower that will stand up to regular use. It feels great to ride and it’s easy on your lawn. Don’t hesitate to consider this option when looking for a mower. Read more

Husqvarna 967277401 52" 25HP...
  • The oversized welded frame...
  • The heavy-duty fabricated...
  • Ergonomically designed deck...
  • Longer life due to premium...
  • Durable 6-inch wide front...

Other Contenders:

This is an absolutely excellent mower that will handle your lawn care needs with ease. Its power and overall maneuverability make it stand out from the competition. With a 10-year warranty attached to the purchase, you can buy this mower with confidence. Read more

Choosing this model is a smart idea if you want to ensure your lawn is given a great-looking cut every time. It’s quite durable and is very reliable. Husqvarna also has a standard 4-year warranty you can rely on. Read more

You will really enjoy this mower if you want to get your lawn cut quickly. It feels nice to ride so long as you’re comfortable with the speed. It’s lighter than comparable mowers, so you should be careful with it. Read more

If you are new to zero-turn lawn mowers, then buying this model is an excellent idea. It’s simple to use and has a steering system that will feel familiar. It’s also comfortable to use and cuts grass very well. Read more

This article is a guide for potential buyers of one of these machines. We describe the weak and strong points of these machines, residential versus commercial zero turn mowers, popular brands, and how to choose the right model for you.

Purchasing one of these mowers is a substantial expense, so you should aim to make an informed decision to your best abilities. We have made a selection of 5 popular models sold in the United States, along with our professional opinion on each one of them. We hope this will help you decide which is the best zero turn mower for the money.

Just below is our selection with a short description on each of them. If you scroll further down the page there is a separate review for each model, together with its strong and weak points.

What Is A Zero Turn Lawn Mower

what is a zero turn lawn mower

There’s a reason why landscaping companies make use of these machines instead of tractors most of the time.

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Lawn care is an important duty that needs to be tended to. If you’re a homeowner, you definitely understand the desire to ensure your lawn is always in the best shape possible. Sometimes it may feel like a nuisance having to meticulously mow your lawn so often, but the end result of having a beautiful property to enjoy is very much worth your effort. Your neighbors likely very much appreciate your dutiful lawn care practices as well.

If you’ve noticed some of your neighbors making use of lawn care services to tend to their properties, you’ve probably seen the professionals using zero-turn lawn mowers. These types of lawn mowers are very special and can work great in the hands of someone who knows how to bring out their full potential. There’s a reason why landscaping companies make use of these machines instead of tractors most of the time. They allow for very precise mowing and when someone is very adept at using this type of mower, it can actually save time.

These zero-turn lawn mowers aren’t necessarily just for professional landscaping companies. You can buy one for yourself and make use of its many advantages if you so choose. Deciding to purchase something large like this is no small decision, however. You will definitely want to look into all of the important details of what zero-turn lawn mowers can offer you, as well as any negatives that may be associated with these machines.

This buying guide has been designed to help you come to understand zero-turn lawn mowers on a deeper level. Every aspect you will need to take into consideration is covered. You’ll have the power to make an informed decision after reading this thorough guide on everything about this type of product. Pay close attention and the information will undoubtedly prove useful to you.

Residential vs. Commercial Zero-Turn Mowers

john deere zero turn lawn mower
via flickr – charlesandhudson

Residential zero-turn lawn mowers can be very useful, but they are built with smaller properties in mind. Those with larger amounts of land may require the more rugged and powerful commercial models.

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For the most part, these zero-turn lawn mowers can be categorized in two different ways. You have your lower-end residential models and the higher-end commercial lawn mowers. It’s important to suss out the differences between each of these types as best you can before deciding which to buy. You want to be able to purchase whatever is going to work best for your property and your specific needs.

Residential mowers are generally far less expensive than their commercial counterparts. These are meant to be used for smaller properties such as individual houses with modestly-sized yards. If you have a small house in a normal residential neighborhood, this could be a good option for you. It really all comes down to the amount of workload you need to handle.

In this regard, these types of mowers being referred to as residential will confuse some people. You could certainly get some use out of this kind of mower on just about any residential property, but those with larger amounts of land may require the more rugged and powerful commercial models. Whether or not a residential mower will work well for your purposes depends on the size of your property as well as the work you plan on making the mower handle.

Commercial zero-turn lawn mowers are perfect for handling a large workload. They’re able to cut large amounts of grass in a timely fashion and are a bit longer lasting. They’re built to be more durable because of the increased workload that is expected to be put on them. You see, these machines are designed with the idea that they’ll be used daily as part of a business.

If you’re looking to purchase a zero-turn lawn mower for your property, you probably won’t be using it quite so often as a business would. Even so, on a larger property with several acres of land, there are still some large benefits to getting the commercial model over the residential one. You’ll be able to feel more confident that the mower will stand the test of time and be able to handle the amount of work you throw at it. Also, it will be able to handle mowing your property a bit faster on average than the residential model.

With the higher price tag on the commercial model, it really comes down to your personal preference. Residential zero-turn lawn mowers can be very useful, but they are built with smaller properties in mind. You can save a little money by going with the residential option, but if you have a large property with a greater need for mowing, it may be prudent to just buy the commercial mower.

Strong Points of Zero-Turn Lawn Mowers

advantages of commercial zero turn mowers

What would take hours with a traditional tractor can be completed in a fraction of the time using a good zero-turn lawn mower.

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There are many great reasons you should consider purchasing a zero-turn lawn mower. They’re one of the best options on the market for getting your lawn mowed quickly. When you learn how to operate a zero-turn lawn mower very well, it’s possible to handle even a large amount of mowing in a very timely fashion. You’re able to just keep mowing because you don’t have to make laps as deliberately as you would using an older tractor.

The amazing maneuverability of these zero-turn lawn mowers is something that lawn care professionals couldn’t be without. It allows for tighter turns and gives you so many more options on how to tackle mowing a lawn. What would take hours with a traditional tractor can be completed in a fraction of the time using a good zero-turn lawn mower. Time is valuable, so being able to finish up the task of mowing more swiftly is a definite strong point.

Another aspect of zero-turn lawn mowers that some people fail to consider is the increased visibility. When you’re mowing with a tractor, you can’t see what is directly in front of the tractor so well because of the large front-end. This isn’t the case with the zero-turn lawn mower because you’re able to see all around with ease. Your front view won’t be obstructed in any way, allowing for better decision-making and increased safety while mowing your lawn.

Many of the best commercial zero-turn lawn mowers go significantly faster than tractors. This increases your ability to work fast and get the job done. Residential zero-turn lawn mowers are also quite speedy and should be able to outpace most average tractors once you familiarize yourself with the controls. Learning how to use a zero-turn lawn mower is very simple and once you’ve gotten a feel for it, you’ll likely never want to return to using a tractor again.

Overall, zero-turn lawn mowers handle far more elegantly than tractors do. When you use one of the steering-wheel-operated models, you’ll notice how much tighter everything is in comparison to steering a tractor. It can also handle obstacles such as slopes with much more ease. If your yard has uneven ground or many different slopes, having a zero-turn lawn mower will be absolutely beneficial.

Weak Points of Zero-Turn Lawn Mowers

kubota zero turn mower backside

The smaller models have a little less weight to them and this can create a few issues if you aren’t careful.

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As with all things, there are going to be some negative aspects when it comes to zero-turn lawn mowers. These machines are very useful for a variety of different lawn care needs, but they aren’t built to do certain tasks that you might be able to handle with a tractor. For instance, the pulling capabilities of these zero-turn lawn mowers are nowhere near the level of a typical tractor. It’s inadvisable to use these types of mowers to pull things around your property.

The reason this isn’t a good idea is due to the hydrostatic transmissions being a bit too delicate to handle the workload. This type of mower is meant to mow your grass quickly and efficiently. If you want to have a machine that can handle pulling things to and fro, it is best to leave that task to something else. Your zero-turn lawn mower should, for the most part, be a pure mowing machine.

Zero-turn lawn mowers aren’t quite as durable as tractors. They aren’t built to be incredibly rugged, so you should do your best to take care of them. A good mower can last you a long time if you use it for its intended purpose and avoid extraneous work. Just understand that it isn’t something you should let get beat up, and you will have many years of great mowing ahead of you with your new zero turn lawn mower.

There are some specific negatives that come to light when you purchase a smaller residential zero-turn lawn mower. The smaller models have a little less weight to them and this can create a few issues if you aren’t careful. The lack of weight could cause you lift up off of the ground when traveling uphill if you don’t approach it properly. This is only something that will occur if you are inexperienced with operating your mower and haven’t learned how to approach an uphill climb yet.

In general, zero-turn lawn mowers handle slops and uphill climbs brilliantly. It’s just important to note that smaller models can have the need for you to be more careful to avoid lifting off the ground. Also, the front casters can get stuck in the soil on occasion when leaning forward. This is another situation that can be avoided, but it is worth mentioning.

Using a zero-turn lawn mower that has a steering wheel can be quite easy to get used to. There is also lap bar-operated models that are a bit more tricky. The steeper learning curve involved with these machines can be seen as a weak point when looking to purchase a new mower. If you’re looking for the simplest option, it is a smart idea to get a steering-wheel operated model.

The final negative that will be a stopping point for some people is the higher price point. Generally speaking, these lawn mowers are going to be more expensive than many other mowing options. The benefits these mowers have over tractors will attract many towards buying them. People on a tight budget may have trouble justifying the cost, but it will really come down to how passionate you are about your lawn care.

Most Popular Zero-Turn Lawn Mower Brands

zero turn lawn mower brands

There are many different fantastic brands you can choose from. Buying a zero-turn lawn mower will be a worthwhile investment when you choose from the best brands on the market. It’s smart to look into the specific features of each mower before you make a purchasing decision, but no matter what brand you go with, you’ll be getting a great mower.

Poulan Pro is highly recommended. They offer a very reliable line of zero-turn lawn mowers. You can choose from various different styles and should always expect top-notch customer service when dealing with this company.

Husqvarna is another one of the most recognizable names in the zero-turn lawn mowing world. They have been providing lawn care professionals and residential customers with great mowers for years. This company should always be considered when looking to make a new mower purchase.

Troy-Bilt is a favorite brand for many people. They’re popular for providing powerful and reliable zero-turn lawn mowers to the masses. Also, these mowers are typically quite easy to learn how to use. Makes for a good option for both experienced mowers and beginners.

Ariens is an excellent choice if you’re looking to go with the lap bar-operated style of mowers. These mowers are very reliable for either commercial or residential needs. This brand has built a reputation for being one of the best options in lawn care for a reason.

Which brand you should ultimately decide to purchase comes down to your personal taste. Every individual will have different expectations and needs. No matter what brand you decide to purchase your new mower from, you’ll be able to feel confident that you’re making a good decision.

How to Choose a Zero-Turn Lawn Mower

how to choose a residential zero turn mower

Now that you know more about what zero-turn lawn mowers can offer you, it’s time to figure out how to make the best decision possible. You need to bear in mind that your needs are going to be very specific to your situation. What works best for one person may not be the most suitable option for another. For this reason, it’s essential that you think about what you want to get out of this experience to ensure you get the best lawn care possible.

Consider what style of zero-turn mower you’re interested in. You can choose to go with either a residential or commercial model. If your property is quite large, then there is a lot of merit to paying the extra money to go with a commercial model. You’ll also need to think about whether you want to have a mower that controls using a steering-wheel or one that is lap bar-operated.

After thinking long and hard about your property, you should come to a conclusion. Do a little research into the different brands and models available on the market. You’ll be able to find a zero-turn lawn mower that suits your specific needs to a tee. It should also be possible to find a good deal on the best mowers out there as well.

Zero Turn Lawn Mower Reviews

husqvarna zero turn lawn mower demo day
via flickr – charlesandhudson

Husqvarna 52″ – 25HP

Husqvarna 967277401 52" 25HP Kohler Zero Turn Mower
  • The oversized welded frame offers improved structural integrity, operator comfort and ride quality
  • The heavy-duty fabricated cutting deck features twin sheets of 11 gauge steel for added support for spindles and increased overall strength
  • Ergonomically designed deck lifting system offers precise cutting height adjustment. Easy and quick adjustment from the operator's seat
  • Longer life due to premium integrated zero-turn transmissions featuring charge-pumps, larger drive axles and expansion tanks
  • Durable 6-inch wide front casters with pneumatic tires provide long life and are easy on turf

Pro’s:

  • Extremely comfortable to ride and feels durable
  • Made to be easy on your lawn and avoid tearing up the turf

Con’s:

  • Can be difficult to service by yourself
  • It’s quite heavy, which makes it hard to get underneath it for repairs

If you’re looking for a fairly rugged zero-turn lawn mower, then this model from Husqvarna could be the right fit for you. It is designed to be a heavy-duty mowing option that still provides all of the great benefits you’d expect with a zero-turn mower. The rigid design makes it incredibly comfortable to ride. You’ll feel like everything is smooth throughout your entire mowing experience.

This is also very easy on your lawn. Special care was made to make sure the casters and the tires were very high-quality. This will give them a long life and ensure that your lawn won’t be torn up in any way through regular use. This machine turns very well and is as maneuverable as you’d expect. A good option for anyone in need of a mower.

Poulan Pro 46″- 22HP

Poulan Pro P46ZX Briggs V-Twin Pro 22 HP Cutting Deck Zero Turn Radius Riding Mower, 46-Inch
  • 22 HP Briggs v-twin pro engine
  • 46-Inch stamped reinforced deck 10 year warranty
  • Hydro gear EZT transmission
  • Electric clutch
  • 3.5 Gallon fuel tank

Pro’s:

  • Top-notch maneuverability allows for precision mowing
  • The strong engine is powerful, allowing you to make quick work of landscaping jobs

Con’s:

  • Lap band-operated steering can be difficult to master for some
  • Operating both wheels at once is tricky

The Poulan Pro P46ZX is a very maneuverable and powerful zero-turn lawn mower. It features a strong engine that can ensure you’ll get all of your mowing done quickly and efficiently. This is a lap band-operated model and you control each wheel independently, allowing for smooth turns. It has an electric clutch, a 3.5-gallon fuel tank, and it even comes with a standard 10-year warranty.

This mower is designed to be very long lasting. It gets the job done quickly so you don’t have to use the engine for long periods of time. Its efficient nature makes it so that there is less wear and tear on the mower itself. You should be able to use this model for many years and it will outlast most any comparable tractor.

Husqvarna 54″ – 23 HP

Husqvarna 967271701 54" 23HP Kawasaki Zero Turn Mower
  • Air Induction Mowing Technology allows for air to be drawn from the top and bottom of the deck, improving grass lift and delivering a superior cut
  • Worry free performance with maintenance free, integrated zero-turn transmissions
  • The stamped steel cutting deck is reinforced with heavy flat-stock steel for added strength and durability on the leading edge and trim side
  • The deck lift system is spring assisted for ease of use and conveniently located within easy reach of the operator
  • The robust frame and casters ensure durability and reduced chassis flex

Pro’s:

  • Cuts grass very well, giving your lawn a nice clean look
  • Feels comfortable and sturdy to ride while providing a good cut

Con’s:

  • Learning curve when learning to operate efficiently
  • Works best for residential use only

Husqvarna is one of the most recognizable names in the zero-turn lawn mowing world. This model has proven to be particularly popular for being a great machine to use for residential purposes. It’s a durable model that has been reinforced on both the leading edge and trim side. It has a strong chassis that feels very good to ride so you won’t be nervous even when you’re getting used to taking turns quickly.

It’s also great for getting a superb cut every time you mow the lawn. An air induction technique is used to provide superior grass lift, making the cut nice and clean every single time. When combined with the nice feel that riding the mower provides you, it makes for a very pleasant lawn care experience. You’ll be able to rely on this machine to help you take care of your property for years to come.

Ariens Zoom 34″ – 19 HP

Ariens Zoom 34 - 19hp Kohler 6000 Series V-Twin 34" Zero Turn Lawn Mower
  • 34" Cutting Width
  • 19 HP/660 CC Engine Power
  • KOHLERÂ 6000 Series Engine

Pro’s:

  • Cuts your lawn quickly and feels good to use
  • The fact that it’s light makes it easier to work with

Con’s:

  • Less weight makes it a bit less durable
  • You will need to be careful and treat this mower properly

One of the best aspects of this Arien zero turn lawn mower is how fast you can mow a lawn with it. This machine can really zip along your yard and handle your workload in record time. It feels pretty good to ride so long as you’re comfortable with the speed and are used to using these types of mowers. Overall, this may be a model that appeals more to users who are already familiar with zero-turn lawn mowers.

It’s actually a fairly light mower, which means that it does sacrifice a bit in the way of durability. This just means you need to treat the mower properly in order to ensure it provides the best service possible. If you’re mindful of how you’re using it, this should be a very reliable option to quickly mow your lawn. It’s just recommended to maintain it properly.

Troy-Bilt 54″ – 25 HP

Troy-Bilt 25HP 725cc Twin Cylinder Transmission 54-inch Pivot Zero Turn Mower
  • Powered by a thrilling 25HP Kohler 725cc twin cylinder dual EZT transmission
  • Equipped with a durable 54-inch cutting deck with integrated premium deck wash
  • Electric "Power Take Off" for fast and easy blade engagement and has a forward speed of 7 MPH and reverse speed of 2.5 MPH
  • Equipped with a comfortable 18-inch High Back UV seat with an adjustable screw knob
  • Backed by a 3-year limited warranty with lifetime limited frame warranty

Pro’s:

  • Simple to use steering system
  • Reliable mower that is durable and comfortable to ride

Con’s:

  • Not as precise as comparable lap band-operated models
  • Durability also makes it very heavy

For anyone who is looking for an easy to use zero-turn lawn mower, this option should be one of the first you consider. It is a steering-wheel operated model, which makes it feel a bit more natural for those who aren’t used to lap band style machines. It’s still very maneuverable and is able to take tight turns with ease. You get the positives of zero-turn lawn mowing with the simplicity of operating a standard tractor.

This mower is also built to be very comfortable for the rider. It feels natural to use and you won’t feel unnatural when taking turns at quick speeds. The seat is also adjustable, which is nice for either shorter or taller riders. A great way to cut your grass quickly and effectively

residential zero turn mowers buying guide pinterest

Frequently Asked Questions

question-marks

How to start / drive / operate a zero turn mower?

Operating a zero turn mower is not very hard, as they are designed to be easy to use by a range of different people. Before you try to turn the ignition, make sure the drive sticks are in neutral safe position and the handbrake is on. Some machines have electronic switches on the handbrake, so if you haven’t engaged them, the machine won’t start.

Next, let the motor warm up for at least 10 seconds, but if it is very cold, a minute or few minutes is better. When it is very cold the hydraulic oil will be very thick, and will not flow properly. When the motor warms up a bit, so does the oil and the machine be easier to operate.

Before you start, make sure you set the mowing deck to the desired height. Then you can lower and engage the mowing deck.

Now push both sticks forward at the same time to go forward. If you push the left stick forward, only the left wheel will rotate forward. This will cause the machine to make a right hand turn, and vice versa. This way of operating a machine may seem daunting at first, but it is actually very intuitive and you will master it in no time.

What is a Zero Turn Mower?

As the name suggests, a zero turn mower can rotate around it’s own axle. It is able to do this because it has no fixed wheels front or rear. The front wheels are castors, and free to move in whichever direction. Both drive wheels can be powered independently, which make these machines incredibly agile. Think about mowing around trees for example!

How to change blades on zero turn mower?

Changing blades on a zero turn is not much different than any other type of rotary mower. It might be hard to lift the deck up high enough to be able to work on the blades, though. If you have figured out a way to do this, it is simply a matter of undoing the nuts on the blades and taking them off, and putting the new ones on exactly the same way as the old blades.

How does a zero turn mower work?

A zero turn mower works by having two independent hydraulic motors on each wheel. The other wheels are castor wheels. These castors can move in any direction, 360 degrees around. Each powered wheel is controlled by a lever. Push the lever forward, the wheel rotates forward, and vice versa. You can even push one lever forward, and on lever backwards. This will result in a “zero turn”.

Last update on 2018-09-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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