The 7 Best Zero Turn Mowers
This wiki has been updated 24 times since it was first published in April of 2015. If your lawn is shaped and designed such that you need greater maneuverability than a standard model can provide, try one of these zero-turn mowers. They can change directions on a dime in order to zip around obstacles like trees or plant borders, and come with motors designed for everything from a small garden to a large field. We've included a few good enough for commercial use, too. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best zero turn mower on Amazon.
April 12, 2019:
If you are looking to buy a zero-turn riding mower you probably have one of two things, a large property or a commercial lawn care company. Either way, your goal is to make short work of cutting grass, while being able to maneuver around obstacles traditional riding mowers can't, and every model on this list offers you that. If you have a small to medium-sized property, you'll want to consider the Ariens Zoom 34. It is compact enough to fit through most standard gates, yet still features a 19HP motor that can handle small slopes. The Poulan Pro PPX46Z is also a good choice for medium-sized yards, with its 46-inch cutting swatch. On the other end of the spectrum is the Husqvarna MZ61, which features a 61-inch deck and 27HP motor that make it ideal for commercial use. If you are particular about the height of your grass, the Ariens Ikon-X is for you, since it features 13 cutting positions.
Get The Right Mower; Enjoy The Best Lawn
Make sure to choose a fertilizer that is right for your climate and yard.
Before you consider whether or not a zero turn lawn mower is right for your property, you're going to want to make sure the grass in question is healthy and robust. Even the most affordable zero turn mower will still set you back more than a thousand dollars, so you owe it to yourself to also invest in growing a lush, resilient lawn. Before we talk about the machine you'll use to cut the grass, let's talk about the process of growing healthy grass and about a few reasons why people consider these machines for cutting said grass.
In most regions, grass will go dormant during the winter and begin its growth cycle again as temperatures warm in the spring. When the soil temperature hits 55 degrees Fahrenheit, most domestic grasses will start to grow.
When the weather is still cooler, water twice a week and allow about one inch of water to fall on the grass per session (you can measure this depth by leaving buckets or pans out where your sprinklers will fill them.
As it warms up, increase watering to three times per week (or more as needed) and aim for closer to two inches per session. Also, make sure to water in the early morning or evening to decrease evaporation to avoid burning the grass.
You should plan to fertilize your grass over six to eight weeks during the growing season. Make sure to choose a fertilizer that is right for your climate and yard.
All that proper lawn care results in quickly-growing grass that requires frequent cutting in order to maintain its health and aesthetics. And the more you can cut your grass, the better: grass left taller and cut regularly creates the healthiest, greenest lawn possible. That means either a whole lot of time spent sweating behind that push mower, or a few easy passes in that lovely new zero turn mower.
So, is your home ready to invest in a zero turn lawnmower?
For those who own or work with a professional landscaping and lawn care service, a zero turn mower is an expense well worth incurring. These mowers increase efficiency as compared to traditional sit-on-style riding mowers (and are beyond compare to push mowers) and will soon pay for themselves in terms of increased productivity.
Why Horsepower Matters
The process of choosing the right zero turn mower starts, not surprisingly, with budget. You can spend as much on one of these machines as you would on a great used car, so make sure you know what you're getting into.
The larger your property, and the more hills it has, the more power you will want.
First off, what exactly is a zero turn mower, you might be wondering? Rather than a traditional riding style mower that uses a car-like system of wheels on axles with steering controlled by a steering wheel, a zero turn mower's powered wheels each have their own motor and will operate independently, with the wheels turning in opposite directions when needed, which turns the machine around in place. So yes, they turn, quite literally, on a dime when needed.
Once you are comfortable with your budget, the next thing to consider is horsepower. The larger your property, and the more hills it has, the more power you will want. There are models that feature just 15 horsepower that might be great for a large flat lawn, and there are zero turn mowers that boast closer to 30 horsepower and ready to charge up hills with ease.
And of course the more horsepower a lawnmower has, the more cutting power it can offer, as plenty of that power goes not to the wheels, but to the blade. At the small end you'll find zero turn mowers with "cutting decks" measuring just 30 inches across. That's not much bigger than some push mowers, but for a hilly property or for the older or less physical able person, these are perfectly viable machines. On the other end of the spectrum, you can get massive zero turn mowers with cutting decks more than 60 inches across. A beast of that size will make short work of golf-course sized plots of grass.
Practice Makes Perfect
Before you ever start cutting grass with a zero turn mower, you should master driving the mower with the blades disengaged.
Raise the cutting deck and don't plan to turn on the blades until you are comfortable with the forward, reverse, and turning controls of your mower. Controlling these machines is actually quite intuitive once you get the hang of it: more forward pressure moves you forward faster; pulling back on the right handle turns you right, and so on.
Just make sure to position the handles such that their neutral resting position is comfortable for you, and take it slow until driving your zero turn mower is second nature. Then open up that throttle, engage the blades, and enjoy the easiest lawn mowing session of your life.
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