OutdoorChief.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Zero-turn mowers are the top choice for commercial lawn care specialists. However, the prices are coming down so that even the home user can enjoy everything these versatile mowers have to offer.

With high maneuverability, ease of use and high top speeds it is now wonder they have proven so popular. However, there are a lot of options available which makes it hard to decide which is best for your needs.

That’s where our buyer’s guide comes in. We’ve reviewed 5 of the best zero turn mowers on the market today. For our findings at a glance, just check out the table below. For in depth details on each mower, and advice on what to look for when buying a z-turn, keep on reading.


Best Zero Turn Mower – Top 5

PRODUCTNAMEDETAILSOUR RATING
TOP PICK:
Husqvarna
967324101
Zero Turn
Mower, 54"
Cutting width: 54"
Engine: 24 HP
(Briggs & Stratton)
Transmission: EZT
Poulan Pro
P46ZX Briggs
46" Zero Turn
Mower
Cutting Width: 46"
Engine: 22 HP
(Briggs v-twin)
Transmission: EZT
Swisher 60"
Briggs & Stratton
Professional Zero
Turn Rider
Cutting Width: 60"
Engine: 27 HP
(Briggs & Stratton)
Transmission:
Hydro Gear 2800
Troy-Bilt XP
60" FAB Deck
Zero Turn Mower
Cutting Width: 60"
Engine: 25 HP
(Briggs & Stratton)
Transmission:
Dual hydro-gear
ZT-2800
Ariens Zoom 34"
Kohler 6000
Zero Turn Mower
Cutting Width: 34"
Engine: 19HP
(Kohler 660cc)
Transmission:
EZT Transaxles

Zero Turn Mower Buyer’s Guide

The zero turn mower has become very popular over recent years. Originally developed for commercial lawn care companies, the price has gradually come down so that residential grade z-turn motors are widely available.

In this buyer’s guide we will look at exactly what constitutes a zero turn mower, and the kind of things you should look out for when buying one.

So what’s all the zero turn business?

Let’s tackle the elephant in the room first. The zero turn part of a zero turn mower is precisely what you would expect – they are built to minimise turning radius, so that essentially the mower can spin around from a singular position.

This allows for much more manoeuvrability over traditional ride on mowers.

The zero turn aspect works due to the fact the operator is able to provide differential power to each rear wheel independently. The majority of z-turn mowers use a lever control system so that this can be achieved.

When both wheels receive the same amount of power the vehicle will move forward or backwards in a straight line.

When more power is directed to one wheel, the mower will move along a curved path.

If all the power goes to one wheel the zero turn mower will spin on its axis achieving an almost zero turning radius.


The different types of zero turn lawn mower

Now its time to look at the various types of Zero turn mower currently available on the market.

The type you choose will most definitely be dependent on your needs and the size of plot you intend to maintain.

Let’s take a closer look…

Entry Level Residential Zero Turn Lawn Mowers

Entry level z-turn mowers are designed for the homeowner with a good sized garden who wish to raise their game above the traditional ride on lawn mower.

If you cut your grass up to once a week in the summer, and have intricate areas of lawn where the zero turn capability can really be called upon, the entry level mower may well be the one for you.

They are the most affordable of all the zero turn mowers available however this is generally because they are smaller and use cheaper components during the manufacturing process.

This of course impacts overall performance as well as longevity; put simply they are not designed for daily use. This means they are not a good choice for landscaping businesses, green-keepers or large property owners.

Mid Grade Residential Zero Turn Lawn Mowers

Mid grade zero turn mowers are normally slightly larger than the entry level machines.

With deck sizes that can cover a bigger area of grass while in operation, and slightly more robust build quality, mid grade options are good for residential use on large properties. Small business owners may also choose to use one.

They are not recommended for serious commercial use however.

Entry Level Commercial Zero Turn Lawn Mowers

Now we are moving into a territory beyond that of home use.

We have reviewed a few semi commercial zero turn mowers in the review section below.

The difference here is more power, speed, larger deck size and a build quality that is capable of withstanding daily use in a commercial setting.

Made from higher grade parts, and welded steel instead of stamped, you can expect the mower to last longer with the correct level of maintenance.

This type of mower is perfect for a landscaping business, or other commercial enterprises that require the use of a mower on a regular basis.

Full Commercial Zero Turn Lawn Mowers

Commercial zero turn mowers are the largest, fastest and naturally the most expensive machines you can buy.

With heavy duty engines and wide decks they are intended for use on golf courses and other large swathes of land where daily use in tough conditions is required.

Commercial zero turn mowers of the highest quality can reach up to $10,000 in price. These are not for the faint hearted.


What to look out for when buying a zero turn mower

So with the types of mower available out of the way, let’s take a look at what you should consider when buying the right z-turn for you.

Whether you’re buying an entry level machine or the most expensive commercial grade mower, the same attributes apply – these are the areas you should do your research so that your needs are covered.

The size of the deck

Deck size is one of the most important considerations when buying a zero turn mower.

The deck size basically transfers to the surface area of grass that the mower can tackle at any give spot.

A large deck size means the mower will be able to cut a wider area of ground on each pass. This makes for faster, more efficient work.

Clearly, the more land you have to cover, the larger deck you will want. However, it isn’t quite as simple as that.

A wide deck size makes it more difficult to cut intricate areas around flower beds, trees or any other feature that forms part of the lawn, but does not need to be cut.

Most home users will want a balance of the both. A large enough deck size to provide good cutting width, with enough manoeuvrability to work around obstacles. Something between 30 and 40 inches is recommended here.

Those that work in a commercial setting may wish to opt for the largest deck size available. 50 or 60 inch mowers are available and these are perfect for huge areas of land.

Time is money after all for a professional landscaping company.

However, in many instances, said buyers will also have smaller machines that can work the more intricate areas. This is why a company looking after the grounds of a large estate will have a small fleet of mowers in some instances.

Speed of the mower

Top speed is also a factor that goes hand in hand with the demands of the user.

Someone that only needs to cut their home lawn every few weeks does not need to opt for the fastest mower on the market. A comfortable, affordable option with a versatile deck size and moderate speed will suffice.

For professional the story is different. With wages to pay and a line of jobs to complete, getting the work done well and with speed is essential.

The largest commercial mowers with a high top speed will allow the operator to cover more ground in less time. The job will be done quicker, and the mower along with the operator can move on to doing something else.

At the very top end, a user can expect to reach 12 or 13 mph with a large commercial z-turn mower.

This beats the sub 10mph you will find with entry level commercial machines and is over double the speed of residential models that normally clock in at a mere 5 or 6 mph.

Engine Size and Horsepower

Now we have engine size and HP under the hood.

Naturally, entry level zero turn mowers have less power than the commercial offerings.

The important consideration here is the type of terrain you need to cover and the thickness of the grass and foliage you plan to cut.

Again, an entry level machine designed for home use with lower HP is fine if you are only going to be mowing a nice, flat lawn every few weeks.

Conversely, a machine required to tend to a large country estate with undulating terrain and heavy undergrowth, has to pack enough power to cope.

Thinking about the environment the mower will be working in will definitely help you decide on the correct model power to buy.

Price of the mower

Finally there is the issue of price. These machines do not come cheap, and you will have course have a budget in mind.

Entry level machines can still command a price tag over $2000.

A good rule of thumb for residential use is to not pay over $3500. If you do, you are venturing into commercial grade z-turn mowers and you should question whether you really need such size and power.

For the landscaping professional, anything above $3000 is where your search should begin. Here you will need to weigh up your finances, along with projected growth in your company to determine which model to buy (and thus just how much you are willing to pay).

It is important to remember that a more expensive model will be stronger, faster and last you longer. In other words, paying as much as you can afford to at the beginning should save you money over the long term.

As with all the considerations when buying a zero turn lawn mower, you need to carefully think about your needs, and aim to buy the correct type of machine for them.

If that means spending more or less, will be entirely dependent on that decision.


TOP PICK: Husqvarna 967324101 V-Twin 724 cc Zero Turn Mower, 54″

The Husqvarna zero turn mower gets our top pick because of its sheer versatility. They have a wide range of mowers in the series, starting at 42″ size bed right up to the commercial use 62″.

Whether you’re looking for a z-turn for home use, or the demands of a larger scale landscaping business, these guys have an option for you.

For the purposes of this review we’ve taken a look at the 54 inch model. The V-Twin 724 cc mower, features an automatic choke system that provides a very simplified starter.

This means there is no need to have the user input when starting the mower in normal conditions.

It is fitted with the air induction mowing technology which enables the mower to draw air from the top and also the bottom.

The purpose of this kind of technology is to enable improve grass lift and deliver a superior cut.

The mower is also fitted with a maintenance-free transmission and an integrated zoo-turn transmission.

The steel cutting is reinforced and stumped with heavy flat-stock steel for adding the much needed strength and increase durability on the leading edge and also the trim side.

The’re plenty of power in that engine too. Manufactured by BRIGGS & STRATTON, this Endurance series model engine has some impressive specs.

There’s 24hp under the hood with 44.18 cu inch cylinder displacement (2 cylinders). Powerful finished bearing surfaces and a top sized cooling fan to ensure extreme durability and maximum performance.

The mower is also fitted with standard air filters, an oil filter and a 3.5 gal fuel tank.

The all important cutting deck is reinforced with heavy steel to ensure full strength and durability when cutting the grass and other materials. The leading edge and trim edge is also reinforced with the same materials.

This 50-54 inch deck size is mostly used on commercial zero turn mowers.

Additional features include a vinyl seat spring, hour meter, anti-slip foot area, a bumper with integrated led headlights and an automatic park brake system.

  • Weight: 640 lbs
  • Tire size, front Width: 6 in
  • Tire size, front Diameter: 11 in
  • Tire size, front Diameter wheel: 5 in
  • Cutting width: 54 in
  • Cutting deck type: Stamped
  • Cutting methods: 3-in-1 Mulch/Rear Bag/Side Discharge Capable
  • Cutting deck material: Steel
  • Deck thickness: 12 gauge
  • Blade engagement: Electric clutch
  • Blades: 3 pcs
  • Blade-tip speed: 18500 fpm
  • Anti-scalp wheels: 4
  • Deck lifting system: Manual, hand operated
  • Spindle/mandrel type: Cast Aluminum
  • Greasable mandrels: Yes
  • Deck Wash Port: Yes
  • Cutting height, min (approximate): 1.5 in
  • Cutting height, max (approximate): 4 in
  • Engine manufacturer: Briggs & Stratton
  • Engine name: Endurance Series
  • Power: 24 hp
  • Cylinder displacement: 44.18 cu.inch
  • Cylinders: 2
  • Air Filter type: Standard
  • Fuel Type: Gasoline
  • Oil filter: Yes
  • Fuel tank volume (with reserve): 3.5 gal (US)
  • Fuel tank location: Side (Single)
  • Transmission type: Hydrostatic
  • Transmission manufacture: Hydro-Gear
  • Transmission model: EZT
Pros of the Husqvarna 967324101 V-Twin 724 cc Zero Turn Mower, 54
  • Equipped with automatic park break system
  • Bumper to protect the body from any knocks and scratches
  • It has a unique convenient deck lift
  • The frames and casters well rugged
  • An adjustable foot plate, such that it can be removed and installed back.
  • A rear engine guard
  • Highly enduring V-Twin Engine
  • Refinement
  • Anti-slip foot space to prevent injuries
  • Ergonomic control panel
The Cons
  • The parts are highly priced which might make cost of maintenance high
  • Some users have experienced brake jams making it roll backwards.
  • you may find the steering differential requires adjustment upon purchase.

Bottom Line

The proven performance, new innovative specifications built to enhance the edge design and the coordination of the technology work together to make this homestead lawn maintenance an easy task.

These are more than enough reasons to recommend this lawn mower to any customer.


Poulan Pro P46ZX Briggs V-Twin Pro 22 hp

The Poulan Pro P46ZX is powered by a 22HP Briggs & Straton Professional Series engine, features a robust 46 inch two bladed steel deck, a dual hydro gear EZT drive system and has an adjustable grass cutting height ranging from 1.5` to 4` in half increments allowance.

That opening sentence packs quite a punch when it comes to specifications; which is exactly why the Poulan Pro made our top 5 list.

The 46 inch size makes it one of the best residential zero turn mowers you can buy. With a top speed of 6 miles per hour you won’t be winning any races, but you will get your lawn cut with enjoyable ease.

It is suitable for larger land plots with the 3.5 gallon fuel capacity allowing a powerful and effective ZTR cutting covering up to 2.4 acres per hour.

Other features include a nose roller, ant scalp roller (3) and much easy to operate dual levers. The hand grips are also foam padded for extra comfort and help ensure a tight grip when operating.

Poulan Pro have also included additional extras that raise this residential grade mower above its peers in the same class; there’s electric clutch blade engagement, high-lift blade type, a manual hand operated deck lifting system and a 4 inch cutting height.

It also comes with a 2 year consumer warranty and also a homeowner warranty.

The smaller size allows for easier manoeuvring, enabling the ZTR to move around obstacles such as trees, flower, beds and others.

  • Base machine, height: 41 in
  • Base machine, length: 75 in
  • Tire size, front Diameter: 11 in
  • Tire size, rear Diameter: 18 in
  • Turning radius, min: 0 in
  • Weight: 430 lbs
  • Anti-scalp wheels: 3
  • Blade engagement: Electric clutch
  • Blade type: High-Lift blade
  • Blades: 2 pcs
  • Cutting deck type: Stamped, Reinforced
  • Deck lifting system: Manual, hand operated
  • Cutting height, max (approximate): 4 in
  • Cutting height, min (approximate): 1.5 in
  • Cutting height steps: 6
  • Cutting methods: Collect/Mulch/Side discharge
  • Cutting width: 46 in
  • Deck Wash Port: Yes
  • Powder-coated cutting deck: Yes
  • Spindle/mandrel type: Aluminium, vented
  • Air Filter type: Auto-type Paper
  • Cylinder displacement: 724 cm³
  • Engine lubrication type: Pressure with Oilfilter
  • Engine manufacturer: Briggs & Stratton
  • Engine name: Professional Series
  • Fuel tank volume (with reserve): 3.5 gal (US)
  • Power: 22 hp
  • Drive method: Lever-operated
  • Transmission manufacturer: Hydro-Gear
  • Transmission model: EZT
  • Transmission type: Hydrostatic
  • Fan-cooled pumps: Yes
  • Speed forward max: 6 mph
  • Speed reverse max: 3 mph
Pros of the Poulan Pro P46ZX Briggs V-Twin Pro 22 HP
  • A well-built simple maneuverability;
  • Low vibration levels
  • Very comfortable to use
  • Very fair price
  • Reinforced cutting deck
  • Well fitted ZTR making operation smooth
  • Close ground range trimming saving the gas and improving the ZTR durability
  • Padded dual levers for easy grip and manipulation
The Cons
  • It does not work well on very relatively steep slopes due to the modification of the ZTRs
  • Front wheel very hard leaving tracks on the lawn
  • The attachments are purchased separately which is additional cost
  • The speed is very low

Bottom Line

Looking at all the possible scenarios this mower is an effective, powerful and fast to be able to mow a lawn completely in a timely manner.


Swisher ZTR2760BS Response 27HP 60-Inch B&S ZTR Mower

The ZTR2760BS is one of the largest zero turn mower manufactured by swisher company. It really is quite a beast. Featuring a 60″ cutting deck with 3 Gator mulching blades we are firmly in the commercial grade arena with this particular z-turn.

The robustness of design continues with the heavy duty fenders (that provide storage ability), full engine wrap, electric start with an electric PTO clutch, a comfortable high-back seat with arm rests (appropriate for long working intervals) and a front rear hitch.

The rear tire measurements are large at 20″x 10″-8″. The front casters are smaller of course, but are still a heavy duty 12″ x 6″ in size.

There is a foot assisted deck lift that allows easy rising of the mower deck. The huge deck of the mower allows it to cut the grass evenly and much faster.

The power under the hood is where the Swisher really shines. Packing a full 27HP Brigg and Stratton engine, this is a commercial grade zero turn mower that means business.

It is very well suited to landscaping businesses and/or contractors or homeowners that own a very large estate.

Specifications
  • New Rapid Response Control System for improved comfort and control
  • 27 HP Briggs & Stratton engine
  • 60″ cutting deck with 3 Gator mulching blades
  • ROPS Standard
  • Hydro Gear 2800 transmissions and Ogura clutch
  • Heavy-duty fenders with storage, battery compartment and cup holder
  • Foot assisted deck lift
  • 8 miles forward and reverse
  • 8 gallon fuel capacity
  • Rear tires 20″x10″-8″, Front casters 12″x6″
  • 1.5″-4.5″ cutting range
  • Full engine wrap
  • Electric start, Electric PTO clutch
  • High-back seat with arm rests
  • 12V adapter and Hour meter
  • Front and rear hitch
  • Made in the USA
Pros of the Swisher ZTR2760BS Response 27HP 60-Inch B&S ZTR Mower
  • Variability in speed boosted by the hydro drive system
  • The extremely spacious seating is comfortable for all the body types of drivers
  • Saves mowing time with a wide cutting deck and leaves spacious paths
  • The maneuver is quite smooth as compared to other models
  • Power from the 27horsepower from Briggs and Stratton V-twin engine is enormous
The Cons
  • One requires huge storage space due to the enormous engine and deck
  • It is expensive
  • Maintenance cost is high and should be constituent for a long lifetime
  • Weight is too high

Bottom Line

This is a great mower from Swisher. It is extremely and large and only suitable for home owners or business owners with large lawns and spaces.

The size, features and aggressive pricing make the Swisher a very worthy addition to our best commercial zero turn mower list.


Troy-Bilt XP 25HP 60-Inch FAB Deck Zero Turn Mower

It is powered by a 25HP Briggs and Stratton engine makers. It is equipped with a durable 60 inch fabricated deck.

The precise maneuverability is top notch and it ensures unbeatable productivity in terms of the quality of cuts made. It is from the renowned mustang series from the Troy Bilt Company.

It is reinforced a long lasting heavy duty frame and an integrated rear bumpers protecting the driver as well as the machine.

In addition it has all the power needed to clear a lawn much faster and comfortably. The engine is fitted with a power take off technology to allow faster and easy blade engagement.

It also comes with a warranty just in case of any fault. The engine provides a dust and particle filtration and advanced debris management system with an additional beefed up cylinder alignment that ensures durability and engine protection.

The builders of this engine Brigg and Stratton are among the USA’s leading power equipment manufacturers.

Special features for the engine include cast iron cylinders sleeve, pressure lubrication, dual hydrostatic transmission and a well fabricated HD deck, deck wash system, zero turbo radius, 3 gallon fuel capacity, estimated cutting time of 45 minutes per acre depending the terrain of the lawn and a 3 year limited manufacturer warrant.

The Troy-Bilt offers a full line of lawn mowers and other garden tractors which help manage the large yards and carry out other chores with a range of suitable attachments.

Their wide range of mowers including this particular model offers a wide variety of shift-on-Go feature, hydrostatic, transmission options among others.

Specifications
  • 25 HP Briggs & Stratton Commercial Series Twin Cylinder Engine
  • 60 in. Heavy duty fabricated cutting deck
  • Dual hydro-gear ZT-2800 transmission
  • Electric blade engagement
  • Fuel tank capacity 3 gallon
  • (4) Deck wheels plus nose roller
  • High back seat with lever adjustment
  • HD Steel front axle
  • 13 in. Front tire diameter
  • 20 in. Rear tire diameter
  • Weight: Approximately: 1000 pounds
Pros of the Troy-Bilt XP 25HP 60-Inch FAB Deck Zero Turn Mower
  • It offers comfort, with the company focusing on upgrades to operate a new longer frame
  • Adjustable lap bars which accommodate larger operators and the integrated bars with very good safety features.
  • Comfortable high-back seat
  • It mows well with high quality cuts
  • Accurate driving and mowing
  • Dual hydro-gear transmission (EZT)
The Cons
  • The EZT transmissions feature doesn’t allow for the heavy tow capacity.

Bottom Line

The more likeable features among many consumers or users of this machine are the fact that the bars must be fully open in their outward position while the parking brake is automatically engaged. Otherwise the engine wouldn’t start.


Ariens Zoom 34 – 19hp Kohler 6000 Series V-Twin 34″ Zero Turn Lawn Mower

Powered by a premium 6000 series V-Twin engine ensures an enormous performance. The compact design of the 34 deck design is sized to fit through the standard.

The 12-gauge, stamped mowing deck provides the top quality excellent cut. A foot operated deck lift gives the user the advantage to adjust the height out from a length of 1.5 inch to 4.5 inches.

A four point professional deck with a hanging system provides a very unique stable ride and it’s consistent with every single cut.

The compact design of the deck which is 34 inches is sized to fit through a standard gate. It is very easy to maneuver enabling the maintenance of the lawn easy.

The 6000 series engine promises a powerful performance while there is a four support positions help in preventing excessive deck movement.

The hydro gear is fully EZT integrated transmission system. Additionally it is equipped with effective cooling fans and a huge hydraulic reservoir. The mechanical foot lift ensures that the mowing deck is raised or lowered to desired level.

It is ideal for homeowners who are looking to cut a large yard or compound in a record half of the time. This is achieved by the fact that the compact design overpowers other major producers of the product.

  • Made in USA
  • Weight: 425 Pounds
  • Product Length: 64.0 Inches
  • Product Width: 35.0 up/42.0 down Inches
  • Product Height: 37.0 Inches
  • Consumer Warranty: 3 Years
  • Cutting Options: 3-in-1 (Side-Discharge/Bag/Mulch)
  • Deck Material: 12-Gauge
  • Deck Construction: Stamped
  • Spindle Material: Steel
  • Blades: 2 Blades
  • Deck Positions: 7 Positions
  • Cutting Height: 1.5-4.5 Inches
  • Deck Lift System: Manual Foot Operated
  • Engagement: Warner Electric
  • Deck Drive: Belt
  • Engine Brand: Kohler
  • Starting System: 12-Volt Key Start
  • Engine Cycle: 4-Cycle
  • HP: 19 HP
  • CC: 660 CCs
  • Fuel Tank Size: 2 Gallons
  • Engine Cylinders: 2 Cylinders
  • Oil Filter: Yes
  • Consumer Engine Warranty: 3 Years
  • Speeds: Variable
  • Maximum Speed: 6 MPH
  • Maximum Reverse Speed: 3 MPH
  • Drive Wheels: Rear Wheels
  • Transmission Type: Hydrostatic
  • Drive System: EZT Transaxles w/ 1″ Axle
Pros of the Ariens Zoom 34 - 19hp Kohler 6000 Series V-Twin 34
  • It is affordable as compared to most other zero turn lawn mower.
  • Reduces mowing time
  • Gives great cut
  • Compact design is one advantage
  • Exceptional cutting performance with outstanding value
The Cons
  • It has a small engine which implies less motor power
  • It does not work well on slopes

Bottom Line

 

The Ariens is a great option zero turn mower for home use. The small 34″ deck size is great for covering normal sized plots, while still be able to work around trees and flower bed edges.

If you want to up your game from a normal sit and ride mower, this is the z-turn to buy.


Image Credits: exmark.com