Reviews

The Best Zero-Turn Mowers (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021

Experience the thrill of mowing in any direction

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BY Norah Tarichia / LAST UPDATED ON February 4, 2021

You may have all the right fertilizers, herbicides, and seeds for making your lawn healthy and vibrant, but there is one more thing you need to consider. A zero-turn mower. It’s a quick and efficient bridge between a standard push lawnmower and a tractor that makes it easier to keep your lawn neat and manicured. On top of that, it can provide unparalleled maneuverability as it can make sharp turns and cut in tight spaces.

 

Also, it helps you cut the grass within the shortest time possible while you are seated comfortably. Large lawns, irregular lawns, and landscapes with tight edges can benefit from zero-turn mowers. So, if you are looking for a more efficient mowing experience, then this is a great place to start.

Best Overall
Husqvarna Z254F 54-Inch Z-Turn Mower
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Summary
Summary

This is a decent-sized lawnmower with a 54-inch deck and a durable frame. It’s powered by a 26 horsepower engine that’s ideal for both domestic and commercial projects.

Pros
Pros
  • Powerful Kohler engine 
  • Great for mowing large and medium-sized lawns 
  • Gets around obstacles with ease
  • Offers a smooth and comfortable ride 
Cons
Cons
  • Mulching kit and bagging attachment sold separately 
  • Not available in California
Best Overall
Husqvarna Z254F 54-Inch Z-Turn Mower
Best Value
Husqvarna Z248F 48-Inch Zero-Turn Riding Mower
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Summary
Summary

This is a user-friendly lawn mower that comes with a 21.5 horsepower engine, a 48-inch deck, and a comfortable seat. It’s ideal for domestic use.

Pros
Pros
  • Powerful Kawasaki engine 
  • Includes an efficient system for disposing of grass clippings 
  • Durable frame 
  • Maintenance-free transmission
Cons
Cons
  • Doesn’t ride well on hills 
  • Mulching kit and bagging attachment sold separately 
  • Not ideal for commercial use 
Best Value
Husqvarna Z248F 48-Inch Zero-Turn Riding Mower
Honorable Mention
Husqvarna MZ61 61-Inch Zero-Turn Riding Mower
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Summary
Summary

This lawnmower packs plenty of power with a 27 horsepower engine. It comes with a 61-inch deck with a three-blade cutting system. This makes it an efficient lawnmower for commercial projects.

Pros
Pros
  • Powerful Briggs & Stratton engine 
  • Comfortable high-back seat 
  • Provides reliable startups even in harsh weather 
  • Handles tough mowing jobs on large lawns with ease
Cons
Cons
  • Not great on hills 
  • Too bulky for residential use 
  • Expensive
Honorable Mention
Husqvarna MZ61 61-Inch Zero-Turn Riding Mower
Man With Zero-Turn Mower
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Benefits of Zero-Turn Mower

  • Better maneuverability. A zero-turn mower has a zero-degree turning radius meaning it can make a complete turn-around in a tight area so you can avoid obstacles or simply start cutting in another direction. It can also go from forward to reverse in no time. 
  • Enjoy a comfortable ride. A key comfort feature on the lawnmower is a comfortable seat with some models having high-back seats with cup holders for enhanced comfort. Also, it ditches the typical steering wheel design for steering levers that are easier to control. 
  • Cover more ground. A zero-turn mower has a larger deck than other lawnmower types. The deck is about 45 to 60 inches. This allows you to mow a large strip of grass within a short time. 
  • Minimal maintenance and durability. The reduced mowing time that’s a result of the larger deck translates to minimal time spent on the machine. This means that the machine will require minimal maintenance with regards to oil changes and part replacement. It will also last longer than mowers that are used for longer periods. 

Types of Zero-Turn Mowers

Two-Function Mower 

A two-function mower either mulches and bags the grass or mulches and discharges the grass from the side. Mulching mowers have small blades that repeatedly cut the grass to reduce its size. This type of grass is healthier for the lawn as it returns the nutrients to the ground. However, a two-function mower may jam continuously when cutting tall grass. 

Three-Function Mower 

A three-function mower effectively gets rid of tall grass by mulching, bagging, and side discharging. It’s the best design for clearing out a large amount of grass when cutting grass in a large area. It also comes in handy when cutting in tall grass conditions in the spring or early fall. You can adjust the height of the blades to take the grass down in stages for a neat cut. 

Top Brands

Husqvarna 

Husqvarna is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, and specializes in manufacturing outdoor power tools and equipment. This includes chainsaws, tractors, robotic mowers, and lawnmowers. It was founded in 1689 as a rifle factory but changed its specialty over the years to meet the new demands of its global consumers. A few brands under its umbrella include Klippo, PoulanPro, McCulloch, and Gardena. 

Ariens 

Specializing in zero-turn mowers, lawn tractors, and snow blowers, Ariens is a Wisconsin-based equipment manufacturer that has been around since 1933. It manufactures a wide range of products that are suitable for commercial and residential use. In 2003, Ariens opened The Ariens Museum in its original factory in Wisconsin to showcase some of its vintage equipment.   

Zero-Turn Mower Pricing

  • Under $3,500: Most zero-turn mowers lean on the expensive side so you may have to spend at least $3,000 for a decent residential lawnmower. You can also expect most lawnmowers here to have small to mid-sized decks with sizes ranging from 45 to 50 inches. 
  • $3,500 and up: The more you spend on a lawnmower, the more versatile and durable it is. So expect to find well-built machines that can handle large and complex grass cutting jobs with ease. Also, most have wider decks ranging from 50 to 65 inches. 

Key Features

Engine Power 

Lawnmower engines are rated in horsepower. The more horsepower you have, the more efficient and faster the equipment will be. It will come in handy for commercial landscaping projects. However, if you only need the lawnmower for small-scale residential projects, then you don’t necessarily need a high-horsepower engine. 

Cutting Width 

The lawn mower’s cutting width refers to the width of the strip the blades can cut. If you have a large lawn or want to take the least time possible to mow your lawn, then a lawnmower with a wide cutting width of at least 60 inches will do. Medium-sized lawn mowers typically have a 50 to 60-inch cutting width while small lawnmowers are below 50 inches. 

Adjustable Cutting Height 

For any type of lawnmower to work efficiently, the grass has to be of a certain height to achieve a precise cut. Choose lawnmowers that offer height increments for the blades so you can move them up or down depending on the length of the grass. The height increments may range from 1/4 to 1/2-inch increments. 

Build 

You want to look for a strong and durable machine that's built with a strong frame that can withstand harsh operating conditions. Therefore, prioritize models with a strong tubular frame made of corrosion-resistant metal, strong blades, and a durable seat. 

Other Considerations

  • Purpose. You should consider whether you need the lawnmower for commercial or residential use. A commercial lawn mower is typically large, serviceable, and offers faster mowing speeds. It’s designed for mowing large pieces of land. A residential or consumer-grade lawn mower is a smaller version that’s designed for small residential yards. It’s also not as serviceable as the commercial-grade lawnmower. 
  • Comfort. Be sure to purchase a lawnmower with a comfortable seat so you can work for several hours without getting tired. Seats with cup holders are also a welcomed advantage.  

Best Zero-Turn Mower Reviews & Recommendations 2021

Best Overall
Husqvarna Z254F 54-Inch Z-Turn Mower

Cut more grass in the least amount of time with the Husqvarna Z254F zero-turn mower. It’s a well-built mower with sturdy, welded frames for added strength and has a plethora of user-friendly features. The frame is topped off with an orange paint finish to make the lawnmower stand out in the dark and to also help prevent rust. The deck is about 54 inches wide and has a three-blade design that delivers heavy-duty cuts, and lets you tackle large-scale landscape projects with ease. The unit is fitted with Kohler’s v-twin engine that delivers 26 horsepower. It’s a commercial-grade, 700cc engine with a zero-turn transmission system so you can easily take sharp corners and turns. 


Unfortunately, it’s not available for sale in California, but if you live anywhere else, then you will be glad to have this machine as your landscaping partner.

Best Value
Husqvarna Z248F 48-Inch Zero-Turn Mower

Also in the line up of the Z200 series of Husqvarna lawn mowers is the Z248F 48-Inch Zero-Turn Mower. It’s a consumer-grade lawnmower that can be used in small residential properties owing to its slightly small cutting deck. It works by mulching, discharging, and bagging the grass clippings. The blades are well spaced to promote sufficient airflow so the clippings can be discharged properly. Its affordable price tag doesn’t compromise its quality as it still allows the user to trim the grass in a quick and efficient manner. This is because it’s powered with a 21.5 horsepower Kawasaki engine that offers a maximum cutting speed of 6.5 miles per hour. It also features a maintenance-free transmission. To guarantee rider comfort and safety, it’s further designed with a comfortable seat, an ergonomic control panel, and an anti-slip foot area. 


The cutting width is on the lower side so it may not be ideal for commercial use. Also, the mulching kit and bagging attachment are sold separately.

Best for Landscapers
Husqvarna MZ61 61-Inch Zero-Turn Mower

If you are a landscaping contractor, the MZ61 61-Inch Zero-Turn Mower is a great tool in your arsenal if you want to complete multiple large-scale cutting projects within the shortest time possible. It has an impressive 61-inch deck that can be adjusted from the operator’s seat. The deck features 11-gauge steel cutting blades. The clippings can either be discharged, mulched, or bagged. Additionally, this machine is powered by a 27 horsepower Briggs Endurance v-twin engine. The engine provides reliable startups even in cold weather and high ground speeds without overheating. For user comfort, this mower comes with a high-back vinyl seat with armrests and a foam-padded hand grip. It also has vibration dampeners and a cup holder. Another unique feature is an onboard hour meter that lets you know when it's time to service your mower. 


All these features contribute to its high price tag but also make the machine more user-friendly. Also, the bagger attachment and mulching kit are sold separately.

Most Storage-Friendly
Ariens IKON XD 52-Inch Zero Turn Mower

If you want a lawnmower that can clear up a large area but won’t take up much space in your garage, then we recommend the Ariens IKON XD lawnmower. It features an average-sized deck that’s 52 inches wide so it can tackle both residential and semi-commercial landscaping projects. This machine is powered by a 23-horsepower Kawasaki engine and has a solid tubular frame for durability. 10-gauge steel blades that are well-spaced for advanced airflow help to provide neat cuts within a short time. With just the turn of a dial, you can adjust the blades to 13 different cutting positions with quarter-inch increments ranging from 1.5 to 4.5 inches. An adjustable, high-back seat with padded armrests provides superior comfort. 


However, it may not be great at cutting wet grass as it may clog up the blades. The machine also packs quite some weight.

Honorable Mention
Beast 62-Inch Zero Turn Mower

Tackle large-scale landscaping projects with ease with the Beast 62-Inch Zero Turn Mower. It comes with a hydraulic drive system that’s designed for large-scale commercial applications. It also has a large 62-inch deck with heavy-duty, seven-gauge steel construction for durability. The machine is driven with a 25-horsepower Briggs & Stratton engine that’s powerful enough to deliver a maximum cutting speed of 12 miles per hour. The seat comes with a seat belt for added safety and a cup holder. You can also use it at night time thanks to the halogen headlights that will help to illuminate your path.


However, it’s a bit on the expensive side and isn’t available for sale in California, so keep both of those things in mind before making your purchase.

Tips

  • If you are using the lawnmower for your home garden, consider keeping a regular mowing regime to encourage the grass to grow out evenly. This will also help to stop the weeds from growing. 
  • When choosing lawnmowers, you also need to consider the fuel capacity in relation to the size of your land. If you will be working on a large piece of land, then choose a lawnmower with the largest fuel capacity you can find so you don’t have to make plenty of stops to refill the tank.
  • If you are using the lawnmower for business, then you may want to choose a compact option that doesn’t pose transportation problems. Also, if it’s too heavy to lift, you may have a difficult time cleaning the underbelly.  
  • Use a lawnmower cover or a tarp to keep dirt, debris, and rodents from destroying your lawnmower when it’s in storage. 

FAQs

Q: What is the best zero-turn mower for the money?

The Husqvarna Z254F Z-Turn Mower offers great value for money as it has a durable construction, a powerful engine, and lets you cut more grass within a short time. 

Q: Is it worth buying a zero turn mower?

A zero-turn lawn mower is worth the investment as it cuts faster than a riding or push mower, and lets you sit comfortably as you work. 

Q: Do zero turn mowers cut better?

Zero-turn mowers cut better on medium to large yards that have irregular shapes, tight corners, or lots of curves. They cut better than other lawn mowers since they can turn at a zero degree radius and clear all the grass within their footprint. 

Final Thoughts

The Husqvarna Z254F Z-Turn Mower easily scoops our best overall position as it offers a good width for residential and commercial lawn care projects. It’s also equipped with a powerful engine that provides reliable startups and a commendable cutting speed. If you don’t want to stretch out your budget, you can consider the Husqvarna Z248F Zero Turn Riding Mower, which is a more affordable option from the same brand that requires minimal maintenance.