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.
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.
- Powerful Kohler engine
- Great for mowing large and medium-sized lawns
- Gets around obstacles with ease
- Offers a smooth and comfortable ride
- Mulching kit and bagging attachment sold separately
- Not available in California
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.
- Powerful Kawasaki engine
- Includes an efficient system for disposing of grass clippings
- Durable frame
- Maintenance-free transmission
- Doesn’t ride well on hills
- Mulching kit and bagging attachment sold separately
- Not ideal for commercial use
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.
- Powerful Briggs & Stratton engine
- Comfortable high-back seat
- Provides reliable startups even in harsh weather
- Handles tough mowing jobs on large lawns with ease
- Not great on hills
- Too bulky for residential use
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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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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
- 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.
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.
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.