Known for its low maintenance, high comfort, and ability to tame large lawns, a zero-turn mower is a real game-changer in the world of lawn care. If you’re blessed with a lawn larger than a half-acre, you will soon realize what a burden it is to maintain such a sprawling lawn. The mere idea of pushing a mower across that vast landscape is in itself exhausting. That’s when you start to think that your expansive lawn might not be a blessing after all. When a regular mower or lawn tractor fails you, it’s time to invest in a zero-turn mower.
When you think about it, you spend more time working on your lawn than actually relaxing in it or enjoying its immaculate look. That’s because cutting the grass, collecting the debris and clutter, and caring for the large lawn is hard work. But rather than give up and let your lawn turn slowly into the wild Savannah, there’s an easier way to mow that lawn and bring its wild tendencies under control.
A zero-turn mower cuts down the hard work by half and turns the exhausting task into a veritable joy ride. The mower is easy to maneuver, doesn’t put a strain on your back or arms, and finishes the job much quicker. But which zero turn mower to choose? And how would you know that the one you buy is the best zero turn mower?
Our buying guide below walks you through the key features to look for and how to make an informed buying decision. But first, we put together these best zero turn mower reviews that cover the advantages and disadvantages of the most popular products in the market today.
Best Zero Turn Mower Reviews
With so many good zero-turn mowers, it can be a head-scratcher to settle on one that fits your needs and delivers on what it promises to do. These reviews take a deeper look at each mower and point out what makes each one stand out along with its downsides.
1. Editor’s Choice: Husqvarna MZ61 Zero Turn Riding Mower
We start with our editor’s choice, which earns that distinction because of its commercial-grade power, focus on comfort, and amazing ergonomics. Husqvarna is a well-known name in the world of lawn maintenance equipment. But the Husqvarna MZ61 Zero Turn Riding Mower really stands out with many features that make mowing your large lawn a fun task.
The 27 HP Briggs Endurance engine of this zero-turn riding mower gives you both reliable startup and powers the mower up slopes and high ground. This extra power ensures that the vehicle keeps at a normal pace regardless of the terrain. As a result, you will get evenly cut grass and finish the job much quicker.
Coupled with this powerful engine is a 54-inch deck with a three-blade cutting system. The whole deck is well designed so that you can adjust the height of the blades from your seat. This makes it easier for you to refine the cutting on the go without having to make frequent stops and waste your time.
The triple bag has a 9-bushel capacity and collects the clippings as fast as you cut them. You can use the clippings for mulching or bag them to dispose of them later. The mower has fittings for a bagger or a mulcher, but those extra equipment are sold separately.
We also liked the seat of the riding mower. It has a high back and armrests for extra comfort. The ergonomically designed seat and steering levers reduce the strain that comes from operating these types of machinery for long hours.
However, the MZ61 has its flaws as well. One of those is getting the mower started for the first time has been a challenge for many people. If you don’t have much experience with zero turn mowers, you might find maintaining this vehicle quite a handful. But once you get the hang of it and under your machine, it will become easier to operate.
- 27 HP Briggs Endurance engine.
- 54-inch deck with a three-blade cutting system.
- 9-bushel triple bag for collecting the clippings.
- Ergonomically designed seat and steering levers.
- Requires high maintenance and some experience to handle it.
2. Budget Value: Craftsman Z525 Zero Turn Gas Powered Lawn Mower
With no-frills, bells, or ribbons, the Craftsman Z525 Zero Turn Gas Powered Lawn Mower dazzles with its basic yet powerful design and meticulous craftsmanship. The mower gets you up to a good start with the help of the auto choke feature. This makes it easier for you to start the engine and get to mowing without unnecessary delays.
Powering this zero-turn riding mower is a twin-engine with a 679cc capacity. All this power propelling such a compact mower means you have enough speed when you need it climbing high grounds or covering large lawns. You’ll also need this extra power to direct the 46-inch deck to cut, clip, and trim the turfgrass.
It doesn’t usually take more than one pass for you to tame the wild grass and trim it down to the desired length and shape. Add to that the ability to keep cutting the grass even when in reverse, and you know you got yourself a versatile piece of equipment that is both comfortable to operate and efficient at the same time.
The steering levers allow you to change direction instantly within a 360-degree radius with less hassle and maneuvering. Even in small spaces and tight angles, the zero-turn mower gives you better access to the grass in the narrow corners and otherwise inaccessible places on your lawn. And since it comes with a low price tag attached to it, we chose this as the best budget value lawn mower.
On the downside, you wouldn’t use this mower on a lawn larger than 5 acres. Even with the twin engines and the powerful blades, it is still only suitable for small lawns. That makes it an ideal residential lawn mower, but for large landscapes, you might need to find a more powerful mower than this one.
- A gas-powered engine with a 679cc capacity.
- Ability to change direction within a 360-degree radius.
- 46-inch deck.
- Cuts, clips, and trims the grass all at the same time.
- Affordable price.
- Not suitable for lawns larger than 5 acres.
3. Premium Pick: Ariens 915223 Zero Turn Mower
While it didn’t make the cut, the next mower from Ariens came close to securing the top position on this list. We were really impressed with the sheer power of the double engine, the speed and efficiency of the cutting blades, and the sturdy build of the whole vehicle. This is why the Ariens 915223 Zero Turn Mower is definitely our premium pick, and it deserves its place on the podium among the three winners of this review.
We start with the engine. A powerful engine is a must for a mower that needs not just to cut the grass but propel the whole vehicle across the landscape as well. And in that respect, the Ariens 915223 delivers. It has a 23 horsepower Kawasaki FR V-twin engine with a decent 726 cc capacity. But a high-powered engine in a mower is not much unless you combine it with an adjustable deck. And here again, the Ariens doesn’t disappoint.
The deck is 52 inches wide and 4.5 inches deep. It’s made entirely from 10-gauge steel for extra durability. All of this translates into wider coverage as well as more efficient cutting without having to pass over the same spot more than once.
The high-back and padded seat with armrests is the icing on the cake. It provides comfort for the driver while staying cool, even on hot summer days. You can work for hours on this zero-turn mower under the sun without breaking a sweat.
But as usual, there are flaws even in the best-designed machines. And the Ariens 915223 undoubtedly has its shortcomings. One of those is the conspicuous lack of mulching or bagging equipment. It also doesn’t have fittings in the design for these necessary accessories. But despite these pitfalls, this remains one of the top-performing riding mowers for your consideration.
- 23 horsepower Kawasaki FR V-twin engine.
- The deck is 52 inches wide and 4.5 inches deep.
- A high-back and padded seat with armrests for extra comfort.
- 10-gauge steel deck.
- No mulching or bagging equipment.
Of all the zero-turn mowers we have tested while preparing for this article, few riding mowers impressed us with their steel frame and grass cutting speed as this Snapper. The aptly named Snapper 2691319 360z Zero Turn Mower snaps the wayward grass blades off with amazing speed and leaves a clean and even landscape in its wake.
Out of the gate, you will appreciate the thoughtfulness that went into the design of this compact mower. It has a rear cargo bed where you can keep any extra bags, coolers, or even your lunch bag and tool kit. It also comes with rails fitted in, which allows you to use any ATV accessories and attach them to the mower with less trouble. And to top it off, the whole frame is made from welded steel that gives it strength and durability.
When you’re done, admiring the design and the engine gets your attention. With many engines to choose from, I recommend going with the Briggs Stratton engine. It offers years of heavy-duty and reliable service with minimum maintenance and care.
But it’s the deck that is the Snapper’s real claim to fame here. The fabricated steel deck is both sturdy and adjustable. You can use the foot-operated lift level to adjust the height of the deck through 13 settings. Depending on the type of turfgrass you have on your lawn, you can customize the height of the deck from 1.5 inches all the way to 4.5 inches high. Even if you’re using this mower at home and not a large landscape, this mower handles itself really well in tight spaces.
On the downside, the mower has a chronic carburetor issue. In addition, the fuel gauge stops functioning if the fuel tank is less than half full. Another problem has to do with the steering lever not deploying fully when the mower is in the park position.
- Fully welded steel frame.
- Creative design for attaching ATV accessories.
- Adjustable deck with 13 height settings.
- Frequent carburetor issues.
- The fuel gauge doesn’t work if the fuel tank is less than half full.
The established brand Husqvarna brings us another zero-turn mower that is a top contender for a place on this list. It excels with its innovative electric clutch deck engagement system, high horsepower engine, and fabricated steel deck. Whether you’re looking for a residential mower or a commercial one, the Z254F satisfies your landscaping needs no matter how large or small your lawn is.
The engine on this mower has all the high power, and efficiency one has come to expect from a Husqvarna mower. With an impressive 26 horsepower, the Kohler 7000 series V-Twin engine has a 747 cc capacity. And you’ll need all of this power if you’re mowing a large landscape where not just size but the quality of the cutting matters as well.
But how about the deck? Here again, the Z254F proves that it is worth every cent of its rather steep price tag. The 54-inch deck is made of reinforced steel. It has 3 sets of blades for fast and efficient cutting and trimming of the grass. As for the electric clutch deck engagement system, it makes operating the mower a lot easier, even for people who have zero experience with these types of riding mowers.
The Z254F also has many innovative features that you’ll come to appreciate the more you use the mower. One of those features has to do with disposing of the grass clippings. You have many options here. You could either throw the clippings behind the mower as you go, collect them in a bag or use them for mulching.
As for the drawbacks, the only one we found has to do with the grass disposal kits. For a pricey mower, you will still have to buy the mulching or bagging kits separately.
- 26 horsepower Kohler 7000 Series V-Twin engine.
- A 54-inch deck made of reinforced steel.
- Many options to dispose of grass clippings.
- Innovative electric clutch deck engagement system.
- Mulching and bagging kits are not included.
- High price tag.
Although compact and small in size compared to other zero-turn riding mowers on this list, the Swisher ZTR2460BS Response ZTR Riding Mower packs a punch where it matters. Behind that deceptively small frame, the mower has plenty of power, more area coverage, and added convenience to make it a serious contender on your shortlist.
One always expects good quality from an established brand. With 60 years of experience in the field, Swisher delivers a powerful mower that takes care of one’s lawn care needs in a fast and efficient way.
The 24 horsepower Professional Series Briggs & Stratton engine comes with an electric starter. That means you have the power of a V-Twin engine literally ready to go with just one click of a button. No more fiddling with the switch key and trying to coax a flooded engine to start.
With that power comes a 60-inch deck equipped with 3 mulching blades. That makes short work of your mowing, collecting clippings, and mulching all in one fast stroke. If anything will catch your eye about this mower when you use it for the first time, it would be the speed with which it traverses across an untamed lawn and how easy it operates. The Swisher travels at 8 mph speed both forward and backward. Add to that the hi-tech Hydro-Gear 2800 transmission that makes your 360 turns both flawless and effortless. When power is combined with a multipurpose and wide deck, then no landscape, no matter its size, is too large for you.
But there’s a drawback that you would expect from a small and compact mower. That is the lack of ergonomic design, which reflects on the comfort of the driver. The seat is too small and has a low back which leaves you with little legroom and not enough space to move around comfortably.
- 24 horsepower Professional Series Briggs & Stratton engine.
- 8 mph speed both forward and in reverse.
- Electric starter.
- 60-inch deck with 3 Gator mulching blades.
- Lack of ergonomic design.
- Small and low back seat.
When it comes to zero-turn mowers, you can’t have too much of a good thing. The more features, power, and area coverage the mower offers, the better. Of course, all these features come with a steep price tag attached to them. And that practically sums up the Husqvarna M-ZT61 Zero Turn Riding Mower. It has a lot of features that will make your life a lot easier as you mow large lawns and vast landscapes. But it is also quite expensive.
Price aside, there’s no doubt that this mower has a lot going for it. As a member of the famous M-ZT series, you know that your comfort will be taken care of. The mower has an ergonomic design, a high-back seat, and all the levers and buttons conveniently within reach.
Power is also a prominent feature of the M-ZT61. It comes with a decent 23 HP Kawasaki engine that delivers high speed and fast startup. Power also means a wide deck that devours the grass as fast as you travel across the landscape. And with an impressive 61-inch adjustable deck made from fabricated 11-gauge steel, you will get the mowing done with just one pass.
The collection system is another thing you’ll appreciate about this mower. It has a triple 9-bushel bag that lets you collect, bag, or mulch the clippings on the go.
Of course, the only thing about the M-ZT61 that will make you balk is the high price tag. Other than that, it’s a good mower for lawns 5 acres and above or large landscapes where regular and intensive mowing is required.
- 23 HP Briggs Endurance engine.
- 61-inch adjustable deck made from fabricated 11-gauge steel.
- Ergonomic design.
- Triple 9-bushel bag.
- High price tag.
Another Ariens wraps up our list and ends our reviews on a high note. The high note here has to do with the deck width, the V-Twin engine, and the fuel tank capacity. When all things considered, the ARIENS COMPANY APEX Zero Turn Radius makes for an excellent zero-turn lawn tractor, but only if you have deep pockets.
The Apex has a 25 horsepower Kohler V-Twin engine that gives you 8mph speed forward and 4mph going in reverse. But since you won’t have a need to move the grass in reverse, then the modest reverse speed isn’t really a great handicap.
The deck has a cutting width of 60 inches and can be adjusted up and down across a range between 1.5 inches to 5 inches high. So if you have different turfgrass species in your lawn, you can easily adjust the deck’s height as you go to accommodate the different grass trimming needs.
The ergonomic design of the zero-turn lawn tractor allows it to adapt to uneven terrains. The small front wheels give you good maneuverability, while the larger rear wheels improve stability.
The only glitch we found in the Apex is that it tends to shake violently when you turn the electric PTO switch on. The noise and shaking don’t last long, but it can be unnerving.
- 25 horsepower Kohler V-Twin engine.
- 60-inch adjustable deck.
- 8mph speed moving forward.
- Noisy and shuddering PTO.
Zero Turn Mower Buying Guide
So what should you look for when choosing the best zero-turn mower? And do you actually need one at all? The following guide answers these questions and lays out the key features to look for and how to maintain your riding mower.
Why Would You Need a Zero Turn Mower?
Before you take out your wallet to key in your credit card number and finalize the purchase, you need to ask yourself about the kind of benefits the zero-turn mower brings to your life. Will it help you maintain and care for your lawn, or will it be collecting rust and dust in the shed? Here are some of the top benefits of a zero-turn mower.
- It has a deck that averages between 45 to 60 inches. That’s wider than other mowers and allows you to cover more ground in less time.
- Less mowing time means less time you spend on maintaining the mower.
- Moves forward and reverses backward in no time and without the need to turn.
- If you have trouble maneuvering your regular riding mower or lawn tractor in tight corners, then you’ll love the zero-turn mower. It requires little space to make turns and access the narrow corners in the lawn.
- These mowers are usually comfortable to ride and have a high-back seat that keeps your back straight during the ride.
Zero Turn Mower Types
Zero-turn mowers come in different sizes and types. Some types are more suited for sprawling parks and golf courts, while others have more modest power and capacity for home lawns. Here are the three major types.
- Residential Zero Turn Mowers: If you have a lawn between one to two acres, then a residential mower will do just fine. These mowers do a quick job of your mowing chores and have efficient engines. However, they don’t work well on slopes or ditches.
- Intermediate Zero Turn Mowers: These mowers are still suitable for smallish lawns or courts, but they have the advantage of working well on slopes and uneven grounds. They can handle lawns up to 6 acres.
- Commercial Zero Turn Mowers: You’ll need this type of mower if you’re a professional landscaper or you use mowers on a daily basis. A good example of this type is They are sturdy, heavy-duty machines that handle everything from slopes to rocks.
Key Features to Look for
Buying a zero-turn mower is an investment not to be taken lightly. So to avoid buyer’s remorse, it’s worth it to spend some time researching the different features and qualities that you might actually need in your riding mower. We saved you the trouble and compiled together a list of the best features to look for in your zero-turn mower.
- Engine: Since this is an automotive vehicle we’re talking about, then the engine capacity and horsepower should be a key consideration. A mower with high horsepower, such as Husqvarna MZ61 Zero Turn Riding Mower, makes a short job of mowing large lawns.
- Deck Width: The deck of the mower is responsible for the actual cutting of the grass. So you need a wide deck to let you cover the whole lawn in a few passes. On average, the deck width should be between 40 to 60 inches. Anything less than that will not be good on a large lawn.
- Customizable Cutting Height: Since turfgrass comes in different varieties and species, the height of the grass also varies. So you need a mower that allows you to adjust the cutting height to accommodate the specific turfgrass needs on your lawn.
- Build: A mower made from corrosion-resistant metal, with few components made from plastic, and has a tubular frame that is durable and sturdy. So pay attention to the material the blades are made of and how sturdy the seat is.
- Seat Comfort: The seat of the mower should be just as comfortable as the seat in your car. Mowers with high-back seats, as is the case with the Ariens 915223 Zero Turn Mower, are more comfortable and less taxing on your back and shoulders.
Zero Turn Mower Care and Maintenance
Much like any other hi-tech vehicle, you shouldn’t try to fix the zero-turn owner on your own. Some of the equipment and parts of the machine are beyond the skillset and expertise of the layperson. So if there’s a serious problem with the mower, the PTO, or discharge, you should contact the dealer and let a specialist take a look at it.
But if the mower is working fine, then you need to keep it in good shape so that it will give you years and years of service. So get our mower serviced about once every 6 months and before you use it in the spring. That service includes, among others, checking the engine, sharpening the blades, cleaning up the chutes, and removing any debris stuck under the vehicle.
Zero Turn Mower FAQs
For a complex machine such as the zero-turn mower, you must have some questions regarding their use and performance. Here are some of these questions and their answers.
Do zero turn mowers work on small lawns?
Lawns one acre and less don’t really need a zero-turn mower. You can practically cover a small lawn like that with a push mower. But if you have a lawn larger than 2 acres, you’ll need a residential zero-turn mower such as Craftsman Z525 Zero Turn Gas Powered Lawn Mower to finish your mowing tasks much faster and with less effort.
There’s no steering wheel. How can I steer the zero-turn mower without a steering wheel?
Unlike a car or an ATV, zero-turn mowers have two levers to steer the machine, not steering wheels. When you want to move forward, you push both levers forward. To reverse, pull both levers toward you. You can also turn the mower easily by moving just one lever instead of two. So if you want to turn left, then tip the right level forward. Turning right is accomplished by gently edging the left lever forward. A good mower with an advanced transmission system such as Husqvarna MZ61 Zero Turn Riding Mower makes maneuvering the mower over the grass smooth and effortless.
Should I buy a lawn tractor or a zero-turn mower?
It all comes down to your personal preferences. Do you prefer to pull the cutting deck behind you, or would you rather have it in front of you? Zero-turn mowers have the decks fitted at the front so that you see the grass you’re cutting and adjust the height of the blades accordingly. A lawn tractor drags the cutting deck behind it, but it also delivers better cutting of vast lawns than the zero-turn mower.
The Last Word
A zero-turn mower makes your lawn care duties a whole lot easier. It delivers power and comfort while it gives you options to dispose of the grass clippings in a convenient way. And that’s what makes Husqvarna MZ61 Zero Turn Riding Mower stand out. It has a powerful 27 HP Briggs Endurance engine that delivers high speeds on different terrains. The fabricated, 11-gauge, 54-inch wide deck is easy to adjust and gives you excellent area coverage. Add to that the comfort of the high-back seats and the convenience of the triple 9-bushel bag.
As the best budget choice, Craftsman Z525 Zero Turn Gas Powered Lawn Mower gives you the best value for your money. The gas-powered engine has a modest 24 horsepower which is good enough for small to medium-sized lawns. Even when reversing the mower, you can still mow the grass, which would come in handy when dealing with tricky or uneven spots on your lawn.
Our premium pick is Ariens 915223 Zero Turn Mower. It was a top contender for the top spot with its Kawasaki FR V-Twin engine, fabricated 10-gauge 52-inch deck, and comfortable padded seats and armrests. All in all, it’s a powerful zero-turn mower for your medium to large-size lawns.