Professional landscapers use the best zero turn mower for a purpose. These devices are the most efficient way to mow a lawn. They may drastically shorten your best zero turn mower time by providing the operator with a good forward vision and the flexibility to spin and rotate. If you think you might need one, keep reading for buying tips and our top picks.
Top 7 Best Zero Turn Mowers Yard Maintenance in 2021
How do they operate?
An operator platform, a frame and wheels, an engine (or battery bank), gearboxes (or motors), and a pair of control levers comprise a zero-turn riding mower (commonly known as lap bars). The engine in engine-powered mowers drives a pulley system. One set of pulleys drives the blades, while another set of pulleys powers a pair of transmissions–one at each rear wheel. When the operator pushes the lap bar forward or back, he or she is instructing the transmission to travel quicker, slower, or even turn in the other direction.
The mower pivots when one wheel rotates clockwise and the other counterclockwise. The mower turns in an arc-shaped pattern when the wheels revolve at various speeds. The mower comes to a halt when the lap bars are restored to their neutral position. Aside from a parking brake, these machines have no additional stopping mechanism other than what the gearboxes offer. Battery-powered zero-turn mowers function similarly but feature separate motors for driving the rear wheels and rotating two or three blades within the mower deck.
How We Decided
Based on our prior experience evaluating zero-turn mowers and many hours of conversation with dealers, distributors, and manufacturers, we’ve highlighted a variety of the top residential machines in this list. We chose devices that offer a variety of functions while being reasonably priced. We’ll update this review with complete impressions when we receive them for firsthand testing on any of these mowers that we haven’t already tried ourselves.
Except for two, all of the mowers we chose are powered by gas engines ranging from 21 to 24 horsepower. We record the transmission whenever feasible. Most of the time, this is a Hydro gear EZT, a well-known and reasonably priced residential-grade transaxle with a reputation for dependability. Some mowers have a deck that is stamped from a single piece of metal, while others have a deck that is manufactured from numerous parts and welded together.
The benefit of a manufactured deck is that manufacturers may offer a thicker steel deck at a lesser cost than they could otherwise. When it comes to stamping metal as thick as 10 gauge (approximately 18 inches thick), the expense of the deck alone can drive the mower’s price well over what most customers are prepared to spend. The decks have seen below range in size from 42 to 52 inches. Again, it is a standard size for these types of goods.
These mowers will produce good cut quality at their rated peak speed of seven miles per hour when driven by these engines plus the hydro gear. However, keep in mind that if you maintain that pace in particularly thick grass or over uneven terrain, the cut quality on these machines will suffer greatly. The electric mowers shown below are at the cutting edge of technology in this area. These are extraordinary and pricey mowers that are powered by high-voltage lithium-ion batteries. They’re worth a look if you want to reduce mowing noise and streamline your maintenance routine by removing gas and oil.
1. Ariens Ikon X – best zero turn mower
For decades, Ariens mowers and snow blowers have received top ratings in our testing. That is due to sound engineering and higher-than-average construction quality. This mower combines a 23-hp Kawasaki engine’s dependability and strong torque with a tough 52-inch manufactured (11-gauge) steel deck and a smooth-running Hydro gear EZT gearbox at each rear wheel. The Hydro gear is a common residential-grade transaxle with a one-inch axle diameter and a weight rating of 900 pounds. With a product like this, you need that much capacity. Before you add a driver and 2.8 gallons of gasoline, the mower weighs 635 pounds.
The Hydro gear has a peak speed of 7 miles per hour. You also get exceptionally strong construction in other key places, such as a four-point deck mount, which is comparable to what is seen on commercial mowers. The deck mount is suspended on a tubular steel frame. Ariens frames are strong, with precise welding and well-applied paint.
2. John Deere Z365R – best zero turn mower
One of the most rigorous tests we’ve lately conducted was on the John Deere Z-365. Our test zone is a stretch of lawn at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania. A week of sporadic rain and sun created ideal growing conditions for grass. When it came time to put the Deere to the test, we discovered that our test area resembled a hayfield rather than the lawn that it had been the week before.
We trim the region to make it smaller, then recut and crosscut it. One spot was so severe that a fourth cut was necessary. Fortunately, Deere has several things going for it. It’s driven by a 24-hp Briggs & Stratton V-twin engine and a pair of durable HydroGear EZT gearboxes, each one having the potential to propel a 900-lb.vehicle. The Deere is a tough machine for the money.
We found it simple to maneuver up and down hills, over ruts, and around various obstacles such as fences and signposts. We turned the Deere to full power and pushed along in side-discharge mode, sending a continuous stream of clippings into the thickest and tallest grass. When the grass was shorter, we switched the mulching lever on the deck and mulched the clippings instead of dumping them out the side. In that regard, the deck has a stamped three-blade design with a rolled outside edge and superior pulley protection. The outside pulley covers that flip up to let the user remove the buildup of grass clippings are very appealing. In other ways, the Deere is a paragon of simplicity, with a 2.4-gallon gas tank (no gas gauge) and an enormous spin-on oil filter that removes the need for dirty oil changes. The filter contains all of the oil. Simply swap out the old filter for the new one, and you’ve changed the oil.
3. EGO Z6 4204 – best zero turn mower
This is one of the most sophisticated gases or electric mowers we’ve ever seen, and its maker, EGO, is working hard to fill the order pipeline to home stores later this spring. In the meanwhile, the best you can do is keep checking back to see if there is any availability. The 42-inch Z6 is equal to a machine driven by a 22-hp gas engine, according to the firm. Its run duration is estimated to be enough to mow two acres. We haven’t confirmed that yet, but it seems possible considering that the 56-volt mower comes with four 10-Ah lithium-ion batteries and has vacant bays for two more. But what truly piqued our interest was the fact that these batteries are detachable.
If you already have the Ego system and extra batteries (or can buy more), you can power this mower like a cordless drill: just put in a fresh battery and keep running. You may also use the charging wire that came with it and plugs it into a garage outlet. Other characteristics make this one of the most sophisticated mowers available. The battery bank supplies power to two deck motors—one for each 21-inch blade—as well as two driving motors. Controlling blade speed (2,400 to 3,200 rpm), ground speed, lap bar sensitivity, and what the company calls drive modes: the Control setting for protecting turf and preventing wheel marks, the Standard setting for every day mowing, and the Sport setting for precise turns around sharp corners are all possible via an LCD interface. With all of that control, the argument goes, you can enhance battery run life, mowing efficiency, and cut quality.
4. Ryobi 48140 – best zero turn mower
Ryobi has set a lofty target for this mower: it can cut 3.5 acres of grass on a single charge. We can’t say whether it lives up to it because we haven’t tested it yet. But considering Ryobi’s success with smaller versions of the 48140, we wouldn’t be shocked if it did. It features a 54-inch deck, a 48-volt battery bank, and five motors to move the machine and operate the three blades contained within its manufactured 10-gauge steel deck. We tested the preceding model, a 42-inch mower driven by lead-acid batteries, and had a great time with it, achieving the best results on smooth residential lawns. The mower mulches or side discharges as is. The cost of a 7.8-cubic-foot, two-bin bagger attachment is $349. LED headlights to improve visibility at dawn and twilight, and a rear-access charging port allows for a fast connection to a power outlet.
5. Husqvarna Z248F – best zero turn mower
If our testing has demonstrated anything, it is that Husqvarna is a firm that pays great attention to detail. In the case of this best zero turn mower, that focus was on the revised 48-inch deck. It’s made of 10-gauge steel and has three blades, each with an aerodynamic form evocative of a sting ray’s wingtip. Those spinning blades are designed to provide a huge amount of lift and air movement inside the deck, particularly when coupled with the curved air baffles welded to the deck wall. According to Husqvarna, the mulching action of the grass avoids clogging, and the aforementioned airflow is meant to throw trash out out the side (we can’t say without a test, but we have seen a decent cutting performance with similarly constructed blade-deck combos in the past).
The blades are also placed on cast-iron spindles, which are strong and absorb vibration. Unlike other home spindles, they may be greased for increased durability. The mower is powered by a 21.5-hp Kawasaki engine with a strong power-to-weight ratio and 39.3-foot pounds of torque at 2,200 rpm (translation: plenty of twists to get the job done). Kawasaki claims that it has commercial-grade performance in a home engine. We can’t vouch for it precisely, but Kawasaki engines have performed admirably in many other mowing tests.
Cub Cadet RZT-SX 42 EFI – best zero turn mower
You want the mobility of a best zero turn mowerr but without the lap bars. We understand. Cub Cadets feel the same way. As a result, it created the RZT-SX with a steering wheel. It is linked to the front and rear wheels through connections. We were so impressed with the concept that we gave the machine a Breakthrough Award in 2013. The linkage moves the front wheels while simultaneously adjusting the speed of the Hydro gear EZT gearbox at each rear wheel when you steer.
The four-wheel steering system is designed to give more stability on slopes and on washboard terrain. Other features include: The mower’s frame is stamped from a single piece of 12-gauge steel; despite its weight, the steel is nevertheless very light, thanks to the forming process. That metal-stamping competence comes as no surprise to us. MTD, Cub Cadet’s parent business, was founded in 1932 as Modern Tool and Die a metal-stamping and fabrication company. It is well-versed in metal manufacturing. But we’re digressing.
The mower’s 679-cc engine (estimated 21-23 hp) is supplied by electronic fuel injection rather than a carburetor, improving power while lowering fuel consumption. Comfortable We found the RZT to be very comfortable in our brief tests, thanks to its layout, a better-than-average seat, and an adjustable tilt steering column. One last idea on its 42-inch stamped deck: Its dual anti-scalp rollers are adjustable, which is a wonderful feature if you need to modify for additional deck edge clearance on a washboard lawn.
7. Troy-Bilt Mustang Z42 – best zero turn mower
The Mustang is priced at the low end of the best zero turn mower market, fitting into the category of machines designed for lawns that are too large to trim with a walk mower but not large enough to merit a mower with a deck that is 48 to 52 inches wide. A welded tube steel frame, dual Hydro gear EZT gearboxes with a peak speed of 7 mph, a double-blade stamped deck with two anti-scalp lawn rollers on the leading edge, and a Troy-Bilt engine with a forged steel crankshaft are all included for the price. We’re used to hearing about forged components as a sign of durability, but is it really essential in a light-duty mower like this? Troy-Bilt believes so, and we will accept their word for it. The horsepower of the 679-cc V-twin OHV engine is not specified by the manufacturer. However, based on previous experience, we believe it is capable of 21 horsepower, which should be sufficient to move the 580-pound mower and driver while cutting.