If you have a large property, then you understand the hassle of maintaining your lawn. If you don’t mow it regularly, it can quickly go from being a jewel to an eyesore. Of course, if you have a lot of other landscaping, it can be even more difficult to mow the lawn, as the turning radius makes it difficult to navigate. If this is the situation you find yourself in, you should try to find the best zero-turn mower possible. These fantastic machines only turn at one point, which makes them impressively manoeuvrable.
Obviously, there are many things to consider when looking for the best zero-turn mower on the market. When we put together our list, we first looked at engine power, as this will tell you what size of yard each mower is best suited for. Next, we looked at the fuel tank capacity, as larger yards will need a larger tank, while smaller yards won’t need as much fuel. Finally, we looked at the overall dimensions of each mower, as the width tells you how much the mower can cut in each pass.
- Poulan Pro P46ZX
- Husqvarna MZ52
- Snapper 360Z
- Husqvarna MZ61
- Ariens 915223 IKON-X
- What’s so special about zero-turn mowers?
- Greater manoeuvrability
- Shorter mowing time
- Less fuel consumption
- Longer life
- Cleaner mowing job
- Better mulching
- Less pruning required
- Features to consider when choosing a zero-turn mower
- Engine power
- Fuel tank capacity
- Cutting width
- Cutting height and number of height positions
- How to maintain your zero-turn mower
- Our verdict
In order to find the best zero-turn mower for the price, we spent dozens of hours reading hundreds of user reviews. This has allowed us to create a comprehensive list of the best mowers, and write detailed reviews for each one so you can find the right model for your needs. Of course, if you’re still not sure what you’re looking for, check out our in-depth buying guide, which will tell you everything you need to know about finding the best zero-turn mower.
The 5 best zero-turn mowers
Poulan Pro P46ZX
If you are looking for the best zero-turn mower, then you will definitely want to check out this model. It has a 22 HP engine, which is powerful enough to cut the toughest plants, while being efficient to get excellent fuel economy. Although the fuel tank is smaller, there is no reason to expect to have to fill it up very often.
This sub-HP engine is ideal in a residential environment, not least because it is not too noisy. This low noise level will keep your neighbours and your own hearing happy.
The small size of this model also helps to make it a good option for use in a residential setting. While some zero-turn mowers are absolutely massive, this model is quite compact, allowing it to easily fit into hard-to-reach areas with precision and speed. Although the cutting deck is smaller, it is more than sufficient to mow a small to medium sized property very quickly.
Operating a zero-turn mower can be a little intimidating at first, especially if you’re used to a standard ride-on mower. Fortunately, the controls on this model are exceptionally intuitive, making the experience very easy even for newcomers.
One thing you’ll need to keep in mind with this mower is the extreme slopes. Because it doesn’t have the most powerful engine possible, it tends to drift a bit on steep slopes. This can make it difficult to get an even cut in one pass, but additional passes can usually solve the problem.
- 22 HP
- 3.5 gal.
- 46 inches
- 1.5 – 4 inches (6 positions)
- 10-year limited warranty on deck; 3-year warranty for owner.
- EZT hydraulic gear transmission; electric clutch
Husqvarna has long been a company that has built a solid reputation for quality products that last and get the job done. This mower is absolutely no different.
The first thing that jumps out at you about this mower is its exceptional size. Even though it is one of the cheaper models offered by the company, this does not mean that it is smaller or less well built. Its wide cutting width makes it a great option for medium to large sized yards. It also has a large fuel tank so you can get around your garden on a single tank.
Even though it is a large mower, it is quite fuel efficient. Part of this fuel economy is due to its engine: although the machine is not as powerful as Husqvarna’s commercial zero-turn mowers, its 23 hp should be more than enough to get through even very thick vegetation. Of course, as you’d expect from a low-powered mower, this model isn’t perfect for hills, but only the most extreme slopes will be a challenge for it.
Even though this is a residential mower, that doesn’t mean it can’t work almost as well as a commercial mower. It has a wide range of height adjustment. This wide range makes it an excellent option for all-season trimming. With this mower, you can easily get the right length of grass to keep it nice, healthy and strong.
- 23 HP
- 5 gal.
- 52 inches
- 1.5 – 4.5 inches
- 4 years or 400 hours (whichever comes first)
- 6″ wide pneumatic front casters
Most people think that zero turn riding mowers are just commercial machines. This is not surprising as they are very powerful, noisy and perfect for cutting a lot of grass in a short time. However, they are not necessarily for commercial use only. In fact, this Snapper model is a great option if you are looking for a zero-turn mower for use in a residential area.
One of the reasons why this mower is a great option for use in a residential area is its small size. This makes it much easier to fit into small spaces without getting stuck. This mower also has a very fuel efficient and quiet engine. This means that it is not too noisy while you are mowing, which your neighbours will certainly appreciate. Of course, this also means that it doesn’t have as much power as other offerings on the market, which limits the effectiveness of the mower for tougher jobs.
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It’s a good thing that this mower is so fuel efficient, as its tank is relatively small. Of course, since the mower’s engine gets impressive mileage, you shouldn’t have to refill it often, which should save you money in the long run.
Although this mower is undeniably smaller, don’t be fooled. It still has a large cutting area, so you can get a lot done in just a few passes. This mower also has a number of height settings, so you can quickly and easily get the right height for your grass every time you cut it.
- 25 HP
- 3 gal.
- 52 inches
- 1.5 – 4.5 inches (13 positions)
- Limited to 3 years; life on deck
- foot pedal deck lift; ball bearings in castor spindles
The first thing that strikes you about this mower is its overall size. There’s no doubt about it: this is a serious machine, designed to tackle large amounts of work. It weighs well over 700 pounds, making it one of the heaviest models on the market. This high weight can be attributed to its durable design and rugged construction.
Aside from its weight, however, it is larger than most zero-turn mowers. This size makes it perfect for large fields, as it has a huge cutting area. It is also highly adjustable, allowing you to cut the grass to the exact length you want.
Another feature that adds to the above average size of this mower is its high seat. Although this can be a problem in gardens with low branches, this high seat makes cutting much easier as it allows you to see better what you are cutting.
As you would expect from a mower of this size, this model is equipped with a large and powerful engine, capable of delivering around 27 HP. This powerful engine makes this model an excellent mower for commercial use. It also has a five-gallon gas tank, one of the largest on the market. This gas tank is an excellent design feature, as the powerful engine is not as efficient as other mowers with smaller engines.
- 27 HP
- 5 gal.
- 61 inches
- 1.5 – 4.5 inches
- 10 year limited warranty on the deck
- 11 gauge steel deck, foam padded handles, vibration dampeners.
Ariens 915223 IKON-X
There’s no two ways about it: getting a good zero-turn mower can be extremely expensive. It’s very common to see models at very high prices, which makes it much more difficult to get one if you’re on a tight budget. If you are looking to save a little money, but still get a high quality mower, then this model from Ariens could be for you. It is a simple model, and what it lacks in bells and whistles it makes up for in solid reliability.
The engine of this mower is not very powerful, which will limit its effectiveness to small to medium-sized fields with regular terrain. The fuel tank is smaller, but that shouldn’t be a problem, thanks to the engine’s fuel efficiency. Since it doesn’t produce a ton of power, it doesn’t need too much fuel to do its job.
What may come as a surprise with a mower of this price is the size of its cutting area. While it’s not the largest available, it’s not the smallest either. This large cutting area will allow you to mow your lawn much faster.
While all zero-turn mowers have padded seats, the padding on this one is exceptionally comfortable. It also has wide armrests. These two features combine to make this one of the most comfortable mowers on the market to operate.
What’s so special about zero-turn mowers?
There are several reasons why zero-turn mowers are more suitable for small and large spaces than a standard ride-on mower. Here are some of them:
As these mowers are equipped with twin wheel engines, they offer the operator greater manoeuvrability. This increased manoeuvrability is due to the fact that you can control each wheel independently. This means that you can turn a tenth of a turn without having to move forward or backward at the same time.
Shorter mowing time
By using a zero-turn mower, you should be able to cut your mowing time in half. This will obviously vary from field to field, but no matter how many landscaping features or obstacles you have to manoeuvre around, the increased manoeuvrability of a zero-turn mower will certainly reduce your cutting time.
Less fuel consumption
Since you won’t have to cut as long with this type of mower, you’ll certainly save on fuel. These fuel savings will soon translate into savings in your bank account.
Another great advantage of running your mower for a shorter time is that it will not put too much strain on the engine. This means that the engine will last even longer, which will save you more money in the long run.
Cleaner mowing job
Zero-turn mowers are also known to have extremely high blade speeds compared to a standard ride-on mower. These higher speeds allow for a better cut, which will make your garden even more beautiful.
Another advantage of using a mower with higher blade speeds is that it shreds leaves and grass very efficiently, making it a much better mulching material.
Less pruning required
Because zero-turn mowers can get much closer to landscaping features than a standard ride-on mower, you won’t need to manually trim around them. This will again significantly reduce the amount of time you spend on your gardening work.
Features to consider when choosing a zero-turn mower
As you can imagine, there are a number of different features you need to consider when looking for a great zero-turn mower. In this section, we’ll go over everything you need to know about finding the best model for your garden and cutting needs.
One of the first things to consider is how much power you will need from your mower’s engine. This will have a direct impact on a multitude of things, such as the amount of fuel consumed, the cutting speed of your mower and its travel speed. The power level of a mower’s engine is indicated in HP, or horsepower, which is the same scale used for cars. The higher the HP, the more powerful the mower.
If you are concerned about fuel economy, you should consider a mower like the Poulan Pro P46ZX. Because it has less power, it doesn’t use as much fuel as a more powerful model. The fuel economy is reflected in a lower speed and less hard power. For easy cutting of hard materials, you should opt for a more powerful model, such as the Husqvarna MZ61, which has 27 HP.
Fuel tank capacity
The fuel tank capacity is another thing you need to keep in mind when looking for the best zero-turn mower. This is usually measured in gallons. Basically, the larger the tank, the longer the mower can run. If you have a large yard, it’s best to go for a large-capacity model like the Husqvarna MZ52. With its five-gallon tank, it will be much easier to mow your entire yard without having to refuel halfway through.
Of course, the fuel efficiency of your mower is another consideration in this decision.
Before you finalise the purchase of your mower, you should also consider how wide you need your new machine to be. The wider the mower is, the more it will be able to cut, which will allow you to reduce mowing time considerably. If you really want the widest mower possible, you should definitely look at the Snapper 360Z, which has a cutting width of 52 inches.
Of course, while these mowers are incredibly maneuverable, you don’t want to buy one that is too wide for the spaces on your property. Wider mowers are also more expensive, so keep that in mind when considering your options. The 46-inch cutting area offered by the Poulan Pro P46ZX may be suitable for a small garden.
Cutting height and number of height positions
As you can imagine, not all gardens are the same. The same goes for the people who go there to mow the lawn. Some people like their grass to be short, while others like it a little longer. The grass also needs to be cut to different lengths depending on the time of year. However you intend to cut your grass, it is a good idea to buy a mower that allows you to cut at different heights. This way, you can ensure that your lawn is cut to a length that suits the time of year and your taste.
Most mowers offer up to thirteen different cutting positions, and can usually be set from 1.5 inches to 4 or 4.5 inches, depending on the mower. Even a mower that only offers six cutting heights should be more than adequate for home use.
The overall dimensions of a zero-turn mower are another point you should consider carefully. Even if you get a model that can be folded up, these are not small machines. You need to make sure that you carefully measure the amount of storage space you have to make sure that you can easily fit your new mower in.
You should also consider the overall dimensions of your new mower if you are looking for the best zero-turn mower for commercial use. If you have a lawn care business, chances are you will need to take your new mower with you to many different locations. Before making your final purchase, take the time to carefully measure your trailer or transport vehicle so that you have no problem fitting your mower when you load it.
As with any major purchase, you need to make sure you have a good warranty when you buy a zero-turn mower. Otherwise, you may end up footing the bill for accidental or incidental damage to the mower. However, when looking for a warranty, be sure to read the fine print carefully.
Some companies offer a warranty that claims a huge amount of coverage without actually covering the entire mower. You should be especially careful when looking at a model that only offers a limited warranty, as this usually means that certain aspects of the mower, such as the engine or blades, will not be covered if something happens to them.
How to maintain your zero-turn mower
A zero-turn mower is an expensive purchase, so you need to be sure to take care of it. Here are some quick tips to help you prolong the life of your mower for a long time. Each of these tips should be applied before, during and after the mowing season to ensure your mower is operating at its maximum potential.
Check the air filter – Air filters help keep the engine running smoothly by preventing dust, dirt and grass clippings from entering. However, they can become clogged, so take the time to check and clean them regularly.
Clean the mower deck – As the most heavily used area when mowing, the mower deck can quickly become clogged with grass clippings and debris. Regular removal of this excessive build-up is essential. Otherwise, the mower deck will begin to rust and the cut will not be as smooth, as items will block the path of the blade.
Sharpen the blades – Even if you only cut grass with the blades of your mower, they will become dull over time. A dull blade tears the grass instead of cutting it, making your garden look much less neat than you would like. Blades should be sharpened 2-3 times a year to ensure they cut as well as they should.
Check tyre pressure – If your tyres are under inflated, you may start to notice that your garden is not trimmed. You should check your tyre pressure at least once a month and add air to any tyre that is under-inflated. This will ensure that you get an even cut every time.
Change the oil – Just like a car, a zero-turn mower needs an oil change every once in a while to make sure all the moving parts of the engine are working properly. You should change the oil every 75 hours of use to ensure proper engine operation.
Remove gasoline before storing for the winter – After the cutting season is over, be sure to remove any remaining gasoline from the tank. This will prevent the gasoline from deteriorating in the engine, which could have a negative effect on the mower’s performance.
Store your mower properly – Finally, make sure you have an enclosed space to store your mower away from the elements. After all, it’s a big investment and the last thing you want to do is leave it out in the weather to rust and damage.
The Poulan Pro P46ZX is probably the best zero-turn mower on the market today. It offers plenty of power, fuel efficiency and manoeuvrability to make mowing any lawn a breeze. It also offers extremely intuitive controls that make it a pleasure to drive.
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