Zero Turn Mower Buyer's Guide

How to Pick the Perfect Zero Turn Lawn Mower

By  | Lawn Mower Product Expert

Shopping for zero turn lawn mower is similar to shopping for a car.

There are luxury cars. There are economy cars. Both get you from Point A to Point B.

Likewise, all zero turning radius (ZTR) lawn mowers cut grass. They just do it with varying degrees of comfort and quality of components.

We classify every zero turn mower into one of four grades.

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Entry-Level Zero Turn MowerEntry-level models are ideal for the weekend warrior wanting the excitement of a zero turn mower without a professional price tag.

These dependable, yet affordable, mowing machines will cut a yard twice as fast as a lawn tractor. But don't expect to beat your local landscaper in a race. They feature smaller, less-powerful engines with smaller gas tanks, maxing out at 6-7 miles per hour.

In addition, entry-level zero turn lawn mowers are constructed with less expensive components like stamped vs. welded decks and steel vs. cast iron spindle materials. They're typically not designed for daily use, but they will still cut your weekend mowing time in half.

Toro TimeCutter Mid-Grade Zero Turn Lawn MowerWant to step-up to something a little more robust than an entry level zero turn? A mid-grade zero turn mower is going to offer you heavier-duty components in the area’s where it really counts, so you’ll be able to handle your mowing chores more easily.

Instead of the typical stamped mower decks that are found on entry-level models, mid-grade zero turn mowers are built with more durable fabricated mower decks, fashioned from heavier gauge steel and then welded at all the critical joints for added strength. A mid-grade zero turn is also going to have a heavier duty transmission, with larger pumps and wheel motors, increased torque ratings and the ability to handle heavier loads.

Some other popular features that are standard to most mid-grade zero turn mowers are foot-controlled deck height adjustment and more comfortable seats.

You’ll also have a wider variety of engine choices with a mid-grade zero turn, including some models with the very popular Kawasaki V-Twin engine. The Kawasaki engine delivers better overall performance and the highest level of reliability when it comes to powering a zero turn mower. Kohler engines are solid, but the Kawasaki would be considered a premium engine choice.

Semi-Pro Zero Turn Lawn MowerSemi-pro zero turns are extremely popular with landscaping entrepreneurs who can't afford the major leagues yet. They're ideal for large property owners with their own Field of Dreams.

These durable zero turns are designed for daily use. They have heavier gauge steel frames, larger fuel tanks, and heavy-duty transmissions.

Semi-pro mowers can accelerate up to 8 miles per hour and mow 4-5 acres without having to stop for gas.

And don't forget comfort features: high back seat, adjustable arm rests, multiple cup holders, and cruise control. Get a semi-pro zero turn, and you'll actually enjoy "sitting the bench."

Commercial Zero TurnIf you want to step up to the big leagues, a commercial zero turn will take you there. Just like the great state of Texas, everything is bigger on a commercial ZTR mower.

The biggest mowing decks, the most powerful engines, the largest fuel tanks, the fastest speeds and, yes, the biggest price tag as well.

Commercial zero turn mowers are so big and fast, you can mow 3-4 acres per hour. These units are built for everyday use, helping landscaping professionals make their living.

Mulch vs. Bag?
Tractor Mulching KitA popular option is a mulching kit that plugs the discharge chute, keeping grass under the deck and cutting it into fine, nutrient-rich clippings.

Mulching kits come in a variety of size. Compatibility is the key. Just make sure your kit is the same size and brand as your tractor.

View & Shop All Lawn Mower Mulching Kits

Tractor Baggers Another option for disposing of grass clippings is a bagger. Rear-mounted baggers suck cut grass from the blades, through a chute to the collection bags.

Baggers come in either double-bag or triple-bag styles, depending on the mower size. Stick with the same brand to ensure compatibility.

View & Shop All Lawn Mower Baggers


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