Zero Turn Mower Buyer's Guide

Zero Turn Mower Buyer's Guide

How to Pick the Perfect Zero Turn Lawn Mower

By  | Lawn Mower Product Expert
By  | Lawn Mower Product Expert

Shopping for a zero turn lawn mower is similar to shopping for a car. There are economy cars, luxury cars, and sports cars. All get you from Point A to Point B, but how they do it is different. 

Similarly, all zero turning radius (ZTR) lawn mowers cut grass, but they do it with varying degrees of speed and comfort using different classes of components.

We classified every zero turn mower into four grades below so you can easily compare one to the next:

Entry-Level Mid-Grade Semi-Pro Commercial
Cub Cadet Zero Turn Toro Mid-Grade Zero Turn Mower Ariens Semi-Pro Zero Turn Mower Swisher Commercial Zero Turn Mower
Cutting Width 30 – 54" 34 – 60" 42 – 66" 34 – 72"
Horsepower 10.5 – 24.5 HP 16 – 25 HP 23.5 – 27 HP 21.5 – 31 HP
Cylinders Single, Twin Twin Twin Twin
Fuel Tank 2 – 3.5 gal 3 – 4 gal 5 – 8 gal 5 – 13.4 gal


Entry-Level Zero Turn Mowers

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

These dependable, yet affordable, mowing machines will cut a yard twice as fast as a lawn tractor. They're great for easily getting around obstacles like trees. 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.


Learn More: How to Pick the Perfect Entry-Level ZTR


Mid-Grade Zero Turn Mowers

Ariens Mid-Grade Zero TurnWant 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 typically stamped mower decks that are found on entry-level models, mid-grade zero turn mowers are built with heavy-duty 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 stronger 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 powerful engine choices with a mid-grade zero turn, including some models with popular Kawasaki, Kohler, and Briggs & Stratton V-Twin engines. These engines deliver better overall performance and the highest level of reliability when it comes to powering a zero turn mower. 


Learn More: How to Pick the Perfect Mid-Grade ZTR


Semi-Pro Zero Turn Mowers

Toro Semi-Pro Zero TurnSemi-pro zero turns are extremely popular with landscaping contractors who are on a budget and property owners with their own Field of Dreams.

These durable zero turn mowers 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 armrests, multiple cup holders, and cruise control. Get a semi-pro zero turn, and you'll actually enjoy "sitting the bench."


Learn More: How to Pick the Perfect Semi-Pro ZTR


Commercial Zero Turn Mowers

Swisher Commercial Zero TurnIf you're looking to break into the major leagues, a commercial zero turn will get you there. Just like the great state of Texas, everything is bigger on commercial ZTR mowers.

The largest mowing decks, most powerful engines, enlarged fuel tanks, 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 hard use, helping landscaping professionals earn their living.


Learn More: How to Pick the Perfect Commercial ZTR


Mulch vs. Bag?

The question of what to do with your grass clippings whenever you use a zero turn or any other kind of riding mower is one that a lot of customers ask.


A 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 sizes. Compatibility is the key. Just make sure your kit is the same size and brand as your tractor.

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.

 NEXT: Top-Rated and Best-Selling Zero Turn Mowers