Zero Turn Mower Buyer's Guide

Zero Turn Mower Buyer's Guide

How to Pick the Perfect Zero Turn Lawn Mower

Jake, the Lawn Mower Expert
Lawn Mower Expert

Cub Cadet Ultima Zero Turn MowerWhether you’re a homeowner or a landscaping professional, you can enjoy the speed and comfort of a zero turning radius (ZTR) lawn mower.

Unlike lawn and garden tractors, zero turn mowers have a turning radius that’s almost zero degrees. That means you can make quick, narrow turns that are perfect for navigating a yard full of obstacles. Plus, with top speeds around 13 miles per hour on some models, they’re easily the fastest riding mowers around.

Lap Bar vs Steering Wheel Zero Turns

One of the big decisions you'll need to make when picking a zero turn mower is whether you want lap bar or wheel steering.
  • Lap bar zero turn mowers are steered using two bars, each controlling a wheel independently, which allows for great maneuverability. These mowers do come with a slight learning curve if you've never used one before, though. You'll need to get the hang of moving the bars in sync. 

  • Steering wheel zero turn mowers are great if you want to start mowing without overcoming a learning curve. The steering wheel makes controlling these zero turns just like driving a golf cart or tractor.

Zero Turn Mower Grades

We’ve sorted the zero turn mowers on our site into three categories:
  • Mid-grade zero turns
  • Semi-pro zero turns
  • Commercial zero turns
Zero-Turns Mid-Grade Semi-Pro Commercial
Husqvarna Z254 (54 Cub Cadet Ultima ZT2 Swisher Big Mow (66
Cutting Width 42"-54" 48"-60" 60"-66"
Horsepower 18-26HP 23-24HP 23-31HP
Cutting Height 1.5"-4" 1"-5" 1.25"-5"
Fuel Tank 2-4 Gal 3-6 Gal 5-8 Gal

Keep reading to learn more details about what you’ll get from each category of zero turn mower!


Mid-Grade Zero Turns for Weekend Warriors

Ariens Mid-Grade Zero Turnmid-grade zero turn mower offers you heavy duty components in the areas where it really counts, so you’ll be able to handle your weekend mowing chores more easily.

Key details:

  • Cutting Width: 42-54”
  • Horsepower: 18-26 HP
  • Engine Cylinders: Twin
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 2-4 gallons

Instead of the stamped mower decks typically found on more fragile 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 also has a strong 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 comfortable high back seating.

You also get a wide 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. 


Semi-Pro: Zero Turns for Either Consumers or Pros

Toro Semi-Pro Zero TurnSemi-pro zero turn mowers are where we often see overlap between our residential and our commercial customers. They’re extremely popular with property owners who have a lot of land to mow as well as landscaping contractors who are on a budget.

Key details:

  • Cutting Width: 48-60”
  • Horsepower: 23-24 HP
  • Engine Cylinders: Twin
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 3-6 gallons

Durable prosumer zero turn mowers are designed for daily use. They have heavy-gauge single-piece steel frames, large fuel tanks, and heavy-duty transmissions.

And don't forget comfort features: high back seat, adjustable armrests, multiple cup holders, and cruise control.

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

Commercial Zero Turn Mowers

Swisher Commercial Zero TurnCommercial-grade zero turns are built for everyday hard use, helping landscaping professionals earn their living thanks to features like these:

  • Cutting Width: 60-66”
  • Horsepower: 23-31 HP
  • Engine Cylinders: Twin
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 5-8 gallons

Professional zero turns have the largest mowing decks, most powerful engines, largest fuel tanks, fastest speeds, and yes, the biggest price tags as well.


NEXT: How to Pick the Perfect Commercial Zero Turn Mower

Jake, the Lawn Mower Expert
Lawn Mower Expert
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