Mid-Grade ZTR Mower Buyer's Guide
How to Pick the Perfect Mid-Grade Zero Turn
Mid-grade zero turn lawn mowers provide a step up in performance and comfort features from their entry-level cousins.
Mid-grade zero turn mowers have larger rear tires, which provide a smoother ride and better traction.
They typically have high-back seats with full spring suspension and adjustable armrests to help reduce fatigue.
Finally, just like your favorite automatic transmission cars, mid-grade ZTRs have a cruise control setting that maintains a consistent speed and improves fuel efficiency.
With all of those selling points, it might seem difficult to choose the right mid-grade zero turn! However, you can find the best fit for your lawn by looking at the following details:
- Deck size
- Steering options
- Additional features
How many acres do you need to mow? The answer to this question will help you determine the correct deck size for your property.
- Two Acres or Less: 42"-50” deck
- More than Two Acres: 50"-61” deck
If your yard has narrow paths between obstacles, consider getting a smaller 42" deck for better maneuverability.
If you have a large, wide-open yard, get a zero turn with a larger deck and you'll complete the job much sooner.
The traditional steering option on zero turn lawn mowers, including mid-grade ZTRs, is a lap bar. With these rear-wheel-drive mowers, you push one side of the bar to point your mower in one direction and push the other side to drive in the opposite direction.
The lap bar mechanism can take some time to get used to, but the rear wheel drive (and low weight in the front of the mower) help give lap bar ZTRs excellent maneuverability.
For those who aren't comfortable driving zero-turn mowers with lap bars, there is a steering wheel option. Unlike the caster wheels on lap bar ZTRs, which move independently, the front wheels on these models are controlled by the steering wheel.
Plenty of consumers enjoy having steering wheels on their mid-grade ZTRs for several reasons:
- Ease of use due to the familiarity of the steering method
- Less turf scalping while learning how to use it
- Enhanced stability on hills and slopes
No matter which steering option you choose, you'll still get the ability to turn on a dime that zero-turn mowers are known for.
Additional Mid-Grade Features
When considering different mid-grade zero turns, you don't have to stick to the deck and the steering mechanism to determine which is best. There are plenty of other factors to think about:
- Cutting options
- Deck construction
- Cleanup features
To get the most from your mid-grade mower, look for models with a 3-in-1 cutting option. This allows you to switch from discharging your clippings through a side chute to mulching or even bagging your debris. Other models feature side discharge only.
Although some mowers are built with stamped metal decks, the standard on zero turn mowers is a 10-gauge welded steel deck. This material is thicker and strong than stamped metal. Additionally, some zero turns come with mechanical foot lifts for raising and lowering the mowing deck.
Finally, look for washout ports for easy deck cleaning. These allow you to hook up a hose to your deck and spray it clean with ease.