What is a zero turn mower?
A zero-turn mower is a riding lawn mower with a turning radius of zero. This is achieved in different ways by different brands, but the most common way of attaining that turning radius is through the operation of the drive wheels through two hydrostatic transmissions.
Most use lap bars for controlling the motions of the rear wheels, pushing them forwards and backwards. There are both consumer and professional-grade models, with the latter costing far more with the bonus of more durable parts and a longer lifespan.
Zero Turn Vs Riding Lawn Mower
As with all things, zero-turn mowers have pros and cons when compared to traditional riding mowers. The pros of a traditional riding lawn mower over a zero-turn mower are the operational ease. Most lawn mowers use a steering wheel mechanism which most people are used to. Another advantage of a traditional riding lawn mower is their towing capabilities and the option to adhere snow plows, which most zero-turn mowers don’t have.
Zero turn mowers also have difficulty traveling up hills due to their front-heavy design, though this can be fixed with the right tires and proper operation. This aside, zero-turn mowers are incredible when it comes to speed, maneuverability, and cutting quality. They can get the job done in almost half the time as a traditional riding mower and the maneuverability around obstacles provides a cleaner, tighter turn, also adding to speed. A zero-turn’s high blade tip speed and fabricated deck means that you get a neater cut than you would with a traditional riding mower.
Top 3 Reviews
We’ve included reviews for three of the best zero turn mowers available on the market today to help you decide which one would suit your mowing needs best.
#3 Ariens Zoom 34
If you’re looking for bang for your buck, this Ariens zero turn mower is one of the least-expensive models on the market today. This is because of its small size, so be sure to take that into account. It has a cutting width of 34 inches, which isn’t nearly as wide as the average lawn tractor that has cutting widths of 52 inches. Due to the size of its rear tires, it has difficulty traversing inclines and ditches. Its light weight prevents it from having enough traction to grip onto slopes.
This aside, the small size makes it ideal for zipping through flat landscaped areas and in our opinion it is the best small zero turn mower on the market. The quality is excellent, built with high-grade materials and engines. The transmission gives a sturdy feeling for its weight, and allows you to make clear-cut turns around many obstacles, passing through narrow gates with ease. It also discharges its clippings evenly with less clumping.
There is also a seven-position height adjustment pedal which lets you raise the mowing deck, allowing you to go over obstacles such as tree roots and other landscaping features. All in all, the Ariens Zoom 34 is ideal for smaller, flatter lots, doing an effective job of trimming the lawn without compromising on quality and integrity of parts. While you might need to shift your weight around to get a good amount of traction, this model is still good.
#2 Poulan Pro P46ZX
Designed as an entry-level zero-turn mower, the Poulan Pro P46ZX is in our opinion the best zero turn mower under 3000 available on the market (it is also the cheapest zero turn mower in this review). Turning around might be more difficult due to its high-backed seat. Along with this, while it is bigger than the Ariens Zoom 34, they have the same top speed of 6 miles per hour, and while its cutting deck does measure longer (46 inches), it is still one of the smaller ones available.
Despite this, its strong 22HP Briggs V-twin Pro engine and hook make it able to tow large objects, and its turning capabilities are top-notch. Operation is also easy with all the controls within reach when needed. It also is compatible with plenty of accessories, such as the mulching kit, rain cover, armrest kit, and headlight kit.
While it comes at an affordable price, Poulan marked trimmers are manufactured by Husqvarna, one of the biggest names in all types of mowers. This means that its quality in terms of parts and components, as well as ease of use and operation, are all high-quality at a price that won’t break the bank. This is definitely a great option for anyone looking to try something a bit bigger.
#1 Husqvarna Z254 Zero Turn Mower
If you’re looking for top performance, you really can’t go wrong with this Husqvarna zero turn lawn mower. While the model number might be tough to remember, you won’t be having much of an issue getting this model to work its magic on your lawn. Some have hailed it as being a “commercial quality mower at half the price”.
It isn’t without its cons, as it being as front-heavy as it is makes it difficult to climb up steep slopes. There have also been some reports of the drive not being even, meaning one would need to adjust the steering accordingly. The engine is also noisy, giving a rough ride even on a relatively smooth terrain.
However, the positives are simply amazing. The assembly is easy, and the engine is very powerful, allowing for getting a move on your lawn with less effort. The chassis includes a removable foot pan to give you easy access to the cutting deck to keep your mower in great shape. While on the topic of the cutting deck, this model is the largest on this list, with a 54-inch one, allowing you to cover the most ground in far less time.
The blades are pure steel, ensuring strength and durability. We definitely recommend this model, as it is our top choice for this list of zero-turn mowers.
Hopefully our reviews helped you answer burning question “What is the best zero turn mower?” and helped you choose the right one for you. Purchasing a zero-turn mower is one of the greatest investments any owner of a large-sized yard or other land can make. It has plenty of benefits over a traditional riding mower, and makes mowing the lawn, which is normally a chore, into something speedy and fun. While this is a bigger investment to make due to the price, it cuts both time and grass, making maintenance of your land far easier than it would be with a traditional mower.