7 Best Zero Turn Mowers to Buy In 2018
The Zero turn mower is a special kind of riding lawn mower. It is much beloved because of its special features, which all add up to save you mowing time. Using a single axle for both propulsion and for steering, zero turn mowers are able to mow faster than most other lawn mower types. You can easily identify a zero turn mower from its caster front-wheels, large and wide rear wheels, and its 2 lap bars used for steering.
Being a riding lawn mower, you also get to ride along in the mower. They help you to save mowing time, by making backups unnecessary, whenever you need to turn around. They travel faster and can maneuver perfectly around trees and other obstacles. There are front- and mid-mount zero turn mowers. With the front-mount variety, you also get to save a lot of trimming time, because you will mow lawn edges or boundaries much better.
Table of Contents
- 7 Best Zero Turn Mowers - Reviews
- #1. Husqvarna Z254 54-Inch 724cc V-Twin Zero Turn Mower
- #2. Troy-Bilt Mustang 46 22HP Zero Turn Mower
- #3. Husqvarna MZ54S Commercial Zero Turn Mower
- #4. Poulan Pro P46ZX 22Hp Zero Turn Mower
- #5. Z-Beast 48ZB Heavy-Duty Zero Turn Mower
- #6. Husqvarna Z246 724cc Zero Turn Mower
- #7. Ariens Max Zoom 52 23HP Zero Turn Mower
- Walk-Behind vs. Zero Turn Mowers
- Should I Buy A Zero Turn Mower?
- What to Look for When Buying a Zero Turn Mower
7 Best Zero Turn Mowers - Reviews
#1. Husqvarna Z254 54-Inch 724cc V-Twin Zero Turn Mower
Editor's Rating: (4.4 / 5)
Husqvarna's Z254 zero turn mower comes with everything you need to get the best mowing experience with a zero turn mower. Powered by a 724cc Briggs & Stratton engine, which produces 24hp to drive the deck and the wheels, this zero turn mower can clear up to nearly 3 acres per hour. In addition, it does this while you are comfortably seated behind its ergonomically designed controls.
There is an over-sized cooling fan, chrome plated valves, and a spring assisted deck lifting system. The deck itself is made from stamped steel, but it is reinforced for more strength. On the bumper, you will find integrated led headlights, and the seat is made from vinyl and features seat springs. Husqvarna Z254's cutting deck is made from 12 gauge steel, has 4 anti-scalp wheels and its cutting height can be set between 1.5 and 4 inches.
- Powerful 724cc engine, delivering 24hp of torque.
- Cuts up to 2.8 acres per hour, working with speeds up to 6.5 mph.
- Features Ready Start, an automatic engine-start choking system, for better user friendliness.
- 54-inch wide cutting deck allows for speedy job execution.
- Cutting deck is made from stamped steel, which although is reinforced, is less desirable.
- The seat could be a little more comfortable.
For those who value performance and reliability in a compact and durable design, this Husqvarna Z254 is the perfect machine. The components are designed, based on Husqvarna's long-term experience in the power tools industry, and anyone who drives the Z254 will attest to its performance, sturdiness and overall quality.
#2. Troy-Bilt Mustang 46 22HP Zero Turn Mower
Editor's Rating: (4.5 / 5)
With its heavy-duty and seriously rugged design, the Troy-Bilt Mustang 46 is as formidable as it looks. Its reinforced heavy-duty frame is so good that Troy-Bilt guarantees it for life. Powered by a 24hp Briggs & Stratton engine, this mower will cut grass in 8 different heights, and will also bag or mulch the clippings with optional kits.
The deck is 46 inches wide and comes with 4 deck wheels. Deck engagement is electric and button controlled, making your life easier. The Mustang 46 spots a 2.8 gallon gasoline tank, and its seat is comfortable, with an 18-inch high-back and dual springs for your mowing comfort. The 2 caster front-wheels are greasable, allowing for a longer life, and Troy-Bilt backs the entire mower up with a 3 year warranty, including the lifetime warranty for its frame.
- Powerful 24hp Briggs & Stratton V-Twin engine.
- Features electric power take-off for a faster and easier blade engagement.
- Up to 7 mph forward speed, with a maximum of 2.5 mph reverse speed.
- Backed by a 3-year limited warranty, with a limited lifetime warranty for the frame.
- This mower lacks aesthetic finesse.
Designed for people who want the maximum from a zero turn mower, the Troy-Bilt Mustang 46 sacrifices style and aesthetics for raw power and performance. Its twin hydro and dual EZT transmission can produce speeds of up to 7 mph in forward movement, or a 2.5 mph top speed in reverse. With its 8-position cutting height setting, the mowing choice becomes truly yours.
#3. Husqvarna MZ54S Commercial Zero Turn Mower
Editor's Rating: (4.5 / 5)
The MZ54S from Husqvarna is a commercial grade, zero turn mower. Designed for maximum power and efficiency, its 25hp Briggs & Stratton Endurance Commercial engine, delivers enough power for speeds up to 8mph. With a 2 x 3-inch tube over-sized chassis, combined with its reinforced steel cutting deck, this lawn mower is also designed to last for as long as possible.
Its deck lifting system is manual and foot assisted. There are three blades in the deck, with a combined cutting width of 54 inches. It can bag, mulch or side-discharge the grass clippings, and is rated to mow up to 3.7 acres per hour. You, the driver are not left out though. There is a vinyl seat, with springs and a high back-rest. You also get arm rests, a cup holder, and and hour meter.
- Heavily reinforced deck and frame to withstand the abuse of commercial use.
- Can cover 3.7 acres per hour at a top speed of 8 mph.
- Comes with an air-cooled 25 hp Briggs & Stratton engine for maximum performance.
- 5-gallon large fuel tank to maximize mowing time.
- This is quite an expensive zero turn lawn mower.
- There is a 3-year warranty for residential use, but only 1-year for commercial.
Husqvarna makes this zero turn mower for professionals who need a reliable and well made lawn mower. Efficiency, speed, low maintenance and a rugged build, all these mean a lot for the professional user, and Husqvarna truly delivers the best zero turn mower for commercial applications with this MZ54S.
#4. Poulan Pro P46ZX 22Hp Zero Turn Mower
Editor's Rating: (4.3 / 5)
Poulan Pro P46ZX is powered by a 22hp strong Briggs & Stratton engine from the professional series. It also features a dual hydrogear EZT drive system, plus a 46-inch cutting deck, with two blades. The engine can propel this mower to top speeds of up to 6 mph, and given its 46-inch deck, it can mow up to 2.4 acres per hour. In reverse gear, it will reach a maximum speed of 3 mph.
The P46ZX weighs 430 lbs., is 75 inches long and 41 inches high. It can bag, mulch or side-discharge grass clippings. With 6 cutting height levels, you are allowed to choose between a cutting height of 1.5 and 4 inches. Although its cutting deck is stamped steel, it is extra reinforced, and even enjoys a 10 year warranty from Poulan Pro. Clutch is easy and electric, and a nicely-placed panel puts all the controls at an easy reach.
- Lovely design with nice color combination, an eye-catcher.
- 724cc which delivers 22hp, driving the mower to speeds of up to 6mph.
- 46-inch cutting deck with 6 cutting-level settings.
- Comes with a 3-year homeowner warranty from Poulan Pro.
- Deck lifting system is manual and hand operated.
Poulan Pro's P46ZX is designed for those who want to mow in style and like a pro. It is also for those who want to enjoy some comfort while mowinig. It has a nice, stylish design, a 15-inch high backseat, a cup holder, a digital hour meter, foam padded lap bar hand-grips, 3 anti-scalp rollers, and a vinyl seat.
#5. Z-Beast 48ZB Heavy-Duty Zero Turn Mower
Editor's Rating: (5 / 5)
Built to be as rugged as a zero turn mower could be, the Z-Beast 48ZB is one heavy-duty and tough performer, that gets the job done fast. Its aesthetic appeal is rather low, but what it misses in looks, it makes up for in performance. Fitted with a 20 hp Briggs & Stratton, it reaches top speeds of 8 mph, and can mow an acre in 20 minutes. And just so that you can keep up, the 48ZB comes standard with a roll bar and seat belt.
There is a 48-inch cutting deck, fitted with 3 blades, and with their cutting height adjustable in 8 different levels between 1.5 and 5 inches. Z-Beast's 48ZB is 75 inches high, 58 inches wide, and features a solid deck made from 12 gauge steel. It has headlights, a cup holder, hour meter and can mulch grass clippings with an extra mulching kit. It has a high-back seat, and is backed by a 2-year warranty from the company.
- Features a 20 hp Briggs & Stratton Professional Series engine.
- Price is comparatively lower than other comparable mowers.
- Can reach forward speeds of up to 8 mph and reverse speeds of 6.5 mph.
- Includes roll bar and a seat belt for added safety.
- Best zero turn mower for the money.
- Looks weird and rough. It's not aesthetically pleasing at all.
If you want an affordable zero turn lawn mower, one that is well built and has good features, then you should pay some attention to the 48ZB from Z-Beast. It is rugged, heavy-duty, well built, and sure to last for a long while. With its 48-inch cutting width and 8 mph top speed, this mower also offers you high efficiency. It is the best zero turn mower for those who like it rough. To top it all off, it is reasonably priced, making it quite a bargain.
#6. Husqvarna Z246 724cc Zero Turn Mower
Editor's Rating: (4.4 / 5)
The last product in our Husqvarna zero turn reviews is the Z246, and it comes with a mix of performance and style. Powered by a 23 hp Briggs & Stratton endurance engine, and featuring a 46-inch cutting width, it can mow up to 2.4 acres in an hour, and at a top speed of 6.5 mph. There are 2 blades, engaged using an electric clutch, and they spin at 16,600 fpm blade tip speed. The deck is made using a 13 gauge stamped steel, then reinforced for more strength and durability.
The 15-inch vinyl seat is comfortably placed between the cutting height lever and cup holder on the left, and the control panel on the right. With the 2 lap bars ergonomically positioned in front of the seat and also featuring cushioned hand grips, your mowing session with this zero turn mower is made as comfortable as possible. The engine and the wheels are connected through a dual hydro-gear EZT transmission, and it is backed by a 3-year warranty for non-commercial, home use.
- Powerful 23 hp Briggs & Stratton V-twin Endurance Engine.
- Large 46-inch cutting deck with 2 blades at 16600 fpm tip-speeds.
- 6.5 mph top speed allows you to mow up to 2.4 acres per hour.
- It is backed by Husqvarna's 3-year homeowner warranty.
- Best residential zero turn mower
- Deck lifting system is manual and hand-operated.
Husqvarna's Z246 is a great all-round mower for those who simply want a good and reliable zero turn mower, without complications. It is perfect for the casual user, who is not interested in extreme features or bells and whistles. Young and old, as well as male and female, will all find joy with the ease and precision of using this lawn mower.
#7. Ariens Max Zoom 52 23HP Zero Turn Mower
Editor's Rating: (4 / 5)
Ariens Max Zoom 52 is the last product in our zero turn mower reviews. It offers a 52-inch cutting width, with a blade tip spinning speed of 18,000 fpm. This ensures maximum power and faster job completions. Powered by a 2 cylinder, 4-stroke Kohler engine, with a 725cc displacement, the 3 blades are driven by very raw power. They can be vertically positioned in 9 different levels between 1.0 and 5.0 inches. The deck lift system is manual and foot operated.
With a maximum speed of 8 mph, and reverse speed of 4 mph, Ariens Max Zoom 52 will help you get the job done as quickly as possible. Headlights, grass bags, mulching kit and trailer hitches are all sold separately, but the package comes with an hour meter, a high-back seat with springs and arm rests, and a 3-year consumer warranty.
- 10 gauge welded steel deck, for superior strength and durability.
- Extra wide 52-inch cutting width reduces your overall mowing time.
- Adjustable seat, which includes armrests for maximum comfort.
- Large, 6 gallon gas-tank for longer mowing sessions.
- This mower is neither stylish nor aesthetically pleasing.
- It is relatively expensive.
This is a zero turn mower for those who need a truly well made machine. Featuring 10 gauge steel pieces which have been welded together, you can be sure of better steel strength than you would find with any of the stamped deck variety. Even reinforced stamped steel decks are no match for the quality of this mower's deck.
Walk-Behind vs. Zero Turn Mowers
You may be torn between a walk-behind mower and a zero turn mower, not knowing which one you like better. The truth is that they are both great in their own ways, and they each have their advantages and their disadvantages. Following is a comparison of both types of mowers, in the hope that it will answer your questions and clear any misconceptions concerning them.
#1. Walk-Behind Mowers
Walk-behind mowers are more compact than zero turn mowers. They can be better stored or fit into a vehicle for transportation. Walk-behind mowers are also better suited for smaller lawns and even moderate sized lawns. In fact, walk-behind mowers are considered as equally efficient as a zero turn mower for jobs that are less than 40 minutes in duration. Although they are self propelled, walk-behind mowers still require the user to walk and control the machine, therefore offering the added advantage of exercise.
Their requirement for physical exertion of the user becomes a disadvantage during long mowing sessions. Everybody gets tired at one point or the other, creating more bottled-water breaks than someone else on a riding mower. A second disadvantage is that walk-behind mowers usually have a smaller cutting deck than zero turn mowers. This means that jobs will take longer to be completed.
#2. Zero Turn Mowers
Zero turn mowers are riding mowers, so you get to sit down comfortably while doing your job. Zero turn mowers also offer the advantage of speed. They can travel twice as fast as walk-behind mowers, and they usually have larger cutting decks, which means that the job will get done much quicker than with a walk-behind mower. You can also use a zero turn mower to tow a trailer or transport other things.
Zero turn mowers are expensive. They can sometimes cost 3 or more times higher than a walk-behind mower. Secondly, they are not very safe for mowing hilly terrain, because they can easily become unstable on hilly ground. Zero turn mowers also do not work quite well on bumpy terrain, and driving with lap bars is an activity that needs getting used to.
Should I Buy A Zero Turn Mower?
It might happen that you are being referred to zero turn mowers from all angles. Everyone you know or have talked with concerning your lawn, has simply told you to get a zero turn mower, but maybe you are not personally sure if it's what you need. If you find yourself in such a dilemma, then the following considerations should help to clear your mind of any confusions that you may have.
#1. The Size & Design of Your Lawn
You should first consider the size of the area that you are planning to mow. If you have a small lawn, then a reel mower might even be more ideal for you. But if you have a larger lawn, then you definitely need a mechanized mower. As a rule of thumb, if you spend less than 40 minutes per mowing session, then a push- or walk-behind mower might be ideal for you.
If you spend over 40 minutes per session, then a riding mower should come into consideration. If you have lots of trees, objects, and landscaping boundaries, that you have to navigate while mowing, or if you simply want to save time by mowing faster, then you should consider a zero turn mower.
#2. Your Readiness To Learn
Zero turn mowers are a different kind of vehicle from what people are generally used to. The propulsion mechanism that they employ requires that you spend some time first practicing it, before you can actually start using the mower. There are even zero turn mowers that come with steering wheels instead of lap bars, but the steering wheel stills controls a rather awkward system that needs learning and getting used to.
#3. The Terrain of Your Yard
It's no secret that zero turn lawn mowers work best on flat terrain. This means that if your yard is bumpy or hilly, then you may want to consider a different kind of mower. There are zero turn mowers that were designed specifically for mowing sloping lawns anyway, but they do have their price.
#4. Your Wallet
Last but not least is your wallet. Zero turn mowers generally cost more than other lawn mower types, including lawn tractors. For this reason, you should be considering zero turn mowers only if you have the cash to spare. And if you even have more cash, then why not get a commercial model? They are some of the best rated zero turn mowers, and they are great to ride as well.
What to Look for When Buying a Zero Turn Mower
If you are considering purchasing a zero turn mower, it's important that you should understand the various aspects of the machine. Simply asking what is the best zero turn mower? will not solve much. But knowing which machine parts do which work, will allow you to make a more informed decision, and to buy the best value zero turn mower that can meet your needs. Following are the most important aspects you should try and look out for.
#1. Build Quality & Durability
You have to check the deck, the frame, and the overall sturdiness of the mowers components, in order to estimate its build quality and eventual durability. There are 2 types of zero turn mower decks: Stamped and welded decks. Stamped decks are usually stamped from a single and thinner piece of steel, while welded decks are a combination of many heavy-gauge steel pieces, welded together. Welded decks are of course the better alternative, and are usually employed in commercial models.
#2. User Friendliness
User friendliness refers to the ease of use of the machine, as well as overall comfort and satisfaction from using it. Since you will be sitting back and using the lap bars to steer, you need a comfortable seat, and if possible, with an ergonomic backrest. User friendliness applies to the mower's features and settings as well, like choosing between a 'high' and a 'low' mowing speed, and the ease of making those changes. Having buttons and cutting-height levers in an easy to access position, also increases user friendliness.
#3. Deck Size
Zero turn mowers come in different sizes, and with different deck sizes as well. You will have to know how large your yard is, and then choose appropriately. A 42-inch deck is recommended for yards that are 1 acre and less. For up to 2 acres of lawn, a 42- or 46-inch deck will be appropriate, while you can use anything between 48 and 54 inches for 2 acres and larger. There are larger decks of course, measuring up to 72 inches, but they are better suited for very large and relatively flat areas.
#4. Tire Width
Wider tires are better for zero turn mowers, and this includes the large, as well as the small zero turn mowers. This is because they distribute their weights over a wider area. This helps to prevent damage to your grass, as well as improve the mower's overall traction. Some mowers that were designed for use on sloping grounds, even come with 4 wide tires on the same axis, instead of just 2.
#5. Extra Features
Extra features here refers to everything else that is not standard on a zero turn lawn mower. You may have a need for one or more of such an extra feature. These include attachments for bagging, having a front- or a mid-mount deck, offering a wheel instead of lap bars for steering, and many more.
Zero turn mower prices can vary widely, so you have to set your budget and know what you are willing to spend. There are entry-level, residential mowers, as well as the more expensive semi-pro and commercial mowers. Although they have higher prices, they will usually also offer larger cutting widths, more engine power, and larger fuel tanks.