House & Beyond is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
If you have a large property, then you understand all the hassle of maintaining your lawn. If you don’t cut it regularly, it can quickly go from a showpiece to an eyesore. Of course, if you have a lot of other landscaping features, it can be even more challenging to cut the lawn, since the turning radius makes it tough to navigate. If that is the situation you find yourself in, then you need to try to find the best zero turn mower you can. These fantastic machines turn in one spot which makes them impressively maneuverable.
Obviously, there is a lot to take into consideration when you are looking for the best zero turn mower on the market. When we were putting together our listing, we first looked at the engine power, since that will let you know the yard size each mower is best suited for. From there, we looked at the fuel tank capacity, as larger yards will need a larger tank, while smaller yards won’t need as much fuel. Finally, we looked at the overall dimensions of each mower, since the width tells you how much the mower can cut with each pass.
In order to find the best zero turn mower for the money, we spent tens of hours reading through hundreds of user reviews. This allowed us to create a comprehensive list of the best mowers, and also put together detailed reviews for each so that you can find the right model for your needs. Of course, if you aren’t sure what you are looking for yet, check out our in-depth buying guide, which will tell you everything you need to know to find the best zero turn lawn mower.
The Husqvarna Z254 is our overall best zero-turn mower machine. It is powered by a 26 horsepower Kohler engine and can run at a speed of 6.5 miles per hour. This lawnmower can be used for several hours. This means that it has to be comfortable and it is. The frame is made of welded steel, which decreases vibrations when you squirt. Plus, it can help keep all four wheels off the ground when you’re on rocky terrain.
The seat is ergonomically designed and raised 38cm to provide effective lumbar support. The ignition, throttle, and choke are located together and easy to perform. There’s an hour to help you keep track of the time. You get a cup holder to stay hydrated while you mow.
The Z254 also includes many optional accessories. At the top is the waste bag to collect grass clippings as you move around. You’ll need to shut it down and empty it every once in a while, but we’ve found that this cuts down on your working time tremendously. Alternatives include a chopper kit, headlights, and a hitch.
Equipped with a hydro gear 3400 transmission drive which facilitates its handling, the Swisher Z3166CPKA lawn tractor is one of the best lawnmowers for commercial use on the market. Ideal for rental or for mowing a large expanse of land, it is all electrically started. You can switch from one function to another with a single command: a simple manipulation of the lever. You can change mulch mode to grass ejection mode too.
It is a very high-performance gas-powered mower with ease of use and handling, all in perfect comfort. Its highly reliable 31 horsepower Kawasaki engine has the power to perform various tasks. You can, for example, turn the blade spindles as your compost transporter. And in winter, you will have the possibility of transforming it into a snowplow!
In terms of handling this mower, its self-stabilizing axle will give you very good stability when driving. So you can make a straight line of the cut very easily. In addition, with double ball bearing steering, you can have a smoother and simpler ride. This mower tractor has the elements necessary for you to have the most comfort in its handling.
To make mowing your lawn easier, the lawnmower has a cutting deck with blades. The whole will give a cutting width of 66 inches. You can therefore see that with this mower you can mow a very large area of up to 10,000 m2 and more.
When it comes to a zero turn riding mower, most people think of them as commercial machines only. This isn’t too surprising since they are very powerful, loud, and great for cutting a lot of grass in a minimum amount of time. They do not need to only be for commercial use, however. In fact, this model from Snapper is an awesome option if you are looking for a zero turn mower for use in a residential area.
One of the things that makes this mower such a great option for use in a residential area is its smaller size. This makes it much better at fitting into smaller spaces without getting stuck. This mower also has a very fuel-efficient and quiet motor. This helps to keep it from being too loud while you are mowing, which is something that your neighbors are sure to appreciate. Of course, this also means that it doesn’t have quite as much power as other offerings on the market, which does limit the mower’s effectiveness on tougher jobs.
It is a good thing that this is such a fuel-efficient mower since it does have a relatively small gas tank. Of course, since the mower’s engine gets such impressive gas mileage, you shouldn’t have to refill it all that often, which in turn should save you money in the long run.
Though this mower is undoubtedly on the smaller side, don’t let that fool you. It still has a huge cutting area so that you can get a lot done in just a few passes. This mower has a lot of different height settings as well, making it quick and easy to get the exact height for your grass each and every time you cut.
The first thing that stands out with this mower is its overall size. There is no doubt about it; this is a serious machine that is designed to tackle serious amounts of work. It is well over 700 pounds, making it one of the heavier models on the market. This hefty weight can be attributed to its durable design and heavy duty construction.
Aside from its weight, however, it is larger than most zero turn mowers. This larger size makes it perfect for use with larger yards since it has a huge cutting area. It also is highly adjustable, which makes it much easier to get grass to the exact length you desire.
Something else that adds to the larger than average size of this mower is its high seat. Though this could pose a problem in yards with low-hanging branches, this high seat makes cutting a lot easier as it allows you a much better vantage point to see what you are cutting.
As you would expect from a mower of this magnitude, this model has a large and powerful engine, which is able to put out about 27 HP. This powerful engine makes this model a great mower for commercial use. It also has a five-gallon gas tank, which is one of the biggest available. This gas tank is a great design feature since the powerful engine is not as efficient as some other mowers with smaller sized engines.
There are no two ways about it: getting a good zero turn mower can be extremely expensive. It is very common to see them listed for extremely high prices, which makes getting one a lot tougher if you are on a tight budget. If you are looking to save a bit of money, but still get a high-quality mower, then this model from Ariens might be for you. It is a straightforward model, and what it lacks in bells and whistles it makes up for with solid dependability.
This mower’s engine isn’t all that powerful, which will limit its effectiveness to smaller or medium-sized yards with even terrain. It has a smaller gas tank, but that shouldn’t be too big of a deal, thanks to how fuel-efficient the engine is. Since it doesn’t produce a ton of power, it doesn’t need too much gas to get the job done.
Something else that might come as a surprise with a mower at this price point is how large of a cutting area it has. While it certainly is not the largest available, it isn’t the smallest either. This large cutting will help to make your lawn mowing go a whole lot faster.
While all zero turn mowers have cushioned seats, the padding on this one is exceptionally comfortable. It also features large armrests. These two features combine to make this one of the more comfortable mowers to use on the market.
In this section, we will go through everything that you need to know to find the best zero turn mower on the market. We have also taken the time to answer several frequently asked questions, so be sure to read through those as well if you are uncertain about some details.
What is so special about zero turn lawn mowers?
There are several different reasons that zero turn mowers are better to use in both large and small yards than a standard riding mower. These include:
Since these mowers have duel wheel motors, they can offer the driver a lot more maneuverability. This added maneuverability is due to the fact that you can control each wheel independently. This makes it possible to turn on a dime without having to move forward or backward at the same time.
Shorter mowing time
By using a zero turn mower, you should be able to cut your mowing time in half. Obviously, this can vary from yard to yard, but no matter how many landscaping features or obstacles you have to mow around, the added maneuverability of a zero turn mower will surely shorten your cutting time.
Less fuel consumption
Since you won’t be cutting as long with this type of mower, you will also certainly save on gas. These gas savings won’t take long to add up to savings in your bank account as well.
Another big advantage to running your mower less time is that it will allow you to keep from putting too much strain on the engine. This will, in turn, make it so the engine lasts even longer, which will help to save you more money in the long run.
Cleaner mowing job
Zero turn mowers are also known for having extremely high blade speeds in comparison to a standard riding mower. These higher speeds make it easier to get a much better cut, which will make your yard look that much better.
Another advantage of using a mower with higher blade speeds is that it will chop up leaves and grass very efficiently, which makes it a much better mulching material.
Less trimming necessary
Since zero-turn mowers can get much closer to landscaping features than a standard riding mower, you won’t need to trim around these features manually. This will, again, make your yard work take a lot less time.
Features to consider when choosing a zero turn lawn mower
As you can imagine, there are several different features that you need to take into account when you are looking for a great zero turn mower. In this section, we will go through everything you need to know to find the best model for your yard and cutting needs.
One of the first things that you need to take into consideration is the amount of power that you will need your mower’s engine to have. This will have a direct impact on a multitude of things, such as how much gas is consumed, the rate your mower can cut it, and how fast it can drive. The power level of a mower’s engine is shown as HP, or horsepower, which is the same scale used for cars. The higher the HP, the more power a mower will have.
If fuel efficiency is something that you are worried about, then you will want to go for a mower like the Husqvarna Z254. Since it has a lower amount of HP, it will not consume as much gasoline as a more powerful model. Fuel efficiency results in lower speed and less power tough. To cut tough stuff with ease, you’ll want to shoot for a model with more HP, like the Husqvarna MZ61, which runs at 27 HP.
Fuel tank capacity
Something else that you will want to keep in the back of your mind when you are shopping for the best zero turn mower is the fuel tank capacity. This is usually measured in gallons. Basically, the larger the tank, the longer your mower should run. If you have a larger yard, then you will want to make sure you get a model that has a larger capacity, like the Swisher Z3166CPKA. Its five-gallon tank will make it much easier to cut your whole yard without having to refuel midway through.
Of course, something else that should play into this decision is the fuel efficiency with which your mower operates.
More powerful engines are going to need more fuel, so you’ll want to avoid a model that has a small tank and a lot of HP. Ideally, you should look for a mower that can offer you a large tank with a less powerful motor, since that will help to make sure that the gas in the tank can last a lot longer.
Something else that you will want to carefully consider before you finalize your mower purchase is how wide you need your new machine to be. The wider the mower, the more it will be able to cut, which will help to cut your mowing time immensely. If you truly want to get the widest cutting mower possible, then you should definitely check out the Snapper 360Z, which has a cutting width of 52 inches.
Of course, even though these mowers are incredibly maneuverable, you don’t want to get one that is too wide for any spaces on your property. Wider mowers are also going to be more expensive, so bear that in mind when you are looking over your options. The 46 inches of cutting area offered by the Husqvarna Z254 may work well in a smaller yard.
Cutting height and number of height positions
As you can imagine, not every yard is the same. This could also be said for the people that are going to be cutting the grass there. Some folks like their grass to be nice and short, while others like it a little bit longer. Grass should also be cut at different lengths based on the time of year. No matter how you intend to cut your grass, it is a good idea to get a mower that allows you to cut at different heights. That way, you can ensure that your lawn is cut to a healthy length for the time of year, and to your liking as well.
If you are looking for the best mower for residential use, then you probably can save a bit of money and go with a mower that doesn’t offer quite as many cutting positions.
Most mowers offer up to thirteen different cutting positions, and can usually be adjusted from 1.5 inches to 4 or 4.5 inches, depending on the mower. Even a mower that only offers six cutting heights should be more than enough for home use.
The overall dimensions of a zero turn mower is another point that you should carefully consider. Even if you get a model that can be folded down, these are not small machines. You need to be sure that you carefully measure the storage space you have so that you are certain you can fit your new mower easily.
You also need to take the overall dimensions of your new mower into account if you are looking for the best overall zero turn mower for commercial use. If you have a lawn care business, then odds are you are going to need to take your new mower with you to a bunch of different locations. Before you make your final purchase, take the time to carefully measure your trailer or transport vehicle, so that you won’t have any issue fitting your mower when it comes time to load it up.
As with any big purchase, you want to make sure that you get a good warranty when you are purchasing a zero turn mower. Otherwise, you could end up having to foot the bill for accidental or incidental damage to the mower. When looking for a warranty, however, make sure that you read through the fine print very carefully.
Some companies will put out a warranty that claims an enormous length of coverage time without actually covering the entire mower. You should be especially careful when you look at a model that only offers a limited warranty, as this usually means that certain aspects of the mower, such as the motor or blades, won’t be covered if something happens to them.
How to maintain your zero turn mower
A zero turn mower is an expensive purchase, so you need to be certain to take good care of it. Here are some quick tips to help extend the life of your mower for a good long time. Each of these tips should be applied before, during, and after the cutting season to make sure your mower is running to its full potential.
Check the air filter – Air filters help to keep the engine running smoothly by preventing dust, dirt, and grass clippings from entering it. They can become clogged, however, so take the time to check and clear them regularly.
Clean the mower deck – Since this is the place that sees the most action when you are cutting, the mower deck can quickly become gummed up by yard clippings and debris. It is critical to remove this excess buildup regularly. Otherwise, your mower deck will begin to rust and won’t cut as smoothly, since things will be blocking the blade’s path.
Sharpen the blades – Even though you are only cutting grass with your mower’s blades, they will become dull over time. A dull blade will tear your grass rather than cutting it, which will make your yard look a lot less neat and trimmed than you would like it. The blades should be sharpened 2-3 times per year so that they can cut as well as they should.
Check the tire pressure – If your tires don’t have enough air in them, then you may start to notice that your yard isn’t being cut You should check the tire pressure at least once a month, and add air to any tire that is underinflated. That way, you can be sure you are getting a nice even cut every time.
Change the oil – Much like a car, a zero turn mower needs to have its oil changed every once in a while to make sure all of the moving parts in the engine are working correctly. You should change the oil after every 75 hours of use to keep the engine running smoothly.
Remove gas before storage for the winter – After the cutting season is over, be sure to remove any leftover gas from the tank. This will help to prevent the gas from going bad within the engine, which could have a negative effect on the mower’s performance.
Store your mower properly – Finally, make sure you have an enclosed space to store your mower so that it is out of the weather. This is a large investment, after all, so the last thing you want to do is keep it out in the weather to get rusted and ruined.
The mowers will come almost fully assembled. The main mechanical components will all be in place for you. All you will have to do is attach the seat, connect the battery, and fill both the gas and oil tanks. After that, you will be good to go once your new mower arrives.
On average, your mower should be able to run about six hours on a full tank of gas. Of course, some models will last longer than that, while others might not last quite that long. This will also depend on the speed you go while cutting and the size of your yard.
While it is definitely best practice to store your mower indoors if, at all possible, that doesn’t mean that you couldn’t keep it outside if you have no option for storing it. If that is the case for you, then you want to make sure that you get a high-quality cover to keep your mower protected from the rain and snow.
The Husqvarna Z254 is quite possibly the best overall zero turn mower on the market today. It offers plenty of power, fuel efficiency, and maneuverability to make cutting any lawn a breeze. It also offers extremely intuitive controls that make it a joy to drive.
The Swisher Z3166CPKA is an excellent option if you are looking for a larger style mower that won’t break the bank. Even though this mower is on the cheaper side, it is very durably built, making it a sound investment. It has an outstanding cutting area, which makes cutting larger areas quick and easy.
The Snapper 360Z is another good option, especially if you are looking for a great mower for residential use. It is very compact yet provides you with a very decently-sized deck of 52 inches and a 25 HP engine which allows the machine to perform superbly not only on even terrain but also on hills.