If you have enough lawn to justify a riding mower, you might find that a zero-turn mower is ideal for you. A zero-turn mower is also known as a ZTR mower. It is used very often for commercial uses by professional landscapers, but it also is a good fit for the average homeowner’s budget. This type of mower is engineered to be faster, safer, more efficient, and more comfortable. It can go much faster than a conventional riding mower, cutting mowing time by up to 70% in some cases. Drive this mower very close to obstacles such as trees, bushes, and flowerbeds, getting a nice snug cutting area. Eliminate the time needed to trim these areas separately.
- 1 Top 10 Zero Turn Mowers
- 2 John Deere Z335E 42 in. 20 HP Dual Hydrostatic Gas Zero-Turn Riding Mower
- 3 Ariens Zoom 34 – 19hp Kohler 6000 Series V-Twin 34″ Zero Turn Lawn Mower
- 4 Husqvarna Z254 V-Twin 724 cc Zero Turn Mower, 54″
- 5 Swisher ZTR2454BS 24HP 54” B&S Zero Turn Mower
- 6 Ariens Max Zoom 52” Kohler 7000 Series Zero-Turn Riding Mower
- 7 Husqvarna MZ52 Kohler 7000 Series 52” Riding Lawn Mower
- 8 Poulan Pro 967330901 P46ZX Zero Turn Radius Riding Mower, 46-Inch
- 9 Troy-Bilt Mustang 54 XP Zero-Turn Mower
- 10 Husqvarna RZ3016 30-Inch Zero Turn Riding Lawn Mower
- 11 Swisher Z-MAX XTR 54-Inch Zero Turn Riding Mower ZT2454
Top 10 Zero Turn Mowers
|Poulan Pro P46ZX Briggs V-Twin Pro 22 HP||4.2||$||19|
|Husqvarna 967324101 V-Twin 724 cc||4.2||$$||15|
|Husqvarna 967323903 V-Twin 724 cc||4.3||$$||13|
|Poulan Pro 967331001 P54ZX||4.1||$$||12|
|Husqvarna MZ61 27 HP Zero Turn Mower||4.2||$$$||7|
|John Derre Z335E 42 in. 20 HP||5||$$$||2|
|Ariens Zoom 34 - 19hp||5||$||2|
|Max Zoom 60 in. 25 HP Kohler 7000 Series Pro||5||$$$$||1|
|Husqvarna 25HP 725 CC Kohler||3.5||$$$||2|
|Troy-Bilt Mustang 54 25HP 54-Inch||3||$$||3|
Obviously the defining feature of the zero-turn mower is its tight turn radius. The zero-turn mower generally has two drive wheels hydraulically controlled to spin independently. The tight turning operation spins the mower in place, pivoting a full 180 degrees. It can literally turn on a dime. Mowers that incorporate the zero-turn design will generally have an exceptionally low center of gravity. Their wide tires are particularly easy on the turf. Hydraulic steering controls allow the operator to make minute adjustments to the speed and steer with great precision.
Zero turn riding mowers come in a variety of sizes and capacities, whether for residential use on a small lawn, all the way up to commercial use by professional landscapers. Commercial-grade models are typically engineered with heavier components, and their engines will have a longer lifespan. They are still suitable for residential use if it’s within your budget. ZTR mowers can range in weight from 600 up to 1600 pounds – about the size of a small car. Their prices also vary greatly, generally starting at around $2,000 at the low end, all the way up to $16,000 or higher.
What qualities should you consider when you are purchasing your ZTR mower? Obviously price is a key component and you will want to carefully consider your budget. We recommend a twin-cylinder OHV engine for a smooth, powerful ride with less vibration. Look for a durable product with a sturdy frame and well-constructed deck. Durable and strong mowers will incorporate high-gauge steel and effective protection of the engine.
The ideal ZTR mower will deliver comfort and ease of operation. The seat should be comfortable and have a good back rest. Control panels should be convenient to reach and operate. Adjustable mowing speed will allow the driver to calibrate for wide, open spaces versus operating around flowerbeds and other obstacles. The mower deck should be equipped with small wheels that help raise the deck over uneven surfaces and help prevent the lawn from getting cut too short. Look for wider tires, which help distribute weight over a wider area and provide better traction. We recommend 4-ply rated tires.
There are a few cautions to be aware of with a zero turn mower. Many manufacturers state that a zero turn mower should not be operated at slopes greater than 10 degrees. It may be tempting to go for a smaller (and cheaper) zero turn mower. However note that smaller vehicles don’t handle inclines as well, don’t have good traction, and tend to tear up your lawn a bit more. Many economy mowers won’t mow in reverse. Look for a zero turn with a rounded rear frame in order to avoid damage to anything behind you. If the engine on the mower sticks out farther than the frame, you risk damaging the engine if you run into something. Don’t pick a smaller mower just because it’s cheap; choose the mower that will best meet your lawn care needs.
Testers report that price isn’t always a guarantee of quality. There can be a huge variance in quality and comfort even between similarly priced machines. Before committing to a purchase, we suggest the time-honored practice of “showrooming.” Go window shopping at a local dealer so you can test-drive a few machines before buying your favorite online.
If you have never driven a zero turn mower, there can be a bit of a learning curve, because they don’t handle the same way as a riding mower. Many zero turn mowers steer with a lap-bar instead of a steering wheel. It is a good idea to do a few practice runs around an improvised obstacle course with plastic buckets or garbage cans until you can drive precisely around obstacles without impact. Learn to keep the rear wheels moving. The inside wheel can tear up your lawn if it stops while the mower is turning. If you can find a zero turn mower with a steering wheel, like the newer Cub Cadet zero turn mowers or the Toro zero turn mower, you will find it easier to maneuver and better able to handle slopes.
In the end, only you can decide which ZTR mower will best suit your needs and requirements. Hopefully this guide will help you purchase the best zero turn mower for the money. One thing you should be aware of is that California has unique safety and emissions requirements for riding mowers. If you are a California resident shopping for a mower and it says it is not available in California, you should check to see if there is a California-compliant version. Now, here are 10 ZTR mowers that we have identified as terrific buys.
John Deere Z335E 42 in. 20 HP Dual Hydrostatic Gas Zero-Turn Riding Mower
John Deere is one of the best-known brands in farm equipment. Now they meet the needs of the residential homeowner with the Z335E. Its small footprint is ideal for small-scale landscaping work, as well as at-home storage. The styling of John Deere’s ZTrak line of mowers is functional and attractive, in the trademark green and yellow to appeal to residential owners who appreciate product appearance.
Power: The 20-hp V-twin OHV engine provides exceptional power and torque for mowing in all kinds of conditions. The John Deere Z335E utilizes the durable Hydro-Gear EZT dual transmission, which is sealed and has no hose connections that could leak hydraulic fluid. Dual transmissions efficiently propel the mower in forward and reverse. An electronic ignition enables a fast start, while overhead valves provide great power and fuel economy. John Deere has gone out of their way to make key components accessible and easy to service. The fuel tank is easily accessible and holds 2.1 gallons. Top mowing speed is 7 MPH.
Durability: This John Deere zero turn mower is engineered with a heavy-duty welded steel frame. The mower deck is constructed from 12-gauge steel.
Operation: The mower deck cutting height adjusts from 1-4 inches in quarter-inch increments, adding up to 12 height positions. Large wheels provide better traction as well as a smoother ride. Whether it’s mulching, rear discharging or side discharge, the cut quality is unsurpassed, even in wet conditions. The John Deere Z335E incorporates the optimized design of the Accel Deep mower deck. The flat-top design enables a clean flow of grass throughout the deck and discharge area, without trading off speed during cutting. The deck is 4.5 inches deep for superior execution of mowing, mulching and bagging. The Accel Deep mower deck is also compatible with the innovative MulchControl™ kit (sold separately). MulchControl allows operators to quickly switch between side discharge and mulching with just a flip of a lever. In addition you have the ability to attach a rear discharge chute or mulching blade.
Comfort: The operator station is designed by John Deere for comfort and convenience. Color coded controls make identification easy. Twin-level motion controls adjust to a total of 18 positions, for convenience and driver comfort. The comfortable padded seat provides good support and is adjustable to the size of the driver. Suspension is handled by two steel springs, to absorb shocks.
Bottom line: with the Z335E, John Deere has created a sleek little mower for the residential market. With the 42-inch deck and a weight of 650 pounds, the size is quite manageable for the average homeowner.
Ariens Zoom 34 – 19hp Kohler 6000 Series V-Twin 34″ Zero Turn Lawn Mower
The Ariens Zoom 34” Zero Turn Lawn Mower is engineered for the small-scale residential operator. Both its price and its size are well suited to light or medium residential use.
Power: The 19-hp Kohler 6000 series engine is designed for high productivity and exceptional cutting performance. The Ariens Zoom 34” incorporates industry-standard Hydro-Gear EZT transaxles with 1-inch axle shafts, which will deliver responsive and smooth control. The fuel tank is accessible and holds 2 gallons. Top mowing speed is 6 MPH forward and 3 MPH in reverse.
Durability: The Ariens Zoom 34” is built to last with a fully welded steel frame and a fixed front axle. The mower deck is constructed from 12-gauge stamped steel. The mower is designed with a low center of gravity, for improved stability and handling.
Operation: The mower deck cutting height adjusts from 1.5-4.5 inches in 7 height positions, adjusted with a foot control. The deck comes with a standard side discharge for clippings. At only 34 inches wide, this mower is ideal for smaller lawns, especially those with obstacles such as gates and flowerbeds that would preclude a larger mower. This petite mower is not very good on slopes because it is too light, and the rear tires are too narrow to provide good traction. But within these limitations it is an excellent mower for light duty work. It discharges clippings evenly with very little clumping. You can also raise the mowing deck to go over uneven surfaces such as tree roots.
Comfort: The comfortable padded seat provides good support up to the mid-back. Fully adjustable control arms can be accommodated for operator preference in three different directions.
Bottom line: Overall the Ariens Zoom 34” is an economical residential zero turn mower. You will be getting a mower that is reliable and dependable, and performs quite well for the price.
Husqvarna Z254 V-Twin 724 cc Zero Turn Mower, 54″
The Husqvarna Z254 V-Twin 724CC Zero Turn Mower offers a substantial 54” deck, for quicker and more efficient mowing at an economical price point.
Power: This Husqvarna 54” model is engineered with the 24-hp V-Twin 724CC engine powered by Briggs & Stratton. Among its many premium features, this engine incorporates an oversized cooling fan and exceptional air filtration to deliver excellent performance and efficiency. The Husqvarna Z254 is equipped with industry-standard Hydro-Gear hydrostatic EZT transmissions. The fuel tank is readily accessible and holds 3.5 gallons. Top mowing speed is 6.5 MPH forward.
Durability: This Husqvarna zero turn mower is designed for the long haul. The mower deck is constructed from 12-gauge stamped steel, reinforced with flat-stock steel on the leading edge and trim side for extra strength. Rubber bellows on the controls help to prevent debris and moisture from entering the control system.
Operation: The mower deck cutting height adjusts from 1.5-4 inches by means of a manual, spring-assisted control. The mower comes equipped with anti-scalp rollers, and an electric clutch for blade engagement. The 3-blade system is assisted by air induction mowing technology, which improves grass lift and enables superior cutting performance. At 54” wide, you’ll be able to cut wide swaths of grass more efficiently and quickly.
Comfort: The operator rides comfortably in the spring-supported seat with backrest. The ergonomic control panel places all necessary controls within convenient reach. An anti-slip foot area guards against mishaps even in wet conditions.
Bottom line: This is a practical, budget-friendly mower that will deliver a high-quality cutting experience. You will feel like the king of the lawn when you drive the Husqvarna Z254 54” Zero Turn Mower.
Swisher ZTR2454BS 24HP 54” B&S Zero Turn Mower
The Swisher ZTR2454BS is a high-performance and stylish mower that you will be able to use for years. Your professional-looking and manicured lawn will be the envy of your neighbors.
Power: The Swisher ZTR 2454BS is equipped with the Briggs & Stratton Professional Series 24-hp engine for superior power and handling. It also includes the best-in-class Hydro Gear 2800 transmissions and Ogura clutch. An electric-assisted start means less waiting when you are ready to mow. The capacious fuel tank holds 8 gallons, so you can get more use out of the mower before refueling. Top mowing speed is 8 MPH forward or reverse. A full engine wrap is designed to guard your engine in case of impact.
Durability: The Swisher ZTR 2454BS is constructed with a commercial grade welded steel frame. The mower deck consists of 11-gauge stamped steel.
Operation: The mower deck cutting height adjusts from 1.5-4 inches in 8 cutting positions. Easily raise and lower the deck with a foot control. Three Gator mulching blades provide a powerful and efficient cutting experience, and the 54” width means you can cut more acreage in less time. Instead of lapbar steering, this mower uses joystick controls for greater control and maneuverability. Despite its weight, the Swisher ZTR 2454BS is an agile and responsive vehicle, with its new Rapid Response Control System.
Comfort: The operator rides comfortably in the high backed seat with armrests. You will find that the ergonomic control panel places all necessary controls within your reach. Extra features include storage within the fenders, a cup holder, battery compartment, 12V adapter, and front and rear hitch.
Bottom line: Overall consumers are very satisfied with the easy operation and high-end performance of the Swisher ZTR 2454BS. It is a well-constructed, high-quality machine that is very responsive and a joy to ride.
Ariens Max Zoom 52” Kohler 7000 Series Zero-Turn Riding Mower
The Ariens Max Zoom 52” ZTR mower is a premium, commercial-grade mower with a price to match. But the relatively small deck size makes it an excellent purchase for residential work.
Power: The Ariens Max Zoom 52” delivers professional-grade performance with the 725CC 23 hp engine. The Kohler 7000 series pro V-twin is engineered to provide consistent power and also has a high EPA. The Ariens Max Zoom 52” features the top-shelf ZT-3100 hydrostatic transaxles. The twin transaxles deliver the best in high-quality engineering for durability, strength and speed. The capacious fuel tank holds 6 gallons, limiting your refueling requirements. Top mowing speed is 8 MPH forward and 4 MPH in reverse.
Durability: The Ariens Max Zoom is designed for the long haul, including a commercial grade welded steel frame. The mower deck is constructed with 10-gauge stamped steel.
Operation: The mower deck cutting height adjusts from 1-5 inches for maximum flexibility. The foot-operated deck lift is simple and intuitive to use. Double-sided blades are constructed with high-quality, resilient material. These durable blades won’t need to be changed every 2-3 months. You can purchase high quality mulching and bagging accessories depending on your mowing needs.
Comfort: The lapbars are fully adjustable, with vibration isolators for a more comfortable ride, and they can be adjusted to three different positions. You will find that there is plenty of legroom. The durable leather seat is designed for comfort with superior padding, an adjustable backrest, and armrests. The lapbars swing outward for easy access to get on or off. Proprietary FlexTend Shoulder Supports are attached to the control bars allowing a place for the operator to rest their arm.
Bottom line: Make no mistake, the Ariens Max Zoom 52” riding mower is a premium, high quality vehicle constructed with top-shelf components. You are making an investment in a professional-grade machine that will last for many years to come.
Husqvarna MZ52 Kohler 7000 Series 52” Riding Lawn Mower
The MZ52 Zero Turn Riding Lawn Mower is one of the newest offerings from Husqvarna. The MZ series sets a whole new standard in performance, productivity, and comfort.
Power: The Husqvarna MZ52 Zero Turn Riding Lawn Mower delivers exceptional power and speed with the Kohler 7000 Series 25 hp engine. The mower comes equipped with integrated zero-turn ZT3100 hydrostatic transmissions that are designed with charge-pumps and larger drive axles for improved durability and long life. The capacity of the fuel tank is 5 gallons, allowing for longer drives without refueling. The top speed is an amazing 8.5 MPH forward (reverse function is not available).
Durability: The Husqvarna MZ52 is constructed with top-shelf components for maximum durability and longevity. The oversized welded tube frame offers improved stability and structural integrity. The heavy-duty 52” cutting deck is fabricated from twin sheets of 11-gauge steel.
Operation: The mower deck incorporates eight height settings, ranging from 1.5-4.5 inches, to deliver a superior cut at the desired height. Three-piece blades provide maximum efficiency and cutting performance. Flexible available cutting methods include collection, mulching, and side discharge. An optional 9 bushel triple bag collection system attaches or detaches with just a few short steps.
Comfort: Dual lapbars incorporate foam-padded hand grips and viscous dampers to reduce vibration. The mower is equipped with a comfortable high back seat, standard armrests, and a cup holder.
Bottom line: The Husqvarna MZ52 Zero Turn Riding Lawn Mower is a mid-range ZTR mower at an affordable price, practical for all of your property maintenance needs.
Poulan Pro 967330901 P46ZX Zero Turn Radius Riding Mower, 46-Inch
Although the Poulan Pro P46ZX Zero Turn Riding Mower is one of the more expensive options on our list, you’ll find that it delivers a superior riding experience and more effective operation.
Power: The Poulan Pro P46ZX Zero Turn Riding Mower delivers high-end performance with the 22 hp Briggs & Stratton professional series twin engine. The mower is equipped with a dual hydro-gear EZT drive system for maximum maneuverability and speed. The fuel tank has a capacity of 3.5 gallons. Top mowing speed is 6 MPH forward.
Durability: The Poulan Pro P46ZX is engineered with best-in-class components for maximum durability and longevity. The mower deck consists of heavy duty 13 gauge stamped reinforced steel.
Operation: The mower deck cutting height adjusts from 1.5-4 inches in half-inch increments, for maximum flexibility. The foot-operated deck lift is simple and intuitive to use. Trim your lawn as close to the ground as you like. Three anti-scalp rollers will prevent too close of a cut. You will be impressed with the exceptional cutting speed and quality as well as the automatic clipping disposal. Easily maneuver around flowerbeds, trees, and other obstacles, and get a nice close cut that saves you from having to go back and hand-trim later.
Comfort: The Poulan Pro P46ZX incorporates easy-to-operate dual lapbars with foam padded hand grips. The seat is quite comfortable with the 15” extra-high back. The control panel is within easy reach of the operator without straining.
Bottom line: The Poulan Pro P46ZX Zero Turn Radius Riding Mower is powerful, effective, and speedy. Its high durability and longevity makes it worth a bigger investment.
Troy-Bilt Mustang 54 XP Zero-Turn Mower
The Troy-Bilt Mustang 54 XP Zero-Turn Mower packs in high performance and a ton of features for an economical price.
Power: The Troy-Bilt Mustang 54 XP Zero-Turn Mower boasts a 25hp Briggs & Stratton Twin Cylinder engine for superior power and performance. Maneuverability and handling are top-notch thanks to the twin hydro-gear EZT transmissions. The ReadyStart feature allows for quick start for a cold engine. The fuel tank capacity is 2.8 gallons. Maximum forward movement is 7 MPH, and 2.5 MPH in reverse.
Durability: The Troy-Bilt Mustang 54 XP Zero-Turn Mower is engineered with best-in-class components for maximum durability and longevity. The frame and the mower deck are constructed with heavy-duty reinforced steel.
Operation: The mower deck allows eight height settings, ranging from 1.5-4.5 inches, so that you can get the cut you want. Twin blades provide maximum efficiency and cutting performance, and clippings are distributed in a side discharge. Electric power take-off makes blade engagement easier and faster. The 54” width allows for a wide cutting swath, so your mowing job will take less time. Maintenance is made easier with the specialized air filter, which requires less frequent replacement. The air filter is specially designed to deflect small debris that might damage the filters. Proprietary FastAttach accessories (sold separately) attach easily with no tools required to improve the mower’s versatility.
Comfort: The Troy-Bilt Mustang 54 XP Zero-Turn Mower has conveniently located control panels that the operator can reach in comfort. You will also appreciate the low-noise, low-vibration engine for a quiet, smooth ride. A high-back, 18-inch seat, paired with ample legroom, is comfortable for continuous sitting even on longer mowing jobs. Equipped with dual suspension, you can be sure of a smooth ride even on bumpy terrain. The lapbars are fully adjustable, and the parking brake will be automatically engaged when you open them to stand up.
Bottom line: The Troy-Bilt Mustang 54 XP Zero-Turn Mower is proof that you don’t have to sacrifice quality if you have a smaller budget. You will not be disappointed with this mower’s durability, performance, and power.
Husqvarna RZ3016 30-Inch Zero Turn Riding Lawn Mower
The Husqvarna RZ3016 30-Inch Zero Turn Riding Lawn Mower is a micro-machine designed for the small-scale residential operator. With a tiny 30” deck, storage will be less of a headache. This mower is perfect for those who need to mow a small plot with small gates or lots of obstacles. We do recommend against using such a light vehicle on slopes or in wet or muddy conditions.
Power: The Husqvarna RZ3016 incorporates the 16.5hp Briggs & Stratton endurance series engine which delivers extraordinary power and speed. The hydrostatic EZT transmissions are integrated for maintenance-free security. A 12V electric starter offers convenience, simplicity, and responsiveness. The fuel tank holds 3 gallons and the light weight means better fuel efficiency. Top mowing speed is 6.5 MPH forward (no reverse function is available).
Durability: The Husqvarna RZ3016 is built for long-lasting performance with a rugged steel tube frame. The mower deck is engineered with 13-gauge stamped steel.
Operation: The mower deck cutting height adjusts from 1.5-4.5 inches for flexibility, by way of a manual, hand-operated deck lift system. Proprietary air-induction technology improves the grass lift and delivers exceptional cutting performance. An on-board water hose connection facilitates the cleaning of the deck.
Comfort: The mower is equipped with a comfortable padded vinyl seat which is supported with a spring and has a medium-height back. Foam padded lapbars are ergonomically designed for comfort.
Bottom line: Overall the Husqvarna RZ3016 30-Inch Zero Turn Riding Lawn Mower is an economical ZTR mower for small-scale work. You will be getting a mower that is reliable and dependable for its intended use, and performs quite well for the price.
Swisher Z-MAX XTR 54-Inch Zero Turn Riding Mower ZT2454
The Swisher Z-MAX XTR 54-Inch Zero Turn Riding Mower is a practical and affordable machine that will deliver all the function and performance you might want.
Power: The Swisher Z-MAX XTR Zero Turn Mower incorporates top-shelf components like the 24hp Briggs and Stratton Extended Life Series V-twin OHV engine. A full pressure lubrication system and spin-on oil filter are easily accessible, making maintenance easy and worry-free. A commercial grade Eaton hydrostatic transmission provides unparalleled responsiveness and handling. A simple push-pull button enables electric turn-key start. Dual fuel tanks store a total of four gallons. Maximum forward movement is 6 MPH either in forward or reverse.
Operation: The spring assisted lever deck lift adjusts from 1.5-5.5 inches at eight positions. Three high-performance Gator mulcher blades deliver clean and superior cutting operation. The ride will be exceptionally smooth and stable thanks to a fabricated pivoting front axle, paired with wide high traction rear tires. Front and rear bumper rollers help prevent scalping and protect in case of impact with trees.
Comfort: The Swisher Z-MAX XTR Zero Turn Mower delivers user-friendly design and ease of operation. The comfortable mid-back high seat includes armrests and 6 inches of slide adjustment.
Bottom line: The Swisher Z-MAX XTR Zero Turn Mower is packed with features that make for efficient cutting and a smooth ride. This is a well-constructed, functional machine for maintaining a manicured, professional-looking lawn in less time.