A Zero-turn mower is a lawnmower has a turning radius close to zero. The hydraulic speed control of the drive wheel enables it. A zero-turn mower can accommodate a variety of attachments like a dump cart, spreader, plug aerator, roller or sprayer. Some zero turn mowers have a snow blade/snow brush for cleaning snow. Choosing the best Zero Turn Mower becomes a difficult task without understanding the nature of the equipment.
Reasons to choose a Zero Turn Mower
Speed: Let’s say you are a busy person but would like to maintain a lawn. Wouldn’t you fancy a lawn mower that saves you time? The zero-turn mowers offer this feature. If you compare a ZTR with a traditional lawn riding mower, the ZTR on average will finish the job in half the time. If lawn mowing is your pastime, you can choose traditional mower over a zero-turn mower.
Cut quality: Zero turn mowers have a fabricated deck equipped with high-speed blades to get a better cut than the traditional lawnmowers. It doesn’t imply that no traditional mowers can offer the same cut quality. There are exceptions. The cutting positions vary from 8 to 15 in most of the models, 15 being the premium product.
Manoeuvrability: The Zero Turn Mowers as their name suggests offers manoeuvring capabilities. Be it speeding around trees or navigating the complicated landscape, ZTR does it with ease. The mowing job is now quicker.
Don’t look beyond a Zero turn Mower if these are the main criteria for selection.
What you shouldn’t expect in your Best Zero Turn Mower?
Designed to mow weekly or biweekly grass growth, The zero turn lawn mowers don’t work well with mowing pastures, fields, and paddocks. It is a finished cut mower designed to cut lawns shorter than 6 inches. Attempting to mow anything taller than that can be futile and will damage the deck spindles and belts, even with an expensive ZTR.
Mowing hills can be a problem. We do have zero-turn mowers with special tires which provide traction designed to handle hilly terrain. But it would be naive to assume, that all ZTR’s are effective in sloped terrain. To be safe zero-turn mowers should steer clear of any wet surface.
Best Zero Turn Mowers 2020
These features discussed above decide the quality of the Zero Turn Mower and their fit to a particular requirement. We will take a look into the best Zero Turn Mowers available in the market.
1. Ariens Apex 60″ Kawasaki – Best Commercial Zero Turn Mower
Ariens Company is an equipment manufacturing company specialising in snow blowers, lawn tractors, and zero-turn lawn mowers for commercial and high-end consumers. Apex 60 is a premium product which comes with a Kawasaki V-Twin, the powerful engine of Arien. It offers Forward/Reverse speeds of 8MPH/4MPH.
The 60-inch fabricated deck, operated by foot can cut at 15 different heights. It comes with a 400-hour warranty.
- 24 HP/726 cc Kawasaki FR V-Twin
- Tubular steel frame and Self-adjusting belts
- High-Back Comfort with Springs, Lever Adjust, Arm Rests, Foot-operated deck lift made of 10 gauge steel
- Suitable for large acreage and thick weed growth clearing
- Sufficient fuel capacity at 18.9L
- Can handle sloped surface up to 15 degrees
- Excess rattling and loudness
2. Husqvarna MZ61
The Husqvarna MZ61, powered by a Briggs and Stratton 27 HP engine comes with 6-inch large rear and front tires. It offers superior strength and a pedal-assisted cutting fabricated, 11 gauge steel deck. It can mow 4.2 acres per hour with a speed of 8 MPH.
- 6-inch wide durable caster tire
- Removable foot pan for easy access to deck belt pulleys, spindles and clean-up
- Oil and filter maintenance, hydraulic drive system components/adjustment, electrical system and battery are ergonomically placed
- An oversized cooling fan for extreme durability
- A 9-bushel triple bag collection system
- Can handle slopes with tire upgrades
- No fuel level indicators
- High maintenance cost
3. Mustang 60 XP Zero-Turn Rider
The TROY-BILT Mustang 60 XP Zero-turn rider, powered by a Briggs and Stratton, commercial turf twin 25HP engine comes with a 15 position height cutter, 60-inch fabricated deck. It offers good mowing speeds of 7.5 MPH and reverse speed of 2.5 MPH.
- 60″ triple-blade deck with side discharge
- Electric PTO to enable easy control of the blades
- Front axle grease fittings for long service life
- A high-back seat that comes with dual suspension springs
- Fuel capacity of 10.5 Litres
- Doesn’t suit sloped surfaces
4. Cub Cadet RZT-SX 54
SX 54 from Cub cadet, powered by a 21.5 HP Kawasaki engine features a Heavy-Duty Fabricated deck which reduces mowing time. It can handle large yards and tough terrain. The 4-wheel control offers stability on hills. The turn mower has a storage console, LED headlights and a charging station. The cub cadet comes with a cushioned seat with armrests.
- 11 gauge steel fabricated deck with 8-cutting positions
- The SmartJet deck wash system employs high-pressure water to clean out debris
- Can handle more than 4 acres
- Quick deck attaching and removal
- Forward mowing speed of 8 MPH and Reverse speed of 3 MPH
- Cub Connect Bluetooth Enabled helps you monitor mowers maintenance through a mobile device
- Despite the SynchroSteer technology, the steering becomes harder as the mower ages.
5. Ariens IKON-X 52
The mower comes with a potential of the commercial mower and offers superior performance. This 23 HP Kawasaki FR V-Twin engine complements the11-Gauge steel fabricated deck, that comes with a three-blade, and 52-inch cutting width. The EZT hydrostatic trans axles enable smooth and responsive control.
- Foot-operated deck system with 13 cutting positions
- 5-years warranty on Deck and Frame
- The forward speed of 7MPH, reverse mowing speed of 3 MPH
- Good Back-comfort with Seat Springs and armrests
- 2-4 acres mowing capacity
- It comes with an electric start
- 10.5 litres of fuel capacity
6. Husqvarna Z246
Husqvarna Z246, powered by a V-twin Briggs and Stratton 20 HP Engine comes with a full pressure lubrication system, a spin-on oil filter to manage the friction. It comes with a 13-gauge welded steel fabricated deck. Twin blades can handle good grass growth. The 15” high back-seat has a spring suspension with the choke, throttle and ignition all ergonomically placed. The Footpad is removable to handle the issue related to pulleys or spindles.
- 46” stamped deck made of 13-gauge steel with side discharge
- The manual hand-operated deck system
- High fuel capacity of 13.2 litres
- Digitally programmed hour meter
- The forward speed of 6.5 MPH to achieve 2.4 acres/hr
- Noisy hydraulics
- No armrests
7. Ariens Zoom 42
Ariens Zoom 42, powered by a 19 HP Kohler engine comes with a self-adjustable belt-tension technology. The 12 gauge steel deck can cut grass from 1.5-4.5 inches. The wash-out port makes the cleaning easy. Zoom 42 accommodates a mulching kit and a two buck bag. The sliding seat comes with armrests that operate in three directions.
- Powered by 19 HP Kohler 6600 V-Twin engine
- A foot-operated deck made of 12 gauge steel comes with a washout port makes cleaning easy
- The backed padded seats give comfort
- Comes with a handy deck lever to adjust deck height
- Has some issues with traction on wet terrain
- Overheating of the exhausts
Best Zero Turn Mower Buyer’s Guide
With a plethora of Zero Turn movers from different brands available in the market, it becomes impossible to nitpick every model. But one can make diligent choices by looking into features of a Zero-turn lawnmower and decide which ZTR works best for them.
Wheel Pumps/Motors: The horsepower is the metric, to assess the speed of the zero-turn mowers and everything rests on the quality of the wheel pump. It is essential to look at the pump manufacturer.
Deck: The mowing deck is an indispensable part of the mower. The fabricated decks are a substantial upgrade to the previous versions. A 11 gauge & 12 gauge steel are more prevalent in the recent models.
Suspension: Zero-turn mowers aim at giving a smooth ride. Suspension seats, springs and the frame become an integral part of the design.
Tires: The nature of the terrain and suitability of the treads in the tire plays an important role. An aggressive tire can sabotage your flat lawn. The onus is on the customer to have a clear idea of their requirement and buy a tire that suits the terrain.
Ergonomics: Logging hours is essential in a lawnmower, as is the deck lift. Each manufacturer has its deck lift system and offers other features like PTO switches, cup holders, chargers. It doesn’t make sense to pay for an unnecessary feature.
While the requirements can be specific, all the Zero-turn mower offer sufficient features for their price. The Ariens Apex 60″ Kawasaki despite being costly comes with great features. It is the most suitable mower for sloped terrains at this price. Ariens IKON-X 52 comes with great features and delivers with a powerful engine at a price, little more than 3000$. The Cub Cadet RZT-SX 54 is one of the best Zero turn mowers available in the market for $4000.