8 Best Stand-On Mowers of 2023. Big zero turn mowers
Why You Should Consider the Hustler DASH Zero-Turn Lawnmower
What do you do when your garage is too small to store a zero-turn lawnmower and your yard is too big for a walk behind? Are your legs tired of pushing a mower, or is your book tired of paying someone to cut your grass? Or maybe your backyard gate is just not wide enough for a riding mower. Enter the Hustler DASH. a competitively priced zero-turn lawnmower, with a small footprint, but huge benefits.
A Quality Zero-Turn Lawnmower
When Hustler decided to build a zero-turn lawnmower that anyone could afford, they did not want to sacrifice the quality they are known for. That is why you will find an 11-gauge welded fabricated deck with a 14-gauge reinforcement at the spindle mounts. It is available in two sizes, a 34 inch or 42 inch, and both have the open deck design to help discharge grass when it’s wet. There is even a foot operated deck lift just like the bigger machines.
Another feature that makes the Hustler DASH one of the top zero-turn mowers is the patented automatic park brake. This is activated when the levers are placed in the neutral position, so no more fumbling for an extra lever to set the parking brake before getting off the machine.
Stand-On vs. Sit On Zero Turn Mowers
The Hustler DASH is powered by a 10.5 horsepower Briggs and Stratton engine with a 2.8-quart gas tank. So, a one-gallon gas can is plenty for this machine. And if you run out of gas before you are done, you probably have a bigger yard than what it was designed for. Hustler recommends this zero-turn lawnmower is ideal for yards that are ¾-acre or less.
It has two ZT-1800 hydrostatic transmissions made by Hydro-gear with a top speed of 5 miles per hour. The 42-inch will mow 2.03 acres in one hour while the 34-inch can mow 1.65 acres per hour. Although Hustler specs say that it measures 37.5-inch with the chute up, we were able to squeeze the 34-inch deck thru a 36-inch doorway in our showroom by bending the plastic discharge a little bit.
Hustler stands behind its zero-turn lawnmower with a two-year warranty for residential use. The warranty covers the engine and transmission. Also, don’t forget to accessorize it with the optional grass catcher, light kit or engine guard. With zero percent financing available, you will find this zero-turn mower very affordable.
Get Your Hustler DASH Today
We’re impressed by what we’ve seen from this zero-turn lawnmower, but don’t take our word for it. Stop by our Loysville dealership today see the latest innovation from Hustler, the DASH!
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Have you ever wondered if a stand-on mower is the right option for your lawn? We break down the pros and cons and help you make a decision.
Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.
Buying a Stand-On Mower
If you’ve ever seen professional landscapers zipping around on stand-on mowers and completing their work in record time, you’ve likely wondered if you should get one for your own home lawn care.
These machines are favorites among pros for their nimbleness, comfort, durability and relatively small footprint, which means more of them fit onto a landscaping trailer.
Homeowners can also enjoy the benefits of these mowers. In particular, some homeowners favor the comfortable ride and precision controls.
Comfort comes from the design. Stand-on mowers spread the bouncing and jolts across your entire body, rather than concentrating it in your hips and back. Precision is another benefit. A stand-on mower provides a line of sight to the cutting line that can’t be beaten.
However, they’re not for everyone. Stand-on mowers are much more expensive than typical residential models, running in the thousands of dollars. It makes sense for pros to pay extra for that kind of reliability and power, but many homeowners find them cost prohibitive.
If you’re in the market for a stand-on mower, here are some essential factors to consider:
- Price: These mowers are built for rugged daily or near-daily use, which is why they’re targeted to commercial buyers. The cheapest will still run you more than 5,000, while most models are more than 10,000.
- Deck size: If you need to navigate gates and turn tight circles around beloved bushes and trees, a smaller deck is often better. If you have more wide-open spaces, look for a mower with a wider deck.
- Deck construction: A lower gauge steel deck can take more of a beating. Most stand-on mowers come with seven- or 10-gauge steel decks.
- Cutting speed: Stand-on mowers typically move forward at seven to 12 miles per hour. This puts them in line with. or even ahead of, most residential zero-turn riding lawnmowers. The bigger and more open your lawn is, the more that cutting speed pays off.
- Fuel supply: Almost all stand-on powers are gasoline powered, though one we’ll mention below runs on propane. If you have a particularly large yard, look for a mower with a larger fuel tank.
- Warranty: These vary by manufacturer and model. Most run at least a two years, but check the fine print. Some are different for commercial or residential use, and some limit coverage it you exceed a certain number of operating hours.
Best All-Around Stand-On Mower
The Husqvarna V548 is a good middle-of-the-road option. Its 48-inch cutting deck is narrow enough to make it through most gates, while still big enough to make quick work of larger yards.
The seven-gauge steel deck can take a beating, and the seven gallon fuel tank carries enough gas to handle most jobs in one filling. It comes with a 24.5-horsepower (HP) Kawasaki engine, and a maximum cutting speed of 11 miles per hour (mph).
Best Entry-Level Stand-On Mower
Cub Cadet’s Pro X 636 comes with a 36-inch-wide deck, allowing you to navigate tighter obstacles. It’s also a good choice if you’ll need to pass through narrower gates, or have limited storage options.
The Pro X 636 features an 18.5-HP Kawasaki engine and an 8.5 mph maximum cutting speed. It comes with a six-gallon fuel tank. The 10-gauge steel deck shell is on the thinner side, but should handle the wear and tear of residential use.
Best Mower From a Legendary Manufacturer
John Deere is a well-recognized name in lawn care. The John Deere 636M stand-on mower offers a 36-inch cutting deck made of seven-gauge steel. Powered by a 19-HP engine, it’s features a 5.5-gallon fuel tank.
One nice touch: A storage area that provides a convenient place to stash your cell phone, gloves and other small items. If you prefer to mulch your grass clippings, the 636M has an optional mulching attachment and blades.
Best Stand-On Mower for Heavy Use
The Pro X 660 EFI is the current top Cub Cadet stand-on mower line. It features a 60-inch cutting deck made of 10-gauge steel. Its 29.5-HP Kawasaki engine generates a maximum forward cutting speed of 10 mph, and the 7.5-gallon gas tank carries enough fuel to do most jobs in a single fill-up.
One strong selling point of the Cub Cadets is their warranty: Three years with no usage-hour limit for the motor, and five years on the cutting deck. This is a great choice for those with large properties requiring frequent mowing.
Best Alternate-Fuel Stand-On Mower
The John Deere 652R made our list because it offers more fuel flexibility than most stand-on mowers. You can use standard gasoline or convert to propane with an optional kit.
It boasts a 52-inch, seven-gauge steel cutting deck. The 23.5-HP gas engine comes with a 5.6-gallon fuel tank and can reach forward cutting speeds of 9.6 mph. Like the 636M, the 652R has an optional attachment and blades allowing you to mulch your grass.
Hustler Super 104 Zero Turn Mower – Big and Nimble
We had the honor of receiving the Hustler Super 104 zero turn mower recently, so we can provide an in-depth hands-on review. If you haven’t heard of the Hustler Super 104, then let the name speak for itself. This is a 104-inch cutting behemoth. The Super 104 has the power, speed, and capacity to cut a full football field in minutes, as well as cut over 80-acres in an 8-hour day. If you have a long way to mow and a short time to do it, you may want to check out the Hustler Super 104.
That reminds me of the theme song to Smokey and The Bandit, Eastbound and Down (Jerry Reed) – “we’ve got a long way to go, and a short time to get there…” Okay, that’s stepping way back. I’m not that old to remember the first release, or maybe I am.
Editor’s Note: This review originally published on April 9, 2018.
While the Super 104 is not a brand new model, Hustler has done quite a few upgrades and refinements since it’s debut a few years back. We took another close-up look at the 104 while at the GIE Expo 2017 last October.
Hustler Super 104 Features
With the obvious 104-inch cutting swath out of the way, we can move on to all the supporting features that make this beast cut. The frame and deck stay in line with the heartbeat of the Super Z, using fabricated and welded steel. Keeping on the deck subject, to get this massive cut, and still fit on the trailer, we have to do some folding or tucking somewhere. Hustler includes two hydraulic rams that lift and lower the bat-wings. When locked into the travel position, the Hustler Super 104 zero turn will fit in just an 80-inch gap. When in the travel position, a cut-out switch keeps the blades, belts, and pulleys from spinning. In fact, any angle more than 15-degrees will cut power to the blades.
All Hands On Deck – But not Below
Taking a look at the left and right sides when the wings are up, it’s easy to notice the different color blades. To reach a cutting width of 104-inches, it takes a few blades. Five blades, to be exact. Two blades spin in one direction, and three others spin in the opposite direction. Hustler made it easy: Red spindles receive Red blades, and Black spindles receive Black blades. The Red blades are obviously the reverse-rotation blades.
Hustler made the Super 104 baffles below the deck adjustable, hence adding better vacuum and mulching ability. Additionally, adjusting the diverter and baffles can trim the rear-discharge debris in heavy cutting. Cutting height ranges from 1-inch to 5-1/2-inches. From 2 to 4-inch cut can be done by just changing the locator pins, from the driver seat. In order to scalp at 1″ or cut at five or more inches, the axles have to be moved for the wheels on the wings.
Pro Tip: If you ever wonder when it’s too long to mulch, this should help. Never mulch more than 1/3 of the total height. So, if you’re cutting 6-inches of turf down to 3-inches, don’t think you’re going to mulch, without a debris trail.
Chains, Springs, and Pulleys
Making a good deck is more than just…making a good deck. The Hustler Super 104 includes chains, springs, and Teflon strips to increase adjustability and durability. As belts stretch and wear, you lose tension on the belt. In order to keep things spinning properly, Hustler includes chains on the end of their deck springs. The springs pull tension on the pulleys, keeping the belts tight. As time goes on, you can just pull another link tighter on the chain, and the spring keeps the same tension.
The adjustable pulleys ride on Teflon strips, allowing for easier and better field of travel. The Teflon strips on the Hustler Super 104 cut down on any metal to metal contact, increasing durability on moving parts.
Power is delivered from a Vanguard big-block, in either the EFI or carb version. The carbed version of the Vanguard puts out 36-horsepower, while the EFI version squeaks out another horsepower at 37. Twin fuel tanks saddle-bagged on either side of the driver offer 12-gallon capacity in whole. Taking out the guess-work, the Hustler Super 104 control panel includes a digital hour-meter with twin fuel gauges labeled Left and Right.
If the fuel tanks look bigger than 6-gallons each – you can thank the EPA for this. Much of the tank is just wasted airspace where fuel cannot be stored. In typical Super Z fashion, hydraulic pumps drive each wheel, providing a top cutting speed of 11mph. A little birdie told us that it’s actually capable of 12mph, but you didn’t hear that. We haven’t broken out the GPS yet, but we may, very soon.
Super 104 Features Continued
A large aluminum radiator sits atop the Vanguard motor cooling the hydraulic fluid. The design and location of this hydraulic cooler are very intentional. An electric fan pulls air up through the radiator and directs it out back, behind the operator. Furthermore, as dirt and debris may get sucked up onto the radiator from the fan when the mower is turned ‘Off’, gravity will allow this debris to fall, free from the cooler.
Three belts drive the entire hydraulics and spindle system from Hustler Super 104 powerplant. Accessibility is made easy on the Super 104 by removing thumb-screws, then lifting the cover plates for simple access the belts. – Why do we call these thumb screws?! – Large 26-inch wheels driven by hydraulic pumps provide propulsion, as well as the wide tires, decrease ground pressure for better-manicured lawns.
To ensure the operator is taken care of, a full-suspension seat is adjustable for weight, height, and arm-rest location. Not only does that seat forgive bumps vertically. In addition, the seat provides forward and back shock absorption, keeping the driver at-bay through those undulations, at 12mph. Aiding in ingress and egress, a center step is located on the front of the Hustler Super 104 zero turn.
We’ve taken a few maiden voyages with the Hustler Super 104 zero turn, and we have our first impressions, as you just read. We are located in Central Florida, so the cutting season is one of the longest in the country. However, we’ve had a dry spell in conjunction with cooler weather, hence grass is yet to grow fast. But, good news has arrived. The past two days have brought temps in the 80s with afternoon showers to boot. The grass is already standing tall.
In the coming weeks, we’ll be sure to give the Super 104 a good workout and follow up with our findings. The short amount of time already spent on the 104, it’s pretty impressive how nimble this 104-inch zero-turn is, considering the size. Speed doesn’t seem to be an issue either. Most fields include lots of undulations, so it’s rare to be cutting at full-tilt. The 37hp Vanguard powers the five blades to life and the rear discharge doesn’t show any signs of an issue.
We’re not the only ones giving the Hustler Super 104 a workout. Some of our lawncare Pros will be joining us in giving the Super 104 a real shakedown, providing some real-world and objective feedback. Stay tuned as we update this First Look to a Review in the coming weeks. It’s easy to keep up with us on social media.
For more information click Hustler Super 104 Zero Turn or visit your local Hustler dealer.
The best zero-turn mowers: are they worth the money?
Zero-turn mowers are great for both larger properties as well as yards with lots of obstacles. And they’re growing in popularity thanks to their generous cutting width, ergonomic design, and electric options.
Zero-turn mowers are like the high-end sports cars of lawn and garden equipment. They feature a zero-inch turning radius, which allows you to pivot in place and maneuver in tight spaces without ruining your lawn, as well as more powerful engines and wider cutting decks than their regular riding mower counterparts. And their demand will continue to grow in the next five years, as more people and businesses adopt them thanks to their ease of use and expedited cutting times.
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How you can make short work of your yard work.
You can choose models with cutting decks as narrow as 42 inches for suburban lawns or as wide as 72 inches for rural properties. And with engines up to 26HP, you’ll get plenty of power to haul wagons of dirt, mulch, and tools or equipment without overworking the motor.
Zero-turn mowers also feature hydrostatic transmissions, which means that the more you push on the lap bars or the harder you step on the pedals, the faster you’ll go. This makes it akin to driving a car, so they’re easier to learn how to operate. The lap bar steering system does take some getting used to, however, so I recommend driving around your yard with the blades disengaged to practice before you mow your lawn with it for the first time.
To help you find the best zero-turn mower for your lawn, I’ve gathered a list of the 5 best ones available to buy. I’ve broken down their features and price points to help you match them up with your needs and lot size.- as well as your budget. To find the perfect zero-turn mower for your yard, you can keep reading below.
Cub Cadet Ultima ZT1
Best zero-turn mower overall
Cutting width: 50 inches | Power source: Gasoline | Transmission: Variable speed hydrostatic | Engine: 23HP 726cc | Mulching and bagger capable: Yes | Max cutting area: 4 acres
The Cub Cadet Ultima ZT1 was featured as my pick for the best zero-turn mower in our list of the best lawn mowers you can buy, and it’s still my number one choice. It features a 50-inch cutting deck that is stamped from 11-Gauge steel as well as a tubular steel frame design for strength, durability, and stability while mowing over different kinds of terrain. The 23HP Kawasaki engine uses a hydrostatic drive for easier forward acceleration of up to 7.5mph and quick reversing to maneuver around obstacles or go back over spots you may have missed.
A removable floor plate gives you better and faster access to the cutting deck and engine when you need to clean things out or perform maintenance, while the smooth-tread front wheels allow you to drive, turn, and pivot without worrying about damaging your lawn. The ergonomic seat also features a suspension system to keep you comfortable and safely in place while driving over rough patches, while the lap bars have ergonomic grips for more comfortable operation. And with a maximum cutting area of 4 acres, the Cub Cadet Ultima ZT1 will feel at home in both larger suburban corner lots as well as big rural properties.
Best electric zero-turn mower
Cutting width: 54 inches | Power source: 48V integrated battery | Transmission: Variable speed hydrostatic | Engine: Brushless electric motor | Mulching and bagger capable: Mulching only | Max cutting area: 3.5 acres
The Ryobi 48V zero-turn electric mower was one of my alternative picks on the list of best electric mowers, and after doing more research, I can say that it is the best electric zero-turn on the market. The integrated 48V battery can be charged via a regular wall outlet, which means you won’t have to worry about keeping special chargers and cables on hand to top up your mower when not in use. It also makes the Ryobi 48V easier to integrate into your garage or workshop if you don’t have any other Ryobi tools or equipment that could share a battery with the mower. The battery gives you enough power on a full charge to mow up to 3.5 acres, which is great news for anyone with a larger yard.
It features a 54-inch cutting deck with 3 sets of blades for a more even cut on each pass, and the deck can be set to 12 different heights for the perfect mow all season long. A control panel lets you monitor battery levels, turn on the LED headlights, mow in reverse, and even charge your phone with the built-in USB port.
Since the Ryobi 48V zero-turn mower doesn’t have a gas engine, that means that you’ll save both time and money by not having to do any oil changes, spark plug cleanings, or fuel treatments at the start and end of every season. And no gas engine means no exhaust emissions, making this a more environmentally friendly option for lawn care.
The best zero-turn mowers of 2023
Take the best zero-turn lawn mower for a spin and never miss an inch of grass.
The best budget mower for big suburban yards.
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For large yards with tight corners and obstacles, nothing beats a zero-turn lawn mower. These agile mowers are powerful lawn-maintenance machines designed for maneuverability. The unique lever steering allows for complete 360-degree cutting, meaning no blade of grass is safe from the wide and nimble cutting deck. Today’s zero-turn lawn mowers are fuel-efficient and comfortable, with options and features to tackle just about any size yard. Residential zero-turn mowers are ideal for the suburbs. Larger commercial models are great for fields, golf courses, and hills. The best zero-turn lawn mowers run literal circles around the competition.
- Best overall:Husqvarna MZ61 61 in. 27 HP Briggs Stratton Hydrostatic Zero Turn Riding Mower
- Best for first-timers:Ariens APEX Zero-Turn Mower
- Best for comfort:Craftsman Z5200 20-HP V-Twin Dual Hydrostatic 42-in Zero-Turn Lawn Mower
- Best for the pros:Swisher BS Zero-Turn Rider
- Best budget:Husqvarna Z242F Zero-Turn Riding Mower
How we chose the best zero-turn mowers
Previously, we’ve searched for the top push mowers, the best riding lawn mowers, and some great cordless lawn mowers. That experience gave us very important background knowledge, which allowed us to have a little more nuance when finding excellent zero-turn mowers. We used personal testing, research, recommendations, reviews, and user impressions to find the best zero-turn mowers for all kinds of yards and users.
The best zero-turn mowers: Reviews Recommendations
Which mower is best for you depends on your type of lawn. Any of these mowers will work wonders on a flat lawn. But if you have hills or big areas to cover, you’ll need a more specialized yard tool. Look for the size and features that work for your yard and your budget.
Best overall: Husqvarna MZ61 61 in. 27 HP Briggs Stratton Hydrostatic Zero Turn Riding Mower
Why it made the cut: This mower easily transitions from mowing your own yard to commercial lawn work.
Big yards need big power and the 27HP Husqvarna mower straddles the line between residential and commercial zero-turn lawn mowers. The wide 61-inch cutting deck gobbles up a big area of grass quickly. It handles great, even on small inclines, thanks to its commercial-rated hydraulic system. But be careful—there’s more oomph in this lawn mower than you might think. If you’re not paying attention, this powerful riding mower will get away from you. Practice first in a nice wide-open area so you get the feel of the controls, speed, and steering. A high-back seat with armrests, foam-padded handgrips, and vibration dampeners allows you to mow comfortably all day. If you have a yard larger than three acres and want a powerful lawn-cutting machine, the Husqvarna riding mower is a powerful option.
Best for first-timers: Ariens APEX Zero-Turn Mower
Why it made the cut: Step up your mowing game sans learning curve with this easy-to-use zero-turn mower.
If you’re looking to replace your traditional lawn tractor or push mower, the Ariens zero-turn lawn mower is a fantastic upgrade. The 23HP Kohler 7000 series engine is strong and consistent. Great for yards smaller than three acres, the Ariens riding mower has a 48-inch cutting deck in its sturdy frame. It’s a residential zero-turn mower that’s as durable as some of the commercial mowers. Yet it’s not an overpowered, overpriced, over-complicated lawn tool. If you’re new to the world of zero-turn mowers, this is the perfect machine to give you comfortable, confident handling.
Best for comfort: Craftsman Z5200 20-HP V-Twin Dual Hydrostatic 42-in Zero-Turn Lawn Mower
Why it made the cut: This mower has built-in features to mow your entire lawn in comfort.
Riding mowers have come a long way in regards to comfort, and the Craftsman zero-turn riding mower is one of the most body-friendly yard tools out there. The high-back seat gives you much-needed support, especially if you’re cutting big areas. And the 20HP engine and 42-inch cutting deck give you enough power to chomp through up to three acres of grass. Cutting big yards can take time and that can take a toll on back muscles, so never overlook ergonomics. The rubber foot pad of this riding mower helps reduce the vibrations that can cause foot and leg pain. The steering bars feel great without being over-sensitive. This is not only a solid zero-turn lawn mower, it’s a comfortable outdoor throne.
Best for the pros: Swisher BS Zero Turn Rider
Why it made the cut: This professional-grade zero-turn lawn mower is a landscaper’s dream thanks to its safety, durability, and power.
This is not the riding mower for everyone, but the Swisher zero turn tractor is one of the best commercial mowers you can get. If you’re starting a lawn care business or need to equip a lawn maintenance crew, this is a solid investment. The Swisher mower has a 24HP Briggs Stratton engine. The zero-turn tractor can handle inclines and embankments. It’s dependable. It’s safe. And as big as it is, it handles great. You always feel in control of the 855-pound monster. The bad news? It’s not cheap. With a price tag soaring past 10,000 and another 3,000 for the cutting deck, this is not a typical piece of lawn equipment. This is a commercial-grade lawn mower with enough horsepower to mow an entire neighborhood, thanks to its 8-gallon fuel capacity.
Best budget: Husqvarna Z242F Zero-Turn Riding Mower
Why it made the cut: The cheapest zero-turn mower on our list features high-quality mechanics for well-manicured lawns.
Residential zero-turn lawn mowers are typically all in the same economic ballpark. You can expect to spend between 3,000 and 5,000 for a reliable riding mower. This Husqvarna is one of the cheapest zero-turn mowers, hovering around the low end of that spectrum, and is a great mower for the money. Husqvarna mowers are known for their quality, so even a lower-priced Husqvarna riding mower is a trusted, dependable machine. This zero-turn mower has a wide 42-inch cutting deck and a 18HP engine, putting it right in the middle of not being too weak and not being overpowered. If you have an acre of land to mow, there’s no need to spend money for extra size and power you’ll never need.
What to consider when shopping for the best zero-turn mowers
Are all riding mowers with lever steering the same? Not at all. Size, weight, horsepower, and fuel source are just a few of the things to look for when shopping for a zero-turn mower. Before opening up the wallet, understand how these mowers operate, how much they cost, and how much they can accomplish.
The two types of zero-turn mowers: commercial and residential
For years, zero-turn lawn mowers were only available as commercial yard equipment. Landscaping companies and groundskeeping crews who needed to tame and maintain large areas of grass used the big industrial lawn mowers. But, recently, residential zero-turn lawn mowers have given suburban homeowners the power and agility of lever steering.
The big difference between commercial and residential zero-turn mowers is power (and price). Commercial models are designed for big areas and constant use. They’re heavier, have wider cutting decks, and pack more horsepower. Residential zero-turn lawn mowers are smaller, easier to handle, and are better at once-a-week cutting. These lawn tools are less powerful, so hills can be challenging. But they still provide incredible maneuverability and handling at a much more affordable price.
What size zero-turn mower do I need for my yard size?
For yards smaller than three acres, a residential zero-turn mower is the efficient, user-friendly way to go. If your lawn is larger, or you plan on using the mower on a daily basis, a commercial mower may be the best option.
How much horsepower do you need?
The best zero-turn mowers offer between 10HP and 25HP. But 10HP is only good for yards smaller than half an acre. And those mowers can’t handle inclines. For residential lawns up to three acres, 20HP to 25HP is perfect. In addition, zero-turn mowers tend to work well on hills up to a 15-degree incline. That said, any zero-turn lawn mower offering 25HP or more may be overpowered and overpriced for a typical suburban yard.
Gas vs. electric lawn mowers
Yes, there are electric, battery-operated zero-turn mowers on the market. And they do a pretty good job, especially for yards smaller than an acre. Battery-powered riding mowers are more than just noisy, angry golf carts. They have real cutting power and the technology is only getting better.
7 Best Commercial Zero Turn Mowers in 2022
Electric riding mowers cost about the same as gas-powered models. You’re not saving money, but you are saving the planet while performing yard care. Electric mowers are more environmentally friendly since they don’t emit any exhaust fumes. But they do need batteries and that’s the biggest drawback. The battery on even the most energy-efficient electric mower can die quickly and recharging time will eat up your Saturday. If you don’t mind the limited battery life, or you plan on stocking up on backup batteries, electric mowers are just as good as gas-powered mowers.
Gas-powered mowers will be more powerful, but not by much. Gas mowers are also heartier machines that are better for riding over rough terrain and (mild) hills. Electric mowers aren’t good for commercial use, where horsepower and repeated use are a big concern. However, for flat lawns no bigger than an acre, don’t overlook the electric machines as your best zero-turn riding mower.
What size cutting deck do you need?
The cutting deck houses the blades. But bigger isn’t always better. Zero-turn riding mowers start out with cutting decks measuring 32 inches and can go as large as 61 inches. The extra size is really only good if you’re cutting more than three acres of grass. While zero-turn mowers are made for tight turns and precise handling, a big mower is still a big mower and will be cumbersome in small yards.
If your yard has a lot of obstacles, such as trees and sheds, make sure the lawn mower is small enough to fit between the tight space. For suburban homes with about an acre of land, opt for a smaller mower with a cutting deck between 32 and 40 inches.
Understand the steering and stopping
The distinguishing feature of any zero-turn mower is the lever steering. There’s no steering wheel, and you don’t drive a zero-turn mower like a car. Instead, the two levers control the pivot point of the mower. Pull the right lever back and push the left lever forward to make a sharp right turn.
Due to the pivot steering, it’s usually best to mow the lawn in a Y pattern instead of making drastic turns that could dig the wheel into the lawn and create divots. And watch out: Most zero-turn mowers don’t have brakes. You hold the steering levers in a neutral position to brake.
If you’ve never used a zero-turn riding mower, give yourself some practice time before attempting tricky spins. The best zero-turn mowers are intuitive, and you’ll pick up the steering mechanism quickly. But your first time using this piece of yard equipment should not be along the edge of a beloved flower garden. While you often see professional lawn crews zipping around on these mowers, it’s best to go slow. The machine has more pickup than you may anticipate and it’s easy to overcorrect and make a wrong turn.
Q: How much do zero-turn lawn mowers cost?
Pricing for residential zero-turn lawn mowers typically ranges from 3,000 to 5,000. However, commercial zero-turn lawn mowers can go for upwards of 10,000. Be conscious of your yard size and landscaper dreams. You might want to stray away from expensive zero-turn mowers if you don’t fantasize about mowing three acres of land.
Q: How often should you mow your lawn?
It depends on how fast your grass grows and how high you want your grass to be. Mowing once a week during the growing season—typically late spring and early summer—is recommended to keep your lawn healthy. During the rest of the year, you can get away with mowing every other week.
Q: How do I operate a zero-turn mower?
To operate a zero-turn mower, you use the steering levers. These levers typically rest over your lap. In the neutral position, the mower stands still. Push both levers forward, and the mower moves forward in a straight line. Push both levers back, and the mower travels in reverse in a straight line. The real fun begins when you push one lever and pull the other, thus creating a pivot point. The zero-turn mowers are designed to make sharp turns and pivot 360 degrees. This makes it easier to steer around obstacles. It feels very different than using a steering wheel. Give yourself time (and room) to practice and you’ll get the hang of it.
Final thoughts on the best zero-turn riding mowers
A zero-turn riding mower is ideal for navigating around sharp curves, obstacles, and landscaping beds. They are also the best type of riding mower for covering big areas quickly. Residential zero-turn riding mowers give you nearly all the power of the commercial-grade behemoths, but at a more manageable size and price. These nimble mowers are the perfect yard tool for lawns ranging between one and three acres. Find a comfortable seat, an adequately sized cutting deck, and a brand name known for quality. Discover today’s best zero-turn lawn mowers to effectively and efficiently maintain your yard.