The 5 Best Zero Turn Mowers [Ranked]
Zero turn, or z-turn, mowers are a style of powered, riding lawn mower that have a 'zero' turning radius (Source).
This is achieved by employing individual hydraulic speed control for each drive wheel- the two front, swiveling tires that are backed by the two tires in the rear (Source).
The two drive tires rotate independently, depending on how you are wielding the throttle levers.
The classic 'z-turn' occurs when the driver pivots the mower around a point that is midway between its drive wheels (Source).
How To Properly Use A Z-Turn Mower
The waist/shoulder-high levers control the mower's rotational direction and speed of each of the two drive wheels. While more expensive than traditional riding mowers, they are typically faster and more maneuverable (Source).
Most buyers we spoke with said it cut their lawn maintenance time in half. The 5 z-turn mowers we examined commonly differed by the length of the cutting deck, weight, horsepower, and price (Source).
If you buy online, they are shipped in a large pallet crate that you can crowbar open.
Our Top Pick: The Husqvarna 724
- 23 HP Kawasaki engine provides reliable startups and a max speed of 6.5 MPH
Buyers say this 54" option has blades that run in reverse- an important buying consideration for some. They also praise its relatively simple assembly. You'll just need to install the seat, its steering handles, connect the battery, and fuel up- check out the User Manual for more info.
In terms of tough weeds, buyers say that this option is a non-commercial option that works best on common lawn grass and weeds, so you'll need to re-sharpen or replace the blades if you're frequently mowing especially tough weeds.
In terms of changing the blade and belt, you'll need to unscrew a panel by the foot rest to access the single belt that drives the deck. You can also adjust the deck height while the blades are engaged, helping you pass over small lawn obstacles.
- Powerful 24HP Kawasaki engine
- 23 HP Kawasaki engine provides reliable startups and a max speed of 6.5 MPH
- ClearCut Fabricated Cutting Deck: The new fabricated design features welded 10-gauge steel construction with additional welded reinforcement strips for maximum durability
- 20HP Briggs & Stratton EXi2000 Intek engine
- Peak Power+ Technology combines the power of up to six EGO 56V ARC Lithium batteries
Best Zero Turn Mowers For 2023
Ease of Use
This 54” mower offered by Husqvarna is well-designed, sturdy, powerful, and a product of high-quality. Users love the premium Brigg & Stratton 24 HP v-twin engine, but some do note that it’s expensive.
The Husqvarna mower measures 72.8” x 49.5” x 46”, and it features a 54” reinforced cutting deck, an electric clutch, a dual hydro-gear transmission, a removable foot pan, an ergonomic control panel, and a bumper with LED headlight. Another great thing about this mower is that it has four anti-scalp wheels in combination with an automatic park brake system.
In general, buyers are satisfied with the performance and functionality of the Husqvarna riding mower. A reviewer observes that the mower has no issues cutting high, thick grass and that it took him less than 15 minutes to assemble it. He adds that the mower saves him a lot of time and that he highly recommends it.
Another user shares that he has been using the seated mower with no problems for more than three months and that it works well on wet grass. A customer also states that the lawnmower is sturdy, easy to assemble and that he mows 2.5 acres far quickly than he initially anticipated. However, some reviewers have said that the replacement parts are too expensive and that they received a defective unit.
Husqvarna 724 Video Demo
- A 24 HP engine
- A 54” reinforced deck
- A bumper with LED headlights
- Easy to control
- Anti-scalp rollers
- An automatic park brake system
- Expensive replacement parts
Ease of Use
If you wonder how to mow your large yard quickly and efficiently, you might take a look at this zero turn mower offered by Poulan Pro. Users love that the mower cuts evenly, but some do note that the wheels leave marks on the lawn.
The Poulan Pro lawnmower measures 35.5” x 61.5” x 78”, and it features a Briggs & Stratton 22 HP engine, a 46” reinforced cutting deck, a 15” high back seat and an easy access panel. Another great thing about this mower is that you can adjust the cutting height from 1.5” – 4”, and it has a three-year limited warranty.
A reviewer comments that the Poulan Pro riding lawnmower works better than he expected and that it’s easy to maneuver with it around obstacles. The buyer also states that the engine is very powerful and that his lawn has a nice look afterward.
Another customer mentions that the mower reduced his mowing time in half and that he highly recommends it as the best lawnmower. A user adds that the ZTR mower is comfortable to ride, easy to maintain, and it has plenty of speed. He also states that he didn’t have any assembly issues.
However, some customers have said that it’s difficult to find spare parts and that they don’t recommend it for slopes.
Poulan Pro Video Demo
- A 22 HP engine
- A 46” reinforced deck
- Easy to control and maneuver
- Adjustable cutting height
- Spare parts might be difficult to find
- Wheels might leave marks on the lawn
Ease of Use
This zero turn mower offered by Swisher is powerful, easy to control and an excellent choice for anyone with a large yard. Users love the powerful 27 HP engine, but some do note that the mower is expensive.
The Swisher ZTR mower measures 45” x 69” x 79”, and it features a 60” cutting deck equipped with three Gator mulching blades, a 2800 hydro gear transmission, an Ogura clutch, and a heavy-duty steel frame. Another great thing about this mower is that it has a new rapid response control system and a speed of 8 MPH (forward and reverse).
As a whole, customers are extremely satisfied with the functionality and usefulness of the Swisher zero turn mower, and they highly recommend it.
A buyer comments that he was skeptical about the quality of the mower, but he was very impressed by the well-constructed frame. He adds that the response control system is far superior to anything he has ever seen and that it’s very easy to maneuver with it. Another user states that the ZTR mower doesn’t have any issues with high grass and that the assembly process is not complicated.
A customer observes that the engine is loud and powerful, but it burns fuel quickly. The reviewer also states that he had some delivery issues, but he is very impressed with the mower.
Swisher Video Demo
- Easy to maneuver
- A 27 HP engine
- Heavy-duty steel frame
- A 60”cutting deck
- A rapid response system
- Not the cheapest options
- Some delivery complaints
Ease of Use
If you are looking for a top-notched zero turn mowers, then you might take a look at this ZTR mower offered by Z-Beast. Users love the quick adjusting floating deck (1.5”-5”), but some do note that the product looks different than the provided picture.
The Z-Beast lawnmower measures 69 x 58 x 75 inches, and it features a 48” cutting deck, a 20 HP professional B & S engine, a dual hydrostatic drive system, a 12 gauge stamped steel construction, and a 7-gauge reinforced clutch plate.
Another great thing about this riding mower is that has a roll bar, a safety belt, and a cup holder. Moreover, the mower will reduce your cutting time significantly with speed up to 10 MPH.
A reviewer states that he is pleased with the powerfulness of the Z-Beast ZTR mower and that he highly recommends it. He says that the mower is easy to control and that he hasn’t had any issues with it. The buyer adds that it cuts his grass perfectly and that its value far surpasses its price.
However, he notes that the seat and the gas cap look different from the picture.
Z-Beast Video Demo
*Video demonstrates the Z-Beast 54Z, as opposed to the 48Z
- A quick adjusting deck
- A 48” cutting deck
- A 20 HP engine
- A reinforced clutch plate
- A safety belt
- A cup holder
- 10 MPH speed
- Complaints that the product looks different than the picture
Ease of Use
This zero turn riding mower offered by Husqvarna is a product of high-quality and an excellent choice if you want to cut your lawn effortlessly. Users love the 61-inch fabricated cutting deck, but some do note that it leaves skid marks.
The Husqvarna ZTR mower measures 75.5 x 76 x 42 inches, and it features a 27 HP B & S v-twin engine, a hydrostatics gear transmission, a rugged steel deck, a heavy-duty steel frame, and a three-blade cutting system. Another great thing about this riding lawnmower is that it has a high back seat with armrests and adjustable steering levers.
A reviewer shares that he managed to mow six acres in four hours and that he highly recommends the Husqvarna ZTR mower. He adds that the lawnmower is easy to maneuver and that even his 64-year-old mother doesn’t have issues driving it around.
Another user observes that he has been using the mower for more than six months with no apparent problems and that he is very satisfied with his purchase. A buyer also mentions that the engine runs smoothly at full throttle.
However, one customer has said that one of the cutting blades fell off on the first day and that there are obvious defects in the product he received.
MZ 61 Video Demo
- A 61”cutting deck
- A 27 HP engine
- Heavy-duty steel frame
- A three-blade cutting system
- Adjustable steering levers
- Complaints of skid marks
- Quality issues
What Are Buyers Saying?
Before we dive in, check out our automatic lawn mower review- these are great if you have smaller yards that can accommodate a robot mower. Imagine, automated mowing! However there are larger, more conventional options like garden tractors if you need something a bit more robust.
The first option we examined is the Husqvarna. This 24 hp riding lawn mower has a 54-inch long cutting deck with an electric clutch designed to enhance blade engagement. It is recommended to use hearing protection when operating one of these high-tech lawn cutters.
Engineered to make landscaping and lawn maintenance a simpler and more entertaining event, the way the motor works air intake occurs from the deck's top and bottom, which helps to enhance grass lift while providing an excellent cut.
- Some buyers wondered whether it would work on a 40° slope- current Husqvarna owners say that because the machine is too top-heavy it likely wouldn't.
- Buyers say they were initially surprised they could purchase such a large item online from retailers like Sears, Home Depot, Bad Boy, Toro, John Deere, but found out it was pretty compelling because they discovered competitive pricing, sometimes without any tax, with free shipping and fast delivery.
- One satisfied buyer who has 10 acres of property he needs to mow tells us this has been a huge timesaver- handling high grass that was thick without any difficulty.
- In terms of assembly, it was surprisingly easy- with one homeowner telling us that he had it up and running in under half an hour after bolting the handles, integrating the battery, assembling the seat and performing some perfunctory fluid and fuel checks.
- Indeed, most buyers were pretty happy with this option, the one complaint is that cut grass has a tendency to collect on the underside of the deck.
Poulan Pro 22 HP
The second zero turn mower we examined is manufactured by Poulan Pro. This 22 hp mower features an electronic clutch, a 3.5-gallon capacity fuel tank and a 46 inch reinforced deck. It's marketed as a comfortable, high-performance option designed to last for the long haul with enhanced maneuverability on account of a hydro transmission dual wheel system.
What this means, is that each wheel is actually manipulated individually- so that you can go left, right, forward and backward merely by jerking your arms backward and forward. Indeed, one of the primary benefits of this style of power riding mower is that it will reduce the time you spend maintaining your lawn.
One of the ways these style of riding lawnmowers do that is by increasing their ease of handling- you can more easily avoid obstacles like branches, merely zipping around them. An established brand, perusing their marketing materials, we discovered that this company has been around since the mid 20th-century producing tillers, blowers, trimmers, chainsaws, and powerful lawn mowing solutions.
- Buyers say that it is shipped in a wooden pallet crate that you disassemble using a crowbar.
- Other customers say that there are some aftermarket attachments you can purchase, including a mulching kit.
- Some expert buyers advise this is not a commercial-grade solution, it's better off used by a homeowner looking to decrease lawn maintenance time.
- Buyers also say that it is a relatively inexpensive option that includes interesting optional accessories.
- For example an armrest, a rain cover, a headlight kit and a mulching kit.
- Assembly wasn't too difficult- you just need to bolt the seat, as well as take care rolling it out of the pallet crate, before finally connecting the battery and filling the fuel tank.
- Reviewers were, for the most part, satisfied, with one property owner telling us it provides even cuts, though the front wheels do have a tendency to leave tracks when you turn.
- Other buyers say that one of the best parts about the style of these lawn mowers is how easy they are to maneuver, accessing difficult to reach places in your yard, meaning you don't need to break out another garden tool to perform additional trimming and edging.
Swisher 24 HP
The third mower we examined was the Swisher option that comes with a 24 hp Kawasaki engine with a 54-inch cutting deck, capable of reaching 8 mph either in reverse or forward. Buyers praise its maneuverability and responsiveness, saying it made short order of high acreage properties and can even accommodate a snow blade for snow plowing.
The fourth riding mower we examined is provided by Z-Beast. This 48-inch option has a Briggs & Stratton engine that 20 hp and includes a drive system that is dual hydrostatic for increased speed and control.
It can reach speeds of up to 10 Miles per hour and has some interesting accessories including a seatbelt, a cupholder, and a roll bar.
- One buyer who was on the fence concerning purchase, coming from a John Deere mower, was advised that if you have a rocky property this can be a solid option for avoiding obstacles.
- Another reviewer tells us that local mower repair shops can often provide quality after-purchase maintenance if you need to perform fixes or install additional equipment to accommodate your lawn mowing requirements.
The last option we took a look at was the Husqvarna 61-inch mower- its extra-long cutting deck differentiates it from the other Husqvarna we examined. Besides its durable steel deck, it has integrated mulch-collection capabilities for enhanced property maintenance purposes.
- One buyer tells us that he purchased an aftermarket power bagger that enables him to pick up almost every loose acorn or twig on your lawn- this is great if your property has tons of trees on it.
- An elderly couple purchased it, and after a small struggle opening the crate, they tell us that their 8-acre lawn only takes half as long to mow.
- On the downside, while going uphill is not a problem, going downhill takes some care because it has a tendency to slide on account of weight shift.
- Other buyers advise that you spend some time getting comfortable and accustomed to the steering's responsiveness before tackling challenging uphill or downhill mowing.
- In addition, by using the integrated height pedal, you can glide over smaller obstacles like rocks or children's toys.
- Another savvy buyer tells us that if you spray on some anti-stick coating beneath the deck it makes cleaning out afterward easier.
- One final bit of advice is that when you receive it in a crate, take care to ensure that there aren't any loose nuts or bolts- you don't want them to vibrate and pop out once you power the unit up.
Some Old Favorites
|Zero Turn Mowers||Our Rating||Price ($)||HP||Cutting Deck||Weight|
|The Husqvarna 54” Zero Turn Mower||4.2||$$$||24||54"||780 lbs|
|The Poulan Pro Zero Turn Riding Mower||4.1||$$||22||46"||760 lbs|
|The Swisher Zero Turn Mower||5.0||$$$$||24||54"||791 lbs|
|The Z-Beast Zero Turn Mower||5.0||$$||20||48"||850 lbs|
|The Husqvarna 61” Zero Turn Mower||3.9||$$$$||27||61"||776 lbs|
How They Compare
The Husqvarna MZ61 had the largest cutting deck at 61", while the other options ranged between 46" and 61". Its 27 HP Briggs and Strattonalso engine also packs the most horsepower of all the options we examined.
In terms of weight, the value-buy Z-Beast is the heaviest at 850 lbs, while the 760 lb Poulan Pro was the lightest.
The Husqvarna V-Twin 724 mower is one of the better-rated options. Buyers say they were able to outfit the Z-Beast with a snow-plow in the winter.