Do you often wonder what benefits a zero turn mower has over other mowers? Well, the answer lies in the way it functions. A zero turn mower, unlike a traditional tractor, has the mowing deck in front. The term zero-turn means it has a turning radius of zero degrees, or it can turn in a fool circle within its footprint. This turn radius is a great feature that allows you to be thorough since you won't miss any patch when mowing.
So, you have a lawn that needs care, but you lack enough resources to hire a professional landscaper? It would probably be cheaper if you were to get the best residential zero turn mower today. One good thing about a residential zero-turn mower is its ease of operation. They are designed with speed and maneuverability in mind, which is where they beat traditional tractors hands down. To operate this machine, even as a non-professional, you only need to understand its design.
Most zero turn mowers have four wheels, two swivelling wheels at the front, and two drive wheels in the back. They also have two operational handles, each steering one drive wheel. For this article, we will discuss the 5 best riding residential zero-turn mowers, their pros, and cons, and later, a few factors you should consider before or while purchasing your mower.
1. Best Overall: The Husqvarna Z254 Zero Turn Mower
Our best overall zero turn mower is ideal for large lawns of up to four acres. It is a 54-inch cutting deck mower making it suitable for properties that require a maximum of one maintenance per week.
Powered by the powerful 26HP Kohler engine, it can take on speeds of up to 6.5 mph. It has its cutting deck towards the middle of the machine to allow perfect grass trimming and swift, and fluid turns on a dime. With this mower, you don't have to worry about the length of the grass or if it is lying towards the ground in case of strong winds. The engine comes with a feature called Air Induction Mowing Technology that lifts the grass for uniform cutting.
Operating the machine is a breeze as well; you enjoy sitting on an ergonomic seat with the large operating handles in perfect reach. The controls are well-positioned at each side of the seat, and you get enough space for your legs and feet at the front.
The machine's large drive wheels have adequately treaded tires that provide outstanding traction when mowing wet grass, and the front wheels move freely when turning. It also has excellent protection features such as the crash bar fitted at the front if you hit any obstacles and the traction pads at the front bay for good grip when getting on or off the mower. The operating handles are padded, so you can even use them without gloves, even if you sweat a lot.
- Premium Brand.
- Powerful 26 HP engine from Kohler.
- Adequate 54-inch cutting deck to cover more area.
- Ergonomic seat to prevent any back pain.
- Easily reachable operating handles.
- It can handle speeds of up to 6.5mph.
- Fuel capacity of 3.5 gallons.
- Easy to operate.
- Drastically reduces mowing time.
- Quite pricey.
- Not easy to get parts for repair.
- It requires some time to know how to operate.
- Not ideal for everyday use.
2. Snapper 2691319 360z Mower
The second on this list, this Snapper zero turn mower is powered by a 23 hp Briggs & Stratton engine. This engine comes with the ReadyStart quick ignition technology to get you started with no time wastage.
It is an ideal residential zero turn mower with a 48-inch cutting deck that even has a loading bay with handles at the back, on which you can carry extra gardening equipment.
It has a padded ergonomic seat that takes care of your back so you can work for long hours, as well as operating handles that have comfy grips to eliminate any discomfort or fatigue on your hands. To operate the cutting deck lift, you use a foot pedal with a drop-in pin keeping it in place and comfortably near your reach. Extra controls for the mower are well mounted on each side of the seat and top of the operating handle arches.
This machine is powerful and designed with your safety in mind. The rear wheel tires are well treaded to provide adequate traction when working on wet grass, and a crash plate protects the engine, so you don't need to worry about damage if you tumble upon hard objects.
- Great design and construction using strong, durable components.
- Ideal for residential lawns with a 48-inch cutting deck.
- Easy to operate with user-friendly controls.
- Padded ergonomic seat to prevent back discomfort and pain.
- Powerful engine with efficient ReadyStart technology.
- 13 different cutting adjustments for all users.
- Rear-mounted loading bay to transport extra tools.
- 10-year warranty from the manufacturer.
- Quite pricey.
- Not ideal for daily use.
3. Swisher ZTR2454BS
Unlike other models on this list whose levers are directly in front of the seat, this Swisher zero turn mower has its operating handles positioned at the sides. The levers are short, comfortable, and well-padded to match the seat's ergonomic design; you can work for hours with this mower without experiencing any fatigue on your hands or back, thus improving productivity.
This mower is powered by a 24 hp engine from Briggs & Stratton for the ultimate performance. With an 8-gallon fuel tank, you are sure to be able to work for hours. With a 54-inch cutting deck, it is an ideal mower for any residential property that requires fewer maintenance sessions.
The mower also features air-filled, well-treaded rear wheel tires to provide enough traction on slippery ground and enhance maneuverability on sloppy or hilly terrain.
- Powerful 24 hp engine from Briggs & Stratton.
- Large fuel capacity for longer service.
- 54-inch cutting deck to cover more ground.
- Comfortable, ergonomic seat.
- Well-positioned controls for easy operation.
- Well-treaded rear tires for traction and stability.
- Can be quite noisy.
4. Craftsman Z525 Zero Turn Gas Powered Lawn Mower
From the Craftsman brand, you can get this gas-powered zero turn mower for all your yard needs. It comes with a powerful craftsman 20 hp gas twin engine with an Autochoke feature to get it started in no time.
With a 46-inch cutting edge, it is one of the best residential mowers available in the market today. The cutting deck is also equipped with a deck wash for easy and efficient cleaning on the job.
It also comes with an ideal, well-cushioned ergonomic seat that caters to your lower back while working. It is a great more that can even work in reverse, and with operating handles right in front of you, changing direction is easy, meaning no patch remains untrimmed.
- Powerful twin-engine with an Autochoke feature.
- 46-inch cutting deck suitable for any residential yard.
- Features a deck wash for easy cleaning.
- Perfectly-mounted ergonomic seat.
- Easily reachable operational controls.
- Already assembled when delivered.
- You may face delayed delivery.
5. Ariens 915223 IKON-X 52" Zero Turn Mower 23hp Kawasaki FR691 Series
This zero turn lawn mower by Ariens is a winner for its value. If you have property smaller than four acres, you should consider this machine. With a 23hp Kawasaki engine, you will enjoy years of no engine failure and enough power to navigate wet grounds and uneven terrain.
It has a 52-inch cutting deck that is constructed using a strong and durable 12-gauge steel. It also features air-filled tires for increased grips and well-maintained front casters for stability on your cutting line. The power levers are located in front of the seat for easy access. Extra controls are located on top of the wheel arches on either side of the seat. If you want to adjust the cutting deck's height, you can find the controls for that on the right side of the chair. Please note, you don't have to alight to make these cutting height adjustments. It is a machine that supports even, uniform grass cutting.
The mower comes with an ergonomic seat that is well padded to turn down any vibrations from the motor as the mower runs. A plus for this mower is it features adjustable armrests you can use to reduce fatigue.
The mower also features a rear-mounted loading bay you can use to transport other gardening tools you need to use while mowing. Its floor has a traction pad to prevent you from slipping.
- Reputable brand.
- Powerful 23 hp Kawasaki engine.
- 52-inc cutting deck ideal for residential use.
- Ergonomic seat and controls.
- 3-year warranty.
- Made with durable components.
- Quite pricey.
Frequently Asked Questions About Zero Turn Mowers
a). What is the difference between residential and commercial zero-turn mowers?
The only factors differentiating the two mowers are power and size.
- Residential zero-turn mowers are smaller in size and thus, less powerful than the commercial zero-turn mowers. Due to the smaller size, they are ideal for smaller and smoother landscapes such as yards measuring 1/3 to 4 acres.
- Commercial mowers, on the other hand, are more prominent and require more power to run. Therefore, they are ideal for larger areas like golf courses or yards as big as 4 acres and above. They are different from residential mowers not only in size but also in how powerful they are. They are designed to mow large tracts of yards on a continuous, even daily, basis, unlike the residential mowers, which should not mow very frequently.
b). What powers residential zero-turn mowers?
Residential zero-turn mowers can be fueled by gas or electricity. Because they are small-sized, gas-powered zero-turn mowers are more popular because they are cheaper. Also, since these mowers are not used daily, the gas-powered ones are more popular, and they also offer a variety of operational options.
c). Are residential zero-turn mowers expensive?
Compared to commercial mowers or hiring professional landscapers, buying a residential mower is cheaper. You will quickly learn how to operate it, and it is fuel or battery efficient since you don't need to use it any more than once a week.
d). What factors should you consider before buying a residential zero turn mower?
When you are in the market for the best residential zero turn mower, there are several obvious factors you have to keep in mind.
- Your yard size. As you know, owning a residential mower has more benefits for you compared to hiring a contractor every week. Before buying, you must understand what size of your yard you will be mowing every week. The larger your yard, the larger you want your mower's cutting width to be. Size also determines how much fuel you will need.
- Your budget. While we say these mowers are less expensive than commercial ones or outsourcing yard services, they require some financial preparation before buying.
- Your yard's terrain. The residential mowers are not as strong as the commercial ones, and chances are you are not a professional landscaper. Therefore, it is better to only invest in a residential mower f you are sure it can mow your landscape. The more smooth your yard is, the easier it will be to use a residential mower.
- Which type of fuel you prefer. Residential mowers are either gas or electricity-fueled. If you want to reduce environmental pollution, you can buy an electric mower, but then your yard would have to be small enough, so your batteries don't run out of power.
- Horsepower. A zero turn mower with a power output of between 10-25p is ideal for a small yard.
- Fuel tank capacity. An excellent residential zero turn mower ideally has a 2-5 gallon fuel tank capacity, so it doesn't run dry while you mow.
- Engine cylinders. Most residential mowers either have a single-cylinder engine or a twin-cylinder engine. The latter has minimal vibrations but is also more expensive.
- Seat. Since you will need to sit on this mower while working, ensure you get a padded and high enough seat to reach all operational controls. If you have back problems, you might want to get a mower with adjustable armrests to provide extra support and reduce fatigue.
- Controls. Ensure you get a mower whose controls are easy to reach and operate.
- Safety. Most mowers come with extra padding in delicate areas designed to provide maximum comfort and reduce impact in accidents.