Best Zero Turn Mowers Commercial & Residential

Best Zero Turn Mower | Zero Turn Mower Reviews | Best Commercial Zero Turn Mower

ZERO TURN MOWER COMPARISON CHART

What Are The Best Zero Turn Mowers of 2019?


Ariens ZOOM 42

The Ariens ZOOM Series is voted best zero turn mower under $3,000 and designed with the operator in mind. This 19 HP machine is a small step up from its sister mower, the ZOOM 34. This riding mower is perfect for cutting small to medium size lawns.

The V-twin 6600cc 19 HP Kohler Engine raises the bar on compact size, without compromising any other benefits. Starting with the rugged 12 gauge stamped deck and simplified height adjustment makes raising the cutting height a breeze. This unit offers outstanding value and performance. The 18″ high back seat makes cutting for longer periods less strenuous.

What do we like about theAriens Zoom 34″ and 42″ mower?

  • Kohler 6600 V-twin engine
  • Deck wash port for easy underside cleaning
  • Simplified deck adjustment- allows for operator to adjust from the seat
  • Foot operated deck allowing to raise deck when going over rocks and other hazards while cutting

Ariens 915223 IKON-X

Performance and style are #1 with the all new Ariens IKON_X. Cutting edge design, and new innovative features make maintaining your lawn an event instead of yard work. Powered by a 23 HP, 726cc V-Twin Kawasaki FR series commercial grade engine.

The 52″ 11 gauge solid steel fabricated deck is a tougher and longer lasting mower compared to others in its class. Ariens makes building low maintenance equipment that will last a top priority.

With the high back seat, built in arm rests and padded controls the IKON-X offers superior comfort for hours of cutting enjoyment.

What do we like about the Ariens IKON-X?

  • Dial adjustment cutting height without the use of pins or levers.
  • Twin EZT hydrostatic transaxles that provide effortless and smooth control.
  • 726cc V-twin Kawasaki engine with cast iron cylinder liners resulting in lifelong compression release providing effortless and easy starting

Husqvarna Z254 54 in. 26 HP Kohler Hydrostatic Zero Turn Riding Mower

Hit your lawn running with the mower at the top of its class, the Husqvarna Z200 Series riding mowers. These first class machines deliver performance and professional cutting results. Cutting your lawn will never be the same after operating one of these lawn cutting machines.

best riding mower

This Husqvarna 5 star mower comes in both 54″ and 42″ cutting heights to get the job done. The 42″ deck can cut 2.2 acres going approx. 6.5 mph in under an hour. You can’t go wrong with product unless it won’t fit through your gate.

What do we like about the Husqvarna Z254?

  • 6 easy to adjust cutting heights from 1 1/2″ – 4″
  • 54″  Reinforced Deck with
  • Reinforced steel stamped deck
  • Auto choke for hassle free starting in normal conditions
  • Zero Turn Radius

HUSQVARNA MZ61 23HP

The MZ61 from Husqvarna is a league of its own. The state of the art operator interface, heavy-duty steel frame and commercial rated hydraulic system give the ultimate mowing experience. With a hard core steel deck that is mulch and collection capable, the MZ is ideal for all of your property maintenance needs. The high back seat with armrest will ease operators fatigue. Adjustable steering levers provide a comfortable ride time after time.

Husqvarna MZ246 commercial lawnmower
MZ246

What  do we like about the Husqvarna MZ61?

  • Cutting width of 61 inches
  • Cutting height of up to 4.5 inches
  • 2 acres of lawn covered in an hour
  • Fuel tank of 5 gallons
  • 2 cylinder Kawasaki FR series, 23HP, 724cc engine

SWISHER ZTR2454BS

Swisher a name backed with over 60 years of mowing know how came out with an amazing piece of cutting equipment. Not only does this mower have the ability to smoothly turn 360 degrees but its low center of gravity makes for an exceptional cutting experience. The Hydro gear 2800 transmission puts this machine in the class with other best commercial mowers. The 3 mulching blades and 24 hp Briggs engine will give you a life time of solid cutting.

best commercial zero turn mower
Swisher ZTR2454BS

What do we like about the Swisher ZTR2454BS?

  • It can mow at a speed of 8 mph, forward and backward; no need to shift gears.
  • Rapid Response Control System – mowing at ease.
  • It has Gator Mulcher™ blades.
  • The backrest is 18 inches with an adapter plug and cup holder for added benefits.

ZERO TURN MOWER BUYERS GUIDE

 

WHAT IS A ZERO TURN MOWER?

A zero turn mower is a riding lawn mower that has a turning radius of zero degrees. There are many different makes and models in both entry level, residential zero turn mowers and commercial style machines. Before we get into which one is the best zero turn mower it’s important to learn what exactly makes these machines different.

When searching for the longest lasting zero turn mower many things come into play that we will fully cover in this article. Shopping for the top machine can be quite pricey and also stressful, this guide will ease some of that pain. This may be one of the largest purchases you make under a car and home, so choosing a long lasting zero turn lawnmower is crucial.

Most newer style machines have 4 wheels and accomplish the zero degree turning ratio by using hydraulic speed control separately for each side of the unit. Varying sizes of cutting decks can be gasoline or diesel along with many other options.

TYPES OF STEERING CONTROLS

The most commonly seen, but not necessarily the most ideal is the lap lever operated machine. 

Two other types of zero degree machines are steering wheel and joystick controlled, but with a much different design. More recently steering wheel machines have become increasingly popular with some of the best residential zero turn lawn-mowers. They’re great because there’s no learning curve,  and they only go up a couple hundred dollars in cost.

These machines are a great option as most people already have experience with a steering wheel and it may also be good if you have no experience with lap bars. At the midpoint on the body an axle is mounted and connected to the rear wheels for steering control.

WHAT IS LEVER STEERING?

Two separate motors control lever style or lap bar machines, one for each side of the machine. The separate motors allow for each side to rotate independently. Two levers forward at the same time to move straight and pulling back on both levers equally to move backwards. When the operator needs to turn to the right or left, the lever on the that side needs to be pushed further  A forward and backward rotation of opposite tires is what gives the machine it’s zero turn capability.

Best zero turn mower

 

ARE THEY HARD TO DRIVE?

Z-turn machines are not for everyone, if after reading this guide your still unsure if they’re right for you than take a look at this article on ride on-mowers specifically, it will surely shed some more light on your different options. Learning which machines are the best rated will save you time and money in the long run. Before we get into the top machines lets take a look a couple more important  things to know before you make your purchase.

It’s important to understand that these machines take a little getting use to, but I wouldn’t say it is harder to operate. As a result more and more homeowners are purchasing these machines as they have been made more homeowner friendly and affordable. If you decide to go opt out of the steering wheel lap bars may take some getting use to but after that it’s a breeze. The difference in the two is simply a preference. 

WHY ARE THEY BETTER?

One of the biggest benefits is the ability to complete the work in less time. These machines have the ability to cut at a straight away speed that is typically 2-5 mph faster than other types of ride-ons. Next is it’s maneuverability, which is also  a major time saver. When cutting around trees, rocks, flower beds and other obstacles will become effortless. If you have several obstacles in your yard like the ones just mentioned, mowing can be quite strenuous work with a walk behind or lawn tractor. 

Lastly when cutting with a traditional ride-on, after you get to the end of a pass you usually have a choice to turn around one of 3 ways. Make a 3 point turn, make a wide U-type turn or to make a sharp turn which will usually leave you with a scalped and damaged lawn. If you’re lucky enough to own one of these top rated machines you will be able to easily make a 180 degree turn at the end of each pass. No more having to go back and forth to cut all the spots you missed when making your turn around loop.


3 REASONS NOT TO PURCHASE A ZERO TURN MOWER

 

YES,That’s right these high powered machines aren’t for everyone and all situations. Check out these reasons why you might want to stay away from purchasing a mower like this.

   #1 The main reason that I see time and time again has to do with the cutting area. It is totally unnecessary to purchase an oversized walk-behind or any ride on for that matter if you don’t have a large enough lawn to make it worthwhile. There are some people out there that go out and purchase the biggest and best residential mower on the market just because they can.

There’s a saying, “ Those who die with the most toys wins!” In this case, your toy will create more headaches than fun. I have an uncle that had a riding lawn-mower for a little patch of grass, I think it was more work and took longer for him to try to turn and maneuver the machine and turn it around. I could have done a quicker and better job with a push or walk behind.  

 #2  Another good reason NOT to purchase one of these machines is that you may have other needs that may not be fit for your machine. It’s important to realize that these machines have come a long way since they first hit the market. Still home tractors have many more add-ons and tow behind options that will not fit a Z-turn. So you just need to make sure that your lawnmower can accomidate everything you want.

 #3  Lastly, you may not want to get one of these mean green turning machines if your cutting steep slopes. If you’re cutting on angles greater than 10-15 degrees, then a Z-turn is not a safe choice. I have personally seen them flip, roll, slide and almost kill the operator. If you only have a couple slopes,you can always leave those areas out of your mowing with your zero turn machine and cut them separately with something safer & more appropriate. I’m not kidding, check out this picture!

best zero turn commercial mower

WHAT SIZE ZERO TURN LAWNMOWER DO I NEED?

There are several factors you need to look at when choosing what size machine will fit you. The size of your property is probably first. Like we mentioned in the last answer, it is pointless and a waste of money to purchase a z-turn that is too big for your needs. It may cause you more work,take longer to finish the job and cost you unnecessary money.

Buyers need to be mindful of areas on your property that require cutting  in between two objects like a tree and a flower bed or in a gated area. You will be adding an extra step to you lawn care routine if your machine can’t fit in these places and you wind up having to use additional equipment to cut these places.  It’s a good idea to measure these areas in your yard, than take note of the machine widths before purchasing.Best Commercial Zero Turn Mower

Obviously the larger the deck the more acreage you can cover and ultimately get your job done quicker. Cutting decks can range in sizes, starting at 30” and going up to 72” and are made of either a fabricated or stamped metal. Fabricated decks are more durable than stamped decks and will take a bigger beating. The drawback to this is you will pay a higher price upfront, but may save you in the long run if you will be putting your machine to hard work. In most cases I have seen a stamped deck is more than sufficient  for a homeowner. Commercial zero turn mowers are where you will usually see a more heavy duty fabricated deck as they take way more abuse.

To help you understand the difference, commercial machines are sometimes operate for 6-8 hours a day –  6 days a week, in comparison to a residential zero-turn or entry-level that generally operates for 1-2 hours – once a week. Another thing to keep in mind is that generally smaller mowers are less stable on slopes and can have some traction issues.

They are better for mostly flat areas that are less than an acre. The last thing you want to do is purchase to small of a machine with a less than adequate transmission. An overworked and abused machine will not get the operating hours that are intended, resulting in unnecessary repairs that could have been avoided.

WHAT IS HYDROSTATIC?

Under the hood of almost all zero turns you can find a hydro-static transmission. Hydro-static transmissions have a solid reputation in quality equipment due to their simplicity to operate along with their durability. They are the choice transmission for most Z-turn manufacturers. The beauty of a hydro-static transmission is its ability to slow down or stop without having to step on a pedal.

As you release or lessen up the pressure on the gas pedal the lawn-mower slows down or stops accordingly. When you remove your foot from the gas you stand still, as if you had your foot on the brake. Each rear wheel has it’s own independent transmission allowing the ability to perform a zero degree turn.

There are several different level or models of hydrostatic transmissions. The less expensive known as the EZT series are for entry level, homeowner lawn-mowers which send the power through a gear with a single 1” axle. These transmissions are maintenance free sealed units that do not  need oil and filter replacements. The drawback to this is the sealed units are non-repairable and a replacement will be needed if failure occurs. You should not be pulling over 250 lbs with the EZT series, you can cause serious damage by pulling an unintended attachment.

The next step up is an integrated trans-axle with a 10 cc variable displacement seven piston pump that has a 16 cc seven piston motor. This series transmission also known as the EZT 2800 series. Things to note are less leaks, more reliability and they require less maintenance with external replaceable filters. If you’ll be mowing uneven terrain or will be pulling more than 250 lbs than don’t think twice about purchasing a mower without this type of transmission.

Lastly,the top of the line is the 3100 series, which is very similar to the mid grade transmission except made with stronger commercial parts. If you maintain your unit correctly this could very well be the last machine you purchase. The 3100 series hydro-static transmission is the most costly unit and mostly seen in commercial and high grade equipment. Furthermore, a little more money upfront can save you big bucks in the long run.

HOW COULD I DAMAGE MY MACHINE?

These machines are great for maintaining lawns that are less than 12” tall. Z- Turns are NOT ideal to cut pastures, fields and  brush. Also weeds and grass that is taller than a foot you should stay clear of also. Some machines can get the job done, but you’re only asking for problems down the road. I can assure you that if you operate your machine outside of manufacturer’s recommendations than you will surely be paying for high priced repairs and parts. You will not only put extra strain on your transmission but spindles and other pricey parts will wear and break down over time.

Most of the time when your machine is being repeatedly over worked, like cutting up too steep of  hills or trying to mow long grass or strong thick weeds you will know it. The first indication of straining your machine will be the change in it’s sound, it will wine moan to you for mercy. As a result the machine will begin to slow or bog down. This is a sure sign that you are putting too much stress on your machine especially the transmission. Operating your machine this way over time, will end up costing you a steep price in unnecessary repairs.

Maintenance  

This answer will vary between units and depend on how many hours a week you operate it. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule closely and monitor the hours on your machine. Ride ons keep track of hours operated unlike a vehicle that keeps track of the miles it is driven.

Best Commercial Zero Turn Mower

Important tasks that every owner should be familiar with:

Here are a few important tasks to keep in mind, but you should always follow ALL manufacturer’s recommendations. Doing this will keep your Z-turn running the longest and help prevent ensure warranty coverage. Even a top of the line zero turn will eventually need repairs.

Greasing your machine– you should be familiar with the location of every grease fitting on your machine. Greasing machines regularly is a must. Ignoring this simple task can cost you easily avoided repairs.

Keeping Sharp blades Sharpening your own blades can be a simple task once you learn how. If it’s something you would rather not do than you can have a local repair shop sharpen them for $10-$20 a blade. Sometimes we overlook this simple task, which results in a poor cut. Dull blades leave a lawn susceptible to bigger problems. Ripped-torn grass will leave your lawn susceptible to diseases unlike a smooth clean cut, and also an overworked machine. If for no other reason, as a result of sharp blades your lawn will look better.

Proper cleaningThe buildup of dead wet grass will rust your machine quicker. Grease fittings will corrode and clog making nuts and bolts harder to remove. A simple good rinse after each use can prevent many of these issues.

Oil Changes– like any machine that requires oil – filter and fluids need replacement per manufacturer recommendations. If your handy this can be a simple task that will save you cash, or you can have it done at a repair shop that will pick it up usually for an extra fee.
https://youtu.be/uQr07kEqO3k

Conclusion
All 5 of the above z-turn machines are top notch and live up to their reputation on this list of  top-rated zero turn mowers on sale. All of these are solid, quality machines. Choosing the one that last and fits all your needs is the key. In conclusion, only you know which of the best residential or commercial lawnmowers will fit your needs..

Hopefully all your questions were answered while comparing different models. It’s always better to make an educated decision when purchasing a mower of this caliber. Lastly, choose the right the best commercial zero turn mower for your budget while keeping in mind the deciding factors we outlined above. For more awesome reviews on top lawnmowers of 2018 take a look at this.

Happy mowing!

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Aggregate Rating
5 based on 3 votes
Brand Name
Ariens
Product Name
 Z246 23HP zero turn mower

13 Comments

  1. Well, husband has been drooling over zero degree lawn mowers for awhile now! WE only have 1/2 acre so I’ve denied this seemingly unrealistic request. Push lower mower is good enough. But I think he thinks the zero degree with help with manliness. So for now, we share with our extremely WONDERFUL neighbor. We pay the gas for both of us and split maintenance costs. But I’m sending him over to read this article anyhow, in case I change my mind! Ha.

    • I have to agree with him on this, he should definitely get a zero turn mower! lol It makes a job that so many people hate into something kind of fun. It’s like a big toy .
      Although using a walk behind is good exercise.

  2. I’ve been on the lookout for a zero turn mower for quite a while now. Decided to go with the Swisher ZTR2454BS (last recommendation).

  3. HUSQVARNA is one of the best brand in zero turn mowers. they have different varieties either it is about price or other things.

    • Husqvarna is a top brand,I have to agree it’s one of my favorites actually. I’m not sure what you mean about either price or other things.

  4. Kevin Turner says:

    I don’t know I looked at all of those and purchased a Simplicity Courier 52 inch deck. I believe it is the best bang for the buck under $5,000. Cuts and drives like a Ferris and it has suspension like a Ferris as well. I even believe Ferris owns them now.

    • Hi Kevin, Yes simplicity is a decent machine. Unfortuately I just dont know enough about them to review and recommend it. Also you are right , back in 1998 I believe, Ferris became a subsidiary of Simplicity Manufacturing. Good luck with your new machine, happy mowing!

  5. Garden Masters says:

    hello this was well crafted article it ws very helpful as it allowed me t pick the most effective mowe/

  6. Glad it helped you. Thanks

  7. No Hustler, Bobcat, Kubota? C’mon man..,,the first three pages of Google all controlled by their advertisers. None of these mainstream mowers can hang with the 3 mentioned above sans maybe the swisher…I’ve yet to cut with one of them…but you don’t see guys who cut for a living using ANY of these.

    Buy a used Hustler or Bobcat over any of these machines new and you’ll be a lot happier! I had a Hustler Super Mini-Z with a 52” deck and Honda motor and the thing was incredible. Tough times made me have to part with it sadly but…still much better machines than any of these!

    • Thanks for your input but I’m a little confused how you can say these mowers can’t hang if you have NOT cut with ANY of the 3 ?? These are quality machines built to last and have been tested against some of the machines you are referring to..

      Also, I have nothing to do with Google and I don’t use Google ads, so I have no idea what your mean by the comment. If you are talking about the first 2 or 3 search results on the page after you Google a word/phrase – Yes, those are Google ads. Not 2-3 pages of listings just the top 2-3 spots. Those are ads that people pay for to get the top spot. It says AD right next to it. I usually never click on these spots because it is a paid ad. and only look at the results below the ads.

      Thanks again!

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