Choosing the type of mower should be based on various factors, including the mower capacity, speed, maneuverability, and lawn size. If the last three are some of your significant concerns, the best zero-turn mowers would be the best choice.

What is Zero-Turn Mower?

Zero-turn mowers deliver faster mowing action due to their excellent maneuverability. However, unlike riding mowers, zero-turn mowers commonly come with two levers located on both sides of the operator instead of a steering wheel. These levers allow the operator to control the mower and make it possible to turn on a dime. Though it lets faster turning, it has a learning curve that new owners unfamiliar with it would face.

How Does Zero-Turn Mower Work?

Zero-turn mowers work by commonly utilizing four wheels: two swiveling front tires and two large drive tires located at the back. The two drive tires can rotate independently in opposite or the same direction, determining the direction of the mower.

Most zero-turn mowers nowadays are using differential steering to change directions. By controlling the levers that change the individual speeds and movements of the drive tires, the operator can move forward, backward, and turn.

The mower can move forward by pushing both levers forward with the same force and vice versa if you want to move it backward. On the other hand, the mower can make a gentle turn by pushing the lever more than the other. Lastly, you can achieve the famous zero-radius turn by moving one lever forward and pulling back the other. This ability allows the mower to pivot freely, hence faster movement and mowing activity of the machine.

Zero-Turn Mowers Capabilities and Limitations?

Controlling a zero-turn mower pretty much looks simple, but it takes time to learn and get comfortable with its levers and movements. Nonetheless, once you have mastered it, it can offer you the best way to cut an incredibly considerable size of lawns with ease and speed. With the proper control, a user can work on acres of grass in a matter of minutes. This makes it ideal for mowing fields, and other vast grass areas that walk-behind mowers and push mowers can’t handle in a short period.

Moreover, it can reach tighter areas as its mowing deck is located in front of the mower. This allows users to cut closely around obstructions giving it an edge over a tractor with mowing decks installed underneath it.

You can even use attachments to a zero-turn mower, such as fertilizer spreaders, dethatchers, and collection bags. That being said, zero-turn mowers can also excel when it comes to versatility and functions.

However, it needs to be mentioned that a zero-turn mower also has its limitations. When used on wet turf, there is a possibility of a decrease in the control of its spinning movement. This could result in the unfavorable sliding of the mowing deck and possible lawn damages.

Zero-turn mowers can also pose a risk when used on slopes with angles between 10 to 15 degrees. Since the movement or force of the mower is produced and controlled by the rear-drive tires, the two small swiveling front tires can’t support the mower to climb on steep slopes. This results in the mower rolling over.

As such, you have the experience in controlling its movement, and the knowledge of its capacity is highly suggested. Nonetheless, if you are a new owner or plan to buy one, it is recommended to research how it works thoroughly. It is also important not to abruptly take advantage of its ability to mow lawns quickly if you still don’t have much experience and control over it.

Best Zero-Turn Mowers Comparison & Rating

  1. Husqvarna Z254F 54″ Zero-Turn Mower
  2. Ariens 915223 IKON-X FR691 Series 52″ Zero-Turn Mower
  3. Snapper 2691319 48″ 23 HP Zero-Turn Mower
  4. Craftsman 17ARFACQ091 50″ Zero-Turn Mower
  5. Simplicity 2691318 23 HP 42″ Zero Turn Mower

If you are on the look for a zero-turn mower, it is essential to identify the future use and purpose of the unit. That said, if you require a zero-turn mower unit, we got you covered. Here are the top picks we prepared with our experts to complement your commercial and residential needs. We hope that you’ll find the zero-turn mower that you need here.

1. Husqvarna Z254F 54″ Zero-Turn Mower

Specifications & Rating:

  • Brand: Husqvarna
  • Cutting Width: 54 inches
  • Cutting Heights: 1.5 inches to 4 inches
  • Headlights: Yes
  • Rating: 98% Overall


  • Powered by a 26 HP Kohler 747 cc 7000 Series V-Twin engine.
  • It offers a 54-inch FAB 3-blade mower deck.
  • It features a welded ten gauge steel construction.
  • The seat has high-back support that is soft and comfortable.
  • It features an ergonomic control panel that is easy to reach and packed with convenient controls.
  • It has a durable rear guard.
  • It has a minimum cutting height of 1.5 inches and 4 inches max.


  • Exposes the mower blades when you raise the chute.

Final Take:

What we love about Husqvarna Z254F 54” ZT is its great control. The levers are appropriately sensitive, and you can easily switch the mower’s direction without any struggle. You can also move the steering levers inward or outward to activate the park brake system. The deck lift is pretty convenient since it is spring-assisted and within the operator’s reach. It has a maximum forward speed of 6.5 mph and a maximum reverse speed of 3.2 mph, which are fast enough for you to cover a lawn that is not lower than 9 acres. Most of all, we appreciate that Husqvarna listened this time to users’ needs to have a unit with headlights. This makes it easier to use the mower even in low-light conditions. With that, we must say that Husqvarna Z254F 54″ is a tough competition on the market.

2. Ariens 915223 IKON-X FR691 Series 52″ Zero-Turn Mower

Specifications & Rating:

  • Brand: Ariens
  • Cutting Width: 52 inches
  • Cutting Heights: 1.5 inches to 4.5 inches
  • Headlights: No
  • Rating: 98% Overall


  • It offers a 23 hp/726 cc Kawasaki FR V-Twin engine.
  • Features 52″ fabricated deck that is 4½” deep.
  • Offers a cutting width of 52.0 in / 132.00 cm.
  • The deck is made of 11-gauge steel.
  • Excellent heavy-duty tubular construction.
  • The seat offers padded high-back support and armrests.
  • You can easily adjust the height with its dial-operated cutting height selection.
  • Cutting height ranges from 1.5 inches to 4.5 inches.
  • It offers a forward ground speed of 7.00 mph and a reverse ground speed of 3.00 mph.
  • It has a 2.80 gal fuel capacity.


  • The deflector shield easily breaks, so it is not suggested for new users who lack experience in operating zero-turn mowers.
  • You may experience some bounce on excessively uneven turfs.

Final Take:

This commercial zero-turn mower of Ariens can provide you excellent grass mowing experience. The rear wheels are 45.7 x 21.5 cm – 20.3 cm, big enough to support the mower on some slopes without any tipping problems. We tried it with a mulching kit on a 2-acre area with some slopes present, and the triple blade system provided a smooth cutting action on thin grasses and weeds. Without even reaching an entire hour, we were able to mow the lawn clean, with some slopey portions, just receiving a few passes to get them completely even. With its fuel capacity, we wagger that it can last for more than three hours since we could use it after the test. We also commend that this 52″ Arien ZT uses a Kawasaki engine. One of the big deals about using this engine is that it supports the faster and easier starting of the machine. Also, it is far quieter than other competitions on the market, which makes it ideal for residential use!

3. Snapper 2691319 48″ 23 HP Zero-Turn Mower

Specifications & Rating:

  • Brand Snapper
  • Cutting Width 48 inches
  • Cutting Heights 1. 5 inches to 4. 5 inches
  • Headlights No
  • Rating: 97% Overall


  • It comes with a fully-welded steel frame and a thick-walled front axle.
  • It offers 13 heights of cut positions ranging from 1. 5 to 4. 5 inches.
  • The rear-drive tires have great control over slippery wet grass.
  • It has a 48-inch cutting width.
  • The added rear cargo bed has excellent construction and guard rails to prevent cargo from falling.
  • Well-built and a reliable commercial-type ZTmower.


  • The capacity of the cargo bed is a bit limited to carry some important gardening tools.

Final Take:

This Snapper ZT mower is a multifunctional machine that can work beyond its purpose of cutting grass. Compared to Husqvarna Z254F 54″, Craftsman 17ARFACQ091 50″, and a lot more, it comes with a rear bed. This allows the mower to double as a cargo vehicle that you can use when transporting heavy sacks of soil or fertilizer around your lawn. With a 50-pound capacity, it can be a helpful machine for those who love to work on their lawns. We also love that the model uses the well-known Briggs & Stratton Professional Series engine that professionals highly recommend due to its longevity that can last for years. The operation is very smooth, and the mower can effectively mulch the grass. When we tested it, it produced nothing but even sounds, soft sound. This translates to the untroubled motor that easily handles thin to the moderately thick grass. That being said, we approve of this model! Hands down!

4. Craftsman 17ARFACQ091 50″ Zero-Turn Mower

Specifications & Rating:

  • Brand: Craftsman
  • Cutting Width: 50″
  • Cutting Heights: 1.25 inches to 3.75 inches
  • Headlights: No
  • Rating: 96% Overall


  • It sports a 24 HP Kohler twin-cylinder engine.
  • It has a 50-inch cutting width.
  • It comes with a comfortable cut-and-sew leather, high-back seat.
  • Boasts of a robust steel frame.
  • Has cutting heights that range between 1.25 to 3.75 inches.
  • It has an excellent dual-range hydrostatic transmission; smooth operation.
  • It has easily adjustable lap bar positions.
  • It has reliable and excellent traction.
  • The fuel tank capacity is at 3-1/2 gallons.


  • The range of the cutting height is a bit limited.

Final Take:

This Craftsman 50″ ZT can start up quickly, even during the coldest days of the winter season. With its Kohler twin-cylinder engine, the mower can outlast the operation of the 52″ Ariens ZT that only offers 2.80 gal fuel capacity. So, despite having a cutting width that is 4-inch behind, it can still manage to handle 1 to 10 acres of grass. The wheels are smooth even in some bumpy areas we experienced, and the traction is incredible. The rear-drive tires create a firm grip on the ground, giving you great control in moderately wet environments. It works great for its size and features!

5. Simplicity 2691318 23 HP 42″ Zero Turn Mower

Specifications & Rating:

  • Brand: Simplicity
  • Cutting Width: 42 inches
  • Cutting Heights: 1.5 inches to 4.5 inches
  • Headlights: No
  • Rating: 95% Overall


  • It comes with an ergonomic mesh seat.
  • It has a fully-welded steel frame and a thick-walled pivoting front axle.
  • It has an integrated parking brake.
  • It offers 13 different height-of-cut positions from 1.5 to 4.5 inches.
  • It sports a 42-inch cutting width.
  • It features a 23 HP Briggs & Stratton Professional Series V-Twin engine.
  • They are designed with an optional utility cargo bed with a weight capacity of 50 pounds.


  • Though the seat is comfortable, its durability is a concern.

Final Take:

Of all the zero-turn models we have, we must say that this by far is the most comfortable to sit on. It boasts of a suspension system that minimizes the effects of an uneven lawn and bumps you commonly encounter. The rear and front suspension support of the mower significantly decreases jerky motions and bounces of the machine. You’ll appreciate that it would work like the stability it could offer as you ride the mower. Almost no bumps at all! And although this is a commercial type of mower, we are confident to recommend this to you as it has just the right size of cutting width perfect for residential lawns. It also offers forward and reverses speeds that compete with other leading brands at 7 and 4 mph, respectively.

Best Zero-Turn Mowers – Buyer’s Guide

Cutting width and lawn sizes:

The first thing you should be looking for is the cutting width of the zero-turn mower. A massive lawn would benefit more with a ZT with a considerable deck size. This should cut your effort and time in half when mowing your lawn.

Nonetheless, more factors should be considered in picking the size of the deck. Commonly, smaller ZT units are tippy and often encounter problems with traction. So, if you have a slopey or soft or sandy lawn, zero-turn mowers that are lower than 34 could not be the best choice.

On the other hand, you don’t want to buy a ZT that is too big for your lawn, especially if it would just be for residential purposes. Instead, go for something in the middle of a small ZT unit and a large one. That said, we recommend choosing a deck that is at least 42 to 60 inches that can manage 1 to 10 acres of land. Most residential units range from 48 to 60 inches. However, there are also a lot of commercial-type zero-turn mowers that come in the exact sizes. If you want to have a machine that will not require too much maintenance, commercial units are a choice, and that is why we have most of them here.

Build and other features:

From the size of rear-drive wheels to casters and seats, there is a need for checking every detail of a zero-turn mower. They will determine how comfortable you would be when operating the unit.

This also helps in the mower’s efficiency, especially if you are dealing with a lawn with too many slopes present. If that is your case, ensure that the drive wheels of the unit come in significant sizes to promote the balance of the mower. Since tipping has always been an issue in this kind of mower, wheels are a crucial factor to consider.

Also, look for additional features that will give more value to your purchase, whether a cargo bed, a suspension system, or a first-class chair. They should make your mowing task way easier and faster.


It is a fact that zero-turn mower units don’t come cheap. Nonetheless, they are a pretty significant investment for your lawn that could last for years. Currently, some brands offer them starting with $2500. The price increases as the size of the deck get bigger. Nowadays, most reliable economy units start at $3000, and if you are looking for a heavy-duty model, you should be willing to pay at least $6000. The prices seem intimidating, but given the time and effort these machines could save you, they are worth every penny.

Best Zero-Turn Mowers – FAQs

Q. Are zero-turn mowers worth buying?
A. A zero-turn lawn mower is well worth the time and money because it cuts grass smoother and is better than a regular mower.

Q. Are zero-turn mowers better than regular mowers?
A. ZT mower units are known for their speed and maneuverability. It can cut your time and effort in half when mowing a lawn. Furthermore, compared to conventional mowers like push-type and walk-behind mowers, the operator can mow the lawn while riding the unit, which translates to comfort and ease in performing the task.

Q. Is operating a zero-turn mower challenging to control?
A. It can be a little challenging for first-time users due to its controls. Instead of a steering wheel, ZT mowers commonly come with levers. You can make the mower go forward, backward, or turn, depending on your input.

Q. Is it appropriate to use a zero-turn mower at home?
A. Yes, it is. Zero-turn mowers are best for homes with vast yards. Some residential-type ZT mowers are available that allow easy storage of the unit. Still, if you require a giant mower due to the size of your lawn (3 or more acres), there are also commercial-type ZTs available on the market.


Jessie is a landscape artist famous among folks in Los Angeles who are obsessed with keeping their lawns pristine and divine. He worked for BrightView Holdings, Inc. back in 2015 and now owns a brick-and-mortar business that offers all kinds of gardening tools and machines. Ask him all you need to know about your mower or your fertilizer, and he will answer you while sipping a cup of coffee.