Toolbox Essentials: Q1 2022 Catalog
Best Zero-Turn Lawn Mowers for Tight Corners

Best Zero-Turn Lawn Mowers for Tight Corners

You’ve probably seen zero-turn lawn mowers in use wherever there are big areas of grass: soccer fields, public parks, grass trails, and golf courses all use zero-turn lawn mowers to accomplish clean, quick, efficient, and beautiful lawn maintenance. For commercial use and for any larger residential areas that need to be cut, there’s nothing as good as a zero-turn mower.

Zero-turn mowers are controlled with two bars that create an intuitive interface for steering, as well the ability to perform a full 360-degree turn. They’re different from ride-on lawn mowers in their maneuverability, size, and adaptability. If you’ve ever seen a commercial lawn mower at a sporting event, or the lawn mowers your city uses to mow parks and boulevards, you’ve probably seen a zero-turn lawn mower.

Factors to Consider in a Zero-Turn Lawn Mowers

The ultimate in maneuverable and efficient lawn care, zero-turn lawn mowers are used to cut large lawns or grassy areas precisely and effectively. While city-dwellers or urban/suburban residents probably won’t need a zero-turn lawn mower and can easily get away with a powered hand lawn mower (or even a push reel mower), those trimming over ¾-acres per cut will be looking for the best, most convenient option: a zero-turn lawn mower.

Cutting Width

Typically zero-turn mowers have relatively large blades, cutting huge swaths of grass in a single pass. This is incredibly convenient, especially for larger lawns, as just a couple inches of added width can cut hours of mowing time out of your schedule each year. It really adds up! The largest mowers measure about 60 inches across.

Mowers with a smaller cutting width (42 inches and up) have some advantages as well, typically related to maneuverability. All zero-turn mowers can cut around sharp corners, but larger mowers can’t squeeze into tight areas as well. For this reason, a mower with a slightly smaller cutting width can sometimes be advantageous.


The force of a zero-turn lawn mower is measured in horsepower, correlated to engine size and determining the ground speed of the mower as well as the power of the blade. While less powerful lawn mowers might have horsepower ratings of around 15, while more powerful lawn mowers can get up to 30 horsepower or even more.

Gas Capacity

There are few bigger pains in lawn care than running out of gas in the middle of a mow. That’s why a large gas tank is important, especially for larger lawns. Most owner’s manuals will give you a rough running time, although it can vary based on terrain as well as grass height and type. Really, though, the most important thing is that a single tank can get you through a whole mow: you don’t need much more than that.


While weight doesn’t need to be considered by all buyers, there are a couple of important things to think about related to lawn mower size.

First, consider your lawn surface and home geography. If you’re in a wet or swampy area, think about a lighter mower. Trust us, getting stuck is no fun.

Secondly, transportation: if you’re going to be transporting your mower (you run a landscaping company, for example), make sure the weight is compatible with your towing capacity.

Lastly, consider shipping: the larger the mower, the more challenging it is to transport logistically speaking.

No matter your specific requirements, we’ve reviewed a riding lawn mower that will meet your needs below.

Top 10 Best Zero-Turn Lawn Mowers 2023

1. Best Overall Zero-Turn Mowers: Husqvarna Z242F Hydrostatic Riding Mower

Husqvarna Z242F Hydrostatic Riding Mower

Why we like it: Husqvarna’s cheapest mower is also its smallest, with a 42-inch blade diameter and a peppy but compact 18 horsepower motor.

Editor’s Rating:

At a Glance:

  • Cutting Width: 42 inches
  • Horsepower: 18 hp
  • Gas Capacity: 3.5 gallons
  • Weight: 551 lbs

This mower represents a middle point in Husqvarna’s product range. It’s smaller, with a 42-inch cutting width, but still contains some high-end features (all of which you’ll end up paying for). Among these pricey bonuses is a hydrostatic transmission, which requires really minimal maintenance. It’s also one of the only Husqvarna products to incorporate their patent-pending parking brake, which is incredibly helpful when working on steeper grades.

The motor is a reliable Kawasaki model, coming in at 18 horsepower with a simple and reliable hydrostatic transmission making it easy to engage the blade. A motor that powerful isn’t enough for crazy power or high ground speeds, but the plucky motor is incredibly steady, doesn’t cause problems, and is easy to work on. Anything with a Kawasaki engine has our recommendation.

A 3.5 gallon tank capacity is quite impressive for the category, yielding several acres of cutting before it needs a top up. It’s no Toyota Prius, but it’s a bit more fuel-efficient than competitors. A 550-pound weight is incredibly light for the category, making it more maneuverable than competitors, but it’s also on the small side.

This is fine for most medium-sized residential lawns, but those with massive acreage might want to save time and effort by getting a larger, faster mower — keeping in mind that it’s probably overkill for most, and comes at a higher price.


  • Midrange Husqvarna mower is reliable and precise
  • Kawasaki motor with hydrostatic transmission is reliable and easy to use
  • Parking brake is helpful when working on steep grades
  • Requires minimal maintenance


  • One of the smallest ride-on mowers on the market
  • 18 horsepower motor doesn’t yield high RPMs or quick ground speed

2. Best Premium Zero-Turn Mower: Husqvarna MZ61 Hydrostatic Mower

Husqvarna MZ61 Hydrostatic Mower

Why we like it: This top of the line, fully-featured Husqvarna mower is equipped with a roll bar, large gas tank, and a five-foot cutting width for mowing large areas efficiently and safely.

Editor’s Rating:

At a Glance:

  • Cutting Width: 61 inches
  • Horsepower: 24 hp
  • Gas Capacity: 5 gallons
  • Weight: 770 lbs

Husqvarna is already a premium player in the outdoor power tool space, but this is their top-end model, a fully-featured 61-inch mower priced well over five grand. Part of what you’re paying for is the size, as 61 inches represents a five-foot-plus cutting width: most riding lawn mowers are typically under 40 inches, with the largest ones normally reaching 45 inches.

That large size is paired with an impressive 24 hp Kawasaki motor that yields fast speeds and high RPMs for easy cutting. That’s most of what you’re paying for: a large size and powerful engine that makes mowing large areas quick.

That by itself might not be worth a down payment on a modest home, but this Husqvarna mower is loaded with convenient, comfortable, user-friendly touches that elevate it above its competitors. A nine-bushel clipping collection system holds up to two acres of cut grass. The mower is equipped with a roll bar, which, combined with proper seat belt usage means you can operate fearlessly on steeper grades. No, we don’t recommend you tip the mower over, but if it happens, that bar will keep you safe.

Comfort’s a factor too, and the more you mow, the more important it becomes. An ergonomic seat with foam contact points helps prevent the typical aches and pains, but even more important is the high-tech vibration dampening that prevents fatigue over days and weeks.

Our verdict? If money is no object, or if you’re using this mower for commercial purposes, it’s worth the price. If you’re a residential homeowner looking for something to get the job done once a week, this might be overkill.


  • 24 hp motor yields fast cutting speeds and high RPMs for cutting
  • High-tech dampening prevents operator fatigue over time
  • Equipped with a roll bar for safety
  • Comfortable foam contact points


  • Full features and powerful motor mean the mower might be overkill for some
  • High price isn’t accessible

3. Most Durable Zero-Turn Mower: Husqvarna Z246 Zero-Turn Lawn Mower

Husqvarna Z246 Zero-Turn Lawn Mower

Why we like it: This Husqvarna mower has a 10-year limited warranty, a testament to its reliable reputation as a workhorse mower.

Editor’s Rating:

At a Glance:

  • Cutting Width: 46 inches
  • Horsepower: 20 hp
  • Gas Capacity: 3.5 gallons
  • Weight: 504 lbs

This mower is labeled as a ‘Briggs and Stratton’ model, which refers to the fact that the Wisconsin-based Fortune 100 company of the same name manufactures the engine itself. That’s a good thing, in our books, as Husqvarna engines have a reputation for finicky operation while Briggs and Stratton models are noted for their impressive reliability. It’s a collaboration between the companies that really pays off.

The frame and accessories of this Husqvarna mower, however, are impeccable. Many parts are machined, practically everything is made of advanced alloys or durable steel. And it’s not just for show: the mowers have a 10-year limited warranty on all non-mechanical components. Other smaller parts have a lifetime warranty for craftsmanship.

If you’re planning to use your mower for many years, a Husqvarna could be worth the price just for the warranty. All you need to do to be eligible is register your Husqvarna mower here.

The negative aspects of this mower mainly have to do with the movement. The controls on some models don’t track perfectly straight, which isn’t a dealbreaker, although it can be inconvenient. Thankfully with proof of purchase, you’ll be able to get it serviced at the dealer and fix that issue.

A max speed of 6.5-miles per hour is a little slower than average, but it’s not a big complaint unless you’re driving to your cutting site (golf course maintenance, for example), or you’re cutting huge areas of flat ground. The Snapper 560Z is a bit better-suited to large lawns, and it’s also fairly durable, but it’s not backed by the same excellent warranty or customer service.


  • Incorporates a reliable Briggs and Stratton Mower
  • Buyers are eligible for dealer service
  • Skeleton, design, and accessories are well thought-out
  • Small parts come with a lifetime warranty


  • Low speed means driving to cutting site is slow
  • Not great if you’re cutting large areas of flat ground
  • Some models don’t track perfectly straight

4. Most Powerful Zero-Turn Mower: Snapper 560Z Zero-Turn Lawn Mower

Snapper 560Z Zero-Turn Lawn Mower

Why we like it: Snapper straps a powerful motor to a shorter blade with this model, yielding a motor that keeps going no matter what.

Editor’s Rating:

At a Glance:

  • Cutting Width: 52-inches
  • Horsepower: 25 horsepower
  • Gas Capacity: 5.5 gallons
  • Weight: 1164 lbs

Relying on the same powerful brand of motor as the Husqvarna Z246 Briggs and Stratton Zero-Turn Lawn Mower, this 25 horsepower mower from manufacturer Snapper packs a powerful spinning action into a smaller mower format, yielding a mower that won’t ever get jammed up or stall.

Stalling out is typically more of a problem with push-behind mowers, but some small, lower-horsepower zero-turn mowers can also stall out, especially when driven at high ground speeds. There are three facets that can help prevent a motor from stalling: a smaller blade, which is less likely to get hung up in the grass, a lower ground speed, which allows a blade more time to cut a given area, and a powerful motor, which will improve the power behind the blade. This mower maximizes that equation, meaning it’s incredibly unlikely to stall even in heavy, overgrown grass.

It has a cutting range of 1.5 to 4.5 inches, a wide range fit for shallow cuts as well as ‘once-overs’ for areas that just need a bit of cleaning up. The biggest thing to be aware of is customer support, as Snapper has had some business trouble recently and their customer service department might be hard to get in touch with. And while it’s got a limited lifetime warranty, it’s pretty difficult to get a replacement from a company that’s gone bankrupt.


  • Powerful motor with a small blade diameter is unlikely to stall out
  • Good at cutting thick grass and fast ground speeds
  • Cutting range of 1.5 to 4.5 inches
  • Can pull of short cuts and higher pass overs


  • Troubled company might not hold up to its promise of a limited lifetime warranty
  • Hard to get in touch with the customer service department

5. Best Zero-Turn Mower for Overgrown Lawns: Husqvarna MZ61 Riding Mower

Husqvarna MZ61 Riding Mower

Why we like it: 61 inches of cutting diameter, 27 horsepower, and a design full of cool features makes this mower phenomenally well-equipped for any mowing job you’ll come across, although you’ll have to pay for it.

Editor’s Rating:

At a Glance:

  • Cutting Width: 61 inches
  • Horsepower: 27 hp
  • Gas Capacity: 5 gallons
  • Weight: 770 lbs

Husqvarna makes two separate 61-inch mowers: the 24 horsepower MZ61 Hydrostatic Mower powered with a reliable Kawasaki motor, and this mower, a brawny 27-horsepower model that can cut the thickest grass at high ground speeds without a single hiccup.

It’s got a bag for collecting grass clippings, although it can be removed to leave the clippings as thatch or fertilizer on whatever grass you’re mowing. It’s chock full of other ease-of-use or user-comfort features as well, with foam hand grips, vibration dampeners/isolators, and a comfortable seat with armrests, something you don’t see on most consumer zero-turn mowers.

It’s the best mower out there for doing a full cut on an overgrown area. A high rotational speed provided by the powerful motor will make quick work of even the densest vegetation, although you’ve still got to be careful of rocks and steeper gradients. In fact, it’s even easier to really mess something up mechanically with a wide blade and powerful motor as high blade velocities mean that you won’t just break a blade if you hit something hard, you might need an entire motor replacement.


  • Incredibly powerful, large-diameter mower is great for big jobs
  • Comfortable seat with armrests and vibration dampeners
  • Best mower for a big cutting job on a large grass area
  • Brawny motor cuts through thick vegetation with ease


  • High horsepower engine makes blade and motor easier to damage
  • Very premium price

6. Best Zero-Turn Mower for Short Grass: Ariens IKON XD 52 Inch Zero-Turn Mower

Ariens IKON XD 52 Inch Zero-Turn Mower

Why we like it: This 52-inch mower has 18 horsepower, making it a little more manageable and good for mowing large areas of well-maintained grass down to as short as you need.

Editor’s Rating:

At a Glance:

  • Cutting Width: 52 inches
  • Horsepower: 18 hp
  • Gas Capacity: 2.8 gallons
  • Weight: 639 lbs

While Ariens doesn’t have an enormous brand presence, the US-based company uses motors with an impeccable reputation: it’s with a brawny Kawasaki engine that’s almost equally as powerful as the engine on Husqvarna’s MZ61 Hydrostatic Mower, allowing this 52-inch model to make quick work of even the densest grasses.

The 600cc engine comes in at about 18 hp, yielding impressive cutting power for a smaller-format deck mower. It’s not the biggest mower out there, but the made-in-the-USA tractor has more than enough power to get the job done. If you know you’re cutting dense brush, consider something a bit more powerful, but for most grass lawns, this will be more than powerful enough.

At a mid-range price for the category, Ariens still does an excellent job of taking care of their customers, offering some thoughtful features that make the mower great from an ease-of-use perspective.

13 distinct cutting heights from 1.5 to 4.5 inches mean that you can customize cutting height based on grass species and season, something not all zero-turn mowers can do. Best of all, it happens with just the turn of a dial, no screws, squatting, or grease towels necessary.


  • Height adjustment with the turn of a dial
  • Mid-range price point with a focus on customer needs
  • Brawny Kawasaki energy produces 18 horsepower
  • Impressive cutting power for a smaller mower
  • Made in the US


  • Not the biggest or most powerful mower on the market

7. Best Budget Zero-Turn Mower: Craftsman Z525 Zero-Turn Lawn Mower

Craftsman Z525 Zero-Turn Lawn Mower

Why we like it: With a strong reputation in the home tool space, this zero-turn mower offers a smaller cutting width but impressive precision and a more economical price.

Editor’s Rating:

At a Glance:

  • Cutting Width: 46 inches
  • Horsepower: 22 hp
  • Gas Capacity: 3 gallons
  • Weight: 623 lbs

This mower from famous tool brand Craftsman is one of the most economical options out there at a price about half of premium options for commercial users like Husqvarna MZ61. So what does this lack over more expensive models, then? Where do manufacturers cut out features?

Firstly, the cutting deck: the blade has a diameter of 46 inches, about 75% of the widest 61-inch mowers. For a real-world comparison, you can cut a maximum of about 2 acres per hour with a 46 inch mower and almost 3 acres per hour with a 61 inch deck. If you’ve got a lot to cut, that really adds up. A three gallon tank gives you about three acres of cutting capacity before you’ll run out of gas.

Overall, it’s smaller, has less capacity, and is a bit slower, although you gain something in the way of maneuverability with this smaller mower.

Where this mower doesn’t compromise? Power and features. 22 horsepower looks pretty good against 24 horsepower for twice the price (pay attention, Husqvarna). 679 cubic centimeters of displacement is the same amount of displacement as some older cars.

All this yields a quick top speed and powerful cutting. There are features as well: an ergonomic seat is comfortable for all-day jobs, a reverse gear is great for getting out of type spots, and the controls are responsive and comfortable. If you’re looking to get a zero-turn mower at the minimum price, this is a great option.


  • Small, inexpensive mower is maneuverable
  • Doesn’t compromise on power or features
  • Ergonomic seat stays comfortable all day long
  • Great for a zero-turn lawn mower at an economical price


  • Cuts at a much slower speed than other mowers with larger blades
  • Gas capacity is less than average

8. Ariens Zenith Kawasaki Zero-Turn Lawn Mower

Ariens Zenith Kawasaki Zero-Turn Lawn Mower

Why we like it: This expensive mower has an enormous 750cc motor that’s incredibly powerful and reliable, equipped with accessories and clever, user-friendly features.

Editor’s Rating:

At a Glance:

  • Cutting Width: 60 inches
  • Horsepower: 23.5 hp
  • Gas Capacity: 5 gallons
  • Weight: 1,076 lbs

The first thing to know with this mower is that it doesn’t come cheap: that’s thanks to a near 750 cubic centimeter, 24 horsepower motor that’s provided by Kawasaki, a V-Twin engine similar to what the company uses on their brawniest highway cruising motorcycles. You won’t have much trouble with this incredibly reliable motor.

The 60-inch, 3-blade cutting deck spins up quickly, connected to a transmission that makes it simple to engage the cutting action. But that’s not the only feature that makes life easy for operators: the plush seat is perhaps the most comfortable in our lineup, and the entire platform is equipped with vibration-isolating tech that prevents fatigue and reduces downtime. It’s even got advantages for durability, as the isolators prevent screws and other things from rattling loose.

While the engine makes an incredible amount of power, it comes with a problem: twin combustion chambers means twin oil filters, a pain when it comes to changing over your oil. The transmission, while being easy to use, is slightly fussy, however, and sometimes requires replacement. You’ll only have to worry about that, however, long after a standard lawn tractor would break down: it’s still way more reliable than other types of mowers, mostly thanks to the Kawasaki engine.


  • Durable and reliable mower
  • Filled with user-friendly features like vibration-isolating technology
  • Powerful motor is similar to motors used on motorcycles
  • 60-inch, 3-blade cutting deck


  • Transmission is prone to breaking down
  • V-Twin engine makes oil changes a bit tricky

9. Husqvarna Z254 Hydrostatic Zero-Turn Mower

Husqvarna Z254 Hydrostatic Zero-Turn Mower

Why we like it: This 54-inch mower from Husqvarna is fantastically capable, quick, and has a large cutting radius, although admittedly, it’s a bit more for residential use than commercial use.

Editor’s Rating:

At a Glance:

  • Cutting Width: 54 inches
  • Horsepower: 26 horsepower
  • Gas Capacity: 3.5 gallons
  • Weight: 640 lbs

If you haven’t realized it yet, we’re fans of Husqvarna: from their large format, commercial mowers to their Husqvarna’s MZ61 Hydrostatic Mower smaller, less expensive models like the Husqvarna Z246.

This is somewhere in the middle, a mid-size mower with a 54-inch blade that’s quick, mid-sized, and powerful, although it’s still oriented at residential customers. It’s loaded with unimpressive finishes, like a seat with a weird, short backrest and loads of plastic trims and parts. Even the gas tank cap is plastic, and although it’s not particularly prone to breaking, it’s simply not as high-quality as we’ve come to expect from Husqvarna.

So at the end of the day, it’s a mower that costs around 3,000 dollars that’s largely restricted to residential, non-commercial use. This is mainly thanks to its slightly fragile finishes and its smaller cutting diameter. That doesn’t mean it’s not without its advantages, but keep in mind that if you’re looking to purchase something for commercial use, you might be better off looking elsewhere.


  • Larger-format mower in a residential-consumer oriented package
  • Inexpensive price makes it a more accessible-priced zero-turn mower
  • Plastic finishes are still quite durable
  • Another great product from manufacturer Husqvarna


  • Plastic finishes are of lower-than-typical quality
  • Small diameter
  • Uncomfortable backrest

10. Best Commercial Zero-Turn Mower: John Deere ZTrak Z960M Mower

John Deere ZTrak Z960M Mower

Why we like it: This expensive and ridiculously powerful motor from industry titan John Deere is expensive, but you’ll get your money’s worth if you’re working on commercial contracts.

Editor’s Rating:

At a Glance:

  • Cutting Width: 60 inches
  • Horsepower: 31 hp
  • Gas Capacity: 11.5 gallons
  • Weight: 1,252 pounds

John Deere is an incredibly well-known manufacturer, more oriented towards farmers and commercial machine operators than residential users. Its trademark green machines work the land all across the US, with this model being one of the most popular for mowing parks and other public recreational areas.

The construction is a bit different, as it sits lower to the ground than other mowers, yielding a stable cutting platform that serves as a base for its ridiculously powerful engine and heavy weight. That 31 horsepower motor isn’t necessarily for cutting power, though, it more importantly yields high ground speeds to speed up cuts for large areas.

That’s why it’s so valuable as a commercial mower: a little math around the mower speed and width shows that this mower easily cuts 3 acres per hour while the smallest mower on our list cuts a mere 2 acres per hour. That’s a big difference when you’re paying someone to mow for you. Add to that a reputation for reliability and an incredible customer support team as icing on the cake.

The only flaw? The price, and the fact that it’s just way too much for your average lawn. If you’re just mowing your home’s lawn and you don’t live on a massive estate, pretty much anything else on our list is a better choice.


  • Fast ground speeds thanks to a powerful motor
  • Efficient cutting times of over 3 acres per hour
  • Popular for mowing public recreational areas
  • Reliable with strong customer support


  • Very high price
  • Heavy weight

Buying the Best Zero-Turn Lawn Mower

A zero-turn lawn mower is a big purchase, costing at minimum a few thousand dollars. Those who end up purchasing one, though, often find that their investment is well worth the price, as they’ll end up saving time, improving cutting accuracy, and having a more comfortable and less physically demanding mowing experience. A ride-on zero-turn mower is truly the gold standard of lawn mowing and landscaping technology.

Below, we go into some of the details on how to maximize the value you get out of your purchase.

What’s the Difference Between a Conventional Ride-on Mower and a Zero-Turn Lawn Mower?

To an uneducated eye, a zero-turn lawn mower and a ride-on mower are largely the same. They’re both controlled by a motor, both powered and steered by an operator who sits on top of the unit, and both have large, spinning, adjustable blades underneath that cut the grass. In other ways, though, they’re quite different. We detail the main points below:


Zero-turn lawn mowers are not cheap at all, with the least expensive ones costing at least a few thousand dollars. Ride-on mowers, although harder to use and less maneuverable, are much cheaper, with entry-level ride-on mowers available on the low end for only $500.


A zero-turn lawn mower, as you might imagine, has a turn radius of zero degrees, meaning you can be incredibly efficient about what and where you cut. Ride-on mowers are quite a bit less convenient, with some overlapping required for tighter spaces.


There is a reason commercial and governmental lawn mower fleets use zero-turn mowers: they’re simply a better investment in the long term, with longer viable lifespans, better resale value, and a lower probability of breaking down.


While the largest ride-on mowers overlap in size with the smallest zero-turn lawn mowers, ride-on mowers are typically smaller than their zero-turn counterparts. This reduces efficiency and cutting speed per hour.

Lawn Care Tips

Some simple lawn care tips can have really enormous effects on lawn health. Take a look at the following ideas that can be executed easily to create beautiful grass easily and inexpensively. They’re ranked from most to least important.


Aeration is one of the best-kept secrets when it comes to healthy grass, and you don’t have to do it too frequently to get good results. While a typical aerator pokes holes or pulls cores out of the soil, you can also purchase scarifiers, which help create a more robust root structure, or dethatchers, which pull dead grass away from the lawn surface. Aerating once a month and dethatching once a season with quality tools can make an enormous difference with a minimal time investment.

The video below gives some simple guidance on aeration and its benefits.

Species and Region-Specific Care

There’s no one universal type or strategy of lawn care that will create a healthy, beautiful lawn. Proper care requires many considerations: the grass species, for example, which should be cut to different lengths depending on the season, conditions, and age of the grass.

Regional considerations must be taken into account as well. Every spring, do a lower-than-typical cut. In summer, prioritize water and aeration, and in the fall, do a reset with fertilization and a buildup of thatch to protect roots from cold winters.


seed fertilizer being spread on lawn

When most people think about fertilization, they typically go straight to chemical fertilizers and worry about toxic effects on their pets, children, and the environment. For this reason, chemical fertilizers are falling out of popularity and being replaced with more natural but equally effective alternatives like compost and manures. These natural fertilizers are often less expensive, more effective, and have less of an environmental impact. Fertilize immediately after a mow or after aerating your lawn to get the most bang for your buck.

Other Lawn Care Products

A zero-turn lawn mower, while it’s a good start, isn’t the first or last thing you’ll have to buy to maintain a beautiful green lawn. Consider some other lawn products for lawn health, or even multiple types of trimmers and mowers based on what you’re looking to accomplish and in what area of your lawn:

  • Conventional Riding Mowers: While a zero-turn lawn mower is the gold standard in terms of lawn mowing, conventional ride-on mowers are a phenomenal value proposition, offering good cutting and great control for a good price.
  • Reel Lawn Mowers: Looking to do smaller detail work or cut a smaller lawn with minimal noise, gas expenditure, and great accuracy? A reel lawn mower is a good choice. If you’re just cutting big swaths, though, stick with a zero-turn lawn mower.
  • Lawn Aerators: Helping with drainage, adequate fertilization, air penetration, and root health, lawn aerators create holes in the dirt that help with lawn health. They’re affordable and pay dividends long term. If you’re aerating a large area, purchase a tow-behind trailer that you can hook up to a tractor (or zero-turn mower) with a hitch.
  • String Trimmers: For cleaning up edges, sidewalks, and areas of grass that are hard to access, there’s nothing like a string trimmer. If you care about your lawn, you should have one in your garden shed.

Zero-Turn Mower FAQ

There’s always more to know about lawn maintenance, and there’s always room to improve the look and health of your lawn. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions (and answers) regarding lawn care and zero-turn lawn mowers.

How Big of a Yard Do I Need for a Zero-Turn Lawn Mower?

While the numbers are flexible, especially taking into account personal preference, our recommendations are as follows: under a quarter-acre, a reel mower or motor push-mower, over a quarter-acre, a power mower or ride-on mower, over ¾ of an acre, a ride-on mower or a zero-turn lawn mower.

At a half-acre, a zero-turn mower is worth it from a time-saving perspective, at over an acre it starts to make financial sense as well.

On the other end of the spectrum, if you have a really big area of grass to cut (5-plus acres), the only thing you should consider for your lawn is a zero-turn lawn mower. Their cutting speeds, safety, ease of control, and reliability is unbeatable over larger areas. There’s a reason almost all public lawn maintenance and landscaping crews use zero-turn mowers, and it’s not because they’re more expensive.

What’s the Cheapest Zero-Turn Lawn Mower?

This question is a bit like asking “who is the cheapest lawyer?” Purchase the cheapest option end up in a situation where you probably would have been better off spending a bit more. While you might be able to get a zero-turn mower for about $2,000, and a used mower in decent condition for around $1,500, it probably is worth the splurge to buy something you’re confident in.

If you’re really on a budget, a decent lawn tractor or ride-on mower might better serve your needs. Dead set on an affordable zero-turn option? Our favorite economical zero-turn mower is the Craftsman Z525 Zero-Turn Gas Powered Lawn Mower.

How Short Should I Cut My Grass?

Oh, grass length: a much more contentious subject than most would realize. Lawn care enthusiasts know that grass height has a lot to do with season, weather, and grass variety, and that a lawn that gets cut down to half an inch in the spring might thrive at 2 inches in the summer. We can’t fully answer this question in an FAQ, so take into account your grass species and your growth cycle for your best results.

Why Are Zero-Turn Lawn Mowers So Expensive?

No, you’re not hallucinating: zero-turn lawn mowers can easily run you well above $3,000 or more. They’re expensive because they’re the best, providing phenomenal cutting speed, accurate maneuverability, long use times, and incredible reliability.

Is this price worth it for your lawn care purposes? That’s a decision you’ll have to make on your own, but considering how long they last, their great resale value, and their quick cutting speed, there’s a reason they’re considered the gold standard of mowers. If you’ve got a small yard, though, it may not be worth it.

How Are Zero-Turn Lawn Mowers Delivered?

Ordering a zero-turn lawn mower online isn’t like ordering a book: they weigh around 1,000 pounds, require special attention when shipping, and can only be shipped through specific parcel services. Some vendors may require a loading dock or non-residential address to ship the product.

Most zero-turn mowers ship in a crate only partially assembled, delivered by a specific truck driver. Even so, some companies will offer free shipping. Most manufacturers recommend some mechanical knowledge to assemble the mower, although a manual is included to guide you. The most difficult part is often breaking down the crate and getting the mower off of the pallet.

Wrapping Up

close up of reel lawn mower covered in grass

Lawn care is a relatively well-known pastime, and although some can get obsessed, it can be incredibly satisfying to get a beautiful mow job done and look at your work. The final product is the best part, though: the part where you can spend time in a beautifully maintained field of grass, with your family and friends enjoying a picnic, barbecue, cookout, or pick up game of soccer. At the end of the day, a lawn well maintained is a lawn well worth using.