The Top 10 Best Zero Turn Mowers of 2016

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Zero Turn Mowers: Questions & Answers

What is a zero turn mower?

A zero turn mower (sometimes also called zero radius mower) is a riding lawn mower that you have total control over. Each tire can be rotated independently, even in opposite directions, so you can make extremely tight turns and mow right up against obstacles like trees. Instead of a single wheel that you use to operate the mower, most zero turn mowers have two throttles or joysticks. You use the pedals to control speed.

What are the advantages of a zero turn mowers that don’t have this feature?

Using a zero turn mower has several advantages over a mower without the zero-turn technology. For one thing, you can move around obstacles much easier. With the power to control each wheel, you can make perfect circles around trees, flower beds, and so on so you get every bit of the grass and don’t need to come back later with a reel mower or weed wacker. Zero radius mowers also tend to have bigger cutting decks and more powerful engines, so you can cut more of your grass in one pass. This results in a much faster mowing experience and you can mow several acres in an hour or so. As an added bonus, the engines of zero turn riding lawn mowers tend to be mounted in the back, which results in a quieter ride.

Are there any disadvantages?

Zero turn mowers aren’t perfect. If you have a lot of hills in your yard, you need to be careful about choosing a zero turn mower because they tend to tip or just not cut the grass very well, especially when it’s wet. They also emit a lot of pollution because of their bigger engines, which can affect the overall air quality in your neighborhood and cost you a lot of money in gas. Money is another issue, as zero turn mowers are significantly more expensive (as in 2500$ and up) than non-zero turn riding lawn mowers.

What kind of engines do zero radius mowers have?

The more powerful the engine, the more durable and long-lasting the mower will be. Briggs & Stratton engines are very reliable and provide a quieter operation. The Husqvarna MZ61 has this type of engine (a B&S Endurance v-twin) with 27 horsepower, which is a higher horsepower than many comparable zero turn mowers. The Swisher zero turnR2766BS also has this engine with 27 horsepower. The Husqvarna MZ5424S Kawasaki is unique in that it uses an OHV engine. An OHV engine (overhead valve) is more efficient than other engines because it’s smaller and uses less energy, which results in better overall performance and more energy relegated to the mower’s cutting deck. The Husqvarna Kawasaki has 24HP.

Which mowers have the biggest gas tanks?

Bigger gas tanks mean you can cut your lawn frequently without having to refill the tank after every session. A big tank is especially useful if you do professional landscaping with your mower and need to spend most if not all of your time just mowing, not messing with gasoline. The Husqvarna MZ5424S Kawasaki has a 5-gallon tank, which is in the middle size range. You can mow a lot on one tank, but the tank isn’t so big that you’re spending a lot of money on gas every time you need to refill it. The Swisher zero turnR2454BS Response has an 8-gallon tank. This would be a good mower for professional landscapers who are mowing a lot of acres in one day and need a lot of gas to do so.

Which machines are especially effective for really hilly or bump yards?

As mentioned earlier, most zero-turn mowers are not effective on hills or lawns with a lot of uneven surfaces. However, there are a few mowers with special features that make them better-suited to hills than their fellow zero turns. The Poulan Pro 967331001 P54ZX is built for all terrains, so would be quite effective even if your lawn is kind of bumpy. The Husqvarna MZ5424S Kawasaki is even more desirable for hilly lawns. It’s a heavy-duty mower with FWD, which puts the mower’s weight on the front wheels which helps drive it forward up hills. Unlike most zero turn riding mowers, the Kawasaki was designed to climb steep angles.

Which zero turn mowers will let me mow my lawn very fast?

Speed is definitely one of the benefits to all zero radius mowers, but they were not all created equal. When you’re looking for the mowers that will let you mow the quickest, look for how fast it goes (mph) as well as the width of the cutting deck. If it gets really fast, but has a narrow cut, you’ll have to make a lot of passes which could add some time to your mowing session. The Swisher zero turnR2766BS Response is one of the fastest mowers. It goes 8 mph both backwards and forwards. It also has the widest cutting deck at 66 inches. The 54-inch version of this mower (Swisher zero turnR2454BS Response) also goes 8 mph, but because of the narrower cutting deck, the 66-inch model is probably a bit faster. The Poulan Pro 541ZX is another good option and goes forward at top speed of 6 mph. It’s slower going backwards (about 3.5 mph), but you don’t really need to go super fast going backwards, for safety reasons, and because it’s so easy to just turn back around with the zero-turn technology.

What mowers have the best cutting decks?

Next to engine power, a mower’s cutting deck is probably the next most important part of a riding lawn mower. A good cutting deck will have superior cutting power for tough grasses, have durable materials, and help speed up the mowing process. The Husqvarna MZ5424S Kawasaki has a 54-inch cutting deck, which is wider than some others, and uses air induction. This means the airflow within the cutting deck is improved so the blades have a better cut. Another mower with a great cutting deck is the Swisher zero turnR2766BS. It has a really big cutting deck, 66-inches, so you can cut a huge length of lawn in one pass. The Husqvarna MZ61 is only a bit smaller with 61-inches, and uses 3 blades for precise, sharp cuts.

What mowers are easiest to use?

Ease of use with any riding lawn mower is very important because you’re in a sitting position for at least an hour or so. Being able to comfortably operate the mower will make the whole experience a lot more enjoyable. The Swisher zero turnR2454BS Response uses a new and improved Rapid Response control system. You can easily reach the controls and they are very smooth, so making turns around tight spots and obstacles is incredibly easy. You don’t have to contort yourself into awkward positions to try and maneuver around. The Poulan Pro 541ZX priorities your physical comfort and includes an extra comfy seat and padded grips, so you don’t get blisters. The Husqvarna MZ61 has similar features, like an extra-high seat for better support.

What’s the price range?

Zero turn mowers are more expensive than regular riding lawn mowers because they offer such good maneuverability, increased power, and wider cutting decks. The mowers on the lower end of the price range include the Husqvarna RZ46i and Poulan Pro P54ZX. These are both around $3000. The next level up is around $4000, like the Swisher ZtR2454BS Response. The most expensive mowers can be up to $5000, and includes the superior Swisher zero turnR2766BS Response (it has the 66-inch cutting deck and 27 HP) and the Husqvarna MZ5424S Kawasaki (OHV engine with air-induction cutting deck). If you are a professional landscaper or have at least 2 acres of lawn, a zero-turn engine is definitely worth the investment.

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