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Zero Turn Mower Buyer's Guide

How to Pick the Perfect Zero Turn Lawn Mower

By Jake W.  |  Lawn Mower Expert

Whether you’re a homeowner or a landscaping professional, you can enjoy the speed and comfort of a zero turning radius (ZTR) lawn mower.

Unlike lawn and garden tractors, zero turn mowers have a turning radius that’s almost zero degrees. What that means: ZTRs let you make quick, narrow turns that are perfect for navigating a yard full of obstacles.

Plus, with top speeds around 13 miles per hour on some models, they’re easily the fastest riding mowers around.

We’ve sorted the zero turn mowers on our site into four categories:

Which ones are right for our consumer/residential customers, and which ones are best for professionals?

Residential Users
Either Consumer or
Professional Users
Professional Users
Entry-Level Zero Turn Mowers

Mid-Grade Zero Turn Mowers

Semi-Pro Zero Turn Mowers

Commercial Zero Turn Mowers
Keep reading to learn more about what you’ll get from each category of zero turn mower!

Consumer-Grade Zero Turn Mowers

ZTRs for most consumer or residential users fall into two types: entry-level models and mid-grade models.


Entry-Level Zero Turn Mowers

Entry-level zero turns are ideal for the weekend warrior wanting the excitement of a zero turn mower without the professional price tag.

Key details:

These dependable yet affordable mowing machines aren't designed for daily use. They feature the smallest engines with the smallest gas tanks, and their speed maxes out at 6-7 miles per hour. However, they'll mow a lawn at twice the speed of a lawn tractor and will cut your weekend mowing time in half.

In addition, entry-level zero turn lawn mowers are constructed with less expensive components, like stamped decks that are made from one thin piece of metal. 



Mid-Grade Zero Turn Mowers

Want to step-up to something a little more robust than an entry-level zero turn? A mid-grade zero turn mower is going to offer you heavier-duty components in the areas where it really counts, so you’ll be able to handle your mowing chores more easily.

Key details:

Instead of the stamped mower decks typically found on entry-level models, mid-grade zero turn mowers are built with heavy-duty fabricated mower decks, fashioned from heavier gauge steel and then welded at all the critical joints for added strength.

A mid-grade zero turn is also going to have a stronger transmission, with larger pumps and wheel motors, increased torque ratings, and the ability to handle heavier loads.

Some other popular features that are standard to most mid-grade zero turn mowers are foot-controlled deck height adjustment and more comfortable seats.

You’ll also have a wider variety of powerful engine choices with a mid-grade zero turn, including some models with popular Kawasaki, Kohler, and Briggs & Stratton V-Twin engines. These engines deliver better overall performance and the highest level of reliability when it comes to powering a zero turn mower. 


Semi-Pro: Zero Turns for Either Consumers or Pros

Semi-pro zero turn mowers are where we often see overlap between our residential and our commercial customers. They’re extremely popular with property owners who have a lot of land to mow as well as landscaping contractors who are on a budget.

Key details:

Durable prosumer zero turn mowers are designed for daily use. They have heavy-gauge single-piece steel frames, large fuel tanks, and heavy-duty transmissions.

And don't forget comfort features: high back seat, adjustable armrests, multiple cup holders, and cruise control.

Semi-pro mowers can accelerate up to 8 miles per hour and mow 4-5 acres without having to stop for gas.


Commercial Zero Turn Mowers

Commercial-grade zero turns are built for everyday hard use, helping landscaping professionals earn their living thanks to features like these:

Professional zero turns have the largest mowing decks, most powerful engines, largest fuel tanks, fastest speeds and, yes, the biggest price tags as well.

In fact, they’re so big, they get a separate buyer’s guide all their own! 


NEXT: How to Pick the Perfect Commercial Zero Turn Mower
Mulch vs. Bag?
The question of what to do with your grass clippings whenever you use a zero turn or any other kind of riding mower is one that a lot of customers ask.


A popular option is a mulching kit that plugs the discharge chute, keeping grass under the deck and cutting it into fine, nutrient-rich clippings.

Mulching kits come in a variety of sizes. Compatibility is the key. Just make sure your kit is the same size and brand as your tractor.

Another option for disposing of grass clippings is a bagger. Rear-mounted baggers suck cut grass from the blades, through a chute to the collection bags.

Baggers come in either double-bag or triple-bag styles, depending on the mower size. Stick with the same brand to ensure compatibility.

 NEXT: Top-Rated and Best-Selling Zero Turn Mowers