Zero Turning Radius lawn mowers are at the luxury end of lawn care equipment. They are large and expensive. However, there are different choices and price ranges even in the ZTR segment and based on the grade you select, you can expect different features and performance. I have classified all zero turn lawn mowers into a total of three classes, giving a brief description on what you can expect and also pointing out the specifications with a few buying tips.
How To Use The Zero Turn Mower Buyer’s Guide
When you read the description you will find out whether the ZTR meets you requirements. If it does then read further and find out the exact specifications you get in the class and finally use the tips to purchase one by comparing different brands and models with each other.
Entry Level ZTR
I call them weekend warriors because they are dependable and yet affordable mowing machines. Compared to lawn tractors, these beasts mow the lawn twice as fast. They usually have the smallest engines among all zero turn lawn mowers and average at 6 to 7 mph. Moreover, construction usually features low grade components such as stamped parts and steel spindle material. These are not meant for daily use rather only for sporadic use.
Deck Size – 34 to 50 Inches
Power – 13.5 to 22 HP
Fuel Tank – 3 Gallons
Price – $2199 onwards
Tips On Buying An Entry Level ZTR
- Check Your Yard Size – For yards less than 2 acres, entry level ZTRs are ideal as the speed, engine and fuel tank capacity will handle couple of passes with ease and without taking much time.
- Distance Between Obstacles – If you have lots of trees around and narrow space to manoeuvre through then entry level ZTRs are best suited since they are also the smallest of all ZTRs.
While there is hardly any speed difference between Mid-Grade and Entry Level ZTRs, the former cuts faster simply because of a wider deck size. They also come with powerful engines such as Kawasaki and are designed with more durability. The additional power is diverted towards a third cutting blade instead of 2 as found in most entry level ZTRs. They usually come with aluminum spindles and welded steel components.
Deck Size – 42 to 54 Inches
Power – 22 to 26 HP
Fuel Tank – 4 Gallons
Price – $3099 onwards
Tips On Buying A Mid Grade ZTR
- Check Your Yard Size – As with entry level ZTRs, the yard size will determine what kind of mid grade ZTR you need. For 1 to 2 acres 42 to 48 inches deck size is ideal but a mid grade is only suitable up to 3 acres of yard size.
- Additional Features – A mid grade usually comes with a more durable and ergonomic design. Check whether you need the extra features such as extra large tires, better suspension, superior engines and so on before committing to a purchase. More the features, higher are the costs.
Top End ZTRs
This category of ZTRs can actually be broken down into two namely Semi-Pro and Commercial ZTRs but since many of the models in this range are actually improvements over others, its best to pick on from the entire lot. The Top End Zero Turn Mowers are all great for landscaping purposes and are designed for heavy duty daily use. They can go anywhere from 8 to 17 miles per hour and can mow 4 to 8 acres at once without having to gas up. It all depends on the price range you look at and the features you decide for.
Deck Size – 48 to 61 Inches
Power – 19 to 30 HP
Fuel Tank – 12 Gallons
Price – $4000 onwards
Tips On Buying A Top End ZTR
- Engine – All the engines in this segment are considered to be top end. They can either be Kohler engines, Kawasaki or Briggs & Stratton engines with plenty of raw power and speed. Choose an engine size based on your yard measurement and gradient of slope.
- Full Suspension – This feature is going to increase prices by another thousand dollars but it provides a comfortable ride and lets you mow better. Moreover, suspensions let the mower stick to the ground and follow land contour better. Plus, it translates to reduced repair costs due to damages.[/note]