Zero turn mowers have been a mainstay of commercial landscapers and facility management people for decades. They offer a faster, more comfortable ride that doesn’t induce operator fatigue and they get much closer to obstructions and objects than traditional riding mowers.
Over time, the functionality of zero turn mowers has migrated to the residential sector for the exact same reasons why commercial users enjoy them. So, if you are a commercial landscaper, facilities manager or just someone who wants to have a better way to care for your yard, the zero turn mower is a good alternative to traditional mowers.
The Sum of Zero
While it is true that most zero turn mowers are large and are capable of cutting a large swatch of grass at a time, not all zero turn mowers have to be large and overwhelming. For residential and small commercial use, the optimal sizes range from 30 inches to 54 inches.
This allows for generally one or two blades to handle the cut without burdening the motor and thus, these mowers don’t have to have the larger, more expensive engines. Additionally, some zero turn mowers are not just riding mowers but also stand behind and there are some that are walk behind as well.
Something to consider is that most brands are made by the same OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) as many others. Husqvarna Outdoor Products Inc, manufactures Craftsman, Poulan, Husqvarna and more. MTD manufacturers the rest while the only lawn tractor that is made by the parent company is John Deere. The primary differences on in the specifications for the markets.
Some are aimed at consumers and some for commercial enterprises. Often the body and underlying machinery are used by one manufacturer but the engine is manufactured separately. For example, Briggs and Stratton make their own engines but are assembled with the body and other parts for a complete package.
Five Great Small Zero Turn Mowers
Top Rated Gas Zero Turn Mower
The Husqvarna Model #RZ3016 Mower is a single blade unit mounted under a 13 gauge deck for both longevity and stability. It has a 30 inch cutting swath, perfect for residential use and it is powered by a 16.5 horsepower B&S engine. It is a lightweight version compared to larger commercial mowers but has the same level of exacting quality.
It uses the dual hydro transmission for better engagement and smoother transitions. The controls are comfortable and easy to use and the unit is very comfortable as well. People who have this mower love the easy to access fuel and oil intakes and how fast this unit can get the job done.
Best Zero Turn Radius Riding Mower
Using a dual blade system, this mower – Poulan Pro Model #967330901 Mower is powered by a 22 horsepower B&S v-twin series engine, producing plenty of power and torque to handle even thick grass. It has a hydro transmission coupled to an electric clutch so transitions from gear to gear is smooth and the blade engagement is fast and not jerky.
The deck is stamped and comes with a ten year warranty and it has a 46 inch cutting swath. Perfect for large yards or even ranch areas. People who have this mower love how well it gets going and how smooth of a cut it can make.
Best Compact Zero Turn Mower
Another one in our list, this model – Husqvarna Model #Z246 Mower is a combination of a commercial mower and a residential or consumer version. It comes with the three-year consumer warranty and it packs a 21.5 Kawasaki engine for both power and longevity.
It has a hydrostatic transmission for longer run times and for a better power to weight ratio. It has dual blades and a cutting swath of 46 inches. The seat is padded for comfort and the controls are within easy reach. People who have purchased and use this unit love the quality job and the clean smooth cut from this mower.
Top ZTR Lawn Mower under $3000
Manufactured by MTD, this Ariens mower – Ariens Model #915189 Mower is great for either residential or commercial applications. This unit uses a 16 horse B&S V-Twin engine with OHV for better running and a great power to weight ratio.
This Zoom series mower has a 34 inch cutting swath and the hydro transmission has a very smooth and easy gear transition. Blade lowering and raising is mechanical and thus easy to use over different methodologies. The controls are comfortable and easy to use. This is a new model for this mowing season so you could be the first one on the block to get the job done with an Ariens.
Best Small Zero Turn Mower
Popular with facility management people everywhere, the Bradley stand on series has been around for a very long time. The Bradley Stand-On 36″ Series Mower is a stand on unit, where you stand instead of sitting down and thus have a better view of the fore cutting area.
It has a 36 inch cutting swath with dual blades and it is powered by a 16 horse Kawasaki engine and it is easy to control and use on a wide variety of terrain. This specific model is new on the market and one of the first designed to be used in either commercial or residential applications.
For the best results and for maintaining the unit in working order, be sure to read and follow the operator’s manual. Be sure to never add fuel to a hot or running mower to prevent a flash fire.