Do you hate mowing your lawn? If yes, you ought to consider investing in the best zero-turn mower. Besides, spending an afternoon mowing the lawn is somewhat therapeutic.
If you ask most people, mowing is their least favorite chore. And, that’s understandable. But with the best zero turn mower, the whole mowing process uses much less time and effort.
There are hundreds of zero-turn mower brands in the market today—each of them with something to offer. Therefore, deciding on the best mower for you may be challenging. All you’ve got to do is identify what you expect the best mower to have. Or at least the results you expect from using one.
This article compiles a list of what we consider as the Best Zero-turn Mowers under $3000 and $5000. We believe there’s at least one zero turn mower that is ideal for you. Let’s rock!
Best Zero Turn Mowers under $3000
Craftsman Z525 Zero Turn Mower
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Husqvarna Z142 Zero Turn Mower
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1. Craftsman Z525 Zero Turn Mower
The Craftsman Z525 may not be the most potent zero-turn mower in the market. However, it’s indisputably capable.
It is an ideal pick for users who own large yards. The machine boasts a 46” cutting deck alongside a powerful auto-choke equipped Craftsman Gas 679cc twin engine. Through these, you can conveniently take care of lawns even more significant than an acre.
The Z525 zero turn mower can handle a couple of chores in one go. Not only does it mow, but it also trims and clips the grass all at once. The machine also includes a built-in deck wash. As such, you don’t waste as much time when cleaning afterward. For this reason, it’s an excellent zero turn mower for commercial use.
There’s still more to this mower’s highlights. One of the best functions of the Craftsman Z525 so far is its excellent mowing ability even in reverse mode. In other words, the machine can move forward, reverse, and switch directions without having to stop. Thanks to this function, you can use much less time mowing than in other models.
Still, on its superior features, the Z525 zero-turn mower is highly stable. This is courtesy of its rugged and powerful 20-inch rear wheels. Luckily enough, the machine is highly durable and has a reasonable price as well.
It then incorporates a dual EZT hydro-gear drive system. Together with two easy-to-operate levers, controlling the mower is effortless. It also allows a 360-degree turning radius to enhance its efficiency. Lastly, it includes a high-back seat that delivers utmost comfort and support to the user.
- Complete 46” cutting deck
- Powerful Craftsman 679cc Gas Engine with Auto choke
- Excellent mowing in reverse mode
- Highly stable zero turn mower model
- Reasonably priced hence affordable
- Comfortable high-back seat for utmost comfort
2. Husqvarna Z142 Zero Turn Mower
Husqvarna boasts a line of great zero-turn mowers. And the Z142 is no different. It features heavy-duty decks and a professional design through which it delivers utmost comfort.
The mower then comes with a 15” comfortable Vinyl seat. With the absence of armrests, it provides the user’s arms with extra space and mobility. Under the seat are rubber isolators. Through these, it reduces fatigue by separating you from the machine’s frame.
Steering and operating the Z142 is nothing but straightforward. Thanks to its well-designed control panel. The foot area has an anti-slip surface, thus assuring safety to the user.
Then again, the Z142 also features a unique HUSQVARNA braking system. Through simple horizontal movements, you can use the steering levels to activate and deactivate the brake system.
About its performance, this mower machine comes with a 17HP premium Kohler engine. It’s also not only powerful but easily maneuverable to boot. It then has a six-step grass cutting height (as per the machine’s scale) and a 6.5 miles per hour top speed. Alongside a 42” cutting width, you can manage your lawn quickly and swiftly.
The cutting deck includes Husqvarna reinforced flat-stock steel. As such, the machine’s longevity and durability is nothing to question. It also incorporates a zero-transmission that doesn’t require any maintenance. Therefore, operating the mower on different cutting conditions is quick and easy.
Besides, it integrates air induction mowing technology. By pulling air from the deck’s top and bottom, it delivers a superior cut.
- 42” expansive cutting deck
- Enhanced maneuverability for obstacles and rounded corners
- Industrial standard top speed of 6.5 MPH
- Reinforced steel cutting deck for durability
- Automated airflow for superior cutting
- Compact in design
- Low 17 HP only perfect for residential use
Best Zero Turn Mowers under $5000
Husqvarna MZ61 Zero Turn Mower
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Ariens 915223 IKON-X Zero Turn Mower
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Husqvarna Z254 Zero Turn Mower
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1. Husqvarna MZ61 Zero Turn Mower
The MZ61 is yet another incredible zero turn mower model from Husqvarna. Only that this time, it is bigger and more powerful than the other models.
Impressively, this machine includes a Briggs and Stratton 27 HP V-twin engine. As such, it’s not only dependable but compelling as well. What’s even more impressive is how even with such extreme power, it’s surprisingly quiet. Don’t fret about causing disturbance to your neighbors when mowing.
Unlike most counterparts out there, the MZ61 features a large 61” cutting deck. Since it features fabricated steel, this mower assures both stability and durability. Its three blades as well are powerful and robust. Thus, they deliver fine grass cuts making your lawn more appealing.
More importantly, this model also boasts a hydrostatic gear transmission. By delivering the needed power, it enables you to mow all sorts of surfaces with ease. It also ensures excellent speed adjustments alongside fast directional changes. Thanks to its straightforward and user-friendly controls.
It’s not once you hear mowers being hard to start. They only work well for a couple of months before starting them turns into a problem. However, that’s not the case with the MZ61. It includes a choke less start that makes starting it quick.
Like other Husqvarna models, this machine is also quite fast. Its agility is also notable, and can make quick and crazy turns. For this reason, it saves you less mowing time, unlike most models.
Mowing might take much time. Therefore, the MZ61 comes with a comfortable high-back seat. Through this, it provides support and reduces fatigue.
- A wide 61” cutting deck
- Very comfortable high-back seat
- Powerful and quiet 27 HP engine
- Easy to use controls
- Convenient choke less start
- Not ideal for sloppy surfaces
2. Ariens 915223 IKON-X Zero Turn Mower
Ariens 915223 is one of the high-end models in the market. Firstly, this zero-turn mower is very versatile. It handles different terrain types from hilly surfaces to uneven ground.
Then again, it includes a three-blade design. Other than that, it also contains a dial-controlled selector for height change. With previous models, adjusting the blades’ height was time-consuming and frustrating.
But with the new blade design, adjusting the height is quick and effortless. Also, the machine includes thirteen cutting height adjustment options to ensure accuracy.
Another key feature of the Ariens 915223 is its simple, user-friendly design. With intuitive and basic controls, making setting adjustments is straightforward. Also, it includes a comfortable seat and armrest that deliver premium support.
This mowing machine then incorporates EZT hydrostatic twin transaxles. Through these, it becomes easier to manage and control the trimming process. At the same time, they enhance the machine’s response time.
Moreover, this zero-turn mower includes a dual-arm lift. By this, it achieves excellent deck stability. Its four-point hanging system makes it ideal for commercial use. Through its unique design, its blades cut grass with high precision and efficiency.
You can’t also fail to notice its 52” cutting deck. Therefore, it guarantees a bigger than average cutting path. And because of this reason, this mower is a lousy pick for smaller yards. However, it’s ideal for large properties and commercial use.
- 52” expansive cutting deck
- Comfortable seat and armrest for support
- Perfect for large properties and professional use
- Excellent value for money
- Thirteen height settings for accuracy
- May be too big for small yards
- Does not include a mulching setting
3. Husqvarna Z254 Zero Turn Mower
If you are a “speed demon,” the Husqvarna Z254 is the real deal for you. It features a powerful Kohler 26 HP engine. With reliable startups, this mower can reach a top speed of 6.5 MPH. This feature makes it one of the fastest zero-turn mowers out there.
Moreover, this mower boasts a big 54” cutting deck. It is, therefore, handy for trimming large flat lawn yards. Remarkably, this mower delivers outstanding performance and style. It also comes with a cutting-edge design and innovative features. With all these, maintaining the Z254 is a breeze rather than a chore.
It then includes a patent-pending park brake system. By moving the steering levers outward, you activate the brake system and vise versa. Additionally, it offers a smooth power output alongside a smooth operation and durability.
Outstandingly, this zero-turn mower features an air induction mowing technology. By drawing air from the deck’s top and bottom, it delivers superior cutting of grass.
Another thing is the cutting deck’s reinforced steel material. Besides making it heavy for stability, the steel also promises durability. Its transmission is also notable as it requires very minimal maintenance.
The Z254 zero turn mower also features an LED Headlight. You can therefore enjoy mowing either late in the evening or during early mornings. The unit also incorporates a comfortable 15” sliding seat for support and a cup holder.
Operating the Husqvarna Z254 is straightforward. Thanks to its user-friendly controls. With an automatic choke system, starting the mower is as quick as possible.
- All round model for both commercial and residential use
- Quick to set up
- User-friendly controls hence easy to operate
- Steel material for stability and durability
- Convenient LED Headlight
- Very fast mower with a 6.5MPH top speed
- Reasonable price
- Automatic choke system for quick starts
- Not ideal for sharper slopes
Buying Guide for the Best Zero Turn Mower
Buying the right zero turn mower for you can be strenuous, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a prospective machine.
These mowing machines come in varying constructions and designs. But the truth is, some tend to be more industrial and practical than others. Some are good for commercial use while others excellent for home use.
Below are some factors to look at when buying the best zero turn mower.
- Engine HP
It’s no secret that mowing a lawn effectively requires power. Before you purchase a lawnmower, be sure to check its engine power. More importantly, ensure the machine’s HP is in line with your lawn or garden cutting needs. The higher the HP, the quicker and more efficient the cut.
Also, ensure the mower is receiving ample backing power for mowing. By doing so, you will enjoy your mowing sessions at impressive speeds.
If you just want a machine for mowing a regular garden or lawn, a lower horsepower model should do. In the same way, high horsepower is necessary for large estates and landscaping businesses.
- Cutting Width
As much as engine power is vital, so are the propeller blades. In other words, it doesn’t make sense having the right HP running the wrong cutting width. How deep the edges cut is also something vital to consider.
But don’t get it all wrong. Having large cutting widths doesn’t always guarantee efficient cuts. They sometimes tend to be problematic when you need to mow around obstacles or your lawn corners.
If your lawn or garden has a sensitive plant life, e.g., flowers, you don’t need a mower with too big cutting blades. So, go for a machine with cutting edges that are small enough to navigate tight spaces. At the same time, the blades should be big enough to cover large surfaces.
There are around seven different lawn mower transmissions. They include electric, gear, friction disk, hydrostatic, automatic, pump, and motor. For some time, gear transmissions were most popular. However, with time different zero turn mower brands switched to hydrostatic and automatic transmissions.
If you want a machine for small yard work, low-level transmissions are ideal. Even so, they tend to disappoint for full-time landscaping that requires heavy usage. With that in mind, prepare to spend more for a zero-turn mower with a decent transmission.
- Fuel Capacity
When it comes to residential use, the fuel capacity is not a very critical factor. But as you expect to use your mowing machine for professional work, the fuel capacity is nothing to ignore.
Consider a mower with a reasonably sized tank. By doing so, you avoid having to stop repeatedly to refill. You can also enjoy mowing for long hours.
- Deck Size
After engine power, the next rank is the deck size. How big your cutting deck is, displays the surface area of grass to undergo trimming at a given time. The larger the deck size, the vast the place to be cut and vice versa.
Also, have in mind that larger deck sizes are problematic when mowing your lawn’s intricate areas. Smaller deck size is perfect for a residential plot to cut rounded corners and around flowers.
A residential mower should have a deck size ranging between 30 and 40 inches. On the other hand, commercial zero-turn mowers should have at least a 50” expansive cutting deck.
The speed of the zero-turn mower depends on the user’s demand. If you only need to trim your yard once in a couple of weeks, the fastest speed is unnecessary. Look for a model that is comfortable and enough for your needs.
The case is different for professional mowing machines. If you are in charge of a landscaping business, finishing the job in time is crucial. To achieve that, you need a zero-turn mower with a high speed to complete tasks in record time.
- Levers and Controls
Levers and controls should be a concern for the user. Go for models that feature ergonomic and comfortable controls. The reason being, excellent controls are handy in preventing or at least reducing hand fatigue when operating your mower.
What’s more, find levers and controls that come with ergonomic, soft grips that make operation effortless. The levers should also allow you to carry out adjustments while still on your seat.
Do you intend to mow large yards or lawns such as golf courses? If yes, you then should expect to be sitting down for at least one or two hours.
For that reason, look for a zero-turn mower with an ergonomic design and generous padding to the seat. With these features, you can ensure long mowing sessions with less fatigue.
- Safety Features
Look out for safety options on your zero-turn mower before buying. Some brands include kill switches, automatic chokes, and safety features that are instrumental in preventing accidents.
Frequently Asked Questions on Zero Turn Mowers
In case you still have some burning questions on zero-turn mowers, we recommend going through some of the regularly asked questions below.
Does a Zero Turn Mower Have a Brake?
Unlike riding mower models, the zero-turn counterparts don’t feature a specialized braking system. Instead, they have levers on each side of the machine for controlling their movement.
If you want to slow down, just release the pressure on the controlling lever. In the same way, pushing the lever forward makes the mower to move faster. To reverse, just pull back the lever.
What if the best maintenance approach for a zero-turn mower?
Be sure to service your machine with a professional dealer at least once or twice a year. Also, how regularly you use your mower should determine how frequently you carry out servicing. After a mowing session, clean the cutting deck as you check for any damage in the other components.
Should I use a zero-turn mower on my home lawn?
If your lawn is less than ½ an acre, you only need an ordinary push along mower to trim your grass. However, if you own a property or yard that’s over two acres, consider buying a zero-turn mower. In other terms, these mowing machines aren’t necessary for small lawns.
How difficult is it to operate a zero-turn mower?
It’s going to take some practice to get comfortable driving a zero-turn mower. Nonetheless, it’s straightforward. Simultaneously, it can be somewhat challenging since the machine uses one set of controls to steer and brake. Before a mowing session, try going straight ahead, turning both left and right, and then backing up in your riverway. After mastering the controls, you can now drive over grass.
How long should a zero-turn mower last?
If you maintain your mowing machine properly, it should last up to 3000 mowing hours. For residential models, this is the same as last a lifetime.
Can zero turn mowers work on slopes?
Quite many zero-turn mowing machines allow a gradient of up to 15º. Moreover, other models boast split differentials and hydrostatic transmissions. Through these, they drive power independently to the one wheel, straining to increase traction.
Other models also feature roll-over protection that comes in handy when the mower turns on you while mowing uphill.
By now, we believe you have the right idea of the best zero turn mower. But if by any chance you get stuck on making a decision, why not trust our options above?
Our top pick under $3000 is the Craftsman Z525 Zero Turn Mower. The reason being, it has an expansive 46” cutting deck. Other than that, it also highly stable with a powerful 679cc gas engine with an auto choke. It’s also reasonably priced and can be used on any lawn.
Under the $5000 category, we believe the Husqvarna MZ61 stands out. This zero-turn mower is not only big but powerful to boot. It also boasts a 61” expansive cutting deck and has straightforward controls. Its 27 HP engine delivers excellent performance while staying quiet at the same time. Go for the one machine that suits your application and enjoy a striking lawn outlook.