8 Best Zero-Turn Lawn Mowers of 2022 [Reviews]

Yellow zero-turn lawn mower with a black seat and what look like roll/handle bars.

Zero-turn mowers are the most efficient style of lawn mower available today — they’re fast and maneuverable, make short work of large lawns, and they are trusted by pros and homeowners alike. But what is the best zero turn lawn mower for your yard?

We reviewed over two dozen zero-turn mowers to come up with our top eight picks based on power, cutting deck size, deck height, special features, and price. We’ve also included a handy buyers guide and FAQ to help make your shopping experience easier.

But first, what is a zero-turn lawn mower? Using hydraulic transmissions, the engine of a zero-turn lawn mower supplies power independently to the two drive wheels. This lets the operator spin the machine on a dime, or stop a wheel to create a seamless U-turn.

Zero-turn mowers aren’t cheap. Compared to other riding lawn mowers, zero turns generally fall at the higher end of the cost spectrum.If you plan to invest in a high-quality zero-turn mower, it’s important to choose the right one. 

Because prices of zero-turn mowers fluctuate with sales and availability, we’ve provided a general idea of price. 

  • “Inexpensive” – Under $3,500
  • “Moderate” – $3,500-$4,000
  • “Expensive” – $4,000 and above

We also have listed multiple buying options, when available, to make it easy to compare prices.

Top 8 Zero-Turn Mowers — Reviews

1. Cub Cadet Ultima ZT1
2. Husqvarna Z254
3. Ryobi 42-inch Zero Turn Mower
4. Toro 42-inch Timecutter
5. John Deere ZTrak Z375R
6. Ariens Ikon XD-52
7. EGO Power+ Z6
8. Troy-Bilt Mustang

1. Cub Cadet Ultima ZT1

A top-of-the-line zero-turn mower for residential markets, Cub Cadet’s Ultima series makes short work of the largest lawns. Driven by a 22-horsepower Kohler engine, this machine can reach a forward speed of 7.5 mph.

The ZT1 provides ultimate comfort with a fully adjustable racing-style seat. The lap bar control is also adjustable to ensure precise maneuverability. Dual LED headlights help you cut in low-light conditions, and the rubberized cockpit floor reduces vibrations.

The 20-inch rear wheels and 11-inch front wheels offer enough traction to tackle gentle hills, and are engineered to protect your turf while pivoting. A 3.5-gallon gas tank lets you spend more time mowing and less time refueling. 

Cub Cadet offers a three-year, unlimited hour powertrain warranty and a lifetime warranty on the frame. The ZT1 also comes in a 50-inch version for added efficiency and coverage. Cub Cadet has also recently released the Ultima ZT1 56V MAX60 electric zero-turn.

Specifications

Power Source: 22 hp 725cc Kohler 7000 series twin-cylinder engine
Top Speed: 7.5 mph
Transmission: Hydrostatic
Deck Width: 42 inches
Cutting Height: 15 positions, 1 to 4.5 inches
Price Range: Inexpensive

Pros

✓ Powerful 22hp engine
✓ Fully adjustable seat and controls
✓ Best-in-class warranty

Cons

✗ No gas gauge
✗ Attachments sold separately

Where to Buy

2. Husqvarna Z254

With the most powerful engine on this list, the Husqvarna Z254 zero-turn mower makes short work of lawns and fields. The details: This mower packs a 26-horsepower engine and a cutting width of 54 inches. 

Other features we liked: 

  • A single-lever deck height adjustment with six positions
  • Husqvarna’s air induction system to keep grass upright for a cleaner cut 
  • A “ready start” system for easy operation

Worth noting: Because of its focus on cutting power, the Z254 is a little slower than other zero-turn models on the market. 

Bottom line: Though this Husqvarna mower costs more than the Cub Cadet mentioned above, if you have a massive yard or dense, wild growth areas you can benefit from the added power.

Specifications

Power Source: 26 hp Kohler engine
Transmission: Hydrostatic
Top Speed: 6.5 mph
Deck Width: 54 inches
Cutting Height: 6 positions, 1.5 to 4 inches
Price Range: Moderate

Pros

✓ Powerful 26hp engine
✓ Wide cutting deck
✓ Easy-start

Cons

✗ No gas gauge
✗ Seat not adjustable

Where to Buy

3. Ryobi 42-inch Zero Turn Mower

Ryobi’s mastery of electric power doesn’t end at rear-engine mowers. Ryobi went all-out to design an eco-friendly zero-turn mower that can hold its own against its gas competition.

Powered by four separate motors, one for each driving wheel and one per blade, this zero-turn mower distributes exactly the right amount of power to the components that need it most. 

The 75 amp-hour battery can last up to 2.5 hours of constant mowing, making short work of yards up to 3 acres.

A 7 mph top speed and fast, responsive turns let you mow farther and faster than other electric mowers. The battery charges overnight from a standard 120-volt outlet.  A digital meter keeps track of the battery level and hours of use. 

Bonus Points: This zero turn has powerful LED headlights, two cupholders, and a USB charging port.

While this Ryobi electric zero-turn mower doesn’t quite produce enough power to tackle thick brush or wild growth, it is perfectly capable of handling standard grasses. This mower comes with mulching capability, and a bagging system is sold separately.

Specifications

Power Source: 75 Ah battery, 4 brushless motors
Transmission: None
Top Speed: 7 mph
Deck Width: 42 inches
Cutting Height: 12 positions, 1.5 to 4.5 inches
Price Range: Expensive

Pros

✓ Low-maintenance — no gas, filters, belts, or spark plugs
✓ Zero-emission
✓ Fast and powerful
✓ Mulching included

Cons

✗ Narrow mowing deck
✗ Can only run 2.5 hours in a day

Where to Buy

4. Toro 42-inch Timecutter

The Toro Timecutter 42-inch zero-turn riding lawn mower cuts the time it takes to mow your lawn with three different speed settings to redirect engine power for different uses and a most efficient cut. 

This “Smart Speed” system automatically adjusts the lap bars’ sensitivity to your operating pace:

  • Mow mode is focused on speed, topping out at 7 mph. 
  • Tow mode focuses on wheel torque, with a top speed of 5.5 mph. 
  • Trim mode directs power to the cutting deck, reducing the top speed to 4 mph to plow through thick brush.

Other features we liked:

  • Comfort features: A cupholder and under-seat storage cubby in the cab
  • Tire fenders, which protect the engine and the operator from mud and debris
  • Shock-reducing dampers that keep the steering bars steady when you hit bumps.

Toro offers a 3-year, unlimited-hour residential warranty. The Timecutter is compliant with California emissions standards. Owners of larger yards should check out their 23hp 50-inch version and 23hp 54-inch model.

Specifications

Power Source: 18 hp Kawasaki V-Twin Engine
Transmission: Hydrostatic
Top Speed: 7 mph
Deck Width: 42 inches
Cutting Height: 1.5 to 4.5 inches
Price Range: Inexpensive

Pros

✓ Smooth steering
✓ California-compliant
✓ Multiple operation modes
✓ Comfortable cab

Cons

✗ No headlights
✗ Low engine power
✗ No gas gauge

Where to Buy

5. John Deere ZTrak Z375R

The John Deere ZTrak Z375R is a powerful zero-turn mower featuring a 25 horsepower V-twin engine and a broad 54-inch triple-blade cutting deck.

The cockpit features an 18-inch mid-back sprung seat, armrests, cupholders, and under-seat storage. The ZTrak Z375R separates itself from the pack with a built-in fuel indicator and included mulching capability.

John Deere backs this mower with a two-year/120-hour bumper-to-bumper warranty and recommends it for yards over 2 acres. The ZTrak series also includes a few more affordable options, such as the 42” Z345R, the 48” Z355R, and the 24hp Z365R

Bottom line: A trusted brand for over a hundred years, John Deere mowers are renowned for their reliability. The ZTrak Z375R is no exception. 

Specifications

Power Source: 25 hp V-twin engine
Transmission: Hydrostatic
Top Speed: 7 mph
Deck Width: 54 inches
Cutting Height: 13 positions 1 to 4 inches
Price Range: Moderate

Pros

✓ Mulching included
✓ Low-fuel indicator
✓ Comfortable seat
✓ Powerful
✓ Wide deck

Cons

✗ No headlights
✗ Not bagger-capable

Where to Buy

6. Ariens Ikon XD-52

Designed for commercial use, the Ariens Ikon zero-turn mower is designed with all-day comfort in mind. What do we mean by this? A plush high-back seat and padded armrests are all separately mounted to reduce vibrations.

Other features we liked:

  • A 23-horsepower Kawasaki engine is configured for easy startup and features cast-iron cylinder liners for longer life. 
  • The 52-inch mowing deck is vented for optimal airflow, which prevents grass from flattening and provides a consistent cut.

The Ikon is protected by a three-year/300-hour warranty.

Note: Even though it’s one of the more expensive machines on the list, this zero turn mower doesn’t come with any accessories included.

Specifications

Power Source: 23 hp V-twin engine
Transmission: Hydrostatic
Top Speed: 7 mph
Deck Width: 52 inches
Cutting Height: 13 positions, 1.5 to 4.5 inches
Price Range: Expensive

Pros

✓ Easy start
✓ Durable and long-lasting
✓ Comfortable anti-vibration cab

Cons

✗ Expensive
✗ No headlights
✗ Mulch/bagging kit sold separately

Where to Buy

7. EGO Power+ Z6

EGO has created the only plug-and-go electric zero-turn mower on the market. The Z6 has space for up to six of its proprietary 56-volt arc-lithium batteries and three speed settings. 

Why this mower is one-of-a-kind: All six batteries together deliver power comparable to a 22-horsepower gas engine, and each battery can be charged in as little as 60 minutes, making it the only electric mower that can be fully recharged and taken back out within the day.

The Z6 comes with four batteries, delivering a cutting time of around two hours and covering 2 acres. 

The Z6 has three separate speed modes:

  • “Control” slows the wheels to 3 mph to focus on precision and cutting power
  • “Standard” has a top speed of 7 mph for mowing long stretches
  • “Sport” can reach the top speed of 8 mph for quick travel around the yard.

Comfort and cool features:

  • A high-back seat with adjustable lumbar support, padded armrests, and hydraulic suspension
  • A digital battery gauge, cupholder, USB charging port, and Bluetooth capability for digital status reports
  • 360-degree LED illumination and whisper-quiet sound 

Owners of other EGO tools will benefit most from the Z6, as having additional batteries on-hand increases the mower’s power and longevity. EGO provides a 5-year limited warranty.

Specifications

Power Source: Up to 6 EGO 56V arc-lithium batteries, 22hp equivalent
Transmission: None
Top Speed: 8 mph
Deck Width: 42 inches
Cutting Height: 10 positions, 1.5 to 4.5 inches
Price Range: Expensive

Pros

✓ Low-maintenance — no gas, filters, belts, or spark plugs
✓ Zero-emission
✓ Removable battery compatible with other tools
✓ Fastest-charging battery on the market
✓ Advanced comfort features
✓ Fast

Cons

✗ Very expensive

Where to Buy

8. Troy-Bilt Mustang

A solid choice for any budget, the Troy-Bilt Mustang zero-turn mower features a reliable 24 horsepower Briggs & Stratton engine. Its plush, high-back seat is comfortable, even when mowing 4 or more acres at a time.

The lap bar controls have an integrated parking brake for easy stopping. A wide 50-inch mower deck can be easily cleaned through built-in hose ports.

While the Mustang doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of more expensive models, it’s a durable, sturdy machine that will get the job done. It’s backed by a lifetime frame warranty and a three-year warranty on all other components.

Specifications

Power Source: 24 hp Briggs & Stratton V-twin engine
Transmission: Hydrostatic
Top Speed: 7 mph
Deck Width: 54 inches
Cutting Height: 8 positions, 1.25 to 3.75 inches
Price Range: Inexpensive

Pros

✓ Heavy-duty 2-inch tubular frame
✓ Integrated braking system

Cons

✗ No headlights
✗ No fuel gauge
✗ Fewer deck positions

Where to Buy

Buyers Guide: Zero-Turn Mowers

The zero-turn mower is the gold standard for professional lawn services. These grass-cutting machines are also a great investment for homeowners with large ex-urban or rural lawns. Zero turns are fast, wide, maneuver with incredible precision, and are able to stop and turn on a dime.

This buying guide will give you a better understanding of the types of riding lawn mowers available and the features we looked at when ranking zero-turn mowers.

Types of Riding Lawn Mowers

Zero-turn mowers aren’t the only choice for a ride-on mower. Many options on the market fit the needs of all types of lawns. If you’re not sure whether investing in an expensive zero-turn mower is the best choice, here’s a quick overview of the types of riding lawn mower available.

Rear-Engine

Rear-engine riding mowers are the most compact and least expensive model. The engine (or electric motor) is mounted behind the operating seat. This gives these mowers great front visibility but can affect their turn radius. With smaller cutting decks, they can fit through gates and are great for medium-sized lawns.

Lawn Tractor

The standard riding lawn mower for over a century, the lawn tractor has a front-mounted engine that powers the wheels and cutting deck. These mowing machines  typically have cutting decks around 42 inches, though higher-horsepower tractors may be larger. Recent models may have automatic or hydrostatic transmissions, though many are manual.

Zero-Turn

The zero-turn mower has been around since the 1960s and has risen to prominence in the last 20 years. These high-tech machines use a hydraulic system to control the two powered wheels independently, allowing them to rotate on a dime. 

Zero turns are typically controlled by a pair of levers across the operator’s lap and can be tricky to maneuver without practice. The shape of zero turns allows them to sport wider decks. Zero-turns are usually a little more expensive but are the best choice for large yards.

Electric

With fossil fuels on the decline and ever-rising gas prices, it may be the right time to invest in a battery-powered riding lawn mower. New advancements in green technology have led to some truly impressive machines from several manufacturers. 

With batteries that last up to three hours on a single charge, electric mowers can deliver similar power outputs to gas models.

What to Look for in a Zero-Turn Mower

With so many zero-turn mowers available, choosing the right one can be a daunting task. We looked at several details and features to determine utility and cost-effectiveness for our top 8 picks.

Power

An important stat for any tool, the power of a mower’s engine will determine your top speed and your blade torque. Gas engines of this size usually measure in terms of horsepower (hp), while large batteries measure amperage per hour of use (Ah).

Consider a higher-horsepower engine if you plan to cut thick brush or wild growth. Low-to-medium power is usually adequate for standard grass lawns.

Cutting Deck Size

A wider cutting deck increases your coverage on each pass across the yard. Wider machines are more efficient, but require more power to operate and are therefore more expensive.

Deck Height

Adjustable decks are standard in modern lawn mowers. Most adjustable decks can cut grass between around 1.5 inches and 4 inches, with several increments in between. This feature is usually more a matter of preference than necessity.

Special Features

Manufacturers like to add comfort and utility features to their riding mowers to make them stand out. Features like cupholders, USB chargers, and anti-vibration steering wheels are great for getting more enjoyment out of mowing. 

Some models include mulching kits or leaf bags, while other manufacturers sell them as separate attachments.

Price

The most important factor in choosing the right zero-turn mower is your budget. Riding mowers are a big purchase, and we recommend you shop at a few different vendors and local dealers to find the best deal. We quantified the above features and compared them to cost, to help you get the most bang for your buck.

FAQ About Zero-Turn Lawn Mowers

1. What is the best zero-turn mower to buy?

Our research shows that the Cub Cadet Ultima ZT1 is the best zero-turn available for its price. The most reliable electric mower per cost is the Ryobi 42-inch mower (although the EGO mower gives it a run for its money in the high-tech department).

2. What is a hydrostatic transmission?

Hydrostatic drivetrains rely on hydraulic fluid to transfer power from the engine to the blade or wheels. Because there are no gearboxes involved, power can smoothly increase and decrease along the drivetrain without the need for manual shifting.

This increases engine efficiency and allows power to flow differently to each part of the machine. Zero-turn mowers use this method to supply power to both wheels independently.

3. How much should I spend on a zero-turn mower?

We’ve found that the vast majority of zero-turn mowers cost over $3,000. For a yard of 2 acres or fewer, plan to spend around $3,200. For larger yards, you may want to spend as much as $4,000 on a machine with maximum efficiency.

When to Call a Lawn Care Pro

If you have a large or unmanageable yard, and a zero-turn mower seems like too steep an investment, consider calling Lawn Love. Lawn Love pros can give your yard a professional manicure at affordable prices. Call 800-706-4117 to see how a professional lawn care crew can show your yard some Lawn Love. 

Main Photo Credit: Shutterstock with text overlay

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Stephen Kime

Stephen Kime is a freelance writer and professional actor based in Washington, D.C. When he isn't in rehearsal, Stephen enjoys running, hiking, and experimenting with new cocktail recipes.