Zero Turn Vs Riding Mower: Which One is Better

Both zero turn mower and riding mower are as handy as a pocket on a shirt when it?s about cutting grass in the yard.

With that said, the difference between zero turn and riding mower makes it a bit tricky to decide on zero turn mower vs riding mower debate.

Fortunately, you are not out of luck as I?m going to discuss these two forms of the mower with their benefits and pitfalls separately.

Once you complete reading this article, admittedly, it will bring you to a successful conclusion, and resolve the zero turn vs riding mower argument eventually.

Hold on to your hat, and let’s dive right in.

Zero Turn Vs Riding Mower Differences

What is a Zero Turn Mower? – Pros and Cons of Zero Turn Mower

What is a Zero Turn Mower

The zero-turn mower is one of the highly praised types of machines amongst all sorts of mower users.

When it?s about moving on a flat yard with obstacles like trees or poles, zero-turn mowers come real handy to do the job efficiently.

It?s because you can take a 180-degree turn using this type of mower, which will help you to navigate those barriers with ease.

Once you buy a high-quality zero turn mower, typically, that?s going to last for at least 8 to 10 years.

Checking the tire pressure is vital to get an even cut. It is an utmost priority too to check the oil before using the mower to ensure the longevity of the unit.

Let?s see some of the highs and lows of a zero-turn mower.

Zero Turn Mower

Pros

  • A zero-turn mower cuts really fast, and it cuts better than other types of mowers.
  • It?s one of the perfect machines to deal with the yard that has obstacles like trees, poles, rocks, flowerbeds, etc. It?s because a zero turn mower has the ability to turn sharp.
  • A zero-turn mower is better than the riding mowers in cutting grass in a small area.
  • You will get better visibility in front of you using a zero-turn mower.

Cons

  • Zero-turn mowers are only suitable for flat terrain. It’s not a perfect option for terrains with slopes or those hilly terrains.
  • Typically you won?t be able to add any attachment to the zero-turn mowers.
  • It requires a bit of a learning curve for beginners to learn the driving process of this vehicle.

Our recommended Best Zero Turn Mowers on Amazon:

Ariens 915223 IKON-X 52' Zero Turn Mower 23hp Kawasaki FR691 Series
38 Reviews
Ariens 915223 IKON-X 52" Zero Turn Mower 23hp Kawasaki FR691 Series
  • This refurbished product is tested and certified to look and work like new. The refurbishing process includes functionality testing, basic cleaning, inspection, and repackaging. The product ships with all relevant accessories, and may arrive in a generic box
Husqvarna Z254 54 in. 26 HP Kohler Hydrostatic Zero Turn Riding Mower
31 Reviews
Husqvarna Z254 54 in. 26 HP Kohler Hydrostatic Zero Turn Riding Mower
  • 26 HP Kohler engine provides reliable startups and a max speed of 6.5 MPH
  • A patent-pending park brake system automatically activates or deactivates as the steering levers are moved outward or inward
  • Air induction mowing technology draws air from the top and bottom of the deck, improving grass and delivering a superior cut
  • Reinforced steel stamped cutting deck is made of heavy flat-stock steel for maximum durability
  • Clippings can be discharged, mulched or bagged (mulching kit and bagger attachment sold separately)

What is Riding Mower? Pros and Cons of Riding Mower

What is Riding Mower

Riding mower is the bigger and more robust form of mower compared to the zero-turn mowers. It?s also known as riding lawn tractors.

When it?s about mowing a hilly terrain, or a large area where you won?t have to deal with a lot of obstacles, a riding mower is the best bet for you.

A riding mower cuts on a broader radius, which is both good and bad. The downside of cutting in the broader radius is, the rider might need to pass the same area multiple times to cut the grass evenly. That means it will inevitably slow the whole process.

Riding Mower

Pros

  • It?s a versatile kind of mower where you can add several types of attachments to do snow plowing, spraying, spreading, mowing, and several other tasks.
  • Riding mowers are helpful for beginners as driving them using the steering wheel is an effortless job to do.
  • The four-wheel steering offers excellent mobility.
  • A perfect type of mower to deal with hilly terrain.
  • Riding mowers offer larger wheels, hence better stability and less shaking during the ride.
  • Most of the high-quality riding mowers come with a high back seat allowing you to sit comfortably without worrying about back pain.

Cons

  • It works slower than zero-turn mowers.
  • A riding mower doesn?t provide a clear view in front of you. The engine blocks your view in this case.
  • It’s not a too useful machine to navigate around landscaping obstacles.

Our recommended Best Riding Mowers on Amazon:

Troy-Bilt 382cc 30-Inch Premium Neighborhood Riding Lawn Mower
277 Reviews
Troy-Bilt 382cc 30-Inch Premium Neighborhood Riding Lawn Mower
  • Powered by a 382cc Auto Choke OHV engine with top forward speeds of 4.25 MPH and a 6-speed transmission
  • The 30-Inch cutting deck featuring 5 adjustable settings couples the benefits of a standard riding mower with the size of a wide cut walk behind mower
  • Designed with an 18-Inch turning radius with 13x5-inch front wheels and 16x6.5-inch rear wheels
  • Manual power take-off for fast and easy blade engagement
  • This neighborhood mower is ideal for standard land owners with a medium sized landscape and relatively even terrain
Husqvarna TS354XD (54') 26HP Kohler Lawn Tractor 960430290
2 Reviews
Husqvarna TS354XD (54") 26HP Kohler Lawn Tractor 960430290
  • 54" ClearCut fabricated cutting deck features 10-gauge steel construction with welded reinforcement for durability
  • Pedal-operated, commercial-grade hydrostat transmission with electric locking differential, providing increased traction on inclines and in wet conditions
  • 26 HP Kohler V-Twin 7000 Series engine delivers power and torque for demanding operation
  • Comfortable high-back seat with armrests
  • LED headlights for mowing in the dark

Zero Turn Vs Riding Mower – Which one is Better?

Should I get a riding mower or a zero-turn is probably the most frequently asked question amongst the mower buyers.

If you?ve gone through this article already, it shouldn?t be a problem for you to decide on one.

So, which one is better?

I will vote for a zero turn mower unless I?ve to deal with hilly terrain, or adding those attachments is really that essential for me.

You have all the right to disagree if you want versatility, or you are dealing with hilly/sloped terrain or large areas without any landscaping obstacles.

If you want better maneuverability to navigate yards with different obstacles like rocks, trees, poles, flowerbeds, etc. then go for the zero-turn mowers. It?s because a zero turn mower provides a significant bit of turnability.

On the other hand, if you want versatility like snow blowing, plowing, spraying, spreading, etc. using the same machine, then the riding mower is the one you must consider.

Regarding the price, both these machines cost pretty close to each other.

That?s why I?m not going to make any conclusions based on cost-effectiveness.

It all depends on the application, the terrain you are going to deal with, and perhaps your personal preference.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Question #1. Should I get a zero turn or a tractor?

Answer: Choosing between a zero turn or a tractor depends on some vital deciding factors, and sometimes your personal preference.

Both the machines have their own merits and demerits that you should consider before deciding on one.

If you are going to cut grass in a yard where you need to navigate different obstacles like rock, tree, poles, etc. then the mower needs to provide maneuverability more than anything else.

The zero-turn mower is the better option for you in that case.

On the other hand, if you are going to deal with hilly or sloped terrain and attaching several other tools like snowblower blade, sprayer, etc. are your primary need, then a tractor is the better option for you.

Question #2. What are the disadvantages of zero-turn mowers?

Answer: It requires a bit of a learning curve to learn driving a zero turn mower because of the lap bar operated models.

That?s why it?s not too beginner-friendly.

A zero-turn mower is not suitable for dealing with hilly/sloped terrain. It only performs well for flat ground.

It?s not a versatile machine like the riding mowers. You can do only mowing with this type of mower.

Question #3. Is a zero turn mower better than a lawn tractor?

Answer: It depends on the terrain, space, and overall application.

Both these units are well capable of cutting grass.

However, a zero turn mower (ZTR) attracts me more than the lawn tractor.

It?s because ZTRs are fast in cutting grass with efficiency, provide better maneuverability, offer better visibility, etc.

On the downside, a ZTR doesn?t offer versatility like a lawn tractor. It?s only usable for mowing as it does not allow attaching anything like snow blow blades, spray, etc.

So, when getting the versatility is your topmost priority, and you are going to deal with hilly terrain or sloped ground, a lawn tractor is the one you should get your eye in.

Question #4. Is a zero-turn worth the money?

Answer: Yes, it?s worth the money.

I agree it?s an expensive upgrade from a lawn tractor. However, the performance justifies the bill without any doubt.

If you are going to cut grass in the flat ground where you have to navigate with different obstacles, then a zero turn mower is the best bet for you.

It moves fast and cuts fast. That means it saves your time.

Altogether, it?s well worth spending money to buy a zero-turn mower.

Question #5. What is the best zero turn mower for home use?

Answer: Before revealing my recommendation on the best zero turn mower, let me tell you the deciding factors in brief.

When it?s about choosing the right zero turn mower, you have to check for the engine HP, meaning the power.

The more powerful the engine is, the quicker you will be able to get the job done with efficiency.

The cut width, transmission, fuel capacity, and weight are some other parameters you should take into consideration.

For home use, I believe you should go for either Troy-Bilt Mustang 24HP or Ariens IKON-X zero turn mower. Both of them shine in quality and performance.

Question #6. What is the best riding lawn mower for the money?

Answer: To choose the best riding lawn mower, you have to consider some of the critical points like engine HP, cut width, transmission, fuel capacity, etc.

To me, undoubtedly, the best riding lawn mower for the money is John Deere E100 lawn tractors.

Final Words

In a nutshell, it?s not all about zero turn vs riding mower battle.

It?s all about what you are going to mow, how vast the terrain is, whether it?s a flat ground or hilly/sloped terrain, how fast you want to get the job done, etc.

Both zero turn and riding mowers have their own upsides and downsides.

I?ve mentioned them above minutely. I also tried to help you in deciding which one is better under a specific condition.

What do you think is the better option for you?

Related Reading:
#1. Brush Cutter and String Trimmer Differences.