Top Things to Consider: Zero-Turn Mowers vs. Riding Lawn Mowers

posted on Tuesday, October 15, 2019 in Ag-Pro Companies News

The number of mowing options available to help you achieve a manicured and professional-looking yard can be overwhelming, even for long-time property owners. One common debate for those who have more property than a walk-behind mower can manage is whether zero-turn mowers or riding lawn mowers are the better choice. Regardless of what your neighbor or best friend tells you, one isn’t necessarily better than the other. Both zero-turn mowers and riding mowers excel at different applications. And like most backyard tools, choosing between the two really depends on how and where you’re planning to use your equipment now, and how you might use it going forward. Here are some top considerations to familiarize yourself with before choosing between the two.

Time in the Seat vs. Need for Speed: Zero-Turn Mowers

If the time you have available for mowing is limited, but the property is pretty substantial in size, a zero-turn might be a better bet. As a general rule, zero-turn mowers can clock in at 8 mph and go up to 10 mph, such as with higher end models like those found in John Deere’s new Z700 Series. Compare that with the average speed of most riding lawn mowers, which comes in around half that at 4 mph. So even with a more basic zero-turn model, you’re looking at a significant time savings in terms of speed. To that point, it’s not uncommon to hear of zero-turns cutting mowing time down in half for those who have ideal yards for this type of equipment.

Obstacles vs. Rough and Tough Terrain: Zero-Turn Mowers & Riding Lawn Mowers

Obstacles are no friend to most mowing equipment. Clusters of trees, hardscapes and softscapes all typically add extra time to your mowing job. In this way, zero-turn mowers are the obvious choice over riding mowers. Zero-turns have such a tight turning radius (180 degrees), they really don’t have any issue getting around properties with mixed landscapes. This element alone earns zero-turns an important place in most landscaping fleets and contributes to their speedier mowing times. While traditional riding lawn mowers lack this degree of maneuverability, they easily handle rough and tough terrain. If your property is hilly or has an otherwise mixed and sloping terrain, choosing a riding mower is a much better option. Zero-turns are not designed to handle steep slopes and have a higher risk of losing ground contact. 

Above and Beyond Mowing: Riding Lawn Mowers

Both zero-turn mowers and riding lawn mowers cut grass well. After all, it’s their primary function. But if you’re hoping to have more of a multi-use tool, a riding mower like one from the John Deere X500 Series makes for a better choice. Traditional riding mowers can be outfitted with a number of implements and attachments that can handle heavier work and use. There are carts for hauling and dumping large loads, a number of lawn care attachments like sprayers, and if you live in parts of the country that will be expecting snow come winter, snow management tools. It is important to note that zero-turn mowers do have some attachment options, but if you’re going to use your mower heavily for additional yard work, a riding lawn mower is the way to go. 

As you can see, there is no one size fits all way to choose between a zero-turn mower and a riding mower. Even if you now have a better idea of which machine is suited to your yard and work, you’ll still want to consider other important elements like comfort features and attachments as well as the overall cost of ownership. So, whether you’re planning ahead for next year’s mowing season, or you live in a part of the country that has lawn maintenance needs all year round, stop by your local Ag-Pro dealership to talk through your needs, questions and concerns with one of our experts. We look forward to talking with you!

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