5 Best Zero Turn Mowers 2021: Buying Guide & Reviews

5 Best Zero Turn Mowers 2021:
Reviews & Buying Guide

Mow your lawn like a pro, zero turn mowers make it easy to mow around obstacles and get the job done fast.

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Matt's Top Picks for Zero Turn Mowers in 2021

best zero turn mower
Top Pick Zero Turn Lawn Mower

Cub Cadet Ultima ZT1: 50in Zero Turn​

ryobi electric zero turn mower
Runner Up: Best Electric Zero Turn Mower​
Ryobi 42 in. 100 Ah Electric Riding Zero Turn Mower​
Toro Zero Turn Lawn Mower
Best Zero Turn Mower for Narrow Widths & Small Gates​

Toro Time Cutter 34in.​

Cub Cadet Zero Turn Lawn Mower for large y
Best Zero Turn Lawn Mower for Large Lawns​

Cub Cadet - Ultima ZT2 60in​

42in Toro Zero Turn Mower
Best Zero Turn Mower for 1/2 - 2 acres​

Toro 42" TimeCutter 452cc ​

Almost everyone needs to mow a lawn at some point. It’s not most people’s favorite chore, but at the same time, mowing your lawn well can be a source of pride. After all, your lawn and the color of your house are probably the first things most people will notice about your home.

But this chore can be complicated by wide turn radiuses and mowers that are difficult to use and maneuver. The last thing anyone wants to see after carefully mowing their lawn is a grass mohawk sitting right in the middle. Not to mention the problems that come along with landscaping and decorations that make maintaining your lawn even more difficult.

Zero-turn mowers can make your life significantly easier. But you need a high quality zero turn mower if you want to make the most from your investment.

This guide will walk you through some of the most important features in a zero turn mower, some of the best zero turn lawn mowers on the market right now, and a buying guide to help you choose which mower is the right option for you and your lawn.

Table of Contents

Features to Consider When Buying a Zero Turn Mower:

Here are some of the most important features to take into account before you buy a zero-turn mower. We’ll talk more in-depth about each of these in the buying guide. 

  • The durability of the Deck
  • Engine
  • Tire Type and Width
  • Seat Comfort

You should also consider things like the width of your property’s narrowest point, whether you’d prefer a gasoline mower or an electric, and whether you need adaptations to reduce vibration or increase joint comfort. Those features might not have a huge performance impact, but they can make or break your opinion of your new mower.

Here I have picked out what I think are the best zero-turn mowers on the market. We’ll talk about what stands out from each model, as well as a brief overview of the pros and cons of each option.

Matt's Best Zero Turn Mower Reviews

Cub Cadet Ultima ZT1: 50in

  • Yard Size: 2 – 4 acres
  • Cutting Width: 50 inches
  • Engine Make: Kawasaki
  • Power: 23hp
  • Power Type: Gas
  • Terrain Type: Flat, Obstacles, Gentle slopes to moderate hills
Matt's Rating:
4.8/5

Our top pick selection is a dual cylinder mower with a comfortable seat and wide tires. The frame is made from welded tubular steel, providing all the support you need. It’s also a durable and long-lasting design.

The mower itself is only designed to go up and down moderate hills and prefers a flatter terrain. However, the wide durable tires and strong deck both make this a model that can be pushed to go a little further than its ratings if you need to.

Offering speed up to 7.5 mph, and an advanced cutting system designed that cuts evenly and consistently, this zero-turn mower is a good option for lawns up to about 5 acres in size. It can be used on slightly larger properties, but for the sake of time, you might want to break up your mowing into several sections and tackle them separately.

Matt Loves:

Consider:

Cub Cadet Zero Turn Lawn Mower for large y

Cub Cadet Ultima ZT1 also available with a 42in cutting deck, perfect for yards 1/2 - 2 acres

  • Yard Size: 1/2 – 2 acres
  • Cutting Width: 54 inches
  • Engine Make: Ryobi
  • Power: 100AH
  • Power Type: 
  • Terrain Type: Flat, Obstacles, Gentle slopes to moderate hills
Matt's Rating:
4.6/5

Gasoline is the most common choice for a zero-turn mower, but it’s neither the most eco-friendly, nor necessarily the most convenient. As technology has improved the power gap between gasoline and battery-powered options has largely closed, resulting in this zero-turn mower that’s fully electric.

Ryobi’s zero turn mower is rated to provide about 3 acres of mowing in a single continuous session. After that, it will need a charge, but that’s still more than enough distance to mow many larger properties, especially if you break the property up into sections.

The 4 brushless motors also make this a long-lasting and lower maintenance mower. Brushless systems have less internal wear and tear, which is also a big part of what makes the battery more efficient on this model.

A higher profile and heavily padded seat add to the comfort of the mower. It’s comfortable to steer, with controls similar to other zero-turn mowers. That means if you’ve used other zero turn or riding mowers, you’ll be able to use this one.

Matt Loves:

Consider:

ryobi electric zero turn mower 75Ah

Ryobi Zero Turn Mower also available with 75Ah power, perfect for yards 1/2 - acres

  • Yard Size: 1/2 – 2 acres
  • Cutting Width: 34 inches
  • Engine Make: Toro
  • Power: 22hp
  • Power Type: Gas
  • Terrain Type: Flat with Obstacles
Matt's Rating:
4.6/5

While most zero turn lawn mowers are designed for large lawns and properties, there are still times when a narrower deck can be an important choice. This model features a narrow 32-inch deck, making it suitable for properties with a lot of gates or that have landscaped areas with narrow pathways.

The hydrostatic transmission on this lawnmower makes for smoother transitions between different gears. It also features an easy-on engine with the added reliability of spin-on oil filtration system that makes sure you always have reasonable lubrication.

This model offers 7mph max speed and offers a good trimming speed at about 4mph. At that speed, you’ll be able to quickly cover a large lawn with ease and consistent cutting power.

It also has relatively easy maintenance, with adaptations like a quick-drain oil hose making it easier to take care of your mower without a lot of tools.

You can also expect longer operation on this mower thanks to a 3-gallon fuel tank. Between that and the smaller deck, you’ll have a flexible zero turn mower that’s suitable for many properties and works better with extensive landscaping.

Matt Loves:

Consider:

  • Yard Size: 4+ acres
  • Cutting Width: 60 inches
  • Engine Make: Kawaski
  • Power: 24hp
  • Power Type: Gas
  • Terrain Type: Flat & Gentle Slopes
Matt's Rating:
4.3/5

If you’re looking to cover a lot of space quickly, the Ultima ZT2 is a good option. Its fabricated deck with a tubular steel frame is very durable while the twin-cylinder engine is a workhorse that performs well with minimal vibration.

This mower is a slightly larger design, naturally, to accommodate larger properties. With a 60in deck, you’ll work through wide swathes of your lawn with ease. However, uneven landscapes or properties with narrow gates and many obstacles might struggle a little more with this design.

The seat is especially comfortable with this model. That’s important since larger properties mean longer mowing times. However, you will cut some of the time thanks to an easy start-up motor and 7.5mph max running speed.

Although this mower is rated for around 5 acres, it’s large enough to comfortably handle larger properties. You may need to re-fill the gasoline for especially large areas or else split the property into different sections.

A strong 3-year warranty also protects you in case something does go wrong, although the design behind this mower makes damage unlikely.

Matt Loves:

Consider:

  • Yard Size: 1/2 – 2 acres
  • Cutting Width: 42 inches
  • Engine Make: Toro
  • Power: 452 cc
  • Power Type: Gas
  • Terrain Type: Flat, Obstacles
Matt's Rating:
4.6/5

If you’re looking to cover a lot of space quickly, the Ultima ZT2 is a good option. Its fabricated deck with a tubular steel frame is very durable while the twin-cylinder engine is a workhorse that performs well with minimal vibration.

This mower is a slightly larger design, naturally, to accommodate larger properties. With a 60in deck, you’ll work through wide swathes of your lawn with ease. However, uneven landscapes or properties with narrow gates and many obstacles might struggle a little more with this design.

The seat is especially comfortable with this model. That’s important since larger properties mean longer mowing times. However, you will cut some of the time thanks to an easy start-up motor and 7.5mph max running speed.

Although this mower is rated for around 5 acres, it’s large enough to comfortably handle larger properties. You may need to re-fill the gasoline for especially large areas or else split the property into different sections.

A strong 3-year warranty also protects you in case something does go wrong, although the design behind this mower makes damage unlikely.

Matt Loves:

Consider:

Buying Guide: Choosing the right Zero Turn Lawn Mower for the job

Zero-turn mowers offer the best maneuverability in the business along with a larger deck size and the convenience of a seated mower. However, they work best on relatively flat terrain and can struggle with steep hills.

While the added maneuverability or a zero-turn mower makes them more flexible, you should think carefully before buying one for a heavily landscaped property, or one with a lot of obstacles in close proximity.

The best zero turn mowers are designed with these limitations in mind, so they can overcome them, but it’s still worth considering.

You should also look at these features more specifically to make sure you really are getting one of the best zero turn mowers, whether you choose one of our picks or a different model.

Durability of the Mower Deck

One of the more important features when choosing the best zero-turn mower is how long it will last. Starter zero turn mowers often have decks made with thinner stamped metal. They work, but the durability is lower.

As you increase the quality of your zero-turn mower, you also increase the quality and durability of the deck.

Look for stamped metal vs thicker heavy-duty welded steel. With a good weld, the steel will last significantly longer. It’s also a better option if you have a rough lawn with bumpy difficult terrain. 

Zero Turn Mower Engine Type

Another big game-changer in your mower is the engine. Single-cylinder motors are pretty common, especially in the lower price ranges. But a more powerful motor can make it easier to tackle a larger space.

Two-cylinder engines are also significantly smoother, though more expensive. If you’re concerned about vibration from your mower, you might want to invest in the better two-cylinder models.

Zero Turn Mower Tire Type and Width

The type of tire you get can make a big difference in the performance of your mower. Wider tires help distribute the weight of your lawnmower, making it a bit easier to push and maneuver.

Look for durable construction, 4-ply tires are a good choice. Also, look for tires with good traction and a variable pattern since they tend to maneuver a little more easily.

Seat Comfort when Riding a Zero Turn Mower

It’s hard to evaluate this feature of your new zero turn lawn mower without actually sitting in it, but you can look at product reviews for a better sense of which options are most comfortable.

Even if you think that a mildly uncomfortable seat won’t be a problem since you only need to sit in your mower for short periods, think again. Look for a seat with good padding, and a design similar to seats you’ve found comfortable in the past.

Final Words on Zero Turn Mowers

In this guide, we’ve gone over some of the most important features of the best zero turn mowers, some features you might want to consider before purchasing one and given detailed reviews of some of the best models out there.

Hopefully, you’re not only confident in the models we’ve selected, but also feel more able to choose between the best zero turn mowers more generally.

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