Zero Turn Vs Riding Mower: The 4 Differences That Matter

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Last Updated on January 15, 2023 by John Patterson

It’s summer season, and you’re probably wondering which mower is best for your lawn.

Some people ride mowers because they can get a broader cut in less time.

It’s been a while since we’ve discussed lawn care, and for a good reason.

The summer is ending, and the leaves are changing colors.

The debate of riding a mower vs. zero-turn mower has been going on for decades, but it’s not a one-sided argument.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both types of lawn equipment, so choosing the right type depends on what you need from your lawn care services.

But how do you know which kind of mower you should chose for your lawn?

Here, in this primer, we’ve come up with a few critical points about zero turns vs. riding mowers.

Have a look here and choose the best kind of mower for your beautiful lawn.

Zero Turn vs. Riding Mower

Zero Turn Vs Riding Mower

Preview
Best Zero-turn Mower
Ariens 915223 IKON-X 52" Zero Turn Mower 23hp Kawasaki FR691 Series
Best Riding Mower
Husqvarna Z254 54 in. 26 HP Kohler Hydrostatic Zero Turn Riding Mower
Title
Ariens 915223 IKON-X 52" Zero Turn Mower 23hp Kawasaki FR691 Series
Husqvarna Z254 54 in. 26 HP Kohler Hydrostatic Zero Turn Riding Mower
Editor's Rating
4.9/5
4.9/5
Prime Status
-
-
Best Zero-turn Mower
Preview
Ariens 915223 IKON-X 52" Zero Turn Mower 23hp Kawasaki FR691 Series
Title
Ariens 915223 IKON-X 52" Zero Turn Mower 23hp Kawasaki FR691 Series
Editor's Rating
4.9/5
Prime Status
-
Best Riding Mower
Preview
Husqvarna Z254 54 in. 26 HP Kohler Hydrostatic Zero Turn Riding Mower
Title
Husqvarna Z254 54 in. 26 HP Kohler Hydrostatic Zero Turn Riding Mower
Editor's Rating
4.9/5
Prime Status
-
Ariens 915223 IKON-X 52' Zero Turn Mower 23hp Kawasaki FR691 Series
53 Reviews
Ariens 915223 IKON-X 52" Zero Turn Mower 23hp Kawasaki FR691 Series
  • This refurbished product is tested and certified...
Husqvarna Z254 54 in. 26 HP Kohler Hydrostatic Zero Turn Riding Mower
100 Reviews
Husqvarna Z254 54 in. 26 HP Kohler Hydrostatic Zero Turn Riding Mower
  • 26 HP Kohler engine provides reliable startups and...
  • A patent-pending park brake system automatically...
  • Air induction mowing technology draws air from the...
  • Reinforced steel stamped cutting deck is made of...
  • Clippings can be discharged, mulched or bagged...

Both the mowers perform the same task. But they work in different ways. Let’s know more about them.

What Is a Zero-turn Mower?

What Is a Zero-turn Mower

A zero-turn mower is a large, powerful machine that can quickly and efficiently cut grass in the yard.

One of the benefits of this type of lawnmower is that it has a turning radius as small as 10 inches, allowing for tight turns on steep hillsides.

Zero-turn mowers are more maneuverable than traditional riding or walk-behind mowers because they have two wheels instead of one set, as other models do.

This makes them easier to operate around landscaping features such as ponds and trees.

Finally, many zero-turn mowers have additional safety features, such as multiple hand grips, which allow you to maintain control even if you’re cutting uphill.

Homeowners looking for a new lawnmower might wonder what the difference is between a zero-turn mower and other types of lawnmowers.

A zero-turn mower, such as the Husqvarna Z248F” 21.5 HP Professional Lawn Mower, has a wheel that rotates to turn on any spot without turning your body.

Unlike traditional push or lawnmowers, they also offer more power with an engine size ranging from 13 to 54 HP (Husqvarna offers gas and electric models).

Imagine a perfectly manicured lawn with never-ending rows of perfect grass.

You can have this type of look on your property without spending hours each week tending to the garden or hiring professional landscapers.

Zero-turn mowers are designed for fast, efficient cutting and trimming. These machines use a spinning blade at the bottom that quickly trims off any excess grass in its path, leaving you with an even cut across the entire lawn.

This means homeowners don’t need to worry about uneven patches from missed blades or clumps left behind after someone else has trimmed their yard – it’s all done in one go!

What Is a Riding Mower?

What Is a Riding Mower

A riding mower is a lawn tractor with a seat on top. Riding mowers are the most popular type of lawnmower and come in many different styles.

This article will explore the history behind the invention, how a riding mower works, what to look for when purchasing one, and tips for operating it safely.

For many people, the thought of a riding mower conjures up images of large, expensive machines that are difficult to operate and maintain.

However, this is not always the case. Riding lawn mowers can be much easier to use than push mowers and provide the same quality of cut as their larger cousins.

Zero Turn and Riding Mower Key Differences

The Pattern of Mowing

The main difference between riding and a zero-turn mower is their mowing pattern. While running a riding mower, you must reach every grass swath’s end.

Later, you have to mow again in the opposite direction. The entire turning radius of the riding mower leaves a few patches of uncut grass while turning in the other way.

A 0-turn mower can turn on the dime for cutting carefully around the barriers without messing a blade of grass. So, mowing lawns with zero-turn radius mowers is faster than riding mowers.

Now you decide which kind is the best for your lawn.

If you don’t know how to drive a zero-turn lawn mower, click to read the expert’s opinion.

Machine Control

Most people find it easy to operate riding mowers. They have steering wheels, so people see them as comfortable to use. The 0-turn mowers have two handles usually to control the mower.

There’s a pedal to break the zero-turn machine. Also, it is essential to maneuver both stems into the neutral position to apply the brake.

The rear wheels of the 0-turn mowers can take tight turns under the operators’ control, while the riding mower makes those turns with the front wheels.

The 0-turn mowers mow the trees and all the obstacles of the lawn within a short time. Spotting the challenges on the ground becomes more comfortable with a 0-turn mower.

Deck Size

Zero turn mower deck size chart

The size is crucial when buying a 0-turn mower or a riding mower. It doesn’t matter which kind of mower you buy if your mower cuts a swath too narrow. With such machines, mowing the lawn will take a long time.

Knowing the distance between the obstacles in your lawn will be helpful. Thus, you can avoid purchasing a mower with a deck size too broad.

The deck of the riding mower should be 54 inches, at least. The zero-turn mower’s size is usually 60 inches or more.

Mowing Speed

Between zero turns and riding mowers, zero turns are faster than riding mowers. They are usually faster than a riding mower by a couple of miles per hour. The speed of a typical riding mower is around 3 to 4 mph.

Again, the speed of a conventional 0-turn mower is 5-8 mph. Commercial zero-turn radius mowers cut at a speed of up to 13 mph.

Frequently Asked Questions

#1. Question: How Does a Zero Turn Mower Cut Faster Than a Riding lawn Mower?

Answer: The zero-turn mower will cut the lawn within half the time required by a riding mower. Zero-turn mowers allow you to mow around the trees and driveways at a close distance. While a riding mower will enable you to cut as close as the mower’s turning radius allows. Since the turning radius of a zero-turn mower is zero, you can go as close as you need.

#2. Question: Why Do Zero Turn Mowers Cost More Than Riding lawn Mowers?

Answer: The zero-turn mowers usually have more massive decks and engines than traditional riding mowers. Also, they use more steel than riding lawn mowers. So, the cost of the machine is a bit much.

#3. What are the best commercial zero-turn mowers for the money?

Answer: Read our recommended list here.

In Conclusion

Everybody wants their lawn to be smooth. A smooth lawn depends on its trimming. Both mowers can help you to trim your lawn within a short time. Between zero-turn and riding lawn mowers, zero-turn mowers provide many facilities to mow trees.

Here, in this article, the key differences between these two mowers are pointed out. I hope our article will help you to decide the best mower for your lawn.

Related to you: 
#1. Top Lawn Spreaders Buying Guide 2023.

About the author

John Patterson

Hi there! My name is John Patterson. I’m a meticulous guy who loves to deal with the perfect tools for various needs. No matter if it’s a woodworking tool or gardening tool or anything else, I don’t compromise the quality and usability. Since 2010 I’ve been testing different tools for different DIY and professional tasks. Later in 2015, I decided to share my knowledge with the world. I started by answering people in the forums and several Q/A sites like Quora. Then I founded this blog to aid others like you with my knowledge and experience.