Thanks to a zero-turn radius, wide cutting deck, and higher speed capacity, a zero-turn mower can tackle a large yard in less time than a standard riding lawn mower. “Using a zero-turn mower is one of the fastest ways to get a larger lawn cut,” says Kris Kiser, President and CEO of Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI). “Manufacturers today bring to market zero-turn mower models with features to help homeowners stay comfortable, safe, and productive.”
When researching the best zero-turn mowers, we evaluated products based on their size, weight, fuel source, horsepower, and cutting deck options. Our best overall pick, the Ryobi Electric Riding Zero Turn Mower, can mow up to 3.5 acres on a single charge.
Ryobi 48V Brushless 54 inch 115 Ah Battery Electric Riding Zero Turn Mower
Large adjustable cutting deck
Ergonomic onboard control panel
Low-maintenance and easy to charge
Must be recharged before use
Earning the top spot in our roundup, this fully electric zero-turn mower from Ryobi is emissions-free and low-maintenance. It’s powered by 115 aH batteries and can mow up to 3.5 acres on a single charge, according to the manufacturer. This mower features a 54-inch, 10-gauge heavy-duty steel deck, which can be adjusted to provide a shorter or longer cut. It has a maximum speed of 7 MPH going forward and 4 MPH in reverse. Despite weighing a whopping 796 pounds, the mower is easy to maneuver–even in tight spaces.
The Ryobi Electric Riding Zero Turn Mower has an advanced control panel that allows you to adjust the speed, reverse mow, check the battery level, and operate the headlights. You can even charge your phone using the built-in USB charging port. Ergonomic controls, armrests, and two cup holders provide a comfortable riding experience.
This electric mower is a great alternative to gas-powered options. Just keep in mind that the batteries need to be charged before use. For added convenience, this mower plugs into a standard 120-volt outlet and features a rear charging port that’s easily accessible. And while this mower has a hefty price tag, it is packed with features, and if you have a large yard, it could be well worth the splurge.
Price at time of publish: $5,500
Toro 75746 42 inch 22.5 HP TimeCutter Commercial V-Twin Gas Dual Hydrostatic Zero-Turn Riding Mower
Lightweight and easy to maneuver
Adjustable cutting height
Padded seat and control levers
Requires regular gas refills
This compact yet powerful zero-turn lawn mower from Toro is one of the more affordably priced options on the market. It is gas-powered and has a 22.5 HP twin-cylinder engine, making it an ideal choice for yards up to two acres in size. Note that it’s best suited for flat terrain with a few obstacles rather than hills or slopes. The 42-inch wide cutting deck houses two sharp cutting blades, and its height is adjustable to achieve a more precise cut.
With a fuel tank capacity of three gallons, you don’t have to worry about running out of gas in the middle of a job. Although most gas-powered motors are more powerful than their electric counterparts, the additional cost of fuel and the emissions are potential drawbacks. This zero turn mower has some noteworthy creature comforts such as a padded seat, under-seat storage cubby, and built-in cup holder. It also has padded control levers to help reduce user fatigue and improve maneuverability.
The Toro TimeCutter Zero-Turn Riding Mower can go up to 7 MPH when moving forward and 3 MPH in reverse. At 502 pounds, it is notably smaller than other options. While it’s ideal for smaller yards, it’s not a good choice for bigger jobs or challenging terrain. On the upside, its compact size allows you to mow in tight spaces and makes it easier to store in a garage or shed.
Price at time of publish: $3,800
EGO Power+ 52” Z6 Zero Turn Riding Mower
Can mow large yards on a single charge
Expandable battery system
Adjustable cutting height
This electric zero-turn mower from Ego can cut up to four acres on a single charge. What’s even more impressive, the battery system can be expanded to mow as many acres as needed. The batteries can be fully charged in less than four hours, which is up to four times faster than competitors, according to the manufacturer. Delivering the equivalent of 25 horsepower, the Z6 is just as powerful as a mid-range, gas-powered zero-turn mower. It can reach speeds up to 8 MPH, allowing you to cover more ground in less time.
The Z6 Zero Turn Riding Mower offers three driving modes—control, standard, and sport—for various terrains. To ensure a quality cut, the height of the 52-inch cutting deck is adjustable. Other noteworthy features include LED lights, USB charging port, a phone holder, and Bluetooth. Another major advantage of this electric mower is that it runs very quietly and is easier to maintain than a gas model. With all of these bells and whistles, it’s no surprise that the Z6 comes with a steep price tag. However, the mower, batteries, and charger are backed by a five-year warranty to protect your investment.
Price at time of publish: $7,000
Cub Cadet Ultima Series ZT2 60 in. Fab Deck 24HP Kawasaki V-Twin Zero Turn Mower
Large capacity fuel tank
Adjustable speed and reverse mowing option
LED headlights for low-light conditions
Ergonomic seat and hand grips
Requires regular gas refills
With a three-gallon fuel tank capacity and a twin-cylinder engine, the Cub Cadet Ultima ZT2 V-Twin Gas Zero Turn Mower can run for hours without needing a refill. Thanks to a wide triple-blade deck, this mower delivers a more precise, even cut with fewer clumps and finer clippings. It also has a dial control knob that allows you to adjust the deck height from 1 inch to 4.5 inches. This zero-turn mower can go up to 7.5 MPH forward and up to 3.5 MPH in reverse, so you tackle yards to up to five acres in no time. It can also be adjusted to navigate slight rolling hills, rough terrain, and other obstacles with ease.
This mower is designed with comfort in mind: It has a fully adjustable ergonomic seat with armrests, as well as ergonomic hand grips that reduce operator fatigue. Other noteworthy features include LED headlights for mowing in low-light conditions, a cup holder, and a tow hitch. Like all models in this category, the Cub Cadet Ultima requires frequent gas refills. At 752 pounds, it’s also one of the heaviest options on the market.
Price at time of publish: $5,600
Best for Hills
John Deere Z330R ZTrak Mower
Ideal for mowing hills and slopes
Excellent traction and control
Reverse mowing feature
Padded seat and armrests
Requires regular gas refills
This commercial lawn mower from John Deere has air-filled pneumatic tires with deep treads, which provide excellent traction on rough and hilly terrain. It’s available with a 48- or 54-inch cutting deck, with the latter being ideal for yards larger than four acres in size. The triple-blade, flat-top design delivers a clean cut even on uneven ground. Despite its hefty weight of over 600 pounds, the John Deere Z330R is easy to control and maneuver. It has a forward speed of up to 7 MPH and a maximum reverse speed of 3.5 MPH.
Both the seat and armrests are padded for a comfortable riding experience. There are also shock absorbers under the seat to provide a smoother ride on rougher terrain. The fuel tank has a generous three-gallon capacity, and it’s translucent, so you can easily monitor fuel levels. Other convenient features, including LED lights, front bumper, and rear hitch, come standard on this model. As with all gas-powered mowers, the ongoing fuel costs, emissions, and maintenance can be a potential drawback.
Price at time of publish: $4,000
Husqvarna Z254F 23-HP V-twin Dual Hydrostatic 54-in Zero-turn Lawn Mower
Adjustable cutting heights
Reverse mowing feature
Worry-free hydrostatic transmission
Comfortable and safe to operate
Some reports of broken parts
Requires regular gas refills
The Husqvarna Z254F 54-in Zero-turn Lawn Mower features a 23 HP twin-cylinder engine, which makes it a great mid-range residential option for yards between two and three acres in size. The mower can go up to 6.5 MPH when moving forward or 3.5 MPH in reverse. This zero-turn mower has a deep, 54-inch cutting deck, which allows for easier bagging and mulching. However, both the bagging and mulching kits are sold separately. To achieve a precise cut, you can use the deck lift to get in a perfect position. The hydrostatic transmission requires no maintenance, which is another plus.
Thanks to a high-backed seat, ergonomic control panel, and anti-slip foot area, this zero turn mower is safe and comfortable to operate. For added safety, it’s also equipped with an automatic parking brake system. Note that the Husqvarna Z254F is intended for flat terrain with a few obstacles; it should not be used on slopes that exceed 15 degrees. Like all gas-powered models, it will require refilling on a regular basis. We read some reports of broken parts, however, this product is backed by a bumper-to-bumper three-year warranty.
Price at time of publish: $4,200
Best for Big Yards
Toro TimeCutter 50 inch 24.5 HP Zero Turn Riding Mower
Adjustable cutting blades
Reverse mowing feature
High-backed seat and padded armrests
Large fuel tank capacity
Not ideal for slopes and hills
Requires regular gas refillls
This gas-powered zero-turn mower from Toro is a great choice for larger yards ranging from two to four acres in size. It has a large three-gallon fuel tank, so you can get the job done without having to worry about running out of gas. Thanks to Toro's Smart Speed technology, you have full control of your mowing speed to achieve a more precise cut. This mower has a maximum forward speed of 7 MPH and 3 MPH in reverse, plus it can go up to 4 MPH in trim mode.
The 50-inch wide cutting deck houses three cutting blades, and you can adjust the length to achieve a more precise cut. Shock-absorbing dampeners allow for smoother steering and riding. The Toro TimeCutter has a high-backed seat, padded armrests, and a built-in cup holder for comfortable operation. Note that this mower isn’t suitable for hills or slopes higher than 15 degrees. It works best on relatively flat terrain, but it can handle some minor obstacles.
Price at time of publish: $5,200
Our best overall pick is the Ryobi Electric Riding Zero Turn Mower, which offers an array of convenient features and a low-maintenance, emissions-free design. If you’re looking for a more affordable option, the Toro TimeCutter V-Twin Gas Zero-Turn Riding Mower is both lightweight and fuel-efficient.
What to Look for in Zero-Turn Mowers
Residential zero-turn mowers often have smaller, 42-inch cutting decks, making them an ideal choice for yards less than 3 acres in size. While the smaller width is great for maneuvering around obstacles in your yard, they will take longer to get the job done. Something else to keep in mind: Lightweight zero turn mowers are not recommended for daily use and will wear out faster than commercial zero turn mowers if they are used that frequently.
Commercial zero turn mowers have wider cutting decks (54 inches or higher), allowing you to get the job done in less time. They also offer superior power and durability, and unlike residential models, they can be used daily without wearing out. Our top choice for navigating hills, the John Deere Z330R ZTrak Mower, offers cutting decks in several sizes to suit your specific needs.
Lightweight zero-turn mowers have the advantage of being more fuel-efficient than heavyweight models. However, they don’t have as much traction as heavier zero-turn mowers, which makes them difficult to maneuver in wet conditions or on rough terrain. For that reason, they’re not suitable for mowing slopes that exceed 15 degrees. Our best budget pick, the Toro TimeCutter V-Twin Gas Zero-Turn Riding Mower, is one of the lightest, most fuel-efficient options on the market.
Heavyweight zero-turn mowers are intended for yards larger than 4 acres or mowing multiple large yards on a regular basis. This type of mower is easier to control and better suited for rough terrain and steeper slopes. Not surprisingly, heavier zero-turn mowers are more expensive due to their sheer amount of power. They’re also less gas- and battery-efficient. If you have a gas-powered model, you will face higher fuel costs.
Fuel Source and Horsepower
Gas vs. Electric: Gas-powered zero-turn mowers are more popular, which means you can find a wider selection at various price points. When it comes to power, gas-powered mowers almost always surpass electric-powered mowers. However, you should also take the following into consideration: Gas-powered zero-turn mowers weigh more, require regular gas refills, and release emissions into the air.
Electric-powered zero-turn mowers are newer to the market and often have a slightly higher price point. Most electric options are not as powerful as commercial, gas-powered zero turn mowers. However, their power output is on par with mid-range residential gas zero-turn mowers—a major plus for homeowners. An electric mower has the benefit of emissions-free operation, and you don’t have to worry about fuel costs.
Horsepower: The power output of a zero-turn mower engine is measured in horsepower. If you have a small yard (one acre or less), a zero turn mower with 10 to 20 HP is a solid bet. For larger yards up to three acres in size, a 20 to 25 HP zero-turn mower is a great mid-range option. Our top choice for bigger yards, the Toro TimeCutter Zero Turn Riding Mower, offers 24.5 HP and handles yards ranging from 2 to 4 acres with ease. Just keep in mind that residential mowers (25 HP or lower) aren’t equipped to negotiate rough terrain and inclines over 15 degrees.
Zero-turn mowers with 25 HP or higher almost exclusively fall under the commercial category. These mowers are extremely powerful and intended for use on large properties, such as golf courses or multiple large yards. A commercial zero-turn mower is also more adept at handling rough terrain and steep inclines.
Cutting Deck Options: The cutting deck is the covered portion of a zero-turn mower where the blades are located. When the mower is powered up, the blades rotate in order to cut the lawn. Smaller cutting decks range from 32 inches to 48 inches, and they’re an ideal choice for yards less than three acres in size. For larger yards, look for a model with a bigger cutting deck–54 inches or wider. Our top pick for a gas-powered mower, the Cub Cadet Ultima ZT2 V-Twin Gas Zero Turn Mower, has an impressive 60-inch cutting deck and can quickly tackle yards up to five acres in size.
How much does zero-turn lawn mower maintenance cost?
Some routine maintenance is required to keep your zero-turn mower in tip top shape. Sharpening the blades is relatively inexpensive, but a full engine tune-up could cost a few hundred dollars. Because zero-turn mowers are incredibly heavy machines, you may not want to perform the maintenance yourself. DIY will cut down on costs, of course, but you may need a hydraulic jack to get under the mower safely.
What is a good speed for a zero-turn lawn mower?
While most standard lawn tractors travel at 3-4 miles per hour (MPH), most zero-turn lawn mowers can go between 5-8 MPH. The appropriate speed will vary depending on the task you’re performing. If you’re mowing a flat yard, you should be able to cruise along at top speed. Terrain with slopes and obstacles will require more precise maneuvering at lower speeds and in reverse.
How long does it take to cut one acre of grass with a zero-turn mower?
The exact amount of time will all depend on your speed and the width of the cutting deck. Zero-turn mowers with a higher speed capacity and a larger cutting deck are more efficient. To save time while mowing, Kris Kiser, President and CEO of Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), suggests clearing your lawn beforehand. “Be sure there are no obstacles in the way of the mower, such as rocks, branches, and other debris,” he says.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was written by Sage McHugh, a writer for The Spruce who specializes in the home and garden sector. To select the best zero turn mowers for this roundup, she considered dozens of products, carefully evaluating their size, weight, fuel source, horsepower, and cutting deck options. McHugh consulted hundreds of customer reviews, as well as write-ups from third-party websites. For additional insight, she interviewed Kris Kiser, President and CEO of Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI).