Zero-Turn vs Riding Mower

If you’re going to buy a lawnmower, you need to be sure it’s the right fit for the projects you will be working on and your lifestyle. It’s possible that you currently own a zero-turn mower or a riding lawn mower, or that you’re ready to upgrade from a walk-behind mower. Zero-turn mowers and riding lawn mowers have various capabilities, and it is crucial to educate yourself on which is better for your needs before purchasing. Here, we’ll examine the benefits and drawbacks of each, along with a few other considerations.

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Let’s Talk About Zero-Turn Mower

The phrase “zero-turn” refers to the mower’s zero-inch turn radius.  For one simple reason, these mowers are becoming increasingly popular: they speed up the process of mowing.   How much more quickly? Mowing the same lawn with a zero-turn mower takes about half the time it does with a riding mower. That’s because zero-turn mowers are lighter, faster, and feature unique maneuverability.

To use a Zero Turn Mower, you must either ride it or stand on top of it. For the most part, four-wheeled zero-turn mowers have two front wheels that can rotate and two huge back wheels that can drive. Individual driving wheels can be steered by operator handles. As soon as one wheel is engaged and the other is parked, the machine’s turning radius is completely eliminated.


Even while zero-turn mowers are able to get the job done quickly, there are certain drawbacks to their use. Due to the nature of their steering, they have a hard time operating on wet ground. Even when the grass is dry, the individual wheel speed manner of steering makes them prone to tearing it up. Using zero-turn mowers on sloping terrain can be risky, as they have the potential to roll over if they’re used incorrectly.

Let’s Talk About Riding Mowers

In the case of large lawns, riding mowers are an excellent choice. Get a clean cut that will keep the lawn looking neat and tidy by accelerating over the landscape. With a riding mower, you’ll be able to control this mower deck from the convenience of your own seat, using a steering wheel. Keep a close shave to the ground as you cruise around the lawn. A riding mower can manage any type of grass, from thick and lush to sparse and prickly, with ease.

These mowers are easy to handle and powerful, and they don’t require a lot of experience to get the hang of. Deck sizes allow you to trim a large area of lawn at a time. A large quantity of turf may be cut with each pass because of the various deck sizes offered.


What these lawnmowers have in terms of power and variety, they sacrifice in terms of accuracy. Riding mowers have a bigger turn radius than zero turn mowers, resulting in more sections of grass being missed on each pass than with zero-turn mowers. In order to cover the entire grass, several additional passes will be necessary, as will some additional trimming around obstacles and in tight corners.

Advantages of Using Zero-Turn Mowers

Let’s talk about some of the advantages you get by using zero-turn lawn mowers.


A zero-turn mower’s distinguishing feature is its maneuverability. Indeed, the name “zero-turn” derives from the machine’s zero-inch turning radius, which enables it to turn around within its own footprint. This advantage accounts for the majority of the zero-turn advantages. Once you’re comfortable with the dual steering system, you’ll appreciate how quick and precise this mower truly is.

Save More Time

The most frequently mentioned feature of zero-turn mowers is their ability to save time. Generally, zero-turn mowers have a faster ground speed than other types of mowers. Manufacturers equip them with this feature since their lower center of gravity makes them safer at faster speeds. Additionally, they offer alternatives for larger decks. You’ll be able to cover more ground in fewer passes with a larger deck. Fewer passes equal less time spent mowing and shorter hours on your machine. Remember the maneuverability mentioned previously? This also speeds up mowing. The less time you spend turning around, changing directions, or getting from point A to point B, the faster your yard will be mowed.

Pretty Comfortable

Zero-turn mowers offer numerous practical benefits. Each model includes power steering as one of these features. No more wrangling with a steering wheel to get to your destination. They frequently have a more comfy seat. Some, like our commercial range of mowers, even have weight-adjustable seats.

Reduced Weed Intake

Let’s face it, if forced to choose between trimming and mowing, everyone would choose to mow. You can mow closer to barriers such as trees, landscaping, and fencing because of the outstanding turning radius and mobility. While this does not totally eliminate the need for a trimmer, it does reduce the amount of work required.

Cleaner Yards

You’ve seen those yards with the perfect crisscrossing and straight lines.  This is achievable with a zero-turn mower. Due to the machine’s mobility, you can easily switch up your mowing directions to get excellent stripes.

Advantages of Using Riding Mowers

Now that we’ve covered some of the advantages of using zero-turn lawn mowers. Let’s talk about riding mowers and what are some of the advantages you get by using these mowers.

Spend less time mowing

The pace at which you can mow the grass is one of the main advantages of riding lawn mowers over stand-by mowers. Regardless of whether you’re using a self-propelled or a push lawn mower, you won’t be able to get the job done as quickly. If you work on huge projects all the time, this will save you hours each week.

Ease of use

In addition to making mowing the grass easier, riding mowers also makes the process more enjoyable because they don’t require as much effort. You’ll be working harder with self-propelled, stand-behind mowers if the area isn’t flat.

Less Physical Exertion

Ride-on lawn mowers allow you to keep on working even if your health isn’t at its best.  There are times when operating a stand-behind mower might worsen long-standing injuries and create pain. Since riding mowers need less physical exertion, you may take care of your projects without experiencing any discomfort.


They’re also easier to put onto a trailer than ride-on mowers because they’re smaller. They’re lighter than a zero-turn riding mower, and the operator can modify their position more easily, shifting their center of gravity, which is useful while mowing on slopes. Furthermore, because they are lightweight, they will not damage particular lawns.

Let’s compare these two

Now that we’ve covered the advantages of using both of these mowers, let’s see how they compare with each other in different circumstances.

Mowing Steep Hills

The terrain is handled differently by riding mowers and zero-turn mowers. If the area you’ll be mowing is hilly, a riding mower is a way to go. They have larger tires and a lower center of gravity, allowing them to maintain grip and be safer on steeper slopes.

We recently wrote an article discussing the best mowers for steep hills, you can check it out here.

Flat Terrain

The flat terrain is good for both zero turn and riding mowers, but it is in this type of terrain that you will notice the time-saving advantages of the zero-turn. Unlike on the hill slopes, the zero-turn will maintain traction on flat ground.

Handling Obstacles

Do you have a lot of trees, landscaping, and other difficult-to-maneuver barriers on the projects you’re working on? The zero-turn shines in this situation. Getting close to obstacles cuts down on the amount of time spent later on weed eating. However, if yards you’re working on contain obstacles and steep hills, a riding mower is advised for traction and safety.


If you plan on doing more gardening, seeding, spraying, or carting goods, riding mowers are a good option. They’ll have stronger hitch points and a lower center of gravity to handle some of the heavy torque tasks you’ll be doing.

Operating Costs

It’s a draw between the two mowers when it comes to routine maintenance such as oil and filter changes, grease spots, and blade replacement. For both types of mowers, there is a variety of pricing to make the cost of entry easier.

Which one saves you more time?

We’ve finally arrived at a moment where everyone is curious. The zero-turn is the clear winner in this area. They move at a faster pace, are more maneuverable, and reduce the weed eating time. Although the time-saving feature of a Zero Turn is interesting, using one on steep terrain will actually result in you losing more time than you gain by using it.

Final Words

So, what’s the best option? Is it better to use a riding mower or a zero-turn mower? If you’re still unsure, go over the information above again. It all depends on the projects you’re working on and the type of maintenance you want to perform. Decide what is most essential to you.

If you routinely work in flat but detailed landscaping, need speed, or want the best blades and a perfect cut, the zero-turn is the way to go. Choose a riding mower if you’ll be attaching snow plows and lugging work items in addition to mowing (including working on steep hills).

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