How to Pick the Best Zero Turn Mower for the Money

You may have seen zero turn lawn mowers on sports fields and in your neighbors’ lawns. They look fast, easy, and even fun, and you might wonder about getting one for yourself. But what is the best zero turn mower for the money? Mowers like this are expensive and can take up a lot of room. It’s important to know you’re getting the best one.

Like any investment, the best zero turn mower for the money pays you back over time. You may not actually make money off of it, but it will pay you back in time saved. A zero turn mower can cut the time you spend mowing the lawn in half. Whether you have three flat acres or a half-acre hill, there’s a zero turn lawn mower for you. We can help you pick the right one.

Why Pick a Zero Turn Lawn Mower?

Zero turn lawn mowers get your yard in shape quickly and effectively. They are so named because of their tight turning radius. These mowers swivel on a dime, and when you ride one, you can dodge nimbly around any tree or other obstacles. Even better, you can trim the grass right up around the edges of your lawn. They can save you the time you would have spent detailing your grass, as well as time spent mowing. They’re also fast and usually have wider cutting decks than other types of lawn mowers. Lawn tractors and push mowers are smaller and slower, and these mowers also move less easily across the lawn. If you have a larger lawn, a zero turn mower is best for you.

Zero turn lawn mowers are expensive, and many people who may need them often balk at this fact. Recent changes in production opened zero turn mowers up to more people at a lower cost. So, with more of these lawn mowers fitting into a lower price range, you need to get the best zero turn mower for the money. If you have a large lawn or its filled with trees or other obstacles, a zero turn mower is just what you need. They can also be extremely helpful for commercial properties, as many can mow a few acres in an hour, but can be dangerous on steep inclines.

What to look for in the best zero turn mower for the money?

The best zero turn mower for the money depends on your price range. Since the price has come down on these types of mowers a lot in the past years, it’s a lot easier for the average homeowner to buy one now. You can find a zero turn mower for a price that works for you, even if you have a smaller lawn. If you do, you might want one with a smaller cutting deck. If you have a larger area to cut, you may be willing to pay a little more. That will not only get you a larger cutting deck so that you can cover more ground at once but also a faster mower to get the job done in less time. The right cost all depends on what kind of mower you need.

Most of the zero turn mowers that are useful on residential property are known as mid-mount mowers. These have cutting decks which are placed beneath the operator’s seat. This centered location helps with the zero turn aspect of the mowers. When the mower turns, the cutting deck stays in nearly the same place. Most mowers also come with lap bar controls, which give you two handles to control the mower. Others may come with a joystick and still others with a steering wheel, which is better for inclines.

Our Review Process

In order to bring you the best zero turn mower for the money, we had to pick the best of the best. We relied on such renowned sources as Popular Mechanics to help recommend the best mowers. After aggregating picks for the best zero turn mower for the money, we chose the mowers which were the most powerful, the most reliable, and the least expensive. Mowers on this list are in the lower range of prices for zero turn mowers. But, they span a range of cutting deck sizes and horsepowers for all needs. We also paid close attention to customer reviews. While some mowers had more reviews than others, we looked at customers from Amazon, Lowe’s, and Mowers Direct while making our choices.

How Much Is the Best Zero Turn Mower for the Money?

Zero turn lawn mowers are more expensive than their counterparts like lawn tractors and push mowers. At the lowest end, the best zero turn mower for the money is going to be around $2,500, and at the highest end around $4,000. Since these are value mowers, most of them fall between the $2,500 and $3,000 range. But what you get for that price differs among each mower. Some might have larger cutting decks, and others have more horsepower. Some have unique features like a steering wheel instead of lap bars. All of them are good values, but you decide which is the best zero turn mower for the money.

Ariens IKON X 52

Ariens’ IKON X 52 is a striking lawn mower. Bright orange and with sharp angles, this model is eye-catching if nothing else. The engine is 23 horsepower, which is average among our other selected mowers. The deck size comes in third-largest at 52 inches. This mower, much like the Husqvarna Z254 also on our list, is built for power and speed. It will mow down the thickest grass, but cannot maneuver so easily through tight spaces. Fifty-five customers from Lowe’s reviewed this mower and gave it an average of 4.5 stars out of 5. While some customers warned against using it on slopes, one said they cut three acres in about two hours, even with slopes and hilly terrain. The Ariens IKON X 52 costs $3,099 to $3,299.

Ariens Zoom 34

The Ariens Zoom 34 offers the smallest cutting deck of any zero turn mower on this list. At only 34 inches, the Zoom 34 is best for smaller yards. It also works well for tight spaces where maneuverability is key. Its small size includes a smaller engine. This one has just 19 horsepower. If you want a zero turn lawn mower but have a smaller lawn, look for this mower. On Lowe’s, the Ariens Zoom 34 earned 4.5 stars out of 5 from 92 customers. One said it was a great mower for smaller lawns, and recommended adding the mulcher kit to catch grass. The Zoom 34 is available for $2,599 to $2,899.

Cub Cadet RZT S Zero

The Cub Cadet RZT S Zero stands out on this list for a couple of reasons. For one, this lawn mower features a steering wheel rather than the more common lap bar system. Also, this lawn mower is powered by electricity rather than gas. It comes with a 42-inch cutting deck, which makes it about standard for this list. It also hits six miles per hour, meaning it can zip along with the best gas-powered mowers here.

However, you should know that this mower only lasts one hour on an overnight charge. That could be challenging if you have a very large area to cut. On the Cub Cadet website, 21 reviewers gave this mower 4 stars out of 5. One reviewer said the mower ran for two and a half hours the first season, but this dropped off quickly afterward. The Cub Cadet RZT S Zero costs $2,999 to $3,199.

Husqvarna Z254

Husqvarna’s Z254 combines size with power to give you a superior cut. As the name suggests, this zero turn mower is an enormous 54 inches wide. That places it first among any mower on the list, with the Ariens IKON coming a close second. It is also powered by a 23-horsepower engine so that you can slice through the grass swiftly. Because of its powerful engine and wide cutting deck, it’s best for big open areas like large lawns. On Lowe’s, the Husqvarna Z254 averaged 4.0 stars out of 5 across 39 customer ratings. They said it was a sure winner, although it was a bit of a bumpy ride. The Z254 costs between $2,999 and $3,299.

John Deere Z345R

John Deere’s Z345R mower comes with a 42-inch cutting deck and 22 horsepower. That is a pretty average setup for this list, and, unsurprisingly, runs at about an average price as well. The 22 horsepower does, however, make for an impressive top speed. The John Deere Z345R can hit seven miles per hour, one of the fastest on the list. Add that to its smaller cutting deck size, and this mower can nimbly manage the most tree-filled lawn. On the John Deere website, this mower had eight reviews and earned an average of 4.1 stars out of 5. One reviewer said it was perfect for a one or two-acre lawn, but has little capability for going in reverse. The John Deere Z345R is available for $2,899 to $2,999.

One note of caution, however. This mower was recalled due to a defect that can be easily fixed by the manufacturer. If you buy one (especially if it’s used), make sure it’s been sent back to John Deere to be repaired.

Poulan Pro P46ZX

Poulan Pro’s P46ZX gets its name from the 46-inch cutting deck which is center-mounted on the machine. This mower also has a top speed of 6.5 miles per hour, making it excellent for yards of more than 2 acres. The P46ZX includes a convenient service reminder and a water hose attachment for easy cleanup. This lawn mower costs anywhere between $2,648 and $3,750. That means you may end up spending more on this mower than others on the list. On Amazon, reviewers gave this mower 3.3 out of 5 stars. Reviewers said it was an excellent base-line mower. They added that it was better for a yard than for commercial use, as it has relatively few features.

Toro TimeCutter SS4225

The Toro TimeCutter SS4225 is not a time machine, but it does clock in at a modest 22 horsepower and 42 inches. It doesn’t boast any overpowered or over-engineered features. It gives a straightforward zero turn mowing experience that will fit average lawns. Like its larger counterpart, the SS5000 (which we review next), this mower has speeds for trimming, towing, and mowing. No matter how you need to use it, you can adjust your mower to fit the job. This mower is also one of the cheapest options available on the list, with a price range of around $2,599 to $2,799. On Mowers Direct, customers gave the SS4225 4.6 out of 5 stars. One reviewer was very impressed with the mower’s performance, saying it worked best for small to mid-sized lawns.

Toro TimeCutter SS5000

The Toro TimeCutter SS5000 combines a powerful engine and a wide cutting deck for an efficient cut every time. With a 50-inch-wide deck, this mower is best for open spaces. If you have a big yard of more than one or two acres, this may be towards the top of your list. Its engine also nears the top of our list, bringing 24.5 horsepower to your lawn. If you have a lot of ground to cover, the SS5000 also offers added comfort in the form of an 18-inch padded seat.

This mower is not only powerful, but it also won’t break the bank. It costs between $2,849 and $2,999, putting it near the top of our list in terms of price for power. On Mowers Direct, 76 customers rated this mower 4.4 out of 5 stars. They said that its price was well-justified, as it cut through thick and tough grass with ease.

Troy-Bilt Mustang 46

The Mustang 46 is a 46-inch mower from Troy-Bilt. For its size and its price, it features a powerful 24-horsepower engine. This choice is at the top end of power for our value zero turn mowers. Coupled with a price that is relatively low for zero turn mowers, this is a powerful mower in a small package. The Troy-Bilt Mustang 46 has only 6 customer reviews on Amazon, with a total score of 3.4 stars out of 5. Reviewers said that it was a good zero turn mower for homeowner use, but warned about using the machine on inclines. The Troy-Bilt Mustang 46 costs between $2,699 and $2,899.

Which Is the Best Zero Turn Mower for the Money?

Your hard-earned cash is important. Chances are, you want a nice lawn without having to pay through the nose to get it. Investing in the best zero turn mower for the money can save you time to spend with your family. It can also save you money, both in the short and long run. Zero turn mowers can be expensive, but the mowers on this list are much cheaper than their counterparts. For around $3,000, you can have a fast, efficient lawn mower. You may not end up paying that much more than you would have for a comparable, but less agile, lawn tractor.

So, which one is the best zero turn mower for the money? The all-around pick for us is the Toro TimeCutter SS4225. This nimble and fast mower can easily cut around any obstacles you may have in your lawn. Whether you have a playset, a garden, or just a lot of trees, the SS4225 can get around. Its small cutting deck is actually a feature for this reason. Plus, its low price makes it accessible to nearly everyone. If you want the absolute best zero turn mower for the money, pick the SS4225. Any other mower on this list will do, and some will do better for certain jobs. But none are as versatile for such a low price.