First Time Buyer GuideThings to consider before Buying a Zero Turn Mower!

Top 10 Zero Turn Mower Questions Answered

If you are reading this chances are that your new to zero turn mowers. Well that is fine because we spent the time to gather information and answer the top ten frequently asked questions about zero turns. This should help give you a better understanding of what zero turn mowers are, how they work and how they differ from traditional lawn tractors. Be sure to search through our What to Consider Before You Buy section to learn as much as you can which will help you determine which zero turn mower is best for you and your lawn mowing needs.

What Does Zero Turn Mean?

Zero turn simply means the lawn mower has zero degree or zero inches turn radius. Zero turn mowers are capable of turning within their own footprint. Some would say "it turns on a dime". For years the zero turn has been used by professional landscapers. In the past few years the zero turn has became affordable for homeowners. Many homeowners especially those with larger yards are upgrading from the traditional lawn mower to a zero turn mower. The major difference with the traditional steering wheel lawn tractor and the zero turn mower is the controls. With a zero turn each of the two rear wheels have independent wheel motors. These are controlled by the two independent steering handles. These two independent handles each control one of the rear wheel motors which allows for infinite maneuverability. This maneuverability will literally cut your lawn mowing time in half.


How do you steer without a steering wheel?

Each of the two rear wheels has its own wheel motor independently operated. The two handles each control the rear wheels, the left handle controls the left rear wheel and the right handle controls the right rear wheel. So if you want the right wheel to move you push the right handle away from you to go forward or pull it towards you to go backwards. Pushing or pulling on either of the handles will allow you to turn the zero turn mower. There are now some zero turn mowers available with Steering Wheel Front steer. Click here to see if a steering wheel zero turn is right for you.


Is a zero turn difficult to drive?

Diving a zero turn for the first time is like anything else you've done for the first time. Once you see how it works you will learn in no time. If you push both handles forward at the same time you will go forward in a straight line and if you pull back both handles at the same time you will go in reverse in a straight line. Now say you want to turn right, you simply push the left handle more than the right. This is like steering a shopping cart. This allows the left rear wheel to turn faster than the right and then you will turn right. So if you want to turn right you push the left handle or if you want to go left you push the right handle. To stop simply bring back the handles to the neutral position. Most people are comfortable driving a zero turn mower within their first few hours. It's rather fun your first time doing it. Refer to the Zero Turn Mower Video's section for some detailed how-to videos.


How does a zero turn save time over traditional lawn mowers?

The zero turn mower will cut lawn mowing time in half over the traditional steering wheel lawn tractor. The maneuverability of the zero turn will allow you to mow around trees and flower beds as tight or wide as you need. Where a steering wheel tractor can only get as close as it's turning radius allows. The zero turn mower's turning radius is essentially zero, so you can get as close as you need. This maneuverability along with the unobstructed view of the cutting deck allows you to nearly eliminate the need to follow up trim with your trimmer. While cutting larger sections of grass when you go to one end of the yard you can literally spin 180 degrees and come straight back down without having to circle around or back up which causes you to miss patches of grass.

Speed is also significantly better with a zero turn mower. The cutting deck is designed to cut twice as fast as a traditional lawn tractor. The typical zero turn mower cuts at speeds of about 5-8 mph with some capable of cutting at speeds up to 13 mph. The typical traditional lawn tractor cuts at speeds of 3-4 mph. This means the zero turn has much more straight line speed than the traditional lawn tractor. Click here to see how zero turn mowers compare to traditional lawn tractors.


How old is zero turn technology?

Grasshopper Mowers introduced the first commercial zero turn mower in 1969. Since the 1990's zero turn mowers have been used by most professional landscape contractors. This has allowed them to produce the prestigious golf course like manicured lawns that most of us could not have without paying a hefty landscaping bill. Now the technology has gotten more mainstream and zero turn mowers have gotten cheaper to produce their popularity is on the rise with homeowners all over the world. In fact the zero turn segment is the fastest growing segment of all riding lawn mowers today.


How do zero turn's stop?

The steering handles control both the direction and the speed of the zero turn. This eliminates the need for a traditional foot brake, which some zero turn's do still have. If you want to slow down simply ease back on the handles or if you want to stop completely bring the handles all the way back to neutral and the zero turn will stop. If you do need more braking power there is a parking/emergency brake which most are located to the right of the seat.


Are there attachments available for zero turn mowers?

There are several attachments available to bring even more versatility to zero turn mowers. The bagging system is the most popular attachment which bags grass clippings and cuts down on clean up time. Most of the bagging systems offer two or three bucket designs. There are mulching kits available so instead of having grass clippings discharge out of the side chute the clippings are mulched back into the lawn instead. Most zero turns also have the ability to add a hitch. Having a hitch opens you up to many more varieties of attachments such as a dump cart, plug aerator, spreader, roller, or sprayer. You can even front mount a snow plow, snow blower, or cleaning brush to the front of some zero turn mowers. Click here to read more about Snow Removal Attachments.


Why do zero turn's cost more than traditional tractors?

Zero turn mowers are generally larger all around compared to traditional lawn mowers. They usually have larger cutting decks, stronger frames, larger engines and use more steel than traditional lawn tractors do which tend to use mostly plastic with some steel. Having two hydrostatic transmissions which allow each rear wheel to be independently controlled is a significant cost difference. Traditional lawn tractors have one transmission which is usually a very basic and cheap mechanical design. Don't overlook the higher initial cost because the long term savings is far better. Less mowing time means less gas, less wear and tear on equipment which leads to less maintenance cost. You can save money and look for a used machine. But becareful you don't buy one that is at the end of it's lifespan. Click here to read about what to look for when buying a used zero turn mower.


Do zero turn's only work on large yards?

Zero turn's are not just for professional landscapers or homeowners with large yards. Zero turn's were designed simply to reduce lawn cutting time. With deck cutting size's starting as small as 30" to well over 60" and prices starting at around $2000 almost anyone can use a zero turn.


How do zero turn's do on slopes?

It is not recommended to operate a zero turn mower on slopes over 10 degrees. Most yards do not have slopes this steep. Since zero turn mowers use the rear wheels for steering and traction a loss of traction will significantly reduce your ability to stop. If you are using a zero turn on a slope and your start to slide the ability to turn will be lost since there is no power to the front wheels. While mowing on slopes less than 10 degrees please always keep these recommendations in mind. Do not mow wet grass, avoid starting or stopping on a slope, Mow up and down slopes instead of across them and always keep all movements on slopes slow, gradual and steady. Clck here to read about zero turn slope and Roll Over Protective Structures that are available on many machines now.


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