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

Gravely ZT 2017 Model Zero Turn Review

Introduction

Gravely has been around nearly 100 years as it first started as the Gravely Motor Plow & Cultivator Company in 1922. There first product was the Model D with a single wheel and a 2.5-horsepower water-cooled engine. In 1982 Ariens Company of Brillion, Wisconsin, purchased Gravely. Gravely provides a full line of power lawn implements, including zero-turn mowers, reel mowers, and grass trimmers. Gravely products today continue to be sold exclusively through its dealer network.

Now let's talk about the Gravely ZT, it's a entry level residential zero turn mower selling for around $2,800 depend on the deck size you want. After looking at the zero turn's on our Top Ten Residential Zero Turn's list you'll notice alot of simalarities in the two to three thousand dollar range. So it almost becomes personal preference, or what deal you can find at the time. The one thing that sets Gravely apart from almost all of it's competition is the fact that you can only purchase their equipment through a authorized dealer. This provides better service for Gravely customers. This review may seem redundent at times, but this is only so we're as detailed as possible. So let's countinue on to all the features below.

Click to EnlargeGravely ZT Consumer Ratings
4.1 Stars (4.1 / 5)

Features: 4.2 Stars (4.2 / 5)
Quality: 4.0 Stars (4.0 / 5)
Ease of Use: 4.8 Stars (4.8 / 5)
Value: 4.1 Stars (4.1 / 5)

 

This information was gathered from 127 consumer reviews.

 

Brand: Gravely
Manufactured By: Ariens Company
Model: ZT-34, ZT-42, ZT-50
Item Number: 34”-915210 / 42”-915212 / 50"-915214
MSRP: 34”-$2,599.99 / 42”-$2,699.99 / 50"-$3,199.99

Buying Options

 

Authorized Dealer

 

When you buy the Gravely ZT from an authorized dealer near you. The dealer will likely have the item in stock or it will be shipped the item which they'll assemble and perform a complete inspection on to ensure proper operation. At the time of delivery the Certified Professional will teach you on site how to operate and properly maintain your new zero turn mower. This is a valuable thing for a first time Zero Turn owner. Click here to find a Gravely Dealer near you.

Buy Online and Save

Well there is no way to purchase a Gravely directly online you can sometimes score a deal on Ebay.com. You will have to take it out of the crate and get it ready to mow yourself. It’s not a big job. You’ll need a wrecking bar or heavy claw hammer to take the crate apart and a few hand tools to install the steering wheel, seat, grass deflector and battery. However purchasing online could save you hundreds of dollars.

 

Specifications

 

Cutting Width: 34, 42 & 50 inches
Acres per Hour: 34"-2.1 / 42"-2.50 / 50"-3.00
Top Speed: 6mph & 3mph reverse
Weight: 32-425lbs / 42-440lbs / 52-475lbs
Length: all-64”
Height: 34 & 42-37” / 50-40"
Width: 34-42” / 42-54" / 50-62”
Front Wheel Size: all-11”x4”
Rear Wheel Size: all-18”x6.5-8”
Engine Brand: Kohler V-Twin
Horse Power: 34"-660cc-21hp / 42"-725cc/22hp / 50"-725cc/24hp
Cutting Height Range: all-1.5”-4.5”
Fuel Capacity: 2.0 gallons
Discharge: Side, Mulching or Bagging
Drive System: Duel Hydrostatic Hydro-Gear EZT
Trailer Hitch: Available but not included
Warranty: Limited Consumer 3-year Unlimited Hours / 5-year Deck shell & Frame
Slope Recommendation?: up to 15 degrees

 

If have a uneven terrain with lots of hills and plan to use a zero turn please take the time to read our “OSHA Slope and ROPS safety” article.

 

Gravely ZT In Action
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Gravely ZT Attachments

 

Mulching Kit:

The Ariens Grass Mulching kit helps create tiny grass clippings that return clippings to the lawn to feed it and keep it looking professionally manicured. The kit comes with baffles that install inside the mower deck that create cutting chambers for each blade. Mulching blades and kits on Amazon.

 

Two-Bucket Bagger:

Ariens Ikon-X 2 Bag Bagger SystemThe Ariens Two-Bucket Bagger features a 2-bag capacity to efficiently collect grassing clippings. This bagger is not equipped with pump to improve the bagging speed, so sometime clumping is an issue, especially with wet grass. A larger deck discharge opening enhances bagging capabilities with the XLerator Gravely deck that's featured on the ZT. Please note to use this accessory you will need to purchase a bagger mounting kit sold separately. Ariens/Gravely 815043 2-Bucket Bagger for IKON and ZT Mowers

 

 

Pull-behind Dump Cart:

The Ariens 7cu. ft. dump cart is convertible for quick switching between pulling or pushing. The cart is 33 inch wide, 56 inch Deep and 30 inches in height. The one piece rust resist poly bed has a 350lbs capacity.

 

Poly Roller:

Help keep your lawn smooth or pack down newly seeded lawn. The Ariens 36 inch wide poly roller has a capacity of 400lbs. Polyrthylene construction resists dents and rust. Large opening allows for easy filling and emptying. Ariens/Gravely 715033 36 in. Tow-Behind Water Fill Poly Lawn Roller

 

Plug Aerator:

The Ariens Plug Aerator features 8 galvanized aerator knives for durability and rust resistance. The aerator is designed to create plugs that are 3 inches in depth and remove 3.4 inch soil plugs. Aerating helps enable air, water and nutrients to reach roots to promote a healthy lawn. The aerator is 48 inches wide constructed of steel with a 140lbs capacity.

 

Dethatcher:

Remove excess thatch build up with the Ariens Dethatcher. This will allow water and fertilizer to get into the ground and for air to get to the plant roots. This is the perfect tool for spring time or anytime right before you fertilize.

 

20 Gallon Tow-Behind Spreader:

This 38 in wide spreader has a maximum spread of 12 ft and is great for spreading seed, sand, fertilizer, ice-melt and much more. The Ariens spreader is constructed with poly that resists rust. It has an adjustable flow system and holds up to 175lbs. Ariens/Gravely 715036 20 Gallon Tow-Behind Spreader

 

15 Gallon Tow-Behind Spreader:

Pneumatic tires for easy roller and will never go flat. The boom has a 7 foot wide coverage with 4 spray tips. The 15 gallon capacity tank has a large opening for easy filling along with a drain plug. Agri-Fab 45-0292 Tow Sprayer, 15-Gallon

 

Accessories

 

Hitch:

The Trailer Hitch is required to use most of the Ariens accessories. No worries here because the Ikon-X comes standard with a trailer hitch.

 

FlexTend Shoulder Support:

Gravely arm rest shoulder support attachmentThis unique accessory provides significant comfort improvement for riders. The support simply attaches to the steering bars allowing for gentler grip which reduces muscle fatigue. The ergonomically designed shoulder support promotes better posture releasing the back and neck of additional stress. Stens 051-103 Z-Wings Arm Rest Ariens 70706000

 

LED Headlight Kit:

The Ariens headlight kit comes with 2 headlights and installation instructions. It only takes a few minutes to install, just remember to disconnect the battery first. Headlight Kit, For Ariens/Gravely MFR. NO. 915163

 

Wheel Covers:

Yes Ariens makes Chrome hub cap's for their zero turn mowers. Ariens/Gravely Hub Cap Set(2) Part # 71508900

 

Seat Cover:

Cover's help protect your seat from the sun's UV rays along with other weather related threats. Easily installed with attached elastic cord. Ariens OEM Riding Lawn Mower Seat Cover 71511000

 

Mower Cover:

Cover your Ariens zero turn and protect while not in use or from the elements if it's stored outside. Mower Cover, For 915157-73, 991085-87

 

Rear of Gravely ZT
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PROS

-Deck Lift Foot Assist
-7 Cutting Heights ranging 1.5"-4.5"
-Engine has automatic choke
-3 Year Unlimtied Hours Comsumer Warrenty
-Compact design good for smaller yards
-Low center of gravity better for hilly terrian
-Cutting deck designed with baffles to help with air flow and clipping distribution
-Adjustable lap bars & seat
-17,000 feet per minute blade tip speed cuts efficiently
-Washout port to clean deck of grass build up and debris

 

CONS

-Smaller Gas Tank
-Hour Meter not included, but available as attachment
-No Gas Level Indicator
-Stamped Deck
-EZT Transaxles not good heavy loads
-Engine Muffler pointed downward can sometimes scorch grass while not in motion
-Engine guard not included,but available as attachment

 

Deck

The Gravely ZT features the XLerator Deck technology available exclusively on all Gravely ZT Series Zero Turn Mowers is made with maximum airflow in mind helping to deliver an exceptional cut, backed with a 5 year Consumer Warranty. The deck is 5 inches deep helping to reduce blowout and maximize airflow. The Foot operated deck lift makes it easy to lift the deck on the fly to aviod yard debris such as stumps and has 7 cutting heights, which are adjustable in 1/2" increments from 1 1/2" to 4 1/2". A heavy duty polymer discharge chute provides a safe environment standing up to yard debris while allowing grass clippings to be evenly discharged. Inside the deck are tunneled cutting areas which help with grass lift and discharge.

Deck Lift and Belt Cover
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The ZT comes with 3 deck widths; 34", 42" and 50". The 34" is a 2 blade deck with a blade tip speed of 17,500 feet per minute(FPM). Having 2 blades instead of 1 as many decks do in this width range helps reduce clumping, blowouts and bogging. The 2 smaller blades will spin faster than just 1 big blade will. The 42" and 50" width decks feature 3 cutting blades that have a blade tip speed of 17,000 feet per minute(FPM). The 3 blades improve overlap which reduces striping and random missed spots. This will help compete the mowing job faster while giving your lawn a well manicured look.

Gravely XLerator Deck
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The XLerator deck is made of 12 gauge stamped steel with 3 anti-scalp wheels. These decks are designed with 1" diameter steel spindles that have sealed bearings that are maintenance free. Most other residential zero turn's in this price range has aluminum spindles. This makes the ZT more durable than many of it's peers. This added durability gives you more piece of mind for the “just in case” incidents of running over large objects in the yard. Though stamped steel isn't as strong of fabricated decks, the Gravely XLerator deck's are deeper than other decks in this price range again helping with airflow and clipping discharge. Although the deck is stamped steel; for most homeowners situations these decks will last with proper care. But if you're looking for a fabricated deck, currently the Hustler Raptor 42-inch is the only one available under $3000. If this interests you then check out our review of the Hustler Raptor 42-inch here.

Deck Foot Lift Assist
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The deck is coated in rust resistant coating. Blade engagement is done via an electric Warner PTO and blades are driven by a belt. Pulley's and belts are covered on either side of the deck to keep debris from building up. The foot platform is not removable for access to rest of the deck drive belt pulley system. However the belts are accessable under the seat.

 

What deck size is right for you? Read our “What to consider before buying a zero turn mower” article to help you make that choice.

Deck Washout Port
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Engine

The 34" model ZT comes with the Kohler 6000 series 660cc with 21hp. Both the 42" & 50" models come with a Kohler premium 7000 series V-Twin 725cc engine. The 42” model ZT has 22hp & 40.4ft-lbs tq The 50” model ZT comes with 24hp & 40.5ft-lbs tq. These engines provide consistent power and rpm's to power the decks keeping bogging to a minimum. Really in a residential cutting environment there should almost always be no task hard enough to cause bogging to begin with. But there is also exceptions to the “rule”. The 7000 series is constructed with cast-iron cylinder walls for additional strength and durability. Maintenance points are easily accessible. Kohler currently has a 2 & 3-year consumer warranties on the 6000 & 7000 series engines. Check out more information on Kohler's website.

 

Transmission

 

One of the pitfalls of the zero turns in this price range is they use of duel EZT Hydro-Gear transaxles. We're not saying they are bad; In fact EZT's are the most common transaxles found in residential zero turn mowers under $5000. Remember though this is still a residential unit and is priced well under $5000 so you really can't expect it to have every bell and whistle. Perhaps this was a cheaper way to do it, but thats ok because keeping the cost down isn't a bad thing. Most Homeowners do not need top of the line everything for their respective cutting environment.

 

Hydro-Gear EZT's deliver great maneuverability and provide smooth controls. EZT's are sealed maintenance free drive units. Which means over time when gear fluid is over heated it will gum up and cause part failure. They're not designed for heavy loads and Gravely recommends a max hauling capacity of 300lbs. We usually don't recommend hauling more than 2-250lbs with the EZT. Haul stuff with your own discreation. This means that most any homeowner can pull a yard cart, a sweeper or use any other attachment that Gravely/Ariens has available for the ZT without worry. Learn more about zero turn transaxles here from our "What To Consider Before You Buy" article.

 

Steering

 

The Gravely ZT is equipped with traditional handle bar controls and driving the mower may require a bit of a learning curve for first time zero turn operator's. There are zero turn's equipped with steering wheels and perhaps one of these is a better option for you? Read our “Is a steering wheel controlled zero turn what I Need” article to help you decide. The control handle bars have a built in braking system. While the bars are swung out the parking brakes are engaged. When the bars are then swung back in the brakes are automatically disengaged. Handles are adjustable for many operator sizes and provide tight and smooth control with dampers for smoothier forward and reverse transistion. .

 

Comfort

Gravely zero turn mowers tend to be some of the more comfort residential zero turns. The 34" ZT model has your average low back spring seat. But the 42" and 50" ZT's features a high back extra padded seat. Also the seat is adjustable in several inches front to back, but armrest's are not equipped standard but available as an attachment. The control bars are fully adjustable and have built in vibration isolators for smooth operation and added comfort. This adjustability allows most anyone to fit on the mower and operate it with ease. Contoured rubber foot mat isolate vibration for your feet and legs. This is a bit of a smaller unit when compared to commercial units so there is some added bounciness; But this is common on most residential units.

Adjustable Seat
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Reliability

 

When Gravely built the ZT model they had durability in mind for a entry level residential consumer with some commercial grade inspired design and features. Again one of the pitfalls with lower priced units we believe is the EZT Hydro-Gear transaxles. But really in this price range that is what you'll get. With proper maintenance and respect the Gravely ZT should last a awhile for almost any residential homeowner's cutting environment. Read more about maintenance tips in our “Proper maintenance maximizes your zero turn mowers performance” Article.

 

ZT Informational Video

coming soon

 

What Gravely ZT Owners are saying:

-" FIRST 0 TURN MOWER. AFTER A FEW MINUTES OF CUTTING, I WAS A PRO. MY WIFE TALKED ME INTO IT. I WANTED A TRACTOR, GLAD I LISTENED TO HER. IT IS 2 YEARS OLD NOW, NOT A SPEC OF TROUBLE. IF IT EVER WEARS OUT I WILL GET ANOTHER. "

-" I have two complaints with my Gravely ZT XL 42"
#1# it cut the mowing time in half witch means I don't have as much fun
#2# the cup, drink holder is not deep enough "

-" I don't have a large yard yet cutting the grass is the last thing I want to do on a weekend or after work. This Gravely ZT 42 makes me want a bigger yard it's terrific. First driving it had a lot to be desired yet in no time I had no trouble maneuvering the mower. "

-" I have had my ZT 42 for 3 weeks and cut my 1 acre lawn several times. There are many obstacles, I had always used a push mower since a riding tractor really would not save much time. The ZT 42 has cut time by 65%!
It takes some getting used to, to not gouge the lawn, but you definitely will get to the point where you no longer are damaging the grass…no sudden stopping or transitions from forward to reverse on either control. Mechanical design and serviceability are great. One thing you will notice is that the frame definitely flexes on uneven ground. I assume this is not an issue on the heavier gauge ZT HD model which uses 10 gauge plate instead of 12 "

-" So glad I went with Gravely and purchased from my local dealer Capri Lawn in Naples Fl. I always bought from the box stores. Great to deal with people that have sold lawn equipment for 30 years. For a mower from the lower end of thre Gravely line this thing is solid. Hope to have for many years."

-" I'm loving the mower.
But I've been having trouble getting support from the local dealer; Bucheit's in Herculaneum MO. I tried to get them to order a mulch kit four weeks ago. They have still yet to get it in and have no idea when it will arrive.
Gravely's customer support site has been great. They told me the exact part number to order and I've bought it off the internet. The cup holder needs to be on the other side away from the grass discharge chute. The top of the can was covered with small grass clippings. "

-"I am a Professional commercial mower. I use Gravely on the job and decided to buy a ZT50 for my own lawn. Great cut, mower and product for the price!"

-" My first experience at owning a zero-turn. Had the advantage of barrowing the neighbors Toro Time Saver and seeing the performance of another neighbors monster John Deere. Went shopping at the local equipment store to learn more about Husqvarna. Shop owner listened to my experience and service needs for a mower – Pointed me to the Gravely. Very happy with the decision. Has reduced my mowing time by 70%. The triple blade deck leaves a very nice cut. Solid design and construction. "

-" My new zt34 runs great, but…..
It is too narrow, as a result
Lades don't extend past the wheels
Wont mow close to tree with out rubbing the wheel on the tree.
Wont mow under the shrubs
Wheels have to follow previous wheel tracks
Pay more and get 42 inch
OR get a bigger gate
Other than that, great machine! A real go getter. "

Comparable Residential Zero Turn Mowers

Ariens Zoom 42

Hustler Raptor 42

Husqvarna Z246

Toro TimeCutter SS5000

John Deere Z235

Cub Cadet RZT-L

 

Ebay Buying Options

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