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Zero-Turn vs a Lawn Tractor: Which Should You Buy?

Zero-Turn vs a Lawn Tractor: Which Should You Buy?

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It’s so crucial to take care of your lawn to the best of your ability. If you want to mow it well, you’re going to need to have a good lawn mower that you can rely on.

There are many different types on the market, but those people with large lawns often buy zero-turn lawn mowers or tractors. Both of these can be great for different reasons, but which one is the best buy overall?

Read on to learn about the pros and cons of each of these options, so you make the right choice with your big purchase.

You Should Use These on Lawns That Are More Than One-Half Acre Large

Acres Of Lawn

It wouldn’t make a lot of sense to buy a zero-turn lawn mower or a lawn tractor if your lawn is less than one-half acre large. Smaller lawns won’t take all that long to mow with a standard push mower, and you don’t want to spend money unnecessarily.

These lawn mowers are very convenient and feel great to use once you’re used to them, but you must be sure that it’s a practical choice in your situation. It would feel bad to spend money on such a big item when you truly don’t need it.

If you do have a large lawn, using a lawn tractor or a zero-turn lawn mower will save you so much time. It can take hours to mow lawns that are several acres large, and not everyone has the time or energy to mow lawns like that by hand.

Both zero-turn lawn mowers and lawn tractors are designed to make things more convenient for you. They have different features that make them better suited for different types of lawns, though.

Does Your Lawn Have Many Curves?

Curvy Lawn

Not every yard is going to be perfectly straight, and this means that certain types of mowers will have a hard time with curves. If your lawn has many curves, you might be better off purchasing a zero-turn mower.

Zero-turns are perfect for cutting lawns that have curves because of the way that they’re designed. It’s easier to cut grass while making tight turns when you have a mower like this.

Aside from having lawns with curves, you might also have to deal with turns when you have many garden areas on your property. You might need to mow the grass around trees, bushes, flower beds, and so many other types of landscaping features.

You can cut grass very efficiently even when there are obstacles in your way so long as you have a zero-turn. If you’ve been waiting to find a mower that can tackle your lawn as quickly as possible, buying a one might be the ideal choice for you.

It’s impressive how fast some people can mow lawns and turn around objects on zero-turn lawn mowers. Granted, it takes time to familiarize yourself with the controls, but you can mow lawns quite efficiently once you have the experience.

This is why you’ll see many professional landscaping companies using these types of lawn mowers. They’re superb for getting things done well while maneuvering around flower beds and other obstacles.

Tractors Are Better for Hills and Slopes

Hilly Landscape

Does your lawn have many hills and slopes? If so, you’re going to have a better time trying to mow your lawn with a tractor.

Lawn tractors have the power to get up hills and slopes without it being an issue, and you can keep things going smoothly throughout the mowing process. A zero-turn mower is going to struggle with this.

The problem with zero-turns on slopes is that they’ll lose traction. You might lose control when you encounter uneven ground, and this can make going uphill very agonizing.

Even though lawn tractors are better-suited for dealing with slopes, both can tip over if the slopes are extreme. Something over 15 degrees will be dangerous, and you should use a standard push mower on extreme slopes for your safety.

You should always have a push mower as a backup when you have a slope in your yard that is too steep. As long as the slopes in your yard are modest, a lawn tractor will deal with them just fine.

It is best to inch your way up a slope rather than trying to go too fast, though. This ensures that you’ll do things safely without encountering any issues.

It’s Easier to Cut a Lawn Fast with a Zero-Turn Lawn Mower

Zero Turn Mower

It’s also a lot easier to cut a lawn fast when using a zero-turn lawn mower. If you’re the type of person who wants to be able to pound out the mowing in as little time as possible, using a zero-turn mower is a good choice.

These lawn mowers are speedier than you might realize, and you can zip through mowing lawns that are over half an acre in size. This can cut down on the amount of time that you have to spend outdoors during the hottest days of the summer.

The only issue with this is that you’ll be getting a cleaner cut with a zero-turn lawn mower if you take it slow. This means that if you care about cutting your lawn in the best way possible, it’s ideal to take things down a notch and slow down.

Overall, you’re still going to be able to make short work of mowing the lawn with a zero-turn lawn mower. However, it might not be much faster than using a lawn tractor if you take it slow and do the job as well as you possibly can.

You can still improve your speed using a zero-turns in certain ways. For example, traveling to different sections of the yard will be significantly faster while using one.

You can reach impressive top speeds, and it’ll make mowing a very large lawn much simpler.

You Should Choose Your Deck Size Carefully

Lawn Mower Deck Close Up

When choosing a lawn tractor or zero-turn lawn mower, it’s important to take the time to get one that makes the most sense for your situation. Some lawn tractors and zero-turn lawn mowers will make more sense for you than others based on overall deck size.

If you buy a deck with a wider deck, you should be able to make fewer passes to finish mowing the lawn. Zero-turn lawn mower decks will generally be between 42 and 60 inches while lawn tractors have decks between 42 and 54 inches wide.

Buying the widest lawn mower possible isn’t necessarily always the best call. You need to consider the size of your yard as well as narrow spots in the yard that you’ll need to navigate while mowing.

It might even be wise to go outside and measure certain narrow sections to ensure that you can get things right. It’d be better to be able to make an informed decision when deciding on which mower to get than to buy a mower that has a deck that’s too wide.

You shouldn’t have a very tough time deciding which deck size will be right for you. After doing a bit of research, you’ll find a good option and you’ll be able to mow your lawn very well moving forward.

Zero-Turn Lawn Mowers Are Trickier to Use

One thing that might intimidate you is learning how to control a zero-turn mower. These mowers are a bit more complex than lawn tractors because of the way that you control them.

Using one involves using control levers to control how fast you’re going. These machines utilize a dual-hydrostatic transmission, and you might have a tough time getting it to operate smoothly at first.

Many people have lots of sudden stops and other issues while learning to use the levers properly. It’s not unlike learning how to drive a manual transmission car when you’re used to driving an automatic.

These lawn mowers aren’t controlled using a clutch, but it’s something that requires thought and you have to learn how to use the lawn mower to its full potential. Those people who don’t wish to take the time to learn how to use a new type of mower will likely gravitate toward tractors instead.

Using a Tractor Feels Like Second Nature for Most People

Riding Lawn Mower

If using a zero-turn lawn mower is tricky for some, using a tractor feels like second nature for most people. Tractors are designed to be controlled using a gas pedal and a steering wheel.

Those who have driven a car before will feel right at home using a lawn tractor to mow the lawn. It’s very intuitive and you’re always going to feel like you’re in full control.

These lawn tractors can’t go as fast as most zero-turn lawn mowers, but it’ll likely be easier to focus on cutting the grass very well. They can mow lawns efficiently and using them feels very comfortable.

You won’t have to worry about adjusting and learning how to use a lawn tractor. If you want to buy something that you can use to its full potential without any problems, a lawn tractor might be for you.

Zero-Turn Lawn Mowers Will Likely Be More Expensive

Both zero-turn lawn mowers and lawn tractors will cost a pretty penny. You’re going to have to invest some serious cash to get a one in either option, but zero-turns are pricier.

You can get an average lawn tractor for $1,200, but there are plenty more expensive models out there to consider, too. Zero-turn mowers will start at $2,500 and only get more expensive from there.

Those who are very budget-conscious will likely want to stick with lawn tractors. There might be some merit to buying a zero-turn if you truly love its advantages, but it might come down to your budget at the end of the day.

This doesn’t mean that a zero-turn lawn mower isn’t worth the money. Some people love them and find them to be the ideal way to mow large lawns, but it’s hard to deny that it’s more cost-effective to buy a lawn tractor.

Which Options Should You Choose?

Which options you should go for really depends on your lawn and what you’re comfortable with. If you need to be able to use a lawn mower that is very maneuverable due to having many landscaping features in your yard, then going with a zero-turn mower makes a lot of sense.

Those who have lawns with many hills and slopes might have an easier time using a lawn tractor. It isn’t going to have to go through issues with going off-balance so much, but you’ll still need to be careful on slopes.

Lawn tractors are a lot easier to use for average people, and you won’t have to go through a learning process to get the most out of them. Zero-turn mowers can be controlled expertly once you know what you’re doing, but you can’t deny that a learning curve exists.

Some people will enjoy how fast zero-turns are, but you need to take it slow to cut the lawn well. Top speeds are usually meant for traveling across the lawn to new locations rather than cutting grass.

Zero-turn mowers will cost you more money overall, but buying a lawn tractor will also be a significant investment. You can easily spend thousands of dollars on either option when buying top-tier models.

Essentially, there are pros and cons for each choice that you need to weigh against your needs. A zero-turn mower might not make sense for you, but it could be the ideal choice for your neighbor.

Take the time to understand what each of these options brings to the table so that you can come to a decision. You’ll be able to mow your lawn with ease moving forward, and you’ll feel like you spent your money wisely.


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