Zero-turn mowers for small acreages | Living the Country Life
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Zero-turn mowers for small acreages

Have a lot of grass to mow? Meet your machine.
  • Zero-turn mowers

    Grass grows fast in the summer. Unless you relish spending the better part of a day mowing acre after acre, consider a zero-turn (ZT) mower. Depending on the terrain and mower, you could slash your grass-cutting time in half. These machines move fast—about 7–9 mph for the middle-of-the-road “pro-sumer” mowers we focus on here—enabling you to cut up to 3 acres per hour with a 52-inch deck. (High-end models can move at a blazing 12 mph with even wider decks.) Controlled by two throttle levers (or lap bars), ZT mowers turn on a dime, so you’ll spend less time negotiating trees and other landscape features, and little or no time trimming with a push mower later. Here’s what to know before buying:

    Date Published: July 22, 2016
    Date Updated: July 25, 2016
  • ZTs v.s. Lawn tractors

    Consider your property and your specific needs to determine which type of mower is right for you. Zero-turn mowers offer advantages that lawn-and- garden tractors do not (and vice versa). Lawn-and- garden tractors are versatile; they cut grass well and accept front-end accessories such as snow blowers and plows. Extra-beefy tractors, known as garden tractors, can power ground-contact attachments such as rototillers and gravel-scraping implements.

    ZT mowers, meanwhile, are specialists; they quickly cut grass, and that’s it. They allow you to mow your yard quickly, but because they’re more complex to build than a standard lawn tractor, zero-turn mowers cost more—a premium of at least $1,000 over a lawn-and- garden tractor of comparable quality and deck size.

    Their design allows you to make one rear drive wheel spin faster than the other, so you can turn on a dime. However, steering and braking can be difficult on hilly terrain. If you have a hilly lot, you may want to check out zero-turn mowers that have steering wheels instead of levers; these models still turn easily but give up some of their nimbleness for greater stability and braking ability on hills. Manufacturers of these models include Cub Cadet, Exmark, Husqvarna, Toro, and Troy-Bilt.

    Date Published: July 22, 2016
    Date Updated: July 25, 2016
  • Consider price

    An entry-level $3,000 ZT mower handles mowing up to 1 acre, but several acres of grass will require a well-built, pro-sumer or professional machine. The biggest and best zero-turn mowers cost upwards of $15,000. As you  move up in price, models offer more powerful engines, higher speeds, larger tires, and wider mowing decks that all affect cutting speed and quality. (It’s generally a good idea to buy a little more machine than you think you might need.) Higher prices also buy stouter, longer-lasting components, such as better pumps and wheel motors, fabricated (welded) decks of heavy-gauge steel, and better-quality engines.
    Date Published: July 22, 2016
    Date Updated: July 25, 2016
  • Think about comfort

    If you’ll regularly spend more than an hour or so on the mower, look for an effective seat suspension system. It can make the difference between feeling every bump and mowing in comfort. To properly judge a machine, ask your local dealer for a test drive.

    HERE’S A LOOK AT A FEW MODELS WELL-SUITED FOR SMALL ACREAGES.

    EXMARK PIONEER E-SERIES (PNE691GKA52200)

    exmark.com

    Price: $5,999
    Maximum speed: 7 mph
    Fuel capacity: 7 gal.

    Cutting width: 52 in. Weight: 810 lb. What we love: Emphasis on selling to professionals puts design and manufacturing priority on comfort, cut quality, and durability.

    Date Published: July 22, 2016
    Date Updated: July 25, 2016
  • Toro

    TORO TITAN 74893

    toro.com

    Price: $6,299
    Maximum speed: 8.5 mph
    Fuel capacity: 5 gal.
    Cutting width: 60 in. Weight: 850 lb. What we love: Wide deck and high speed combine for fast mowing. Designed for smooth, comfortable, and easy operation.

    Date Published: July 22, 2016
    Date Updated: July 25, 2016
  • Kubota

    KUBOTA Z125S

    kubota.com

    Price: $6,332
    Maximum speed: 8 mph
    Fuel capacity: 4.3 gal.
    Cutting width: 54 in. Weight: 771 lb. What we love: Big, wide tires give cushier ride and lessen machine’s impact on turf by spreading weight of machine and operator.

    Date Published: July 22, 2016
    Date Updated: July 25, 2016
  • Grasshopper

    GRASSHOPPER 126V/61

    grasshoppermower.com

    Price: $6,800
    Maximum speed: 8 mph
    Fuel capacity: 6.5 gal.
    Cutting width: 61 in. Weight: 880 lb. What we love: Fully hydraulic pump-and-wheel motor transmission is built to deliver power, smooth response,
    and longevity.

    Date Published: July 22, 2016
    Date Updated: July 25, 2016
  • Land Pride

    LAND PRIDE ZSR54 RAZOR

    landpride.com

    Price: $6,684
    Maximum speed: 7 mph
    Fuel capacity: 12 gal.
    Cutting width: 54 in. Weight: 947 lb. What we love: Large gas tank means fewer stops for refueling. Stout construction makes it the heaviest in our group.

    Date Published: July 22, 2016
    Date Updated: July 25, 2016
  • John Deere

    JOHN DEERE Z535M RESIDENTIAL ZTRAK

    deere.com

    Price: $4,599

    Maximum speed: 8.5 mph
    Fuel capacity: 4.5 gal.
    Cutting width: 54 in. Weight: 631 lb. What we love: Plenty of performance at a modest price. Switches from side discharge to mulching with the flip of a lever.

    Date Published: July 22, 2016
    Date Updated: July 25, 2016
  • More Mowers

    MORE ZERO-TURN MOWER BRANDS TO CONSIDER


    Ariens; ariens.com

    Bad Boy; badboymowers.com

    Bush Hog; bushhog.com

    Country Clipper; countryclipper.com

    Craftsman; craftsman.com

    Cub Cadet; cubcadet.com

    Dixie Chopper; dixiechopper.com

    Husqvarna; husqvarna.com

    Hustler Turf; hustlerturf.com

    MTD; mtdproducts.com

    Simplicity; simplicitymfg.com

    Snapper; snapper.com

    Troy-Bilt; troybilt.com

    Walker Mowers; walkermowers.com

    Woods; woodsequipment.com

    Date Published: July 22, 2016
    Date Updated: July 25, 2016

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