There are so many things to consider when purchasing a big-ticket item like a riding lawn mower. Of course, the price is a major if not the major issue for many consumers. However, those in the know when it comes to buying lawn mowers counsel that basing your purchase on price is a mistake. For example, the cheapest mower can turn out to be the more expensive alternative due to maintenance issues, durability, and expense for repairs.
On the other extreme, there are consumers who latch onto the most expensive mower. They figure that if it is the most expensive of all the alternatives they can buy, then it must be the best.
That’s not always the case. When selecting zero turn riding lawn mowers you need to consider what is best for you and your needs. For example, a lawn mower may have a feature or features that you don’t really need. So why spend the extra money for it or them. Moreover, you need to consider alternatives to the features that a lawn mower may have. For example, zero-turn lawn mowers have decks. How big a deck do you need? Many are powered by a variety of engines that produce all kinds of horsepower. How much horsepower do you need the mower’s engine to have?
Another thing you should consider is the ease of use of zero turn riding lawn mowers. You might not be aware that you will need to take time to actually learn how to drive the mower. Some brands feature steering wheels and others, including Kubota zero-turn mowers include two separated laptop bars. The right bar controls navigation toward the right and the left bar guides the machine toward the left. Pushing both bars forward drives the mower forward and pulling both bars back controls backing up.
So before you even begin research on what zero turn riding lawn mowers to buy, consider what you need.
Once you have a list of features the lawnmower must have to satisfy your needs, there are a plethora of considerations you must deal with concerning what zero-turn riding lawn mowers to buy. They include:
· Type of Zero Turn
· Ease of Use
· Selecting A Mower With The Proper Deck
Types Of Zero Turn Mowers
You may not be aware that there are at least four categories of zero-turn riding mowers to choose from. They include:
· Residential/Entry-Level Zero Turn. This category of zero-turn riding mowers has a price range of from $2000 to $4000. They are ideal for flat lawns with no ditches, slopes or uneven or rocky terrain that is about 1-acre to 2-acres in size. Some attachments including bagging or light duty yard cart may be available, but there are not many and what is lighter duty due to the nature of transmissions included in entry-level products.
· Heavy Duty Residential Light Commercial Zero Turn. These zero turn riding lawn mowers have a price range of from $4000 to $6000. They are ideal for flat to hilly lawns with slopes of up to 10° to 15°. The mowers generally have a speed of about 5-mph to 8-mph, which is 50 percent faster than a lawn tractor. They have a deck size in the range of 42-inches to 60-inches and can deal with a lawn that is about 2-acres to 6-acres. They feature bigger tires for a smoother rid, bigger front casters for better maneuverability, welded fabricated deck and a 22-horsepower to 27-horsepower engine. It is said that this type of mower fits into the perimeters most buyers favor.
· Commercial Zero Turn. These zero turn riding lawn mowers are available for $6000 to $16,000 and are ideal for professional landscapers. They do well in most conditions and travel from about 8-mph to 13-mph. They are ideal for lawns that are more than 6-acres in size and include heavy-duty, fabricated decks that are 60-inches to more than 100-inches in size. They are very durable, comfortable and the engine generates about 27-horsepower to 38-horsepower.
· Stand On Zero Turn. These zero turn riding lawn mowers have a price range of $6,000 to $10,000 and are considered to be the most productive lawn mowers available and are favored by professional landscapers. They work at speeds of 8-mph to 13-mph and are powered by engines that produce from 21-horsepower to 35-horsepower. They maneuver very well and can deal with steep slopes.
There are three types of transmissions used on zero turn riding lawn mowers. They include:
· Hydrostatic Hydro-Gear EZT 2200. Considered to be the most popular among residential users, this transmission features an integrated transaxle that links directly to each drive wheel and includes a 10cc variable displacement seven piston axial pump and a 10cc fixed displacement five piston motor. It is designed for the lighter weight, entry-level zero turn machines.
· Hydrostatic Hydro-Gear ZT-2800. This transmission is designed to do well in most residential conditions and is ideal for uneven terrain, slopes or toting attachments more than 150-lbs. It features an integrated transaxle with 10cc variable displacement seven-piston pump and a 16cc fixed displacement seven-piston motor.
· Hydrostatic Hydro-Gear ZT-3100. This transmission features the same specs as the ZT-2800 transmission, but many of its parts are heavier duty so it can perform in a more commercial environment.
Selecting The Proper Deck
Things to consider when selecting the deck include:
· Will it fit through gates, around trees, and between flower beds?
· How many acres will the mower cut?
· How are the deck and spindles made?
· Are there a lot of obstacles to mow around?
There are two types of decks –- fabricated and stamped. The fabricated deck is more durable than the stamped deck and will deal better with a lawn that has a lot of obstacles. However, stamped decks are said to cut better overall.
The size of the deck you select depends on the cutting speed and the number of acres covered in an hour. So if your machine features a 60-inch deck and has a cutting speed of 6-mph, then it will cut 3 acres per hour.
Here is a chart that will help you determine the number of acres you cut per hour based on the cutting speed and deck size of the mower.