Zero Turn Vs. Riding Mower: Which One Should You Buy?

We use affiliate links in this article. And, as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Thanks for your support.

If you have a lawn larger than 1/2 acres, you’ve probably already decided on your next lawnmower.

The next decision you must make is whether to get a zero-turn mower or a traditional riding mower.

Both zero turn and traditional riding mowers have advantages and disadvantages. Some of them are deal-breakers or deal-makers, which can help you make a more informed decision.

This article will help you in making your decision by laying all the facts about both the mowers.

Let us start by understanding both these lawnmowers one by one.

 zero-turn vs riding mower

Overview of Zero Turn Mower

The term “zero-turn mower” means that it has no ability to turn. In actuality, it relates to the turning radius more than anything else.

Working of Zero Turn Mower

Instead of the typical foot pedal or hand lever, these machines utilize dual-hydrostatic gearboxes.

And instead of using a steering wheel like in a car, the dual-hydrostatic transmission allows you to control the mower with two levers or a dual bar.

Each of them is in charge of one of the back wheels. This configuration lets you control them independently, allowing you to make tight bends.

Suitable Terrain

On flat ground, the zero-turn mower performs best. It has the ability to grab the surface and move around easily. 

The turning radius is ideal for landscaping that contains many curves. This type of lawn mower can save you a lot of time by eliminating the need for reversing and maneuvering.


Another benefit of a zero-turn mower is its quickness. Depending on the model, the speed can reach 10 mph or higher. This will save you time and allow you to complete the task more quickly.

Commercial zero-turn lawn mowers would be a great choice when considering the speed. These best commercial zero-turn mowers have no competition when it comes to power, accuracy, and convenience.


Because of its design, you can expect to pay extra for a zero-turn mower. Even the most basic model can set you more than $1,000. 

Do you have a high budget and want to invest in some good Zero-turn lawn mowers? Yes, you can! There are many good zero-turn mowers available for less than $5000.

Several thousand dollars can be spent on a high-end product if bought with other functionalities.

These were some of the factors one considers before buying a mower, now let us see about a riding mower.

Overview of Riding Mower

When compared to the initial push lawnmower, today’s riding mower appears to be a luxurious machine.

The current models are essentially scaled-down copies of agricultural tractors. Their most major benefit is that they make cutting the grass in vast yards easier.

Working of Riding Mower

A riding mower is simply a smaller vehicle with a manual transmission and a small engine.

The majority of vehicles have a steering wheel. Some even feature accelerators and brake pedals, making it simple to operate if you’ve driven before.

Suitable Terrain

A riding mower has the ability to drive up hills and over rough terrain with ease. Because you have superior control and grip with a steering wheel rather than two levers or a dual-bar, it’s simpler to use than a zero-turn model.


A riding mower can’t match the speed of a zero-turn mower. Its top speed is roughly 7 miles per hour. Unless you have a vast lawn and want to get the mowing done as soon as possible, it isn’t usually a decisive factor.


With even its advanced technology, an entry-level riding mower will cost a little less than a zero-turn mower. Even the most expensive models are still less expensive than a comparable zero-turn.

If you can use the same mower all year, it makes sense to invest. Renting a new device will not save you any money.

 zero-turn or riding mower

Comparing Zero Turn and Riding Mower

The fundamentals of purchasing a zero-turn or riding mower are the same. Engine size, the number of blades, and convenience are all practical considerations.

However, there are a few things to consider before purchasing any riding mower that influences the usability of one type over another. 

Such as:

The bigger the lawn, the bigger the cutting deck needs to be. Because of the bigger size, you can mow the entire lawn in fewer passes with the riding mower.

Deck Size

A conventional riding mower can accommodate ones up to 54″, whereas a zero-turn mower can reach up to 60″.


Regardless of which mower you choose, safety is crucial. Each year, about 90,000 individuals are wounded by lawnmowers.

Because of the higher learning curve to operate a zero-turn mower, it is recommended that only adults use one.

While a typical riding mower can manage hills, any with a 15-degree or greater gradient should be avoided. There’s a reason why riders have more accidents than push mowers.


The upkeep is nearly comparable if both mowers are gas-powered. Every winter, you’ll have to stabilize the fuel. Changes to the oil are still on the table. The blades will also require sharpening.

Which Mower is Right for You?

The final decision on which model to choose is based on your landscape and terrain. The zero-turn mower is the best option if your lawn is level and has a lot of obstacles. In the long run, it will save both time and money. 

If your yard is open, though, go with a regular rider.

You can still take advantage of its other features, such as functionality.

Benefits of zero-turn lawn mower

  • Flat terrain
  • Lawns with lots of landscaping
  • Speed

Benefits of riding lawn mower


With regular maintenance, both zero-turn and standard riding mowers provide an ideal option for homeowners to maintain their bigger lawns healthy and looking their best. 

It’s also simple to operate these machines, so purchasing one is a smart thing to do. 

The most important thing to remember is to think about your landscaping and future improvements. In either case, you’ll have a mower that will make your task simple.

About Tom Reynolds

My name is Tom Reynolds, and I like lawn mowing. When I was a kid, I used to help my dad in cutting grass using a reel mower, now, I have my own 6 different lawn mowers. Keeping my lawn healthy and beautiful gives me satisfaction, and I still enjoy working in my lawn.