Zero-Turn or normal riding mower?

pam29011June 18, 2011

I am leaning toward a zero-turn mower, but thought I'd ask here in case anyone has cautionary tales ...

The Yard:
Soon-to-be flat with maybe some gentle rolling grade changes.

6 large trees to mow around plus ...

One deck with stairs plus ...

Bump out in the foundation plus ...

Fence on all sides.

Size = 0.67 acre in total, probably a half acre in the back & the rest is the front yard.

Time = we both work FT, his job is 40-ish and mine is 50-60+/week with a lot of travel overseas. Time is not something we have a lot of.

We've had a riding mower in the past, a John Deere with a 32" cutting deck that went to live with my step-dad a year ago. He's good with engines and it needed some help. We are NOT good with engines. Not at all. So whatever we buy has to be serviced by someone else. We can change oil, filters, and spark plugs. That's the extent of it.

We don't need any attachments for the mower - we aren't splitting wood, the snow blower is a separate piece of equipment, etc. We just need a good mower.

The only downside I can think of with the zero turn is that it has 2 levers, which makes it hard to have a free hand for an iced tea while mowing. I think I can live with that.

Anything else we should be wary of? Are they less reliable or ??

Thanks in advance!

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We have a zero degree mower and it was one of the best purchases we ever made. My teenagers actually fight with us over mowing the lawn because its so fun.

You are absolutely correct about the no iced tea because you always have to use two hands but ours has a cup holder? Doesnt make sense. We have an 11 acre property and we mow about 2 acres of it. it takes me one hour start to finish. So mowing .67 acres you probably wont even get thirsty.

We also live on the side of a mountain, with some pretty steep areas in our yard. The mower is very sketchy on the hills; the weight of the engine is in the back and even though there are counterbalance weights in the front it is very dangerous to mow on hills. There are parts of my yard we cant mow - but it doesnt sound like that will be a problem for you.

If you want fast - the zero degree mower is the fastest you could get with out going to a professional grade mower. We are not very handy when it comes to engines either and other than my getting it stuck all the time because I am trying to mow stuff I probably shouldn't, the only thing we have had to do in terms of maintenance is charge the battery after the winter, and add oil. I clean the deck every once in a while, and we probably should get the blades sharpened soon. We have had ours for about 6 years.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 9:58AM
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Yeah we get the "iced tea" pam. You need a mower that doesn't vibrate too much, we don't want that "tea" frothing over.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 6:36PM
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We have had a ZTR since I got pregnant 29 years ago and my husband had to mow the lawn. I would not have anything else. The first mower is still working but 5 years ago we got a new one with a wider mowing deck. With all the beds and plants in the yard this is the greatest.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 11:04PM
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I'll put my two cents in since I've owned both.

With the conventional riding mower, I almost needed a cooler let alone a cup holder. With the zero turn, I'm not on it long enough to get thirsty. No comparison.


    Bookmark   June 20, 2011 at 11:05PM
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We have a 3 acre yard on our small farmette...and have a Dixon XTR mower. LOVE IT! For years we had borrowed a relative's "other" riding mower(s), and they're just so slow...putzing along...the plus to that one is that you can add the attachments to it, unlike our Dixon. But...the zero-turn is fun to drive, fast, and no, no iced tea. I mow with my ipod, and even the levers got in the way of the cord for the headphones, I learned to keep the cord under my shirt. I've also used it for moving around bags of mulch or dirt, just throw 'em on top of it (where my feet go) and off we go. We also have a small 2 wheel yard wagon that we can hook up to the back of it, and it's got the power to pull that around. I use my lawn mower to clean my chicken coop, just hauling the wagon around. Another plus, my hubby is very knowledgeable on this stuff, so he can work on it himself. In fact, we bought this Dixon, non working, on Craigslist, and he replaced some parts, tuned it up, and we've been using it for years. I do 99.9% of the lawn mowing (hubby knows better than to take that therapy time away from me!), and I don't ever want to mow with anything else! We do not have a flat back yard, it's very hilly, lots of rock walls, curves, etc...but it handles it well. And we have a LOT of "stuff" to mow around....shrubs, trees, rock walls, sandbox, gets right up there. Love it.


    Bookmark   June 21, 2011 at 10:27AM
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