Zero Turn Mowers vs. Riding Lawn Tractors

Zero Turn Mowers vs. Riding Lawn Tractors

There are several differences between zero turn mowers and riding lawn tractors.

Cutting Patterns

Driving a traditional lawn tractor through rows of uncut grass is like maneuvering into a parking space. Turn, reverse, turn again and finally straighten out. Being limited in turning radius there's a lot of forward and backward movement on your lawn, resulting in a nonuniform, messy cut pattern and extra time.

Zero turn mowers make tight turns at any angle and in any direction. At the end of your cutting row, make a 180° degree turn, align your mower deck to the crisp edge left by the path just mowed and drive forward. This smooth motion eliminates need for unnecessary backing and preserves those stylish stripes left behind by single-pass mowing.

Time Savings

Besides the ability to drive faster, zero turn mowers cut grass faster than a lawn tractor because of their zero-radius turning ability. At the end of a row of grass, a zero turn can make a quick 180-degree turn and continue mowing the next row of uncut grass. With a lawn tractor, extra time is spent turning, backing and maneuvering to align the tractor with the next row of grass to cut. And after numerous cutting rows in a lawn, that time adds up fast.

Additionally, zero turn lawn mowers can be equipped with larger decks than can be fitted with a lawn tractor chassis. With a wider cut, homeowners make less passes across big acreage.


While both lawn tractors and zero turn mowers can accommodate attachments, zero turn mowers have more extensive options.  Baggers, trailers, mulch kits and strippers allow you to clear grass clippings or leaves and transport yard waste.  Zero turn mowers can accommodate both rear attachments and front-mounted attachments such as snow blowers or brushes, giving you the ultimate ability to make your yard look like the envy of the neighborhood.

Steering Design

Most lawn tractors are front-wheel steering, while zero turn mowers are rear-wheel. The twin cylinder engines and steering handles allow the zero turn mower to turn on a dime, whereas the lawn tractors typically have a steering radius of 15-30 degrees.


Zero turn lawn mowers are priced higher than lawn tractors because they have greater value. With robust components like thick, fully welded steel tubular frames, options for fully fabricated steel decks (stronger than thin, stamped steel decks on lawn tractors), a zero turn mower lasts longer than a garden tractor. It’s not an expense, it’s an investment.

Enhanced user experience, premium features and superior cut quality technology is why a zero turn mower has such high value. Comfort in plush seats, armrests and ergonomic positioning of the controls is worth it for homeowners who spend hours cutting grass. Features like deck adjustment ability, modern styling, cup holders and storage areas are also big sells to some homeowners. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for.

How to Choose a Zero Turn Mower

It depends on the size of your lawn, the features you want and your budget. If you don't know where to start, use the zero turn selector tool to find the right zero turn mower for your needs.

Find a Zero Turn Mower Near Me