Stand-on vs ride-on or zero turn mowers 2024

Stand on mower

As Kiwi mowing contractors well know, mowers come in all shapes and sizes, with various bells, whistles, motors, catch bags and functions, so it can be hard knowing which will be the best for your specific needs, your business model, and your target market.

For mowing contractors, it often comes down to choosing between a sit-on and stand-on model, so it’s important to understand the pros and cons of each model.

Which mower is right for your property? Find out everything you need to know before you start. Get your free guide now.

Sit-on mowers, also commonly called Zero Turn Radius mowers, or simply zero turn or ZTRs, have been a crowd favourite for a while now, known for their speed, productivity and manoeuvrability, as well as their large selection of options for engines and decks, large fuel capacity and ability to bag, mulch or side discharge clippings.

In recent years, stand on mowers are earning reputations as adding productivity, comfort, manoeuvrability and visibility, as well as greatly increased stability and performance on slopes. Because they are usually smaller, stand-on mowers are able to go more places than sit-on or zero turns, and increase the accuracy of trimming, too.

So which is best for you?

Landscaped lawns

Stand-on mowers are ideal for more landscaped areas, which are common in New Zealand - as they can manoeuvre into tighter spots, without the operator having to push the mower. Ideal for properties and locations that have narrow gates, lots of planter beds and trees. Perfect for those difficult to reach square corners, and for getting under low hanging tree branches and shrubs.

Hilly terrain

Surprisingly, stand-on mowers are also great for hillside and sloped terrain. A much lower centre of gravity, more squat profile, and the ability to walk behind the mower make this ideal for slopes. Because the operator is higher than they would be sitting down, visibility is increased for both the landscaping required and obstacles. Some options, like Bobcat, even include a weight kit option to add weight to the front and assist with climbing stability.


It is also said stand-on mowers increase productivity, because the operator is more alert and concentrated than one who may get a bit *too* relaxed sitting in that comfy driver’s seat.

While the benefits of stand-on mowers are mostly lauded for the above, don’t be fooled: They, too have the power and ability to mow large, open spaces fast. Some mowers like our Scag V-Ride can drive at speeds up to 5km/h faster than their competitors – meaning less downtime!

However, if your property, or your customer's properties don't have hilly terrain or much landscaping, sit down mowers could be recommended.


Sit-on mowers are also recognised as having more powerful engines - making them faster with larger fuel capacity.


Of course as their name suggests, the option of sitting is appealing to some users - and are regarded as easier to use. However, industry operators agree that stand-ons are more comfortable because your legs absorb the shock instead of your back. This is due to a much more natural rider position and significantly reduced fatigue.


Stand on mowers are popular with a range of accessories. Some include the Qwikchute which enables instant shutoff of the discharge, or the Catch Pro side catcher which is perfect for collecting clippings as required. Mulching kits are also very popular, enabling shredding of clippings for a cleaner, tidier finish. Sometimes, we even fit all three! Check out the Scag V-Ride below, with Catch Pro, Qwikchute and mulching blades fitted - this was for an NZ mowing contractor based in Wanaka, who wanted versatility between catching, non catching or mulching his clients' lawns:

Scag V-ride fitted with a mulch kit, catcher kit and Qwikchute

Size & Transport

Standard zero turn mowers are also physically larger which means they are harder to transport and store. Stand on mowers, with their engine over the deck, take up substantially less room - we can even get 4x Scag V-rides onto one trailer!


Stand-on mowers are easier to get on and off quickly to remove any debris.

The verdict?

As you can see, finding the right mower really does depend on your individual needs. If you are often mowing hilly or highly landscaped terrain, the stand-on mower would be an excellent an option for you to consider.

If you have a wide open spaces to mow, a sit-on ZTR could be more up your alley. 

However, it is also important to consider the amount of time you will spend on either model, and if your physical conditioning is up to standing or sitting, taking into consideration receiving ground shock through your legs or back.

Not to mention the storage and transport of your mower, with sit-ons being larger, heavier and requiring a larger trailer and storage space.

We hope this guide acts as a starting point for your mower needs, but please please don't hesitate to get in touch with any further questions!

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