What's the best type of Zero-Turn Mower?

man riding on bobcat mower

Zero-turn mowers are the way of the future and a good fit for lifestyle properties with a lot of mowing needed. Driven using two levers that control the back wheels individually, you push both levers forward to go straight ahead, pull them back to slow and reverse, and move one more than the other to make that wheel spin faster and turn the mower in a tight arc.

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

So how does that make then good for lifestyle blocks and which is the best one?

How zero-turn makes mowing better:

  • Speed: zero-turn mowers can go at speeds of up to 13km/h (or faster on professional models), as opposed to about 5km/h on a traditional ride-on.
  • Manoeuvrability: controlling the individual rear wheels allows very precise control to make tight turns and navigate obstacles with ease.
  • Efficiency: it’s ability to execute tight turns combined with that great speed means you get more area mown in a much shorter time. On large areas like lifestyle properties this is a game changer.
  • Visibility: with a rear mounted engine you can see the cutting deck, allowing you to safely mow right up close to things.

They do have some minor limitations though. The lever operation, although not difficult, can take a little getting used to. And they work best on and are designed for flat terrain. That being said, there are models coming out now that have improved slope performance.

Who makes the best zero-turn mowers?

We have compared three major zero-turn mower brands and provided a comparison based on durability, cut quality, ease of ownership and comfort.



  • Over 40 years experience designing, engineering and building commercial grade mowers.
  • Pride themselves on their Duradeck™ cutting system: double layer 10 gauge deck top, 7 gauge hardened steel skirts, sophisticated flow through baffles, 3 gauge reinforcements, and front and back solid metal belt covers plus a tough rubber side-chute.
  • BOB-CAT offers the best warranties of any zero turn brand, with most models having either a 5 or 6 Year warranty. Many of the professional BOB-CAT models include a lifetime warranty on the deck, deck cradle and engine deck!

Cut Quality

  • Patented double wave baffles provide maximum airflow and vacuum lift for an impeccably uniform cut.
  • Over 40 years of innovations has gone into engineering the best design.
  • Blades run at over 18,000 FPM (feet per minute)
  • Extra-wide rubber chute disperses clippings over a wider area to eliminate clumping.
  • An adjustable deck lip makes BOB-CAT decks perform better than other machines in New Zealand, where cut heights are very low, and grass is often damp and lush.

Ease of ownership

  • BOB-CAT design their mowers to have convenient access to internal components so you can do low level servicing yourself.
  • Many models share common parts so that repairs and replacements are easy and quick to sort.
  • Industry leading warranties.

Comfort and operation

  • BOB-CAT have a reputation for making operator comfort a priority. Special materials in the mower’s seats and around the engine minimise vibrations so you can operate it comfortably for long stretches of time. Same goes with the adjustable control bars, change the position or height to suit you.



  • Many Hustler decks feature a heavy, reinforced front edge, which carries a lifetime warranty on the leading edge of the deck. Many of the frames, engineered to provide strength and support in each class of mower, also come with the lifetime warranty. At just 3 years for other warranties, this is lower than what BOB-CAT offers on models of similar capabilities.

Cut Quality

  • Hustler claim to have invented the zero-turn mower in 1964, so they know what they’re doing; over 50 years of experience making mowers must count for something.

Ease of ownership

  • Designed with practicality in mind, Hustlers’ simple designs, with fewer parts, means fewer problems and easier service.
  • Exposed access points are also intended to make servicing easier.
  • Hustler offers generous hourly and yearly warranties, plus lifetime warranties on the leading edge of the deck and frame.

Comfort and operation

  • Patented park brake system is simple and convenient.
  • Lower center of gravity means tighter handling and stability and greater ease in getting on and off the mower.
  • Smoothtrak™ steering makes driving easy and comfortable and as that’s one of the major draw cards of the zero turn, it’s worth considering with some seriousness.



  • Walker has custom designed and developed a sealed, gear drive axle for industrial strength and unquestioned reliability, and is backed by a three year warranty.

Cut Quality

  • Getting into and out of tight places is easier and more accurate thanks to the compact overall size and out-front deck position of Walker mowers, making extra trimming unnecessary.
  • Lightweight machines means less damage to grass, no rutting etc.
  • Walker owners report their jobs are completed 33 to 50% faster

Ease of ownership

  • Clean, simple axle design eliminates the maintenance of chain drives, the bulkiness of transaxles and the complexity of hydraulic wheel motors found on other dual hydrostatic mowers.
  • Quick easy ‘tilt-up’ access to working parts makes servicingm blade maintenance and deck cleaning quicker and easier.

Comfort and operation

  • Mower deck "floats" and follows ground contours with flexible deck suspension and spring counter-weighting.
  • Low centre of gravity assures balanced and safe operation, even on slopes.
  • A low profile, front-mount deck allows trimming underneath low hanging trees, split rail fence and other landscape features.
  • Patented combination of forward speed control and steering levers mean only gentle fingertip pressure is needed. No other mower operates this easily.
  • Steering wheels, gear shifts and foot pedals are all eliminated, for nearly effortless handling.
  • Enhanced operator comfort, with large contour moulded seat, "natural" control placement and full view of the mowing area.
  • The operator has a complete view of the mower deck to enable a better cut by getting up close to around obstacles tighter.

Get the right mower

Having the right mower can make a world of difference. For example, did you know a good zero-turn mower practically cuts your mow time in half by going at speeds of up to 13km/h! Download our free guide on how to choose the right mower and learn more about what you need for your property. 

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