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What is the Difference Between a Riding Mower vs Zero Turn Mower?

Before purchasing your own lawn mower, it is best to know the difference between a riding mower vs zero turn mower. A lawn mower is an essential piece of equipment for maintaining your property. However, different types of mowers serve various purposes.


Riding Mower vs Zero Lawn Mower

Two of these types are the riding lawn mower and the zero turn lawn mower. Each of these lawn mower types has their own distinct features that make them appealing to lawn owners.

What's important to identify now is which of these type types will work best for your mowing needs. With that in mind, let's delve into the differences between a riding mower vs zero turn mower.

What Is A Riding Lawn Mower?

What is a Riding Mower?

A riding mower is quite costly, at least compared to the more affordable lawn push mowers. Still, the price is often justified by its performance.

If your land area is pretty big, you can rely on a riding mower to do the job with ease. This is made possible by its hefty fuel capacity, so you don't have to stop mowing just to refill the tank.

Read more: Best time to buy a riding lawn mower

Likewise, you just have to push a single button to activate it thanks to the electric start feature. Controlling a riding lawn mower is not that hard, especially with adjustable cutting decks.

If any of the parts become severely damaged, you can easily find replacement parts. Many riding lawn mowers are operated with a usual steering wheel that's very simple to manage.

The only real downside of using a steering wheel is that it cannot make quick and precise turns.

Read also: What to Do When the Riding Lawn Mower Won’t Turn Over

For those that are looking for a riding lawn mower that can move around without any difficulty, they should choose one with the dual-level steering.

While this riding mower can be initially confusing to operate, its 360-degree turning radius should be worth the learning curve.

Here's a video showing how a riding mower should be used:

Riding Lawn Mower Attachments

Apart from doing its main job of mowing the lawn, a riding mower can be modified with several attachments. For example, you can customize it with an attachment that collects all of the grass clippings into a sizable bag for easy disposal.

There are even riding mower attachments that help transform the collected leaves into manure through sheer grinding. During the winter season, you can even have a snow plow attachment to clear out heavy snowfall.

If you have a livestock business, trailers can be attached to the mower to provide the feed to your animals. Still, a riding mower isn't exactly a portable machine. In fact, this can be considered a disadvantage.

Even before you buy a riding lawn mower, you need to be sure that it will fit through the gate of your house and that it can be safely stored somewhere and my advice is buying the best riding lawn mower under $2000.

What Is A Zero Turn Mower?

What is a Zero turn mower?

The second type of lawn mower is the zero turn mower, which is designed to do turnarounds as smoothly as possible. Since it does not have any problems in making turns, the zero turn mower can cut a line pattern with ease.

Unlike other mower types that cut in a circular pattern and spend extra time finding uncut lawn edges, this one mows in a straight line to produce fast and clean cuts.

Moreover, a zero turn mower has a cutting deck that is capable of cutting tall grass and mulching the grass clippings without experiencing any clogging.

Some zero turn mowers can even cut the lawn at an impressive speed of 11 miles per hour. This is actually far above the usual mowing speed ranging between four to eight miles per hour.

Read also:

Comparing the Two Mower Types

Here's a video showing the difference between a riding mower vs zero turn mower:

In a riding lawn mower, the engine is placed at the front of the machine. In contrast, a zero turn lawn mower has the engine located at the back of the operator seat.

In terms of maneuvering the mower, a riding lawn mower makes turns at a radius ranging from 15 to 30 degrees while the zero turn mower makes quick and precise turns with a zero degree radius.

As for operating difficulty, the riding lawn mower is usually controlled using a steering wheel. Some models of this type, however, utilize dual-lever steering to make turns faster at the cost of being slightly more difficult to operate.

Similarly, a zero turn mower has steering wheels, although there are variants that have lap bars instead. Lap bars can be hard to get used to, but they often provide a comfortable grip.

Finally, a riding mower can be customized with many attachments. It can be used to plow snow and to have towing options on two sides. As for zero turn lawn mowers, most of them cannot be used for towing.

Read also: How To Choose The Best Snow Blower

Wrapping Up the Difference Between a Riding Mower vs Zero Turn Mower.

Overall, the riding lawn mower offers easy operations with a variety of functions thanks to attachments. The disadvantage, however, is its huge size and how it can take time to make the right turns.

With a zero turn mower, you can mow the lawn in a straight line and make perfect turns at the cost of having no towing function.

We hope that you learned a lot from our guide now know the difference between a riding mower vs zero turn mower. If you have any questions, do give us a comment.


About the Author Ann Katelyn

I'm Ann Katelyn, Creator and Chief Author of Sumo Gardener. Since I was a child I've always been fascinated with plants and gardens, and as an adult this has developed into my most loved hobby. I have dedicated most of my life to gardening and started Sumo Gardener as a way to express my knowledge about gardening with the hope of helping other people's gardens thrive.

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