Zero turn mowers are in demand these days because of their ability to deliver incredible speeds from powerful cutting engines.
The name zero–turn was coined from their ability to rotate on the spot without having to cover an extra distance. They can navigate their way through tight corners, tough terrains and rounded obstacles with ease.
This is one of the reasons why they have become so popular for residential use and landscaping business.
Comparison Table and Runner Up
Ariens Zoom 34 - 19hp Kohler 6000 Series V-Twin 34"
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Ariens 915213 Zero Turn Mower
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Husqvarna Z254 54 in. 26 HP Kohler Hydrostatic Zero-Turn Riding Mower
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Ariens IKON-X 42" Zero Turn Mower
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Husqvarna Z142 42 in. 17 HP Kohler Hydrostatic Zero-Turn Riding Mower
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Top 5: Best Zero Turn Mower under $3,000 – $5000 Review
The amazing ability of zero-turn mowers to make a complete circle on the spot means that there will be no circle of uncut grass left trailing while you cut. Unlike riding mowers, zero-turn mowers help users cut across and around obstacles.
There are hundreds if not thousands of zero turn mower brands in the market, reading through all can be a daunting experience that’s why our team of experts has selected the best zero turn mowers under $3,000 to review. Have a nice read to make an informed purchasing decision.
1 Ariens Zoom 34 – 19hp Kohler 6000 Series V-Twin 34″
- 34" Cutting Width
- 19 HP/660 CC Engine Power
Ariens Zoom 34 makes our top list as the best zero-turn mower under $3,000. This mower offers excellent performance on a strong 6000 series V-Twin engine. It’s compact, comfortable and durable. The designation 34, means it has a deck size of 34 inches that is appropriate for home and light commercial use.
The 19 HP engine means you have all the power requirement of a quality engine to propel the blades for a nice cut. The height can be adjusted from 1.5 to 4.5 inch by a foot operated deck lift. This is a feature most zero-turn mowers fall short. Raise or lower the mowing deck at your will to achieve the desired grass cut.
TOP 3 FEATURES
Ariens zoom 34 boasts of a superb engine powered by Kohler’s 6000 V-twin system for an efficient cut performance.
At this price point the compact nature of Ariens zoom is the best money can buy. Highly recommended.
- Adjustable Height
The mowing height can be adjusted from 1.5-4.5 inch via a foot operated deck lift.
2. Ariens 915213 Zero Turn Mower
- Riding Lawn Mowers and Tractors
- Mowers and Trimmers
Ariens 915213 zero turn mower offers improved performance over regular lawn mowers with superb 19 HP engine performance. Our team of experts rates this mower as the best 42-inch lawn mower money can buy. With a wide 42-inch cutting deck, large acres of land can be cut at record time.
The 19hp powered Kohler engine requires minimum maintenance in terms of replaceable parts and oil change. The gasoline propelled engine is air cooled and integrated with a self-adjustable belt extension technology.
Like the hydro-static transmission peculiar with the Arien zoom discussed above, Ariens 915213 employs a hydro transmission system too.
TOP 3 FEATURES
19 HP engine provides excellent power required for a clean and clear cut.
Wide 42-inch cutting deck means more surface area can be cover in record time
- Adjustable Seat
Three-way adjustable seat adds comfort to an already pleasurable ride.
3. Husqvarna Z254 54 in. 26 HP Kohler Hydrostatic Zero-Turn Riding Mower
- 26 HP Kohler engine provides reliable startups and a max speed of 6.5 MPH
- A patent-pending park brake system automatically activates or deactivates as the steering levers are moved outward or inward
Husqvarna Z254 is a high-quality zero-turn lawn mower that can keep you at the top of your game. If a precision machine that seldom falls short of what is required of a quality zero-turn engine is what you desire, then waste no time in investing in this monster piece.
We highly recommend it as one of our best zero turn mowers under $3,000 because of its high 26 horsepower. Users can finally enjoy a hassle-free mowing experience by efficiently covering large acres of land quickly.
Husqvarna was built to be compact and agile allowing you to trim down lawns without issues.
TOP 3 FEATURES
Has one of the strongest engines on our top 5 list. 29 HP with superior design features
The deck size of 54 inch translates to more cutting coverage area
Patented brake system that automatically activates and reactivates as levers are controlled.
4. Ariens IKON-X 42″ Zero Turn Mower
- This refurbished product is tested and certified to look and work like new. The refurbishing process includes functionality testing, basic cleaning, inspection, and repackaging. The product ships with all relevant accessories, and may arrive in a generic box
Ariens IKON-X 42 represents a powerful zero-turn mower from a reputable company. The IKON-X makes our list because it’s one of the smartest decisions on a zero-turn lawn mower you can make. Built with solid materials we are sure the sturdy nature of this machine will last for years to come.
The ergonomic designs keep the user comfortable at all times with its easy to use control lever and set up. The mowing path of 42 inches is more than what an average gardener requires.
And if you are into professional landscaping business be rest assured that the 42-inch coverage area can get most jobs done in time.
TOP 3 FEATURES
Powerful engines boast of a 22 HP rating from 7000 V-Twin Kohler series
Wide 42 inch cutting deck covers more surface area than traditional mowers.
Ergonomic design features for comfort and easy handling, constructed with armrests.
5. Husqvarna Z142 42 in. 17 HP Kohler Hydrostatic Zero-Turn Riding Mower
- 17 HP Kohler engine provides reliable startups and a max speed of 6.5 MPH
- No-maintenance zero-turn transmission is worry free, allowing the mower to take on a variety of cutting conditions
Finally, the Husqvarna Z142 makes our top 5 z-turn mower list for those who want the efficiency of a high-end product at reduced power.
Although, the engine power of 17 is the lowest on our list, it still manages to get a good job done. We recommend this mower as the right entry residential zero-turn of personal use.
Husqvarna Z142 utilizes Kohler’s branded engine with a maximum startup speed of 6.5 MPH. The hydrostatic transmission requires zero maintenance allowing users to save up on money in the long run.
TOP 3 FEATURES
The engine operates on a 17HP Kohler v-twin system that offers moderate power for residential house use.
Like most of the zero turn mowers discussed, the cutting path features a 42-inch deck for a wider surface area.
- Air Induction
Delivers superior cut by automating air supply from top to bottom.
What is a Zero Turn Mower?
Zero turn mowers are a great improvement to traditional mowers because of their inherent capacity to dissipate much energy and closely trim down tight corners in the lawn. Without having to exert much energy of your own, owners can take care of their lawns in record time.
The name “Zero turn” comes from their ability to turn in almost a zero degree radius. Without having to cover extra grounds these mowers can rotate in a full circle.
You should invest in a zero turn mower if time is of the essence. You will manage to get your lawn done in record time and still do a great job. The technologically advanced buttons make for an excellent operation of the lawnmower.
Read more: How to Drive a Zero Turn Mower?
Buyers Guide for Zero-turn Mowers
Great Zero turn lawn mowers don’t come cheap so when it comes to investing in a piece there are a lot of things you need to take into consideration.
One of the most important things you need to take into consideration is the engine. Without a solid engine whatever you have as the covering is worthless.
You should ask the right questions like how much power is the engine capable of delivering? Shedding $3,000 on single equipment is not easy, so make sure you get an engine power commensurate with the price tag.
Types of Zero Turn Mowers (According to use-case)
Working knowledge of the different types of lawn mowers will ensure you make an informed investment decision on a model that suits your needs. There is no point in purchasing an expensive high grade zero turn mower when all you need is a residential zero turn mower for the few acres in your lawn.
Let’s take a closer look at the various types of lawn mowers in stores:
1. Entry level Residential Zero-turn Mowers: If you have a sizeable garden to mown then an entry-level residential lawn mower is ideal. These are the most affordable for homeowners and the best use-case mowers if you cut garden grass up to once a week. They are the smallest of all zero-turn mowers with delicate but cheaper components.
Entry level zero-turn mowers are not designed for everyday use, so if you run a landscaping business opt for a mower with more power.
2. Mid-Grade Residential Zero-turn Mowers: Slightly larger than entry-level z-turn mowers, mid-grade residential lawn mowers offer more power and efficiency. With a wider deck size than entry level mowers more surface areas can be covered.
Small landscaping business owners can opt for mid-grade z-turn residential lawn mowers. However, they fall short when it comes to serious commercial use.
3. Entry level Commercial Zero Turn Mowers: These mowers fall outside the range of house use and are more fitted for light commercial purposes.
They offer more power, speed and are more durable than residential mowers.
The perfect choice for a landscaping business, built to last almost a lifetime with proper maintenance.
4. Full Commercial Zero Turn Mowers: For serious professionals with large landscaping business running into thousands of dollars in net income. Commercial grade mowers are ideal for large golf course-like terrains where daily use and trough conditions are required.
Unless you run a serious business making thousands of dollars in net income stay away from commercial zero-turn mowers. Some can cost in excess of $15,000.
What to look out for in a Zero-turn Mower
1. Engine HP
Mowing the lawn efficiently requires power. Engine power is the first point of call when you are planning to purchase a lawnmower. The horsepower grade (HP) must be in line with your gardening or lawn cutting needs. The higher the horsepower, the faster and more efficient the cut.
As long as the power backing your machine engine is ample for the work, you will effortlessly power your way with impressive speeds.
A lower Horsepower model should be enough for a regular lawn or garden while a model with plenty of horsepower will fit in for landscaping businesses and large estates.
2. Cut Width/ Mowing Path
Propeller blades are as important as engine power. There is no point having the right horsepower propelling the wrong cutting width. The cutting width of the blades needs to be given deep consideration.
Don’t get things mixed up; large cutting widths don’t always give the best cutting impact on the lawn. Large cutting width will get you around large areas in the lawn but they become problematic when it comes to mowing corners and getting around obstacles.
Gardens or lawns with sensitive plant life like flowers will benefit more from mowers with cutting platforms that aren’t too big.
Look for a mowing path that is big enough to take care of large areas while also been of moderate size to navigate through tight spaces.
There are about seven types of zero-turn lawn mower transmissions. These transmissions are pump/motor, electric, hydrostatic, friction disk, gear, and automatic.
In-depth details of each of these transmissions will be covered in subsequent articles. Gear transmissions were once the most popular but automatic and hydrostatic transmissions have replaced them in popularity.
One thing is for sure, lower level transmissions are ideal for small yard work but they fall short when heavy usage is required for full-time landscaping. Be prepared to pay more for a decent transmission.
4. Fuel Capacity
The fuel capacity, although not a very important factor for residential use, it becomes significantly more important if you intend to use your z-turn mower for professional work covering large acres of land.
Without requiring you to stop and constantly refill your tank, opt for a mower with a reasonably sized tank if you envisage that you will need the machine working for long hours.
5. Deck Size
Next to Engine power in the scale of importance is the deck size. You should pay proper attention to the deck size of the z-turn mower you buy. The deck size covers the surface area of grass that can be cut at any given time. A large deck size means that the mower can cut a wider area of grass than a smaller deck size.
Bear in mind also that a large deck size can hinder the proper cutting of intricate areas in the lawn. So you will be better off with a smaller deck size on a residential plot to cut around beds, flowers and rounded corners.
For homeowners something between 30 and 40 inches is ideal for maximum maneuverability around obstacles and corners.
If you need the mower on large commercial sites, opt for a deck size between 50 and 60 inches.
The demand of the user will determine the kind of speed required. Don’t go about looking for the fastest speed in the market when you only need to cut your yard once in a few weeks. Look for something that is comfortable and of moderate size for your needs.
The game changes when it comes to professional use-case. If you run a landscaping business that employs people, getting the job done in time becomes essential. Large commercial zero turn mowers with top speeds will allow the operator to finish up most jobs in record time.
Price will always be an issue when it comes to zero turn mowers. These machines do not come cheap so it’s better you have a set budget at the back of your mind.
A mindful budget will streamline your choices to those within range. Even entry-level machines can cost as high as $2,500.
Any price tag above $3,500 means you have entered into the territory of commercial grade machines. Question your requirements to ascertain if you need that much size or power.
Most of the zero-turn mowers listed here are for residential houses because they cost below $3,000. For professional landscaping business, your search should start from $3,500 and above.
Ideally, a more expensive model should have more features, power and last longer than lower priced models.
What Features Makes for a Great Zero-Turn Mower
Performance is key. Rugged and top performance comes from a combination of speed, strength and power. Most of the z-turn mowers listed here are sufficiently powerful enough to provide top performance any day at any time. Look at the stats of the lawn mowers listed and you will find that the average mower has a horsepower of approximately 20.
Any horsepower engine below 20 should be thoroughly examined unless they are been purchased for residential use only.
How efficient the engine, is tied to fuel consumption and the speed at which the mower works. Gasoline is the major fuel used to power up zero-turn mowers with electrically propelled mowers still in the making.
Efficiency is something you ought to concern yourself with to get the best out of your investment money.
Savvy investors look for Engine power while others concentrate on design. Generally, the design is perceived as a less important factor when serious mowing work is required. It’s just a mower that cuts grass, so pay less attention to the design. If it cuts grass well, then don’t be too bothered about which mower looks good and which one doesn’t. However, there are times when body design can affect maneuverability, even at that it’s not a significant factor to consider deeply.
Comfort is also a key element to consider deeply. With the end-user in mind big time brands have incorporated newer features like armrest to their overall design features to improve the comfort of the rider. Shock absorption and heavy duty balance springs are all features that make for a bumper free comfortable ride.
If you will sit for long periods of time on your zero-turn mower, then you need to make sure it’s very comfortable to ride on. The magnitude of comfort becomes more evident for owners who run professional landscaping business.
Durability is one of the most underestimated factors that people overlook, probably because it’s one of the most difficult factors to determine. The only way to ascertain the durability of any equipment is to read user reviews of that product.
A great product ordered online can work excellently well for the first six months but as regular usage wears it down you begin to think it wasn’t all that great in the first place.
We highly recommend investors to be on the lookout for long warranty periods as this is the only guarantee you can get from manufacturers that a product will last at least for the given warranty period. And if something happens along the line, you can always take the mower to a certified technician to get it fixed.
We advise customers to undertake due diligence when it comes to choosing the right zero-turn mower for their needs. These machines don’t come cheap, so save yourself the hassles of coping with a bad mower.
We have taken the pains to review some of the best lawn mowers you can get under $3,000 so your research has been cut in half. A lot of hours went into writing this piece.
We consulted with field experts and read thousands of community-based reviews to ensure you make the best choice. Keep this review handy, if need be, share with friends and family. Someone out there needs it.