5 Best Zero Turn Mower Under $3,000 – Expert Reviews for 2019

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.

Our top pick is the Ariens Zoom 34 zero turn mower that offers an incredible 19 horsepower engine from Kohler’s 6000 V-twin series. If you dread the tedious work of keeping your lawn in good shape, make an investment on our top choice because it guarantees that your mowing time will be cut in half.

Best Product - Our Top 3 Picks

Ariens 915213

TOP RATED

Best Zero Turn Mower Under $3000

PRICE: $$

Ariens Zoom 34

EDITOR'S CHOICE

Ariens Zoom 34 zero turn lawn mower

PRICE: $$

Rated #1 by Our Experts

Husqvarna Z254

PREMIUM CHOICE

zero turn mower under 3000

PRICE: $$

Top 5: Best Zero Turn Mower under $3,000 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"

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.

QUICK SUMMARY

  • Excellent 6000 series 19 Hp Engine
  • Adjustable deck Height reaching 4.5 inches
  • Compact design which can fit through a standard gate
  • Hydrostatic transmission integrated with EZT transaxles
  • Check Badge
    Rear wheel drive
Ariens Zoom 34 zero turn lawn mower

It is easy to maneuver around obstacles, tight corners and flower beds to help you maintain your lawn or garden in record time.

We highly recommend Ariens Zoom 34 lawn mower as one of the best machines available. At this price point the compact design of Ariens zoom 34 overpowers and overshadows all other competitors. You will be pleased with the functionality of this machine if you have a large yard to mow. The speed and efficiency are way above average.

TOP 3 FEATURES

  • Engine
  • Size
  • Adjustable Height

The mowing height can be adjusted from 1.5-4.5 inch via a foot operated deck lift.

WHAT WE LIKED

  • Best Zero-turn mower for the price
  • Improved performance and compact in nature
  • Exceptional engine performance from Kohler’s 6000 series
  • Adjustable Heights
  • High-quality hydrostatic transmission system

WHAT WE DIDN'T LIKE

  • Not self-propelled

2. Ariens 915213 Zero Turn Mower

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 hydrostatic transmission peculiar with the Arien zoom discussed above, Ariens 915213 employs a hydro transmission system too.

QUICK SUMMARY

  • 19 Horsepower engine provide by Kohler
  • Check Badge
    Impressive 42-inch cutting deck
  • Maximum maneuverability and driving comfort
  • Impressive low center of gravity for balance and stamina
  • Check Badge
    Hydro transmission system
  • Check Badge
    Adjustable driving seats in three directions
Ariens 915213 Zero Turn Mower

The cutting deck which is 42 inches wide is made of 12-gauge steel that offers extra strength and durability. The mowing deck can also be raised from 1.5-4.5 inches with 0.25 incremental steps.

One major take point is that this mower is quite low, meaning it has a very low center of gravity. On our top 5 list, this has to be the most stable zero-turn lawn mower below $3,000 in stores today. 

With a very comfortable seat adjustment in adjustable three directions, users are assured of a bumper free ride. Additionally, the control levers are laced with dampers to absorb anticipated vibrations from rough terrains.

TOP 3 FEATURES

  • engine
  • Size
  • Adjustable Seat

19 HP engine provides excellent power required for a clean and clear cut.

WHAT WE LIKED

  • Innovative belt extension technology
  • Adjustable armrest in three directions(top feature)
  • Vibration proof resistant coating on control levers
  • Reduced vibrations rough terrains
  • Wide deck dimensions

WHAT WE DIDN'T LIKE

  • Back tires are not fully covered/protected
  • No engine wrap

3. Husqvarna Z254 54 in. 26 HP Kohler Hydrostatic Zero-Turn Riding Mower

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.

QUICK SUMMARY

  • Robust Engine Horsepower(29 HP)
  • Check Badge
    Improved quality design features for absolute traction and support.
  • Patented air induction technology
  • 54-inch wide steel deck covers more surface area in record time
Husqvarna Z254 Zero-Turn Riding Mower

The impressive engine horsepower will help you finish up your lawn maintenance in no time. For an efficient cut, Husqvarna Z254 employs a patented air induction mowing technology that draws in air from top to bottom of the deck to deliver a superior cut.

The Kohler’s massive 26 HP engine reaches a maximum speed of 6.5 MPH on startup. Effectively getting it up and running in no time. For durability the reinforced steel stamped cutting deck is made from heavy flat-stock steel which improves durability and longevity.

In all honesty, Husqvarna Z254 has one of the best designs we have seen in recent times that comes fitted with an oversized cooling fan to help keep the temperature of the engine regulated. You won’t find a better deal elsewhere.

TOP 3 FEATURES

  • Engine
  • Size
  • Brakes

Has one of the strongest engines on our top 5 list. 29 HP with superior design features

WHAT WE LIKED

  • Has one of the most powerful Kohler engines in stores today
  • Automatic braking system
  • Wide deck size of 54 inches.
  • Top quality ergonomic lever control system

WHAT WE DIDN'T LIKE

  • Comes with too many parts to assemble

4. Ariens IKON-X 42" Zero Turn Mower

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.

QUICK SUMMARY

  • Moderately sized deck of 42 inch
  • Check Badge
    Ergonomic design features for comfort with additional armrest
  • Strong 22 HP engine from Kohler’s V-twin 7000 series
  • Hydrostatic transmission system
Ariens IKON-X 42" Zero Turn Mower

Engine power is important. That’s why Ariens places much emphasis on equipping their products with top quality engines that can deliver the required power needed to cut mowing times in half. With a moderate 22 HP, Kohler employs a 7000 v-twin engine to improve performance.

If you use zero-turn mowers for a landscaping business, investing in IKON-X 42 is a great way to expand your business without taking in more workers. Effectively reducing overhead cost. You will surely get the best of your time and investment money.

The 42-inch deck size is small enough to get by and through tight places in the lawn. So navigating your way around your residential apartment should come easy.

TOP 3 FEATURES

  • Engine
  • Size
  • Design

Ergonomic design features for comfort and easy handling, constructed with armrests.

WHAT WE LIKED

  • Improved ergonomic features for comfort and easy handling
  • The deck is fabricated with 10-gauge steel for added durability.
  • High-rise seat with armrest feature
  • Comfortable to ride on.

WHAT WE DIDN'T LIKE

  • Deck size is good enough for tight places but not for fenced obstacles.

5. Husqvarna Z142 42 in. 17 HP Kohler Hydrostatic Zero-Turn Riding Mower

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.

QUICK SUMMARY

  • Zero maintenance transmission
  • Check Badge
    Compact design with 42-inch cutting deck
  • Start-up speeds of up to 6.5 MPH
  • 17 HP Kohler Engine
  • Check Badge
    Has an air induction mowing technology system
Husqvarna Z142 zero turn riding mower

The wide cutting deck of 42 inches allows for more surface area cutting and is reinforced with heavy flat-stock steel for durability.  Like the higher grade Husqvarna discussed above this model also has an air induction mowing technology that draws air from top to bottom of the deck.

We highly recommend this mower for homeowners looking to cruise through their weekly routine of keeping the garden/lawn in check.  You will be pleasantly surprised at the maneuverability of this zero turn mower. Make the switch to z-turn mowers now.

TOP 3 FEATURES

  • Engine
  • Size
  • Air Induction

Delivers superior cut by automating air supply from top to bottom.

WHAT WE LIKED

  • Wide 42 inch cutting deck
  • Improved maneuverability for rounded corners and obstacles
  • Reinforced steel stamp on deck for durability
  • Industrial standard startup speed of 6.5 MPH
  • Automated airflow for superior cut

WHAT WE DIDN'T LIKE

  • Low engine horsepower of 17. Ideal for residential use only

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. 

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.

3. Transmission

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.

6. Speed

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.

7. Price

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

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.

Efficiency

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.

Body Design

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

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

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.

In conclusion 

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.

Qaiser
 

Qaiser, a 30-year-old gardener, co-founded Treillage with an aim to help educate the masses in green living. He heads the team responsible for testing and reviewing every gardening product that is featured on Treillage.

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