Best zero-turn mower for hills

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Zero-turn riding mowers earned their name by being able to turn around completely within the length of their own wheelbases.

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Which zero-turn mower is best for hills?

Zero-turn mowers are more fun and more efficient than traditional riding mowers. The engine is stored in the back, and they are steered by levers rather than a traditional steering wheel. Like all riding lawn mowers, a zero-turn mower needs to be used with caution on hills.

Zero-turn mowers achieve greater stability than traditional riding lawn mowers because of their wider wheelbases and lower centers of gravity. If you are looking for a big, powerful zero-turn mower, take a look at the Craftsman 50 Inch Hydrostatic Gas Zero-Turn Mower With 24 hp Kohler Engine.

What to know before you buy a zero-turn mower for hills

Zero-turn mowers take an entirely different approach to lawn mower design than traditional riding lawn mowers.

Appearance

Riding lawn mowers look like little versions of farm tractors, but zero-turn mowers have a more futuristic aesthetic to them. 

Engine placement

The engines on nearly all riding lawn mowers are in front, the same position as they are on tractors. The engines on zero-turn mowers are in the back, like where race cars put them for more stability.

Tires

The rear tires on zero-turn mowers are huge in comparison with riding lawn mower tires. The front tires on zero-turn mowers are on casters that pivot freely. The front tires on riding lawn mowers steer from side to side.

Operator position

With riding lawn mowers, the operator sits astride the mower, with one leg on either side of the engine. Zero-turn mower operators sit on top of the rear-mounted engine with their legs and feet above the mower deck. This higher perch gives them a better view of what they’re mowing.

Mower deck width

Wider mower decks mean you have to mow fewer rows, which takes less time. Most riding mowers have deck widths of 48 inches or less. Zero-turn mowers are the only mowers with decks as wide as 60 inches and up.

Steering

The biggest difference between the two mower types is that riding lawn mowers have a conventional steering wheel and zero-turn mowers are steered by pushing and pulling on levers. This ability to control the wheels independently means a zero-turn mower has an easier time making turns and mowing around things than a riding lawn mower. 

Performance

The result of all these differences is that zero-turn mowers outperform riding lawn mowers on every dimension: A zero-turn mower is faster and more efficient.

What to look for in a quality zero-turn mower for hills

All the things you would look for in a quality zero-turn mower apply to mowing on hills. When mowing on hills, stability and balance are crucial for safety.

How to mow on hills

The best way to ensure safety while mowing with any mower is to mow up and down a hillside and not across it. When you need to mow on hills and slopes, you want a mower that hugs the terrain. Zero-turn mowers are more stable platforms than riding lawn mowers because they are much wider, their heavy engine sits lower in the chassis and they have most of the weight on their wider wheels and tires. 

Dimensions

Look for zero-turn mowers with the widest wheelbases, the lowest centers of gravity and the heaviest weights. 

How much you can expect to spend on a zero-turn mower for hills

Prices of zero-turn mowers are determined by the mower’s power and its deck width. Zero-turn mower prices start at around $3,500 and some run as high as $10,000.

Zero-turn mower for hills FAQ

Do they use special mowers to get all those fancy designs in the grass that you see in baseball stadiums?

A. No. Groundskeepers use special attachments and striping kits that attach to their regular mowers.

Will a zero-turn mower cut going backward?

A. Yes, because the vehicle’s motion is independent of the mower blade, which continues to turn when you stop or back up.

What’s the best zero-turn mower for hills to buy?

Top zero-turn mower for hills 

Craftsman 50 Inch Hydrostatic Gas Zero Turn Mower with 24 hp Kohler Engine

Craftsman 50-Inch Hydrostatic Gas Zero-Turn Mower With 24 hp Kohler Engine

What you need to know: This zero-turn mower has a 50-inch deck and a 24 horsepower Kohler twin cylinder engine.

What you’ll love: This zero-turn mower’s engine starts easily with no choke and no need for priming. This mower’s maximum speeds are 7 mph forward and 3 mph in reverse. The cutting height adjusts from 1.25 to 3.75 inches. The high back seat adjusts for operator comfort.

What you should consider: This mower is 60 inches wide, 35 inches high and weighs 656 pounds.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top zero-turn mower for hills for the money

Cub Cadet Ultima ZT1

Cub Cadet Ultima ZT1

What you need to know: This zero-turn mower has a 50-inch-wide deck and a 23 horsepower Kawasaki V-Twin engine. 

What you’ll love: The open-frame design makes for easy maintenance. The adjustable steering handles have soft touch molded ergonomic grips. The maximum speeds are 7 mph forward and 3.5 mph in reverse. The cutting height adjusts from 1 inch to 4.5 inches. 

What you should consider: This mower is 57 inches wide, 37 inches high and weighs 570 pounds.

Where to buy: Sold by Home Depot

Worth checking out

Ryobi 42 Inch 100 Ah Battery Electric Riding Zero Turn Mower

Ryobi 42-Inch 100 Ah Battery Electric Riding Zero-Turn Mower

What you need to know: This Ryobi zero-turn mower is clean, quiet, powerful and charges in a standard 120V outlet.

What you’ll love: This zero-turn mower’s battery is rated at 100 amperes per hour. This electric mower has four brushless motors that cut up to 3 acres on one charge. The maximum speed is 7 mph forward. The cutting height adjusts from 1.5 to 4.5 inches.

What you should consider: This mower is 49 inches wide, 50 inches high and weighs 597 pounds.

Where to buy: Sold by Home Depot

 

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David Allan Van writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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