The usability of this product is in the name: “zero-turn” refers to the turning radius of the device, which is essentially zero degrees. The mower can revolve around itself which means that you have extensive maneuverability around any yard obstacles, such as trees, flower beds, rock and water features, and decorations, for the best manicured lawn. You can also create cleaner cut lines or even patterns in the grass, because with the ease of turning, there is no need to back up, or try and retrace previous cuts. Just spin your mower in place, and turn back around, or in the next direction you need to head; you will have 360 degree access. This feature also means you only need to make single passes, because there will not be any strips missed by excessive maneuvering of a traditional mower.
So how do these zero-turn mowers operate exactly? To start, most models feature each rear wheel possessing its own independent motor, controlled by two steering handles you operate. For example, push the left steering handle forward, and your left wheel moves forward; to reverse, you pull back on the handle. If you wish both rear wheels to move forward, you push the steering handles down with the same applied pressure. You can speed up or slow down also; a neutral position of the handles stops the mower in most models. In this way, there are no complicated foot and hand levers to learn. This handle process ensures your maneuverability is infinite, because you can constantly shift the handles to alter your position with ease.
The current zero-turn mowers for sale also feature two hydrostatic transmissions instead of just one that is in a lawn tractor. They also tend to have a larger engine and deck, more advanced blade systems, and offer steel frame constructions that are more durable and strong. Also, zero-turn mowers often have an unobstructed view of the cutting deck, so you have perfect visibility to see the objects in which you must finely maneuver about. Cutting decks often have adjustable heights as well, so you can keep cutting in a streamline, but avoid obstacles like small rocks and tree roots. This feature ultimately helps to eliminate or severely reduce the need for a hand trimmer or another small device to use after the initial lawn trim, saving you time and money. Also saving you time is the speed of a commercial zero-turn mower. They reach an average of five to ten MPH, whereas typical lawn tractors usually operate between three to four MPH. With the cutting pace effectively doubled, you can cover a greater area in half the time. This feature also benefits you because less gas will be needed to complete a lawn cut.
The efficient nature of these machines is added to by attachments you may consider; such as a bagging system that you can collect grass clippings; a mulching kit you connect to the deck; a hitch you can add to the back which allows for carts, spreaders, aerators and roller or sprayer attachments. Some machines even offer a snowblower attachment to add to the front. Safety features such as emergency brakes, seat belts, and preventative roll-over frames are also features you can consider when shopping the different models. Some commercial grade mowers may feature arm rests, cup holders, LED lights, and supremely comfortable seating. Advanced mowers even feature hour trackers, so you know when to schedule maintenance to keep your machine running smoothly and efficiently.
Maintenance is an important consideration before buying a zero-turn mower. The higher the quality of the mower, typically the lower your maintenance costs will be. The steel frame design, protection around the engine, and the quality of the engine itself, as well as a well-constructed and fabricated deck are important aspects to consider and compare.
No matter the model you select, you should always familiarize yourself with the mower through any use safety manuals available. Also, there is general safety information to keep in mind. For instance, avoid using zero-turn mowers on slopes over ten degrees; they steer through the traction of the rear wheels, and without traction you lose an ability stop properly. You want to avoid any sliding, so keep your movement up or down a slope gradual and slow; avoid starting, stopping or turning on a slope (so keep the up and down movement), and avoid mowing wet grass whether on a slope or not.