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In the market for a mower? A to Z of zero-turn mowers
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A zero turn mower. - photo by Photo Contributed

A gorgeous lawn is a key element of the American dream, since a lush, green, well-trimmed lawn makes your home look great. The mower you choose affects the health and beauty of your lawn, and directly impacts the amount of time and money you invest in lawn care.

If you’ll be replacing an old lawn tractor this summer, or stepping up from a walk-behind to a riding model, you may be wondering about zero-turn mowers, what they do and if they’re worth the investment. Before you decide what type of mower to buy, here’s the “A to Z” facts about why millions of homeowners have chosen zero-turn mowers instead of lawn tractors:
The “zero” in the mower name refers to their ability to turn in a very tight radius, unlike lawn tractors which need to make wider turns. Manufacturer Toro says its Toro TimeCutter zero-turn mowers are as easy and intuitive to steer as a shopping cart. That ease of use has made zero-turn mowers the equipment of choice for professionals, and it’s drawing more homeowners to the technology.

The ability to trim mowing time is a major advantage of zero-turns. Americans, on average, spend 29 hours per year on lawn and gardening chores, based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s American Time Use Survey. A poll of Midwesterners found that 41 percent use riding mowers, according to the Ohio State University Extension Research Bulletin. Over a multi-year study, Toro TimeCutter zero turn mower customers reported saving on average 45 percent of their mowing time.

Because zero-turn mowers make it easier to achieve a good cut, even around obstacles like trees and planting beds, lawns have a well-groomed appearance. Users also spend less time making close cuts with a trimmer around those objects that a lawn tractor can’t get close to.

Simply by virtue of allowing users to spend less time mowing, zero-turn mowers are generally more comfortable than lawn tractors. Superior mowers like the TimeCutter series provide extra comfort with seats that have higher backs (15 to 18 inches) for better support. Dual stick controls are also more comfortable to grip than a standard lawn tractor’s steering wheel.

Shorter mowing time means users spend less on gas to power their zero-turn mowers. Plus, there is less wear and tear because they need less time than a lawn tractor to cut a lawn.

Some zero turn mowers, especially the Toro TimeCutter with its standard hitch and line of Brinly-Hardy attachments, can help you get all your other yard tasks done too just like a tractor.

Zero-turn mowers are as user-friendly for novices as they are for expert operators. A host of available features enhance their usability, such as speed adjustments, hour meters that monitor service intervals, and sight gauges that allow you to quickly and easily discern the fuel level in the mower.

Finally, zero-turn mowers are competitive with lawn tractors when it comes to price. A quality zero-turn mower will cost about the same as a high-end lawn tractor, and while the initial costs of both types may be comparable, a zero-turn mower definitely delivers greater time and cost savings in the long term. To learn more about zero-turn mowers, visit