How to Use a Zero-Turn Mower

Like if this guide is helpful
How to Use a Zero-Turn Mower

The Zero-turn mower gets its name from the fact that it has a turning radius that approaches zero centimetres. It is a rear-wheel-powered device instead of front wheel, like most riding lawnmowers. It lacks a steering wheel, and is instead steered by using two levers. Because of the different steering mechanism and rear tire drive, it is able to spin on its rear wheels and turn left or right without cutting any grass.

Zero-turn mowers are suitable for very large lawns. They come in different sizes, though, making them useful for lawns both large and small. There are many varieties; they come with different types of engines, and there are models that run on either petrol or diesel. Price varies, as well.

Most modern zero-turn mowers have larger rear wheels in the back and smaller front wheels, and are designed to cut tightly around objects.

Zero-Turn Mower Models

Zero-turn mowers come in a variety of mower models, each designed slightly differently to accommodate different uses. The entry-level model is a good choice for those who use the mower regularly, but not daily in a professional setting. The entry level model is made of solid materials that are durable and adequate to the task, but will not stand up to the abuse that professional equipment must suffer.

The mid-grade level has a larger cutting deck. It doesn't travel much faster than the entry level mower, but it can cut more grass per pass, so it lessens overall cutting time.

Semi-pro models are useful for small businesses or exceptionally large residential lawns.

Finally, the commercial models have the largest cutting decks, move faster, and feature the most powerful engines. They are also the priciest of all the models.

The table below summarises the different models, and lists engine size, fuel capacity, and relative prices.

Zero-Turn Mower Model

Engine Size

Petrol Capacity


Cub Cadet Zero-Turn Rider 365L

18 hp

4.5 gallons

+ + + +

Simplicity ZT 1850 Hydro

18 hp

2.0 gallons

+ + + +

Husqvarna Rider 14 Pro

14 hp

1.8 gallons

+ + +

Snapper Yard Cruiser

18 hp

2.25 gallons

+ + +

Ariens EZ Rider 915 Series

16 hp

3.5 gallons

+ + +

Sears Craftsman EZT Lawn Tractor

15.5 hp

3.5 gallons

+ +

When buying a zero-turn mower, factors such as available fuel capacity, engine horsepower, and price must be decided before settling on a final purchase. Each factor varies in importance from buyer to buyer, so understanding a mower's specifications can make it much easier to choose the mower that best meets a buyer's needs.

Smaller sized machines are suitable for most lawns, while larger mowers are designed to handle many acres of lawn. Moreover, zero-turn mowers are a good option for yards with a lot of obstacles because they make tight turns and are extremely manoeuvrable. Zero-turn mowers are also thought to be faster than some riding tractors at mowing long straight fields.

Zero-Turn Mower Attachments

There are a variety of attachments available for zero-turn mowers. The bagging attachment collects clippings in a bag, which is extremely convenient and saves time raking or blowing the clippings into a pile. A mulching attachment can be added to the mower’s clipping deck, which allows the clippings to be mulched back onto the lawn. A hitch added to the back of the mower can enable the mower to tow a spreader, dump cart, lawn dethatcher, sprayer, or other attachments. Some models allow front end attachments, so that debris and snow removal tools can be used.

How to Use the Zero-Turn Mower

Keep in mind when shopping for a zero-turn mower that the user will spend a lot of time in the seat. Therefore, make sure the seat is comfortable, and that the steering mechanisms are convenient for the operator to use. Some steering levers adjust to the operator, while other do not. Very tall or very short buyers should consider choosing a mower with adjustable lever, in order to assure the mowing experience is as comfortable as possible.

Buyers should note that, while zero-turn mowers are helpful for a variety of different lawns and uses, they are not the best mower for inside turns. Because of this, zero-turn mowers are not recommended for smaller, fenced yards.


Zero-turn mowers usually do not have an accelerator pedal. Rather, they are controlled by the steering mechanism. As mentioned in the sections above, zero-turn mowers lack a steering wheel, and use two different levers, or throttles, to turn.

The Dual Throttle Mechanism

To go forward, both levers are pushed forward; the further forward they are, the faster the lawnmower goes. To move in reverse, both levers are pulled back, and the speed is once again determined by how far back they are pulled.

To turn left, the right lever is pushed forward and the left lever is pulled back. To turn right, the right lever is pulled back while the left lever is pushed forward. If both levers are pushed/pulled equally, the mower will spin in place. Accomplishing appropriate turns on the mower may take some practice, but it is a fairly intuitive operation that is not difficult to master quickly.

Zero-turn mowers are difficult to manoeuvre precisely, however, if the operator is not experienced with their operation. Therefore, until the user has spent some time on the machine, it is probably a good idea to avoid cutting near flower beds, small trees, or in other areas that might be damaged if the operator makes a mistake. With a little practice, the user should learn the appropriate amount of force needed to turn at a desired angle.

One nice feature is that the larger rear wheels tend to flatten out the lawn less than do other mower wheels, because they put less pressure on the grass. The mower also has a low centre of gravity which is helpful on uneven ground.

The Steering Wheel or Joystick

Some models of zero-turn mowers utilise a steering wheel or a joystick rather than the dual throttle mechanism. Steering wheels and joysticks tend to cause less hand fatigue than do the throttles.

How to Mow

When mowing the lawn with a zero-turn mower, start by going around the perimeter of the lawn. Once the perimeter of the lawn is trimmed to the desired length, start passing back and forth in straight lines on the lawn. Repeat the back and forth pattern until the lawn is completed. Manoeuvring through the turns so that the wheels mower do not dig into the grass may take some practice to accomplish. Keep in mind that because of its high power and ability to make tight turns, the zero-turn mower causes lawn damage if tightly turned too quickly.

Safety Precautions Regarding the Zero-Turn Mower

Make sure to read the safety and operator’s manuals before using the zero-turn mower. The manuals provide important safety and running information. Always be aware of surroundings while on the mower, and keep an eye on any people, animals, or moving objects in the surrounding area. Watch out for holes and dips. Be extra careful when making turns, and make sure they are deliberate movements. Keep the machine under steady control. Double-check the safety mechanisms before operating. If they are missing or broken, be sure to have them fixed and maintained before operating the mower. Always wear a seatbelt, and be sure all the safety measures are being utilised.

How to Buy a Zero-Turn Mower on eBay

Begin your search for a zero-turn mower by going to the eBay homepage. From there, type "zero-turn mowers" into the search box. When the results are returned, you can narrow the listings by selecting a filter that lets you sort results by price, location, and condition (whether new or used). You can even restrict the search results to display sellers located within a certain distance of your home by typing in your post code under the Distance tab. Considering the distance of the seller is important when purchasing larger items, because the costs to ship such merchandise can be considerable. If the seller and the buyer are agreeable, arrange to test drive the mower or pick it up yourself. This will improve the purchasing process and should reduce postage costs.

It is important to read the details of the listing carefully in order to make sure you are purchasing the item you want with the specifications you require. Also, reviewing the seller’s feedback is important. Sellers with a lot of positive feedback are a better bet than those with a lot of negative responses on their profiles.


The zero-turn mower is an extremely versatile riding lawnmower suitable for commercially sized lawns, as well as larger residential lawns. It makes mowing faster and more convenient than by using either a push mower or a traditional riding mower. Zero-turn lawnmowers generally do not have a steering wheel, and instead utilise two throttles to steer and move. They have a zero-radius turn, and are rear-wheel driven. Some zero-turn mowers use petrol, while others run on diesel.

There are many attachments available for zero-turn mowers, including bagging and mulching accessories. If a hitch is attached, the zero-turn mower can tow many other attachments, as well.

It is important to review safety precautions before operating heavy equipment. The mower has an owner’s manual that may be referenced. If the mower does not come with a manual, most manufacturers post their manuals online. eBay has a wide variety of mowers of different brands and styles, and makes shopping for a zero-turn mower painless and convenient.

Have something to share, create your own guide... Write a guide
Explore more guides