Zero Turn Mowers Vs Lawn Tractors: Which Gives The Best Lawn?

21st Century, social media world. Imagine someone asking you what you would choose between Facebook and Twitter. That’s a question almost as dumb as the “who do you love more, mom or dad” classic.

The answer to both is, there is no answer. It’s an outdated, useless argument. The same is the case with one of the essential custody battles around town. The minor in question is none other than our yards.

We all want innovation and speed in our everyday life. But whenever we try finding an easy solution that can fix our lawns. We see one inconclusive argument everywhere – Zero Turn Mowers vs. Lawn Tractors.

Look Before You Leap!

Orange lawn tractor in grass

Some are more powerful, others are faster, some are fuel-efficient, and others are not. Tons of things need to be looked up before choosing the best of the two high-quality machines.

Want an honest overview of both machines from every possible angle? Let me be your guide. Let’s not stick to topics like the pros and cons of zero-turn mower and disadvantages of lawn tractors. Let’s take a look at these machines like we’re cranky math teachers trying to find mistakes in a term paper.

Which One Should We Be Investing In?

Let me make it easy, this is like two machines with similar functions, but they are entirely different. If one is a dishwasher, the other is a good old pair of dishwashing soap and ourselves. Different yet a unanimous reminder of responsibilities, we all keep delaying. Both are top-rated in their work. But they have their own signature styles and remarkable performances.

When we talk about lawn tractors, they’re all about power, that extra old school kick in your machine. Built for vast open spaces for one heck of a lawn mowing experience is the perfect way to describe it.

In comparison, zero-turn mowers are all about innovation. Smaller, more comfortable to handle, fuel-efficient, and can also get to places lawn tractors can’t. But let’s not be too biased to forget; “Old is gold.”

Want to see a physical comparison?

The Best Machines With The Best Grass Cutting Results

If we discuss performance, Both ZTMs and lawn tractors are the highest-rated, top quality machines. Yet, there’s a slight difference among their mowing patterns. Almost as different as my siblings and me, but at least we come from the same parents.

P.S. The single parent here is the primary purpose of serving our lawns.

Lawn tractors have a full turn radius while mowing the grass from the other direction. This, unfortunately, leaves patches of uncut grass. (Almost exactly like an unexpected insincere apology leaves pent up feelings behind.)

To solve this problem, the rider has to put the lawn tractor back in reverse. Then comes the help of the forward gear! It assists in getting a clean-cut and even patch of grass.

As they imply from their name, Zero-turn mowers are built for quick and elegant work. All you have to do is hop on a ZTM, and it will clear every single undesirable blade of grass by reversing direction. Talk about an ideal display of best friend duties.

Moreover, zero-turn mowers don’t take much time leaving mowed patches of grass behind. It makes them a better choice in terms of speed and ease as compared to lawn tractors.

ZTRs vs Lawn Tractors: May The Best Machine Win!

No doubt, zero-turn mowers, and lawn mowers are the highest quality options we have available on the market today. But we have to make sure to choose the machine with the best features possible under our needs.

Control Options

Lawn tractors sport steering wheels, which give them the old school muscle machine look. But zero-turn mowers have a two-handle system. With a pedal brake mechanism, it puts an abrupt end to your trim session.

It may be confusing, but with practice, we can make our lawns thank us now!

Best Wheel Control

Lawn tractors are all about power with that four-wheel steering wheel drive; zero turn mowers have a variety of options. It is like a top-rated liver system to steer, brake pedal, and automatic gear mechanism. It makes them the fancier, more innovative, and efficient cousin of the family.

But some users might not be too comfortable with the fanciness of this cousin. They will end up lounging about with the more familiar and easy-to-navigate cousin. Now, let me suggest reading it from the start to guess who the easier-to-navigate cousin might be.

“If We Can’t See It, We Can’t Dodge It”

Before buying, we need to check if it is well designed to make sure we can see all the obstacles when on the beast. Both lawn tractors and zero-turn mowers have wide decks, which makes it difficult to get a clear view. People tend to prefer lawn tractors because of the extra height and a little less wider deck.

Need For Speed

Now, let me tell you about speed. Here, I guarantee you, the zero-turn mowers are the obvious best. They have the most advanced controls and take the shortest time. At 8-16 mph, they give us clean and even cut patches of grass. But lawn tractors are a bit old-fashioned and labor demanding at 3-7 mph.

The best way to find out our personal favorite is by taking care of our yards for once.

Fuel Capacity

No one is addicted to refueling. If you have a big yard, you might want to consider this factor seriously. Lawn tractors have larger fuel tanks but aren’t very fuel-efficient due to higher horsepower production. But ZTRs are more fuel-efficient due to their innovative engines and high-tech body parts.


Lawn tractors are way more cheap and easy to maintain. From oil and filter change to blade replacement. They are the best in easy maintenance and cost-efficiency. ZTR’s, in comparison, have two hydrostatic transmissions. These are at the rear wheels. And let me tell you, this is quite costly to maintain!

And that is our summary of features. Want a detailed idea of the various aspects of our players? Watch this video:

Do Decks Turn The Tables Of Performance For These Machines?

A deck is one of the most vital parts of the two machines in question. The slightest error in its design will not cut the grass properly.

Lawn tractors have higher horsepower with decks ranging from 32″ to 52″. It sometimes makes it difficult to get into smaller places or around trees. That’s why lawn tractors are most suitable for people having vast spaces. That way, the machine will face the least amount of obstacles.

Zero-turn mowers have wider decks ranging from 36″ to 72″. Their top-rated and innovative design makes them more efficient and easy to use. But at a high maintenance cost. They can get into tighter spaces and work with obstacles. All while delivering the best output.

Before choosing any one of the two, we should keep our requirements and yard spaces in mind.

Lawn Tractors vs Zero Turn Mowers On Slopes: What To Prefer?

Steep slopes and moody pets are difficult to control. For slopes, I’m afraid neither of our two soldiers can win this war of lawns. It’s best to keep both away and use a traditional hand pushed mower.

According to various consumer reports., people don’t prefer zero turn mowers for slopes steeper than 15 degrees. Most of the said users gave the reason that even with seatbelts or roll bars. Zero-turn mowers get imbalanced, resulting in loss of control. It is considered one of the significant disadvantages of zero-turn mowers.

People do tend to prefer lawn tractors in comparison. But despite being the fancier cousins of the hand mower, they’re not that reliable either. Incidents have been reported of lawn tractors on slopes flipping in all directions.

I, for one, am not interested in falling victim to a lawn mower committing suicide. So to summarise, if you have a steep lawn, don’t end up discovering how steep the wrong way is. But do discover your garden!


Lawn tractors and Zero-turn mowers are the best-rated players of these neat yard games. Both machines have their pros and cons. But the answer to what’s best for us relies on our individual and unique needs and resources.

Let us get an accurate idea of both the machines and our lawns and get trimming!

Andy Gibson

My name's Gibson. Andy Gibson. I like to think of myself as the Bond of the backyard, that is if yard work ever became sexy. I write about everything about indoor and outdoor gardening and the dread-it-but-still-need-to-do-it chores around the yard, like cleaning out the gutter guards.

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