What is the Difference Between a Riding Lawn Mower and a Zero-Turn Lawn Mower?

There are a lot of homeowners these days that are looking for a different approach to mowing their lawns. Just because you’re shopping for a residential lawn mower doesn’t mean that you need to use a push mower – you know, the kind that requires manual labor? Yeah, those ones. The real old school push mowers don’t even have engines and operate using a rotating set of blades. They are often heavy and cumbersome. The kind with motors sometimes have a self propel option, but can still be hard to handle on curb edges and around trees.

Whether you’re a a homeowner, business owner, manager, or groundskeeper, you may be looking for something a bit more convenient or a bit more heavy-duty than an old, conventional push mower. And when it comes to mowing commercial properties, push mowers usually aren’t even an option. So what options are there?

Riding Lawn Mowers and Lawn Tractors

A riding lawn mower is basically a lawn mower that has an affixed seat or standing platform (standing mowers) and driving/steering capability. The main point to understand about a basic riding lawn mower or lawn tractor is that when you perform a turn, you go wide and leave a swath of uncut grass behind you on your path in the yard. They are less efficient in this way. Lawn tractors are just bigger, and sometimes quicker, than traditional mowers.

Zero Turn Lawn Mowers or Zero Turn Radius Mowers

Zero turn lawn mowers are the more efficient version of a riding lawn mower. You can drive these like mowers and tractors, but the steering capabilities differ just a bit to cut more efficient sections of grass without leaving uncut portions. This saves time and fuel along the way when mowing your lawn.

These mowers from Bad Boy, Spartan, and other similar brands, operate more like forklifts than cars, meaning their steering design is rear wheel rather than front wheel. This allows for the 180-degree spins that make cuts more quick and efficient. There is a also a zero degree turning radius. There should be a nice, clean cut at the end of each row cut. Reduce the number of passes this way. There is also the cool “striping” effect that gives a professional-looking cut.

Safety Precautions When Mowing Hills

This is one section that should not be ignored. Riding on hills with any large, sit-down lawn mower can be not only extremely difficult, but even dangerous, especially if the hill is particularly steep. Any type of sit-down vehicle can flip and injure the operator so it is best to avoid these kinds of steep slopes to begin with and choose something more suitable for the job, or hire an outside contractor to do such work.


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