Best Zero Turn Mowers 2017 – Heavy- Duty Mid-Price Residential Models

By Paul Sikkema. Join the conversation on Facebook!

My definition of a mid-priced heavy-duty residential zero-turn (ZTR) does NOT have the economy EZT transmission and costs between $4000 and $7000. These ZTR’s are stronger and will last longer than the economy ZTR’s. All have tougher decks that will hold up to teenagers well. They work better on slopes, have larger tires and a better ride. All will mow at 5-8 mph and give you an excellent cut.

In general it is hard to rate which mid-priced ZTR is the best. There are one or two Chinese brands to stay away from but in general all mid-priced ZTR’s will mow your larger residential lawn well and will last two-three times longer than the cheaper machines. Just ask and I’ll help you narrow down your selection.

Many of you today want to purchase online and many Mid-Priced zero-turn mowers are now available online. I’ll make buying online from trusted websites my top priority. I’ll include buy links from businesses I trust wherever possible. If I missed a brand available for sale online please let me know. This list is not a complete list of mid-priced ZTR’s. There are just too many, it’s impossible to keep the list current and many manufacturers don’t keep their websites up-to-date. If there is a particular brand or new model that is not listed here feel free to ask questions in the comments below. If you want my opinion of a dealer only ZTR just ask in the comments below.

NOTE: I just want to remind you that Zero-turn mowers are lawn mowers. Even though these are heavy-duty residential machines NONE of them are designed to go out and mow your horse pasture, paddock, road side ditch or field. I repeat, these mowers are not designed to cut over 4 inches or so. I strongly suggest you look at the Acre-Ease rough cut mower for those areas instead. 

Note: This is not an “Amazon Only” list but I do want to tell you that we have been having just the best luck buying snow blowers, lawn tractors and zero-turn mowers through Amazon.  It literally is the best place to buy anything online. The delivery is swift, and if there is any issues with the shipping or the item Amazon takes care of it immediately.  Buy at Amazon

NOTE: I don’t deal with used ZTR’s. I don’t keep current with used ZTR prices. In reality, unless you understand engines, hydro-transmissions and can repair your own equipment I strongly suggest you stay away from a used residential ZTR. Parts and labor to change out the components can quickly add up to more than a new machine.

Ariens/Gravely Mid-Price Zero-Turn Riding Mowers:

 Ariens/Gravely has a full line of zero-turns and the 2017 models will go down in history as some of the best ZTRs available.  But, none of the mid-sized models are for sale online through retailers I trust. You can view the entire Ariens line at Ariens.com

Bad Boy Mid-Price Zero-Turn Riding Mowers:

Tractor Supply has two models of mid-priced Bad Boys available that you can purchase online and have them shipped to your home/local store.

“recommended” Bad Boy ZT Elite Mower Tractor Supply SKU #122755499 (Tractor Supply Link)
Bad Boy 60 in. 747cc Maverick Zero-Turn Mower SKU #117770299 (Tractor Supply Link)

Bradley Mid-Price Stand-On Zero-Turn Riding Mowers:

 Stand-on mowers are the way to go if you want a great cut, have a very complex lawn and want to get done quickly. They are actually easier on your back than a suspension seat ZTR and better for slopes. (If you get on too steep of a hill – you just step off the machine.) Stand-on ZTR’s are fun to drive and more maneuverable than the sit-down versions. If you regularly have a lot of trash, twigs and debris on your lawn these can save you a lot of time because you just step off the machine to stop and pick up the debris. They are the easiest mower to get on and off of. Yes, I’m a huge fan of stand-on’s but most are way too expensive for a homeowner. Bradley Mowers are the exception.

You may have never heard of Bradley Mowers but I have and have been following them for over 20 years. They are just a small manufacturer an hour south of Chicago that makes a very rugged, commercial grade, affordable mower. Parts and maintenance items are always available quickly. It’s worth your time to check them out.

If you want the best possible cut and you have a very complex lawn these two machines are a very good choice.
48″ Bradley Stand-On Zero Turn Commercial Mower (Amazon Link)
52″ Bradley Stand-On Zero Turn Commercial Mower (Amazon Link)

Just because no one else ever talks about Bradley Mowers I am putting links to their two flagship mowers here. (I have no connection to them) You can buy them online through their website or there may be a dealer in your area. These are true heavy-duty, commercial grade zero-turns that cost a lot less than the competition.  These are perfect for 2-5 acres of sloping and/or complex landscaped lawns. I highly recommend these mowers.
“recommended” BRADLEY 48″ STAND-ON COMPACT MOWER BRIGGS VANGUARD (Bradley Mower Link)
“recommended” BRADLEY 52″ STAND-ON COMPACT MOWER BRIGGS VANGUARD (Bradley Mower Link)

Craftsman Pro Mid-Price Zero-Turn Riding Mowers

 Craftsman Pro ZTR’s have been getting excellent reviews. They have had absolutely no problems overall.  These are mid-priced heavy-duty machines. These all feature good cutting fabricated decks and will actually mow well at 7 MPH! Like all the other ZTR’s on this page they have the stronger hydro transmissions that will last longer and handle hills without overheating. The steering levers and seat are fully adjustable for different operators.
“recommended” Craftsman Pro Series 48″ 24 HP V-Twin Kohler Fab Deck w/ Smart Lawn Bluetooth Technology (Sears.com link)
“recommended” Craftsman Pro Series 54″ 25 HP V-Twin Kohler Fab Deck w/ Smart Lawn Bluetooth Technology (Sears.com link)
“recommended” Craftsman Pro Series 60″ 25 HP V-Twin Kohler Fab Deck w/ Smart Lawn Bluetooth Technology (Sears.com link)

Cub Cadet  Mid-Price Zero-Turn Riding Mowers

Cub Cadet has three lap bar and three steering wheel ZTRs that are good mid-priced heavy-duty machines. These all feature good cutting fabricated decks that will put up with a lot more abuse than economy stamped decks. Like all the other ZTR’s on this page they have the stronger hydro transmissions that will last longer and handle hills without overheating.
“recommended” Cub Cadet Z-Force L 48 in. 24 HP Fab Deck KOHLER Pro V-Twin with Lap Bar Control Model# Z-Force L 48 (The Home Depot Link) (Tractor Supply Company Link)
Cub Cadet Z-Force L 48 in. 24 HP Fab Deck KOHLER Pro V-Twin with Lap Bar Control and CAMO Finish Model# Z-Force L 48 CAMO (The Home Depot Link) (Tractor Supply Company Link)
Cub Cadet Z-Force L 54 in. 25 HP Fab Deck KOHLER Pro V-Twin with Lap Bar Control Model# Z-Force L 54 (The Home Depot Link) (Tractor Supply Company Link)
“recommended” Cub Cadet Z-Force LE 60 (Tractor Supply Company Link)
“recommended” Cub Cadet Z-Force S 48 in. 24 HP Fab Deck KOHLER Pro V-Twin with Steering Wheel Control Model# Z-Force S 48 (The Home Depot Link) (Tractor Supply Company Link)
Cub Cadet Z-Force S 54 in. 25 HP Fab Deck KOHLER Pro V-Twin with Steering Wheel Control Model# Z-Force S 54 (The Home Depot Link) (Tractor Supply Company Link)
“recommended” Cub Cadet Z-Force S 60 in. 25 HP Fab Deck KOHLER Pro V-Twin with Steering Wheel Control Model# Z-Force S 60 (The Home Depot Link) (Tractor Supply Company Link)

Hustler Mid-Price Zero-Turn Riding Mowers:

 Hustler has an excellent reputation and some models are available through Lowes. I don’t make a commission when you buy from Lowes but I’ll be glad to help you decide on the best one for you.
Hustler RAPTOR SD 25-HP V-Twin Dual Hydrostatic 54-in Zero-Turn
Hustler RAPTOR SD 26-HP V-Twin Dual Hydrostatic 60-in Zero-Turn
Hustler RAPTOR SDX 23-HP V-Twin Dual Hydrostatic 54-in Zero-Turn
Hustler Raptor Flip-Up 25-HP V-Twin Dual Hydrostatic 54-in Zero-Turn

Husqvarna Mid-Price Zero-Turn Riding Mowers:

Husqvarna makes a complete line of ZTR’s from one of the least expensive to professional models that are well over $11,000.  The mid-priced MZ series has been around for a while now and it mows well and holds up well for residential use.  There are currently five models ranging in price from $3999 to $5200. They all use the same heavy-duty frame but have different decks, transmissions and engines for different sized lawns. I’ll point you to the best choice of the five for 2-5 acres lawns below.

 Husqvarna MZ54S 25-HP V-Twin Dual Hydrostatic 54-in Zero-Turn Lawn (Amazon Link)

John Deere Mid-Price Zero-Turn Riding Mowers

John Deere is unique in that they have the capability/equipment to make a high performance, deep dome, rugged stamped deck for the 500 series ZTRs. These decks have the deep dish design so they cut extremely well, mulch and bag well and are just as rugged as most of the other fabricated decks in this price range.
“recommended” John Deere Z525E with 54-in. Deck (Home Depot Link)
“recommended” John Deere Z540M with 62-in. Deck (Home Depot Link)
Other models of the Z535 series are available through your local John Deere Dealer.

Spartan Mid-Price Zero-Turn Riding Mowers

Spartan does not sell online but I’m including them in this list because they are new and getting a lot of press this year.
 Spartan RZ Series – Dealer Only – Read My Article
Spartan RT Series – Dealer Only – Read My Article

Swisher Mid-Price Zero-Turn Riding Mowers

I’ve never had a chance to see a Response up close let alone test one. If you have any comments about this mower feel free to leave it in the comments below.
 Swisher Response 66 in. 23-HP Kawasaki Zero Turn Riding Mower Model # ZTR2366KA Check it out at The Home Depot

Toro Mid-Price Zero-Turn Riding Mowers

 Toro 60″ (152 cm) TimeCutter® MX6050 (74777) (The Home Depot Link)
Toro 50″ (127 cm) TimeCutter® SWX5050 (74797) (The Home Depot Link)
“recommended” Toro 48″ (122 cm) TimeCutter® HD Zero Turn Mower (75201) (The Home Depot Link)
Toro 54″ (137 cm) TimeCutter® HD Zero Turn Mower (75202) (The Home Depot Link)
“recommended”Toro 48″ (122 cm) TimeCutter® HD Zero Turn Mower (75211)with MyRIDE™ Suspension System (The Home Depot Link)
“recommended” Toro 54″ (137 cm) TimeCutter® HD Zero Turn Mower (75212)with MyRIDE™ Suspension System (The Home Depot Link)

Troy-Bilt

Troy-Bilt does not have a mid-priced model. All of their ZTR’s use the Economy EZT transmissions.

Z-Beast/Beast  Mid-Price Zero-Turn Riding Mowers:

 Z-Beast – Just Don’t. Made overseas – distributed in the U.S. through GXI Outdoor Power. They also use Stanley and Beast as brand names.

Yes, You need a new Gas Can!

With today’s fuels you need a gas can that seals tight. It helps the fuel last longer and the escaping vapors won’t wreck the environment. But the biggest problem is find one that works. The cheap ones ($20 or more now) don’t have vents so it takes forever to fill the tank on your lawn tractor. The cheap ones are also flimsy and the spouts break after the first year.

Well, I’ve found two brands that work great! They are vented inside the spout so it pours fuel quickly yet seals tightly when not in use.  I’ll give you links at Amazon for two sizes. I suggest buying the size so that you don’t keep more than a month of fuel around the house.

No-Spill 1405 2-1/2-Gallon Poly Gas Can. A good size for snow blowers and push mowers. 

No-Spill 1450 5-Gallon Poly Gas Can (CARB Compliant) This one has a second handle in the back so it is very easy to use and hang onto when pouring into your fuel tank. A good size for lawn tractors and zero-turns.

If you have a problem holding a gas can the SureCan is a great can. It’s very comfortable to use to use and built well. SureCan – Gas Can with Rotating Spout. 

Fuel Stabilizer: When I go to the gas station and buy fuel I always put fuel stabilizer in the storage tank. It helps keep the fuel fresh and some also clean your carb and fuel system without messing it up. There a man good brands but I’ve used SeaFoam for years and it’s always worked well. I use 2 tablespoons per gallon of fuel. Seafoam 

Other fuels stabilizers to check out: Fuel Stabilizers

Have I helped you? If would you like to buy from your local dealer or store but still want to support TodaysMower just click on this link and buy anything you need. I’ll make a small commission from the sale. Buy at Amazon. TodaysMower.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, and we get a commission on purchases made through our links.