2020 The Thirteen Best 42-46 Inch Zero Turn Mowers

2020 The Best 42-46 Inch Zero Turn Mowers

Why Is A 42-46 Inch Zero Turn Mower The Best Choice For You?

You’ve decided to get a new mower for your home lawn and everyone has been trying to tell you that a zero-turn mower is what you need.

Here are some points that will help you decide if a 42-46 inch zero turn is the best choice for you:

  • Quicker Mowing: Your lawn is somewhere between 1/3 and 1 1/2 acres.
    • A 21-inch walk-behind will mow about 1/2 acre an hour.
    • A 42-inch lawn tractor will mow about 1 acre an hour.
    • A 42-inch zero-turn will mow about 1 1/2 acres an hour.
    • The blade speed on zero-turn mowers is faster than on a lawn tractor so you can travel over the lawn faster and still get a great cut. A zero-turn is more maneuverable so you can zip around obstacles and change direction significantly faster than with a lawn tractor. This helps to shorten your mowing time. Being able to turn around without leaving a spot and mowing in a straight line back and forth you can get the same striping effect as the commercial mowing companies offer.
  • Less Trimming and Weed Eating: If you are like me you’ve always hated that you couldn’t just go right around that tree with the lawn tractor. With a zero-turn mower, you can turn on a dime left, right, backward and go right around that tree. This makes it easy to get around tough obstacles, tight corners, and to turn around to go back down the length of a lawn without missing a spot at the end. Because of their enhanced maneuverability, you’ll be able to mow closer to obstacles. This means you’ll spend a lot less time going back with a weed eater to get the spots a lawn tractor just can’t get to. With a faster mowing speed and less trimming, this is a big time-saver for you. Many homeowners will say a zero-turn will cut your mowing time in half compared to using a lawn tractor. By getting done faster and still have a lawn you can be proud of you will have more time to do the things you enjoy the most.
  • Reduced Costs: Reduced mowing times also reduce your costs. You’ll spend less money on fuel, and your engine and mower will last longer. Your wheels, oil, and engine parts will all have longer life spans, adding up to a more efficient long-term investment.
  • Beautiful Results: Most zero-turn mowers today have a higher blade tip speed than lawn tractors and older ZTRs. This, combined with the fact that you can move closely around obstacles and efficiently move back and forth, delivers a cleaner, more even cut. After a few mowings your lawn with look better than it did using a lawn tractor.
  • Superior Mulching Capability: The higher blade speed, fabricated decks, and bolt-in mulch kits also offer the added benefit of better mulching of leaves and grass clippings. Mulching turns leaves and grass clippings into fine particles that fall back into your lawn and help to fertilize it. For bluegrass, fescue and ryegrasses cut at 3-4 inches weekly and you will see a significant improvement in how your lawn looks.

Note: Zero turns are made to mow grass. They mow quickly and will save you time trimming around obstacles. They are NOT designed to pull heavy loads. Yes, some have a hitch and you can pull a small yard cart or spreader but you will destroy the transmissions in them if you try to pull loads of dirt, firewood or a leaf vacuum.

42-46 Inch Deck Zero-Turn Mowers – My Recommendations

I will break the list below three different types of residential zero-turn mowers based on the mowing deck. 

  • Stamped Decks – Inexpensive –  Mow well, bag well and are great for smooth lawns. These decks are similar to the one on your lawn tractor and use a “mulch plug” to convert them to a mulching deck. They mow best at 4-5 MPH so they won’t mow as much per hour as fabricated deck mowers.
  • Fabricated Decks – Good value residential mowers – Best for most people that want a mower that cuts well and will last. Fabricated decks are designed specifically for zero-turns so they will mow faster than the stamped decks. Depending on the model they mow well at 5-7 MPH. They are built with thicker steel and have extra material on the edges so they are stronger, will last longer and take more of a beating from your teenagers. They use bolt-in mulching kits so they will mulch better at faster speeds. Currently, there are only a few good 42-inch fabricated deck zero-turn mowers.
  • Heavy-Duty Fabricated Decks – These are the strongest decks available. Built with commercial components so the mower will take a beating and last many, many years – Good for acreages, estates, and farm lawns. Right now there is only one 42-inch zero-turn residential mower that uses this heavy-duty deck.

42-46 inch Stamped Deck – 1/3 to 1 acre

  1.  Best All-Around:
    Toro 75742 With Smart Speed

    Toro 75742 With Smart Speed

    Toro 42 in. 22.5 HP TimeCutter V-Twin Gas Zero-Turn Riding Mower with Smart Speed Model# 75742. This Toro mows very well, bags very well, and mulches very well.  It’s best feature is the Smart Speed Control. You can move a three-position lever that allows you to run the ground speed of the mower slower for trimming or slower for pulling loads that will tear up the transmissions on other zero-turns.  If you pull a lawn cart with bags of mulch or firewood this mower will do the job and last for you years. It’s also a great price for what you get.  Available at The Home Depot Also available at Tractor Supply, ACME Tools and your local Toro Dealer.

  2.  Best Value:
    Cub-Cadet-ZT1-42

    Cub Cadet ZT1 42

    Cub Cadet Ultima ZT1 42 in. 22 HP Kohler V-Twin Zero Turn Mower Model# ULTIMA ZT1-42. This Cub Cadet is in second place only because the Toro 75742 has the Smart Speed Control. This is one of the best 42-inch mowers on the market because it mows well, bags well, and mulches well. It features the strongest frame Cub Cadet has ever used and I like the way it looks. Available at The Home Depot Also available online through cubcadet.com.

  3.  Best Electric:
    ryobi-zero-turn-mowers-ry48ztr100

    Ryobi Electric ZTR

    RYOBI 42 in. 100 Ah Battery Electric Zero Turn Mower Model#  RY48ZTR75. If an electric zero-turn mower is on your radar the Ryobi is the best on the market right now. It will easily mow your 1 1/2 acre lawn on one charge. Owners are very happy with how well it mows. If you interested but undecided if an electric mower is best for you please go to this article: Going green – The Best Electric ZTRs Available exclusively at The Home Depot

  4.  Inexpensive:
    toro-zero-turn-mower-75740

    Toro 75740

    Toro 42″ TimeCutter® 452cc Zero-Turn Riding Mower with Smart Speed® Model#  75740. Best budget zero-turn on the market. If you have a small lawn and don’t want to walk anymore this is a great choice.  This mower uses a fuel-sipping single-cylinder engine that has plenty of power for weekly mowing. If your lawn is thick or you mow bent grasses I suggest you move up to a model with a V-twin. Available at The Home Depot Also available at Tractor Supply, ACME Tools and your local Toro Dealer.

  5.  Inexpensive:
    troy-bilt-zero-turn-mower-mustang-z42

    Troy-Bilt Mustang Z42/Z46

    Troy-Bilt 42 in. 679 cc V-Twin Zero Turn Riding Mower Model# Z42. For $200 more than the Toro 75740 you get a V-Twin engine. This is Troy-Bilt’s latest design. It cuts very well and is one of the best low priced ZTR’s on the market. Available at The Home Depot Also available at TroyBilt.com

  6. Inexpensive: Troy-Bilt 46 in. 679 cc V-Twin Zero Turn Riding Mower Model# Mustang Z46. The same ZTR as the Z42 above but has a 46-inch deck. The advantage of a 46-inch deck is that it hangs out the left side of the mower just a little more. That makes it easier to trim close to landscaping and bushes. You can trim right up against a chain-link fence without the front castor wheels getting caught in the fence. Available at The Home Depot Also available at TroyBilt.com
  7.  Best Steering Wheel:
    cub-cadet-zero-turn-mowers-rzt-sx-42-efi

    Cub Cadet LZT SX 42 EFI

    Cub Cadet 42 in. 679 cc Fuel Injected (EFI) V-Twin ZeroTurn Riding Mower with Steering Wheel Control  Model#  RZT-SX 42 EFI. A steering wheel zero-turn gives you the best of both worlds. A zero-turn mower that doesn’t scuff your turf and a lawn tractor style steering that holds slopes better than the lap-bar style. For people who want the speed of a zero-turn but just don’t like lap-bar controls, this is the perfect mower. This mower cuts well, bags well and mulches well. In addition, this ZTR has one of the few riding mower EFI engines available. It starts every time. You don’t have to worry about fuel issues and it will run on E15 fuels.  Available at The Home Depot Also available online through cubcadet.com.

  8.  Best Cut By CR:
    John Deere Z345M

    John Deere Z345M

    John Deere Z335M 42 in. 20 HP Gas Dual Hydrostatic Zero-Turn Mower Model# BG21127. If you want green paint on your new zero-turn mower this is a good choice for your one acre or less yard. Consumer Reports* consistently gives this mower the best rating for cut-quality, bagging and mulching for the mowers they test. Available at The Home Depot  Also available at your local John Deere Dealer

  • * Consumer Reports has not tested most of the mowers on this list.

42-46 inch Fabricated Deck – 1/2 to 1 1/2 Acres

  1.  Best Value Fabricated Deck:
    Cub-Cadet_ZT146

    Cub-Cadet ZT1 46

    Cub Cadet Ultima ZT1 46 in. Fabricated Deck 679 cc V-Twin Zero Turn Mower Model#  ULTIMA ZT1-46. This mower has quietly become one of the most popular mowers sold in the U.S. It not only looks good but also mows, bags and mulches very well. With the fabricated deck and strong frame, this mower will last you years.  Available at The Home Depot Also available online through cubcadet.com.

  2.  Best Fabricated:
    ikon-xd-42-zero-turn-mower

    Ariens IKON XD

    Ariens IKON XD 42 Kawasaki Model 915268. This mower is arguably the best value mid-mount 42-inch zero-turn on the market. It’s built to last with a strong frame, large wheels, and a great cutting fabricated deck.  Find Your Local Dealer: Ariens Dealer Locator

  3.  Most Comfortable Ride Fabricated Deck 42 inch Mower:
    75745-42in_myride-toro-timecutter

    Toro 75745 with MyRide

    Toro 42″ (107 cm) TimeCutter® MyRIDE® Zero Turn Mower (75745). This mower features the exclusive Toro MyRide Suspension platform. The seat and operator are completely isolated from the mower giving you the smoothest ride possible. This mower is the best choice if you have a rough lawn and want to mow fast. The fabricated 42-inch deck also cuts well, bags well and mulches very well. If cost is no object and you want the best ride possible this is the one for you! Available at The Home Depot Also available at Tractor Supply, ACME Tools and your local Toro Dealer.

  4. Inexpensive Fabricated Deck:
    ariens-edge-42 zero turn

    Ariens Edge

    Ariens Edge 42 Briggs Model 915253. There are a lot of inexpensive 42-inch zero-turns on the market but this is the only one with a fabricated deck. This zero turn mower is packed with all the premium features Ariens is known to deliver all for only $2799!

  5.  Flip-Up Deck, Joystick Steering:
    country clipper

    Flip-Up Deck

    Country Clipper Avenue 42 inch. You may have never heard of Country Clipper but they have been around since the early 90’s. They have primarily been offered in rural areas and are the mower of choice for many farmers and ranchers. All Country Clipper mowers feature a flip-up deck for easy maintenance and joystick steering so almost anyone can use one. (Lap bar steering is optional on some models) In addition, Country Clipper offers front steps and hand-bars for getting on and off the machine. If you have any physical disabilities and still want to mow your lawn this is the first mower you should consider. Read more and find your local dealer, here: Country Clipper

42-46 inch Heavy-Duty 10 ga Fabricated Decks 

  1.  Most Agile Resdiential Mower On The Market:
    Walker-Model-R-21

    Walker Model R 21

    Walker Model R 42. As far as I know, there is only one 42 inch zero-turn on the market with a heavy-duty 10 ga fabricated deck. It’s also the only 42-inch ZTR with a front-mounted deck. The Model R uses the same heavy-duty deck that Walker uses on their much more expensive commercial models. That said, this is the best cutting, longest lasting workhorse of the 42 ich ZTRs.  The front-mounted ground-hugging deck gives you a great cut but it also rides and follows the ground contours giving you the best cut possible. This will give you the closest trimming capabilities of all mowers on the market! This mower will give you a golf-course quality lawn – all your neighbors will be jealous.  Set up a Demo at your home here: Get A Demo

By Paul Sikkema. Please Subscribe to my YouTube Channel Please Note: If you click on most of the links in this article and buy any product I will make a small commission from that sale. This is how I make money to keep this website up and running. Read more here: How to Support TodaysMower.com

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21 Comments

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