I’m going to discuss almost all the current zero turn mower brands sold in the U.S. (Let me know if I miss one) I’ll give you a general description of the ZTRs they offer and give you my opinion of the mowers/brand in general. Currently, Toro, Ariens, Cub Cadet, Husqvarna, John Deere, and Bad Boy are the most well-known brands mainly because they are sold at the “big box” retailers and spend the most on advertising. But, there are also thirty-one high-quality brands that are sold only at local dealers and farm equipment stores that have been around for years.
The Best Zero Turn Mowers save you time and many are built to last many, many years. Of the almost 400 different models of zero-turns available on the market for 2022, about 150 of those models are designed specifically for residential use.
Zero-turn mowers are available in gas, diesel, LP, and battery electric. They range in size and quality from inexpensive, economy models designed to mow your one-third acre lot to high performance, heavy-duty models designed to mow over 150 acres a day. While most zero-turn mowers are capable of mowing 10-15 degree slopes there are a few that can handle 40 degrees and can even be controlled remotely for extreme conditions. Almost all of them are made in the U.S.A. under 38 different brand names. Deciding which one is best for you can be hard to do. This article will help.
Check out the quick history of zero-turn mowers at the end of this article.
Please bookmark this article – it’s long and you’ll want to reference it from time to time.
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The information in this article is my opinion only. No company, brand, or individual has paid or influenced me.
What are the top brands of zero turn mowers? – The List – January 2022
The list is in no particular order and only lists zero-turn mowers that are currently offered in the U.S.
Note: All zero-turn mower brands make their mowers in the U.S.A except for three battery-powered machines.
Ariens is part of Ariens|Co – and is family-owned. Why Ariens? You know Ariens snowblowers but you may not know Ariens also offers a complete line of residential ZTRs. From the Economy Edge, the very popular IKON XD and heavy-duty APEX to the commercial-inspired Zenith for large acreages, the Ariens ZTRs are some of the best value mowers in the industry right now.
15 Models ranging from economy residential to high-end residential
Gravely is part of Ariens|Co – and is family-owned. Why Gravely? Here in the U.S. I consider Gravely to be the commercial side of Ariens|Co’s Outdoor Power Equipment. Yes, They have a residential IKON XD equivalent but don’t carry an EDGE equivalent. They also have an IKON XD equivalent with stronger transmissions called the ZT XL for those of you who like the IKON XD but want the stronger ZT2800 transmissions.
From there up in the model line it’s all about rugged, dependable zero-turns that are designed for every level of mowing contractors. From the Pro-Turn Z that’s great for the “two guys and a truck” crowd to the Pro-Turn 600 that will mow all day long – every day – for years.
Gravely was also the first of the major zero-turn mower brands to offer the Pro-Turn EV electric zero-turn mower. If you are required to use battery power or if you just want to take your lawn care business “green” it’s the first mower you should look at.
63 Zero Turn models ranging from mid-priced residential to high-end commercial
9 Stand On commercial and high-end commercial models
6 Commercial Electric Zero-Turn models
Toro is part of The Toro Company Why Toro? Toro offers the most residential, commercial, and municipality mowers of all the zero turn mower brands. Personally, I feel Toro focuses on the best cut and the best quality mowers for the price.
Toro offers 31 residential zero-turn models ranging from 42-inch economy models to high-end models designed for large lawns. They are even offering “styled” mowers if you want great looking mower that also cuts and rides well. (No. I didn’t forget the 34-inch TimeCutter – It’s too small and I don’t recommend it)
Besides cut and quality Toro also has one of the best operator suspension systems on the market. The Toro MyRIDE® Suspension System takes out the bumps and jars of mowing and allows you to mow faster and not get worn out from the rough ride ZTRs are known for. Unlike other highly advertised suspension systems, the MyRide does NOT affect the quality of the cut.
Toro also offers 80 Commercial Models ranging from 42 to 144 inches. Owner-Operators can get dependable mowers in the size they need and businesses and municipalities can couple these high-quality zero-turns with Toro’s groundskeeping products to mow hundreds of acres a week, keep the sports fields in perfect condition and maintain Masters Level golf courses.
19 Stand-On Models ranging from 40 to 60 inches
Commercial Electric Models – 3 stand-on and 4 zero-turn announced
Robotic Models – Large area concept units have been announced
Exmark is part of The Toro Company Why Exmark? Exmark is aimed at the landscape contractor. In fact, if you see a trailer load of mowers heading for a worksite there is a good chance they will all be Exmarks.
Although Exmark and Toro zero-turns are made in the same factory Exmark features a high ground speed deck that can mow in just about all weather conditions. If you are a mowing contractor who needs to mow every day, rain, or shine and still get a picture-worthy cut you can’t go wrong with an Exmark Lazer Z.
Exmark’s website is hard to figure out so I’m not able to list exactly how many different models are available.
Mid-price zero-turn residential models ranging from 42-54 inches
Commercial Models range from 42 to 144 inches including a rear discharge deck for working around people.
Front deck models with integrated grass catcher
Stand-On Models ranging from 32 to 60 inches
Commercial Electric Models – stand-on and zero-turn announced
Robotic Models – Concept units have been announced
Spartan/Intimidator is part of The Toro Company Why Spartan? Spartan started out just a few years ago by disrupting the market. They came out with economical models that looked heavy-duty and were styled to look cool. Homeowners with a few acres could buy a ZTR that looked like a commercial mower for thousands less than the other zero-turn mower brands. Needless to say, the brand exploded overnight.
Spartan mowers have a few unique features like armrests that actually work and two-inch receivers on the front and back for mounting accessories like baggers and sprayers.
Today they are a full-line brand that now includes commercial and stand-on models. Spartan/Intimidator was just purchased by Toro. (January 2022)
Ventrac is part of The Toro Company Why Ventrac? Zero-turn mowers are designed to mow lawns but many of you want a mower to cut pastures, paddocks, set-aside, slopes, ditches, and fire breaks. The Ventrac is not a zero-turn as such but it is the rural-lifestyle or commercial system you need for those areas a zero-turn just can’t do. The Ventrac has over 40 available attachments including pasture mowers, brush mowers and even finish mowers for your actual lawn.
Country Clipper is a division of Shivvers Manufacturing Inc. – and is family-owned. Why Country Clipper? Country Clipper has been around as long as any other brand on the market. But they have always concentrated on being one of the best – not one of the biggest.
Country Clipper offers three levels of residential and three levels of commercial mowers ranging in deck widths from 42 to 72 inches.
Country Clipper mowers are built well, cut well, and will last most of us many, many years. I have a neighbor who mows 3 acres, never puts the mower away, never does any maintenance and his Country Clipper is still mowing after 26 years!
Country Clipper mowers offer a few unique features that other zero-turn mower brands do not.
Joystick Steering – Country Clipper offers a unique joystick steering system that anyone can use. It’s easy to learn and fun to use. The one-hand control has what I call a “speed gate” so that you can maneuver the mower at slow speeds but the ramped control reduces the movement of the joystick so at full-out high speeds you don’t make quick, dangerous turns accidentally like you can with lap-bar steering controls. The joystick is designed so that even the most novice operator won’t make divots on your lawn. You can also get your Country Clipper with lap-bar steering.
Stand-Up Deck – All Country Clipper mowers feature the Stand-Up deck so you can easily clean under the deck, sharpen blades, etc. (Optional electric assist)
Handicap Features – Country Clipper offers front steps for getting off and on the mower easily. They offer handrails to assist you if you have balance issues. Your local dealer can also move the joystick to the right or left side. In other words, if you are old and stiff they have accessories to help you get on and off. If you have bad shoulders using the armrests and moving the joystick to your good side will let you mow with a minimum of pain. You can literally mow with one hand.
If you have a Country Clipper dealer near you I highly recommend you check them out.
Walker is part of Walker Manufacturing – and is family-owned. Why Walker? There are many great zero turn mower brands on this list and almost all of them make a mower I can recommend for you – but if I had to pick just one brand it would be Walker with its unique line of mowing systems.
Walker offers one residential mower that is designed to give you the very best cut.
All the other models are commercial units and can be equipped with various decks, collection systems, and other attachments to make your Walker work all year-round for you.
Walkers out-front decks move independently from the power unit. If you have a highly contoured lawn this is a real advantage over mid-mount ZTRs. It cuts the dips evenly and doesn’t scalp on the bumps. You can cross-stripe berms without scalping the top or gouging the bottom
All the models feature flip-up decks for easy deck maintenance and to take less room on your trailer. All models feature easily removable decks and with the commercial units you can swap out decks or attachments for different types of mowing and other tasks. In other words, in the morning you can mow/bag a lawn on the top of a skyscraper, and that afternoon change the deck and mow the 10-acre park at street level – all with the same power unit. (Yes, the Model S will fit in an elevator 🙂
With the drive wheels in the center of the mower, you have the best traction all the time and with a little practice, you will not divot any type of turf. The center of gravity is the lowest so it handles slopes better than sit-down mid-mount ZTRs.
It’s the fastest for complicated properties. If you have a lot of small areas to mow, more trees you can count, many landscape beds to mow around and mounds to mow over it is hands-down the fastest mower to use for that type of landscaping.
Walker offers seven power units, four different types of decks ranging from 36 to 74 inches, and over sixteen attachments so that you can mow any lawn and do many other tasks including snow removal, sweeping, spreading, and debris management.
ALTOZ | Precision Mowers
ALTOZ is part of Central Boiler – and is family-owned. Why ALTOZ? ALTOZ products are all high-quality and high-performance commercial and residential machines, each built with a dedication to excellence and the promise of a precision cut. ALTOZ mowers are built heavier-duty than most of the ZTRs you will see sitting in your local big box or hardware store. They have the only track-drive zero-turn and track-drive stand-on mower currently on the market.
Wright is part of Wright Manufacturing, Inc – and is family-owned. Why Wright? Wright does not offer a residential zero-turn mower but they do offer some of the best lap-bar ZTRs and stand ons in the industry.
Stand on mowers from 32 – 72 inches
Lap-Bar ZTR mowers from 48-72 inches.
If you want to start your own lawn service and have a dealer in your area – check them out.
SCAG is part of Metalcraft of Mayville, Inc. Why SCAG? In the latest industry numbers, I have, SCAG is the number three commercial mower manufacturer. (Toro/Exmark is first/second) SCAG has a huge number of commercial owner/operators who will buy nothing else.
Six different levels of mowers ranging from the 36-inch residential Liberty Z to the 72-inch Turf Tiger II. The Turf Tiger II can be equipped with a 40 HP EFI engine.
Bob-Cat (Schiller Grounds Care, Inc.) mowers were purchased by Bobcat about a year ago. Why Bobcat? Bobcat updated the mowers and they are now available through your local Bobcat equipment dealer.
They look good and I expect them to live up to Bobcat’s reputation for making quality commercial products. If you are a contractor and spend more time at the Bobcat dealer than the John Deere franchise – check these mowers out.
Bad Boy is partnered with The Sterling Group. Why Bad Boy? Bad Boy has a cult following because they look cool, have wicked styling, and you can spot them on a lawn from a mile away. They always have an over-the-top display at the larger OPE dealer shows like GIE-EXPO.
They offer a full line of residential and commercial zero-turn mowers
Bradley Mowers is part of Havener Enterprises, Inc and is privately held. Why Bradley Mowers? Bradley is a small company that only makes six sizes of stand-on mowers. But, they have been around since the early ’90s and the quality of every mower they produce is outstanding. They don’t have a large dealer network but they do have a phone that always gets answered if you have a problem or need parts. Anything you need is quickly handled – sometimes by the owner himself. Because of this Bradley offers some of the highest quality mowers for much, much less than the other brands.
Bush Hog is part of The Alamo Group Why Bush Hog? If you live in the middle of nowhere and your only dealer is a farm implement dealer who sells anything not painted green, Bush Hog is a very good choice. It is a great choice if you need a ZTR to mow your acreage. They are tough, they mow well, and are made for the beating any farm lawn can dish out. Over the years these ZTRs have been sold under various names including Woods, Land Pride, and Bush Hog but the quality and durability has always been great.
Dixie Chopper is part of The Alamo Group Alamo is a large farm-oriented brand and you can be assured Dixie Chopper has finally found a good home. Why Dixie Chopper? Dixie Chopper has had a long and storied history. (Remember the dual engine 50HP, 72-inch ZTR?) Dixie Chopper got its claim to fame with its stainless steel side panels and slogan “World’s Fastest Lawn Mower.”
Today, Dixie Chopper has been moved to central Illinois and the two residential and four commercial ZTRs have all been updated.
EGO is part of Chervon and is Chinese-owned. Why EGO? EGO OPE (Outdoor Power Equipment) is based around their 60-volt battery system. The batteries will fit all of their OPE – meaning the same battery will power your string trimmer, leaf blower, walk behind mower, and zero-turn mower.
The 42-inch ZTR comes with four 10 AH batteries and has slots for two more. This allows the ZTR to mow up to 4 acres with the six batteries.
The 52 inch comes standard with six 12 AH batteries for up to 4 acres on one charge.
The EGO ZTRS are computer-controlled and you can adjust many settings like forward speed and blade tip speed so you can use it at full power for normal/heavy grass or dial it down for lighter mows.
Ryobi is part of TTI. (Techtronic Industries) The main office is located in Hong Kong. Why Ryobi? Ryobi was one of the first brands to offer a residential battery ZTR and now offers both a 42-inch and 54-inch model.
The Ryobi’s are the most popular battery ZTRs right now because they are the least expensive. They are the least expensive because they are still using lead-acid AGM batteries instead of the more costly Lithium-ion. Compared to the other brands using Lithium-ion technology, you will have to replace the batteries more often. Of course, the replacement batteries of the Ryobi are much cheaper than a Lithium-ion so the total cost of ownership over time is about the same.
Ferris is part of Briggs & Stratton. Briggs & Stratton is owned by KPS Capital Partners. Why Ferris? Ferris is the only brand that suspends the entire mower with shocks and springs. This gives you a car-like ride. Depending on the model they offer swing arm front with rear suspension to full, four-wheel independent suspension. The deck moves up and down with the chassis – not the wheels. This type of suspension works very well on smooth, finished lawns the best.
Ferris has one residential model and nine commercial models
Snapper is part of Briggs & Stratton. Briggs & Stratton is owned by KPS Capital Partners. Why Snapper? Snapper is currently offering one economy residential and one mid-level zero-turn mower. If you are looking for a “standard” heavy-duty zero-turn mower for your larger residential lawn without all the bells and whistles the 360Z XT ZERO TURN MOWER is a good choice.
Simplicity is part of Briggs & Stratton. Briggs & Stratton is owned by KPS Capital Partners. Why Simplicity? The Simplicity name has been around for a long time and their Prestige and Legacy Garden Tractors have a stellar reputation. They have also been offering mid-mount zero-turn mowers since the early 90’s.
With the exception of the entry-level Courior, the current Simplicity zero-turns are all modeled after the Ferris commercial machines. They offer six models ranging from the economy Courier to the high-end residential Cobalt LE. If you have a local Simplicity dealer and you are looking for a good to high-quality zero-turn for your larger residential lawn – check them out.
Cub Cadet is part of Stanley, Black & Decker. Cub Cadet Zero-Turns are manufactured by MTD which is also part of Stanley, Black & Decker. Why Cub Cadet? MTD has used many different brand names over the years but Cub Cadet has always been MTD’s flagship line. Cub Cadet offers residential and commercial models.
The residential models have always had a few more features than MTD’s other brands and are highly rated by the companies that rate residential OPE equipment like Consumer Reports. All Cub Cadet zero-turn mowers use a fabricated deck (except ZT1 42) Cub Cadet has the largest dealer network of all the MTD brands. Almost all of you will be able to find a servicing dealer within 20 miles of your home.
Cub Cadet currently offers:
Ultima ZT1 – Economy residential zero-turn mowers. If you want a good mower for your 1/3 to 5-acre lawn these are some of the best-value mowers for you.
Ultima ZT2 – More features, stronger transmissions, decks, and engines than the ZT1. If your lawn is rougher, you want to pull more than a small yard cart, or you just want the stronger components this is also a good-value series.
Ultima Electric ZT – The Ultima Series™ ZT1 42E is a state-of-the-art lithium-ion zero turn that uses a lot more metal than the other electric zero-turns on the market right now.
Ultima ZTS – Of all the 2022 residential mowers available this is my personal favorite! Why? It drives like a car – foot control forward/reverse, cruise control, and a steering wheel that automatically keeps the rear wheels from tearing up your turf. You can drive it with one hand! Even more, it will handle ditches and slopes up to 20 degrees! (All other residential ztrs only handle 10-15 degree slopes.)
Ultima ZTX – The ZTX4, ZTX5, and ZTX6 mowers have commercial-grade components and features at a residential price. These mowers can easily handle up to 12 acres.
Pro Z Commercial – Cub Cadet offers a complete line of lap bar, stand-on, and steering wheel mowers for professional and commercial uses. New this year is the SurePath line of GPS-equipped commercial zero-turns. These mowers are designed to reduce your mowing time by using GPS to minimize the overlap and give you that “show-worthy” striping.
Craftsman is part of Stanley, Black & Decker. Craftsman Zero-Turns are manufactured by MTD which is also part of Stanley, Black & Decker. Why Craftsman? Craftsman at Lowes is the least expensive line of zero-turn mowers available right now. Stamped cutting decks, lightweight frames, adequate power from the engine gives you a ZTR that will mow your “typical” lawn well. With a little maintenance, you can easily get your money’s worth out of these mowers.
Craftsman ZTRs are offered in four sizes – 42-inch, 46-inch, 50-inch, and 54-inch.
Troy-Bilt is part of Stanley, Black & Decker. Troy-Bilt Zero-Turns are manufactured by MTD which is also part of Stanley, Black & Decker. Why Troy-Bilt? Troy-Bilt at The Home Depot is the least expensive quality zero-turn mowers available right now. Stamped cutting decks, lightweight frames, adequate power from the engine and minimal accessories give you a ZTR that will mow your “typical” lawn well. With a little maintenance, you can easily get your money’s worth out of these mowers.
Troy-Bilt ZTRs are offered in four sizes – 42-inch, 46-inch, 50-inch, and 54-inch.
Dewalt is part of Stanley, Black & Decker. Dewalt Zero-Turns are manufactured by MTD which is also part of Stanley, Black & Decker. Why Dewalt? Dewalt is a name you trust so why shouldn’t Dewalt sell mowers?
I almost had a chance to test a Dewalt last spring but the pandemic got in the way. That said, these mowers appear to be made in the same factory as the high-end Cub Cadets and fit between the Cub Cadet Ultima ZTX and the Cub Cadet Pro Z. So, they are commercial mowers that cost less than the Cub Cadet Pro Z line and just a little more than the high-end residential Ultima ZTX series.
If you are a smaller owner/operator or just getting into the lawn care business check them out here: Dewalt mowers
Excel Hustler is now part of Stanley, Black & Decker. Why Excel Hustler? Excel Industries has made more different types of zero-turn mowers than any other brand over the years. From the first residential zero-turn that you rode like a pony to slope mowers that automatically kept the operator level up to 45 degrees, to large area airport mowers that could crab-steer along noise control slopes.
Eventually, the market changed to the point where the mid-mount ZTR became the most popular mower on the market. Excel/Hustler changed with that trend and the Raptor was introduced. The Raptor is a very popular mower and has been sold in Lowes, The Home Depot, and rural-lifestyle stores. Today, Hustler is primarily sold at dealers.
Hustler offers eight residential modes and twelve commercial models ranging from 34 inches to 104 inches. They also introduced a 42-inch electric ZTR for 2022.
It was just announced that Stanley, Black & Decker just purchased the company. We’ll see where that takes Hustler in the next few years.
Excel Big Dog
Excel Big Dog is now part of Stanley, Black & Decker. Why Excel Big Dog? When Excel/Hustler decided to sell their mowers at the big box store the dealers wanted an exclusive brand that they could call their own. Big Dog is sold exclusively at dealers and you can primarily find them at rural-lifestyle dealers and farm stores. Although they are basically Excel Hustler mowers painted red they carry the best warranty in the industry – 7 years!
It was just announced that Stanley, Black & Decker just purchased the company. We’ll see where that takes Big Dog in the next few years.
Grasshopper Mowers are family-owned by Moridge Manufacturing. Why Grasshopper? Grasshopper front-deck mowers have been around for a long time and are popular not only with rural-lifestylers but municipalities. Farmers and municipalities like them because they are built like tanks and last. They cut well but are particularly suited to areas that don’t get mowed every week. The deep decks can handle overgrown turf better than most other brands. Buy the mid-mount if you want a durable, compact mower – buy the front deck if you want a great ride and a very, very rugged machine.
Husqvarna is part Husqvarna Group. Why Husqvarna? At this point in time – I don’t know. Five years ago Huqvarna residential zero-turns were among some of the most popular and they were moving into the commercial market big time. But today the U.S. lawn & garden division has been merged with another division and the only product they want to talk about is Robotic Lawn Mowers.
Case-in-point: GIE-EXPO is the nation’s largest lawn/snow equipment show and has over 20 acres of outdoor booths where you can test-drive new equipment. Husqvarna always has a large demo area. This year 80% of the area was dedicated to robotic mowers, 10% to commercial forestry, and only 10% for the commercial and residential Husqvarna/Red Max mowers and OPE.
Yes, all the zero-turn mowers are listed on the Husqvarna/US website, and they are also painted red and listed on the 30. RedMax website.
Feel free to enlighten me and let me know if I am missing something obvious about Husqvarna in the comments section at the end of the article. I’ll gladly revise this section based on the verified info I get from you.
John Deere is part of John Deere & Company. Why John Deere? John Deere makes a wide range of zero-turn mowers ranging from the economy Z300 residential series to the popular ZTrak 900R commercial mowers.
Homeowner: I prefer the Z500 series for most homeowners. The mowers ride well, handle well, and have some of the best cutting decks in the industry.
Commercial: The ZTrak mowers are very popular with many landscape contractors.
Kubota U.S. is part of Kubota Tractor Corporation. Kubota is a Japanese corporation but about half of the products sold in the U.S., including the zero-turn mowers, are made in the U.S.A. Why Kubota? Kubota has always been known for its quality – not just the compact tractors but also the many different commercial mowers they have produced over the years. Their out-front floating deck mowers were the industry standard until the mid-mount craze took over the market. Kubota has greatly expanded the zero-turn mower line over the last five years and now has over 36 individual models.
Mean Green Mowers
Mean Green Mowers is part of DR Power Equipment, a division of Generac Holdings Inc. Generac is owned by CCMP Capital of New York. Why Mean Green? Mean Green was the first all-electric commercial brand. They have more electric mowers out mowing “green-space” than any other brand at the moment.
They have kept up with the technology and are constantly updating their offerings. If you have commercial space that requires you to have an all-electric fleet – Mean Green is the first brand to consider at this point in time.
Greenworks is part of the Globe Group. It is a Chinese company and all products are made in Changzhou, China. Stihl has a minority share in this company. Why Greenworks? Greenworks offers both commercial electric mowers and now residential models. The CRZ 428 shown above is their new residential model and uses the same 60 Lithium-ion batteries as their other UltraPower 60-volt tools. The CRZ 428 will be available at Tractor Supply this spring.
I don’t have a lot of info on these mowers yet. I saw them at GIE-EXPO last fall, they are well-built and they will be a strong competitor to the Ryobi and EGO brands.
kut kwick is a privately owned company from Brunswick, GA, and has been in the business of making mowers since 1942. Why kut kwick?
kut kwick zero-turn mowers are unique in the fact that they can mow a 40-degree slope and have a patented swivel seat that allows the operator to be comfortable using it on the steepest slopes. If you are mowing right-of-ways, dam embankments, and other extreme mowing areas this is the first mower you should look at. They have models that are great for fire control and brush removal. The model pictured above is also available with remote control.
They have different blades available for finish mowing, rough cut mowing, and extreme fire/brush removal.
They have two models that are the largest horsepower ZTRs on the market – 72 HP!
These mowers are built to last – I personally know of a 1991 model that is still going strong. They are expensive but they are much more productive than the remote control brush mowers on the market right now. If I was a landscape contractor in an area that is prone to brush and wildfires I’d have one of these in my arsenal. Get the word out and property owners, municipalities, and corporations would keep you busy year-round!
Lastec is part of Wood-Mizer Holdings Group. Why Lastec? This zero-turn mower is specifically designed to mow golf courses and high-quality turf that needs a perfectly even cut.
The articulating and flexing decks are important for golf courses that have rolling hills, mounds, and slopes. These ZTRs don’t scalp any type of landscape features like other mowers.
WorldLawn Power Equipment
WorldLawn Power Equipment is based in Beatrice, Nebraska, and is part of Jiangsu World Plant-Protecting Machinery Co., Ltd. WPM is part of a larger company, WorldGroup, which is one of China’s Top 500 companies. Why WorldLawn? WorldLawn purchased Encore Mowers in 2011 and made two good decisions. One, they decided to base all their mowers off of the well-established and reliable Encore design, and two, they decided to keep all production of the zero-turn mowers in Beatrice. Encore and Worldlawn mowers are the same – just different decals.
Encore/WorldLawn Power Equipment is based in Beatrice, Nebraska, and is part of Jiangsu World Plant-Protecting Machinery Co., Ltd. WPM is part of a larger company, WorldGroup, which is one of China’s Top 500 companies. Why Encore? Encore is one of those brands that make good, dependable zero-turn mowers – you’ve just never heard of them. Why? Encore originally had a unique business model. They used sales associates to go around and demo the equipment on your property. While that worked well for sales, they never developed a good dealer base to help with service after the sale. So, they never really gained market share and in 2011 WorldLawn bought them out.
They still don’t have a widespread dealer base but if you have a dealer near you check them out.
Briggs & Stratton: American-made vertical shaft lawn tractor and zero-turn engines!
Kawasaki engines: American-made!
Kohler engines: American Made!
Toro – ExMark engines: Loncin. The Toro and Exmark branded engines are developing a great reputation.
LCT: At this time they mainly sell snowblower engines. Just the best reputation. Found on Ariens and Husqvarna snow blowers.
MTD: PowerMore – Zongshen. Usually labeled the same as the brand. i.e., Craftsman, Cub Cadet, Troy-Bilt. They have single and twin-cylinder EFI engines for residential use.
Generac: Generac primarily makes engines for generators but a few have found their way to zero-turn mowers. Great Reputation, great engines
Yamaha: For 2018 Yamaha has entered the Zero-turn mower market.
Attachment & Accessory Manufactures:
Acrease Tow-Pull Behind Mowers and Till-Ease Tillage Equipment
Acrease is owned by Kunz Engineering. Acrease mowers are not ZTRs but are designed to compliment your heavy-duty mower – especially if you have two or more acres to mow. Matt Kunz has a great line of high quality, heavy-duty finish and rough-cut mowers. These mowers are designed to pull behind or alongside your existing mower or UTV and reduce your mowing time and trimming considerably. For example, I used two or their 60-inch commercial finish mowers with a 60 inch Exmark Laser and could mow up to 17 acres an hour. They are more expensive than the Swisher, Agri-Fab, and Stanley wing mowers, but worth every penny in increased productivity and strength. Their rough-cut mowers are the best for ditches, fields, horse pastures, and paddocks.
Agri-Fab: Tools and Attachments.
OxCart: YouTube: OxCart. If you are tired of cheap yard carts that only last a few years check out the OxCart. They offer models for your zero-turn all the way up to heavy-duty, high-speed carts for pulling behind your UTV.
Ohio Steel: A complete line of Lawn & Garden products for your zero-turn, lawn tractor, and garden tractor.
Plus 20 other large and small attachment and accessory manufacturers.
A quick history of zero-turn mowers:
- 1949 – Max Roper patents the first zero-turn mower. The Ride King. (look it up on Google)
- 1964 – John Regier patents the first hydraulically driven Zero-turn mower. Excel/Hustler manufactured it.
- 1974 – Dixon coined the term “zero-turn radius” with its mid-mount residential mower. Their mechanical cone-drive CVT transmission made mowing fun!
- 1980 – Walker introduces the first compact commercial zero-turn. If you want the very best cut the Walker is still the mower to beat today.
- 1984 – Shivvers Manufacturing creates the Country Clipper Zero Turn Mower. They produced many of the zero-turn mowers for other brands including Snapper, Yazoo, Bush Hog, Snapper, and Dixon up until 1995. They are still making quality mowers today under the Country Clipper brand.
- 1984-1995 – The market exploded and more than 50 manufacturers entered the zero-turn mower market. Does anyone remember the “Billy.?”
- 1989 – Country Clipper developed the lawn and garden industry’s first joystick operated zero turn mower
- 1995 – Bill Wright patents the stand-on zero-turn mower and introduces the Wright Stander in 1997. Dane Scag is on the same mission and actually gets his Great Dane stand-on to market in 1996. (But Wright won the patent war)
- 1995 – Exmark introduces the Lazer Z. It was the first commercial mid-mount zero-turn widely accepted by lawn mowing contractors. Toro purchased Exmark in 1997 and the rest is history. Any mid-mount zero-turn you buy today is heavily influenced by this one mower.
- 1997 – SCAG introduces the TURF TIGER. This was the second most popular mid-mount ZTR for many years.
- 2013-2015 Cub Cadet and Toro both introduced steering wheel zero-turn mowers. Cub Cadet perfected it – Toro dropped it after 2 years.
- 2020 – 2021 – The great buyout period. Ariens acquires AS-Motor, KPS Capital acquires Briggs & Stratton, Alamo Group buys Dixie Chopper, Toro buys Spartan Mowers, MTD buys Craftsman, Stanley Black & Decker buys MTD, and Excel industries.
- 2022 – Today, even the least expensive residential zero-turn mowers are miles ahead of the ZTR’s built in the early 90’s. Many improvements have been made including better engines, better hydrostatic transmissions, better cutting decks, and stronger frames. The industry has matured nicely and as long as you are buying American-made products you can expect almost all of the zero-turn mowers to cut well.
- 2022 and beyond. Electric ZTRs are starting to take hold in the industry. AriensCo and Mean Green have the current lead but the competition is grwing quickly. Expect almost every brand to have an electric zero-turn in the next 2-3 years.