Gravely ZT XL Vs ZT HD: What’s Best For You?

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The Gravely XL and HD are both in the line of residential zero-turn mowers, and the major difference between the two is the level upgrade; where you have the HD at a step above the XL model, both individually paired with their suited abilities and how they can suit you. 

You might think that the HD is the obvious best choice since it features an upgrade of all the nice attributes you get on the XL, but that isn’t always the case. When you’re dealing with zero-turn mowers, it’s much trickier to seal a deal; you could easily pick the XL for less money and be completely bummed on realizing the goodies you have missed out on, or you could go for the HD and discover the bells and whistles – that you’ve painfully spent extra bucks for – are simply extras you could do without. That is why it’s crucial to fully understand the benefits of both models from your perspective, and also the reason why I am discussing this topic. 

If you’re wondering whether to purchase the Gravely XL or the HD zero-turn mower, I bring to you important points of consideration to help you discover which model is just the best for you. Let’s dig!

which gravely zt is right for you

Gravely ZT XL or HD: How To Decide in Eight Points

  • In Terms of Power

Power is one of the most essential features of a zero-turn mower. It determines how much effort the machine exerts when you mow. In this case, you have the Gravely ZT XL starting at 21.5 horsepower and settling on 25 horsepower depending on which deck size you pair the mower with. So if you go for the 60-inch deck, the best-suited powerhouse will be the 25hp. Although it isn’t a rule you must follow because you could request for the XL you would like to purchase to be paired with any engine you desire. 

On the other side, with the Gravely ZT HD, you get to start from 21.5hp and settle at 26hp. There is a visible 1hp difference between the two model’s engine specs which could mean nothing to some people, but to those who mow tough resilient fields where an extra 1hp makes a great difference. 

The fact that you get 26hp paired with the 60-inch deck on the ZT HD in comparison to 25hp with the same deck size on the ZT XL makes the HD the much more powerful model. So if your yard is troublesome – you have tough plants, steep slopes, and the sort – OR you run slight businesses at the side that will require more time on your mower, I advise you to go for the Gravely ZT HD; that extra 1hp will go a long, long way. 

Otherwise, if you tend to flat plains that don’t put up a show when you go over them, I recommend you go for the Gravely ZT XL; there wouldn’t be much need for you to slap the extra bucks down for an HD. 

  • Transmissions and Speed

On the Gravely ZT XL, you get a Hydro-Gear 2800 transmission system that propels the machine at a forward speed of 7.5 miles per hour and a reverse speed of 3 miles per hour– very sufficient for residential use if you ask me. 

For the Gravely ZT HD, you’ll find the Hydro-Gear transmission which is a much beefier system in comparison to the HG-2800. This calls for a much smoother ride with no jerking or slight uncalled responses when you move around. You also run at a speed of  8 miles per hour instead of 7.5. Not much of a difference, but it’s clear anyway; you get to make sharper turns and run a little faster with the ZT HD in comparison to the ZT XL. 

  • Deck Types and Sizes

There are no two ways about it; you get a more aggressive deck on the Gravely ZT HD in comparison to the ZT XL. There’s better depth for better airflow, larger bolts and deck hangers, beefier spindles and drive belts, and an overall reinforcement of the deck.

 On the ZT HD model, you can control the deck heights by the pin and pedal system, but there’s a cheer; the decks have a lock feature that helps you secure the deck in the highest height for cases where you need to transport the machine up an elevated plane! Usually, you would have to awkwardly press on the foot pedal for as long as you need to successfully drive the machine into the carrier. See the difference?

 Deck sizes for the ZT HD range from 44 to 60 inches with cutting heights varying from 1.5 to 5 inches in quarter increments. 

On the ZT XL, you get deck sizes ranging from 42 to 60 inches. This range is useful if you are rather keen on deck sizes. You might need a small deck to suit your shed or maneuver through obstacles that could only be done with the 42-inch deck. The XL model uses a dial knob and foot pedal adjustment system to regulate height from 1.5 to 4.5 inches in quarter increments respectively. 

  • Cut Quality

The cut quality on the ZT XL model is good, just not as good as the ZT HD; cutting and striping are fairly the same, but mulching has better quality than the HD model. This is because the depth of the deck and the stamina of the XL model – which keeps the mower and the deck leveled – aren’t as excellent as that of the HD. Overall, though, you’d get a good cut out of the ZT XL model. 

On the ZT HD model, the cut quality is superb; they will cut, stripe, and mulch beautifully. Mulching is especially better on the ZT HD because the decks are built with better depth and airflow for the clippings to ruminate properly as they get mulched. 

  • Traction and Stability

On the Gravely ZT XL, the tires are 20 by 8 to 20 by 12 turf tires. The sizes are suitable for residential use but could do much better if they were a few inches larger for slopes and wet terrain. 

The tires on the Gravely ZT HD are much beefier in comparison to the ZT XL; you get 22 by 10 to 22 by 12 turf tires – depending on the deck sizes or your preferences – tethered to larger forks and a more aggressive frame in comparison to the ZT XL. This calls for better traction and stamina whilst mowing. If your yard is sloping at steep angles, you’d have a better advantage with this model. 

  • Comfort 

Comfort solely relies on the relationship between the mower and the user, which again, is preferable on the Gravely ZT HD model. They come with better-padded seats slapped on top of four shock-absorbing appliances that protect you from the angry waves you’d encounter when you run over bumps. Sadly, you don’t find this feature on the ZT XL model. Although the XL seats have good padding, they’re just not as good as the HD. 

Added to the seats, you also get a good legroom on the HD model with a standard foot mat, which is purchased separately on the XL. If you have a sensitive back, I will advise you to go with the XL. Otherwise, you’d be needing back rubs as often as you mow, especially if you’re willing for your zero-turn mower to last to the end of time!

Complementing the comfort, the drive levers on the HD are much easier to use. This is because they are separated halfway by a joint in the middle so that the parking system functions only from the top half of the levers. So, unlike the ZT XL which requires you to extend the arms outward to engage the parking brake, you pull the top half outward instead. This calls for a much more stable ride; no rowing or swaying motions by tiny side movements since the levers are immovable from halfway down.

  • Pricing

It’s a general rule for better products to cost you more, and the same applies especially to zero-turn mowers. 

The prices of both models strictly depend on the engine power, the size of the deck, and your dealer. The ZT XL will cost you about $5,500 while the ZT HD will cost you $6,500 respectively. 

There is a great difference of a thousand bucks between the two models, but here’s another fact to consider; if you go for the HD which costs more, you have a better reselling profit since it is Gravely’s high-grade residential model– your buyers will most likely be willing to upgrade to the high-grade model instead of the middle-grade, especially for a lesser amount of money. 

However, if you consider all the benefits and you see that they wouldn’t warrant any significant good to you, then the XL is your mower– save the extra one thousand bucks for accessories like a good tow cart or the bagging kit. It’s a win-win situation.

  • Warranty

On both mowers, you have a 4-year or 400-hour warranty to enjoy on both parts and labor. I will advise you to select a dealer that is closest to you to avoid hauling the mower on a 2-hour drive to fix a scratch. 

The Conclusion 

gravely zt xl vs zt hd

At this point, you’re an expert on deciding which model between the Gravely ZT HD and the ZT XL is best for you. If you’re still skeptical about concluding a choice for your new zero-turn mower, you should take a stroll around your yard to identify the features; If you deal with 4 and above acres of yard, or you see a measurable amount of bumps, ditches, and slopes, the ZT HD is your mower. 

If, on the contrary, you mow or have under 4 acres, or you have fewer bumps and slopes that could do without serious traction, then you can successfully choose the ZT XL model.

Zero-turn mowers are personal equipment; your dealer, neighbor, and even the manufacturer themself couldn’t know which model is the best for you. So, I trust you to make the finest decision for you, dear fellow lawn enthusiast!

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EL Mehdi (Medi), the founder and voice behind Desired Lawn Mower. He is a riding mower enthusiast who enjoys spending more time discussing and covering various ride-on mower topics. He has been active in the industry for years comparing models of different ZTR and lawn tractor brands.