Best Small Zero Turn Mower for Superior Lawn Care

best small zero turn mower

A beautiful lawn is a pride of a property owner, a manicured lawn is an aesthetic aspect of your home but it’s not an easy task to keep your lawn looking pristine. It's a tough job that often requires hours or days to keep it the way it is. The epitome of lawn care starts with a great grass cutter. But if you have a 2000 square foot property, you know you need to buy nothing less than the best small zero turn mower to maintain your property.

What are the features of a small zero turn mower?

We love zero turn mowers for their efficiency, but what size of mower should you get? What’s an appropriate mower for a large property lawn or garden? These are common questions many think of when considering to purchase a ZTR for the first time. 

You need a small zero turn mower:

  • If you have a property that has multiple narrow paths or lawns where many trees are growing close to each other, you need a mower that will fit through that path.
  • If your lawn is at least 1000 square feet up to an acre
  • You have a landscape and garden that also has obstacles mixed terrain types where grass grows in between

When looking for smaller zero turn mowers, you should consider the following features:

  1. Mowing deck under 48 inches. Any mowing deck larger than 48 inches are pretty huge already and they would come with a heavier steel frame body making it a heavy machine.
  2. Lower than 25 horsepower engine. Having a 25 horsepower engine for a mower is quite a large and powerful engine. However, this is just enough to power through tougher types of grass and weeds to cut. Larger engines drive up the cost of your mower. For a smaller mower lower than 48 inches, a 25 HP engine is already a luxury.
  3. Comfortable and easy rider experience. Even if you’re not going to mow for long hours, getting the right mower that offers a simpler and more comfortable ride will make mowing a more enjoyable and less tedious task.
  4. Quality frame. Getting a strong frame for your mower will ensure its longevity and definitely its durability.
  5. Additional features. A cup holder doesn’t sound bad even if you’ll only take an hour of your time mowing. Still, even with a small mower having extra features like upgradable mulching kits or a wide cargo bed are a bonus for anyone wanting to get a ZTR.

Why choose a small zero turn lower mower?

Though zero turn mowers are efficient, they aren’t fit for all types of lawns. Mowers are generally divided into different size ranges. 

  • They offer easy maneuverability and speed

They are great for lawns that are at least 2000 square feet but the advantage of getting smaller zero-turn mowers is that they are lighter. It’s easier to move around and it’s definitely much easier to make sharp turns, go through tight narrow paths and mow over softer soil types. 

  • They are easy to maintain

Smaller z-turns are very easy to keep. Everything is a hand's reach away because it doesn't have a lot of welded frames for supporting a heavy machine and gets in the way of repair. Smaller parts are easier to reach and identify. So if it does have problems, it’s faster for you to find the cause and address them. Larger machines are more complicated with added parts additional wiring and multiple places for upgrades.

  • The parts are cheaper

Smaller machines are made with lesser quality materials. Don’t get me wrong, they’re still built using superb support and welded metal steel or alloy. Since smaller machines aren’t meant for acres of lawn mowing, they don’t need those extravagantly expensive metal frames made for extreme mowing. Hence finding replacement parts are cheaper. Fixing dents and patching holes will also cost lesser than maintaining ZTR beasts for fields.

  • They have a lower cost of ownership

Yes, they’re cheaper to buy than larger zero-turn mowers but overall, including lawn tractors smaller zero turns are by far the most cost-efficient. Since they cut mowing time, trim grass in moderate conditions, and use less gas, they have less wear and tear. They have a longer lifespan because they don’t deal with extreme mowing conditions that most large ZTRs are built for but they are more efficient than lawn tractors.

  • They are easier to use

As I have mentioned, smaller zero turn mowers aren’t very complicated. You don’t need a lot of upgrades like suspended seats or large cupholders and such because you won’t spend much time mowing an acre of land. Larger machines offer such features because they can mow more than 5 acres taking you hours on the field. But smaller ZTRs aren’t built for such heavy-duty mowing. They are designed to manicure lawns to perfection making their precision cutting top notch. All these while making mowing an easy task, you don’t need extra features on your dashboard to make the most of your mower.

Is buying a cheap z-turn mower worth it?

Honestly, there are no cheap zero-turn mowers. All z-turns cost thousands of dollars and all are great investments. Smaller mowers are definitely more affordable mainly because of the size. However, considering the function and the efficiency of a ZTR., it cannot be matched by other types of mowers making them highly worth every penny you spend. 

The only difference in cost prices between different types of mowers are due to the:

  • The material used to build the mower
  • The size and the type of engine you’re using
  • The number and type of mower blade used
  • The size and material used to make your mowing deck
  • Extra added features

For more information about the cost of zero turn mowers, check this price guide

Best Small Zero Turn Mowers

Cub Cadet Ultima ZT1

Cutting Width

With 42 inches of cutting grass, this small zero turn mower cuts your mowing time in almost 50% compared to a riding lawn tractor and a typical walk-behind lawnmower. Improve your mowing experience with a triple-blade machine that offers precision cutting at its finest.

Engine

Get a 22 horsepower Kohler KT7000 Series V-twin engine, this machine allows you to trim your lawn effortlessly. You’re ensured to have a professional-quality finish with every pass as you mow through your lawn. The machine allows you to also speed up to 7 miles per hour and do a reverse mow at a top speed of 3.5 miles per hour.

Material

For enhanced strength, the frame is built with a 2x2 continuous square tubular steel frame. This optimizes the durability allowing you to have a mower that performs at optimal speed and power. 

The Cub Cadet uses an enhanced corrosion-free system to protect the mower. With a 12-gauge steel cutting deck, it provides a durable home for your mowing blades keeping the blades from easily wearing out.

Rider Experience

With a streamlined comfortable rider’s seat, you’re guaranteed an enjoyable ride while you power through your lawn. With a foot assisted deck height adjustment, you can easily make adjustments to your cutting height.

Additional Features

The cub cadet offers an open frame engine frame. This allows you to have easy access to your engine and crucial parts of your machine. It also comes with headlights to assist you in low-light conditions. It also has a tow hitch to make it easier for you to pull your z-turn out if you’re stuck in a ditch.

Pros

  • Great for hilly areas
  • Built-in lights for mowing in the dark
  • Upgradable for mulching

Cons

  • Thin front wheels can cause tread marks

Overall

This cub cadet is a powerful z-turn that is perfect for smaller lawns. It’s narrower than massive machines that would raze through your field of grass. This machine is highly durable making it a perfect zero-turn for property owners with slightly rolling hills, tight walking paths, and more.

Ryobi Electric Riding Zero Turn Mower

Cutting Width

Made with a durable welded steel deck, your machine is guaranteed to go through your property with ease without causing much wear on your blades. With 42 inches of mowing capacity, you can easily go through narrow spaces and precisely cut through overgrown grass without a problem. It offers a 12-point height adjustment giving you the best grass height that suits your preference.

Engine

Choose an eco-friendly way of mowing your grass. This fully battery-operated machine reduces gas emissions and lessens the noise of mowing your property. With a 100 Ah battery and 4 high-powered brushless motors, you can easily mow up to 3 acres of grass in a single charge. 

Material

Made with 12-gauge steel, your mower is built to last. With a strong foundation, your battery-operated ZTR will surely offer tremendous mowing capacity that suits your needs for years to come. 

Rider Experience

Since the Ryobi zero turn mower is electric powered, it is a very quiet machine. In addition to a quieter mowing experience, the padded seat with synthetic leather upholstery offers great comfort as you cut your grass. 

Additional Features

You can charge this machine in a typical 120-volt outlet. Since it does not have a gas engine, it offers low maintenance because you don’t have to deal with smaller parts like spark plugs, filters, and belts. The dashboard also includes a battery level indicator, unit hour meter, and USB charging ports.

Pros

  • Affordable cost of ownership
  • Quiet and eco-friendly mowing
  • Long use of the machine in between charges

Cons

  • Unfit for slopey areas

Overall

If you’re looking for a powerful machine that’s not only eco-friendly but offers very little maintenance and low cost of use, the Ryobi Electric Riding ZTR is a great choice for any type of mowing task for all types of users. You’re going to love this electric mower since it offers great rider experience but also lets you save money in the long run.

Toro TimeCutter Commercial Riding Mower

Cutting Width

Give yourself a boost of mowing experience with a machine that can cover up to 42 inches. This will surely reduce your mowing time significantly. Give yourself a gorgeous lawn with the Toro TimeCutter. Its narrow deck allows you to navigate your way through tight spaces while leaving you with precisely cut grass.

Engine

With a 22.5 HP twin-engine, you won’t have to worry about a mower that busts right in the middle of a trim. Rest assured that your powerful engine will allow you to mow up to 3 acres of grass without wearing the machine out. In addition, the Toro TimeCutter comes with a smart speed auto-control that allows you to safely speed over your grass. It can mow to a maximum speed of 7 miles per hour, tow in 5.5 miles per hour, and trim at 4 miles per hour.

Material

On top of smooth steering, your time-cutter is built with durable 13 gauge steel. This sturdy frame and deck provide a sturdy frame that will surely make your machine trim your lawn for well over 3 years. 

Rider Experience

You’re always guaranteed a smooth ride with the TimeCutter. Offering superb quality seat and a step-on and off the deck, you can easily power up your engine and mow without sacrificing comfort. This mower has shock-absorbing dampeners assuring you with less bumpy rides every time you go out for a trim.

Additional Features

Clean up is easy with the TimeCutter. Not only are you reducing time to mow, but it also speeds up your cleaning time with a wash port. This easily washes out the muck, mud, debris, and sticky clippings from your deck preserving the quality of your blades and machine. Plus, you can enjoy your mowing task with your coffee using the cup holders and mini cargo bed.

Pros

  • Upgradable mulching kit
  • Shock-absorbing feature
  • Reverse cutting

Cons

  • Unfit for slopes

Overall

If you’re looking for a commercial z-turn mower that prioritizes quality trim in every pass, the TimeCutter is just the right choice. Comfort is also a priority for the Toro giving you a great mowing job without giving you the discomfort of mowing your lawn for long hours.

John Deere Z345M

Cutting Width

This small ZTR mower can still cover a wide range of grass with its 42-inch mowing deck. It has an Accel deep deck improving your cut quality even at high speeds. In addition, it also makes your mowing deck highly appropriate for blade upgrades to mulching mower blades.

Engine

Powered with a 22 HP twin-engine this John Deere ZTR can mow up to 7 miles per hour. Accompanied by wide 18 inch tires, your mower can go over tender soil and still mow your grass with utmost precision and leave your soil flawlessly cut without your wheel digging into your soil.

Material

Using a 12-gauge steel deck and body, you have a z-turn that can withstand the test of time and elements. Designed to withstand harsh conditions, your machine is definitely built for durability allowing you to simplify maintenance.

Rider Experience

Get improved seating quality with an 18-inch H padded seat. It offers a quick recline and seat adjustments to make adjustments for the rider’s absolute comfort.

Additional Features

Simplify cleaning with a deck cleanout giving you better access to your deck after every trim to ensure that your mower is functioning at optimal performance every time.

Pros

  • Very easy to maneuver
  • Simple and affordable mulching upgrade

Cons

  • Thin front wheels can dig into the soil

Overall

The John Deere small z-turn mower is a great machine for those who have tricky garden landscapes. With this machine, you can also mow in reverse allowing you to precisely cut and navigate through your property without any hassle.

Ariens Zoom Zero-Turn Mower

Cutting Width

Zoom over your tall grass and leave it looking gorgeous and manicured with the Ariens Zoom. Giving you a 42-inch mowing coverage, you will have less time cutting your grass. Get the perfect trim on the first pass with a triple blades mowing deck. 

Engine

Power up with a 19 HP twin-engine by Kohler. Made to deliver with every mowing task, you have a machine that can cater to the needs of a large lawn. This z-turn mower also provides lower vibrations and less noise giving you a more peaceful trim.

Material

The Ariens Zoom is made with a 12-gauge steel deck providing you with a strong foundation allowing you to constantly tackle the tough task of mowing your lawn. With a durable frame, you have reduced damage in every mow making sure that you can trim your lawn with the Zoom ZTR for a long time.

Rider Experience

Get a stable ride with this mower’s 4-point professional deck hanging system. Plus, get a comfortable ride with its 18-inch tall back seat making sure that you have a comfortable ride from beginning to end.

Pros

  • Comfortable seating
  • Triple blade for precision cutting
  • Great stability

Cons

  • Not fit for slopes

Overall

Get a straight forward mower that’s easy to use. Offering superb smooth rising experience, the Ariens Zoom is a ZTR you wouldn’t want to miss.

Comparison of the Best Small ZTR Mowers

Zero Turn Mower

No. of blades

Engine Type and Make

Terrain Type

Current Price

Our Rating

3

Gasoline

Kohler

Flat, Slopey

2

Electric

Ryobi

Flat with obstacles

2

Gasoline

Toro

Flat with obstacles

2

Gasoline

OEM Branded

Flat with obstacles

3

Gasoline

Kohler

Flat with obstacles

The Final Verdict

I have to say I have two favorites on my list. If you’re looking for the best small zero turn mower that offers a smooth mowing experience without hurting the environment and helps you save on costs at the same time then go for the Ryobi Electric Zero Turn Mower

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a small mower that offers superior mowing strength and durability, then I highly suggest you get the Cub Cadet Ultima ZT1. Hands down, it offers supreme performance and precision cutting in this list.

Leave a Comment