Are Zero Turn Mowers Good on Hills?

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Zero-turn mowers use the front caster wheels to enhance quick maneuverability around the lawn. The best zero turn mowers on the market are perfect for thick and tall grasses. And they mow large yards faster than many riding mowers.

The real question: are zero turn mowers good on hills at all? For a start, zero turn mowers don’t operate efficiently on hilly terrain. This is because the center of gravity is high. It is not safe to mow on slopes that are over 10-15 degrees. 

What is a Zero Turn Mower?


A zero-turn mower is a lawn machine that comes with a zero-degree turn radius. It has front wheels which enable fast movement around the lawn.

It does not have the traditional steering wheel or a pedal brake.

They come equipped with two rear wheels that have their independent motor and two steering handles that control them.

Why Do Zero Turn Mowers Struggle on Hills?


Zero-turn mowers struggle on hills because the front caster wheels lack stability or traction. This is a big problem for it to mow on steep hills.

It can only function efficiently on flat or mildly sloppy terrain. It does not operate efficiently on slopes that are above 10-15 degrees.

You might need another standard mower to fit into the task. 

Zero-turn mowers use the rear wheels for steering.

If you enter a steep slope with poor steering control it may make the mower move diagonally to the hill’s contour which may result in a possible rollover.

A zero-turn mower becomes inefficient when you make turns on slopes.  Read more about Best 34 inch Zero Turn Mowers.

How to Use a Zero-Turn Mower on Hills

How to Use a Zero-Turn Mower on Hills

If you are looking to get the best results mowing with your zero-turn mower on a hilly terrain, here are a few effective tips to follow:

Follow manufacturer recommendation

In the recommendation, manufacturers will instruct you about the suitable degree for mowing on slopes. By reading the manual, you will know the extent to which your zero-turn mower can operate on hills.

Determine the slope

You can use the pitch indicator to calculate the degree of the hill. Mowing on a 10-degree slope is easy to control but a 20- degree slope might make it hard to maintain your balance.

Ensure accurate steering

When mowing on hills, make sure that you control the steering accurately. If you need to turn left, make use of your right hand to steer it. Poor steering on slopes can result in accidents.

Control the speed

A zero-turn mower can mow your grass at a fast speed. It is important to drive slowly while mowing on hills. Maintain a constant velocity while you mow up and down the hill. Do not make a sharp turn because it can make the mower lose control.

Operate safely

Fasten your seat belt while mowing. It is better to mow on dry grass to avoid any slipping. Keep all objects away from the mowing area.

Best conditions for mowing on a slope

It is advisable to mow on dry grass and always mow during daylight hours such as midday to avoid casting shadows on the hillside.

Top-Rated Zero-Turn Mowers for Hills 

The Husqvarna MZ61

The Husqvarna MZ61 zero turn mower comes with three cutting blades that can perform well on hilly terrains. The heavy-duty frame is supported by a commercial-hydraulic system which offers an improved mowing operation on hills. The Husqvarna MZ61 wheels help ensure stability while mowing. 

The Ariens IKON XD 52

The Ariens IKON XD 52 runs on a powerful 23 HP 726cc Kawasaki engine that ensures excellent grass cutting on hills. It has larger tires that enhance a smooth ride on hilly terrains. Its 4-point hanging deck enables a more level cut while mowing. In addition, the Ariens IKON XD 52 is equipped with a hydraulic transmission which makes mowing easier on hills.

The Craftsman Z525 

The Craftsman Z525 is one of the best zero turn mower for hills. It comes with a dual hydrostatic transmission which prevents slipping. It is built with unique safety features and a powerful engine for mowing hills. The large engine power is also suited for tough mowing jobs. The Craftsman Z525’s high back seat prevents fatigue while mowing.

Alternative Mowing Options for Hills

If you are looking for alternative options to mow on hills, you can consider the following:

Robotic lawn mowers

Robotic lawn mowers work great on hills because you can program them to easily mow steep according to your schedule. They have large wheels with deep treads to prevent loss of traction.

Lawn tractors 

They have better traction and a larger turning radius to make a wider turn. This will make cutting more easier on hillsides. 

Other options such as string trimmers and slope mowers enhance a safer and improved operation on hills.