How Do Zero Turn Mowers Work?

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How do zero turn mowers work?

Zero-turn mowers use caster wheels to easily navigate around the lawn. They mow large yards faster than a lot of riding mowers with a top speed higher than 5mph. Some of the best zero turn mowers come with special features such as innovative design, safety features, durable tires, and a powerful cutting deck.  

However, zero turn mowers don’t perform incredibly well on hills. It is not advisable to mow on slopes that are over 10-15 degrees. 

Why are they called “zero-turn”?

This term refers to the turning radius or a zero-degree turn radius. It implies that the mower can turn within its footprints. It has a mowing pattern of turning 180 degrees at the end of a mowing row. 

What kind of terrain are they good for?

The zero-turn mower operates efficiently on large, open and flat grounds. It can also perform mildly on small slopes and hills. 

How Do zero turn Mowers Perform on a Slope?


Poor performance on slopes is one of the notable zero turn mower problems many users have complained about. It is not recommended to mow on slopes that are over 10-15 degrees. Mowing on a 20-degree angle might make the tires lose traction. Always drive slowly while mowing. It is important to note that the mower will not turn if you are sliding.

Does Zero Turn Lawn mower Support Attachments?


A zero-turn mower supports a host of attachments such as mulch and bag kits, a trailer hitch, striping kits, headlight kits etc. Some zero-turn mowers give users the option to install a rollover protection structure (ROPS) as an extra safety feature.

What Drives the Wheels of a Zero-Turn Mower?

The drive wheels of a zero-turn mower are controlled by two independent motors. The zero-degree radius allows one wheel of the mower to turn forward while the other moves in reverse. Users can control the wheels to move in the same or separate directions. Each rear wheel is connected with a lever that controls the two motors.

Tips for Driving Zero Turn Mowers

Basic operation

You have to practice how to operate a zero-turn mower effectively and safely. Most zero-turn mowers are controlled by two levers. Moving the two levers forward signifies that you want to move forward while moving them backward signifies that you want to reverse.

You can accomplish a turn by moving the levers independently. Steering, acceleration and braking functions are controlled by the hand with the help of the levers. This is different from conventional lawn mowers. 


Zero-turn mowers come with a three-point turn which controls the mower to stop before a turn, moving both levers for reverse and executing a turn. This feature prevents the wheels from tearing your lawn.

Driving on Hills

Do not mow on hills that are greater than 15 degrees. Slow down while moving on inclines. You should avoid sharp turns. Mow on dry grass to increase traction. 

Speed and braking feature

A zero-turn mower has faster speed than a lot of mowers. Its high-speed rate can pose a challenge for new operators. It requires that you react quickly when you want to stop. The braking feature is different from a lot of conventional mowers. 

Most of them don’t have a foot brake pedal, hence, braking is done by moving the steering levers to a neutral position. You simply need to practice well to get this correctly.

Zero-Turn Mower Pros

  • A zero-turn mower comes with a zero-radius technology which makes cutting faster and precise.
  • It has a high-grade quality build-up. This improves the longevity of the mower’s lifespan. 
  • The durable tires enhance a smooth ride while mowing, making cutting easier.
  • A zero-turn mower runs on a powerful and versatile engine that produces  high output for efficient mowing.
  • It comes with large cutting decks that offer efficient cutting of thick and tall grasses. 
  • Some zero-turn mowers give users the option to install a rollover protection structure (ROPS) as an extra safety feature. 

Zero-Turn Mower Cons

  • A zero-turn mower is quite heavy.
  • It is a bit pricey.
  • It does not perform well on wet lawns.

Is a Zero-Turn Mower Worth it?

If you are looking for an efficient and versatile machine to mow your medium or large yard then a zero-turn mower is well worth it when you consider its high quality build-up, large cutting decks, efficiency on thick and long grasses, and its zero-turn radius which makes cutting faster and precise.