Every lawn is unique. From slopes and rough terrain to a cleverly crafted maze of trees, each lawn requires the right mower to make clean, precise cuts. To help you make the right decision when it comes to mower selec-tion, here are some expert tips on how to accurately choose a zero-turn lawn mower.
• Durability: Comparing specs on steel frame design and dimension, the gauge of the steel (the lower the gauge, the thicker the material) and protection surrounding the rear-mounted engine can provide a good idea of overall durability.
• Deck Construction: Residential mowers have decks of lighter-gauge steel stamped in a press. For typical residential properties, stamped decks are more than adequate, but for properties with rough terrain, they may be less durable than the commercial-grade welded decks. Manufacturers with professional heritage who also produce products for sports fields, golf courses and professional contractors, like Toro, can be trusted to provide high-quality, commercial-grade welded decks.
• Engine Design: It’s important to be alert for brands that are found on commercial zero-turn mowers or a mower manufacturer’s own brand. These engines can be customized for specific machines. At Toro, for example, engines are specifically matched to maximize perfor_mance for the product they control. Before each engine leaves the assembly line, it’s tested under load and checked for power levels and governor response to ensure peak performance.
• Easy-To-Adjust Cutting Height: Adjusting cutting height on a mower should be easy and fast. A foot assist will provide extra leverage in addition to a hand lever. This lets the operator quickly raise the deck for short peri-ods, such as mowing over an exposed tree root. Mowers that require manually adjusting the deck height can sig-nificantly reduce productivity.
• Tire Width: Wider tires distribute the machine’s weight over a large area and are easier on the grass. Addi-tionally, they provide improved traction.
• Comfort: Although zero-turn mowers reduce the amount of time spent mowing, comfort is still key. Ensure the seat is comfortable and provides good back support. Control panel location is also important. Make sure the controls are highly visible and within easy reach. Operation is less complicated when controls are on the same side.
• Ease of Use: Ensure your mower matches your experience level. Some zero-turn mowers provide adjustable mowing speed to match comfort. Choosing the “high mode” gives operators maximum speed for mowing flat, open spaces. “Low mode” creates enhanced maneuverability when cutting around trees, landscaping or in other tight spaces. Some manufacturers also provide zero-turn mowers with steering wheels, making operation even more sim-ple and intuitive. Look for models with adjustable steering columns to maximize comfort and ease of use.
• Price: Residential zero-turn mowers range from $2,000 to $6,000. While it’s possible to get a quality zero-turn mower at the lower end of that range, mowers at the higher end usually have more features and added durability.
No two lawns are alike. Zero-turn mowers, such as those in the TimeCutter series from Toro, can cater to the uniqueness of any yard.