Below is a list of things we recommend you consider before buying a zero turn lawn mower:
1. The size of the block you will be mowing.
The size of the area that is to be mowed determines engine size and optimum deck size to get the task done efficiently and cost effectively. As a general rule of thumb, the larger the block the larger the cutting deck size and engine size you require. Zero turn mowers have the added advantage of ground speed and are highly maneuverable. On the down side, zero turn mowers are more expensive than comparable tractor style mowers, not as user friendly and are not as versatile on slopes given that tractor style ride-on mowers have diff locks and are also available in four wheel drive.
2. The condition of the block, are you mowing rough, rocky or undulating ground?
What is being mowed is extremely relevant as there is a choice of cutter decks available. For good lawns or grass that has been mowed regularly for years, a pressed steel deck is an option. The Husqvarna zero turn mower steel decks are vented and give a good finish. Where the application is to mow paddocks that are not cut as frequently, the safer option is to purchase a zero turn that has a heavy duty fabricated deck and it is worthwhile to note that not only is the deck shell much stronger, but the spindles (mandrel housings) are much stronger as well.
3. Is the block flat or sloping? What degree slope will you be mowing?
Slopes and their severity influence the decision as to the style of ride on mower that is suitable for the block. Conventional tractors with diff lock tend to handle steeper slopes far better than zero turns. There are ride on mowers specifically designed to mow really steep slopes. We generally do not recommend zero turn mowers on steep slopes. Zero turn mowers have rear wheels which drive independently of each other, this can lead to slipping on steep slopes. Zero turns do not have a diff lock or all wheel drive feature. Zero turn mowers are also not suitable for mowing sideways on a slope. The front wheels of a zero turn spin 360 degrees and will pull down the slope, forcing the operator to constantly correct the steering the keep the zero turn straight.
4. Is it necessary for your lawnmower to have brakes?
Zero turn mowers do not have brakes and rely on the operator moving the controls into the neutral position to stop the lawn mower. This can be be difficult to do, especially for inexperienced operators, or in the case of an emergency. Conventional ride on mowers have foot operated brakes, which are easy to operate in the event of an emergency. Should you have doubts, always call for an obligation free demonstration on your property.
5. Will you feel comfortable operating a mower without a steering wheel?
Zero turn mowers are typically steered using skid steer levers, whereas tractor style mowers use a steering wheel. Important considerations to take into account before purchasing a zero turn mower, is the make up of the family unit, children’s ages and who will do the mowing. A ride on mower is a significant purchase and should have an expectation that it will last for a number of years. If it is likely that the mowing will be shared by various family members, the simpler the machine is to drive, the better.
6. What size cutting deck should your zero turn mower have?
Cutting deck sizes are best determined considering the area to be mowed, the width of access points and how rough the area to be mowed is. The larger the area, the larger size cutting deck you should consider purchasing. This is particular important if you want to reduce the time you spend mowing.
7. What size engine would be suitable for your block?
Engine horsepower will be determined by the weight of the machine as well as the size of the cutting deck. Manufacturers optimize these ratios by combining horsepower and deck sizes in the factory and will often give options of more than one deck size for a particular model. Make sure the zero turn you purchase has sufficient horsepower to drive your desired cutting deck. Remember the higher the power to cut ratio, the better the zero turn will mow thick or long grass. If in doubt, make sure you request an onsite demonstration before purchasing the zero turn mower.
8. Do you require an oil pressure fed engine for your application?
All of the engines used in the Husqvarna zero turn mower range utilise fully pressurised oil systems to optimize engine lubrication rather than relying on the splash feed system which leaves the engine vulnerable to failure on slopes. Always check that the zero turn mower you are buying has an oil filter and preferably a full pressure fed engine.
9. Do you require a pressed cutting deck or a fabricated cutting deck?
Pressed cutting decks are made from a single sheet of steel which is pressed into the shape of a cutting deck. Zero turns with pressed cutting decks are better suited to established blocks which have been regularly mowed. Zero turn mowers with fabricated cutting decks are better suited to rougher blocks with rocks or tree roots. Fabricated cutting decks are made from welded steel plate and normally re-enforced on the front and sides.
10. Do you require a hydrostatic or hydraulic drive system?
Hydrostatic drives are utilised in all the domestic zero turns. These drive systems have a combined pump and wheel motor in one gear box. While fine for domestic use, these gearboxes are not suitable for commercial use, cannot be properly serviced and are typically allot slower than hydraulic drive systems.
Hydraulic drive systems are characterised by hydraulic pumps with independent wheel motors. These drive systems are mainly used for commercial zero turns. The hydraulic system provides faster ground speeds and longevity under harsh operating conditions.
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