Mowing the lawn on hilly ground can be something of a challenge. In fact, it’s probably best that you avoid using a regular lawn mower altogether and opt for a zero turn machine instead. The thing is that there are so many out there that finding the next zero turn mower for hills for your needs could be a bit of a headache.
But it doesn’t need to be that way. By considering what each product has to offer, you will be able to select a mower that will make cutting grass on hilly terrain easy and much safer.
Last update on 2022-06-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
There are many zero turn mowers out there and choosing the best one can feel like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Let us save you the trouble of having to dig deep on the internet by introducing you to some of the best zero turn mowers out there.
1. Husqvarna Z142 Hydrostatic Zero Turn Riding Mower
Husqvarna is known for its quality and robust tools and with a reinforced steel deck, this is a fine example of the brand’s durability. Moreover, this zero turn mower comes with a 17 horsepower Kohler engine which is another brand known for its heavy duty, long-lasting equipment.
With a 42 inch cutting deck, this mower is ideal for medium to large areas and the optional mulching kit means that you can deliver clippings back to the lawn to improve its health. The mower is low maintenance and features air induction power which means that it really does give a cut above the rest.
2. Husqvarna Z254F Zero Turn Mower
Keeping the cutting width the same, the Husqvarna Z254 benefits from a ridiculously powerful 26 horsepower engine with a top speed of 6.5mph. It has many of the same features as the other mowers from this brand that we have looked at including the optional mulching kit which can be purchased separately.
Moreover, this mower has some incredible durability with a steel deck that is perfectly designed for outdoor life.
3. Husqvarna Z254 Zero Turn Riding Lawn Mower
With a slightly larger cutting width than the previous Husqvarna product we looked at, you will cover 54 inches of ground with each pass. For larger gardens, this is great news especially when it is coupled with the 3 blade deck that delivers an immaculate cut every time.
The Z254F is fitted with a 747cc Kohler engine, which, just like the last mower, gives you a great degree of confidence in engine life and performance. But comfort is just as important in this model and the addition of armrests is a nice touch. The mower also benefits from headlights making mowing in low light much simpler.
4. Ariens Edge Zero-Turn-Radius Lawn Mower
With a 52 inch cutting deck and an engine manufactured by worldwide acclaimed brand, Kawasaki, you can feel confident in the power and performance of this mower. It’s ideal for medium to large gardens and the bigger rear wheels give you great stability on sloped terrain. But what’s more impressive is that it can also be used in smaller spaces thanks to the innovation where maneuverability is concerned.
The Edge is perfect for people who are just getting to grips with this type of lawn mower and features a foot operated deck lift as well as a comfortable high-back seat.
5. Ariens Icon XD 52 Zero Turn Lawn Mower
Much like the previous Ariens mower we looked at, this one comes with a plush seat that features a high back for extra comfort and support. This one also has arm rests and a stable tubular frame to complete that comfortable experience.
But what really impressed us was the immense power of the XD which benefits from a 3 blade deck powered by an incredible 725cc Kohler 7000 v twin engine with overhead valves. This design means that you get a much cleaner cut and lower emissions.
What To Consider When Buying A Zero Turn Mower For Hills
Now that you are familiar with the different types of zero turn mowers, there are other things that you will need to consider before making a purchase. Since these are pricey pieces of equipment, it certainly pays to do your research before committing.
You will find that most manufacturers will recommend that you should use their zero turn mowers on slopes that do not exceed 10 degrees. That said, there are some that are capable of tackling slopes with an angle up to 15 degrees so it is important to check this out, especially if your garden has more severe hills.
Ease Of Use
If you have just moved into a property with a hilly garden and have decided that a zero turn mower is what is needed, this might be your first experience with this type of equipment. That’s fine, we all have to start somewhere but we would suggest looking for something that is going to be easy to use.
While you might not need a driver’s license to operate a ride-on mower, you will need to get to grips with how they handle. It can be tempting to look for a mower that is quick as this would make mowing the lawn quicker, right? In theory, yes but when you are tackling hills, speed isn’t necessarily your friend and could result in an accident.
Furthermore, you should ensure that the controls are easy to understand. Before using the mower for the first time, it is highly recommended that you take a detailed look over the user manual to ensure you are familiar with how everything works. Typically, you will find that the mower wheels are operated with levers as opposed to a steering wheel which can take some getting used to.
Construction Of Deck
Lawn mowers typically have either a plastic or steel deck. Where commercial mowers are concerned, the deck will normally be made from a heavy duty steel whereas those designed for domestic use are much more lightweight. In the case of a zero turn mower, you will need to look for one with a strong and reliable mowing deck.
But durability is not the only factor to consider. It is essential that you combine this robust deck with smaller wheels as this will make driving over hills much less challenging. The wheels should also be able to rotate completely to better aid turns when on hilly terrain.
The last thing that anyone wants is to invest all that money in a zero turn mower for it to break within the first few months. We have talked about how most mowers will make use of a steel deck and it is a good idea to check out the exact steel gauge used and whether this will meet the demands of mowing the lawn.
But you should also check that the mower frame offers a good degree of stability and doesn’t come with any flimsy parts that stand to break easily. Going for reputable manufacturers is a good way to ensure excellence where build quality is concerned.
The more tyre that is touching the ground, the more points of contact the mower has and therefore the more stable it will be. Since you will be sitting on the mower, you are going to want to make sure that it is as secure as possible and wider tyres are a great place to start.
You’ll find that weight distribution is far better with wide tyres but also that the wheels grip better to the floor. In the best models, these mowers feature larger rear wheels which is essential for good traction, so keep an eye out for this feature.
Engine And Brakes
If you want the best power and performance, we would suggest going for a dual cylinder engine as this offers far more in terms of both when compared to a single engine. Many modern engines feature overhead valves and this can be beneficial in a couple of ways. Primarily, the emissions will be lower which is something that is important to many people. But also, this design results in greater torque, therefore improved power.
Most zero turn mowers do not have a foot brake but instead feature a parking brake. In any case, you want to make sure that the brakes are reliable and do their job correctly.
Where comfort is concerned, the seat is one of the most important factors to consider. These mowers need to have soft, padded seats with good contours that allow ultimate comfort, especially if you will be mowing for longer periods of time. Moreover, the back rest should be supportive.
But comfort also extends to how easy the mower is to operate. You should look at things like how easily accessible the controls are and whether there is a significant amount of vibration when the engine is running.
Are zero turn mowers good on hills?
Zero turn mowers are suitable for using a hilly terrain as they will not require the physical exertion of the user like a push mower would. That said, when used on very steep hills, this can quickly become dangerous and the use of a zero turn mower should be avoided.
How to drive a zero turn mower on hills.
One of the most important pieces of advice that we could give you on operations your zero turn mower on hilly terrain is to take it slowly. There is no need to rush as this could end in disaster. What’s more, you want to aim to mow up and down the hill rather than trying to mow side to side. Should the mower topple, going in a lateral direction means that there is a chance the mower will land on you.
Always check the tyre traction is in top form before using your zero turn mower on a hill. You should also be mindful of your steering as this can be the downfall of many users. Be mindful about making smaller movements and again, be sure to take things slowly.
Using a zero turn mower is a good way to tackle small hills that are below 10-15º However, if you want to make sure that you have the right one, it is essential to look at the different features. We’ve shown you exactly what you should consider as well as demonstrating some of the most excellent products currently on the market.