How does a zero turn mower work?

How Does a Zero Turn Mower Work?

Zero-turn mowers are the latest improvement in the power tool sphere.

For what they’re worth, they’ve changed how fast we mow lawns, easily clearing up a large piece of land in the shortest time possible.

The consensus is that zero-turn mowers are more reliable and efficient unlike tow-behind models, particularly given that they pivot well around the rear and get the mowing job done fast.

In this guide, we take a look at exactly how a zero turn mower works.

How Does a Zero Turn Mower Work? 

Unlike mowing tractors, which obviously come with steering wheels, a zero turn lawn mower uses levers to control motors attached to the rear wheels.

Unlike traditional mowers, which depend on the front wheels to turn, the zero-turn model implements a rear wheel turning system and the advantage is that you can maneuver more accurately and easily.

The mower will move forward when you push the levers to the front. Pulling them backwards put the mower in a reverse state, hence moving backwards.

Perhaps what makes the model stand out from other kinds of mowers is how fast it works. Push behind mowers tend to be overall slow, mostly because how fast they go depends on the push you give them. With a zero turn mower, the farther you push the lever, either forward or backwards, the faster you move.

It gives you the option to curve left and right depending on the direction you’d like to take. If you want to turn right, push the left handle farther down than you do the right handle. And do the exact opposite to turn the machine to the left. This results in one side of the machine spinning faster and making it possible for you to make an easy turn in either direction.

If you push one handle down while leaving the other one in a neutral position, you’ll make a swinging turn while still cutting grass much faster in the process.

There’s also the possibility of spinning around in one place. And you do so by moving either of the levers forward and another one back with an equal amount of force. This pivots the system in a central point.

It’s important to keep in mind that the levers are super sensitive, and it may be a challenge to get used to them in the beginning. But with time, as you get used to different speed levels of the machine, it’ll become easier to use the levers to maneuver the machine on different landscapes.

How to Get Used to Using a Zero Turn Lawn Mower 

Let’s be honest:

A zero-turn lawn mower is no doubt a powerful tool. But it’s not often easy to use in the beginning. That notwithstanding, the device shouldn’t be difficult to get used to if you learn the ropes early enough.

Here are some tips to help you get started with using a zero-turn lawn mower. Not to mention even get used to it.

Practice Makes Perfect 

Riding a zero-turn lawn mower is more or less like driving a car. If you don’t know how navigate the auto, chances are you’ll land yourself in trouble. But unlike an automobile, which requires educational training, you can actually train to ride a zero turn lawn mower in your backyard.

When it comes to practicing, it’s best to do so without the blades. This way, you won’t cut the grass haphazardly. Once you take off the blades, spend as much time as you can maneuvering the equipment on the backyard to get the full hang of it. The more you practice, the more you get used to the controls, and after sometime, everything becomes clear.

Don’t just practice moving the turn mower backward and forward. Remember, it can also make swing turns, which allows you to cut grass faster and in the shortest time possible. So spend some time learning how to make swing turns by turning one lever and keeping the other in neutral spot. Again, do this without the blades, until you get the process right.

Learn to Control the Speed 

This one is tricky, and it’s going to be a challenge to get right if you’re new to zero turn lawn mowers.

The key takeaway is that you don’t want to move too fast or too slow. Rather, your interest should be in achieving just the right speed for the mowing job. 

Again, this gets easier the more you practice.

The rule is this:

To move slowly, push the levers gently and not too far from the neutral position. Sometimes moving too quickly, especially if you want to mow a large field fast, makes more sense. And if that’s the case, then push both levers forward with a similar force and the same speed.

Be Careful of the Levers 

The levers can make or break your lawn mowing experience, you push them too hard and you’ll move faster than you actually should. You push them slowly, and you won’t get the best speed for the job. The rule is to be optimum and deliberate, learning to implement  the right speed so you get a better feel of the machine as you move.

Mow a Flat Field 

Who wouldn’t love a zero turn mower anyway?

After all, it’s a piece of equipment that gets its job done right. Only it’s something you should use if you have a flat lawn. You subject it to a lawn steeper than 10 degrees, and it won’t give you the best user experience at the end of the day.

Here’s the thing:

Zero turn mowers aren’t exactly stable. So if you use them on steeper slopes, the chance of losing balance and toppling over are high.


Now that you know how a zero turn mower works and how you can get the most out of it, check out our reviews on the best zero turn lawn mowers that you can use to give your lawn a uniform cut and a unique look.