Zero Turn Mower

How Does a Zero Turn Mower Work?

How Does a Zero Turn Mower Work?

Owning a house is a dream of many people. But the responsibility does not stop when you finally own a house; instead, they begin at that time. Maintenance is an essential and cumbersome part of homeownership and many people dread it. Especially if the house comes with a lawn, maintaining the lawn becomes almost a daily activity. From watering the lawn daily to mowing down the lawn regularly, many dread this job and often pay people to do the job for them. For young kids, it becomes a source of earning some easy bucks while having fun as for many kids; lawnmowers are their introduction to driving something on wheels.

Zero-turn mowers are the most popular lawn mowers, preferred by millions of homeowners because of many reasons which we will discuss in this article. Over the years, companies have tried to make lawn mowing less dreadful for homeowners, and this resulted in a host of innovations in the lawnmowers. From the mowers where we had to walk behind the mowers to mow the lawn, we moved on to drivable mowers and now to zero-turn mowers. The reason behind the popularity of zero-turn mowers is the fact that they have an almost zero turning radius, which makes them maneuverable and easy to use even in small-sized lawns, hence the name zero-turn mowers.

How Does a Zero Turn Mower Work?

The best zero turn mowers used to be the ones that can be controlled only using the steering wheel and not using some extra levers, which made controlling them complicated. In these lawnmowers, the steering wheel could be rotated 180 degrees, and hence the lawnmower itself, at its place, used to rotate accordingly. But with innovations in the field of lawnmowers, the mowers having two levers to operate the mowers are becoming popular and are generally regarded as the best zero turn mowers.

Working of Zero Turn Mowers

Over the years, there have been many designs used by lawnmower manufacturers to make the best zero turn mowers. One of the popular designs was to have a mower in which the front wheels would be controlled by the steering wheel, which will turn as required. This was known as front-wheel-drive design. Both the front wheels in this design are connected to two different motors, and two levers are used to select which motor to engage. By varying the speeds of two wheels separately, the zero turning radius was achieved. But this design had many inherent flaws, which made it relatively difficult to judge the area being mowed and also less accurate.

To overcome these limitations, a rear-wheel-drive system was brought into lawnmowers. In this system, the motor is connected to rear wheels, and rear wheels are used to turn the mower as required. This makes the mower easy to maneuver and operate. The turning of the mower is controlled by controlling the speed of the two levers controlling the wheel speeds, which are connected to the levers using separate drive shafts. This design makes it very accurate and more comfortable to judge which part of the lawn is being cut.

The lever system is such that pushing both the levers in forwarding direction makes the mower move forward and pulling it back makes the mower move backward. To change the direction of the mower to the right lever is to be pushed further than the left lever, and to turn the mower left, the left lever is pushed further. Depending on the relative speed of the left and right wheels, the mower turning radius will change, and at the farthest distance, it achieves zero turning radius. This design was derived from the design of many agricultural and industrial equipment in use, like forklifts, tractors, etc. This system is straightforward to use as well as most efficient, and hence, it is used in the best zero turn mowers available in the market.

The controls sound complicated as compared to the traditional steering wheel controls. Still, once a person gets the hang of the controls, it becomes easy and swift to use zero turn lawn mowers, even for significant grounds. Generally, it is suggested after buying a new lawnmower to practice driving the mower without its blades attached, which helps in getting the hang of the controls without ruining the lawn. The best zero turn mowers offer excellent maneuverability along with variable speeds to a higher degree. These mowers are usually used for mowing down big parks, golf courses, grounds, and fields as the speeds they work at are higher. This also is the reason behind relatively higher costs of zero-turn mowers, which makes it infeasible for owners of small homes with relatively smaller lawns.


When most people think of their dream homes, they always think about having a massive lawn around their house, which will make their house look lovely. But the problem with owning a big and beautiful lawn is to keep it beautiful and well maintained. Most people dread lawn maintenance tasks and often pay others to do it for them. Lawnmower companies sensed an opportunity here and tried to make lawn mowing less cumbersome and time taking over the years. This led to the development of ride-on lawnmowers in the previous century, and since then, the ride-on lawnmowers have only become better and better.

The zero-turn lawn mower was one such design, which led to a massive improvement in ease of mowing lawns, and the homeowners with big lawns have been grabbing these up like hotcakes. Still, there has always been room for improvement, and the new designs addressed those needs by switching over to the rear wheel drives. The basic working of the mower remains the same, but the improvement in operability has been immense. In this article, we have tried to explain how the new as well as older designs of the zero turn lawn mowers worked, in layman’s terms, and also how to operate them.

Neil Sikkema
Neil Sikkema, a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a degree in Agricultural Mechanics, has been an expert in lawn care and zero turn mower technology for 14 years. He became part of our team as a freelancer in 2019, sharing his knowledge in mower selection, landscaping efficiency, and equipment maintenance. Neil’s previous experience includes roles in agricultural equipment sales and as a groundskeeper. He enjoys off-road biking and is a volunteer in local community gardens.

How to level a Zero Turn Mower

Previous article

Can you eat squirrels from your backyard safely? 2021

Next article

You may also like


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *