Gretna: (402) 332-5577

Lincoln: (402) 474-3624

Lawn Tractors Versus Zero-Turn Mowers: What’s the Difference?

lawn tractors versus ride on mowers

When it comes to maintaining your residential lawn, choosing the right mower can make all the difference. With so many types of machines available, it can be overwhelming to decide between lawn tractors versus zero-turn mowers. 

At Ty’s Outdoor Power, we’re here to tackle the heated debate that has left many residential customers scratching their heads: lawn tractors versus zero-turn mowers? 

Together, we’ll compare the characteristics, features, and benefits of these two contenders—so you feel more confident in your decision-making. 

Lawn Tractors Versus Zero-Turn Mowers: An Overview

You’re trying to decide whether to invest in a lawn tractor or a zero-turn mower. Both machines are great for maintaining a sharp-looking lawn, but they cater to different needs. 

Let’s break down their key differences.

Lawn tractors are versatile workhorses that are perfect for small- to medium-sized yards. They’re also very intuitive to learn.  

Meanwhile, zero-turn mowers are built for speed and precision. They can pivot a full 360 degrees, allowing them to navigate around obstacles effortlessly. Their dual-wheel control system provides superior maneuverability. Zero-turn mowers can zip around at high speeds, significantly reducing mowing time. 

Ultimately, the choice between the two comes down to the size and complexity of your yard and your personal preferences.

We go more in-depth on both of these machines below.

Lawn Tractors: The Pros

If you’ve got a small yard or a small acreage, a lawn tractor could be your go-to solution. It’s perfect for small residential acreage (1-3 acres) owners who want to mow a lot of grass but aren’t exceptionally experienced with the task.

Another thing that makes a lawn tractor great is its user-friendly controls. Resembling those of a car, it offers a steering wheel and a gas pedal. Offering a smaller learning curve than zero-turn mowers, it’s an intuitive option that’s easy to master.

One of its biggest pros; however, is that a lawn tractor is very affordable for larger lawns when compared to other mowers. It’s an effective choice that can help you maintain your yard and tackle basic landscaping tasks that will leave your lawn looking sharp and tidy. 

So, if you’re looking for an entry-level solution to make your lawn care experiences a breeze, a lawn tractor won’t disappoint.

Lawn Tractors: The Cons

While lawn tractors offer many benefits, there are some things to consider before purchasing one. This is especially true when you’re deciding between lawn tractors versus zero-turn mowers.

Lawn tractors are best suited for larger plots. But depending on the size and obstacles of your lawn, their wider turning radius may slow you down. That’s because they’ll miss patches of grass which you’ll need to pass back over. Also, a lawn tractor’s slower speeds can add to the amount of time you spend outside. 

Visibility can also be a challenge with lawn tractors due to the hood obstructing your view. They also sit higher, so you’ll want to avoid slopes over about fifteen degrees. Additionally, lawn tractors typically do not feature power steering which can be tiring on your arms or a challenge with limited mobility.

On the other hand, if you have tight spaces or intricate landscapes, a zero-turn mower’s ability to pivot on the spot shines. Its faster speeds are more for driving between mows but the moderate speeds can cut while navigating tight corners.

Lawn Tractors Versus Zero-Turn Mowers: What Makes Sense for Property Owners?

Knowing the pros and cons of lawn tractors, you might still have questions about owning one. 

It really comes down to what you need from a machine.

When it comes to lawn tractors, consider the availability of attachments it can handle. For instance, if you live in a region with snowy winters, attaching a snow plow to the front of a lawn tractor can turn it into a handy snow-clearing tool. This provides you with year-round utility—something the ride-on zero-turn mower does not have. Rather, the zero-turn is designed purely for lawns and is expertly designed for the task. 

Additionally, a lawn tractor serves as an excellent entry-level mowing solution. It’s a straightforward option with familiar controls making it easy to operate and navigate for users who need basic functions. The zero-turn takes longer to learn but offers more in terms of accuracy and performance for commercial users and owners wanting perfection from their regular mowing sessions. 

This accessibility and simplicity of a lawn tractor make it an ideal choice for homeowners with small yards. A lawn tractor offers a reliable and efficient way to maintain lawns without the need for specialized or complex equipment. That said, zero-turn mowers are also a great choice for smaller lawns, especially when you have lots of rocks, boulders, and other landscaping to work around.

Overall, a lawn tractor makes sense for various types of property owners, including those who: 

  • Value the ability to attach additional equipment
  • Seek an entry-level solution
  • Have small yards

By considering these factors, homeowners can make an informed decision about lawn tractors versus zero-turn mowers.

Brands of Lawn Tractors to Consider

At Ty’s Outdoor Power, we carry both zero-turn mowers and lawn tractors. One of the more popular brands of lawn tractors we offer is the Cub Cadet series. First made available in the early ’60s, this brand has an unmatched history in lawn care. 

It also has outstanding year-round versatility. Popular add-ons include a bagger system, a hauler designed for up to 800 lbs., and an all-season plow capable of moving lighter snow as well as dirt, mulch, and even gravel.

You also have a few options when it comes to a Cub Cadet lawn tractor, including the mini 30” rider. There’s also the XT1 and the XT2 which expand on features offered on the mini.

Depending on the type you choose, you’ll have a stamped steel or fabricated steel deck. Stamped steel is lighter weight, whereas fabricated tends to be heavier but means a better cut. You’ll also have access to different transmission types on different models. Your seating options will also differ with larger models offering a higher back that gives more support for longer rides.

No matter what type of mower you’re considering, Ty’s Outdoor Power is here to help choose the right machine for you. Stop by one of our locations or visit our online store.

Shop Lawn Tractors.

Resource preview: "The Search for Groundskeeping Equpiment That Makes the Cut"

Download the Case Study

Discover the versatile, single-power unit you can use year-round for all your groundskeeping needs.


Come along for the ride

All-New Stihl Zero-Turn Mowers