What is the Best Diesel Zero-Turn Mower? (2022)

Exmark Laser Z Diesel

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Commercial lawn mowing requires high efficiency. Because of this, many property owners prefer diesel zero-turn mowers over their gasoline alternatives. However, how can you choose which model to buy if manufacturers often launch models with similar specs? 

Join our resident mowing experts as we embark on a mission to find the best diesel zero-turn mowers through an in-depth series of tests. 

Premium Option
Exmark Laser Z Diesel
Editor’s Choice
Kubota ZD1500
Budget Option
Dixie Chopper® XCaliber
Exmark Laser Z Diesel
Kubota ZD1500
Dixie Chopper® XCaliber
• Engine Type: Yanmar liquid-cooled
• Max Speed: 12.5 MPH
• Gas Tank Capacity: 12 Gallons
• Hydraulic Lift
• Hydro-Gear Drive System
• Air-ride Suspension Seat
• Low-profile Drive Tires
• Hydraulic Mower Deck
• Power Rating: 30.8 HP
• High-cushion Mat
• Engine Options: 35 HP & 40 HP
• Deck Options: 66-inch & 74-inch
• Hydro-Gear Pumps
• Capacity: 6.9 to 7.8 per acre
• Gas Tank: 12 Gallons
Premium Option
Exmark Laser Z Diesel
Exmark Laser Z Diesel
• Engine Type: Yanmar liquid-cooled
• Max Speed: 12.5 MPH
• Gas Tank Capacity: 12 Gallons
• Hydraulic Lift
• Hydro-Gear Drive System
Editor’s Choice
Kubota ZD1500
Kubota ZD1500
• Air-ride Suspension Seat
• Low-profile Drive Tires
• Hydraulic Mower Deck
• Power Rating: 30.8 HP
• High-cushion Mat
Budget Option
Dixie Chopper® XCaliber
Dixie Chopper® XCaliber
• Engine Options: 35 HP & 40 HP
• Deck Options: 66-inch & 74-inch
• Hydro-Gear Pumps
• Capacity: 6.9 to 7.8 per acre
• Gas Tank: 12 Gallons

Reviews of the Top Diesel Zero-Turn Mowers

1. Kubota ZD1500

Kubota ZD1500

At first glance, anyone can tell that Kubota ZD1500 is made with productivity and comfort in mind. Thanks to its air-ride suspension seat and flat user platform with cushion mat, we could enjoy a comfortable ride throughout long mowing hours, especially if you wear reliable shoes for mowing while doing the activity.

As it’s running with a 30.8 HP engine, it’s not surprising how it could finish most tough mowing jobs efficiently. We also find its rear discharge better than some diesel options, and its airflow helps provide a smooth ride. 

When buying this mower, you can choose between the 72-inch side-discharge model and the 60-inch rear-discharge unit. Regardless of your choice, its hydraulic lift ensures you’ll get a high-quality cut. 

What We Like

What We Don't Like

2. Exmark Laser Z Diesel

Exmark Laser Z Diesel

Upon seeing a 96-inch deck option in Exmark Laser Z Diesel’s offerings, our testers didn’t waste any time and tested it. You may not know, but it has a formidable UltraCut™ Flex Wing mowing deck. Because of this, this unit can mow up to 11 acres per hour. 

Besides being powered by an impressive Yanmar engine, it can operate at the highest ground speed range of 12.5mph because of its large driving tires. 

Its 96-inch deck model even has the capacity to pivot up at 20 degrees and down at 15 degrees in a sloping lawn terrain. 

What We Like

What We Don't Like

3. Dixie Chopper® XCaliber

Dixie Chopper® XCaliber

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with these powerful mowers, so we highly suggest checking out Dixie Chopper® XCaliber ‘s offerings. Unlike other product lines, these models come in only two deck sizes: 66-inch and 74-inch. 

We also noticed how smoother this diesel engine runs than gasoline alternatives[1], and that’s mainly the work of the unit’s Turbinator Pre-Cleaner feature. 

It’s an exclusive function that keeps the air flowing through the unit’s engine while removing built-up debris. Besides that, it has an X2 Wind Tunnel mower deck that enhances airflow and keeps residues out of the engine. 

What We Like

What We Don't Like

4. Bad Boy Renegade

BADBOY RENEGADE

When talking about exterior design, no one can argue that it’s Bad Boy Renegade.  Despite being one of the most budget-friendly selections, this unit offers a long-lasting mowing performance aided by its two 16cc Hydro-Gear Pumps. 

During the test drive, we were amazed at how stable this mower was when driving on the hillside. You can tell that the tires have consistent terrain contact, and that’s all thanks to the premium suspension rails geared in front of this unit. 

If you look closer, you’ll notice that its frame rail is made of heavy-gauge steel. These materials are all welded and fabricated, making them durable for long years of usage.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

5. Ferris IS5100Z

Ferris IS5100Z

Like other premium diesel mowers, Ferris IS5100Z features an exclusive cutting system called iCDTM. With this function, the unit can produce higher cut quality and experience better engine airflow. 

We didn’t find any difficulty lifting and lowering its mowing deck because this model has a hydraulic deck lift that can be controlled via a foot pedal. 

As for durability, tough weather and lawn conditions won’t be an issue as the brand is made of durable frames as thick as 6 mm. It’s also an industry-standard material for premium mowers. 

What We Like

What We Don't Like

6. John Deere Z994R

John Deere Zero Turn Mower Z994R ZTrak

Out of all the mowers on this list, John Deere Z994R is the most accessible and popular. 

But besides coming from a reputable brand, did you know that this model runs with a wheel motor hydrostatic driving system? Given this feature, operating at a speed of 11.4 MPH isn’t too farfetched. 

With a fully adjustable seat suspension, controlling a 72-inch mower deck won’t be as difficult as you’d think. You can also count on it to provide the best performance in every mowing application because it’s reinforced and welded.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

7. Kubota ZD1200 Series

Kubota ZD1200 Series

Not all mowing jobs will require you to get a mower with a powerful engine, so turning your attention to Kubota ZD1200 Series is completely natural. Its power capacity may only be 24.8 HP, but you can choose between its 60-inch and 72-inch mower decks. 

As you know, Kubota diesel engines are more fuel efficient. Because of this, many industry experts consider these models as environment-friendly options. 

The unit was quite stable when we drove to rough terrains. If you ask us, this is an exclusive perk brought by the mower’s large tires, strategically mounted fuel tanks, and long wheelbase.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

Diesel Zero-Turn Mower Buyer’s Guide

Engine Power

It’s a no-brainer that the engine power isn’t the single determinator of mower performance. However, it does play a huge part. 

For example, if you’re mowing a small 1-acre lawn, going for mowers with 20 to 25 HP should be sufficient. On the other hand, these engine power options may fall short on bigger lawns.

Diesel Engine Type

Not all zero-turn mowers include the same engine types, so we suggest considering these options when shopping for one.

Ferris IS5100Z engine

Cummins

Besides bringing high horsepower, Cummins engines are notoriously known for their long-lasting and durable design. It’s a 12-valve engine, so you may expect high torque on units that house this component.

Yanmar

Coming from a brand that manufactures great tractors, it’s not surprising that Yanmar engines carry low emissions and fuel consumption. On top of that, these options are preferred for their long service life.  

Kubota

As long as your Kubota engine is well-maintained, did you know it can last around 4500 hours? Because of this, the industry users in the country recognize them as great manufacturers of ride-on mowers. 

Fuel Efficiency

If your mower is fuel efficient, it can deliver consistent speed throughout the mowing operations. It also means it spends less fuel during usage than other models. Typically, diesel engines carry this advantage. 

Deck Size

Zero-turn mowers can range from 36 to 72 inches, depending on the brand’s offering. When checking this specification, it’s crucial to consider the amount of land you’ll be mowing. Besides that, we also urge you to consider your available storage space. 

Exmark Laser Z Diesel Front

Deck Lift

Deck lift is a direct reference to the mower blade’s suction and airflow. It could be high or low, depending on your mowing needs. However, we’d like to reiterate that the higher the deck lift, the better suction and airflow it can deliver. 

Speed

Given that turnarounds are quicker on a zero-turn mower, the operational speed for these models is faster. However, this specification varies and depends on the unit’s power and overall construction.

Price and Warranty

After combing through the market, it’s safe to say that the diesel zero-turn mowers aren’t cheap. These models range from over $10000 to around $23000, with and without mower attachments. 

As for warranty, remember that some brands have different policies for residential and commercial uses. On top of that, don’t forget to buy directly from the brand’s stores or their authorized sellers to avoid getting your warranty voided. 

John Deere Z994R convenient control

Should You Opt for a Diesel or Gas Zero-Turn Mower?

Before you opt for a diesel zero-turn mower, we suggest checking the perks and disadvantages you need to expect from these options. We also included a similar list of advantages for gas alternatives so that you can compare. 

Advantages of a Diesel Zero-Turn Mower

Disadvantages of a Diesel Zero-Turn Mower

Advantages of a Gas Zero-Turn Mower

Disadvantages of a Gas Zero-Turn Mower

Our Top Pick For a Diesel Zero-Turn Mower:
Kubota ZD1500

Kubota ZD1500

Given its powerful engine and high capacity transmission, we chose Kubota ZD1500 as the best diesel zero-turn mower today. 

We believe our several test drives proved how efficient and comfortable the unit was and how it can help elevate your mowing operations equivalent to the value of its high price tag. 

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson
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