What is the Best Zero Turn Mower with a Steering Wheel? (2023)

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Steering wheel-operated zero-turn mowers aren’t new, but they’re a huge time-saver when tackling a large lawn. But if you purchased the wrong model, it can break down in the middle of your task and cost you money for repairs.

To help you get the most out of your money, our lawn care experts have tested and evaluated the best zero-turn mowers with a steering wheel.

Premium Option
Cub Cadet Ultima ZTS1
Editor’s Choice
Cub Cadet Ultima ZTS2
Budget Option
Toro TimeCutter SWX5000
Cub Cadet Ultima ZTS1
Cub Cadet Ultima ZTS2
Toro TimeCutter SWX5000
• 23 HP Engine
• 50” cutting width
• 7 mph Fwd speed
• 3.5mph Rev. speed
• 25 HP engine
• 60” cutting width
• 7.5mph fwd speed
• 3.5mph Rev. speed
• 24.5 HP engine
• 50” cutting width
• 7 cutting positions
• 3,600rpm engine
Premium Option
Cub Cadet Ultima ZTS1
Cub Cadet Ultima ZTS1
• 23 HP Engine
• 50” cutting width
• 7 mph Fwd speed
• 3.5mph Rev. speed
Editor’s Choice
Cub Cadet Ultima ZTS2
Cub Cadet Ultima ZTS2
• 25 HP engine
• 60” cutting width
• 7.5mph fwd speed
• 3.5mph Rev. speed
Budget Option
Toro TimeCutter SWX5000
Toro TimeCutter SWX5000
• 24.5 HP engine
• 50” cutting width
• 7 cutting positions
• 3,600rpm engine

Reviews of the Top Zero Turn Mowers Equipped With a Steering Wheel

1. Cub Cadet Ultima ZTS2

Cub Cadet Ultima ZTS2

When mowing in a straight line on inclines and declines of up to 20 degrees, the Ultima ZTS2’s Synchro-SteerTM technology comes into its own. It has high-performance power and quiet operation, owing to its 25 HP/725cc Kohler 7000 Series PRO V-twin OHV engine.

The premium 20-inch high-back seat is fully adjustable for added comfort, and the innovative polymer seat isolators make for a quieter, more comfortable ride over any surface.

All in all, the 7 mph forward and 3.5 mph reverse ground speeds made possible by its dual hydrostatic transmissions mean that your lawn will be left looking professionally manicured in no time.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

2. Cub Cadet Ultima ZTS1

Cub Cadet Ultima ZTS1

Now that Stanley Black & Decker owns Cub Cadet, the company has upgraded its Ultima ZTS Series Zero-turn mowers with Synchro-Steer technology.

With this, front wheels move more smoothly and less often than they would otherwise without damaging the grass. This is especially noticeable on inclines and slopes. An adjustable high-back premium cut-and-sewn seat and a flexible steering column add convenience.

The mower also performs well when you mow damp grass on an incline. While the front wheels of a lap bar system are only 360-degree swiveling casters, Synchro-Steer uses all four wheels to provide accurate steering.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

3. Toro TimeCutter SWX5000

Toro TimeCutter SWX5000

In terms of the operator’s comfort, MyRide is among the most significant innovations developed for the best zero-turn mowers

MyRide, an innovative suspension technology first offered for the commercial operator two years ago, is now also available for the home TimeCutter MX and HD line of ZTRs. And now it’s within reach of even the most modest budget.

This mower has seven different cutting height settings ranging from 1-1/2 inches to 4-1/2 inches. It features the Smart Park brake system and the Key Selection system, which are very convenient for an affordable zero-turn mower.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

4. Troy-Bilt XP Mustang

Troy-Bilt XP Mustang

Powered by a 725cc V-twin cylinder Kohler engine, this lawn mower with steering wheels is among the best on the market. Its 25 HP engine is powerful enough to tackle even the steepest inclines and declines on your lawn without a hitch.

Interesting Read: Kohler Engines Review 

Fast mowing is crucial when you have a lawn that’s five acres or more, so you’ll be happy to know that this impressive zero-turn vehicle can travel as fast as 7 mph in a straight line and 2.5 mph in reverse. You won’t have to worry about keeping up with time. 

As an added feature, you can precisely adjust the speed and direction with the steering wheels.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

Buyer’s Guide for Zero Turn Mowers Equipped With a Steering Wheel

Size and Weight

The purchase of a lightweight unit will make mowing operations much easier. Mowing for lengthy periods can be exhausting, so choose a mower that is easy to maneuver while cutting grass or stowing away. 

The type of zero-turn mower you need will change based on the dimensions of your lawn. All available mowers have a maximum recommended lot size. Even though it can be more cost-effective, you shouldn’t skimp on a lawnmower designed for a large lawn.

Lap Bar Steering or Traditional Steering?

A lap bar and a standard steering wheel are options for zero-turn mowers’ means of movement. The zero-turn mower’s steering mechanism is typically a lap bar.

Mowing around the edges of slopes and hills requires greater control over the front wheels, provided by the newer version with a more conventional steering wheel. 

If you’re a novice and have never used a lap bar, the steering wheel will feel natural because it functions similarly to a car’s wheel.

mowing with Cub Cadet Ultima ZTS2

Compared to a mower with a steering wheel, the one with a lap bar requires a different machine-directing method. Driving a lap bar mower is like riding a horse since you steer by pushing the bars forward to gain speed.

Mowing left requires pulling the left bar nearer you, while right requires pulling the right. Lap bar mowers, like shopping carts, have free-rolling caster wheels up front.

Due to the lack of front-wheel traction on a lap bar mower, “grass tear” can occur if you go down an incline.

As a result, lap bar mowers are acceptable if your lawn is extremely flat. However, a mower with a steering wheel may be more suitable if your lawn is slanted.

Ease of Control

To do zero turns and maneuver the mower into small places, a quality zero-turn mower must have accurate and intuitive steering.

starting Cub Cadet Ultima ZTS1

While learning to operate a zero-turn mower may take some time, getting the hang of your new mower will go much quicker if it has natural controls.

Engine Power

You can gain insight into a ride-on mower’s performance by inspecting its technical specifications, such as engine displacement, horsepower rating, and other characteristics.

The engine’s horsepower rating indicates its power output, while the engine displacement rating estimates the motor’s fuel consumption [1].

Price and Warranty

When shopping for a zero-turn mower, cost and warranty should be your top priority. A riding mower is a sizable investment, so it’s in your best interest to compare prices at several online and local retailers.

Extra Features

Makers of riding mowers often include extra conveniences and safety measures to set their products apart from the competition. You can improve the mowing experience by adding conveniences like anti-vibration steering wheels, USB chargers, and cupholders.

Mulching kits and leaf bags are available as add-ons for some models and come standard on others.

Our Top Pick For a Zero-Turn Mower Equipped With a Steering Wheel: Cub Cadel Ultima ZTS2

Cub Cadet Ultima ZTS2

Our top pick for the best zero-turn mower with a steering wheel is the Cub Cadet Ultima ZTS2. Cub Cadet has made it possible to steer with one hand thanks to the Ultima ZTS’s streamlined steering wheel. 

We also love the adjustable high-back premium seat and the flexible steering column that adds to the convenience. 

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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