Are Zero Turn Mowers Good for Hills?

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Zero turn mowers have a zero turn radius, so they turn using their back wheels. They can cut lawns faster than a standard mower, and they are popular. People often want to know how they work on hills. The truth is that zero turn mowers can run into some trouble, especially on steep hills. Continue reading to learn more about these mowers.

Zero turn mowers struggle on hills because the center of gravity is high. Also, the wheels in the front are small and lack traction which reduces stability. If the incline of the hill is greater than 10-15 degrees, a zero turn mower is not a good option.

What Is a Zero Turn Mower?

A zero turn mower is a lawn machine. The reason it is called a zero turn mower is that it has a turning radius of zero. In other words, it has a zero degree turn radius. That means that when you turn, you turn the rear wheels, and it can turn in its tracks. 

The front wheels are casters, which allow it to move quickly around the lawn. This works really well in yards with curved edges and walkways. However, this type of mower is different to drive than a standard mower. The seat is normally lower, and it doesn’t have a traditional steering wheel or a pedal brake. Instead, the two rear wheels each have their own independent wheel motor, and there are two steering handles that control them. 

When you mow with a ZTR mower, you can go down one row and then do a 180-degree turn to go back the other way. You won’t have to drive over a lawn that is already cut, and you won’t have strips of grass that are uncut. This makes the entire mowing job take less time, and it produces professional looking results.

Why Zero Turn Mowers Struggle on Hills

The main reason that zero turn mowers struggle on hills is that the caster wheels in front do not have a lot of stability or traction. This makes it hard for them to go on steep hills. Generally speaking, ZTRs can handle a yard that has a slope, but once the slope is greater than 10 or 15 degrees, they don’t have enough traction.

A standard mower works much better on a hill because it has traction and stability. If you have slopes that are greater than 10 or 15 degrees, then you need to switch to a standard mower for the hill and then go back to your ZTR to finish up on flat or mildly sloping areas.

Tips for Using a Zero Turn Mower on Hills

You can use your ZTR on hills, but make sure that the slope is less than 15 degrees. You will need to make some changes from how you mow on flat terrain. The first thing you need to do is slow down. One of the reasons that people use ZTRs is that they are faster than standard mowers. The problem is that when you go faster, you actually lose traction. When you are already lacking traction, it can be dangerous to go faster. You need to keep your speed at around four or five miles per hour, as this speed will leave you with some traction and reduce the likelihood of your mower flipping over. 

Another important tip is not to turn on the hill. You should keep going to flat ground before you turn around. The best thing to do is to go down the slope, then turn on flat ground, then go back up the slope. Turn on flat ground again. Keep following this process until you finish the sloped area.

Why Lawn Tractors Are Better at Mowing Hills Than Zero Turn Mowers

Lawn tractors are better at mowing hills because they have more traction. They also have a larger turning radius, so you will have to make a wider turn. As a result, you can’t go up and down the lawn in rows without having to circle back to the spots you missed. 

Lawn tractors look like a small version of a tractor, and they make it easier to cut the lawn. However, they don’t turn as efficiently as zero degree mowers, and they are slower because you can’t maneuver around the trees or the walkways as easily. That said, if you are mowing a hill that has a slope of more than 15 degrees, you will need a lawn tractor. 

Zero turn mowers don’t have enough traction to handle steep hills, but lawn tractors do. They have four large wheels, and you won’t have to worry about tipping over or slipping out when you use it. However, if the hill is very steep, a lawn tractor may also be unsafe. Generally, if you find that you have one foot of drop for every three feet, you will want to consider an alternative. 

In this case, you can use a push mower, a string trimmer, or a slope mower. Any of these options can handle steep grades. The bottom line is that you need to make sure that you are using equipment that is safe when you are mowing hills. Steeper hills require more traction and stability, and a lawn tractor has more of both than a zero turn mower. 

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