In this post, we will look into the best zero turn mower for hills and uneven ground. We will compare the features of six models with a mechanics eye and reviewing buyer feedback.
Each of these mowers has its pros and cons and best uses. We will examine these features for each machine and share with you feedback from people who bought these mowers and used them in real mowing situations.
This information can help you make the best decision when investing in a zero turn mower for hilly yards.
Best Zero Turn Mower for Hills: An Overview
All of the zero turns we’ll be looking at here use control bars for steering. Here are other essential specs on the lawnmowers in this post, that will help you decide on the best zero turn mower for hills for you specific needs:
|Product||Dimensions||Cutting Width||Weight||Power Source|
|Simplicity||72 x 55 x 42 inches||42-inch||577 lbs.||Briggs&Stratton
V-Twin gas engine
|Craftsman||2.13 x 1.32 x 0.88 Meters||46-inch||623 lbs.
|Craftsman 679cc twin gas engine|
|Husqvarna||72 x 61.49 x 34.48 inches||54-inch||542 lbs.||26 HP Kohler gas engine|
|Ariens||77.5 x 63.4 x 40.9 inches||52-inch||635 lbs.||23hp Kawasaki gas engine|
|Troy-Bilt Mustang||78 x 45 x 34.75 inches||34-inch||616 lbs.||452cc Troy-Bilt gas engine|
|Husqvarna||75 x 76 x 42 inches||61-inch||770 lbs.||24 HP Kawasaki gas engine|
The Simplicity 2691318 ride-on, zero turn mower offers maximum comfort and control for cutting grass and weeds on even and uneven ground.
Main Product Benefits
- Advanced suspension system for more comfort
- Heavy-duty frame, axel, and mowing deck
- 13 cutting deck height adjustments
- Optional Briggs & Stratton or Kawasaki engine
This mower comes with options on engine horsepower, cutting deck size, and engine manufacturer.
The available HP ratings are:
The 23 HP model is available with a 42 or 48-inch mowing deck. The 21.5 HP engine comes with a 48-inch deck, and the 25 HP engine powers a 52-inch cutting blade system.
Also, the buyer can choose between a Briggs & Stratton and a Kawasaki engine on some models.
Cutting Deck and Frame
The cutting deck adjusts to 13 different height settings with an easy to use foot lever. You can set the height to any setting between 1.5 and 4.5-inches for a closer or a taller cut.
Commercial design features inspired the manufacture of the cutting deck and frame used in this lawnmower. The frame is fully-welded steel, and it comes with an axel made of a thick, pivoting design. Ball bearings in the castor spindles keep this crucial part of the machine in service for an extended time.
You can buy a separate mulching kit from the dealer by asking for part number 1696909.
The kit contains mulching blades, a mulch plug that redirects the cuttings from the side to the rear of the chute, and baffles for under the deck. The mulching blades sit lower than the standard blades that come with the unit.
Comfort and Safety Features
One of the top features of this zero turn mower is the Suspension Comfort System™. This patented suspension design significantly reduces the bumps and discomfort you experience on most ride-on mowers.
The advanced suspension on this mower includes shock absorption on both the front and rear wheels, reducing rider impact by about 25 percent compared to other similar mowers.
This mower’s seat is covered with an airy mesh fabric that keeps the rider’s back comfortable and relaxed.
This mower’s specific models include a built-in cargo bed (part number 2691318) with a 50 lb. capacity and provide a handy way to move garden supplies around with the mower. However, this cargo space is not safe for transporting passengers.
This mower has only been on the market since late 2019, so there is not much buyer feedback available yet.
However, in the available reviews, buyers are impressed with the suspension system’s comfort on this mower and find that the bagging and mulching features work smoothly.
Overview of Simplicity Zero Turn Mower for Slopes
The Simplicity mower provides a high degree of maneuverability with its zero-turn capacity, making it easy to get around obstacles in a yard or lawn area.
The mower comes completely assembled except for uncrating, hooking up the battery, and adding gas to the tank. After that, you’re ready to tackle almost any lawn.
The Craftsman Z525 Zero Turn Gas Powered Lawn Mower is a solidly-built gas mower with multiple comforts and safety features and a powerful engine for mowing on uneven ground and moderate hills.
- Powerful 679cc twin gas engine
- Automatic choke for easy starting
- Mows in reverse
This mower comes with a high-quality Craftsman Z530 679cc gas engine with an auto-choke. Auto-choke eliminates the operator’s need to adjust the choke when firing up the engine manually and prevents engine flooding and hard starting.
Power to the wheels is engaged with a hydro-gear EZT system operated with dual lap bars for steering. This steering system can take a little getting used to, but once you are over the learning curve, it’s easy, natural, and gives you excellent control over the machine.
The large engine’s power on this machine makes it especially suitable for large, tough mowing jobs and moderately hilly terrain. On flat ground, it has ample power for fast mowing, transport, or fertilizer spreading.
This mower model comes with a 46-inch mowing deck with two rotating blades. The mowing function allows you to mow in reverse, but you have to activate a switch first for safety reasons.
A washout attachment on the top of the deck lets you hook up a hose to the deck and use a jet of water and the blade’s rotation while the machine is stationary to wash out debris from under the deck effectively.
You can adjust the deck’s height to nine different settings for a close or taller cut of lawn.
Comfort and Safety Features
This model has a comfortable, cushioned high-back seat to help prevent operator fatigue. It does not come with a headlight, cup holder, or cargo box.
The control levers are located next to the seat and are easy to reach while keeping your eyes on the ground ahead. The seat has a safety harness that you have to connect when installing the seat after delivery.
This mower hasn’t been around long enough to get many reviews, but people who have commented say it works well for cutting grass at any height. Some people comment on how easy it is to get used to the lap control bars, and many buyers highly recommend this mower.
Overview of Craftsman Z525 Zero Turn Mower for Rough Terrain
This mower has a couple of features that are hard to find in a zero-turn, such as reverse mowing and an automatic choke.
The large engine gives you lots of power for getting up hills, and the 632 lb. weight provides you with extra traction on slopes and wet grass.
Attachments are available for bagging and mulching, but they are optional and cost extra. This machine comes with a limited 2-year warranty.
The Husqvarna Z254 54-inch, 26 HP zero turn ride-on lawnmower looks good and works like a professional machine. A comfortable ride and ease of maneuvering turn lawn mowing into a pleasure.
- Air-induction design cutting deck for even mowing
- Durable deck for heavy-duty cutting on hillsides
- Mulching, bagging, and side discharge options for cuttings
- Automatic parking brake sets when lap bar levers move in or out
This machine comes with a powerful 26 HP gas engine made by Kohler. This reliable engine starts up readily and gets the mower up to a top speed of 6.5 MPH; plenty of speed for mowing in any situation.
The transmission is factory sealed and maintenance-free, so you never have to worry about it.
The Husqvarna Z254 sizable 54-inch cutting deck uses air induction technology to pull air through the deck and lift the grass before the blade hits it, resulting in a cleaner, more efficient cut without missing spots.
The stamped steel deck is reinforced and durable for real-world, heavy-duty work situations. At delivery, this mower is factory equipped to discharge cuttings through the side chute. But you can purchase a mulching kit and bagging attachment separately, and it takes minimal effort and tools to install them.
When using the mower without the mulching blades installed, cuttings are ejected into a pile up to 10 feet to the side of the machine.
The mulching kit cuts the grass clippings more finely than the standard blades. The mulching system then disperses cuttings in an even layer toward the mower’s back where they can decompose add nutrients back to the soil. Replacement blades are easy to find at hardware stores and online from multiple outdoor equipment sources.
Comfort and Safety Features
One innovative safety feature on this mower is a patent-pending parking brake that engages and disengages when the operator lifts or lowers the steering bars.
This parking brake activation system assures that the brake is always set before the operator leaves the machine: You can’t get out of the seat without moving the bars outward and activating the parking brake.
This mower does not come with a headlight, so if you need one for safety or use during low-light-level times of day, you will need to buy one separately for about $80 and install it.
One buyer reports that the mower came in a hard to open crate, taking over four hours of work to open and demolishing the container in the process. He wasn’t happy about this because he wanted to keep the crate for returning the product if necessary.
Nonetheless, this buyer and most others say the machine arrived without damage and was easy to set up and use once it was out of the crate.
On mowing capabilities, one buyer tells us he replaced his tractor style mower with this Husqvarna and now mows his lawn in half the time. The ease of maneuverability is another feature many buyers say they appreciate.
One customer noted he had to adjust the steering bars after delivery because the factory setting was not correct. However, this adjustment is an easy task described in the manual and something owners must occasionally do as routine maintenance.
Overview of Husqvarna Z254 Zero Turn Mower for Hilly Yards
This zero turn mower from Husqvarna gets high marks for its maneuverability, power, and ease of use. However, some buyers note that the machine does not do as well as they hoped to climb hills and steep terrain.
Poor performance on hills could be due to the relatively low weight of this mower compared to others. Heavier machines have more traction on slopes, and this machine weighs only 542 lbs. compared to 770 lbs. for the other Husqvarna model reviewed in this post.
This mower can significantly speed up mowing a flat or slightly uneven area because it has a powerful engine and wide cutting deck. On sloped ground, owners might be able to improve hillside performance by installing more heavy-duty tires in the rear.
The Ariens 915223 IKON-X 52-inch cutting deck, zero turn mower is equipped with a 23hp Kawasaki FR691 Series gas engine with plenty of power for tackling tough mowing jobs on flat and steep ground.
Main Product Benefits
- Wide mowing deck for large lawns and fields
- Powerful 726cc Kawasaki V-Twin engine
- Competitive price tag
A hefty 726cc Kawasaki V-Twin engine powers this mower. This mower travels seven mph at top speed, which lets you mow vast areas of ground in a short amount of time.
A hydraulic gear drive and transmission do the shifting for you as you change speeds, so you don’t have to let go of the control bars. Mowing on sloping ground with trees, shrubs, and garden beds to maneuver around is well within this machine’s capacity.
The deck houses three cutting blades and has an outside width of 52-inches, a depth of 4.5-inches, and comes with 11-gauge steel.
The cutting deck on this lawnmower extends several inches beyond the wheelbase on one side of the mower. This extension lets you easily mow up close to buildings, walkways, and curbs.
The cutting height adjustment is operated with a dial instead of a lever. Under the deck are four anti-scalp wheels that prevent the blades from leaving bald spots when you go over a high area.
You can replace the blades that come with this mower and install a mulching kit that includes mulching blades and a baffle to redirect the cuttings toward the machine’s rear. The mulching kit part number is 71514000.
The 13 setting cutting deck adjustment operates with a dial and lets you set the cut grass’s height between 1.5 and 4.5-inches, giving you lots of flexibility on the lawn’s look at the end of mowing. A 4-point suspension on the deck and hydraulic assist make moving the deck up and down virtually effortless.
This lawnmower can also bag up clippings, but the bagging unit is sold separately.
You can also separately purchase a hitch kit, letting you pull a trailer, spreader, sprayer, or other attachment. The hitch kit part number is 71514900.
Comfort and Safety Features
One drawback of this mower is that it does not come equipped with headlights.
Many people do not need headlights on a mower because they only use it during daylight hours, and they don’t plan to operate it where there is any chance of encountering passing cars or people.
However, if you need headlights for this mower, you can buy a headlight accessory kit and install it yourself. The part number for headlight kits for this mower is 71514100.
The seat on this mower is made of heavy-duty 10 gauge steel for outstanding durability, and the steel is covered with comfortable, high-backed padding and has armrests. Also, padded control levers reduce vibration in the operator’s hands, a nice feature that can be valuable if you mow for long periods.
This mower comes with a 3-year warranty, and you can have servicing done at one of the many local dealerships.
Many buyers are raving about this mower, saying it has tons of power for tackling big lawns up to several acres in size and open fields with rough ground. Buyers also comment on how economical this mower is for what it offers.
Several buyers note that this mower does struggle with steep slopes over about 15 degrees, saying the short wheelbase can cause the machine to wheelie when going uphill if a trailer is attached.
Others said that while the seat is well-padded, the underlying springs deliver a somewhat rough ride on bumpy ground.
Overview of Ariens 915223 Zero Turn Mower for Steep Hills
The Ariens 915223 is a popular zero turn mower capable of mowing up to 15 degrees on moderate slopes.
The powerful engine and extra-wide cutting deck make it fast to mow on flat or slightly uneven ground.
The competitive price tag on this zero turn, combined with its sturdy construction and horsepower, make this a worthwhile investment.
This Troy-Bilt Mustang Fit Riding lawnmower with a 34-inch deck and 452cc engine is designed for smaller lawns and yards, but it still has plenty of power and other desirable features.
Main Product Benefits
- Mows in reverse
- Extra legroom in front of the seat
- Slim profile for trimming small and narrow areas
The Troy-Bilt Mustang is equipped with an efficient Troy-Bilt 452cc gasoline engine. Troy-Bilt engines run reliably and smoothly, and this engine has plenty of power for moderate mowing jobs.
The transmission is an EZT hydrostatic design that is maintenance-free for smooth, efficient power to the wheels and cutting blades.
A top forward speed of 7 mph is possible with a maximum reverse speed of 2.5 mph. This lawnmower has a gas tank capacity of 1.2-gallons, which is not a very large tank, making this a suitable machine for smaller yards and lawn and less challenging mowing situations.
The cutting deck on this mower is smaller than any of the other mowers reviewed here. With a 34-inch wide cut, this mower is designed for use in smaller and narrower lawns.
This model’s smaller deck size makes it especially suitable for mowing around outbuildings, walkways, and patio areas.
The cutting deck is adjustable in height with eight separate settings for a cut between 1.5 and 4.5-inches. The cutting deck’s outside width of 36-inches makes it small to fit through a standard-sized garden gate.
You can mow in reverse in this zero turn mower. However, as a safety feature, you first have to engage a lever to allow for the reverse mowing function.
As far as attachments go, this mower has a compatible mulching kit available through the Troy-Bilt website. However, it is not compatible with a hitch attachment.
Comfort and Safety Features
A dual suspension under the seat and extra-long legroom in front of the seat makes this mower a comfortable ride, especially for tall people.
The seat has a high back and is well-cushioned, which can significantly reduce operator fatigue when mowing for long periods.
This machine does not come with a standard set of headlights. However, it does have extra-large rear wheels for stability and maneuverability on uneven ground.
One buyer notes this zero turn is “effortless to operate,” the controls are comfortable to use and don’t produce strain on arms and hands.
Another buyer cautions that using the zero turn capability of this mower results in damage to the lawn. But this problem is not specific to this model: All zero turn mowers easily damage lawns if turned 180 degrees without moving the machine slightly back and forth to make the turn.
Overall, most people who bought this zero turn mower appreciate what it can do.
Overview of Troy-Bilt Mustang Hillside Zero Turn Mowers
The Troy-Bilt Mustang comes with a limited, residential use 2-year warranty of the engine and a limited lifetime warranty on the frame.
Main Product Benefits
- Extra-wide, 61-inch cutting deck
- Powerful 24 HP Kawasaki gas-powered engine
- Extra-large, 9-bushel bagging system
- Rollbar for safety
The reliable Briggs & Stratton engine with 24 HP starts quickly every time and can get you up to a speed of 7 mph. For an additional cost, you can upgrade the engine to a Kawasaki 24 HP engine.
The fuel take holds a generous 5-gallons of fuel, giving you an extended run-time between fill-ups.
The extra-wide, 61-inch cutting deck is made with tough 11-gauge steel for rough service and an extended lifespan.
The deck lifts and lowers with little effort using an ergonomic design easily accessed by the operator.
This mower has a huge bagging unit that holds nine bushels of trimmings, and it also has an optional mulching kit. Both the bagging and mulching kits are available separately.
Due to its heavy weight of 770 pounds, this mower has a lot of traction for mowing hills with a zero turn mower.
Comfort and Safety Features
This mower offers cozy, high-backed seats, cushioned hand controls, chassis vibration dampers, and padded armrests.
It also has a Roll-Over Protection System (ROPS) consisting of an overhead, tubular roll bar for protection in an overturn accident. The ROPS is a valuable feature if you do a lot of mowing on slopes because a rollover’s chances are highest when going up or downhill.
The mower does not have a headlight, but you can install an aftermarket one if you want.
Several buyers have reported that this machine was difficult to unpack from the crate after delivery. They say the pallets and wood packing must be cut apart with a reciprocating saw to get the mower out. The wheels come locked into a cradle that also presents problems for unpacking.
Once it’s out of the crate, models with a ROPS may take two people and the use of an impact wrench to get the piece installed. Beyond that, all that is needed to get this mower going is to hook-up the battery, install the seat and control arms, put some gas in the tank, and start it up.
Other than unpacking problems, most buyers say this machine delivers when it comes to mowing large areas and steep slopes. One customer comments that this mower did better on steep slopes than his old tractor mower with studded tires.
Buyers also say the cut is immaculate and even. They appreciate the easy-to-use foot-operated hydraulic lift for the cutting deck and the low-vibration hand controls. Many buyers say they are happy with the 4-year warranty that comes with this mower, a more extended warranty period than most other similar lawnmowers.
Overview of Husqvarna 61-inch Commercial Zero Turn Mower for Hills
This mower is a solidly-built, large zero turn mower for commercial mowing or large-scale residential maintenance.
The wide cutting deck, heavy weight-class, and overall power of the engine on this model give it the biggest edge in mowing hills with a zero turn mower.
Tips for Safely Mowing Slopes with Zero Turn Mowers
Zero turn mowers on hills can lose traction, especially if one wheel is higher on the hill than the other. Zero turn mowers often work best on slopes when you mow up and down the slope rather than side to side.
When making a 180 degree turn with zero turn mowers on hilly terrain, you can accidentally damage the lawn if the front wheels turn without moving slightly back and forth. Holes like this in the ground are unsightly, a trip hazard, and a nuisance to fix.
The solution is making a small ‘K’ turn when you need to reverse direction: Back up slightly while turning in one direction and then turn the in other direction and moving forward to complete the turn-around. Making this maneuver when turning around saves your lawn or turf from dents and holes caused by the wheels turning while stationary.
If you are looking for the best zero turn mower for hills and flat areas alike, the Simplicity 2691318, Troy-Bilt Mustang, and Craftsman Z525 deliver good power, comfort, and ease of operation. The Craftsman is the best suited for smaller yards with narrow areas and some hills.
The Husqvarna Z254 and the Ariens 915223 mowers have an excellent performance range for mowing hills with a zero turn mower on land with slopes up to about 15 degrees. They also perform well on flat and uneven ground.
If you have acres of steep terrain or commercial mowing jobs, the best zero turn mower for steep hill applications of these six mowers is the Husqvarna MZ61 due to its wide cutting deck, heavy weight-class, and powerful engine.
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