Last Updated on September 2, 2021 by the staff of TheAllElectricLawn
There are many different types of zero turn mowers on the market today. Everyone is aware of the gas models that commercial landscapers and homeowners have used for many years.
Did you know that there are quite a few battery powered zero turn riding lawn mowers on the market today? There are mowers from RYOBI, EGO, Cub Cadet, and Greenworks. There are even some commercial models available from Gravley and Greenworks PRO.
This article will discuss the different types of zero turn mowers on the market today and give you my recommendations on owning a battery-powered zero turn mower based on my own personal experiences.
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Table of Contents
- 1 Gas Vs Electric Zero Turn Mowers
- 2 Are electric zero turn mowers better than gas zero turn mowers?
- 3 Are electric zero turn mowers worth it?
- 4 What’s new in Zero Turn Electric Turn Mowers
- 5 Battery powered zero turn riding lawn mower brands
Gas Vs Electric Zero Turn Mowers
So here is the big question, right? Do you choose a gas or electric zero turn mower?
Electric Zero Turn Mowers
Well, that all depends on how large of lawn do you have to cut. If you are cutting less than 3.5 acres, then a residential battery powered zero turn mower will work for you. The average battery powered zero turn mower cuts around 2 – 2.5 acres of grass.
Most consumer model battery powered zero turn mowers have 42-inch cutting decks. There are some larger models with 54-inch decks as well.
Commercial electric zero turn mowers come in larger cutting deck sizes up to 60-inches.
You will have to pay for that extra runtime and cutting deck size; these “commercial” or “prosumer” mowers are expensive.
Gas Zero Turn Mowers
I am not going to spend a lot of time on the gas end of zero turn mowers. They have been around for decades and are well-proven reliable machines for both the commercial and home user.
They have a wide range of cutting deck sizes from 36-inches up to 72-inches. They are powered by gas engines with up to 30 + horsepower for the larger commercial models.
Gas zero turn mowers are made by a wide range of manufactures and are pretty much available at any hardware store or home improvement center. They get the job done, which is why they are used by commercial landscapers all over the United States and the world.
That being said, electric or battery powered zero turn mowers are starting to show up more and more in commercial environments, just like they have homes and neighborhoods all over the country.
Are electric zero turn mowers better than gas zero turn mowers?
I am a little bias here, and I am going to say yes. I am biased because I have owned a RYOBI battery powered zero turn mower for over two years, and I love it.
I have put over 126 hours on this mower, cutting grass around my suburban home. I have a decent-sized yard with over 2.5 acres of grass to cut, and the mower has performed great.
I really like this mower for a few reasons, and these are why, in my opinion, battery powered zero turn mowers are better than gas zero turn mowers.
- lower noise levels when operating
- little to no maintenance (except for blades and battery charging)
- no harmful emissions
- no storage and stabilization of fuel
- no or little vibration – if you are on a mower for long periods of time, then you know what a blessing this is
- equivalent power and cutting capability to gas mowers
Those are just a few reasons I think electric or battery powered zero turn mowers are better than gas zero turn mowers.
Another thing you might consider might be the value of a battery powered zero turn mower.
Are electric zero turn mowers worth it?
In general, zero turn mowers are great at a few things. They are quick, and they are nimble. Those two things save us folks mowing the lawn time. Having extra time to spend doing a hobby or being with your family is worth the price of admission.
Electric or battery powered zero turn mowers kick that up a notch by providing a few valuable benefits on top of your time savings, making the mowers affordable and reliable.
Like all electric or battery powered mowers, battery powered zero turn mowers require very little maintenance. These mowers require annual blade changes and battery maintenance.
Keeping the batteries charged and working properly is pretty much it. Different types of batteries call for different types of maintenance to make sure the batteries last and maintain their peak performance. Consult your user manual for more specific information on taking care of the batteries in your mower.
Gas mowers require oil changes, air filters, oil filters, and new spark plugs. Those maintenance items are extra costs you don’t incur if you have a battery powered zero turn mower.
Fuel and Fuel Costs
So with electric or battery powered lawn mowers, you don’t have traditional fuel costs. You don’t have to go to the gas station and buy fuel to power the mower.
What you do have to do is pay your power bill so that you can charge your batteries. Electricity rates are usually much lower than what you will pay for a gallon of gas. I haven’t bought gas for a lawn mower in two years, and I love not having to do that.
I also don’t have to store fuel to power a gas lawn mower. That is another plus in my book. If you don’t constantly run through your gas supply, you could end up with bad gas. To keep gas from going bad, you have to use a fuel stabilizer. All of that is a hassle and a cost that I don’t have to deal with anymore.
Here is where the playing field is leveled between a battery powered zero turn and a gas zero turn mower. Battery powered zero turn mowers are not cheap.
The average 42-inch battery powered zero turn mower costs between $4000 – $5000. That seems like a lot of money, and it is. You can get similarly sized gas mowers for around the same price or cheaper in some cases.
Keep in mind that the initial cost is high for a battery-powered mower, but the ongoing costs are pretty low.
What’s new in Zero Turn Electric Turn Mowers
Zero turn electric riding mowers have been around for a few years. During this time, the mowers have been powered by lithium-ion and lead-acid batteries. Both the lithium-ion and lead-acid batteries have been nonremovable in the older battery powered zero turn mowers.
Also, older models had stamped cutting decks. Some new models have fabricated steel decks like you might see on a high-end prosumer or commercial gas zero turn mower.
Removable Lithium-Ion Batteries
When RYOBI and Cub Cadet introduced their respective zero turn mowers in 2019, they were very similar in specifications, except for the type of battery each manufacture choose for a power source. Cub Cadet went with a lithium-ion battery, and RYOBI went with sealed lead-acid batteries.
Both batteries get the job done, but they aren’t removable. EGO and Greenworks Pro introduced two new zero turn mowers last year that have removable lithium-ion batteries that also power other tools in their respective battery powered outdoor power tool lines.
Therein lies the best new feature of the recently introduced zero turn mowers. You can add more battery capacity by switching in new freshly charged batteries if you have more cutting to do.
With older battery-powered zero turn riding mowers like I have, you have to recharge and wait once the battery gets weak. While not a deal-breaker for me, it has become inconvenient at times.
Cutting Decks, Battery Management, and Connectivity
Recently introduced RYOBI mowers have larger 54-inch fabricated steel decks, which is a step above the stamped cutting decks of other manufactures. The commercial models from Greenworks and Gravely have fabricated decks as well.
EGO has made great strides in battery management with multiple cutting and driving modes, which help reduce or maximize battery life.
Most of the new mowers introduced in the last few years have come with USB ports for charging a phone. Newer models from EGO and Greenworks are coming with Bluetooth and GPS connectivity to help manage mower operation and runtimes.
Battery powered zero turn riding lawn mower brands
Currently, there are just a handful of lawn mower manufacturers making battery or electric zero turn lawn mowers.
- Greenworks Pro
- Cub Cadet
We are going to take a look at a few of the models available for 2021.
RYOBI currently has three battery powered zero turn models on the market. Each of these mowers has multiple drive modes (fast and slow) and multiple cutting modes (fast and slow). Each mower has one handle cutting deck height adjustment to tune in your perfect cut.
They all have multiple cup holders and USB ports for charging your phone during use. These RYOBI mowers also have led headlights for cutting in low light. They all include a rear tow hitch as well. Here is a breakdown of the three current models:
The RY48140 54-inch mower is the new kid on the block. It has longer runtime of up to 3.5 acres on a single battery charge and a larger cutting deck than the other two RYOBI models.
This mower has 5 separate brushless motors. Two of which power the back two wheels, and the other 3 are for the lawn mower blades.
This mower is the cream of the crop in the RYOBI zero turn lawn mower family and makes improvements in almost every feature compared to the RY48ZTR100.
I personally own the RY48ZTR100. It has a 42-inch deck and has a runtime of around 2.5 acres. It could easily handle the 2.5 acres with no issue and with limited battery drain when it was brand new. After 126 hours of use, the runtime has diminished some, so I am using up most of the battery to cut my yard these days.
This mower has 4 separate brushless motors, two for each drive wheel and two for the lawn mower blades. From personal experience, this mower is quick and has instant torque to get you through your cutting session quickly.
The RY48ZTR75 is basically the same spec-wise as the 100Ah above. The only real big difference in the size of the battery is a 75 Ah battery. You will get a slightly shorter run time of 2.25 acres, but you still have the same cutting width and amount of brushless motors used in the RY48ZTR100.
EGO just recently introduce the Power+ 42-inch Z6 zero turn riding mower. It has been well received because of its replaceable/swappable batteries, long runtimes, and high-end feature set.
This mower has all the bells and whistles. The Z6 has a suspension seat to make those long cutting sessions easy on the back. In front of the seat down on the floorboard is a charge meter so you can keep your eyes on the cutting ahead instead of looking down at the control panel.
It also has a fully customizable LCD interface where you can choose from one of the three drive modes: Standard, Control, and Sport.
The Z6 comes with blue tooth connectivity, so your phone can be a key for the mower. It also will monitor battery status via your smartphone.
Adjustability is the name of the game with the Z6, and it has 10 cutting height settings to dial in the best cutting height for your yard.
The Power+ 42-Inch Z6 zero turn riding mower comes with four 10Ah 56-volt batteries. These can be expanded to six 56-volt batteries, which can extend your cutting runtime. These 56-volt batteries also run on any EGO outdoor power tool.
The ability to add more batteries is a game-changer since you can essentially cut for as long as you like if you have enough batteries to keep powering the Z6. The mower is rated at cutting 2 acres with the included 4 10Ah batteries.
Greenworks has been in the electric zero turn market for quite a while with their commercial models. Recently, Greenworks introduced the Greenworks Pro line, which is more of a prosumer line of products that included string trimmers, blowers, and lawn mowers.
This zero turn mower has an impressive list of features that make this a desirable model for cutting lawns. This model is squarely in the prosumer mark and should handle any lawn cutting tasks for residential users.
The RZ 42M is run by eight 6Ah 82-Volt batteries that are included with the mower. These 82-volt batteries can also be used with any Greenworks Pro line of handheld outdoor power tools. This makes it really a great deal. So essentially, you have 8 batteries you can use in any other Greenworks Pro tool.
Four brushless motors power this battery powered zero turn mower. There are two motors for the drive wheels and two direct motors for the cutting blades.
This more has plenty of adjustability with cutting heights as well. With adjustment between 1.5 inches to 4.5 inches. The cutting deck is 42-inches wide and comes with a stamped deck, so not quite as high-end as the RYOBI deck.
The RZ 42M is capable of cutting around 2 acres with the 8 6Ah batteries. To me, this seems a little conservative with the large amount of battery power on this mower.
One unique feature with the RZ 42M is the front hitch that allows for implements to connect to the mower.
Cub Cadet has been making riding lawn mowers for many years, and they were one of the few large manufactures that jumped into the electric lawn mower business from early on. The XTI LT42E riding lawn mower was one of the first electric mowers introduced into the market. Cub Cadet put out an electric zero turn around the same time RYOBI put out their first mower.
The ZT1 42E is similar in many aspects to the RYOBI RY48ZTR75. It has a fixed battery and can mow around 2 acres. The big difference with this mower is that Cub Cadet went with a lithium-ion battery instead of a lead-acid battery.
By going with the larger single lithium-ion battery, they have true fade-free performance all the way to the end of the battery charge. The battery also charges relatively quickly, coming in around 4 hrs to full charge.
Two direct drive brushless motors power the 42-inch cutting deck. Two other brushless mowers power the zero turn drive wheels.
The ZT1 42E has two cutting modes (eco and standard) and two drive modes (low speed and standard), both of which can extend the runtime of the mower.
This mower has the most adjustable cutting height of any of these electric zero turn mowers. It has 15 half-inch adjustments. That is a lot of adjustability.
USB ports are also included in the ZT1 42E to charge small handheld devices like your smartphone.
The one thing I have noticed about this mower is that it is hard to find. Occasionally, I will see this mower available at my local HomeDepot, but that is rare, so it may be harder to locate if you are looking for this model in particular.
Wrapping it up: Battery Powered Zero Turn Riding Lawn Mowers
Battery powered zero turn mowers have come of age. These mowers can easily complete with gas-powered zero turn mowers in the same $4000-$5000 price range. They all have many great features, without a lot of issues gas-powered zero turns have.
With newer models coming with larger and larger battery capacities and some models coming with removable batteries, I see no reason why anyone wouldn’t consider an electric zero turn mower for their next zero turn mower. I think the time is now for the homeowner looking to move to an electric and zero turn mower.