13 Worst Zero Turn Mowers to Avoid

worst zero turn mowers to avoid

Choosing the right zero turn mower matters. In this article, we’ll explore these special mowers and find out which ones might not be the best choice.

Imagine getting a mower that doesn’t work well after you buy it – that’s what we want to help you avoid.

We’ll talk about what makes a good zero-turn mower and then look at some models that people often have problems with.

By learning from others’ experiences, you can make sure you pick a mower that keeps your lawn looking great without any hassles.

So which are some of the worst zero turn mowers to avoid? Let’s find out.

What Makes a Good Zero Turn Mower?

Let’s uncover what sets apart good lawn mowers. These mowers are like lawn ninjas – they move swiftly and with precision.

They have a special trick up their sleeve called “zero turn technology,” which lets them spin around quickly without missing any spots.

Basics of Zero Turn Technology

Imagine being able to turn on the spot without leaving uncut grass behind. That’s what zero turn technology does.

Instead of a regular steering wheel, zero turn mowers have two levers or handles. Pushing one forward and the other back makes you spin right where you stand. It’s like magic for your lawn.

Key Features of High-Quality Zero Turn Mowers

The best mowers bring together power, durability, and comfort. They have strong engines that can handle your lawn with ease. Sturdy construction ensures they last a long time.

Plus, comfy seats make mowing less of a chore. And let’s not forget about the cutting deck – it’s designed to trim your grass evenly, leaving behind a smooth, well-groomed lawn.

13 Worst Zero Turn Mowers to Avoid

1. Poulan Pro P46ZX

The Poulan Pro P46ZX has left many users disappointed due to quality concerns. People have reported issues with different parts of this mower, including its deck, engine, and transmission.

Sadly, these parts don’t seem to last long and need frequent fixing. One big problem comes from using plastic parts that easily break.

This has left users frustrated as they have to keep repairing it. The deck, in particular, seems to be badly designed, making it tough to get a nice, even cut. This means your lawn might end up looking uneven and untidy.

The trouble is so serious that many people have to buy replacement parts quite often, and you can find these parts being sold frequently on Amazon.

Interestingly, not many folks seem to be buying this mower a lot these days, probably because of these issues.

When choosing a mower, it’s a good idea to steer clear of the Poulan Pro P46ZX as it’s the worst zero turn mower to invest in.

2. Swisher ZTR2454BS

The Swisher ZTR2454BS has gained a reputation for its notable downsides that users have encountered. One of the most glaring issues is its significant fuel consumption.

This means you’ll find yourself spending more on fuel than you might expect, which can add up over time and dent your wallet.

Additionally, its large size contributes to a lack of maneuverability. Maneuverability is crucial for a zero turn mower, as its main advantage lies in its ability to turn on a dime.

A bulky and cumbersome mower defeats this purpose by making it challenging to navigate through tight spots and around obstacles in your yard.

Beyond these concerns, the engine on the Swisher ZTR2454BS has raised a significant red flag. Many users have reported that the engine is not as reliable as one would hope. 

Frequent breakdowns and issues can lead to frustration, downtime, and costly repair bills. Furthermore, this mower’s drive belt has proven to be a weak point.

The belt has a tendency to slip or even break, resulting in a loss of power and control. This is a serious safety concern, as an unpredictable and uncontrollable mower can lead to accidents.

3. Husqvarna Z254

The Husqvarna Z254, although from a reputable brand, has faced its fair share of issues that have disappointed users.

Despite its name, some users have pointed out problems that shouldn’t be ignored. Reports indicate that the Z254 husqvarna zero turn mowers encounteres issues related to its deck, engine, and overall build quality.

These concerns are concerning given that Husqvarna is generally known for producing reliable zero turn mowers.

Users have noted that the deck design seems to fall short. Achieving an even cut can be a challenge due to difficulties in properly levelling the deck.

This can result in uneven patches of grass on your lawn, which certainly isn’t what you expect from a mower in this price range.

The engine’s performance has also been under scrutiny. Some users have experienced troubles with the engine, from starting problems to performance inconsistencies.

For a mower with Husqvarna’s reputation, such issues are unexpected and frustrating. Furthermore, reports of build quality issues are worrying.

Users have expressed concerns about the mower’s overall durability, with parts showing signs of wear and tear sooner than anticipated.

This can lead to a shorter lifespan for the mower and potentially more frequent repairs.

4. Troy-Bilt TB225

The Troy-Bilt TB225 has received attention for reasons that aren’t positive. Users have expressed their dissatisfaction with its performance and reliability.

One common complaint is about its overall durability. Some users have reported that the TB225’s construction doesn’t hold up well over time.

This can result in parts breaking or wearing down sooner than expected, leading to frequent repairs. Moreover, the TB225 has faced criticisms for its cutting quality.

Users have noted that the mower doesn’t always provide an even and smooth cut, leaving behind patches of unevenly cut grass.

This can make your lawn look untidy and compromise the appearance of your yard. Additionally, starting problems have been highlighted by several users.

The TB225 has reportedly faced difficulties when it comes to starting reliably. This can be a frustrating experience, especially when you’re eager to get your lawn mowing done quickly.

5. Poulan Pro P54ZX

The Poulan Pro P54ZX has had its fair share of issues that have left users frustrated. One recurrent problem revolves around a plastic bushing that’s meant to steady the steering column.

Sadly, this part tends to break quite frequently. What’s worse, even when it works, the steering can feel weak and unreliable.

Additionally, there’s a pesky issue with the left-side steering dog. This part often sticks out of place, causing more annoyance for users.

Electrical problems have also plagued the P54ZX. Some users have experienced issues where the mower suddenly shuts down due to electrical glitches.

Even though the engine starts fine, taking off the brake can lead to the motor dying off unexpectedly. Furthermore, there’s been a recall involving certain Poulan Pro P54ZX mowers.

In cooperation with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the Husqvarna Group announced a recall on February 8, 2018.

The concern was related to the fuel line, which was positioned near the right rear tire. This positioning caused the fuel line to rub against the tire, posing a potential safety risk.

6. Ariens IKON-X

Ariens is a well-established name in the world of lawn equipment, but the IKON-X model has shown some disappointing features and issues.

Despite the brand’s reputation, users have raised several concerns about this particular mower.

One notable problem is the occurrence of oil leaks after just 5-7 hours of use. These leaks often stem from a cracked drain plug or valve on the block.

The installation of these parts seems to be too tight, leading to these issues. Moreover, some users have faced immediate drive belt problems as soon as the engine starts.

The belt unexpectedly throws off, causing issues with the mower’s functionality. Another persistent issue arises around the 6-month mark.

The drive belt tends to crack and needs frequent replacement. Even after repairs, the mowing belt continues to fall off, causing frustration.

When a belt comes off multiple times, it can suffer internal damage, making replacement necessary.

Interestingly, the V fans positioned on top of each hydro drive have an unintended impact on the belt, causing it to slip from the pulley. Additionally, bent cooling fan fins might contribute to these problems.

7. Snapper 2691319

The Snapper 2691319, unfortunately, has a track record of disappointing users. Variety of issues that affect its performance and longevity.

One major problem revolves around the mower’s transmission. Users have reported transmission failures.

Leading to difficulties in changing gears and controlling the mower’s speed. This can result in an uneven cut and frustration during operation.

Additionally, the Snapper 2691319 has encountered problems related to its cutting performance.

Some users have noted that the mower’s cutting deck doesn’t seem to provide a consistent and even cut. This can leave your lawn looking uneven and less than satisfactory.

Moreover, there have been reports of issues with the mower’s build quality. Parts have been observed to wear out or break sooner than expected. Leading to the need for frequent repairs and replacements.

8. Country Clipper ZTR

The Country Clipper ZTR has faced some serious problems that users haven’t been happy about. One significant issue is the gearbox breaking down.

This gearbox trouble can lead to issues with changing gears and controlling how fast the mower goes. This can make mowing uneven and harder to manage.

Another problem is oil leakage. The mower might develop leaks that leave oil spots on your lawn. Not only is this messy, but it can also be bad for the grass.

Moreover, there have been complaints about belts. The belts that help the mower work can break or wear out, needing replacements. These replacements can be a hassle and cost you money.

Considering all these issues, it might be a good idea to think twice before choosing the Country Clipper mowers.

Also, living near a dealer who can help with repairs might be a good idea, especially given the reported problems.

9. Cub Cadet RZT S46

Many users seem bothered by the mower’s weak engine – it struggles with cutting, leading to an uneven lawn look. Getting around tight corners is also a hassle due to poor maneuverability, a common gripe.

Some owners have had the unfortunate experience of their mowers conking out on the very first use. Imagine the frustration when things break right away. These issues range from engines not starting to parts just refusing to work.

Comparing these problems to other brands, it’s clear that similar complaints pop up all around. Engines, maneuvering, and cuts not being even seem to be issues across the board.

This shows how vital it is to read reviews and learn from others’ experiences before picking a mower.

When it comes to the Cub Cadet RZT S46, real users have spoken out about their share of problems.

While all mowers have their ups and downs, these stories can guide you in making a smart choice and sidestepping possible troubles.

10. Dixie Chopper

Let’s talk about Dixie Chopper lawnmowers. Generally, they’re pretty good and last a while, so your investment pays off.

However, there’s a catch – while they use strong materials, the way they’re designed still causes problems.

One puzzling thing is that these mowers, which are known for their quality, often come with unresolved issues. Take the engines, for example.

You’d think top-notch engines like Kawasaki or Briggs & Stratton would handle humid or damp places well.

But with Dixie Choppers, that’s not always the case. They can act up in these conditions, which is unexpected.

A major headache with this lawn mower brand involves belts and spindles due to weak deck construction.

Plus, they struggle on slopes – even a slight 15-degree angle can be a challenge. This issue is tied to things like uneven tire pressures, not-so-grippy tires, and a not-so-strong power system.

While not all Dixie Choppers are made this way, there are quite a few that are. Sadly, some not-so-great models make their way to the market, and people end up buying them.

So, if you’re thinking of getting a Dixie, make sure to buy from a trustworthy dealer. If not, you might want to explore other options to avoid these kinds of problems.

11. Ego Power+ Electric Zero Turn Mower

On the plus side, electric mowers are quieter, which is a relief for your ears and your neighbors. They’re also better for the environment since they don’t produce exhaust fumes.

Plus, you don’t need to worry about storing gas or dealing with oil changes. However, there are some drawbacks. Electric mowers rely on lead acid batteries, and that means limited runtime.

Depending on your yard size, you might need to recharge in the middle of mowing. Also, these mowers can be a bit pricier upfront due to the rechargeable batteries technology.

When choosing the EGO Power+ electric zero turn mower, consider your yard size and how often you’ll need to mow.

If the battery life matches your needs, this could be a convenient and eco-friendly choice for maintaining your lawn.

12. Ryobi Zero Turns

These mowers come with a mix of features that can be both appealing and challenging. Ryobi’s zero turn mowers offers electric and gas-powered zero turn mowers.

Electric ones are quieter and eco-friendly, but they’re limited by battery life. Gas-powered mowers have longer runtime but come with noise and emissions.

A standout feature of Ryobi mowers is their affordable price compared to some other brands. This can be a big plus if you’re on a budget.

However, some users have reported mixed experiences with Ryobi mowers. While they can be reliable, there have been complaints about build quality and occasional breakdowns.

Also, some users have reported startup problems where the mower might not turn on as expected. In any case, if that happens, check out our guide on why won’t my Ryobi lawn mower start to find solutions.

13. Troy-Bilt Mustang Fit 34

The Troy-Bilt Mustang Fit 34 hasn’t earned the best reputation, and here’s why. First off, it’s got a weak engine, which can be a letdown when you need efficient cutting power.

The build quality isn’t top-notch either, meaning parts might not last as long as you’d hope. And it comes with a narrow cutting deck, which might not be great for larger lawns.

Maneuvering this mower isn’t a breeze either – it can struggle to navigate around obstacles and tight spots.

People have even compared it to equipment you’d find at Walmart, which isn’t a flattering comparison.

Troy Bilt’s zero-turn mowers have earned a spot on our list because poor quality can lead to everything from uneven cuts to major issues. The design is simple, but sometimes that simplicity comes with drawbacks.

Adding to the mix, these zero-turns are known for being made from low-grade materials. This means they wear out faster than you’d expect, which isn’t ideal for a long-lasting mower.

And then there’s the deck – it starts off cutting well, but over time, it degrades and leaves behind uneven patches of grass. 

You might end up mowing over spots repeatedly, wasting your time and fuel. The worst thing is the mower catches fire unexpectedly, posing a dangerous risk during use.

Common Red Flags When Choosing Zero Turn Mowers

When hunting for the perfect zero turn mower, it’s crucial to be on the lookout for common red flags that might state potential issues.

Some of these warning signs include weak engines, and poor build quality. Others are frequent breakdowns, and limited maneuverability. If a mower has a history of these problems, it might not be the right fit for your needs.

Tips for Choosing a Reliable Zero-Turn Mower

  • Research Reputable Brands. Opt for well-established brands with a track record of producing quality and durable mowers. Reviews and recommendations can provide valuable insights into user experiences.
  • Consider Yard Size. Choose a mower that matches your lawn’s size. Larger lawns might require more powerful and efficient mowers to get the job done effectively.
  • Evaluate Features. Look for features like a robust cutting deck, adjustable cutting height settings, and easy-to-use controls. These factors contribute to efficient and convenient mowing. 
  • Check Warranty and Support. A solid warranty and reliable customer support can save you trouble if issues arise. Verify the warranty coverage and ensure you have access to helpful support resources.
  • Test Drive. If possible, take a test drive before making a decision. This hands-on experience allows you to gauge maneuverability, comfort, and ease of use.

For more in-depth information on the potential dangers of zero-turn mowers on hills, check out this resource: Dangers of Zero Turn Lawn Mowers on Hills.

Being informed about both red flags and helpful tips can guide you toward making a wise and satisfying choice for your lawn care needs.

Better Alternatives

John Deere Z335E

If you want a mower you can count on, the John Deere Z335E is a great pick. It’s strong and tough, which means it’ll handle your lawn well.

With a powerful engine, this mower can tackle all kinds of grass without a hitch. And because it’s made by John Deere, you know it’s built to last.

The Z335E is easy to use and comfy too. It moves around obstacles and tight spots without any trouble, making your mowing job easier.

Plus, if anything goes wrong, John Deere has your back with a good warranty and support.

For a reliable and smooth mowing experience, the John Deere Z335E is a smart choice. It’s built tough, works well, and takes the stress out of lawn care.

Toro TimeCutter HD

Looking for a mower that can handle big jobs? The Toro TimeCutter HD is here to impress. When compared to some troublesome mowers, this one is a standout choice.

The TimeCutter HD is built to tackle tough tasks. Its strong cutting deck and powerful engine mean it can handle larger lawns without breaking a sweat.

Toro’s reputation for making reliable mowers shines through with the TimeCutter HD. It’s designed to last, so you won’t have to worry about constant repairs.

These riding mowers also offers a comfortable ride and easy controls, making them more pleasant experience. And if you need help, Toro’s support is there to assist.

Cub Cadet Ultima ZT1

Looking for a better Cub Cadet option? The Ultima ZT1 is worth considering. Unlike some other Cub Cadet mowers, this one aims to deliver a more reliable experience.

The Ultima ZT1 comes with improved build quality and a more dependable engine. This means fewer worries about breakdowns and repairs.

Mowing with the Ultima ZT1 is comfortable and straightforward. It’s designed to provide a smooth ride and easy maneuverability, helping you zip around your yard without hassle.

Although Cub Cadet might have let you down with other models, the Ultima ZT1 shows they’ve learned from their mistakes. With better quality and performance, it’s a solid option to consider.

The Cost of Settling for Less or Cheap

When it comes to zero-turn mowers, opting for cheaper or lower-quality options might seem like a money-saving move.

However, it’s essential to consider the hidden costs that can arise from making such choices.

  • Frequent Repairs and Replacements. Cheaper mowers often come with weaker parts and build quality. This can lead to frequent breakdowns and the need for costly repairs. In the long run, you might end up spending more on fixing your mower than you would have on a higher-quality one.
  • Poor Performance. Cheap mowers might struggle with cutting quality, maneuverability, and overall performance. This can result in an uneven lawn, more time spent mowing, and frustration.
  • Shorter Lifespan. Lower-quality mowers tend to wear out faster. This means you’ll need to replace your mower sooner than you would with a better-built option, leading to extra expenses.
  • Impact on Lawn Quality. Cheaper mowers might not provide the precise cutting and even coverage needed for a healthy lawn. This can result in patchy, unhealthy grass that requires extra care and investment to fix.
  • Time Wasted. Mowers that don’t perform well can make mowing a longer and more tedious task. Your time is valuable, and spending more time on mowing due to an inefficient mower can be a significant hidden cost.


Are there any zero turn lawn mower brands to avoid completely?

Yes, some zero-turn mower brands to avoid are Poulan Pro, Swisher, and certain Troy-Bilt and Cub Cadet models. They have a history of poor quality and frequent issues. It’s best to consider more reliable options.

What are the most common problems with zero turn mowers?

The most common problems with zero turn mowers include dull or worn blades, improper overlapping of cutting rows, clogs in the deck due to grass clippings, and operating the engine at too slow a speed. These issues can lead to uneven cuts and reduced overall performance.


In the world of zero-turn mowers, making a smart choice is crucial. Avoiding models with weak engines, poor build quality, and frequent breakdowns can save you from frustrations and costly repairs.

Brands like Poulan Pro, Swisher, and certain Troy-Bilt and Cub Cadet models have earned a reputation for these issues.

Instead, consider reliable alternatives like the John Deere Z335E, Toro TimeCutter HD, and Cub Cadet Ultima ZT1.

Remember, investing in a quality mower might cost a bit more upfront, but it pays off with smoother mowing, fewer problems, and a healthier lawn in the long run.