Are Zero Turn Mowers Good On Hills?

  • By: CarlBroadbent
  • Time to read: 5 min.
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As a general rule, Zero Turn Mowers are not the best on hills or rough terrain.

In fact, because they are so low to the ground, this can cause them to tear up the grass while you mow.

That’s not to say that a Zero Turn Mower can’t handle a bit of a slope.

Roughly 15 degrees is the most incline that can be tackled with this mower!

Are Zero Turn Mowers Good On Hills? 

Generally speaking, Zero Turn Mowers are not good on hills.

Husqvarna MZ61 61 in. 24 HP Kawasaki Hydrostatic Zero Turn Riding Mower

In fact, they can only successfully mow a slant of up to 15 degrees.

After that, tearing up the grass becomes a serious risk! Even with sufficiently small slopes, you will want to take extra care.

If you have a yard with lots of hills and/or rough terrain, a high-wheel lawnmower might work better! 

What Are Zero Turn Mowers Good For?

Above all, Zero Turn Motors are designed for speed and precision.

They cut so close to obstacles that there’s little to no need to use a trimmer, making yard care quicker and easier!

So, are Zero Turn mowers good on hills? What are they good for?

Learn more below!

Avoiding Obstacles 

First and foremost, Zero Turn lawnmowers are exceptional at avoiding obstacles.

Thanks to the precise design of the front of the mower (and the blades), this mower can get really close to objects without so much as nicking them (within reason).

This is very handy when it comes to obstacles like lawn decor!

A Close Cut

If you like your lawn well-manicured, a Zero Turn Mower might just be the answer.

The blades are much lower to the ground with a Zero Turn vs a high-wheel mower. This makes for a very close cut.

With a Zero Turn Mower, you can cut the grass shorter and more precisely than ever!

Large Areas (Speed)

Zero Turn Mowers are not only precise, but they’re also fast, too.

Zero turn mower on rough terrain
Zero-turn mower

This makes them ideal for tackling a large lawn.

While most lawnmowers cap it off at 4 MPH, Zero Turn Mowers are capable of up to 8 MPH, making mowing fast work! 

Weed-Whacking (Made Easier)

Because they’re so precise and close to the ground, Zero Turn Mowers are excellent at tackling weeds as well as grass.

Thanks to this, you’ll need to do less weed-whacking than ever!

How to Use a Zero Turn Mower on a Hill 

If the hill is small enough, i.e. a 15 degree inclines or less, you may be able to tackle it with your Zero Turn Mower.

It’s not recommended to attempt hills bigger than this; the low-down blades will almost certainly tear up the grass.

With a Zero Turn Mower, a large, mostly-flat area is ideal.

If you’re determined to try mowing a larger hill with your Zero Turn Mower, make sure that your blades are sharp and that your tires are full.

will make it a bit easier, although, with inclines over 15 degrees, you’d need plenty of luck!

Ride on mowers and Zero Turn mowers
Ride on mowers and Zero Turn mowers

For a hilly yard, a high-wheel mower will be much better at doing the trick!

How to Maintain a Zero Turn Mower

As with any lawnmower, you want to be sure to properly maintain your Zero Turn Mower!

This involves storing your mower out of the sunlight, preferably somewhere dry and cool.

What’s more, it’s better for virtually any lawnmower if you always keep gas in the tank!

Next on the list of importance is keeping the blades sharp. The blades will inevitably need sharpening and/or replacement, so it’s always good to double-check.

Otherwise, tearing up the grass (instead of neatly mowing it) becomes a real risk.


Fortunately: When it comes to preserving your grass, avoiding hills and keeping the blades sharp should do the trick!


How to Work a Zero Turn Mower 

Luckily, working a Zero Turn lawnmower couldn’t be simpler.

See the 4 steps below!

1. Release the Choke (and/or Brake)

The first step to working a Zero Turn mower is to find and then release the choke (and/or break).

Where exactly the choke is located depends on the mower, but it’s usually in plain sight, right in front of the driver.

Clearly, in order to start moving, this will need to be off!

2. Push Levers to Go Forward

You’ll be maneuvering your Zero Turn Mower with two levers, one on each side of you.

To go straight, simply press both levers forward. The farther forward you push them, the faster you’ll go.


In Fact: Zero Turn mowers are capable of reaching speeds of up to 8 MPH!


3. Pull Levers to Go Back

So, you push the levers to move forward.

How do you move backward?

Zero Turn Mowers for Hills lawns
Cutting grass

All that you need to do is pull the levers back!

Make sure to do this carefully, paying attention to any obstacles.

This is a fast and super-responsive lawnmower! 

4. Turn By Pushing/Pulling Just One Lever

One of the best things about Zero Turn mowers is that they really do turn on a dime.

All that you need to do is push or pull just one lever, and this will turn the mower.

Just make sure to use the levers carefully, and the mower will react quickly when you push or pull a lever!

Final Thoughts

So, if you were wondering, ‘are Zero Turn mowers good on hills,’ you have your answer.

Zero Turn Mowers are not made for hills and will struggle with inclines that are over 15 degrees.

When it comes to speed and precision (over a relatively flat surface), however, a Zero Turn Mower will do the trick!

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