Fast hydrostatic lawn mower. Difference Between Hydrostatic and Automatic Riding Lawn Mowers

How to Make a Lawn Mower Faster (5 Ways)

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I’ve been using my John Deere push lawnmower for a couple of years now and it’s been delivering unmatched cutting performance in the field.

However, it tends to slow down at times, which isn’t just frustrating but takes me longer to complete my tasks.

As part of regular maintenance and proper maintenance routines, I’ve checked several components of the mower to ensure they are in good working order including the wheels, shafts, starter gear, and even if grass is accumulated in the frame of my mower.

But since this inspection didn’t resolve the issue, I called in a John Deere professional to diagnose the problem, and voila – I have an almost brand-new mower that performs without any hiccups.

There are several reasons why your lawnmower speed, including a hydrostatic lawn mower, is slow including faulty spark plugs, poor quality of gasoline, and more than likely a clogged air filter.

Fixing these issues will increase mower speed and help the machine deliver optimal performance.

Ways to Make Your Lawn Mower Faster

The first thing worth noting is that lawnmowers including hydrostatic lawnmowers and belt-driven lawnmowers that aren’t regularly maintained will not function at full performance and will showcase low lawn mower’s speed.

Faulty Spark Plug

Spark plugs are an essential component of a lawnmower that is designed to ignite the fuel and air mixture inside the lawnmower engine.

Dirty or faulty spark plugs could result in the slow starting of the machine and even affect the battery’s life. In worse cases, a bad spark plug could cause your lawnmower’s engine to stall and affect the engine’s performance.

Since each lawnmower varies in design, refer to your owner’s manual on how to check and change a faulty spark plug.

If you don’t have your lawnmower user guide handy, check to see whether your lawnmower is using more fuel than usual in the case of gas-powered mowers.

Riding mowers may take longer to start when you turn the key and it may take an increasing number of pulls in the case of a pull mower.

How to Fix Faulty Spark Plugs in Lawnmowers including hydrostatic mowers?

Changing a spark plug may seem overwhelming but is a fairly easy task. You will need a few tools to change a spark plug of a mower including a riding mower:

  • A spark plug socket (13/16 or ¾-inch)
  • A ratcheting socket driver
  • Spark plug gauge
  • Disconnect the lawnmower’s spark plug wire. This is also a good time to wipe the dust and debris around the plug socket.
  • Carefully remove the spark plug. If it isn’t coming out easily, spray a little WD-40 to loosen it up.
  • Inspect the spark plug to see if there’s any powdery material on it, which indicates a problem with the lawnmower carburetor.
  • Ensure you are about the install the right spark plug for your lawnmower model.
  • Install the spark plug, and finger-tighten it, after which use the ratchet to tighten the plug until it stops.

Lawn Mower Slows Down When Cutting

There are plenty of reasons why your lawnmower slows down when cutting including clogging, bad battery, and using the wrong type of fuel.

A clogged lawn will not supply enough fuel to the mower’s engine, which affects everything from fuel consumption to its speed.

If you have a battery-powered mower, aka electric lawnmower, a bad battery can cause the lawnmower to slow down and sometimes stall.

Using the wrong type of fuel can cause your lawnmower’s engine to run hotter, damage fuel lines, and reduce engine performance and consequently its speed.

How to Fix Lawn Mower Slows Down When Cutting Issue?

With regards to clogging, the good news is that you only have to clean the carburetor of your mower once a year, which should speed up your mower and keep it running well until the next growing season.

Before cleaning your lawn mower’s carburetor during the spring or any other time of year you see fit, you should ideally ensure that isn’t something else causing the slow lawnmower issue.

  • Given that the purpose of cleaning the lawnmower’s carburetor is to remove any debris that could be causing the mower’s engine to run rough and slowly, it’s a good idea to clean the outside of the engine when it is turned off.
  • To access the carburetor, you’ll have to remove the air filter housing, and the air filter that sits overtop of it. Remove the air filter and clean it if necessary if you have a dirty air filter before placing it aside. You should now have access to the carburetor.
  • The carburetor of a lawnmower is divided into several pieces, which need to be removed and put back in the same position. After cleaning the carburetor and its pieces, reassemble the carburetor and test the lawnmower to see if it’s running at normal speed.

Check the Governor

Just like a cruise control system on a vehicle, some lawnmowers and traditional lawn tractors come with a governor, which is designed to maintain the speed of the mower when mowing, and outdoor power products.

There are two common types of governor systems – mechanical governor systems and pneumatic governor systems. Most people believe that the governor can increase the mower’s speed, but what it actually does is set an upper speed and ensures the mower doesn’t cross it.

Therefore, if the governor’s upper speed is set to low, your lawnmower won’t run at higher speeds than the configured limit.

How to Fix Governor Speed Issue?

Adjusting the governor on your lawnmower is a relatively straightforward process. The first thing you need to do is locate the governor’s arm.

Then look for the governor’s spring. To make the necessary adjustments, loosen the lock nut on the governor’s arm, and then rotate the arm in the direction that increases the engine’s speed. Once you’ve set the arm in the desired location, tighten the lock nut until the governor is properly secured.

Check and Replace Engine Oil if Necessary

Old, dirty engine oil and/or low oil levels can cause engine wear and reduced performance and can cause permanent damage to your mower.

Whether it’s a push or riding a lawnmower, changing the oil periodically will keep it running smoothly and efficiently and allow you to work with a fast lawn mower.

You can use car oil in lawnmowers with 4-stroke engines (larger engines) but not in lawnmowers with smaller engines like two-cycle engines.

How to Change the Oil of Lawnmower?

Changing the oil of your mower is simple and can be done in a few simple steps. Turn off your mower and let it cool down, and drain out the old oil into a drain pan or oil-safe container.

Most mowers come with a drain plug underneath to easily drain the oil without any spillage. While you’re at it, check the oil filter and replace it if necessary.

Refill your mower with fresh oil and check the oil level with a dipstick. If the oil level in your lawnmower ID still low, add some more, and remove it if it’s too high.

Sharpen Your Mower Blades to Make Lawn Mower Fast

Believe it or not, dull mower blades just affect the speed of your mower, and here’s how! Sharp blades provide a more crisp and clean cut than dull mower blades, which decreases the need to go over a patch of grass more than once, hence increasing the speed of the mower.

How to Sharpen Mower Blades?

The easiest and fastest way to shape lawnmower blades is with a bench grinder. Since not many gardeners own a bench grinder, you can use a clamp and file to sharpen a dull mower blade. Another way to sharpen a dull mower blade is with a drill and blade sharpening stone.

Make Sure Your Fuel Tank is Topped Up with High-Quality Gas

Regardless of the type of fuel you use in your mower whether high-octane fuel or other quality fuels, keep the mower gas tank including riding lawn mower topped up with the best fuel quality at all times for optimum speed and keep the engine running smoothly.

But always refer to your lawnmower’s user manual to ensure you are using the right fuel for your lawnmower.

Check the Lawnmower’s Wheels

Lawnmower wheels come in all sizes, mostly larger wheels at the rear and smaller wheels at the front. Damaged lawnmower wheels can slow down your mower and will probably not let the mower run well on rugged or hilly terrain.


Q. How to Make My Craftsman Mower Go Faster?

A. There are myriad different ways to make your Craftsman mower go faster including using a higher octane gas to make the engine burn fuel faster and increase its speed.

Q. What Mower Has the Fastest Blade Speed?

A. Honda produces mowers with the fastest blade speed but keep in mind that faster doesn’t always mean crisp cuts.

Q. Do Lawnmower Blades Get Too Dull to Cut Grass?

A. Lawn mower blades can get dull over time, and using dull lawnmower blades including dull push mower blades can be detrimental to the health of your turfgrass.

Final Thoughts

Using a slow lawnmower can be frustrating but the tips above can help speed things up. Start by adhering to maintenance routines for your mower including hydrostatic lawnmowers and belt-driven lawnmowers.

Always check the air level and maintain the right air pressure level in your mower’s tires to increase the speed of your mower and to mow different types of grass including wet grass and overgrown grass without any problems.

Hi, Alex Kuritz here. Growing up I remember that my family had one of the best lawns in the neighborhood. Richly green and lush. I did a lot as I grew up in terms of caring and tending for not only my family’s lawn but also my neighbors. I can say I have years of experience, and I am here to share it with you.

Difference Between Hydrostatic and Automatic Riding Lawn Mowers

Nowadays, buyers have various options when shopping for a riding lawnmower. Many models have flooded the market, and each manufacturer claims to have the best equipment.

However, hydrostatic and automatic transmission are two of the most common categories among the many riding mowers on sale. Both of these two options boast exceptional features with distinct capabilities.

So the option you choose depends on your lawn’s layout, your preference but just before that, what is the difference between hydrostatic and automatic riding lawn mowers?

In this guide, we discuss the characteristics of both hydrostatic transmission and automatic transmission, allowing you to make an informed decision on the riding mower that meets your demands.

Difference Between Hydrostatic and Automatic Riding Lawn Mowers

The main difference between hydrostatic and automatic riding mowers lies in their power supply mechanism. Hydrostatic transmission uses fluid to deliver power from the engine to the wheels, whereas automatic transmission uses belts to attain the same objective. Besides, hydrostatic riding mowers also offer more power and better acceleration than automatic riding mowers.

Are Hydrostatic Mowers Better?

Yes, hydrostatic mowers are better because you can adjust the driving speed to meet the relevant working conditions.

The hydrostatic transmissions also incorporate powerful engines with an optional cruise control function, allowing you to set the pace you want to mow your yard.

The body parts of these lawn tractors are also contrived from quality materials to enhance durability.

However, there is a cost for all these benefits as hydrostatic riding mowers are very expensive compared to their correlatives.

Hydrostatic lawn mowers also offer the best maneuverability for lawns with complicated topography. They turn around better around obstacles which saves time.

What Is the Advantage of Hydrostatic Transmission?

Hydrostatic transmission also has the following advantages besides improving maneuverability on various applications.

  • Hydrostatic transmission mower works with a wide range of speed ratios. The transmission plays a critical role in handling speed such that your machine’s speed is continuously variable from zero to maximum. Continuously variable transmissions are more convenient than direct-drive transmissions, requiring you to shift the transmission to a lower ratio to increase the machine’s speed once the engine speed is maximum.
  • With hydrostatic transmission, you don’t have to apply clutch and gear shifting. This assures you no disturbance in transmission.
  • The hydrostatic transmission uses a single lever to adjust speed and direction.
  • This transmission system has very few linkages; therefore, there is little maintenance other than annual oil and filter replacements.
  • You can use the high-pressure oil from the pump to operate power steering or the dynamic brak ing system.
  • Hydrostatic transmission has less response time than gear transmission due to fewer linkages.
  • Considering that hydrostatic transmission doesn’t incorporate gear shifting, the power loss caused by friction is minimized.

What Are the Disadvantages of Hydrostatic Transmission?

Despite the many benefits of hydrostatic transmission, it also has faults. Read on for more.


A hydrostatic transmission is known to be less efficient than sliding gear transmission.

That means vehicles or riding tractors with hydrostatic transmissions subject extra load on the engine, as the machine is prone to frequent damage.


Hydrostatic transmissions are expensive to maintain because they use costly oil. Their body parts are also high-quality, adding to the cost.

Is Motor Oil the Same As Hydrostatic Oil?

Motor oil and hydrostatic oil fulfill the same functions but slightly differ in their formulation.

Motor oil contains additives that often degrade and shear down with time. These degraded additives can lead to oil foaming, comprising wear control.

Hydrostatic transmission oil is designed to fight oxidation and corrosion better than motor oil. These two attributes contribute to longer service life and improved protection during storage.

Additionally, hydrostatic transmission oil has a thicker consistency than motor oil. That tells you hydrostatic oil can withstand gear lubrication much more than motor oil, providing reliable wear protection over time.

How Do You Change Oil In a Hydrostatic Riding Lawn Mower?

The hydrostatic transmission in your lawn tractor needs servicing, including changing the filter, draining the old hydrostatic oil, and adding new oil.

Read below to learn how to change your hydrostatic riding mower oil in a few steps.

  • Socket wrench
  • A clean shop towel
  • Torque wrench
  • Oil filter wrench
  • Hydrostatic transmission oil filter
  • Fresh hydrostatic transmission oil
  • Oil catch drain pan

Step one

Since this is a service procedure, you will need to move your lawn tractor to a flat-level working surface.

Then turn the key off, withdraw it from the ignition, wait for all moving parts to stop, and let the engine cool before proceeding.

After that, engage the parking brake to prevent your riding lawn mower from shifting gears while working.

Step two

Lift the rear of your riding lawn mower so the wheels are slightly raised, then place jack stands in two locations on the left and right sides of the mower frame.

Ensure the mower is stable before proceeding. Next, uninstall the wheel from the hub of the transaxle being serviced.

Doing this gives you enough exposure to the hydrostatic transmission oil area. Uninstall the transaxle oil filter guard from the transaxle.

Place an oil-catch drain pan below the hydrostatic transmission oil drain plug to capture the old transmission oil.

The oil drain plug is found beside the transmission mowers towards the bottom.

Some hydrostatic mowers incorporate one or more transmission oil drain plugs: one for the differential gear side, the other for the hydrostatic transmission side.

Step three

Clean all dirt and debris surrounding the hydrostatic transmission oil reservoir cap using a clean shop towel.

This is critical as it prevents the hydrostatic transmission and oiling system from contamination.

After that, loosen the hydrostatic transmission oil reservoir cap by hand to drain the transmission oil.

A loose cap permits fresh air to enter the oiling system, restricting air vacuum to enhance better oil flow drainage.

Next, unfasten the hydrostatic transmission oil drain plugs using a socket wrench to allow the transmission oil to drain completely for a few minutes.

Step four

Next, unscrew the hydrostatic transmission oil filter from the transmission oil filter housing using an oil filter wrench.

Place the oil filter wrench onto the oil filter and turn it counterclockwise to unscrew the transmission oil filter from its housing.

Install the new oil filter onto the transaxle by hand. Use your fingers to apply a thin layer of oil around the new transmission oil filter seal.

The new filter should swivel until it contacts the oil filter housing. If not, you may be cross-threading the new oil filter.

After that, finish tightening the oil filter with an oil filter wrench about ¾ of a complete turn.

Step five

Remove the fill cap from the oil expansion tank and place a funnel into the tank. Add new oil to the expansion tank until full by hand.

In the process, you will want to wait for a few minutes for the oil level to drop, then slowly add more oil until it once again fills to the top line.

As you add oil into the reservoir tank, pay close attention to the vent port beside the transaxle. If oil drips from the vent port, stop adding oil.

Tighten the vent plug with caution and wipe any residual oil with a clean rag. Since there is no torque specification for the vent plug, you will want to tighten it until you feel a stiff amount of resistance on the vent plug.

Step six

Check the oil level on the reservoir tank. If the oil level has not reached the cold fill line on the tank, add more oil until it touches that line.

Next, remove the oil funnel from the tank, wipe the remaining oil from the tank exterior and reinstall the tank cap.

Follow with removing your oil drain pan under the transaxle and returning the oil filter guard with its original hardware.

Step seven

Disconnect the transaxle by pulling out the bypass lever, then set the mower to the parking brake to start the engine. After the engine ignites, release the parking brake.

Move the steering lever that controls the transaxle, which was serviced back and forth slowly around 4 to 5 times to clear air from the transaxle.

Then slide the transaxle bypassed lever in to reconnect the transaxle. After that, repeat moving the steering lever slowly back and forth 4 to 5 times.

Then stop the engine and wait for all moving components to stop and hot parts to cool. Reinstall the rear wheel and secure it with its original nuts.

You then torque the nuts to the specs inscribed in the user’s manual for your mower.

  • This procedure is more intensive, so it’s best to ask your local dealer for assistance.
  • It’s wise to check the hydraulic oil level when the engine is cool. That’s because hydrostatic transmission oil expands with heat, which can give you inaccurate reading when hot.
  • Before starting this project for hydrostatic transmissions, read the safety instructions in the user’s manual.

What Happens If You Don’t Change the Transmission Fluid?

Transmission fluid is essential as it helps lubricate all moving parts reducing wear and tear caused by excess heat and friction.

So if you don’t change your transmission fluid frequently, it will become dirty and won’t serve as an effective lubricant.

What Are the Signs Of Low Transmission Fluid?

Checking if your mower has low transmission fluid can save you from costly repairs caused by insufficient fluid to lubricate the moving parts.

Here are some common signs that your mower needs transmission fluid:


If your transmission starts overheating, it implies that trouble is brewing. So it’s essential to keep your fluid temperature from exceeding 200 degrees since it will affect your mower’s performance.

Check out these temperatures that can damage your transmission.

  • 220 degrees: varnish begins to establish on the metal parts.
  • 240 degrees: the seals begin hardening.
  • 260 degrees: the transmission bands begin to slip.
  • 295 degrees: your mower breaks down.

Transmission fluid leakage

Another sign of low transmission fluid is leakage. You can tell if your mower transmission fluid leaks by carrying out frequent checks below the mower and the engine’s compartment.

If you notice a bright red color leaking, you will know things are not good. However, it’s even worse if it smells burnt and has a dark color.

Failing to address this leakage means more fluid will be discharged, affecting how internal components are lubricated.

Other common signs of low transmission fluid in your mower include warning lights, transmission slipping problems, and the generation of unusual sounds.

How Do Hydrostatic Lawn Mowers Work?

Hydrostatic transmissions provide high power in a compact size. This mechanism lets you mow through various speeds rather than operating with preset gear rations.

These riding mowers are powered with standard engines and incorporate hydrostatic pumps that use pressurized oil to move pistons into the hydrostatic drive system.

This piston movement delivers power to the hydrostatic transmissions, which engages the drive wheels.

Additionally, hydrostatic transmissions provide more power and improved acceleration in a smaller package.

They also have a quicker response time with unmatched maneuverability than the belt-driven lawn tractors, allowing the operator to change direction and speed quickly.

The wheel rotating speed and the truck mower speed are controlled smoothly, using the optional cruise control, according to the amount of oil delivered by the hydraulic pump.

The oil flow increases instantly by tilting the swashplate to a larger angle, speeding the lmower.

But decreasing the swashplate angle decelerates the hydrostatic transmissions without causing any mechanical wear or requiring a separate break.

When the swashplate sits neutral, the pump doesn’t deliver oil, and the mower remains stationary.

However, most users dislike these hydrostatic transmissions because they use complicated systems with additional components.

That translates to a higher price than its prevalent counterparts. Maintaining a hydrostatic riding mower is also expensive, especially if not taken care of well.

Here’s How Hydrostatic Transmissions Work In a Lawn Mower:

Can You Push Start a Hydrostatic Mower?

Hydrostatic mowers use transmissions that are fluid-driven. This permits you to steer the mower by changing the flow of hydrostatic fluid to individual wheels.

But can you push start a hydrostatic riding mower ? Yes, you can push start a hydrostatic riding mower, but this causes the fluid to move backward through the pump, damaging the seals.

Therefore, you must disengage the drive before push-starting your lawn tractor.

Push-starting a hydrostatic mower only works on riding mowers with a clutch. If you don’t have a long steep hill in your yard, call a friend to help you push the mower.

This can be very dangerous, so you must use your best safety tool: common sense. Ensure nobody walks in front of the path you plan to push-start. And also, ensure no obstacles are on the way.

So assuming you have a suitable hill, push the mower to the top. You can achieve this quickly with your friend’s help.

Once you reach the hill’s peak, turn your mower to face downwards, ensuring the parking brake is engaged before turning on the ignition.

You have to implement the following steps smoothly. Begin by depressing the clutch and shifting the transmission into the lowest gear shifting.

You then hold the clutch down and release the parking brake. If your mower doesn’t immediately go down the hill, give yourself a little push with the free foot.

This should get you going. When you feel you’ve reached top speed, release the clutch. At this point, the mower should start.

If you have a friend, you will need to push the mower rather than roll it down a hill. Follow the same basic procedure and remember to pop the clutch at high speed.

Which Is Better Hydrostatic or Shuttle Shift?

Lawn tractor manufacturers are gradually upgrading and improving transmissions to make their equipment last a lifetime, become more fuel-efficient, and help users accomplish tasks efficiently.

These transmissions include power shuttle transmission, hydrostatic transmission, and geared speed transmission.

Power shuttle transmission is an upgrade to the commonly known gear-shifting transmission.

This transmission incorporates a forward-reverse shuttle lever that automatically clutches the tractor when shifted from one position, makes a shift, and re-engages the clutch.

This transmission is best if you do lots of forward and reverse gear shifting.

The clutches in power shuttle transmission machines are usually soaked in oil and hydraulically activated for long life, smooth control and lengthier transmission duration.

On the other hand, hydrostatic transmission relies on pressurized hydraulic oil to roll the rear output shaft and the wheels.

This mechanism allows you to control the speed by adjusting the hydraulic motor’s amount of oil. That said, which is better: hydrostatic or shuttle shift?

Ideally, hydrostatic is better than shuttle shift because of the super slick operation. However, this transmission system needs a high engine RPM to keep up with the transmission pump.

This causes the engine to get hot faster, burning more fuel. Also, the hydrostatic machine is costly, making a shuttle shift a better pick for those with budget constraints.

Why Is My Hydrostatic Mower Not Moving?

A hydrostatic mower may not move due to a faulty tensioner spring, low hydraulic fluid, and the rest, which we will unfold in this guide.

Drive release handle not in operating mode

Hydrostatic lawn mowers integrate a drive release for the mower to roll free. The drive release may be in the form of a knob, push/pull button, or lever.

Hydrostatic vs Gear Drive Tractors

So for you to move your mower forward, you must set these drive release handles in the operating position. You can refer to your user manual on the location of your release handle.

Low hydraulic fluid level

You must practice consistent hydraulic oil change at the intervals listed by the manufacturer for your mower transmission system to run as expected.

Running the transmission with low oil can cause your mower not to move forward or backward.

Air in the hydraulic system

After changing the hydraulic fluid, you must drive out all the air in the transmission system.

You can achieve this by keeping your mower rear tires elevated and allowing them to spin back and forth until the excessive noise disappears when the wheels run at average speeds.

Missing key in axle

If you recently replaced a tire on your hydrostatic riding mower, you may have lost a minor key that fell off the axle.

This key seems like a small narrow bar and must be installed for your lower wheel to move.

However, not all riding mowers have a key in the axle, but if yours has one and it’s not in place, your mower won’t move.

Pedal adjustment

Levels operate hydrostatic mowers instead of shifting gears. So if any obstacle prevents the pedal’s forward or reverse control, your mower won’t move.

You will have to examine the pedals for obstruction or damage. If you depress the parking brake and it doesn’t release well, check for obstructions or damage to the linkage.

Also, confirm if the parking brake is engaged because this condition can prevent your hydrostatic mower from moving.

How to Check the Hydraulic Oil Level in Hydrostatic Riding Lawn Mower

It’s important to always check the hydraulic fluid level in your hydrostatic mower to ensure your equipment runs at peak performance. Use the steps below to accomplish this job.

First, place your riding mower in a service position. Then check the oil level in the expansion tanks on both sides by first removing the caps. The oil level should reach the cold fill indicator mark.

Reminder: Y our riding mower’s engine should be cold when checking the engine oil level. That’s because a warm engine will give you a faulty reading.

After checking the initial oil level, carefully realign the thread to secure the cap to the extension tank.

Next, run the engine for one minute, then reconfigure your mower to service mode to recheck the hydraulic fluid level.

If your oil level is below the cold line, remove the expansion tank caps and fill the tank with fresh oil until it reaches the cold fill indicator mark.

Lastly, reinstall the expansion tank caps.

How Do You Troubleshoot a Hydrostatic Transmission?

Hydrostatic transmissions are found in various equipment ranging from lawn mowers to tractors. So for you to diagnose any problems, you need to know how the transmission system of riding mowers work.

fast, hydrostatic, lawn, mower, difference, automatic

After that, you will learn how to troubleshoot your hydrostatic mower when it breaks down. Below are some general troubleshooting tips to fix your hydrostatic mower.

Purge your hydraulic drive system

Some transmission problems are caused by air in the system, limiting the pressure needed to provide power. A quick fix to this is to follow the steps below:

First, park your mower on level ground, engage the parking brake, and elevate the rear. Ensure the oil reservoir is filled correctly according to the user’s manual.

Next, disconnect the transmission, sit on the driver’s seat, and ignite the engine. While the engine runs, move the throttle control to a slow position.

Place the motion control levers in neutral mode and disengage the brake pedal. Then push the motion control levers forward and hold for five seconds. This should purge air from the transmission system.

Check the system

Another troubleshooting tip is to check the hydraulic system visually. Check the hydraulic fluid level and add if necessary.

Examine the hoses and other connections for damage or leakage. Then clean the pump cooling fins with a clean cloth, brush, or compressed air.

You will also want to check the steering fluids and replace them if needed. Running your mower with old or overused fluid can compromise its performance.

Lastly, you can call an expert to fix any issues because some repairs are beyond DIY.

What Kind of Fluid Goes In Hydrostatic Transmission?

Due to the range of environments in which hydrostatic equipment is used, it’s not easy to give specific advice on oil types for hydrostatic transmission.

Ideally, the air temperature range in which hydrostatic equipment is used must be factored in when determining the consistency of replacement oil.

Operating outside the suggested oil air temperature range can cause premature hydrostatic transmission failure.

And for that, it’s wise to select the perfect oil for both your machine and the location. For instance, it’s advisable to use SAE 20W-50 oil in temperatures between minus 4 degrees and 122 degrees Fahrenheit.

Changing your hydraulic oil is crucial as old oil loses its anti-foam and hydraulic properties, meaning your transmission system won’t function optimally.

At worst, old oil can make your machine fail to self-propel.

Final Thoughts

As stated in his guide, both hydrostatic and automatic transmission are excellent choices for homeowners planning to improve the visual appeal of their homes.

Hydrostatic and automatic transmission comes with contemporary features that enhance your mowing experience.

Other than automatic and hydrostatic transmissions, other options to look for are electric mowers and even manual transmissions.

fast, hydrostatic, lawn, mower, difference, automatic

Electric mowers are environmentally friendly, and manual transmission offers more control as it puts you in charge of the equipment.

Even as we wind up this article, I hope you found the content helpful to your quest of understanding between hydrostatic transmission and automatic transmission.

Do you have a question, opinion, or suggestion that you would love to share regarding hydrostatic or automatic transmission? Kindly do so in the comment section below.

Rhys Charles

Rhys is a passionate landscaper, a self-proclaimed barbecue expert and the author of this site. He combines his lawnmowing expertise with his engineering background to teach you about how to not just take care of grass, but also the equipment you use.

Hydrostatic Lawn Mower Moves Slow In Reverse (A Complete Guide)

Your hydrostatic lawn mower is moving slowly in reverse mostly because of low power output, transmission issues, wheel slippage, and so on.

This article will explore the top reasons why your hydrostatic lawn mower may be experiencing slow movement in reverse and provide you with the best solution to fix the issue.

Reasons Behind Your Hydrostatic Lawn Mower Is Moving Slowly in Reverse

By identifying the reasons, you can take the appropriate steps to fix the problem and get back to a smooth and efficient mowing experience.

Low Power Output

One of the possible reasons why a hydrostatic lawn mower moves slowly in reverse could be due to its low power output.

Sometimes a hydrostatic lawn mower cannot be able to produce enough power to move the machine at a faster reverse speed.

As the oil heats up, its viscosity decreases, which reduces its ability to provide the necessary hydraulic pressure to the transmission system. This can directly impact the mower’s power output, causing it to move at a slower speed in reverse.

If you are facing slow movement issues with your hydrostatic lawn mower, there are some potential solutions that you can try.

  • Firstly, check the hydraulic oil level, as low levels can cause decreased power output.
  • Also, check the oil filter for any clogging, and the hydraulic pump and transmission system for any wear and damage.
  • Regular maintenance, such as changing the oil and lubricating moving parts, can also prevent mechanical issues and help the mower to perform optimally.
  • If none of these solutions work or you are unsure of how to proceed, consider consulting a professional technician.

Transmission issues

Transmission issues can be a possible reason for a hydrostatic lawn mower moving slowly in reverse.

If the transmission has a problem such as low fluid levels, it may not be transferring enough power to the wheels, causing them to move at a slower speed. The main reasons are:

  • A decrease in fluid pressure due to low fluid levels can cause the mower to move slowly or fail to move in reverse.
  • Another transmission issue that can cause slow movement in reverse is a clogged transmission filter.
  • A dirty or clogged filter can reduce the fluid flow, thus reducing the power output of the hydrostatic transmission system.

There are some steps that you can perform to fix the issue.

  • First, start by checking the transmission fluid level, adding more fluid if necessary.
  • If the transmission fluid is old or dirty, it can also cause issues, so consider changing it as per the manufacturer’s recommendation.
  • A worn-out or loose transmission belt can also lead to slow movement, so inspect the belt and replace it if required.
  • You should also look for visible damage to the transmission system, such as cracks or leaks.
  • However, if none of these steps work, it’s time to call in a professional technician for further diagnosis and repair.

Hydraulic Pump Issues

A faulty or damaged hydraulic pump can also cause a hydrostatic lawn mower to move slowly in reverse. The pump is responsible for providing the pressure needed to operate the hydrostatic transmission system.

If the hydraulic pump is damaged, the fluid may not be moving efficiently, which can result in low pressure levels and a decrease in power output. This can cause the hydrostatic lawn mower to move slowly in reverse or not at all.

Hydraulic pump issues can be caused by several variables, such as wear and tear, debris buildup, or leaks in the system.

If you are dealing with a faulty or damaged hydraulic pump in your hydrostatic lawn mower, check the following:

  • Fixing the issue often involves identifying and addressing any leaks in the system.
  • You need to replace damaged or worn parts, clean out any debris or buildup that may be hindering the flow of fluid,
  • Refill the system with hydraulic fluid.

Wheel Slippage

Wheel slippage can be a cause for the slow movement of a hydrostatic lawn mower in reverse.

Weight transfer to the front wheels may cause the drive wheels to slip while moving in reverse, especially on slopes or wet ground. This can cause slow movement or even loss of control of the hydrostatic lawn mower.

Another potential reason for wheel slippage can be a lack of traction control. Some hydrostatic lawn mowers are equipped with a traction control system to prevent wheel slippage and ensure a smooth operation on uneven or wet terrain. If the mower lacks this feature, it may be prone to wheel slippage, which can cause slow movement in reverse.

Follow these methods for avoiding wheel slippage:

  • It is important to ensure that the wheels are balanced and that the surface of the ground is dry and level before operating the mower.
  • Additionally, a traction control system may help prevent wheel slippage and ensure a smooth operation on uneven or wet terrain.

Mechanical Wear and Tear

Mechanical parts of the lawn mower may wear out or become damaged, leading to slow movement in reverse.

Both wear and tear and damage to the hydraulic system can cause severe damage to the pump and surrounding components, leading to decreased power output and slow movement of the hydrostatic lawn mower in reverse.

To fix mechanical issues that lead to slow movement in reverse on a hydrostatic lawn mower:

  • Regular maintenance is essential, including lubricating moving parts and following the manufacturer’s recommended oil changes.
  • Replace damaged parts promptly to prevent further complications and adjust and balance the mower to ensure it operates efficiently.
  • In case the issue persists, consult a professional technician.

Is A Hydrostatic Lawn Mower Any Good?

The hydrostatic mower recharges the batteries using a pump. While the electricity has generated through an electric motor. This makes it efficient and can use anywhere that electricity is available.

This machine’s hydraulic system also ensures you get a good and smooth cut. The hydrostatic lawn mower can also cut a larger yard than a normal yard mower, as long as the yard is large enough. It is also advisable to use it in areas with heavy layers of snow on the ground.

This is a very common feature of hydrostatic yard mowers. The hydrostatic mowing feature is less efficient on long, wet grass than on dry grass. It will take a longer time to cut the grass.

The drowning feature is not very useful on long, wet grass. The drowning feature will turn the mowing into a chore. It will require the user to push the button repeatedly to make the mower move forward.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Fast Can The Hydrostatic Lawn Mower Move In Reverse?

The hydrostatic lawn mower moves in reverse quickly, typically reaching up to 25 mph.

How Much Does The Hydrostatic Lawn Mower Move In Reverse?

The hydrostatic yard mower moves about 3 times as much in reverse as it does in forwarding motion.

Is The Hydrostatic Lawn Mower Easy To Operate?

When it comes to yard mowers, there are many different types on the market. Some are hydrostatic, meaning they move slowly in reverse, while others, like the Honda HRX2174A, are electric. But which one is best for you?

How Does The Hydrostatic Lawn Mower Move Slowly In Reverse?

The hydrostatic lawn mower is easy to operate because it has a self-propelled blade that moves along the ground. This makes it easy to cut yards and clean up after the mower.

Is It Possible To Speed Up The Hydrostatic Lawn Mower?

Depending on the mower, it may take a little time to get the job done as it moves through the lawn. However, if you’re looking to speed up the process, you’ll want to try changing the oil and filters or turning off some of the features that make the mower more efficient.

How Do I Know If The Hydrostatic Lawn Mower Is Moving Slowly In Reverse?

If the hydrostatic yard mower is moving slowly in reverse, it may be because the blade is not spinning quickly enough. To fix this, increase the speed of the blade by turning it.


A hydrostatic lawn mower moves slowly in reverse, making it difficult to move around the lawn. This should not be a problem if you have a good foundation to work from, but if you do not have a strong foundation, it may be difficult to move the machine quickly. Hope this article helped you to solve your problem with Lawn Mower.

Although it produces the best-looking ground, this can be a very frustrating machine. It is also the most expensive, costing a huge amount of money. However, if you have a strong foundation and are willing to spend a little more money, you can have a machine that will make your yard look great.


The best riding mowers: Mow your lawn faster

Up your summer lawn care game with a riding mower that makes for a faster, more eco-friendly mowing experience.

Taylor Clemons is a tech writer and reviewer based near Cleveland, OH. After graduating from Tiffin University in 2011, they spent several years in lawn and garden manufacturing before working on their own (now defunct) game review site, Steam Shovel.

Taylor Clemons is a tech writer and reviewer based near Cleveland, OH. After graduating from Tiffin University in 2011, they spent several years in lawn and garden manufacturing before working on their own (now defunct) game review site, Steam Shovel.

Riding mowers are a popular mower choice for homeowners, especially if you have a big property to maintain every summer. They have cutting decks measuring from 42 to 72 inches, so you can make short work of everything from typical lawns to large properties, like sports complexes and golf courses.

Unlike their push mower counterparts, riding mowers have more features to consider in order to find the right fit for your yard. You can choose either a manual or hydrostatic transmission, so you can set and forget your speed or operate your mower like a car. You can even get riding mowers with cruise control or all-wheel drive for better traction.

While gas engines are far more common among riding mowers, there is a wide selection of battery-powered models if you’re looking for a more eco-friendly solution for lawn care. My pick for the best overall riding mower is the Troy-Bilt Super Bronco XP for its 24HP engine, 54-inch cutting deck, and ability to mow up to four acres with a full gas tank. You can keep reading below to find out more about the Troy-Bilt Super Bronco XP as well as our other top picks.

Troy-Bilt Super Bronco XP

Best riding mower overall

  • 24HP engine
  • 54-inch cutting deck
  • Automatic transmission
  • Attachments and accessories available

Troy-Bilt Super Bronco XP tech specs: Engine: 24HP Kohler | Cutting width: 54 inches | Transmission: Hydrostatic/Automatic | Max yard size: 4 acres

The Troy-Bilt Super Bronco XP riding mower is an excellent choice for a variety of lawns. It’s built with a 24HP Kohler engine and a 54-inch cutting deck to let you handle inclines and rough terrain or haul tools, mulch, and potting soil around your property.

The hydrostatic, automatic transmission makes operation similar to a typical car, so you can spend more time actually cutting your grass and less time learning how to drive your mower. With a 3-gallon tank, you’ll be able to mow up to 4 acres at a time.

Ryobi 80V electric riding lawn tractor

Best electric riding mower

  • 2.5 acre max range
  • Quick-charge batteries
  • LCD heads-up display
  • USB charging ports

Ryobi 80V electric lawn tractor tech specs: Engine: 80V brushless electric | Cutting width: 46 inches | Transmission: Hydrostatic/Automatic | Max yard size: 2.5 acres

Electric riding mowers have become more popular in recent years as homeowners and landscaping professionals look for ways to make lawn care more eco-friendly. The Ryobi 80V electric lawn tractor features a 46-inch cutting deck and enough power to let you mow up to 2.5 acres on a single charge, and you can recharge your mower batteries in as little as 2.5 hours.

This means you can take care of other tasks, like weeding or landscaping, while you’re waiting for your mower to recharge. An LCD screen gives you a heads-up display of run time, battery levels, and reminders to inspect and sharpen your mower blades. It even has two USB ports for charging your phone while you mow.

Toro Titan Max

Best zero-turn riding mower

  • Mows up to 7 acres at once
  • Highly maneuverable
  • 10-gauge steel construction
  • Tool-free air filters

Toro Titan Max tech specs: Engine: 26HP Kohler 7000 | Cutting width: 60 inches | Transmission: Dual hydrostatic/automatic | Max yard size: 7 acres

Zero-turn riding mowers are popular with homeowners who have larger properties or lots of obstacles like trees or specialized landscaping. The Toro Titan Max’s exceptional maneuverability and larger cutting decks make quick work of yards up to 7 acres in size, while the 26HP Kohler 7000 engine uses a dual hydrostatic drive for smooth, intuitive operation.

Toro also made regular maintenance a bit more streamlined with tool-free air filters. The deck and mower body are made from tough, 10-gauge steel to stand up to dings, rocks, run-ins, and anything else your lawn can throw at it.

Cub Cadet CC30E

Best compact riding mower

  • Battery-powered
  • Great for yards up to 1 acre
  • Compact design great for small storage areas and narrow spaces
  • Push-button cruise control

Cub Cadet CC30E tech specs: Engine: 56V electric | Cutting width: 30 inches | Transmission: Hydrostatic/Automatic | Max yard size: 1 acre

Compact riding mowers like the Cub Caded CC30E are great for suburban lawns on the smaller side. The CC30E features a smaller design that is perfect for storing in multi-use sheds and garages or maneuvering through gates and narrow spaces. The 30-inch cutting deck and 56V battery let you mow up to 1 acre (or one hour) at once.

It uses a hydrostatic drive for smooth, intuitive driving while the 18-inch turning radius lets you easily mow around trees and other obstacles. It even features a push-button cruise control, so you can set-and-forget your forward speed and concentrate on mowing around obstacles, as well as staying aware of your surroundings.

DeWALT Z160 Commercial

Best riding mower for large properties

  • Mow up to 10 acres
  • 5.5 gallon gas tank
  • Dual hydrostatic drive
  • Great for hills and inclines

DeWALT Z160 Commercial tech specs: Engine: 24HP Kawasaki V-Twin | Cutting width: 60 inches | Transmission: Dual hydrostatic/automatic | Max yard size: 10 acres

The DeWALT Z160 Commercial zero-turn riding mower is designed from the ground up to handle large properties. The 60-inch cutting deck and 24HP Kawasaki V-Twin engine let you mow up to 10 acres at once, making it an almost perfect choice for rural properties or landscaping professionals. The dual hydrostatic drive makes operation smoother, though the twin-stick steering does take some getting used to.

With 22-inch rear wheels, you can easily take on inclines and rolling hills that may be on your property. A 5.5-gallon fuel tank means you’ll spend more time actually mowing and less time refueling. And if you opt for the bagger attachment, you’ll be able to gather up to 11 bushels of clippings before you need to empty.

What is the best riding mower?

I chose the Troy-Bilt Super Bronco XP as the best riding mower you can buy. It features a 54-inch cutting deck and 3-gallon fuel tank, letting you mow up to 4 acres in a single go. The 24 horsepower engine also lets you take on steeper inclines and rough terrain or haul tools and gardening supplies around your property. The hydrostatic drive makes operation similar to a typical car, while an LED display gives you accurate usage hours for streamlined maintenance.

Best riding mower

Cutting width

Transmission type

Ryobi 80V electric riding lawn tractor

Which is the right riding mower for you?

Other than your budget, there are a lot of features and scenarios you have to consider while shopping for a new riding mower. The size of your yard will determine how wide the cutting deck should be, though either a 42 or 46-inch version will be more than enough for most yards.

You can choose either a manual or hydrostatic transmission. A manual model lets you set and forget your speed so you can FOCUS, while hydrostatic models operate more like cars, going faster the harder you press the pedal. This makes them more intuitive to operate but also more expensive.

Zero-turn mowers are designed for mowing in oddly-shaped areas or around lots of obstacles like trees, lamp posts, and lawn ornaments. They’re called zero-turn because they have a zero-inch turn radius; you pivot around either rear wheel for ultra-tight turning.

Buy this best riding mower.

If you need.

A well-rounded riding mower. The 54-inch cutting deck and 24HP engine let you mow up to 4 acres at a time.

Ryobi 80V electric riding lawn tractor

An all-electric riding mower. The electric engine requires less maintenance than gas models, making your lawn-care routine more eco-friendly.

An excellent zero-turn riding mower. Precision maneuvering lets you mow around trees, landscaping, and other obstacles with ease.

A compact riding mower. The 30-inch deck and smaller build make this riding mower perfect for smaller suburban lawns.

A riding mower that can handle larger properties. This commercial-grade, zero-turn riding mower lets you cut up to 10 acres at once.

How did we choose these riding mowers?

I used to work for MTD Products (now owned by BlackDecker), which assembles a variety of lawn mowers, snow blowers, and other powered lawn equipment. Using the expertise and knowledge I gained during my time there, I looked for riding mowers with these qualities:

  • Motor size: You’ll want a riding mower with at least a 10HP engine to give you enough power to handle minor inclines and lawns up to half an acre. Larger riding mowers like the John Deere Z530M have more powerful engines, often topping out over 20HP to let you tackle rough terrain and even haul equipment.
  • Cutting width: Many riding mowers have either a 42 or 46-inch cutting deck, which is great for lawns between.5 and 1.5 acres. However, if you have a large, multi-acre property, you’ll want to choose a larger cutting deck. Many brands have options between 50 and 72-inch cutting decks.
  • Transmission type: The less expensive riding mowers will have either a 6 or 7-speed manual transmission. This means you will use a dedicated lever to set your engine’s forward and reverse speeds, with a single brake pedal for stop control. The more expensive models feature a hydrostatic drive, which operates in a similar way to an automatic transmission in a typical car or truck.
  • Accessories: Lawn care goes beyond regular mowing. I chose riding mowers that have the ability to hitch small trailers or wagons for hauling tools, mulch, or potting soil. I also chose mowers from brands that make after-market add-ons, like rear bagging units for collecting grass clippings, mulching kits for re-feeding lawns, and snow plows for year-round use.

How do you decide which riding mower to buy?

Assuming you have a budget in mind, the first thing you need to do is find out how big your lawn is. You can either find your lot size on your memorandum deeds if you’ve bought your house, or you can check your city’s website to see if you can request lot measurements if you’re renting. If your lot measures about an acre, you’ll be able to use a 30 or 42-inch cutting deck without any issues. For lawns up to two acres, a 42 or 46-inch deck is ideal. And if your lot is over two acres, you can get a mower with up to a 72-inch cutting deck to handle larger areas.

The transmission type is also important. Many newer models have what is known as a hydrostatic drive. This means that they operate similarly to how a car drives: You push the pedal and it moves forward or backward. And the harder you push, the faster you go. This makes it easier to learn how to drive, but that also makes the mower more expensive. stripped-back models have variable speed manual transmissions, which allow you to set and forget your speed so you can FOCUS on paying attention to obstacles and people who may be nearby.

And finally, you’ll want to consider the power source for your new riding mower. Gasoline engines are far more common, but there is now a wider variety of battery-powered models to choose from. The perks of a gas engine are that you’ll get near-infinite run times (as long as you have enough fuel to keep the engine going) and a bit more power for handling steep inclines and rough terrain. The downsides are dealing with exhaust emissions and maintenance that can be a time and money sink. Electric models don’t need engine maintenance, so you save a bit of money in the long run. But they usually have a maximum run time of about an hour, which means that you may have to plan your mowing over several days if you have a larger yard.

Make Your Craftsman Hydrostatic Lawn Mower Go Faster!

How big of a yard do I need for a riding mower?

Riding mowers are best suited for yards measuring one acre or larger. A model with a 42-inch cutting deck is great for mowing up to two acres, so if you have more land than that, you’ll want to spring for a 46, 54, 60, or 72-inch cutting deck.

If you’re right on the threshold, you can get what’s known as a mini rider. They usually have compact bodies for easier storage and 30-inch cutting decks to make short work of lawns that are just a touch too large for a push mower.

How long should a riding mower last?

No matter if you choose a gas or battery-powered riding mower, proper maintenance is key to extending the life of your mower. For gas engines, you should change the oil and filters, clean the spark plugs, and sharpen the blades before you mow for the first time in the spring. And you should use fuel treatments like STA-BIL to prevent gas in the tank or extra jerry cans from going bad from moisture contamination. This prevents buildup of gunk that can ruin your engine, improves engine performance, and gives you a cleaner cut for a healthier lawn.

Electric mowers don’t need engine maintenance, but you should perform thorough inspections at the start of mowing season to check for battery damage, corrosion on battery contacts, damage to the battery housing, and also to sharpen the blades. If you do regular maintenance, not only will you save money by avoiding big repairs from worn-out parts, but you can also expect your riding mower to last 10 years or more.- which is great news, since they can be an expensive investment.

What is the cheapest riding mower?

Unfortunately, riding mowers aren’t ever really what we consider budget-friendly. However, there are models like the Murray MT100 that retail for less than 2000 without sacrificing power or cutting width.

Are there alternative riding mowers worth considering?

Whether you’re shopping at a big-name DIY store like Lowe’s, a local hardware store, or an authorized brand dealer, there are tons of options for a new riding mower. You can choose either gas or battery-powered models, cutting deck widths from as small as 30 inches to as wide as six feet.

Here’s a short list of other riding mowers I thought were great choices:

John Deere Z530M

The John Deere Z530M features a 60-inch cutting deck for making quick work of large properties. Exceptional maneuverability lets you mow around trees, lawn decor, and other obstacles with ease.

Husqvarna YTH1942

The Husqvarna YTH1942 features an updated, 19 horsepower engine and 42-inch cutting deck to take on inclines and haul dirt, mulch, and gardening equipment.

Murray MT100

For under 2000, you’ll get a 13.5 horsepower engine, a 42-inch cutting deck, and a 6-speed manual transmission with the Murray MT100.

Zero-Turn vs. Riding Lawn Mowers

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What’s the difference between traditional and zero-turn riding mowers? We break down the distinctions to help determine which option is best for you.

Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.

In today’s market of big box stores and online shopping, there are more models of lawn mowers to choose from than ever before. This is great for consumers, but can also clutter the decision-making process. One such point of confusion is the difference between “riding” and “zero-turn” lawn mowers.

Consumer lawn mowers are generally classified by design (i.e. whether you ride it or push it) or by feature, like whether it’s powered by gas or a battery. Zero-turn radius (ZTR) is a distinctive feature that allows for precision cutting.

There are a limited number of zero-turn push mowers; zero-turn technology is much more common in riding lawn mowers. While not all riding mowers are zero-turn, most consumer zero-turn models are riding mowers. (If you’re curious about zero-turn push mowers, here’s one with a single swiveling front wheel and one with no wheels at all.)

fast, hydrostatic, lawn, mower, difference, automatic

To provide a good side-by-side comparison of a riding vs. a zero-turn lawn mower, we’ll refer to two models from John Deere: the traditional S100 and the zero-turn Z330M. Although the specs on mowers vary by manufacturer, these models serve as good stand-ins for our purposes.

What Are the Differences Between a Traditional Riding Mower and a Zero-Turn Riding Mower?

There are two main differences: turn radius and steering controls.

Turn radius

This is the defining characteristic of zero-turn mowers. A traditional riding mower turns the same way as a rear-wheel drive car. The rear wheels propel it forward while the front wheels control the direction it moves, resulting in a curved arc.

fast, hydrostatic, lawn, mower, difference, automatic

But a ZTR mower can rotate its drive wheels in opposite directions simultaneously. That gives it the ability to turn without moving forward.

Steering mechanism

Most zero-turn riding mowers feature lap bars rather than a steering wheel. Each bar controls a single rear tire. Push both bars forward and you’ll go forward. Pull them both back and you’ll go in reverse. Push one forward while pulling the other back, and you’ll rotate in place.

It’s worth noting not all zero-turn mowers use lap bars. Some zero-turn riding mowers come with a standard steering wheel but still offer pinpoint turning.

Traditional Riding Mower Advantages

Traditional riding mowers have two clear advantages over their zero-turn counterparts.


A traditional riding mower typically costs 30% to 50% less than a comparable zero-turn mower. In our examples, the John Deere S100 costs about 38% less than the Z330M, a savings of 1,500.

Easier to repair

Because they’ve been around for many years, it’s usually easier to obtain replacement parts for traditional riding mowers. If you’re a DIYer, chances are the steering and drivetrain of a traditional riding mower will be familiar enough to perform basic maintenance on your own.

Zero-Turn Riding Mower Advantages

Traditional riding mowers have an advantage in price and simplicity. Zero-turn mowers excel at saving you time.


It takes a great deal of maneuvering for a traditional riding mower to navigate standalone obstacles like bushes, trees and swing sets. A zero-turn riding mower can maneuver around these without the repeated backing up and redirecting of a traditional riding mower.


Precision controls reduce mowing time, but a zero-turn radius mower is faster than traditional mowers in pretty much every other category.

Zero-turn mowers tend to have wider cutting decks — typically 48- to 54-inches, compared to 42- to 46-inches with most traditional riding mowers — along with a faster operating speed. The maximum mowing speed for the Z330M is seven miles per hour, while the S100 tops out at 5.5 mph.

Zero Turn vs. Traditional Riding Mower Buying Considerations

If you’re deciding between a traditional or zero-turn riding mower, consider these key points.


If your budget is less than 3,000, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a zero-turn mower in your price range. A traditional riding mower can cost more than 3,000, but you’re likely to find a good fit between 1,200 and 2,800.

Yard size

If you have a particularly large yard, the speed and deck size of a ZTR mower will make a huge difference in the time you spend mowing and refueling. The S100 is recommended for yards of about an acre, while the Z330M can handle three to four acres.

Yard complexity

Yards with narrow pathways between obstructions often benefit from zero-turn mowers. But be sure to compare the width of the narrowest sections with the width of a mower’s cutting deck. The most agile mower in the world is useless if it’s too wide to fit through your gate.

Storage space

The wider ZTR mower deck requires a fair amount of space in storage. A traditional riding mower is better in a tight garage, while a zero-turn mower needs a bigger outbuilding or small shed.

Ohio-based freelance writer and author Dan Stout is a former residential remodeler, commercial site supervisor and maintenance manager. He’s worked on nearly all aspects of building and DIY including project planning and permitting, plumbing, basic electric, drywall, carpentry, tiling, painting and more. He also publishes noir fantasy thrillers, including The Carter Series, from Penguin imprint DAW Books.