John Deere zero-turn lawn mowers dominate consumer reports of the best mowers, but there’s a catch


John Deere is one of the most well-known brands, not only for tractors and mowers, but also in general. Everyone knows the green square with the yellow deer. Turns out there’s a good reason for that brand recognition: of Consumer Reports’ top 5 zero-turn lawn mowers, John Deere accounts for four, but there’s a catch.

John Deere logo | Getty Images

Who Makes the Best Zero-Turn Mower, According to Consumer Reports?

Although John Deere had four of the top five zero-turn ride-on mowers, no model took the top spot. The highest-ranked zero-turn lawn mower on Consumer Reports is the Gravely ZT HD 48 991152. The next five best lawn mowers are all Deeres.

This is an uncommon level of dominance. But that’s why John Deere enjoys brand recognition.

What makes the Gravely mower so good?

The Gravely ZT HD 48 zero turn mower 991152 on a white background
Gravely ZT HD 48 Zero Turn Mower 991152 | Seriously

The Gravely ZT HD is the only zero-turn ride-on mower tested by Consumer Reports that earned a perfect score for predicted reliability. The other main aspects such as side unloading, mulching and evenness also got perfect scores. However, all of the top 10 mowers scored the same.

The second lawn mower is the John Deere Z515E. He only lost to the Gravely because he scored one point short of predicted reliability.

Consumer reports value reliability over anything else, as it should. The rating reflects a bias towards this end.

When it comes to performance, the Gravely Zero Bend and the John Deeres pile that follows closely stack up neck and neck. Even the one bad score Gravely got, which was noise levels, the John Deeres all scored equally badly. Predicted reliability is the single major measurable aspect that differentiates the top-rated Gravely from the Deeres.

Are there zero-turn electric lawn mowers among the top five mowers?

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None of the top five or even top 10 zero-turn mowers have an electric motor. The curse of electric lawn equipment is lack of run time. Range anxiety has held back electric cars and trucks for nearly a decade. Only now are the beaches getting longer enough to calm some of the anxiety.

However, when it comes to electric lawn equipment, range or run time has not all made the same progress. Zero-turn mowers in particular, but riding mowers are usually reserved for larger properties that require much longer run times. For this reason, most zero-turn lawn mowers are gas-powered. Some mowers are also equipped with diesel engines.

There is no doubt that electric lawn mowers and other lawn care equipment will soon be on the way. Not only are they better for our environment, they generally require less maintenance and they run quieter.

Right now, John Deere is definitely a dominant force in the zero-turn lawn mower game. But Gravely still makes the best zero-spin mixer, according to Consumer Reports.

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