Man driving Gator

Lawn tractor versus zero-turn mower comparison
Mowing grass is just one of the many chores you have when living in the country. Deciding on what mower best fits both your needs and your budget is confusing. Keeping a few things in mind can make your purchasing decision easier.

On the fast track.
Most homeowners turn to a zero-turn radius machine for one main reason—speed. And let's face it, sometimes going fast can also translate into having fun.

Although it's true that zero-turn radius machines travel faster and turn faster, there are a few drawbacks. Quick isn't always easy. "There's a bit of a learning curve when operating a zero-turn mower, reports Greg Weekes, group product marketing manager for the John Deere Commercial and Consumer Equipment Division. "These machines aren't nearly as intuitive as a lawn tractor. If you spin or turn too tight with a Z, there's a good chance you might tear up your turf." Not only do the wheels turn differently on a zero-turn radius machine, they are controlled with two levers versus the traditional steering wheel that is used on a tractor.

The versatility factor.
"Most of our customers who live on several acres find they need to do more than mow their lawn," Weekes notes. "If you want one main machine that can blow snow, do blade work, pull a utility cart, or perform a variety of other tasks, then a lawn or garden tractor is probably a better option." Lawn or garden tractors equipped with different attachments and accessories can be used year-round to easily accomplish a wide variety of jobs.

No compromises.
If you're not willing to sacrifice superior maneuverability for increased versatility, there's one more option—four-wheel steer. "A tractor with four-wheel steer provides near zero-turn capability in a system that is as easy to operate as a conventional two-wheel steer tractor," replies Weekes. All four wheels on the tractor turn, allowing you to turn tighter and easily follow contoured areas.

Clearly defining your needs is the most important factor when shopping for a mower. Whether you're looking for speedy mowing or doing a variety of other tasks, explore your options with your John Deere dealer.

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