Zero-Turn mowers have become increasingly popular among homeowners with yards big and small. This range of mowers offers several benefits over traditional residential models including reel mowers and push-behind mowers starting with their superior maneuverability, cut quality, and faster mowing times on hills and slopes.
There are a plethora of zero-turn mower models that are equipped with powerful transmission systems including a hydrostatic transmission system, a mulching kit, tires that provide great traction, wide cutting decks, easy-to-use dual-arm controls, robust engines like a Briggs engine and Kohler motor, comfortable seats, key safety features, and impressive warranties.
However, buying the best zero-turn mower for hills and commercial workload can be a bit overwhelming given that there’s an array of models in this space to choose from.
But I’ve done the research and after testing a few zero-turn tractors have narrowed down my list to the 8 best zero-turn mowers for hills and even golf courses based on performance including reliable startups, horsepower, construction, and durability.
Whether you’re a first-time buyer or are looking for a new mower, I encourage you to also read my handy zero-turn mower for hills buying guide for tips on buying the right model for your needs, and how to safely use a zero-turn mower on hills and slopes.
My recommended Top 3:
- Overall Best: Cub Cadet Ultima Series ZTS1 42
- Best Electric Zero-Turn Mower For Hills: Ryobi 42″ Zero-Turn Mower
- Best for Big Yards: Ariens IKON Edge Zero Turn Mower
8 Best Zero-Turn Mowers for Hills
1. Cub Cadet Ultima Series ZTS1 42 – Best Compact Zero-Turn Mower for Hills and Slopes
Cub Cadet offers a massive lineup of zero-turn mowers, but the ZTS1 42 model from the Ultima Series is a great choice for both flat terrain and hilly terrain.
In terms of performance on hills and slopes, the Cub Cadet Ultima ZTS1 42 zero-turn mower leaves no room for disappointment with its ability to climb steep slopes up to 20 degrees.
Further, it is fitted with an award-worthy 22 HP/725cc Kohler 7000 series V-twin OHV engine, which is engineered to deliver superior performance and is exceptionally smooth and quiet during operation.
The ZTS1 42 zero-turn mower comes with dual hydrostatic transmissions that allow the tractor to travel at 7 MPH forward (3.5 MPH reverse), allowing you to cut the lawn quickly.
It comes with a wide 42-inch AeroForce fabricated deck that is designed to deliver clean cuts with fewer clumps and stragglers.
The Cub Cadet ZTS1 42 zero-turn mower features a comfortable fully adjustable 20-inch high back seat complete with advanced polymer seat isolators that deliver a smooth ride on any terrain.
There’s also a fully adjustable command center with a tilted steering column and LED headlights that allow you to mow your lawn in low-light conditions.
The Cub Cadet ZTS1 42 zero-turn mower can be operated with just one hand, thanks to its integrated Syncro-Steer technology. This patented technology also delivers unmatched control and stability on all four wheels and on hilly terrain.
The ZTS1 42 zero-turn mower by Cub Cadet rests sturdily on a 2-inch x 2-inch tubular steel frame that comes with a full e-coat lower frame and triple guard corrosion defense system, which protects the mower against corrosion and wear.
The Cub Cadet ZTS1 42 mower can be ordered with a wide range of attachments and accessories and is backed by a manufacturer warranty.
2. John Deere Z320R ZTrak Mower for Hills and Slopes
Founded in 1837, John Deere is a leading American manufacturer of agricultural machinery, diesel engines, and much more, and offers a broad portfolio of zero-turn mowers to choose from.
The John Deere Z320R ZTrak is my personal favorite from the company’s lineup and provides a wide 42-inch cutting swath. Additionally, the Z320R ZTrak zero-turn mower is factory-fitted with a (16 kW) V-Twin engine that puts out 21.5 HP of sheer power.
This engine features a V-twin cylinder design that provides better torque, lower vibration, and improved sound quality. Further, the Z320R ZTrak zero-turn mower is fitted with a rear engine guard to protect the engine from damage.
The deck of the Z320R ZTrak mower measures 42-inches and is crafted from stamped steel. This Accel Deep Mower Deck boasts a flat-top design for excellent cut quality. It is suspended from the mower to help reduce scalping and for greater mulching performance and versatility.
The mower deck of the Z320R ZTrak zero-turn mower can be adjusted to your desired height for smooth and level cuts.
The John Deere Z320R ZTrak zero-turn mower can climb 13 degrees uphill and comes with a cut-and-throw chute that has a large optimized inlet, which helps in collecting material with assistance from the large deck opening.
The operator station of the Z320R ZTrak zero-turn mower is optimized for operator control and convenience during operation. The controls of the operator control center are color-coded for easy identification.
There’s also a translucent fuel tank that displays the amount of fuel left in the tank with a single glance. The John Deere Z320R ZTrak mower comes with shock absorbers that provide smooth motion, and a plush padded seat to soften bumps.
Other key features of the Z320R ZTrak zero-turn mowers include a cup holder, storage compartments, a large operator foot platform, and an excellent 3-year warranty.
3. HUSQVARNA Z254F Zero-Turn Mower for Hills – Best Affordable Zero-Turn Mower for Hills
For a highly affordable zero-turn mower that doesn’t scrimp on features, the HUSQVARNA Z254F zero-turn mower is worth a second look. It comes with a 54″ ClearCut fabricated steel cutting deck that is crafted from solid 10-gauge steel.
It is equipped with a smooth, quiet, and reliable Kawasaki engine, and a maintenance-free transmission system. The HUSQVARNA Z254F zero-turn mower features an ergonomic control panel that places all the controls at your fingertips.
The HUSQVARNA Z254F sits on a rugged chassis and casters, which collectively increase the durability of the machine. Adding to its long list of features is a convenient deck lift, which is located within close reach of the operator.
The HUSQVARNA Z254F zero-turn mower is equipped with a comfortable padded seat that is topped with a soft outer cover for excellent support and comfort.
The HUSQVARNA Z254F zero-turn mower features an automatic park brake system, which automatically activates or deactivates as the steering levers are moved outward and inward.
Other noteworthy features of the HUSQVARNA Z254F zero-turn mower are a rear engine guard, anti-slip foot area, removable footplate, and rubber bellows that provide a refined look.
4. Toro TimeCutter Zero-Turn Mower
The brand Toro is synonymous with unmatched quality, durability, and customer relationships, and gives you several solid reasons to choose a zero-turn mower from their hangar.
The TimeCutter is one of the company’s bestselling zero-turn mowers and features the exclusive Smart Speed control system. This smart system allows you to choose from three speed ranges to meet your needs – trim, tow, and mow, which can be selected on the fly.
The trim range allows you to trim closer for great time efficiency, tow range for towing attachments, and mow setting to cut large open areas. Even though the TimeCutter is a commercial-grade machine, it is perfectly suited for residential lawns.
It features the smooth MyRide suspension system (select models), which allows users to quickly adjust the ride settings based on their personal preferences.
Adding to this, the MyRide system allows you to float within 3 inches of travel, resulting in a comfortable ride each time you use the Toro TimeCutter zero-turn mower.
Another great feature of the Toro TimeCutter mower is that it’s nearly maintenance-free, owing to its integrated standard deck washout ports and automotive-style sealed deck spindle bearings.
The Toro TimeCutter zero-turn mower is fitted with premium thick padded seats that provide superior back support. It comes with a large 3-gallon capacity full tank and a fuel sight gauge that offers a quick view of the fuel level.
This zero-turn mower model from Toro is a great choice for cutting all types of grass, including tall grass, wet grass, and dry grass.
The Toro TimeCutter zero-turn mower boasts a heavy-duty construction with 10-gauge steel frames, solid front axles, large caster forks, and engine guards. Toro offers a best-in-class 3-year warranty against any manufacturer defects.
5. Ryobi 42″ Zero-Turn Mower – Best Electric Zero-Turn Mower For Hills and Slopes
The Ryobi Zero-Turn mower is a little expensive compared to the other models mentioned on this list, but if you’re looking for a top-notch zero-turn mower that requires next-to-no maintenance – no spark plugs, belts, filters, oil, or gas, it comes highly recommended.
This battery-powered zero-turn mower by Ryobi is fitted with not one but four brushless motors that collectively provide unmatched torque for blade cutting and drivetrain systems.
In terms of battery power, the Ryobi electric zero-turn offers a whopping 3 hours of continuous runtime on a single charge. The Ryobi electric zero-turn mower features a rugged steel frame design that’s complete with a heavy-duty 42″ steel deck.
It is extremely comfortable to use across longer periods and is quiet during use. The Ryobi 42″ electric mower comes with a generously spaced foot resting area and a 4-position seat adjustment system.
Other key features of the Ryobi 42″ zero-turn mower include enclosed storage compartments, cup holders, USB connectivity, and LED lights.
6. Ariens IKON Edge Zero Turn Mower – Best Zero-Turn Mower for Hills and Slopes on Big Yards
IKON allows you to step up your mowing game with a wide range of zero-turn mowers called ARIENS.
The IKON Edge 42 is a great residential zero-turn mower for hills and slopes and features intuitive controls that allow you to easily maneuver the machine on slopes in your yard and produce a fast, clean cut.
This zero-turn mower model can be ordered in a choice of two variants – a model with a 34″ stamped deck and a model with a 42″ fabricated deck.
A fabricated mower deck is typically a welded mower deck that’s made from heavier plate steel, and a stamped deck is lighter and is made from large molds and presses.
The IKON zero-turn mower provides a zero-turn radius and features two independent transmissions and two control levers, which are required to drive, brake, steer and spin on the spot.
Unlike most other zero-turn mowers, the IKON mower is equipped with larger turf tires that provide excellent traction on hills and slopes.
The IKON zero-turn mower is fitted with a high back seat that contours to your body for enhanced comfort and to keep you cool. It features an easy-to-access deck height lever that allows you to easily adjust the height of the deck.
For power, the IKON zero-turn mower comes with a 635cc twin-cylinder engine for precision cutting on all types of terrain.
7. EGO Power+ Z6 Zero-Turn Mower – Best Aggressive Zero-Turn MOwer for Hills and Slopes
The EGO Power+ Z6 zero-turn mower isn’t just a stunner, it’s got plenty of power under its hood. It features the company’s Peak Power+ technology, which is a combination of 6 EGO 56V ARC lithium batteries.
The battery of the EGO Power+ Z6 zero-turn mower can be charged in just 4 hours with the included fast charger, allowing you to get up and running quickly.
Further, the EGO Power+ Z6 zero-turn mower comes with 5 independent brushless motors, which together deliver 24 horsepower; the same as many gas engines.
It is fitted with a wide 52″ 10-gauge fabricated steel deck and can reach a top speed of 8 MPH. The EGO Power+ Z6 zero-turn mower is one of the few models in this space that comes with a clear and crisp LCD interface that allows you to choose from 3 driving modes – control, standard, and sport.
It comes with a few best-in-segment features such as Bluetooth connectivity, a USB charging port, and a phone holder. The EGO Power+ Z6 zero-turn mower is backed by a 5-year excellent warranty on the tool, battery, and charger.
See also my full review of the EGO Power+ Z6 Zero-Turn Mower
8. Troy-Bilt Mustang Zero-Turn Mower
The Troy-Bilt Mustang slots in at the #8 position on this list of best zero-turn mowers for slopes and hills for many reasons such as its time-saving design that allows you to cover more ground quickly.
It is fitted with a 20 HP Briggs & Stratton twin-engine, which is mated with a dual EZT transmission. The Troy-Bilt Mustang zero-turn mower features a newly designed reinforced heavy-duty frame, so you can rest assured it will serve you well for many years to come.
The Troy-Bilt zero-turn mower comes with a 42-inch wide twin-blade side discharge deck and standard front axle grease fittings for longer service life.
The electric power take off feature of the Troy-Bilt Mustang zero-turn mower provides quick blade engagement, making it faster to cut large-size lawns.
Adding to its rich set of features is a comfortable high-back seat complete with dual suspension springs for a smoother ride.
The Troy-Bilt zero-turn mower comes with greasable front caster wheels for longer bearing life and can be ordered with a wide range of optional attachments and accessories including a heavy-duty oil filter wrench.
How I Selected the Best Zero-Turn Mower for Hills and Slopes?
The first thing I considered when selecting the best zero-turn mower for hills was the power of the tools.
Both electric and gasoline-powered zero-turn mowers are much more powerful than push-behind and self-propelled mowers therefore can be used for both residential and commercial purposes. However, if you are a professional and looking for my take on professional-grade machines, check out my best commercial zero turn mower article.
I considered the engine of each mower to determine if they are indeed capable of traveling up slopes and hills up to 20 degrees without any hiccups. Next, I evaluated the cut quality of each zero-turn mower when mowing at full speed and in damp and dry lawn conditions.
In damp conditions, I also looked at whether the zero-turn mower’s tires accumulated grass as it can affect the traction of the tires. Finally, I tested the maneuverability of each mower to determine how easy they were to steer on flat terrain and slopes and hills.
Are Zero-Turn Mowers Better than Regular Lawn Mowers for Hills and Slopes?
The short answer is yes! Zero-turn mowers come with high-performing engines and larger tires, making them a better choice for hills and slopes than regular lawn mowers.
This range of powerful mowers is also easy to maneuver and allows you to cut grass with little or no effort. These heavy-duty mower models also do a better job at moving around obstacles in your yard than traditional lawn mowers, eliminating the need for trimming.
Zero-Turn Mowers for Hills and Slopes Buying Guide
A majority of zero-turn mower models aren’t suitable for slopes and hills, but the 8 models on my list did in fact do an impressive job on this type of terrain. Unlike regular mowers, zero-turn gas mowers and electric zero-turn mowers come at a premium price, so consider the following factors to ease your buying decision.
The deck size dictates how much ground a zero-turn mower can cover with a single pass, and can range from 36″ to 52″+. But a larger deck size isn’t a good choice for smaller yards, because these models will be hard to maneuver in small lawns.
Apart from measuring the size of your lawn, it’s a good idea to determine the storage room for the zero-turn mower, as zero-turn mowers with larger decks require more storage space.
There are two types of zero-turn mower decks available – fabricated and stamped decks. Fabricated decks are a blend of several pieces of heavy-gauge steel (heavier mowers), whereas stamped mower decks are made from a single piece of steel stamped in a press.
Both types of decks are suitable for residential mowing tasks and offer good performance on hilly terrain.
Different types of grass require different cutting heights, so steer clear from tools with manual height adjustment that requires you to get off and raise the deck by hand.
Wide wheels provide plenty of traction on flat ground and hilly terrain. A few zero-turn riding lawn mowers come with wide dual tires at the rear and 2 smaller tires at the front, which is ideally great for the ultimate mowing experience.
The maximum speed of a zero-turn mower determines how fast you can cut the grass in your yard. If you have a large lawn, slow speed mowers aren’t an ideal choice even though they provide a 0-degree turning radius.
Given that you’ll be sitting on a zero-turn lawn mower and using it for heavy-duty work, might as well make the ride comfortable with a plush padded and preferably high-back seat with extra padding similar to riding mowers.
Some zero-turn mowers like the Toro TimeCutter come with a comfortable ride system – the MyRide System, wide cutting deck, excellent engine power, and an adjustable deck, so consider this zero-turn riding mower for larger lawns with steep hills, rough terrain, and uneven ground.
Mowing hills and slopes requires extra effort with a traditional lawn mower but zero-turn lawn mowers make this task fairly easy, thanks to their powerful efficient engines, adjustable deck lifting, and some models with a roll over protection system.
Even though all 8 mower models on this list perform well, the Cub Cadet mower is my personal top choice and is rated as the best zero-turn mower for hills.
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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.