John Deere Zero-Turn Lawn Mowers Dominate Consumer Reports 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 just in general. Everyone knows the green square with the yellow deer. It turns out that there is a good reason for that brand recognition: of Consumer Reports’ top 5 best zero-turn lawn mowers, John Deere makes up four of them, but there’s a catch. 

A green and yellow John Deere logo on a John Deere riding mower.
John Deere logo | Getty Images

Who makes the best zero-turn lawn mower, according to Consumer Reports? 

Despite John Deere having four out of five of the best zero-turn riding mowers, it didn’t land any models in the top spot. The highest-ranked zero-turn lawn mower on Consumer Reports is the Gravely ZT HD 48 991152. The following five best lawn mowers are all Deeres. 

This is an uncommon level of domination. But this is why John Deere enjoys the brand recognition it does. 

What makes the Gravely mower so good? 

The Gravely ZT HD 48 991152 Zero-Turn Mower on a white background
Gravely ZT HD 48 991152 Zero-Turn Mower | Gravely

The Gravely ZT HD is the only zero-turn riding lawn mower tested by Consumer Reports that scored perfectly for predicted reliability. The other main aspects like side discharging, mulching, and evenness also landed perfect scores. However, all of the top 10 best mowers scored the same. 

The second-place lawn mower is the John Deere Z515E. It only lost out to the Gravely because it scored one point less on predicted reliability. 

Consumer reports values reliability over any other aspect, as it should be. The scoring reflects a bias toward this end. 

As far as performance is concerned, the Gravely zero-turn and the pile of John Deeres following closely behind stack up neck and neck. Even the one poor score the Gravely got, which was noise levels, the John Deeres all scored equally poorly. The predicted reliability is the only major measurable aspect that differentiates the top-ranked Gravely from the Deeres. 

Are there any electric zero-turn lawn mowers in the top five best mowers? 


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None of the top five or even top 10 zero-turn mowers come with electric powerplants. The curse of electric lawn equipment is the lack of run time. Range anxiety held electric cars and trucks back for nearly a decade. Only now are ranges growing long enough to calm some of the anxiety.

However, when it comes to electric lawn equipment, the range or run time hasn’t made all the same advancements. Zero-turn mowers specifically, but riding mowers generally are typically reserved for bigger properties requiring much longer run times. For this reason, most zero-turn lawn mowers are gasoline-powered. Some mowers also come with diesel engines. 

 There is no doubt that electric lawn mowers and other lawn care equipment will round that corner soon. Not only are they better for our environment, but they typically require less maintenance, and they run quieter. 

For the time being, John Deere is certainly a dominant force in the zero-turn lawn mower game. But Gravely still makes the best zero-turn mixer, according to Consumer Reports.