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Comfort is king with next generation of zero-turn mowers

September 27, 2022 -  By
As zero-turn manufacturers develop new mowers, a key focus is on ways to increase rider comfort and ramp up work efficiency. (Photo: Grasshopper)

As zero-turn manufacturers develop new mowers, a key focus is on ways to increase rider comfort and ramp up work efficiency. (Photo: Grasshopper)

Zero-turn mower manufacturers say landscape professionals’ most-requested features all come with the goal of accomplishing more in a smaller time window. Larger cutting decks, powerful engines, comfortable seats and controls that ramp up productivity are a few of the boxes mower manufacturers hope to check for operators.

“We’re also working hard to minimize or eliminate necessary in-season maintenance on our machines, so they’re ready to work when our customers need them,” says Lenny Mangnall, product manager for Exmark.

“Comfort increases productivity. It’s as simple as that. Plus, with the continued labor challenges contractors face, it’s more important than ever to make sure each worker can do their job as efficiently and comfortably as possible.”

Mangnall adds that his company’s professional zero-turn mowers continue to move toward wider decks.

“With both 96-inch and 144-inch zero-turn mowers, today Exmark is at the forefront of the trend toward wider decks on professional zero-turn mowers,” Mangnall says. “It’s what our customers are asking for, and it’s what they believe they need to compete effectively in today’s marketplace.”

Pushing technology forward

Tony Marchese, senior vice president of sales for Greenworks, says his company plans to unveil its next-generation of professional battery-powered zero-turn mowers at the 2022 Equip Expo next month. He says these new models will incorporate lessons learned from the company’s first generation of battery-powered zero-turn machines.

“This new generation really breaks new ground and will set the standard for all professional battery zero-turns,” he says. “These will incorporate an all-new drive and cutting system that will allow the landscaper the ability to have all-day run time.”

Marchese specifies that ease of use and noise reduction will remain a key focus for Greenworks as it develops more zero-turn mowers.

“We are building in benefits such as a lighter weight and power not able to be achieved by gas products which allow the end user to be more productive and feel better at the end of the workday,” he says.

“Ease of use for the end user is very important. No pull cords or chokes enable the user to more easily be trained on the correct use as a new employee. Limited noise allows them to not wear hearing protection while running our product on a hot summer day.”

Other feature requests from professional users include 4G connectivity to help locate machines, Marchese says.

“That 4G connection can even disable (mowers) if they are stolen,” he says. “(Users) like the ability to see the productivity of their operators and how much grass they cut that day. They also like the fact that the units require very little maintenance as there are no belts or engines to replace or repair.”

Comfort and maintenance costs

Rider comfort and considering the many ways discomfort can affect an operator’s work/life balance is paramount when designing a new machine, says Michael Simmon, a marketing and communications representative from Grasshopper.

“Nobody wants to go home exhausted at the end of the day, especially if you have family to go home to, so comfort features are also a key factor in new mower purchases,” he says. “Contractors spend numerous hours every day on these machines, so they have to be comfortable throughout the day. Landscape contractors who use Grasshopper mowers say that our integrated comfort systems and multi-point suspensions keep their crews fresh all day long.”

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