Whether you are a professional service provider or a homeowner, different people deal with various types of fields, clients, and climates. For perfect landscaping, it is very important to choose the right mower.
Among lots of several grass-cutting machine types, knowing the difference between walk behind with sulky vs zero turn can be a game-changer.
In this article, I have explained both kinds of mowers so that you can make the right decision. Without further ado, let’s get started after a quick comparison table below.
|Features||Walk-Behind with Sulky||Zero Turn|
|With Obstacles & Hills||Recommended||Not recommended|
|Without Obstacles||Not recommended||Recommended|
|Very Large Properties||Not recommended||Recommended|
|Riding||Not very comfortable||Comfortable with high seat quality|
|Budget||More expensive||Less expensive|
|Backing Up||Slightly harder||Easier|
|Visibility||Better||Not as good|
|Storage||Takes less space||Slightly larger|
Walk-Behind with Sulky Vs Zero-Turn: Detailed Comparison
Comparing speed, operability, maneuverability, maintenance, or efficiency, you can’t differentiate them much. However, there are some other aspects to mowing that clearly show which one is suitable for which tasks. In this detailed review, I’m going to describe them all.
What They Are
Let me clarify something here. Just seeing two words ‘Walk Behind’, don’t assume that I am talking about the ones that you push and walk while mowing. The whole phrase includes sulky which is an add-on for stand-on mowers.
If you search with that specific type of mower on Amazon, you will see certain machines that are self-propelled. They look almost like the zero-turn models but you stand behind the engine instead of sitting on the deck.
Now, those who have researched a bit know that there are several reputed manufacturers of zero-turns. The same is true for the other type. However, the idea of such a stand-on design came from a well-known company named Wright Manufacturing.
Now, I don’t want to make this part lengthier with history or other details of the two kinds. Let’s move on to the other feature comparisons.
The reason why ZTR mowers are not as good as the Walk-Behind models is in their design. a zero-turn rider has small casters on the front moving freely and large wheels on the back used for steering.
When you go straight up, the center of gravity suddenly shifts making it unstable. On the other hand, WB or standers have a very low gravity point which doesn’t shift the center of mass easily. Also, stand-on mowers have better control, safety, and stability.
On another point, keep in mind how big of a lawn you are about to mow. When it comes to very large properties such as a golf course, ZTRs are always more preferred. Because it requires more time to cut the grass and standing the whole time can be very painful.
From the designs and dimensions, you have probably understood that ZTRs are suitable for wide and open spaces. And the other type is capable of covering tight spaces where zero-turns are useless.
Furthermore, I have already talked about the ground with obstacles and hills; so, I’m not going to repeat it here.
As a professional landscaper, you should have both machines in your fleet. However, for homeowners, choosing either one according to your needs is going to do the job.
I have to admit that the seat of a zero-turn is a lot more comfortable than WB. But there is a condition. The seat must have a high-end suspension system, several adjustable options, and armrest placements.
Otherwise, there is no difference between sitting and standing. Both are equally horrible on tough grounds. In fact, walk-behind mowers are a better option for such cases.
Lastly, think about the cost of both options. A ZTR is less expensive than the other one. For example, Husqvarna Z254 54” Zero Turn Riding Mower costs around 3700 bucks.
On the other hand, Bradley 48″ Stand-On Zero Turn Commercial Mower with sulky requires around $4700 from your wallet. Moreover, buying a sulky separately would add another 250 to 500 dollars to the budget.
Pros and Cons of Walk Behind Mowers with Sulky
The main reasons for recommending WB mowers with sulky are its versatility and easy maneuverability on rough or hilly terrains.
After hours of riding and comparing, some experts have seen that WB models with sulky are more efficient on small and mid-sized areas with lots of obstacles. It has more traction and control while going uphill or downhill.
The credit goes to its much lower center of gravity.
Note: I have lots of good things about sulky but all available products on the market can’t provide those features and benefits. So, I have done in-depth research and found the best sulky for the walk-behind mower. If you have made up your mind about getting one, reading my review article will save you a lot of trouble.
Now, let’s see some of the downsides of it.
It requires regular maintenance for running smoothly. I know that it is not a problem as one can do it while taking care of the mower. Still, it is an extra piece of equipment that demands your precious time and energy.
Moreover, the stand-on design is less comfortable compared to the riding machines. There are no shock absorbers which means that rough terrains can take a toll on your ankles, knees, and spine.
Pros and Cons of Zero Turn Mowers
Lots of its users have given their opinion about how comfortable it is to ride a zero turn compared to a stand-on sulky. With a safety brake under the seat and shock absorber springs, you can mow the lawn not only safely but also comfortably.
Some even claim that it gets more job done but the data doesn’t support it. Because not all terrains are the same. However, ZTRs are more productive on the ground with no obstacles.
Other big advantages of this type are that it can bag the trimmed grass, and lets you use add-ons such as lawn trailers, sprayers, dethatchers, rollers, etc.
Note: I have also reviewed lots of ZTR models on this blog site. If you need a particular size or brand’s model, you can use the search bar, and find detailed reviews.
Apart from those benefits, you should also know what you will be missing after buying the zero-turn lawnmower.
With a lower budget, you won’t get most of the advantages I have talked about here. For example, the seat won’t be comfortable or the machine will require more maintenance.
Walk-Behind with Sulky Vs Zero-Turn: Which One Should You Choose, Finally?
From the above discussion, you understand that one doesn’t beat the other in all aspects.
In short, it all depends on the condition of the terrain.
If you are mowing on a flat surface and have to cover a large area, ZTR is the best option. Comparing in terms of mowing time, efficiency, and riding, zero-turn mowers are as effective as the walk-behind mowers with sulky.
On the other hand, a WB mower with sulky is capable of reaching such places that are not possible with a zero-turn. It can maneuver obstructions and mow uphill or downhill smoothly.
So, consider the size of the property, terrain condition, your health, and your budget to choose the right one for you. I have added health because for those who have pain or can’t stand for a long time, a sulky is out of the question for them.
Now, it is up to you. Carefully consider your situation and act accordingly.