Best diesel zero turn mowers

7 Best Diesel Zero Turn Mowers

You're looking for a new commercial zero turn mower… is a diesel mower the best option for you? While they will usually come with a higher price tag there are definitely some advantages to them.

In 1984, John Deere introduced the first-ever diesel engine on a lawn mower. Since then, most manufacturers have incorporated their own version of a diesel mower. Almost all of these mowers are top-of-the-line zero turns. They will usually have similar specs to the manufacturer's top-of-the-line gas engine zero turns.

Diesel VS Gas Zero Turn Mower

Pros of Diesel zero turn mower

  • The maintenance aspect of diesel zero turns is definitely an advantage. You will not have to pay much attention to the taking care part. Diesel mowers do not have plug wires, spark plugs, rotors or distributor caps. Also, it runs efficiently more efficiently.
  • Diesel mower saves 700 gallons of fuel every day, and it saves money for the long term.
  • It also emits less carbon monoxide
  • The lifespan of a diesel engine is historically much longer than a comparable gas engine.

Cons of Diesel zero turn mower

  • Diesel mowers are perfect for big yards and larger jobs. If you have small lawns you can always go with a gasoline zero turn mower.
  • The cost is a bit high than a comparable gas option.
  • There is some maintenance part that comes with diesel engines.

Pros of gasoline zero turn mower

  • Gasoline mowers have a much larger selection of mowers making it easier to get the exact specs you need for a mower.
  • If you have small yards, then gasoline mowers will have an option.
  • New technology like EFI and Vanguard's Oil Guard system can make maintenance easier.
  • Costs are less

Cons of gasoline zero turn mower

  • Gasoline zero turn mowers typically require more maintenance.
  • The lifespan of a gasoline engine is typically less than a diesel engine.
  • Low-quality gas can cause a lot of problems, especially for carbureted engines.
  • A higher amount of emissions.

So, looking at the differences between each fuel mower, it can be argued that a diesel mower is the best option to go with. Although the cost is a bit high, it will give you the service and value of a long term for your money.

Different Diesel Engines

There are different types of diesel engines out there. You can look at the specification of the same while buying the zero-turn lawnmower.

Kubota Diesel

The best part of Kubota diesel is that it responds to the requirements of the environment, and in its application. It has received the CARB certification of emission for the first time in the world as a small industrial part in 1993.

These engines are widely accepted across the industry. They are seen on several mowers and definitely a trusted name in the tractor industry as well.

Yanmar Diesel

Yanmar is another popular company in diesel engines for a mower, and it started manufacturing in 1933 and has produced 15 million diesel engines. Yanmar is the leading company in the US, and they manufacture, generator sets, agricultural equipment, construction parts, and so on.

Cummins Diesel

These are another one of the most powerful engines in the world. It works both on-road and water work sites. Cummins engines have a displacement of 2.8 to 95 liters. This is made for the need of every lawn care owner.

There are also two strokes and four strokes diesel engines in the market. You will find several brands that satisfy your requirements.

Best Diesel Zero Turn Mowers

Mower:Kubota ZD1500John Deere Z994RToro 7000Hustler Super Z DieselBad Boy Renegade DieselExmark Laser Z DieselGrasshopper 400D
Deck Size:60″ or 72″54″, 60″, or 72″52″, 60″, or 72″60″ or 72″60″60″, 72″, or 96″61″ or 72″
Engine:30.8 HP Kubota liquid-cooled, 4-cylinder, diesel24.7 HP 3TNV80F liquid-cooled, 3 cylinder, diesel25 HP Kubota, liquid-cooled25 HP Shibaura, liquid-cooled24.7 Perkins, liquid-cooled, 3 cylinderYanmar liquid-cooledKubota, liquid-cooled, 3 cylinder
Drive System:2-HST w/gear reductionTuffTorq dual hydrostatic wheel driveHydro-Gear 16cc HydraulicHydro-Gear 21cc hydraulic Hydro-Gear 16cc HydraulicHydro-Gear 18cc HGM-L Hydro-Gear 21cc Hydraulic
Speed:10.6 mph11.4 mph11.2 mph11.5 mph13 mph11 – 12.5 mph11 mph
Fuel Capacity:13 gal.11.5 gal.12 gal.14.4 gal.13 gal.12 gal.12 gal.
Deck liftHydraulicManualManualManualManualHydraulicHydraulic
Warranty:2 Year unlimited hours2 Year unlimited OR 3 year / 1500 hours5 Year / 1200 Hours2 Year unlimited OR 5 year / 500 hours2 Year Unlimited2 year unlimited hours OR 5 year / 2000 hours3 Year Unlimited hours OR 4 year / 800 hours
Price*:Starting at $25,401Starting at $18,129Starting at $16,699Starting at $16,499Starting at $13,599Starting at $21,499Starting at $18,375

*Pricing is updated as of April 2020. Pricing may vary by dealer and by region. Note: some mowers offer different size decks… which will cause the price to appear higher/lower if you are comparing different deck sizes. If you need pricing for a specific mower please send us a message or leave a comment below.

1.Kubota ZD1500 Zero Turn

kubota zd1500

Kubota diesel zero turn mower is professional, especially the ZD1500 Series, which is the most efficient one. You will get a solid set of a feature with this mower. You will find better rear discharge and airflow, which helps it stay on the ground. Other features like,

  • You will get state of the art diesel engine… arguably the best diesel engine on any diesel zero turn mower
  • Very comfortable mower
  • high capacity HST transmission.
  • It provides a great quality of cut. Available with hydraulic deck lift, a height adjustment feature

Other things included lumbar support, adjustable armrests, higher backrest, and dual armrests.


  • Great, reliable engine
  • Hydraulic deck lift
  • Highly versatile
  • Heavy-duty construction
  • Clean cuts
  • Great fuel efficiency
  • Perfectly stable
  • Comfortable ride and seat design
  • Easy maintain, handling and operation


  • Price

Price: $25,401

This model of Kubota is a great choice. It is a well-built machine with a proven diesel engine. The only downside is the price is a good bit higher than many other comparable diesel zero turns.

If that's not a concern… go buy one! If it is, keep reading…

2.John Deere Diesel Zero Turn Z994R Diesel Mower

john deere z994r

The John Deere Z994R diesel zero turn is definitely a fan favorite. Of course, it's a John Deere… it HAS to be great. We'll take the hype of the brand away… this mower is a solid machine.

If you're looking for a mower that is solidly built, cuts grass, and last a long time this may be the unit for you. The price is pretty competitive as well.

  • Easy to find and use, instrument control is simple
  • wheel motor hydrostatic drive delivers speeds up to 11.4 mph and durable pump
  • Equipped with heavy-duty classic components, that gives the sturdiness and strength
  • The diesel engine provides the best performance and better efficiency
  • Made with Michelin airless tire technology which makes it smooth for the ride and gives more uptime, with high-quality suspension and seat.
  • You will get the best safety operation and high-quality controls.
  • Increased uptime and better convenience
  • Get the best performance in each application.


  • Cut quality, easy handling, and tons of power
  • A trust brand for diesel engine equipment
  • Starts at a good price point


  • The price can be a bit higher.
  • Pretty standard features… nothing is really above and beyond.
  • Cut quality is not the best

Price: $17,874.00

If you're a John Deere fan you definitely won't be disappointed in this mower. It is a well-built machine that will accomplish the task of cutting grass for a long time.

3.Toro 7000 Diesel Zero Turn

toro 7000 series

This series of Toro is one of the best diesel zero turn mowers, that has a high volume deck, and is powered by a 25 hp high-torque, Kubota diesel engine.

This Toro diesel mower is definitely one of the best. It doesn't have a ton of bells and whistles but it does have a very nice seat and a high quality of cut.

  • Fast speed on ground 11.2 mph
  • Deluxe suspension seat… it's super comfortable!
  • Durable and powerful engine (Kubota engines are great)
  • The 7-Gauge cutting deck will last
  • Large caster and rear tires
  • The discharge chute is of best quality


  • Very comfortable seat
  • Toughest spindle assembly
  • Bullnose bumper has a smart design
  • Crisp and flat blades
  • Turbo force deck
  • Good price


  • There is no fuel gauge

Price: Starting at $16,699

The Toro 7000 series diesel mower is one you really can't go wrong with. It is definitely a durable machine that will last a long time. There may be other options that are faster and have more bells and whistles, but it is still a great mower!

4.Hustler Super Z Diesel Zero Turn

Hustler zero turn mower is another great choice for a diesel zero turn. If you've ever seen it in person you'll know it is an absolute tank. The engine choice may not be the best but it is definitely one that will get the job done.

Shibaura is engine manufacture in Japan with a very big name and knows for its quality product. The model equipped with the Hustler Z diesel may feel a bit underpowered compared to some larger gas engines. This may be very noticeable on the 72″ machine

  • Shibaura engine of 25hp
  • 60” and 72” decks
  • Suspension seat
  • The mowing speed is 11.6mph
  • VX4 Deck
  • It works fast and a great addition for your lawn need


  • Incredibly durable mower
  • Great cut in most conditions
  • Very large pumps and wheel motors
  • Very long lifespan on the engine and mower


  • The Shibaura diesel engine may be underpowered at times

Price: Starting at $16,499

The Hustler Super Z diesel is a mower worth considering. It is durable and provides a high quality of cut.

5. Bad Boy Renegade Zero Turn

Well, I think we can all agree that Bad Boy has the best-looking diesel zero turn. But, how does it perform? Overall, it is a pretty decent mower. It is one of the lowest-priced diesel zero turns on the market.

There may potentially be better gas zero turns with better specs and around the same price point though. If you are 100% set on a diesel unit this may be a good option though for the price point.

  • 24.7 Perkins, liquid-cooled, 3 cylinder
  • Fuel capacity is 13 gallons
  • The ground speed is 13mph… this is fast for a diesel zero turn
  • Made with hydro gear pumps


  • Better stability on the ground
  • Cool looking mower
  • Comfortable seat
  • Get support isolators and a deck wear pad
  • Provides a smooth ride
  • Better cutting speed


  • Cut Quality
  • Mower's durability
  • Warranty… see it here

Price: Starting at $13,599

Bad boy renegade is still a worthy mower for the list. If you have a good dealer in your area and you need a great mower for the price I would recommend test driving the Bad Boy Renegade Diesel

6. Exmark Laser Z Diesel

Obviously, the best part about the Exmark diesel zero turns is the option for the 96″ deck. I remember seeing this mower when it was introduced at GIE and I was blown away. The thing is a TANK. About the price of a tank as well (I think about $40k??) but still a badass mower.

Outside of the huge 96″ mower, Exmark also has 60″ and 72″ diesel zero turns. These units are pretty similar to the Toro 7000 series with a few minor differences.

  • Better handling
  • Reduced services and maintenance
  • Hydraulic deck lift
  • The ground speed is faster than its counterparts
  • The diesel capacity is 12.0 gallon with two tanks
  • Get the next generation RED leverage, and machine efficiency
  • Durable and easy to use


  • Reduced maintenance
  • Durability
  • Comfortable suspension seat
  • Hydraulic deck lift
  • Cut quality
  • Best warranty


  • Possibly Yanmar engine option
  • Price

Price: $21,499

Exmark is a leader in the zero turn mower industry. Their diesel mower is no exception. It is a solid machine, a bit expensive, but a great mower.

7. Grasshopper 400D Zero Turn

Grasshopper is known for its incredible durability. These mowers are the prettiest or best looking but they last a really long time. It also happens to be the best priced mower on the list that has a Kubota diesel AND a hydraulic deck adjustment.

  • Kubota diesel engine
  • Very good warranty
  • Hydraulic adjustment of height
  • Equipped with heavy-duty deck
  • Less maintenance


  • Durable
  • Kubota diesel engine
  • Low center of gravity


  • A little slow
  • Not very comfortable
  • So ugly… lol

Price: Starts from $18,375

Grasshopper is still a good mower for lawns. You will get value for your money and a very long lifespan between the mower and Kubota engine.

Diesel Zero Turn Mowers FAQS

1. What are the most common problems with zero-turn mowers?

Zero-turn mowers share the same components as ride-on and walk-behind lawnmowers. As such, they also leave operators encountering similar issues.

Nevertheless, zero-turn mowers have unique components, such as bar steering systems and caster wheels. These components can end up having operational problems and need regular checkups and maintenance.

The front casters usually have minimal tread and, therefore, less grip and traction. As a result, a zero-turn can have problems traversing a damp, sloped lawn.

In addition, these caster wheels also absorb much force from uneven and rough surfaces. For this reason, they are usually the first to have broken wheel bearings.

With a bar steering system, zero-turn mowers work best when driving in straight lines. After some use, the drive bars can become unaligned and cause the mower to move in circles.

2. What are the two most important features to have in a zero-turn riding mower?

Of all the features to look for in a zero-turn, the two most important are machine build quality and operational comfort. Build quality refers to durability and engine design, while comfort comes from quality tires and seating.

Your zero-turn mower should be sturdy with optimum deck construction and frame design. Look for thicker gauge welded steel frames that can withstand the traversal of rugged landscapes and protect the built-in engine.

It should also have a highly capable engine that offers minimum vibration and operational efficiency. Generally, twin-cylinder engines provide smoother runs with less vibrations.

3. What maintenance does a zero-turn mower need?

Like any other lawnmower, a zero-turn mower requires blade replacements and mower deck cleaning. If you can’t have an extra set of blades, be sure to sharpen your existing blades regularly. You should also clean the mower deck after every use to ensure efficient cutting for subsequent operations.

Zero-turn mowers use an engine that also requires typical motor and parts maintenance. You must maintain a schedule for checking mower belts, engine oil, and air filter.

Seasonally inspect mower belts for wear, tears, cracks, and damage, and replace them as needed.

Like car engines, zero-turn mower engines also need a regular oil change, depending on how often you use them. Oil and air filter changes are crucial for the longevity of engine life, so don’t forget to check the recommendations listed in your manual.

4. How often do you change the blades on a zero-turn?

Mower blades dull over time, especially when they receive dents and erode from yard debris. For these reasons, you need to sharpen mower blades regularly.

The more you hone the blades, the longer you can take advantage of their cutting capabilities. If you keep using dull blades, you’ll have more chances of nicks and dents that will ultimately require you to replace the blades entirely.

As a rule of thumb, purchase new blades annually or when your mower’s cutting coverage has significantly reduced.

5. How often should you grease zero-turn?

The components of a zero-turn mower that needs regular greasing are its front casters, wheel bearings, and cutting spindles. Greasing these components not only increases operational efficiency but also extends the functional lifespan of the machine.

Generally, you should lubricate these components with grease at least once or twice every mowing season for average home lawn maintenance. Doing so keeps them moving and functioning smoothly.

However, keep in mind that there is also such a thing as over-greasing. Too much lubrication in bearing components can cause rotating elements to churn the grease and push it out of the way. Grease pushed too far from bearings can result in unwanted heat and energy loss.

Which Diesel Zero Turn is Best for you?

Well, it really just depends. Any of the above mowers are great or they wouldn't be on the list. It will come down to your personal situation.

Is it tough for you to raise and lower a heavy deck with your foot? Go with the Kubota, Exmark, or Grasshopper diesel mower. Maybe you mow huge fields? The 96″ Exmark would be the best option if you have the budget.

I think by viewing the chart toward the beginning of this article you will be able to pick the best mower for your situation.

Wrapping it up

You've made it this far… have you decided which mower is best for you? If you have, be sure to leave a comment below. If are still stumped and have questions feel free to ask us anything below.

Happy mowing!

4 Replies to “7 Best Diesel Zero Turn Mowers

  1. I have a Kubota ZD1211. motor and controls are pretty good. We use our mowers to cut for a local power co. Grass heights range 7 to 16 inches at times. The pro deck pulleys are poorly made . I have had to replace 6 pulleys over a year and a half. Same thing with back rims 26x12x16 . Replaced 3 already They put 4 ply tires on. High priced mower .Around 15000 out the door. They have tried to cut costs and affected some major components for durability. Parts are also pretty expensive 58 to 85 dollars for pulleys . And tires and rims are specific to that model. Quality of cut I would rate at a 6 at best. I would suggest demoing the mower before you buy .Good Luck . I have owned 8 of these mowers since they came out with the ZD21 model. I am looking for new mowers now. I think another brand .Hope this helps the people with deep pockets in business.

  2. I had a SCAG Turf Tiger II 61”Bought new June 2018. Sold at auction May 2022 less than 100hrs. Had a Kubota D902. Very solid and nice machine. Best cut of any mower. TERRIBLE customer support, engineering, and lack of R&D. This mower was very short on power due to design not engine performance. Would bog down to point of stalling in short weekly mowed grass. Poor weight distribution. Could not pull itself up hills. Have demoed Kubota ZD1211 61”. Very nice solid machine. Barely bog down in overgrown grasses. Nice features. Very comfortable. Cut quality is worse of any mower experienced. Trying a Grasshopper 400D in few weeks when becomes available.

  3. had a few zero turns from scag to hustler to john deere…mind you they were gas but some higher horsepower engines…..they cant touch the kubota i have now the ZD1211…..the thing is CRAZY it always has power and havent replaced a thing with more the 1100 hours on it….truly is a tank….just do the mainteance! …..why do you think other manufacturers like Toro and Grasshopper and others use kubota engines??……durable and reliable ….you know the saying…..”you get what you pay for”…yes they are a little more in price but if you want it to last ….and sit and go… wont be disappointed

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