Z Mowers – Brands that handle hills better than others


LawnSite Member
I’m looking to pickup a Z Mower (probably 48”). I have read comments in this forum stating certain brands hold hills better than others without sliding. Some of the posts explain the reason as being the center of gravity, weight distribution, total weight, etc.

I would like to see some posts from people from some experienced z riders who have used Z mowers on hills to explain why they think one brand mower is better at holding hills without sliding than another.


LawnSite Senior Member
As far as Zs, all we have dealt w are exmarks. Honestly, they are ok at handling up and down they do a pretty good job. Actually up, not down. Sidehills are a bit scary depending on the degree. When we have a lot of hills, we take the tractor, John Deere out and use it. I believe in having the right tools for the right job and I prefer the eXmark on most properties, but on others it would be foolish to use them on it. Good luck.


LawnSite Member
volunteer state
if your wanting something small, get a hustler super mini z! hustlers stick like glue.but for only few hundred more dollars,get a full blown super z,you will not be dissapointed.

Cut 2 Please

LawnSite Member
Montgomery, Al
Ferris Z's that have suspension stick to hills really good. You can run sideways no problem. The suspension allows for the wheels to stay in contact with the ground even when it is rough.


LawnSite Senior Member
From the mowers I demoed last season I found that the Hustler Super Z did the best on hills. I wasn't too impressed the the handling of the Hustler Super mini 52" in situations like that though. Every once in a while the super mini would try to turn toward the bottom of the hill on it's own. Wasn't sure if it was just that one mower, but didn't really want to demo any others. Scared the beegeepers out of me a couple times since I was only a few feet away from a rock wall. The Exmark wasn't anything to bragg about on hills either. They are great on the level ground, and stripe beautifully. All-in-all, the Exmark is also a great machine. The Dixie Choppers get really scarry on hills. I hate the feather light controls, and with that much torque it felt like the mower was going to flip over backwards every time I went up a steep hill. On the other hand, those tires are great for digging irrigation trenches, and also has the best towing capabilities of any other mower I've demoed. As for Bob Cat/Bunton, I wouldn't even consider buying one. They have the worst customer support I've seen in this industry. Unfortunately, I have first hand experience with them. If you want great customer support as well as a great machine that will hold the hills, I would have to say that the Hustler Super Z (full sized) is second to none.


LawnSite Member
Springfield mass
I have Dixies and Lazer 's. The Exmark is much better in all hill applications, lower center of gravity and better weight balance front to rear.
But guess what if I was buying now I would get a New Hustler Super Z, it looks like the best of both worlds out there right now.

PS In Dixies defense I do have flatlanders so the wheel motors come into play on side mowing.


LawnSite Fanatic
Syracuse, NY
As a lot of guys are stating the Hustler does great on hills.
We thrive to be the best in the market, and part of that is hillside capabilities.
We designed a mid mount z for slope performance, to my knowledge it is the only one on the market, the ATZ.
A low seat height, perfect operator placement in regards to the rear tires, a short wide stance (like myself...lol...) and low center of gravity make our Z's among the best hill handling machines on the market.
We know a bit about slope mowing we have made slope mowing equipment for over 20 years.
Demo a Hustler for yourself on hills and you will be very impressed.
There are 5 dealers within 30 miles of Nashville, and our distributor that supplies mowers and parts to the dealers in Tennessee and Kentucky is in your area.



LawnSite Senior Member
Look for low center of gravity.

The stiffer the frame, the better the traction and control is.

Pivoting front axels must be able to be locked stiff in order to handle well on hills.

Heavy mower decks help keep the center of gravity very low.

If you are crossing a steep grade, the front caster wheel on the DOWN HILL side must not flex or pivot. If it does let the front corner dive, the rear tire on the uphill side will begin to lift up, and it will loose traction. As soon as this rear tire looses its grip on the hill, the nose of the mower turns downhill and begins to slide down. If you pull back on the hydro sticks, it can cause you to lean forward and your butt gets real light in the seat. Without your weight the back tires will totally loose their traction and the unit is fully in a runaway down the hill.

The Hustler has a very low seating position, and a good strong stiff frame with no flex , and a front axel with no flex. These qualities are what you want for hillside control.

The Brands that I have found to be the worst on hills.

Dixie Chopper is the worst mid mount I have ever been on a hill with. There just is nothing good to say about their machine for hillside mowing.

Bobcat is a lot better than DC, but only average at best.

I would say that Exmark, Gravely, and Ferris , although very different engineered machines, would be pretty close in overall capability, The Lazer HP, I think is better than the Laser. The Gravely is far more stable if you remember to use the front axel pivot lock. The Ferris really surprised me at how well it did. With the front axel suspention I didn't think it could grip the hill , but it really does pretty well.