The 42-inch John Deere Z225 is the least expensive residential zero-turn mower the company makes. The Z225 is fast, with a maximum speed of 7 mph, and since it leaves no circle of uncut grass at turns, it can cut mowing time by about half compared to a regular lawn tractor. Conveniences include a fuel gauge visible from the seat, smooth variable-speed transmission plus an electric power takeoff (PTO). The main drawback is that zero-turn mowers tend to slide on slopes, so it's mainly for a flat lawn. This model also lacks some conveniences; there's no washout port, high-back seat or cruise control. John Deere has a good repair record, but tests show that the less expensive Craftsman 25001 (*Est. $2,300) actually bags and handles better. If you have a larger lawn, the Toro TimeCutter SS5000 (Est. $3,300) costs just a little more, is 50-inch, and has a Smart Speed feature for easy maneuvering around obstacles.
We found excellent comparison tests of the John Deere Z225 at ConsumerReports.org, where it's ranked and rated along with 16 other zero-turn mowers and a total of 32 lawn tractors and riding mowers of other types. Over two dozen owners also rate and review the Z225 at ConsumerReports.org, and we found additional owner-written reviews at Lowes.com, HomeDepot.com and John Deere's own review site. An older single-product review at ConsumerGuide.com covers the 2007 version of the Z225 but is still relevant.
This big roundup review rates and ranks the John Deere Z225 in comparison with 16 other zero-turn mowers (and 32 other types of riding mowers and lawn tractors as well) based on tests that cover handling and ease of use as well as performance in all three cutting modes. Based on a survey of readers, the report also compares brand repair records. Over two dozen owners also rate and review the John Deere Z225 here.
Review: Tractors and Riders, Editors of ConsumerReports.org
The handful of owners reviewing the John Deere Z225 give it high praise; all say they'd recommend it to a friend. The Z225 earns praise for performance, speed and ease of use.
Review: John Deere Z225 18.5-HP Hydrostatic 42" Zero-Turn Radius Lawn Mower, Contributors to Lowes.com
At the time of our report, all five owners reviewing the John Deere Z225 here give it high praise, saying they'd recommend it to a friend. The owners do note some drawbacks. One finds the ride very rough; another reports that even minor slopes are tricky. It can also take some time to get used to the two-lever steering. Overall, though, owners love the speed with which they can mow with this mower.
Review: John Deere EZtrak (Z225) 42 in. 18.5 HP Zero-Turn Riding Mower, Contributors to HomeDepot.com
4. Compact Tractor Review.com
The owner-written reviews here are structured to identify specific strengths and weaknesses. At the time of our report, only eight owners have reviewed the John Deere Z225 here with dates ranging from April 2012 back to four years earlier. Reviewers here like the Z225's speed and ease of use, but several report that the deck doesn't cut evenly, and there are quite a few reports here of repair issues.
Review: John Deere Z225 Reviews, Contributors to CompactTractorReview.com
This older single-product review covers the 2007 version of the John Deere Z225, which lacked an oil filter. (Since 2011 this model has had full-pressure lubrication.) Overall, though, the tests here are still applicable; most features are the same and the Z225 earns a reasonably positive review.
Review: John Deere EZtrak Z225 Zero-Turn Riding Mower, Editors of ConsumerGuide.com, March 19, 2007
The handful of owners that review the John Deere Z225 mower at the manufacturer's review site give it high ratings. One reports that the first mowing was on tall wet grass, but the Z225 handled this well.
Review: JohnDeere Z225 EZtrak, Contributors to Reviews.deere.com