One of the Pro Tool Reviews stores covers over an acre of land. This is an excellent place to test commercial and residential zero-turn lawn mowers. Getting a John Deere ZTrak Z355R on the property was an interesting opportunity to try out a zero-steer from a company with a long history. In case you didn't know, John Deere takes its name from its founder, a blacksmith from Grand Detour, Illinois. He set out to design a more durable plow to cut through the thick prairie soils of the Midwest. Five years later, Deere is producing 100 plows per year! The John Deere Z355R Zero-Turn Mower isn't quite a plow, but we're curious how fast it can cut through another dense material — thick Florida grass!
Editorial: Interested in the unusual? Check out the Ryobi 80V Joystick Zero Turn Lawn Mower.
It's no joke that summer rains make native grasses thrive. Whether it's a rough Baja or a bushy St. Augustine, mowing grass is always a challenge in Florida. Professional landscapers and groundskeepers know this, so choosing a zero turn is serious business. It can save you time, or cost you tons of money in maintenance and repairs.
Our interest in the John Deere Trak Z355R stems from news we received earlier this year about the release of five new Z300 series. These include the Z335M, Z345M, Z345R, Z375R and ZTrak Z355R we reviewed. The new model mows at speeds up to 7 mph and has several key features to meet the needs of residential consumers looking for higher quality zero turn.
John Deere uses what's called an Accel Deep mower deck. Introduced in 2016, the platform comes standard on all John Deere Z300 Series mowers. In the Z300 series, the decks are available in 42, 48 and 54 inch cutting widths. The deck is deep enough to help mow at top speeds (7 mph in this case). They are also equipped with plastic covers on the deck shafts which can be lifted for easy cleaning and maintenance.
John Deere Z355R Comfort and Control
The 18-inch seat on the John Deer Ztrak Z355R mower can be adjusted forward or backward using the front lever. Two armrests make for a very comfortable ride. What's more, they include two cup holders, one of which is an oversized cup holder that can hold a large drink. We've seen some manufacturers miss this little detail, leaving us "Big Gulp" fanatics at a loss. In front of the cupholders is the control panel with the engine timer, throttle and ignition. The handy fuel light lights up when you need to add more gas. However, it's subtle, so you'll need to check it regularly.
This model also includes floor mats and larger wheels. The front wheels are 13 inches in diameter and the rear wheels are 20 inches in diameter.
The control arms on the John Deere ZTrak Z355R are particularly ergonomic and fall exactly where I want them. Control was smooth as a result, and I was able to exert considerable skill when traversing the curving obstacles that separate the landscape from the grass.
under the hood
The ZTrak Z355R uses a 22 horsepower Briggs & Stratton Intek V-Twin engine. It feels snappy and delivers plenty of power—even if the cut happens a little later than it should. Grass grows fast during Florida's summer wet season, so any mowing longer than 7 days will be tough.
ZTrak Z355R Zero Turn Service and Maintenance
With any zero-turn mower, serviceability and maintainability are just as important as functionality. With the John Deere Z355R, at least some of the maintenance is easier. First, John Deere printed the recommended service intervals under the seats. After an 8-hour break-in period, Z355R zero-turn intervals are specified at 50 hours (oil and lube), 100 hours (plugs, filters, etc.) and 200 hours (dealer service recommended).
For accessibility, the footrest area is hinged and can be quickly raised to service the mower deck. Only one bolt needs to be removed to use the lift height pin. The ZTrak Z355R makes it easy to refuel your mower and add or change oil. Since the oil filter is located on the right side of the engine, changing it is just as easy. The rear air filter can be removed by simply loosening two knobs.
The great thing about the Accel Deep Mower Deck is that it has a very flat top so debris won't easily collect on it. Those spring-loaded flip-up guards on the deck also help remove grass and debris from the belt with ease. John Deer also gives you specific tie-down locations on the front corners of your mower for when you need to tow your trailer. The rear is also easy to lock.
John Deere ZTrak Z355R Specifications
- Power 22 hp, 16.4 kW
- Engine: Briggs & Stratton M44 Intek V-twin
- Displacement 44.2 cubic inches, 724 cubic centimeters
- Lubrication: Full pressure with replaceable filter, capacity, 2 quarts (1.9 liters)
- Battery 12V, 300CCA
- Choke/Speed Control: Ready to Start, Single Lever
- Cooling method: air
- Fuel tank capacity: 2.1 gallons (7.9 liters)
- Fuel Gauge: Low Fuel Light
- Driveline: Dual hydros Hydro-Gear EZT, 1-in. (2.5 cm) axle
- Price: $3099 (may vary by retailer)
Used John Deere Z355R Zero Turn Lawn Mower
We drove a John Deere Z355R zero turn lawn mower for a few weeks. It offers a more comfortable and smooth ride, with a big jump in deck size and speed over the smaller 38-inch EV. The real comparison is with a Husqvarna RZ54i zero-turn mower (which we use a lot) or other similar models. That mower (now replaced by a Husqvarna Z254) sells for about $3000 and has many similar features.
First, let me say that the ride of the John Deere ZTrak Z355R is comfortable. It's not "suspension seat" comfort, but you don't feel every bump and dent. Wheel and tire size has a lot to do with overall frame construction. I love the control arms. With a light sweep back, the John Deere zero-turn mower control arms seem just right.
John Deere ZTrak continue to use
After using this mower for over a month, it seems to be perfect for yards of an acre or more. My yard is about 1-1/4 acres, so getting a taller model with a 52" or even 60" deck will cut down on cutting time considerably. Still, the John Deere Z355R gets the job done quickly in the yard. As mentioned, I sometimes cut grass that grows too tall in the Florida rain. Even so, the ZTrak Z355R does its remarkable job without slowing down. However, I would recommend the override control suite option. It includes the covering mechanism as well as two new blades and sells for about $169.
As far as John Deere zero-turn mowers go, the ZTrak Z355R offers a great option into a brand and product that should provide reliable service. John Deere has a great reputation and they have dealerships all over the country. In their lineup, the Z355R Zero-Turn sits at the top of their 300 Series consumer lineup. For a step up and get faster mowing speeds and bigger seats, motors and wheels, look to the 500 Series. Prices start at less than $4,000.
See more information on the John Deere website.