Just because this Ariens ZTR915157 riding mower features at the bottom of my top 5 best zero turn mowers list does not mean it is not worth considering. There are plenty of reasons why I decided against a higher rank for this otherwise rather useful, inexpensive zero turn. First and foremost it happens to be the smallest of all zero turn mowers that I have yet reviewed. With a petite engine of 14.5 HP powering a rather modest 34 inch deck, it is only subjective if I gave it the last spot on my list although going by riding fun and pure pleasure of driving ZTRs this is my best zero turn mower! The 14.5 HP is generated from a Briggs & Stratton single cylinder engine and hence it won’t take your usual set of attachments to the back such as a hitch and so fork. It will however take a small rear bag attachment at best.
- Riding Lawn Mower
- Zero Turn Ratio
- 14.5 HP, 500 cc Briggs & Stratton Engine
- Hydrostatic transmission
- Non CARB-Compliant
- Dual blade steel 34 inch cutting deck
- Electric Start
- Rear Wheel Drive
- Weight: 425 lbs
- Warranty: 3 years limited warranty
In-Depth Ariens 915157 ZTR Lawn Mower Review
Ease Of Use
Because this Ariens riding mower carries a 34 inch deck and a tiny 14.5 HP engine, it also has an extremely compact footprint which in turn means it will rather nimbly move about obstacles, be it trees, shrubs, your pet dog or even a sign post! Additionally, if you happen to have a yard smaller than 2 acres with a gated entrance that isn’t large enough to accommodate large riding or zero turn mowers, this is the perfect replacement to get. Yes, because of its smaller size, it will take longer to mow the same area, but in return you won’t ever have to switch to a walk-behind for particularly tough spots, or even take a string trimmer to ensure a perfect mow around the tightest corners. Once you get the hang of this ZTR, and it only takes a couple of tries, you will be able to replicate perfect landscaping techniques in your own backyard.
Previously this particular Ariens lawn mower ZTR 915157 came with a 13.5 HP engine which is now bumped to the 14.5 HP version. Not that the 1 HP jump produced remarkable difference in cut quality, but at least it means your new mower will be better able to deal with taller grass since all that power is only going to the dual blade attachment. Likewise, mowing on inclines, ditches and tricky terrain is pretty simple with this mower. However, be careful when you mow on wet grass as this is a lightweight ZTR and as with any lightweight riding mower, it will tend to slip and slide thus producing a certain reduction in cut quality. My advice, go twice as slow as you normally do when dealing with wet grass.
Since it only has a 34 inch deck and a moderate engine, I actually felt the heights one can set the deck to, more than what you would expect from a small ZTR. Total of 7 height settings ranging from 1.5 to 4.5 inches, is exactly what you would get in a massive ZTR with over 55 inch decks and 25HP motors! Did I mention that the pedal to control the height setting of the deck happened to be positioned where the throttle usually goes on ride-on mowers? Now change the height as you mow, when you need it the most!
Even though the new version has 1 HP extra, it still isn’t enough to make a difference. I would have loved to at least see a V-Twin 18HP or such on this baby, which would truly make it a remarkable machine capable of hauling more than twice its own weight. As it stands, 14.5 HP single cylinder is just enough to power the blades and seat an average individual atop.
While in the one month that I got to play with the Ariens riding mower, I did not face any major complication or maintenance need, I have however read in major mower forums that this particular model has varying issues. While the warranty ought to cover them all, the actual problem is that there isn’t any complication that seems to repeat among all users, everyone tends to get something new to deal with. This leads me to believe that the Ariens ZTR 915157 does not undergo extensive dealer testing. My advice, when you get your Ariens make sure to have a representative from their local dealer present as you try it out.
If only it had a slightly larger engine and tad bit more durability, I would have given it my first spot among the best zero turn mower reviews. Nevertheless, it is cheaper than many competing models and brands, happens to be a fun machine to commandeer and compact enough for small sheds and yards.
- Compact design
- Affordable price
- Less motor power due to petite engine
Need something that can take care of 2 acre or less land? Don’t want to invest too much into a massive machine with lots of moving components, extra overheads and a pain learning them? The Ariens Lawn Mower ZTR 915157 is what you need – affordable enough, conveniently sized, well designed and easy to use.