Can the Husqvarna Zero-Turn Mower Cut a Bumpy Lawn at Top Speed?
I’m not sure if it’s top-end consumer-grade or an entry-level professional mower. Whatever the Xcite Z350 is, I like it.
If you measure your lawn in acres rather than square feet, then a zero-turn riding mower might be right for you. Unlike lawn tractors that are designed to perform a range of chores in addition to mowing, such as towing carts and spreaders or pushing snow blowers, zero-turn mowers are specialists. They mow lots of grass quickly while navigating around obstacles with a high level of precision.
I recently spent a week testing the new Husqvarna Xcite Z350 zero-turn mower. I wanted to find out how it measured up against other popular models, such as the Toro TimeCutter. As one of the top outdoor power-equipment brands for professionals and consumers, Husqvarna has a lengthy track record of creative innovation and enduring quality. For this reason, I wasn’t surprised by the excellent results I experienced with this new mower.
Husqvarna Xcite Z350 Zero-Turn Mower: At a Glance
- Weight: 794 pounds
- Engine: 24 horsepower Kohler 7000 series
- Fuel capacity: 4 gallons
- Cutting deck: 54-inch, 10-gauge steel deck
- Cutting height: 1.5 inches to 4.5 inches
- Tires (rear/front, in inches): All-terrain 20 x 10-10/13 x 6.5-6
- Speed (forward/reverse): 7 miles per hour (mph)/3.5 mph
- Seat: 15-inch high-back, cut and sewn
- Push-button electronic start/stop and PTO (power takeoff) controls conveniently located on the hand grips
- Digital dashboard with fuel gauge, mower status, and service reminders
- SmoothRide customizable suspension system helps eliminate rocking and wobbling
- Foot-operated deck-lift system with transport lock raises and lowers the deck without changing the cutting height
- Deep cutting deck and fast blade speed produces powerful airflow that pulls grass blades upright for a cleaner cut
- Exclusively available through a dealer network, and some may not have a location nearby
- Too large to navigate walk-through gates and other narrow corridors
- Not compatible with steep, hilly terrain
Get the Husqvarna Xcite Z350 at:
What is the Husqvarna Xcite Z350 zero-turn mower?
Husqvarna designed the Xcite line to bridge the gap between its consumer-grade and professional-grade models. Both the Z350 and the Z380 models come equipped with 54-inch cutting decks fabricated of 10-gauge steel, DuraSharp blades, premium Kohler engines, hand- grip controls, cut-and-sewn high-back seats, and best-in-class adjustable suspension. Both of these mowers are trailer-ready, with tie-down mounts built into all four sides of the frames.
Although it features heavy-duty construction, a strong 24-horsepower engine, and a premium 15-inch high-back seat with optional armrests, the Z350 model that I tested is a bit lighter, less powerful, and less expensive than the Z380 at $4,999.99. The Z380 boasts a 26-horsepower engine, a commercial-quality transmission, larger drive wheels, and an 18-inch high-back seat with armrests, and it sells for $6,499.00.
With those differences in mind, I think of the Z350 as the more affordable choice for mowing a large (2- to 5-acre) property once a week, and the Z380 as an investment in upgraded comfort and durability for mowing larger properties (5 or more acres) or mowing several times a week.
I tested the Husqvarna Xcite Z350 on an overgrown 1-acre grassy lot with undulating terrain and no obstacles, plus an adjoining three-quarter-acre residential lot with a fenced backyard and numerous landscape beds. It did a great job on both spaces, with lots of power to tackle the overgrown grass, plenty of speed, a comfortable ride, and easy-to-use controls.
Before mowing the first time, I wanted to adjust the suspension and seating to fit my height and weight, and then I spent a little time getting familiar with the controls and the feel of the machine. First I adjusted the suspension bars on the flanks of the mower. It was a simple matter of pulling back the handle of the spring pin, sliding the pin to my preferred setting, and releasing the pin to lock in place. Then I used the sliding lock lever to adjust the seat position and climbed on.
When I sat down, the care and attention to detail that went into designing the comfort features and control layout became apparent. My 6-foot-2-inch, 200-pound frame felt perfectly comfortable in the seat, although I recommend splurging on the optional armrests. The controls were well positioned on the lap bars and the side consoles for easy monitoring and operation.
I really liked several of the unique control features, starting with the start/stop and PTO controls on the hand grips. Husqvarna calls these “on-stick controls” in its product literature. Once I sat in the seat, the display screen lit up on the right-hand console. The display screen showed the fuel level, mower status, and any maintenance alerts. I inserted the key and, with the parking brake engaged, pressed and held the start/stop button for 3 seconds to start the engine. No choke was required. Then, to engage the blade, I held down the PTO button for 3 seconds. To stop the blades or engine, I pressed and held the button again for a second.
The cutting deck had two controls, a dial/knob on the left-hand console to adjust the actual cutting height, and a foot-operated deck lift. The deck lift is used to temporarily raise the deck while traveling, or it can be locked in the raised position for trailering or travel. The nice thing is that operating the deck lift does not change the cutting-height setting.
Is the Xcite Z350 comfortable?
In order to get a feel for the controls, the suspension system, and the mower’s maneuverability before I started mowing, I took the Xcite Z350 for a spin around the property, with the deck locked in its transport position. To me, it felt like a commercial-grade mower with consumer-grade speed.
Maneuverability and responsiveness to the lap bars were excellent, including on moderate slopes. As for the suspension system, I stopped a few times to adjust the pins until I found a setting that moved freely without bottoming out on hard bumps.
Next, I tested the top travel speed on bumpy ground. (The 7 mph maximum forward speed is really good for a consumer-grade mower, and a smart choice for safety, but grizzled lawn pros who are accustomed to commercial mower speeds topping 10 mph won’t be impressed.) With the suspension system dialed in, it felt surprisingly good. I didn’t hear much additional noise, such as rattling hardware, that might indicate loose connections or weak points.
How well does the Husqvarna Xcite Z350 mow grass?
After the dry run, it was time to mow. I started with the lawn on the residential lot, where I knew I would have to work around landscape beds, a few bottleneck areas, and a gated passageway. The lot is normally maintained with a 48-inch mower, and there were a few narrow spaces where this 54-inch mower wouldn’t fit. One of those was the walk-through gate into the backyard, but luckily there was a secondary double gate.
The large size seemed to be this mower’s only hindrance. It had no problems following landscape bed lines or mowing circles around mulched tree rings, and the tires didn’t damage the grass on 180-degree turns. I also liked that the wide deck reached beyond the width of the tires to mow beneath the branches of spreading shrubs.
Next, I moved on to the 1-acre overgrown field. The area is only mowed once a month or so, and it’s covered with a mix of lawn-grass species and some lawn weeds. This was a good test of the Xcite Z350’s ability to stand grass blades upright for a clean, even finish. I raised the deck to its highest cutting height and mowed at a somewhat slower pace. Even with some of the springy weeds and grass measuring 12 inches high at the start, the Husqvarna DuraSharp blades and heavy-duty deck handled the job nicely. It took about 35 minutes to mow the field at 4.5 inches.
After a week I mowed the field again, this time to gauge real-life mowing speed, which was full speed except for turns. On paper, a 54-inch mower working at 7 mph should be able to cut 3.4 acres in an hour, or 1 acre in about 17 minutes. Since I mowed the prior week at 4.5 inches, I set the deck at 3.5 inches this time. My goal was to mow as quickly as possible while prioritizing a clean, precise finish. I did it in 21 minutes. While results will vary depending on weather and a lot’s unique characteristics, I was very much impressed by the 21-minute mowing speed. Even at top speed the ride was comfortable, and the cut quality looked great.
Is the Husqvarna Xcite Z350 worth the money?
After testing the Husqvarna Xcite Z350 riding lawn mower, I went back to my notes from testing the Toro TimeCutter 50 MyRIDE. Both of these gas-powered, zero-turn mowers were introduced to fill the void between lightweight, consumer-grade zero-turn mowers designed to mow midsize yards once a week, and commercial-grade machines built to mow 8 to 10 hours every day. Both include power and performance upgrades not found on cheaper mowers, as well as premium comfort features that bridge consumer and pro-grade equipment.
When it comes to price, the Xcite Z350, with a price around $5,500, may at first appear out of step with the TimeCutter 50 MyRIDE, priced around $4,599. However, the value actually supports the higher price, and there are a few general differences between the Husqvarna Xcite and the Toro TimeCutter product lines.
Husqvarna offers just two Xcite models, both with 54-inch decks, premium seating and suspension systems, and heavy-duty engines, but customization options are limited. Toro offers a much more extensive range of models, with and without the MyRIDE suspension system, in various deck sizes (34 to 60 inches), and equipped with various engines from four different manufacturers, including Kohler. However, Xcite mowers include premium standard features, which not every TimeCutter includes.
While other features are the same, a key difference is the suspension systems. The Husqvarna Xcite adjustable suspension system isolates vertical movement only, leaving the operator to move laterally in tune with the mower frame. This system is generally great and especially good on moderate slopes. On the other hand, Toro’s patented MyRIDE suspension system isolates both vertical and horizontal movement, which could surpass the Husqvarna system in some ways on bumpy flat ground, although it could become compromised if it bottoms out on moderate slopes.
Is the Husqvarna Xcite Z350 right for you?
The Husqvarna Xcite Z350 zero-turn mower is a strong contender for those seeking a powerful and comfortable mower for a large yard. With its commercial-quality 54-inch deck, heavy-duty engine, and premium seat and suspension system, it is built to maintain 2- to 5-plus-acre lawns, but it may not be the right choice for every property.
The Z350 mower is designed for flat and slightly rolling terrain, but its lack of a rollover protection system means that it is not suitable for steep terrain. Also, the 54-inch deck is too wide to navigate narrow corridors and walk-through gates, so it is best for open spaces. It easily tracks along curved landscape bed lines, maneuvers around mulched tree rings, and reaches back beneath low overhanging shrub branches to keep lawns looking great with less time spent on the mower and less time trimming the edges.
Get the Husqvarna Xcite Z350 at:
Meet the Tester
Mark Wolfe is a writer and product tester with an extensive background in the nursery and landscaping industry. For more than 20 years he mowed, edged, planted, pruned, cultivated, irrigated, and renovated beautiful landscapes. Now he tests and writes reviews about the latest outdoor power equipment, hand tools, lawn care products, and other outdoor-living goods.