This Zero Turn Lawn Mower is Commercial Quality and Worth the Money

I tested Toro’s zero-turn mower for a few weeks and this is what happened.

By Mark Wolfe | Updated Apr 21, 2022 12:30 PM

Toro TimeCutter Review

Photo: Mark Wolfe

A zero-turn, or zero turning radius, mower is one that is engineered with drive wheels that can rotate in opposite directions, effectively turning the mower in place. Zero-turn mowers have been popular with professional landscape maintenance companies and large-property owners for decades. Unlike conventional lawn tractors that perform a wide range of functions beyond mowing the grass, zero-turn mowers are specially engineered to maximize mowing speed, efficiency, and grass appearance. As zero-turn tech continues to spread into the consumer mainstream, improvements move toward operator comfort. For a great example, look no further than the Toro brand.

The Toro Company, based in Bloomington, Minnesota, was founded in 1914, when it began building tractor engines. By 1919, with the invention of the Toro Standard Golf Machine, the company established a lasting reputation of producing innovative, dependable mowing equipment. A global giant in the mower industry, The Toro Company’s lineup includes respected brands such as Exmark, the leading manufacturer of commercial zero-turn mowers, and one of the fastest-growing commercial zero-turn mower brands in Spartan Mowers. However, many of the mowers within the Toro brand target the residential market, with equal attention to details of performance, convenience, and user comfort.

When I was presented with the opportunity to try out a brand-new Toro TimeCutter MyRIDE zero-turn mower, I was happy to oblige. The marketing materials promise great things, like “commercial-grade DNA that pros rely on” and “the ultimate in comfort.” After putting the 50-inch TimeCutter MyRide Zero Turn Mower to the test on my 2 acres of established lawn and old field, I support those claims and more. It may not be the right choice for every shopper, but anyone with lots of grass to mow would do themselves a favor by taking a closer look. Read on for more details about the machine and my experience mowing with it.

Toro 50″ TimeCutter MyRIDE Zero Turn Mower: At a Glance

Toro TimeCutter Review

Photo: Mark Wolfe

Rating: 9.7/10

Pros

  • Mowing speed up to 7 mph
  • Smooth, comfortable ride
  • High-capacity fuel tank
  • Heavy-duty construction
  • Professional-quality cut

Cons

  • Premium price
  • Cannot access narrow gated areas
  • Not designed for hills

Get the Toro 50″ TimeCutter MyRIDE Zero Turn Mower at:

What Is the Toro 50″ TimeCutter MyRIDE Zero Turn Mower?

The Toro 50″ TimeCutter MyRIDE Zero Turn Mower is a premium residential mower built for wide-open spaces and larger lawns dotted with obstacles. I use the term “residential” loosely since it is packed with tons of commercial details, like an incredibly strong 10-gauge steel frame, forged mower deck, large-capacity fuel tank, and a commercial-grade 24.5-horsepower engine.

The comfortable ride of the smooth MyRide suspension system and thoughtful conveniences like the Smart Speed control system and toolless oil change system complement powerful performance. This is an approachable mower for new zero-turn users. It is highly capable, comfortable to operate, and intuitive to learn. Available accessories include a recycler kit to mulch grass clippings, a grass-striping kit, and a bagger, as well as numerous tow-behind lawn care tools.

Toro TimeCutter Review

Photo: Mark Wolfe

How Comfortable Is the Toro 50″ TimeCutter MyRIDE Zero Turn Mower?

The 50″ TimeCutter MyRIDE Zero Turn Mower was designed with comfort top of mind. It starts with a generously cushioned 18-inch seat with armrests. Next, the MyRide system positions the operator on a floating platform with more than 3 inches of cushioned independent movement above the mower frame. The platform is cushioned by an adjustable shock-absorption system that takes on any bumps in the landscape, which makes for an amazingly smooth ride. In my test run, I mowed a gently sloped 1-acre field full of ruts and rocks in about 20 minutes, which translates to about 3 acres per hour. That was close to maximum speed for the mower, and the ride was butter-smooth.

At this point, I should note a few additional comfort and convenience points. First, the mid-mount deck configuration places the operator directly above the mower deck, which affords excellent visibility. Second, the foot-operated deck lift lever made it easy to raise the deck to ride over an approaching rock or other low obstacles, without stopping to reach for the deck’s hand lever. Also, the Smart Speed control system allowed me to easily pick up the pace for straight mowing, and then work slow and steady while trimming around trees, landscape beds, and other obstacles. Finally, the handles automatically control the parking brake, setting it whenever they are in the “parked” position and releasing it when the handles are raised to the “move” positions.

Comfort and convenience features include:

  • Mid-mounted deck
  • 18-inch high-back seat with armrests
  • MyRIDE suspension system
  • 18-inch by 9.5-inch rear tires
  • Smart Speed control system
  • Foot-operated deck-height adjustment
  • Automatic parking brake
Toro TimeCutter Review

Photo: Mark Wolfe

How Powerful Is the Toro 50″ TimeCutter MyRIDE Zero Turn Mower?

The commercial-grade 708-cc, 24.5-horsepower Toro V-Twin engine with cast-iron cylinder liners and full-pressure lubrication delivers outstanding performance. The top mowing speed is listed at 7 miles per hour, which would be about right based on my experience of mowing an acre in 20 minutes. Even at that fast pace on bumpy terrain, it tracked well and left a nice clean finished cut.

In another portion of my yard, where Bermuda grass grows especially thick, I tested the TimeCutter’s ability to low-cut the semi-dormant grass ahead of spring. This is the normal procedure for warm-season grasses at the end of winter, but it puts extra strain on the mower since airflow to the deck is constricted by the surrounding grass. Commercial mowers are equipped with adequate power to low-cut the grass at a nearly normal mowing pace, while residential mowers must work at a snail’s pace. The TimeCutter resembled a commercial mower while low-cutting, without slowing or bogging down in the least.

The Toro 50″ TimeCutter MyRIDE Zero Turn Mower is well constructed to handle hard work while reducing operator strain and fatigue. The mower frame and deck are fabricated from thick, 10-gauge steel, and the leading edge of the deck is reinforced with an extra layer of steel for extended wear protection. The rear drop-pin towing hitch has a towing capacity of up to 442 pounds, for fertilizing, aerating, and other heavy-duty lawn-care projects.

Power and performance features include:

  • 708-cc, 24.5-horsepower Toro commercial V-Twin engine
  • Cast-iron cylinder liners and full-pressure lubrication
  • Mowing speed up to 7 mph
  • 10-gauge steel frame
  • 50-inch fabricated 10-gauge steel deck with reinforced leading edge
  • Mowing height range of 1.5 to 4.5 inches
  • 3-gallon fuel capacity
  • Towing hitch
  • Easy maintenance features: toolless oil change and belt cover

It is important to note that, for all its capabilities, there are a few areas where this mower does not excel. Most importantly, it is not designed for use on hilly terrain. The manufacturer recommends avoiding slopes greater than 15 degrees, or about 5.5 feet of elevation change per 20 linear feet. Also, the size of the machine is scaled for larger properties with 2 to 4 acres of grass. Small and midsize properties increase the instances of bottlenecks such as narrow walk-through gates or pathways between landscape beds where the 50-inch TimeCutter simply will not fit.

Is the Toro 50″ TimeCutter MyRIDE Zero Turn Mower Worth the Money?

The Toro 50″ TimeCutter MyRIDE Zero Turn Mower is loaded with feature upgrades that make it highly competitive among top-tier residential zero-turn mowers. Pro-quality construction and performance combined with perhaps the most comfortable ride in the industry make a convincing argument for the MSRP of $4,599. Still, The Home Depot sells it for $200 below MSRP at $4,399.

Major brand competitors include John Deere and Cub Cadet, both with closely comparable models. Cub Cadet Ultima ZT2 with a 50-inch deck offers less horsepower (23), thinner steel (11-gauge) in the deck, and is priced $100 lower than the Toro 50″ TimeCutter MyRIDE MSRP at $4,499. John Deere Z515E with a 54-inch deck that is stamped, not fabricated, comes with a 24-horsepower engine and a simple 2-spring suspension system, also for $4,499. So, the 50″ TimeCutter MyRIDE appears to be priced just about right and could even be considered a bargain.

Toro TimeCutter Review

Photo: Mark Wolfe

Is the Toro 50″ TimeCutter MyRIDE Zero Turn Mower Right for You?

To get the best bang for your buck, an ideal yard for the Toro 50″ TimeCutter MyRIDE Zero Turn Mower would be between 1.75 and 4.25 acres, with lots of grass and no steep hills. Regardless of whether you strive for a pristine, golf-course-like lawn or more of a wild-prairie-type appearance, this mower can help. In fact, bumpy, rough ground with occasional mow-around obstacles is where it excels.

With a maximum mowing speed of up to 7 miles per hour, this TimeCutter can tackle a wide-open 3 acres in about an hour, or slightly longer where there are trees and landscape beds to navigate. And you may even be able to skip the next chiropractor appointment. But if your yard is on a mountainside, in a forest, or requires navigating narrow (less than 60 inches) passageways, this big zero-turn mower may not be the best choice.

Where to Buy the Toro 50″ TimeCutter MyRIDE Zero Turn Mower

Get the Toro 50″ TimeCutter MyRIDE Zero Turn Mower at: