Stanley 54ZS Review
|(Rated: 4.3 / 5) Review by Frank Lowery|
|Ease of Assembly|
|Balance And Handling|
|Related pages: Best Lawn Mower, Best Zero Turn Mower, Lawn Mower Reviews, Stanley, Stanley Lawn Mowers, Zero Turn Mower Reviews,|
Do you own a fairly big property, with more than an acre of grass that you want to keep looking professionally manicured without spending hours doing it? If you do, then you already understand the importance of owning a large riding mower to get the job done. It simply isn’t possible to efficiently maintain an acre or more of grass with a small riding mower, and walk behind mowers are obviously out of the question. As large riding mowers go, zero turn mowers are some of the best and most efficient ones out there today. These mowers boast some of the widest cutting decks, highest drive speeds, and most powerful engines in any class of lawn mower.
When you have a very big lawn – up to two acres or more – that has tougher grass types like St. Augustine or Bermuda grass, or if you have a large lawn with uneven ground, a residential grade zero turn mower may not be right for the job. In these cases it may be worth it to spend a bit more money on getting a more heavy duty commercial grade residential mower. These tough machines are designed to tackle big, difficult jobs with ease. They have the kind of power, durable construction, and massive cutting decks that can handle big jobs for a long time without needing maintenance or repairs. And among the commercial grade zero turn mowers, the Stanley 54ZS is a great machine.
The Stanley 54ZS is a solid commercial grade zero turn mower designed to handle tough jobs that are well over an acre in size. Commercial grade zero turn mowers like this one have the kind of durable parts, powerful engines and wide cutting decks to make them well equipped for the most difficult jobs out there. The Stanley 54ZS has a massive 54 inch wide cutting deck with two cutting blades made of durable steel. The wider cutting deck means you will be able to cut your lawn in fewer passes and less time. The mower has a Kawasaki FR691 series engine that is 726 cubic centimeters in size and delivers 24 horsepower. This engine is specifically designed to deliver the kind of power and performance needed to run a heavy duty commercial grade zero turn mower.
There are a number of other excellent features on the Stanley 54ZS. The mower is equipped with great accessories designed to increase the convenience and comfort level of operating it, and the cockpit is ergonomically designed, with a number of great safety features. The cutting deck and frame of the mower are manufactured out of durable materials that will hold up to repeated use over the long term. And the mower’s Peerless hydrostatic transmission allows for a smooth ride, with a top speed of 10.0 mph. I will cover all of these in more detail in the “Pros” section below.
There are some drawbacks associated with the Stanley 54ZS as well, however, that you should be fully aware of before you decide whether to buy it. The mower can be rather difficult to steer, and you may find that you have to adjust the steering controls. There is only a basic side discharge option for grass clippings management, which can be problematic depending on your needs. For a zero turn mower with a 54 inch deck size, this one is rather large, which can make maneuvering and storage somewhat difficult. The mower does not handle inclines very well, so if you have a yard that is steeply sloping, this may be a problem. And the mower needs a lot of maintenance to keep it running smoothly.
To help you get a good sense of how the Stanley 54ZS stacks up against its competition, I will provide a table detailing the product specifications of this and two other mowers in its class. And after some concluding remarks, I will discuss the pricing of this mower in some detail.
The Stanley 54ZS is a gas powered commercial grade zero turn mower with overall dimensions of 83.1 x 64.5 x 45.8 inches. It has a Kawasaki manufactured 726 cubic centimeter FR691V series engine. The engine is a four cylinder V-twin model with a vertical shaft and cast iron cylinder liners that provide greater durability over long term use. It has an electronic spark ignition for reliable starts every time and a rotating grass screen to prevent it from becoming jammed with clippings. The mower has a Peerless made hydrostatic transmission that provides variable power to the rear wheel drive. This design, unique to zero turn mowers, makes it one of the most maneuverable grass cutting machines available today. The mower’s gas tank holds a full 7.50 gallons, which is more than enough to complete even the biggest jobs without stopping to refuel. It is started with a key.
|Dimensions||83.1 x 64.5 x 45.8 inches|
|Engine Specs||FR691V – 726-cc Engine|
|Gas Tank||7.50 Galons|
|Number of Blades||2|
|Max Speed||10.0 mph forward / 10.0 mph reverse|
|Height Adjustment||Single lever (8 positions)|
|Height Settings||1-1/2- to 5-inch|
|Wheel Size||15×6-inch front / 22×10-inch rear|
The cutting deck on the Stanley 54ZS is a full 54 inches, or 5 1/2 feel. The massive size of the cutting deck is achieved in part because the mower is equipped with two durable cutting blades. The blades have a tip speed of 18,750 feet per minute or over two hundred miles per hour. The mower is only equipped with a basic side discharge for grass clippings. The lever operated drive system provides smooth transitioning between speeds. The mower has a top forward and reverse speed 0f 10.0 mph. The cutting deck has eight height adjustment options between 1.5 and 5 inches, all of which are conveniently controlled by a single lever in the cockpit. Its front wheels are 15 x 6 inches, and its rear wheels are 22 x 10 inches. The mower weights 1000 pounds. It comes with a lifetime warranty.
The Stanley 54ZS is a gas powered commercial grade zero turn mower with a Kawasaki FR691V series, 726 cubic centimeter engine that delivers a full 24 HP. The engine is cooled with forced air and has a 90 degree V-twin, four cylinder design and pressurized lubrication for more efficient performance. It has electronic spark ignition which allows it to start reliably every time without stalling or flooding. It has automatic compression release and an internally vented carburetor. The engine is encased in cast iron cylinder liners so that it will stand up to wear and tear over the long run, and it has a rotating grass screen to keep it free from blockages from grass clippings.
The mower has a cutting deck that is equipped with twin blades made of durable steel for longer life and better looking cuts. The blades have a tip speed of over 200 mph, which allows them to deliver clean, professional looking cuts to your lawn and slice through even dense patches of grass or tougher varieties like St. Augustine or Bermuda grass. The cutting deck is 54 inches wide, which places the Stanley 54ZS in the higher levels of deck width. Wider decks allow you to finish the job in fewer passes, and fewer passes translate to less time spent on lawn chores and back to enjoying your weekend with your family.
The cutting deck on the Stanley 54ZS has eight adjustable height options between 1.5 and 5 inches. They are all adjusted using a single lever conveniently located in the mower’s cockpit. This is a great range of heights to ensure that you are always giving your lawn the best possible cut to keep it looking healthy and beautiful. You should avoid cutting your lawn any shorter than 1/3 its initial height so that you do not run the risk of damaging it or making it more vulnerable to the effects of drought or invasions by weeds or crab grass. With these height options, you can let your grass get quite tall and still cut it without damaging it.
The Stanley 54ZS has a hydrostatic transmission manufactured by Peerless, a leader in the industry. The hydrostatic transmission provides differential power to the rear wheel drive, which is what makes the Stanley 54ZS so maneuverable. The operator can bring one of the two rear wheels to a complete stop while still providing full power to the other wheel using the dual steering levels and assisted by the hydrostatic transmission. This allows the mower to literally spin 360 degrees on its own axis. Cornering and maneuvering in tight spaces is a breeze with a zero turn mower like this one. The transmission also allows for easy shifting from one speed to another, and the mower’s top forward speed of 10.0 mph ensures that you will be finishing jobs more quickly than ever.
The cockpit of the Stanley 54ZS is equipped with a number of great accessories and safety features that ensure you are always riding in the utmost comfort and convenience while you are operating it. Along with little extra amenities such as a cup holder, high seat back with adjustable arm rests, and high powered halogen headlights, the mower has a seat belt and roll bar to ensure you are completely safe from accidents or rollovers while you are using it. The cockpit is also designed to be easy to mount and dismount.
Unfortunately, there are a few small drawbacks to the design of the Stanley 54ZS. The steering levers take some getting used to if you have not used a zero turn mower before, but that is not unexpected. However the steering needs occasional adjusting to keep it working properly. The mower only comes with a single grass management option, which is frustrating if you prefer to collect your grass clippings for later disposal or composting. The mower has rather large dimensions when you compare it to zero turn mowers with similar deck sizes, which can affect its maneuverability and make it more difficult to find storage space for it. The mower’s drive system does not handle inclines very well, and the mower will slow down and be difficult to maneuver on this kind of terrain. And the Stanley 54ZS needs a lot of maintenance to keep it running smoothly.
The Stanley 54ZS has a price tag that puts it more or less in the mid range of comparably sized commercial grade zero turn mowers. While it may be a challenge to fit this kind of mower into your household budget, over the long term it is a good investment that will pay off if you have a very large property to maintain. The mower comes with a lifetime warranty, which not only reflects the manufacturer’s confidence in the quality and performance of the 54ZS, but also assures you that should you have any problems, repair or replacement will not cost anything extra, ever.
There are plenty of good reasons to purchase a zero turn mower if you have a very big lawn to take care of. Chief among these are the size of the cutting deck and the maneuverability of the mower. The hydrostatic transmission on the Stanley 54ZS makes it extraordinarily maneuverable, and allows you to literally spin the mower 360 degrees without stopping or even slowing down too much. But there are a number of other great features the Stanley 54ZS offers as well. It has a powerful 726 cc Kawasaki FR691 series engine under the hood. It has a 54 inch wide cutting deck that will allow you to finish jobs in fewer passes and less time. It has a number of great accessories and safety features in the cockpit. The cutting deck and frame are manufactured using durable materials that will hold up over the long term. And the hydrostatic transmission provides for a smooth ride and fast speeds. Let’s look at each of these in turn in some more detail.
- Powerful Kawasaki FR691 Series engine : The Kawasaki FR601 series engine continues to uphold that manufacturer’s reputation for quality and performance in its products. The engine has a volume displacement of 726 cubic centimeters, and it manages to pack a full 24 HP into that space. It has a V-twin four cylinder design and a pressurized lubrication system for better performance. The engine starts up easily every time thanks to its electronic ignition. And it is encased in cast iron cylinder liners that protect it from wear and tear even after years of tough jobs. The engine also has a unique rotating grass screen that keeps it free from getting jammed with detritus or clippings while you are using it. Overall this is an excellent engine designed to reliably provide high quality performance over the long run.
- 54 inch wide cutting deck for more efficiency : One of the best reasons to purchase a zero turn mower like the Stanley 54ZS is because these mowers can support wider cutting decks than other riding mowers. With a cutting deck that is almost five feet wide, this mower allows you to cut a wide swath through your lawn. Wider cutting decks mean you will be able to finish the job in fewer passes, and fewer passes translate to less time spent cutting the lawn and more time spent relaxing and enjoying the weekend with your family. The 54 inch cutting deck on the Stanley 54ZS, along with its top speed of 10mph, allow the operator to finish cutting a full acre of grass in well under a half an hour.
- Great accessories and safety features : The cockpit of the Stanley 54ZS is designed to be as comfortable and ergonomically efficient as possible. With a high seat back that provides superior lumbar support, adjustable armrests for better comfort, and a number of other amenities, you will be riding in comfort on this zero turn mower. There is a cup holder so that you can keep a cold drink available on hot days and high powered halogen lights so that you can finish lawn care jobs even as the sun begins to set. It also has great safety features such as a seat belt and a roll bar to protect the operator in the event of a collision or rollover. That means you can ride the mower even on inclines without having to worry about your personal safety while doing so.
- Manufactured from durable materials : Because it is a commercial grade zero turn mower, the Stanley 54ZS is made with the kind of materials that will allow it to stand up to difficult jobs for many years to come without breaking down or needing repairs. The dual cutting blades are made from durable 7 gauge welded steel so that they will need sharpening less frequently, and the frame of the mower is likewise made from steel to provide a tougher undercarriage and support structure. The wheels have oversized tires and heavy duty casters to ensure that the Stanley 54ZS will be able to negotiate uneven or rough terrain without any problems as well. This is a very tough zero turn mower that is designed to handle big, tough jobs, and the quality of the parts and manufacturing reflects this.
- Smooth drive and high top speed : The Peerless made hydrostatic transmission allows for a very smooth ride and easy transmission between speeds and directions. This is important on a zero turn mower, which is primarily designed with easy maneuvering and control in mind. The hydrostatic transmission is what allows the Stanley 54ZS to be so maneuverable, because it’s what provides the variable power to the rear wheel drive that allows the mower to have such a tight turning radius. And the transmission is also what allows the mower to have a top forward and reverse speed of 10.0 mph. That is about as fast as riding mowers get these days, and it will allow you to finish jobs more quickly than ever.
In addition to all of these great features, the Stanley 54ZS has a price tag that places it more or less in the mid range for similarly sized commercial grade zero turn mowers. That allows you to get a heavy duty mower with a quality Kawasaki engine and super wide cutting deck without spending the kinds of money that contractors do on their machines. While the Stanley 54ZS is not cheap, it is still affordable for most households, and it still has a lot of great amenities, durable parts and commercial grade engine and cutting deck. In addition to that it comes with a lifetime consumer warranty, which is not at all common these days. That warranty not only shows the degree to which Stanley trusts the design and manufacture of this machine to hold up over the years, it also means you will be able to rest easy that should anything go wrong, the manufacturer will have your back for repairs or replacement.
In addition to all of these great features, it is important to be fully aware of any drawbacks that may be associated with the Stanley 54ZS. I have compiled a list of the areas where this mower is less than optimal, so that you are fully aware of what it has to offer. First of all, you may experience difficulty steering this mower, and the steering apparatus may need frequent adjusting to keep it running properly. The mower only has a single grass management option, which can be frustrating for those of you who prefer to mulch your clippings or collect them for later disposal. The mower is fairly large for its deck size, which can make it difficult to maneuver in tight spots and hard to store. It does not handle inclines well, and it will need a lot of maintenance to keep it running smoothly. These may be enough to make you want to look elsewhere in a zero turn mower. Let’s look at each con in more detail.
- You may experience difficulty steering the mower : Users who are not familiar with operating zero turn mowers may find the dual lever steering system a bit difficult to get used to at first, but with some practice they should get the hang of it. It is much different than operating a steering wheel and it requires some coordination. A more serious problem associated with the steering on the Stanley 54ZS is the fact that the steering apparatus needs frequent adjustments to keep it running smoothly. If you are not mechanically inclined, this can pose a rather serious problem. With this kind of big, powerful, fast machine having reliable steering is a extreme importance, not only in terms of performance but also safety.
- Only one grass management option : While it is not altogether uncommon for zero turn mowers to not have extra grass clipping management options, it can still be a hassle. If you want to mulch your clippings into tiny pieces that will easily break down into your lawn or bag your clippings for later disposal or compost, you are just plain out of luck with the Stanley 54ZS. Of course, if you are not interested in collecting your clippings or mulching them into very small pieces, this will not pose a problem, and on very big lots you probably will not want to. It’s also important to keep in mind that even moderately sized grass clippings will break down into the soil; they will just take a bit longer to do so than mulched clippings.
- The mower is considerably large for its deck size : With dimensions of 83.1 x 64.5 x 45.8 inches, the Stanley 54ZS is larger than a lot of other commercial grade zero turn mowers that have cutting decks that are the same size or even a bit larger. This can be a problem if you need to maneuver the mower in and out of tight spots, even with the fact that it has a zero degree turning radius. And it also can make it difficult to find enough storage space for this mower in your garage or appliance shed. The mower is rust proof, so it can be left outside overnight, but I would not recommend leaving it out over the winter, so you will need to find enough space in your garage for it. It will take up about a full parking spot, so keep that in mind when you are deciding whether to buy it.
- The mower may not handle inclines very well : If you have a steep incline or hills on your property, this might not be the right mower for your needs. Inability to handle sloping ground well is a chronic problem for zero turn mowers, especially ones like the Stanley 54ZS that weigh a lot and have a high center of gravity. If your property is flat and does not have any hills on it, this will not be a serious problem for you. But if you do have sloping terrain on your property, be prepared for the fact that this zero turn mower will tend to slow down and have general performance issues when you are negotiating these areas. If you think this will pose a serious problem, you may want to consider buying a different zero turn mower altogether.
- The mower requires a lot of maintenance to keep it running : Some of us are fairly mechanically inclined and get a lot of satisfaction out of tinkering with our machines. If this sounds familiar, and you like getting under the hood to work on engines, then this might be the perfect zero turn mower for you. That’s because this mower needs a lot of maintenance. Not just in terms of the steering apparatus, either. In addition to the basic maintenance that you would expect to do on a machine like this one, such as replacing spark plugs, changing air filters, cleaning the carburetor, etc., you will also find that you have to do a lot more upkeep on cables, belts, and ignition switches to keep the mower running well. Because it has a lifetime warranty, this will not necessarily cost you any more money, but it will take a lot of time and be a good deal of work. If that sounds like more trouble than it’s worth, I advise you to look elsewhere.
When you are looking for a commercial grade zero turn mower at an affordable price, you are inevitably going to find machines that have imperfections. But that does not mean you have to settle for a mower that breaks down and needs a lot of maintenance. You should also be shopping for a mower that is designed to do the kind of job you need it to do, which means if you have a sloping yard or prefer to collect or mulch your grass clippings, you may want to look at a different model. But if you do like tinkering with your machines and do not mind the challenge of keeping this mower running well with periodic maintenance, and you have the kind of yard the Stanley 54ZS is designed to handle, then in spite of these cons this might still be the right mower for you.
I always encourage my readers to take a look at several similar lawn mowers before they decide on a particular model. That is because it’s always a good practice to get a full picture not only of how a product compares to its competition, but also to get a better understanding of what the market as a whole has to offer. Then you can make a fully informed decision about which lawn mower is right for you needs. You may find that the first one you looked at is in fact the best one, or you may discover that there are comparably priced or even more inexpensive lawn mowers that offer a lot more in terms of accessories, deck size, and engine quality. In order to help you do some comparison shopping quickly and easily, I have provided a table that details the product specifications of the Stanley 54ZS as well as two comparable models, the Stanley 62ZS and the Swisher ZTR2460BS.
|Dimensions||83.1 x 64.5 x 45.8 inches||76.8 x 65.9 x 44.1 inches||83.1 x 64.5 x 41.8 inches|
|Engine Manufacturer||Kawasaki||Briggs & Stratton||Kawasaki|
|Gas Tank||7.50 Galons||8.00 Galons||7.50 Galons|
|Deck Size(cutting swath)||54-inch||60-inch||62-inch|
|Number of Blades||2||3||2|
|Mulch/Bag/Discharge||Side discharge||Side discharge||Side discharge|
|Max Speed||10.0 mph forward
10.0 mph reverse
|8.0 mph forward
8.0 mph reverse
|10.0 mph forward
10.0 mph reverse
|Height Adjustment||Single lever (8 positions)||Single lever (7 positions)||Single lever (8 positions)|
|Height Settings||1-1/2- to 5-inch||1-1/2- to 4-1/2-inch||1-1/2- to 5-inch|
|Wheel Size||15×6-inch front
|Weight||1000 pounds||790 pounds||1100 pounds|
As you can see, the Stanley 54ZS is the biggest of the three zero turn mowers, with overall dimensions of 83.1 x 64.5 x 45.8 inches, but it also has the smallest cutting deck width of the three, at only 54 inches. The Swisher has a cutting deck that is 60 inches, and the Stanley 62ZS has a cutting deck that is 62 inches. The Stanley 62ZS has the biggest engine of the three, primarily so that it can supply enough power to drive the larger cutting blades. The Swisher has a Briggs & Stratton engine; this company is a leader in the industry, and consistently produces quality engines. All three zero turn mowers have hydrostatic transmissions, although the Swisher’s is made by Hydro Gear and the Stanleys’ are made by Peerless. The Swisher has one more blade than either of the Stanley zero turn mowers, which means that its blades will not be subject to as much wear and tear as those of the other two machines. The Swisher is a bit slower than either of the Stanley mowers, and its cutting deck height range is a bit shorter. The Stanley mowers have the biggest wheels, which should make them more maneuverable on rough terrain. Finally, Stanley offers a lifetime consumer warranty, while Swisher’s is only good for two years.
A zero turn mower offers a lot of advantages to its owner: it is more maneuverable than any other lawn mower you could find on the market; it has a wider cutting deck than other riding mowers are able to offer; and it has a more powerful engine than many other mowers do. There are a number of great features that make the Stanley 54ZS a good commercial grade zero turn mower, and these are what contribute to its star rating. But the Stanley 54ZS does not get a perfect rating because it also has some drawbacks to its design and manufacture as well. Because I think it is so important to have a full picture of both the areas where a lawn mower exceeds expectations as well as those where it falls short of expectations, I will revisit both the pros and the cons of the Stanley 54ZS before finishing this review. Let’s take a look.
- Powerful Kawasaki FR691 Series engine.
- 54 inch wide cutting deck for more efficiency.
- Great accessories and safety features.
- Manufactured from durable materials.
- Smooth drive and high top speed.
The Stanley 54ZS boasts a powerful engine made by a leader in the industry. The Kawasaki FR691 Series engine is 726 cubic centimeters and provides a full 24 horsepower to both the wheel drive and the cutting deck. It is designed to be durable and provide long lasting quality performance. The mower has a 54 inch wide cutting deck with dual blades manufactured from tough 7-gauge welded steel so they can deliver professional cuts and need less sharpening. The mower has great accessories and ergonomic design in the cockpit so that you will always be riding in comfort while you operate it. And it has solid safety features like a seat belt and roll bar to protect you in the event of collisions or rollovers. The cutting deck and frame of the mower are made from durable materials so that they will last longer. And the mower has a hydrostatic transmission that provides smooth transitions between speeds and directions as well as a top forward and reverse speed of 10 mph.
- You may experience difficulty steering the mower.
- Only one grass management option.
- The mower is considerably large for its deck size.
- The mower does not handle inclines very well.
- The mower requires a lot of maintenance to keep it running.
There are several areas where the Stanley 54ZS is less than perfect, though. The steering apparatus is difficult to get used to and may require you to adjust its cables more frequently than you would like to. The mower only comes with one grass management option – the basic side discharge – so if you want to mulch your clippings or collect them for later disposal, you are out of luck. The mower has big dimensions for its deck size, which can make it difficult to maneuver and hard to find a storage space for. It does not have the kind of design or power necessary to allow it to handle steep inclines without slowing down or losing performance. And finally (and perhaps most importantly) this mower needs a lot of maintenance to keep it running smoothly. If you are not the kind of person who likes to get under the hood and tinker with your machines, this might not be the right zero turn mower for you.
When you are the owner of a big property that has more than an acre or two of grass, you are going to need a big, high performance lawn mower to take care of it. One of the best options in this situation is the zero turn mower. These behemoths support the biggest cutting decks and have some of the most powerful engines and highest top speeds of any lawn mower on the market today. A commercial zero turn mower is also going to be made out of the kind of durable materials that allow you to tackle big, tough jobs for a long time to come. Best of all is the superior maneuverability these machines offer compared to other riding mowers. Because of their unique design and differential drive system, they can literally turn 360 degrees without stopping or slowing down.
The Stanley 54ZS is a commercial grade zero turn mower that is designed to handle big residential jobs without breaking a sweat. It has a quality engine manufactured by Kawasaki that provides 24 HP in just 726 cubic centimeters of space. It has a large 54 inch wide cutting deck with dual cutting blades made from durable 7-gauge welded steel. This cutting deck, along with its top forward speed of 10mph, allows you to cut an acre of grass in well under a half an hour. That means you can finish even big jobs quickly and be back to enjoying the rest of your weekend with your family.
While there are a few drawbacks associated with the Stanley 54ZS – namely, the fact that it needs a lot of maintenance to keep it working properly and the lack of extra grass clippings management options – if you are the kind of person who does not mind getting under the hood and tinkering with your machines, this might be the right zero turn mower for you.
The Stanley 54ZS zero turn mower falls on the higher end of the mid range of prices for zero turn mowers that are marketed to homeowners. While it is technically a commercial grade zero turn mower, and considerably more affordable than some of the most expensive commercial grade mowers, it is still somewhat pricey for the average homeowner. Still, in terms of the time it will save you over the long run with its massive cutting deck and top speed of 10 mph, as well as its superior maneuverability, this is a pretty good price for this mower. While I do encourage my readers to shop around and get the best possible price for their lawn mowers, I do think the Stanley 54ZS is competitively priced.