Ariens Apex vs Gravely ZT HD: What’s Right For You?

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The Ariens Apex and Gravely ZT HD are high-end residential zero-turn mowers both owned by the Ariens company. If they are manufactured to deliver the same pleasing results, how then do they differ, and which brand is superior? 

Both the contending zero-turn mowers are built to deliver commercial results, but without commercial comfort for the professional user. This is because a typical residential yard tender wouldn’t mow almost every day as professionals do, hence they wouldn’t require to spend long hours in the machine. With the intent out and clear, a residential-commercial hybrid mower was produced; the Ariens Apex and Gravely ZT HD.

If you’re assessing either of the mowers, chances are you need a tangible push of power for your rather large acreage, perhaps a way to make the workload less tiresome and task more effective– whatever the case may be, this article has you covered. 

I will be discussing the differences between the two mowers to decide which one of them is simply the best at what they do, and also to figure out which of the zero-turn mowers will suit your type of lawn. 

differences and similarities between gravely zt hd and ariens apex zero turn mower

The Ariens Apex Will Lay a Prettier Cut

The Ariens Apex is built with a 5.5-inch 10-gauge fabricated steel deck and they cut quite satisfyingly. The decks are pretty similar to the Gravely decks, but a slight difference here and there – mostly in the engineering – throws it up a notch on the scale. 

On plain and rather unproblematic lawns where you don’t find angry bushes, they cut very well– no stragglers, turf tearing, or all of that sort. You’d grow more confident on the Ariens Apex with each time you mow, especially if you consider going tenderly professional with the machine. I warn again; running fully professional is going to show on you, and not in a pleasant way. 

Now about the Gravely ZT HD; good cutting quality, ideal for tough strangling bushes thanks to the fully fabricated 10-gauge steel deck. It’s quite similar to the Ariens Apex, but with a difference on how they’re engineered. They do much better leveling and mulching harsh fields, although they don’t quite fare as good as the Ariens on a smooth carpet of grass. If you’re not an expert in mowing, you’d find stragglers on odd occasions and they can be quite annoying.

The Gravely Sits Lower To The Ground Making It The Better Choice For Slopes

Slopes and zero-turn mowers will remain adversaries for as long as the risk of tipping over remains in the game. So if you have hilly wavy terrain, the Gravely ZT HD is a much better choice in comparison to the Ariens Apex. The Gravely is equipped with the automotive-style tubular steel frame with reinforced casters providing the machine with a well-admired sense of rigidity and stamina. The tires of the machine measure a good 20 by 10 inches at the rear, and 13 by 5 inches at the front. They might not be the best traction-loving sized tires, but they sure provide enough traction for the pay. 

Tippity Tip: Instead of pumping the tires to the brim, regulate the pressure to adequately 15psi at the rear. This increases the surface of the tires for traction and reduces the jumpiness of the machine, which will heighten your safety to a reasonable percentage when you go against slopes. Else it’s going to feel like running on two giant solid donuts. 

For the Ariens Apex, the machine’s fully tubular steel frame does give you a lot of support and stamina, but they simply don’t ride as well on hills as the Gravely ZT HD. The rear tires are also 22 by 10 inches, so you might think the same traction is provided. However, tire traction isn’t the only aspect of a slope-defeating machine. This is why the automotive-style tubular frame puts the Gravely up the chart by a great deal on the art of handling slopes. 

You Have a Barrage Of Varieties With The Gravely ZT HD On Deck Sizes 

Starting with the deck sizes on the Gravely, you have 44, 48, 54, and 60 inches to choose from. The larger your acreage, the bigger your deck size should be. For 2 to 3 acres of grass, go for the 44 to 54 inches, and for 3 acres upward go for the 60-inch deck for much faster results. The 60-inch decks will give you a much cleaner nicer cut too; this is because of the velocity and airflow of the wider deck. Clippings get properly cut and mulched with these large decks. If you have enough storage and extra cash, you should consider the 60-inch decks– go big, go bold!

On the Ariens Apex, you’d find the 48, 54, and 60 inches of the deck only. Lesser options have nothing to do with performance– they’re just as reputable as the gravely. They cut well and lay nice beautiful stripes on the lawn. If you don’t dive into thick bush scenarios, I strongly suggest the Ariens Apex mower.

Even More Varieties of Engines With The Gravely

With Gravely zero-turns, you have the luxury of drifting through an assortment of engines that suit your preference; you have 21.5 to 26 horsepower in Kawasaki to Kohler engines. The smaller the deck, the smaller the engine. Just enough to equip the machines with a suitable engine to run a particular deck size. Although, you can choose the type of motor or horsepower you prefer.  After all, your demands set the rules. 

The Ariens Apex has a more limited range of engines; they have only 23 and 24-horsepower Kawasaki motors on the machines. If you’re a fan of Kohler engines, I’m pretty sure you could request that. Though it would be much easier to make special requests for the Gravely’s since they are only sold via a dealer, unlike the Ariens that target heavy chain markets. 

The Transmission System Is Very Much The Same

ZT-3100 hydro gear transmission is the mystery behind the speed and maneuverability of both mowers. They run at a speed of 8 miles per hour which is quite impressive. The levers are angled at quite a thoughtful position with the left lever about an inch wider than the right. That fixes the problem of pushing the levers all ahead only to have your machine make irregular movements because of the poorly leveled position of the levers. You can steer either of the machines like breeze thanks to the effective transmission system.  

The Seats On Both Mowers Are Quite Comfortable and Uncompetitive

Marvelous suspension systems are noted on both Ariens and Gravely high-grade residential mowers. All the jerks and shocks? You don’t feel them much. I say much because unless you stay all day on the mower professionally using them, then they start to get a little uncomfortable. Otherwise, the seats are properly padded, come with armrests, and are quite durable enough to tackle bumps and knick-knacks. You’ll definitely have a good time.

The Height Adjustment Systems of Both Machines Are Identical

The pin and foot pedal systems are highly associated with commercial ZTR mowers. Thankfully, since the mowers are featured to be a fraction on the commercial side, they come with the long-lasting pin-pedal duo– quite easy to adjust now and then. The cutting heights range from 1 – 5 inches for both mowers, which is practical enough for addressing way too high grass. 

Accessories and Affixes 

The Gravely and Ariens can be used for other functions aside from mowing; you have bagging and mulching kits, light kits, towing hitches, and lots more. Swapping seats and attaching a ROPS bar is very much doable for the extra bucks. 

You Get Commercial Warranty On Either The Ariens Apex or Gravely ZT HD

The pledge of repairs and replacement on both the Gravely ZT HD and Ariens Apex is 4 years or 500 hours on both parts and labor. So you have enough backup to flex the machines as you want before you get a complete hang of it. 

The Price Tags

The cost of purchase for the Ariens Apex mowers starts at $5,700 to $5,900 depending on preferences in engine horsepower and size of the deck. 

The Gravely ZT HD starts at $5,800 and ends at around $6,300 depending on the engine and deck combination, and also your dealer. 

The Gravely mowers are more expensive because unlike the Ariens, they do not make chain market sales. They are sold via dealers and offer a much better one-on-one experience in comparison.

Also, the variety of combinations on the Gravely does pad up the price a little– which is very much worth it if you ask me. You can’t make the whole crowd happy, but they get happier when faced with enough options. 

Are Ariens Apex Better Than The Gravely ZT HD Mowers?

ariens apex vs gravely zt hd

This is quite a tough question to answer; I can’t quite say one surpasses the other completely because both have a few differences that could influence your answer. If you have bumpy slope-filled terrain, the Gravely will be the better zero-turn mower. If you go into professional mowing now and then or you are heavy on finishing touches and appearance, the Ariens Apex is a much better option for you. 

A Befitting Conclusion

Both riding mowers offer an exceptional amount of quality; they last long and serve their usefulness to high extents. If you are pondering on which mower to purchase between the two, the first thing to do is consider your lawn’s features before making the choice. Tough aggressive grass will require more power and slopes will require better stamina, all of which you can find on the Gravely ZT HD. 

The Ariens on the other side will cut better and nicer for you, in case you’re into professional mowing. Overall, both mowers will do a typically good job– I guarantee you that.