Which of the John Deere Z345M and Z345R Should You Buy?

Both the John Deere Z345M and the John Deere Z345R are simple, easy-to-use zero-turn mowers designed for homeowners who want to mow their lawns more efficiently. The entry-level John Deere residential z-turns are great if you’re looking to upgrade from a walk-behind mower but have limited space in your shed for a larger ZTR.

These two models are so similar to one another that I can’t help but wonder why the designers didn’t just combine them. The Z345M and R are the same thing, but there are some subtle differences that I’ll go through in this piece.

I’ll compare and contrast the two Z345 models so you can make an informed purchase decision. So, let’s dive in!

Z345M vs Z345R

Consecutive Imitations: Z345M and Z345R

The Specifications of the Engines

The strength of zero-turn mower engines is its primary selling point. No of the specific model, a ZTR’s engine capacity must be adequate for it to carry out even the most fundamental tasks. The heart of the Z345 M&R is a 16.4kw Briggs & Stratton engine. (Later models in the series, such as the high-end residential models, use Kawasaki or Kohler engines; however, the base units do not.)

The Z345M and Z345R have a combined 22 horsepower, which is more than enough to race over your fields in ideal conditions. One and a half to two acres of pretty rough grass is a good illustration of what these models can manage. Remember that the Z345M and Z345R are still basic residential mowers, and that using either model for commercial mowing will significantly reduce their expected lifespan.

The Network of Power Plants

The zero-turn mower’s gearbox technology ensures effortless turning and control. The Z345M and Z345R have the hydrostatic Hydro-Gear EZT transmission to thank for the silky smoothness of their steering. Although I agree that the steering isn’t the smoothest available (this improves as you advance up the line of models), it is more than adequate for the job at hand; there is no jerking or streaky movement as you move from one part of your yard to another.

Types of Decks, Quality of Cuts, and Grass-Cutting Heights

The John Deere Z345M and Z345R are unusual in that both models come standard with the identical deck design; they both feature extremely deep double-blade stamped decks with an integrated wash port. The decks are straightforward and uncomplicated to care for, and their compact dimensions make it simple to trim even the most inaccessible of corners, which is very helpful if you need to mow close to your garden or a stand of trees.

Under ideal conditions, such as when the grass is adequately moist and between 15 and 20 centimeters in height, the Z345 M & R produces a high-quality cut; however, if your lawn is overgrown and the grass is more than a meter long and aggressive, you risk damaging the machine’s blades, engine, or transmission.

And while there is a mulching kit available, I wouldn’t exactly call the decks’ performance excellent. Bagging is a reasonable exchange as well; you could bag enough to satisfy your needs, but the clippings would be a nuisance.

The cutting height on both models can be modified with a pin system from 1 to 4 inches in 1/4-inch steps.

Utilitarian and cozy design

Having a pleasant experience is crucial while working with z-turns. After you’ve checked the mower’s cutting ability and efficiency, the next significant thing is to pray your back holds up under the strain of mowing.

Both the Z345M and the Z345R feature standard, tool-free movable chairs with armrests. Two sturdy metal springs mounted beneath the saddles provide the suspension, which does a great job of absorbing the stress of going over rough terrain. Having a tender back, I wouldn’t say they perform a great job, but it’s better than nothing.

If you’re on the bulkier side, you may find that the seats are excessively tight and make it difficult to reach the steering wheel and pedals when reversing the vehicle. The armrests are an advantage, allowing you to rest your weary arms for a moment as you battle with the controls.

I recommend a suspension seat for the Z234M or Z234R if your lawn is uneven or if you just want more legroom. That could prevent you from having to upgrade to a more expensive and roomier model.
In order to help you determine which saddle is ideal for you, I have produced a full article about suspension seats.

Grip And Stability

The Z345M & R have excellent traction and longevity, which has made me extremely happy. Both models have a low center of gravity and an overall design that sits close to the ground, so you won’t be swaying side to side as you climb. Moreover, the vehicles’ excellent propulsion allows them to scale steep inclines and coast downhill without a hitch.

Both mowers have tires with front and rear measurements of 11 by 4.0-5 and 18 by 8.5-8, respectively, providing sufficient grip for use on slopes and hills despite the compact design of the machines. When mowing on hills, it’s best to mow up and down the slope rather than from side to side, as this will involve less slanting and tilting, reducing the risk of injury.

One more thing that may be done to improve traction with a zero-turn model is to play around with the tire pressure.


There is a 2-year/120-hour warranty on all parts and labor for the Z345M and Z345R.

Z345M vs Z345R

Modest, Hardly Discernible Variations

You have seen how similar the zero-turn vehicles are that are being discussed. The minor differences between the two models are so minute that it is easy to mistake one for the other. Simply buying the Z345R’s basic features and installing them on the Z345M would make the two models seem identical. I’ll explain in more detail:

Typical Doormat

The Z345M does not include a floor mat as standard equipment while the Z345R does. The mat is a luxury addition that improves your grip and cushions your feet from the deck’s annoying vibrations as it jolts through the grass. The mats may appear unnecessary at first, but after trying them on, you won’t be able to live without them. You can have the mat professionally placed on your Z345M for an additional fee if it is your preferred mower model.

Superior, Ergonomically Optimized Steering Controls

In compared to the Z345M, the Z345R’s steering levers are the premium version and are significantly more user-friendly, with more hand-intuitive curves, lengths, and padding that make it easy to hold and navigate through your lawn. The Z345M comes with the same basic levers as the Z335E John Deer tractor.

Pedal for Raising Decks

The Z345R comes equipped with a deck-lift foot pedal, whereas the Z345M offers it as an extra cost. Adjusting the cutting height is made easier by using the pedal, which takes some of the load off of your arm and the lever. This is by far the most noticeable distinction between the two types, since it is not only more efficient for simplicity of use but also helps you if you have trouble leaning over to pull on the deck height lever. If you’d rather have the Z345M instead, you can have it fitted at your dealer’s for a fee.

The Language of Costs and Transactions

It’s hardly surprising that the Z345R is more expensive due to the additional bells and whistles it offers. Depending on the dealer, the Z345R can be had for $3,600, while the Z345M can be had for $3,500. Simply charge $100 more if you go above and above.

Is It Better to Get a Z345M or a R?

I think the Z345R is worth the extra money and gets my vote because of all the added features it has to offer. Both models are nearly interchangeable, however the R has more standard features and is worth the extra cost.

Is There Anything Else You Can Do?

A step up the scale may be in order if you find that the Z345M or Z345R are not as appealing as you had hoped. You probably want to mow aggressively over rough grass, and if the models you’ve looked at don’t seem like the best contenders for the job, you should consider upgrading to a John Deere Z500.

It’s a huge step toward more advanced, daring capabilities that will solve all your issues simultaneously. The price tag is a bit steep at $5,500 and up, but at least you’d make a profit when you sold it. You can examine the benefits of the Z530M and the Z530R by comparing them here. Also, if you’re on a tighter budget, you can acquire a fantastic Cub Cadet zero-turn for under $4,000.

Closing Remarks

Because residential lawns often require less frequent mowing than commercial lawns do, smaller averages, and friendlier grass, John Deere’s Z345M and R models were developed with the novice home lawn tender in mind. They weren’t made to take a beating or be used constantly, so don’t expect them to. To sum up, if you fall into the specified categories, you will have a fantastic mowing experience with any model you choose. No other tractor is as efficient as a Deere, after all. Have fun!