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John Deere Z530M Review

1772 Views 0 Replies 1 Participant Last post by  Bryan Ex
I have been a lurker here for years and wanted to thank all the folks that have posted what if's and how to's often with photos or video links. That being said I wanted to make the effort to pay back by finally registering and offering a review on the John Deere Z530M zero turn mower. John Deer has reworked some of their mower line up for 2021 and the Z530M replaces the former Z535M which means there is little info on the InterWebs for others looking to buy.

Some background info first. I live half way between Ottawa and Montreal Canada so my prices quoted are CDN$ for our American friends. I mow roughly three acres of "green space". I call it that because it's barely a lawn. It's just a bunch of green stuff that grows every week. Turf is mostly flat with a few mounds or dips no higher than mid-shin. I have about a dozen obstacles to mow around ranging from large to small trees, above ground pool, house, a big rock, etc. Turf is so rough I can only mow at half speed on the D170 because the mower deck bounces too much given there is no suspension. Hard on the linkage, hard on my back, and crappy cut. BTW... when I went into to Deere to buy they did not have a single lawn mower in stock. Two months delivery time.

For the past 9 years I have mowed with the D170, 26hp, 54" deck and been really happy with it. 365 hours on the clock. The advantage of a lawn tractor is that they are useful for so much more than just mowing the lawn. Current version of my old machine is the S180 for about $3800. All that being said I wanted to buy back some of my weekend time and started really researching zero turn mowers two years ago. I was ready to buy the Z535M spring 2020 but then the pandemic crap hit and I decided to hold off to see how things went. Glad I did! The brand new Z530M includes a ton of stuff not included with the old Z535M.

Differences between the old Z535 and Z530 include the following... B&S engine changed for Kawasaki, lower floor mats included, digital fuel gauge, seat taller, better padding, & glide function, roll bar protection, 60" deck now available as Accel rather than Edge. I read several messages here that stated the Kawasaki engine sounded better than the B&S and I have to agree. Not sure how best to describe it. Definitely quieter but it's like putting a very mild performance exhaust on your truck. Not a rumble but a certain different sound. Fuel economy is also much better than my old D170. I also read a bunch of threads stating the Accel deck was much better than the Edge. That I also agree with. Much quieter, better access for service, and I can mow at top speed. The linkage is wider spread which also helps big time for the deck bouncing.

Next model up is the Z530R which has some cool additions but not ones I was willing to pay an extra $900 for. The three big changes were the enhanced digital display, the electric throttle, and the lighting kit. It's a friggin lawn mower! Adding electronics is not big on my list for long term reliability. Other items added were a cover for the right side storage compartment, tow point on the back, extra floor matt on the 45 degree foot rest, added bumpers to the floor boards, and seat an extra inch higher. What I did was order the Z530M and then ordered the parts I wanted like the storage cover and floor matt to add on.

So... the big question. Does it make a difference changing to a zero turn??? YES! It used to take me 4 hours to cut the lawn on the D170 with 54" deck if things were growing strong. I have had the Z530M for a month now and while I still have a learning curve involved for tight maneuvering I can generally have the lawn cut in an hour and a half not counting trimming. That is less than half the time it used to take. Backing up into a specific spot is still an exercise in frustration though.

Z-Glide Suspension - I really want to add them but the casters for the Z530 are slightly different than the Z535M and not available. What I need to do next is dig through the John Deere parts numbers to see if something else matches up. I just can't see them developing a caster different than anything else they already use.