With the countless EGO Power tools we have reviewed on this site, the new EGO Z6 with E-STEER reaches a new zenith for DRN: it’s the most expensive product we have tested in our 20 years of publishing.
However, as always, we look at the Value-for-Money factor, not so much the initial investment but the cost of ownership as well.
And this is where the EGO Z6 really surprises.
The Z6 launched a couple of years ago with the traditional “rowing bars” of all zero turn mowers. No problems if you’re already used to steering these machines that way.
I found that a bit of a learning curve. It’s not as intuitive and easy as a normal steering wheel.
The “E-STEER” technology was introduced this year and opens up the highly manoeuvrable zero turn mowers to a whole new market.
Not just the retired folk on a lifestyle block with acres to mow but for everyone who found the “handlebars” too daunting to handle.
Have a look at the video at the end of this article to see how easy it is for a 16-year-old friend to mow with this Z6 after not even 2 minutes of instruction.
First, there is the cool F1 factor: look at that steering wheel with the flip paddles behind it (the ones with the big R on them).
No, it doesn’t stand for Racing even though the Z6 is no slouch on the grass, cutting at 5-11km/hr, or up to 13km/hr in travel mode.
The R stands for Reverse – flip one or both to reverse and flip both as part of the start-up sequence. Just like your drone.
Notice all the information is right in your line of sight. From the “Fuel“ Gauge in big numbers (you would have cottoned on that this is a battery powered machine, right?) to driving mode and speed as well as blade speeds and down to individual battery status.
On batteries, have a look at the battery compartment! Room for 6 humongous batteries.
This model comes with four 12Ah units and they cost almost $700 each…
I have added a 7.5AH and a 5AH battery from other EGO tools.
If you have already invested in the EGO ecosystem, you similarly might have a few smaller capacity batteries which you can insert in the spare slots. Any battery from EGO will fit in any of their tools. A great advantage.
Probably also under the COOL heading are the 32 LED lights that surround this machine. You’ve got the running lights and the high intensity headlights for when you’re running out of daylight, but you want to finish the job. When reversing, the lights at the back flash as an extra warning for others.
Having worked my 20+ years old ride-on mower to the bone, my weary bones are also crying out for some comfort. This EGO machine dishes that out in spades.
The seat is arguably the most comfortable on any mower: great padding, fully adjustable and you can dial in your suspension level. You also have armrests that can be flipped up and out of the way for getting on and off the mower.
If you have long, boring stretches of lawn to mow, cruise control might be great. One press on the dash and you can stretch your legs.
Naturally, you might want to listen to some music on your phone whilst cruising along and you can: this Ego is super quiet. Earmuffs not necessary but earbuds are great. Your phone has its own safe slot to slide in and the storage compartment on the other side of your seat has room for gloves, goggles and the like and has a USB-C charge point.
Well, after the glowing report on the creature comforts, does the Z6 cut it when it comes to its purpose?
Does it cut evenly and how does it handle even the tall grass?
EGO knows a thing or two about what makes a good cut and the series of push mowers, including self-propelled ones, (see our review here) they brought to market, bears that out.
The Z6 does a beautiful cut in any of the height settings, from 25 to 100mm. The 2 blades on this 42” deck (107cm) are driven by their own brushless electric motors. If the going gets tough they spool up like a turbo.
As mentioned before in many of my EGO reviews, our property has quite a few acres of undulating, rough paddocks. Roos help out a bit with keeping the green stuff down but they leave the weeds, bracken and other small bushes.
So what about cutting bracken and bushes?
No probs. Just don’t go crazy though.
I’ve seen some redneck reviews on YouTube where they literally thrash the machine around and show that it is capable of even pushing down small saplings!
I’m a bit more conservative as I realise that my place is a far cry from suburban landscapes already…
Apart from some overload mower cutouts because of very dense and high grass/weeds or hitting a big stick, this ZTR mower performed flawlessly.
I usually set the deck height lever at its highest setting to get through the rough stuff first.
If the Z6 can handle my property I have no qualms about recommending it for any of the lawns and turfs it was designed for.
I found this mower’s ability to negotiate our sandy hills also better than my old ride on mower. And safer too, thanks to its low centre of gravity.
When you’re all done you might blow off the dust and detritus off the mower but before you put it away, there’s one more ritual.
Highly recommended is to wash the underside of the deck.
That’s where accumulating clippings cling to the deck and over time could cause corrosion. (Note to Editor: for some reason I seem to be heavy on C words in this review…)
To make this chore a lot easier, EGO put a wash port on the deck. Clip on a garden hose and run the blades at full speed for a minute. Does an amazing job if you put the deck down to its lowest height.
Under this heading I cover mainly endurance as I continually see this pop up as a major concern in other reviews.
EGO states that you can “cut up to 2.5 acres* on a single charge” with the four included 56V 12.0Ah ARC Lithium batteries.
The * asterisk in that sentence refers to the following qualification:
“Cut up to is based on Z6 features set at standard drive mode, highest drive speed, lowest blade speed and 20% removal rate, output may vary dependent upon individual unique location and requirements.
What that means is that if you take it easy on the blades, take off just a few inches of your lawn and drive fast, it might do the 2.5 acres.
For some that seems like a limitation, which indeed you don’t have with a petrol ride-on.
It’s the typical EV conundrum: range anxiety, which is a real thing when driving your car on public roads.
In reality, most folks don’t have enough acreage to be worried about this.
What about getting stuck down in the paddock when the batteries are drained?
Fat chance for that because when the batteries get critically low, the Z6 goes into Limp-Home mode to get you back to your charging area. Even if that is up to 1000m away.
You get plenty of warnings: the blades stop, and beeps and red flashes from the dashboard will also get your attention.
Extra batteries will help to extend the endurance.
Frankly, after an hour or so of mowing some rough terrain, I can use a break, recharge my batteries and those in the mower.
The Z6 comes with a massive 1600W charger, capable of charging all batteries at the same time just like a Tesla. The charger can be hung on a wall, out of the way.
2.5 hours to fully charge all my 6 batteries (60Ah in total) from 6-100%.
In fact, the first 50% takes exactly 1 hour and waiting for the last 1 % is like watching grass grow…
Whilst charging, you can follow the progress on the dashboard or on the individual fuel gauges of the batteries.
We’ll have more to say about the supreme built quality of the Z6 later.
Suffice to say that all the mowers in the Z6 range carry a 5-year warranty and 3 years on the batteries.
The whole mower construction is weather resistant IPX4 rated, which means it’s not fussed with the occasional rain shower.
It is interesting to note that, even though the Z6 is purely a residential riding mower, many commercial operators are considering – and some already are using these in their daily work.
Together with the other EGO garden tools, many of which also have commercial models, these operators realise that quiet machines with no smell or smoke are much appreciated by their clients.
COST of OPERATING
This is what makes investing in a Z6 mower so interesting: the cost of operating and maintaining this battery powered machine is very inexpensive compared with petrol mowers.
Case in point: my old ride on mower has cost me many times its original purchase price in maintenance and repairs over twenty years. Plus the expense of petrol.
The Z6 is virtually maintenance free with careful use. And to recharge the batteries from 10 – 100 % is less than a dollar at current rates.
Granted, the investment of AUD10499 for this ZT4205E-S model, whilst reasonable, is not for everyone.
However, it is more than balanced out over the long run, particularly as many petrol mowers seem to also have long wait times for spare parts these days…
Whilst the Z6 comes with everything you need, there are a few extra options available as well.
For Aussies working under the blistering summer sun, a sunshade canopy would be great.
Also, a bagging option if you’d rather not mulch or just use the side discharge.
Other interesting accessories include a rear bumper, a large toolbox that sits behind the operator and a cover for the Z6.
There are few concerns, if any.
I might have a couple of small improvement suggestions for an already excellent product.
1. The PTO switch for blade engagement can also be switched on when the mower is stationary with the parking brake on.
This is to enable deck cleaning when using the wash port, but at other times it would be safer for bystanders or kids to have that disabled in parking mode.
People seem to be really attracted to big red knobs… So perhaps another safety switch for the cleaning operation?
2. I was looking at some sort of clamp to hold up the side discharge flap when parking the mower in my crowded shed. See this temporary solution.
This would also be good to prevent the flap from “noisily flapping” around when just driving (often with my little trailer) on bumpy terrain…
I could of course use an ocky strap or put the mulch plug in place but an EGO clamp that would fit in the storage compartment would be nice.
If we have been impressed by the built quality of EGO equipment before, we are in awe of the supreme attention to detail exhibited in the Z6.
As a relative newcomer to the riding mower market, EGO could not just present a similar product as the other brands but needed to exceed those in quality and innovation.
Innovation seems to be the name of the game for EGO. There are some amazing new products coming down the pipe in 2024 and DRN will be one of the first sites to inform you about them.
We don’t give our very highest commendation, the DRN PULSE AWARD, lightly to a product.
I have not handed out this Editor’s Choice accolade in over two years, but the EGO Z6 with E-STEER deserves it fully!
CARE for MORE INFO?
Check out this link to the EGO Product Page here.
And have a look at this short video of the Z6 in action.
PS My youngest son wanted to have a go on the Z6 and since he is the handsomest of us two, I’ll feature him in these clips.
And he’s also the composer of the soundtrack in this and most other vids on this site. Created when he was a young teen…