If you have a yard that’s bigger than half an acre, you probably know from experience that a walk-behind lawn mower won’t cut your grass well enough in the spring and summer. If you don’t want to spend several hours every weekend mowing your large yard, buying a riding lawn mower is a game-changer that can cut your grass-trimming time by a lot. Riding lawn mowers come in different types, and each one is made to fit a different need.
There are small mowers with a back-mounted engine for one-acre yards, lawn tractors for bigger yards, and zero-turn mowers for mowing large fields. But it’s important to know that riding lawn mowers are big investments in heavy gear, no matter what your needs are. If you buy something before you know what you need, you might be disappointed. Lucky for you, I’ve used these big yard tools a lot in my own life, so I can give you useful tips to help you find the best riding mower for your lawn’s specific needs.
Best Riding Lawn Mowers Comparison Table
Better maneuverability in confined locations, such as around trees and other obstacles, is enabled by a turning radius that is more condensed. If your yard contains a lot of obstacles, you should look for a mower that has a small turning radius.
Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro LT46
|Husqvarna Z254||John Deere S130||Ryobi Brushless 42-Inch Electric Zero Turn Riding Mower||Troy-Bilt Bronco 42|
|Engine Power||22 HP Kohler® V-Twin engine||26 HP Kohler 7000 Series engine||22 HP V-Twin engine||75 Ah Battery and Electric Motors|
|Cutting Width||46 inches||54 inches||42 inches||42 inches|
|Cutting Height||1-4 inches, 12 positions||1.5-4 inches, 6 positions||1-4 inches, 13 positions||1-4.5 inches, 12 positions|
|Deck Material||13-gauge steel||Reinforced stamped steel||12-gauge steel||Steel|
|Fuel Capacity||3 gallons||3.5 gallons||2.4 gallons||N/A (Battery-powered)|
|Latest Deal||Check Deal||Check Deal||Check Deal||Check Deal|
List of the Best Riding Lawn Mowers
Wearing clothes that is suitable for the activity, keeping one’s hands and feet away from moving parts, remaining aware of one’s surroundings, and adhering to the safety features and directions provided by the mower are all examples of safety measures. Mowers fueled by gasoline produce exhaust pollutants; therefore, those who are concerned about their impact on the environment should consider purchasing electric lawn mowers. In addition, ensure that your mower is well maintained to cut down on emissions.
Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro LT46
|Engine Power||22 HP Kohler® V-Twin engine|
|Cutting Width||46 inches|
|Cutting Height||1-4 inches, 12 positions|
|Deck Material||13-gauge steel|
|Fuel Capacity||3 gallons|
The Cub Cadet XT1 lawn tractor is equipped with all of the features that are important to us. It has a manageable turning radius of 16 inches, which allows you to easily drive around trees and landscaping beds without too much problem. It comes with a 46-inch deck, which is large enough to tackle expansive lawns (up to two acres), and it can handle lawns that are as large as they are expansive.
Because it has an engine that produces 23 horsepower, it has more than enough power to keep the blades spinning at a high speed. The hydrostatic gearbox makes it simple to make changes to the vehicle’s speed, and the push-button cruise control system enables you to relax your right foot while driving down longer straightaways.
- Powerful engine for efficient mowing.
- Wide cutting deck reduces mowing time.
- Hydrostatic transmission for smooth operation.
- Not ideal for very large lawns due to the 46-inch deck.
|Engine Power||26 HP Kohler 7000 Series engine|
|Cutting Width||54 inches|
|Cutting Height||1.5-4 inches, 6 positions|
|Deck Material||Reinforced stamped steel|
|Fuel Capacity||3.5 gallons|
The Husqvarna Z254 54-inch 26 HP hydraulic zero-turn riding lawn mower might be too much for some people to handle. It’s a huge lawn mower with a 26-horsepower Kohler engine that can cut 2.8 acres of grass per hour. Even though it has that much power, people say that it runs smoothly and quietly for a gas-powered mower. And the hydrostatic transmission is made to be easy to maintain. It has no hydraulic lines, so there aren’t many places where it could leak.
The 54-inch-long mower deck is made of stamped steel that has been strengthened. It has three blades, which cut down on the number of runs you need to make. The mower has 4 anti-scalping wheels that make it less likely that the mower blades will touch the ground and cut the grass too close to the ground.
- High-powered engine for fast and efficient mowing.
- Extra-wide 54-inch cutting deck.
- Zero-turn capability for exceptional maneuverability.
- May have a steeper learning curve for zero-turn novices.
John Deere S130
|Engine Power||22 HP V-Twin engine|
|Cutting Width||42 inches|
|Cutting Height||1-4 inches, 13 positions|
|Deck Material||12-gauge steel|
|Fuel Capacity||2.4 gallons|
Some people like the traditional way of turning with a round wheel on the steering column, so my pick for the best gas riding mower is a John Deere lawn tractor that has that kind of steering. The S130 has a 22-hp engine and a 42-inch cutting deck. It can go up to 5.5 mph forward and 3.2 mph backward. Like my pick for the best zero-turn, the S130 has a lot of add-ons, like a snow plow, snow blower, tire chains, and even a full cab shelter to keep you even safer from the weather.
The John Deere “Easy Change” 30-second oil change system is built into the S130. It is an all-in-one oil and oil filter canister that makes it easy to change the tractor’s oil quickly with “no hassles and no mess.” For a name-brand unit with these specs, the list price of $2,799 is a good deal. If you can find a seasonal deal, which is likely, the S130 is a great choice for almost anyone who wants a riding mower.
- Reliable and well-known brand.
- Adequate 22 HP engine for medium-sized lawns.
- Hydrostatic transmission for ease of use.
- May struggle with very large lawns.
Ryobi Brushless 42-Inch Electric Zero Turn Riding Mower
|Engine Power||75 Ah Battery and Electric Motors|
|Cutting Width||42 inches|
|Cutting Height||1-4.5 inches, 12 positions|
After three months of testing, the Ryobi Brushless 42-Inch Electric Zero Turn Riding Mower has moved into our top spot because of its steady performance, quiet operation, and ease of use. It used to be our Best Battery Zero-Turn pick. Even though it’s more expensive than some of the other types on this list, we think it’s worth it if you can afford it.
We first tried out this model on a half-acre piece of land in Iowa for a few weeks. Even though it was easy and quick to put the mower together and charge the batteries for the first time, our first test mower had an electrical problem that took several phone calls and a visit from a technician to figure out that it was broken. But we got a new mower right away. It was already put together and ready to go.
- Eco-friendly electric power.
- Zero-turn maneuverability for precise cuts.
- Quiet operation with no emissions.
- Multiple cutting height options.
- Limited run time on a single charge.
Troy-Bilt Bronco 42
|Engine Power||17.5 HP Briggs & Stratton engine|
|Cutting Width||42 inches|
|Cutting Height||1.5-4 inches, 5 positions|
|Deck Material||13-gauge steel|
|Fuel Capacity||1.36 gallons|
My choice for the best value riding mower is a type of riding mower that is made for gardens that are 2 acres or less. With a 19-hp Briggs & Stratton engine and a 42-inch cutting deck, you still have a lot of power. The Bronco 42 has a “Step-Thru” frame that makes it easy to get on and off. This makes it a great choice for people with different levels of physical ability. The automatic gearbox and foot pedal make it possible to drive the mower “like a car.”
With the rear hitch connected, you can still use all the attachments and pull-behind carts, spreaders, and sprayers. When you look at the Bronco 42’s specs and performance options and compare them to its list price of $2,199, which is close to the entry-level price for name-brand riding mowers (around $2,000), it’s easy to see why it’s the best deal.
- Affordable option for small to medium-sized lawns.
- Compact and easy to store.
- Multiple cutting height positions.
- Lower engine power may struggle with dense grass.
Key Features to Consider When Choosing a Riding Lawn Mower
There are a few key features and things to think about when choosing a moving lawn mower to make sure you get the right one for your needs. Here are the most important things to remember:
- Size and shape of the lawn: Think about your lawn’s size and type. If you have a big lawn, you may need a mower with a wider cutting deck, and if you live in a hilly area, you may need a mower with better traction.
- Size of Cutting Deck: The size of the cutting deck tells how much grass the mower can cut in one pass. Larger decks are good for bigger lawns, but they may be harder to move in small areas.
- Horsepower (HP): How well and how fast the mower cuts depends on how many horsepower the engine has. Choose an engine whose power is right for the size and type of grass on your lawn.
- Type of Transmission: There are different kinds of gears for riding mowers, such as manual (gear shift), automatic (hydrostatic), and continuously variable (CVT). Choose the one that fits your level of comfort and skill.
Safety Guidelines for Operating a Riding Lawn Mower
To avoid accidents and make sure you can mow your yard safely, you need to be careful and follow safety rules when using a riding lawn mower. Here are some important tips for using a moving lawn mower safely:
- Read the instructions: Read through the owner’s manual to learn the rules and directions from the manufacturer. Pay close attention to suggestions for safety.
- Check the Lawnmower: Before each use, look over the mower for harm, loose parts, or signs of wear that you can see. Make sure that all of the safety measures work.
- Dress for the occasion: Wear the right clothes, like long pants, shoes with closed toes and non-slip soles, and safety glasses or a face shield to protect yourself from falling objects.
- Look at the Area: Walk around the yard to look for obstacles, toys, rocks, or other things that the mower blades could throw. Take away any obstacles that could get in the way of the mower.
Questions and Answers
A riding lawn mower is a piece of lawn care equipment that lets you sit down and drive while you mow your yard. Compared to push mowers, it works faster and takes less time on bigger lawns. They come in many different shapes and sizes to meet different needs.
When choosing a riding mower, you should think about the size of your yard, the terrain, the power of the engine, the size of the cutting deck, the type of transmission, and your budget. You can use these things to help you choose a mower that fits your needs.
Zero-turn mowers are great for big, open lawns with many obstacles because they are so easy to move around. On the other hand, lawn tractors are more flexible and work better on bigger lawns with different terrain.