Most riding lawn mowers look like small tractors with a cutting deck that’s integrated underneath the mower. Their function is simple – cutting grass. Since they’re larger than your regular mower, however, they’re able to cut grass that’s from 70cm to over a meter. Riding lawn mowers are not only a great option for those that own a big property, but they’re also incredibly fun to ride. After all, there’s nothing more appealing than being able to zoom around the yard.
If you’re thinking of getting a riding lawn mower, you could be overwhelmed by the sheer variety of riding lawn mowers out there. To get you started, we’ll talk a little bit about what to look for when purchasing a riding lawn mower, before breaking down the details of 5 of the best riding lawn mowers there are on the market.
How to Choose a Riding Lawn Mower?
If you’re able to, you should test out your riding lawn mower before purchasing it. By testing out the riding lawn mower, you’ll have a better idea of whether or not the seat is cushioned sufficiently for comfort, if the controls are easy to use, and if the steering wheel and levers are at a comfortable height and angle for you.
While most individuals that are purchasing a riding lawn mower have larger lawns, it doesn’t mean that you can’t purchase a riding lawn mower if you’ve got a smaller lawn. If you’ve got a lawn that’s a little smaller, you can consider getting a zero-turn model. These have rear-mounted engines and rear-wheel brake steering that has a tighter turning circle.
Something else to consider is mulching options. They’re usually an option on many models and you want to make sure that it’s able to properly hold the clippings and chop them up finely before blowing them into the lawn.
Riding lawn mowers are heavy and typically weigh 150kg or more, so you want to make sure that you’re at the center of gravity. Even if you’ve got a lawn that has a slope that tilts greater than 10 degrees, it’s not advisable to mow sideways. Zero-turn models are generally better at handling slopes, but it’s still not advisable to do so.
In terms of driving, most individuals tend to purchase manual transmission options as they’re cheaper. Automatic or hydrostatic transmission models might be the better purchase if you’re looking to increase or decrease your speed without changing gears. Some of them even have cruise control for added convenience.
Types of Lawn Mowers
There are different ways to classify lawn mowers, but the two most common categories that a lot of people use to identify these products are ride-on and walk mowers. Each of them has a number of sub-categories, so here is what you need to know about them.
#1: Ride-on mowers
Riding mowers are just what they appear to be, mowers with seats that you can ride on. They are good for cutting large portions of grass, where walk mowers would require more effort on your behalf. There are different types of ride-on mowers:
- Lawn tractors are easy to recognize because of their larger size and front-mounted engines. These mowers have powerful engines that can have up to 25 horsepower. They are equipped with either one or two cylinders, which helps determine how powerful they are. The cheaper models have lever-operated gear transmissions, while more powerful ones are usually equipped with continuously variable transmission.
- Zero-turn mowers are considered to be the equivalent of today’s sports car. They are easier to maneuver compared to lawn tractors and they can make really sharp turns that makes cutting grass easier and more fun. They are great when you have plenty of obstacles to overcome and are efficient on lawns with irregular shape.
- Rear engine riding mowers are good for average-sized lawns. The engine is located on the back of the mower. This type of mower is operated with continuously variable transmission and single-cylinder engines.
#2: Walk mowers
Walk mowers require a little more effort to operate since you literally have to walk behind the mower and push it through the grass for it to do its job. Just as ride-on mowers, this category has a bunch of different sub-categories, as follows:
- Cylinder mowers are sometimes referred to as reel mowers and are characterized by cylindrical blades located in the front side of the machine. They operate by trapping grass and cutting it, pretty much as a large pair of scissors would do. They are indicated for soft grass but are most efficient on flat lawns and won’t perform that well on rough surfaces. They are also pretty inefficient on lawns with tall grass.
- Rotary mowers are the most popular category of walk mowers that you’ll find in various households all over the world. They are equipped with a single blade that rotates at high speed in horizontal motion. Rotary mowers have proven themselves efficient when trying to cut medium to tall grass, but their cuts are not as precise as those of a cylinder mower.
- Push mowers require more elbow grease because your pushing power controls the wheel action. They are the least expensive option of all, but they are often chosen because they are easy to handle and pretty lightweight. That makes them pretty easy to maneuver, but they do require putting in more effort. They offer people a good excuse to exercise, though.
- Self-propelled mowers use transmission power for the torque needed to move forward, so all you have to do is guide them in the right direction. They are a category of mowers that’s pretty easy to operate. They have consistent cuts thanks to their ability to operate at constant speeds.
- Mover mowers are a category that’s a little bit different compared to the others, as they sit a few inches above the ground, on an air cushion. They are super easy to maneuver and can move in any direction. That makes them pretty efficient around obstacles and they are pretty cheap as well. However, their lack of power makes them unsuitable for large yards.
How to Choose a Riding Lawn Mower
When you’re looking to buy a ride-on lawn mower, there are four main features that you need to pay attention to determine if the product you’re consider is actually worth the money:
- Horsepower is a term used to describe the output of an engine. This basically helps determine how powerful the engine is. Keep in mind that this engine power is distributed amongst several parts of the lawn mower, such as the cutting blades and the drive transmission. More horsepower translates into more power for the mower, which makes it easier for it to cut grass in difficult conditions or find its way up the hill.
- The cutting width of a lawn mower will determine the width of the grass patch that can be cut in a single pass. Ride-on mowers can be compact and cut patches of grass that are 30 inches in width, while larger models that cut grass as wide as 50 inches. Needless to say, the size of your yard is the most decisive factor when choosing mowers with a specific cutting width.
- The fuel capacity is actually a measurement of how much fuel the tank can hold. This, of course, depends on the size of the mower and its fuel consumption. The idea is that your mower should not run out of the fuel in the middle of the lawn cutting process. That makes mowers with small tanks suitable for smaller yards, and those with larger tanks more adequate for larger ones.
- The transmission of a lawn mower is what delivered power from the engine to the wheels. Ride-on mowers have one of three types of transmission: automatic, manual, or hydrostatic. Manual transmission mowers most likely have clutches and gears that need shifting, automatic models grant you control over the speed with the help of a gas pedal, and a hydrostatic transmission does pretty much the same thing.
Best Riding Lawn Mowers
The final riding lawn mower that we’ve got on the list is the Husqvarna riding lawn mower. It’s the perfect lawn mower to purchase if you’re looking for something that offers premium performance with quality results. Its compact size means that they require less space for storage, and they’re much easier to maneuver than a larger mower.
It also comes with numerous features from a Stratton Intek engine for powerful performance, foot pedal-operated hydrostatic transmission, fender-mounted cutting height adjustment, and an adjustable seat. Its 16-inch turning radius means that it’s good for smaller spaces and for navigating around obstacles. The mid-back seat is also supremely comfortable, and the mower also has an ergonomic steering wheel.
The 42-inch reinforced cutting deck of the riding lawn mower also comes with uniquely integrated air induction mowing technology that’ll make sure that you’ve got a clean and consistent cut of grass every time. You won’t regret purchasing this riding lawn mower that comes with plenty of features, it’s also rated highly and is a great mower that’ll get the job done.
This classic riding lawn mower has tried and true features with an easy to use design. While it may have that old-time classic look, it has modern features and mowing innovations which makes it a great addition to your home. The engine has long-lasting durability and is also rear mounted for a classic look.
It’s easy to start your mower as the controls aren’t difficult to operate, and the electric switch means that you’ve got a reliable start every single time. Other innovative features include the convenient 5-speed shift as well as the rolled edges of the mowing deck that helps in sucking up clippings for a clean cut.
You won’t have to worry about this riding lawn mower taking up space as it’s got a vertical stand-on edge capability that makes it perfect for saving space during storage. The adjustable mid-back seat means that you can adjust it to a level that suits you best. It’s also suited for lanes of all sizes, and those that have purchased it have given it rave reviews for its easy maneuverability, and ability to climb up small slopes.
This particular riding lawn mower comes with a 30-inch cutting deck along with the benefits of a standard riding lawn mower. You can easily store this riding lawn mower in a garage or shed, and it’s great for medium-sized landscapes along with even terrain. The mower is powered by a powerful engine and has a six-speed transmission for clean performance and durability.
There are also five adjustable settings on this riding lawn mower along with an 18-inch turning radius. You can easily check the fuel tank capacity through the fuel sight window, and the 5-height adjustable blade with manual power take-off makes blade engagement incredibly quick and swift. You’ve also able to raise your seat to mid-back and the steering wheel is a soft grip wheel for added comfort.
With this mower, you’ll be able to navigate easily around your yard due to its smaller cutting deck and compact size. You can also mow your lawn with ease due to the comfortable mid-back seat and won’t have any trouble maneuvering thanks for the 18-inch turning radius. Best of all, this riding lawn mower is made with high-quality materials to last for a considerable period of time.
This riding lawn mower has the perfect combination of both performance and style. It has a cutting-edge design along with innovative features that makes it a popular option among many. It’s 26 HP Kohler engine gives it a powerful reliable start-up, and it can go up to a maximum speed of 6.5 MPH.
Other features in the lawn mower include a park brake system that will automatically turn on or off when the steering levers are moved outward or inward. There’s also a specially integrated air induction mowing technology that draws air from the top and bottom to swiftly cut the grass and deliver a superior cut.
The lawn mower is also constructed with heavy flat-stock steel for ultimate durability, and clippings can be discharged, mulched or bagged. With an innovative and maintenance-free transmission, you can use this riding lawn mower year after year with no issues at all. It’s a zero-turn mower that’s incredibly easy to use and has lots of power and speed.
For a powerful and dependable riding lawn mower, this is the perfect addition to your home. It has a 30-inch cutting deck along with a Troy-Bilt engine for superior performance. The mower also comes with an 18-inch turning radius along with a 6-speed transmission which allows you to mow at your own pace.
Other features of this riding lawn mower include a clear fuel tank window that displays how much gas you have left as well as five adjustable height settings. The mower itself is also made with sturdy durable 14-gauge steel to last you for several years to come. It’s easy to use and due to its small stature, it’s able to save a considerable amount of garage and shed space.
On top of that, the engine of the mower also fires up responsively, and the padded mid-back seat means that you’ve got a comfortable saddle that feels fantastic even if you’re going at a higher speed. Performance-wise, the mower also performs pretty well or a smaller riding lawn mower. While it’s great for tight quarters, it’s not recommended to ride this up a hill.
How much does a riding lawn mower cost?
It depends on the exact category of lawn mowers that you’re looking to purchase. For example, a lawn tractor can cost anything between $1,000 and $3,000, while a zero-turn mower can cost between $1,000 and $6,000.
What are the best lawn tractor brands?
A lawn tractor is not a cheap expense, and before spending thousands of dollars on one of these pieces of equipment, you need to know what brands are worth it and which ones are less desirable. When it comes to lawn tractors, the brands that currently stand out the most (in a positive way) and Husqvarna, Cub Cadet, and Poulan.
How do I ride a lawn mower?
Ride-on lawn mowers are relatively easy to operate because they don’t require as much elbow grease as other types of mowers out there. Pretty much everything you have to do is climb into the driver’s seat and turn on the power switch or press the “start” button. A ride-on mower with automatic transmission doesn’t require shifting gears to change speeds.