The process of maintaining a lawn can be a daunting and tedious task and cause excessive fatigue especially when the gardens occupy a large area. Hence, keeping the yard in a beautiful and tidy manner proves difficult due to the amount of time required to cover all the regions. The good news is that there are excellent riding lawn mowers available today that aid in cutting the grass over extended sections of lawns in less time and with zero fatigue. For our reviews, we’ve conducted primary and secondary research to bring you the shortlist. We’ve factored in durability, speed, capacity, user-friendliness, price, and more to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
The 6 Best Riding Lawn Mowers For The Money
#1. Troy-Bilt 382cc 30-Inch Premium Neighborhood Riding Lawn Mower
Troy-Bilt riding lawn mower is an ideal machine for standard and medium-sized landscape. With a 30-inch cutting deck with adjustable settings, this lawn mower can be efficient on the relatively flat terrain. Easy and fast blade engagement is enabled to make mowing easy. It takes about an hour to assemble all the parts and make the necessary adjustments required. After a few changes and adding gas, this machine offers sheer power to cut even wild grass. With the 420cc engine generating about 15hp energy, peak efficiency, minimal emissions, and maximum fuel conservation are guaranteed.
Features and Specifications:
- The 30” cutting deck make the mower ideal for medium-sized lawns
- Easy to assemble and make adjustments since only an hour is required
- An advanced 382cc engine for minimal emissions and efficiency
- 18” turn radius for easy maneuver
- A maximum speed of 4.25 miles per hour
- Limited two years warranty
- Easy to mow with dimensions of 65x34x25 inches
- Bag, mulch, and side –discharge options
- A single lever that is easy to customize into five height settings
- Detachable deck and weather resistant overall construction
- Easy maneuverability
- Advanced safety features
- Compact design
- Easy to adjust steering wheel and seat
- Provides side-discharge, bag, and mulch options
- Ideal for use in small and medium-sized lawns
- Can be adjusted to five height positions
- Power-packed performance
- A design for medium gardens
- Plastic footrests
- Requires level ground
- The user is required to disengage cutting blades before reverse
#2. Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro Series Kohler Hydrostatic Gas Front-Engine Riding Mower
The answer to users seeking strength and comfort lies in this XTI Enduro series riding mower. With an 18HP engine, this riding lawn mower provides outstanding performance, and the hydrostatic transmission promotes smooth and straightforward operation. The 42-inch deck as well as the responsive steering system helps tackle obstacles. This machine is the best riding lawn mower due to the ease of maneuverability all around the lawns and barriers. Also, the automotive-style 16 inch turning radius provides smooth cutting. The E-coat corrosion defense system which combats wear and tear helps in keeping the mower in excellent condition.
Features and Specifications:
- 18 HP Kohler OHV engine for super performance
- 42″ deck and responsive steering system
- An adjustable seat for enhanced comfort
- Provides soft comfort grip steering wheel
- LED headlights for proper visibility in all the weather conditions
- Automotive-style 16″ turning radius
- Easy-fill 3 Gal. fuel tank
- Has smooth lever engaged PTO for a perfect cut
- It has a push button cruise control
- A quick connect deck wash system
- Optional multi-seasonal attachments like twin bagger, sunshade, and mulch kit
- 12 cutting height positions
- Cub Cadet elevated back seat and improved support
- It is easy to use
- Effective on uneven terrain
- Provides easy cutting and maneuverability
- Rubberized grip steering
- It resists wear and tear
- High-pressure water that cleans out debris and grass buildups
- 3-year limited warranty
- Offers a reliable and stable steering
- Requires some assembling
- Returnable period of 30 days only
- Multi-seasonal attachments are available separately
#3. Troy-Bilt TB42 42-inch 420cc Auto Drive Riding Lawn Tractor
If you are seeking a lawn mower that offers easy access and comfort, Troy-Bilt riding lawn tractor is the ultimate pick. The seven-speed transmission assures ease of use and even mowing on any terrain providing the best ride on lawn mower. Also, with five-position deck height adjustments, the user can meet all the lawn cutting needs and customize the mower according to the desired fit. The 42-inch deck and 13-gauge steel frame and easy access allow for enhanced performance. The design is suitable for large residential lawns, and this mower comes with a 2-year warranty to guarantee quality.
Features and Specifications:
- Provides 42” side discharge mowing deck
- Seven-speed shift transmission that offers ease of use and a boost in performance
- Weight-520 pounds
- 13 gauge steel frame to increase comfort and easy access
- Five position deck height adjustments to fit all cutting options of the lawns
- The rear wheel is 20×8-inch while front wheels 15×6-inch
- Has two anti-scalp and soft steering wheels
- Offers a Mid-back seat
- 420cc engine oil filter to increase durability
- A limited warranty of two years
- A maximum speed of 5.2 miles an hour
- Designed for large residential lawns
- Can be used on hilly and even terrain
- Increased ease of use associated with powerful engine
- Increased comfort
- Has multiple position deck adjustments
- Easy access on and off the tractor
- Offers ease of cleanup due to the deck wash system
- The user encounters a limit on the choice of color
#4. Husqvarna MZ61 61″ FAB Deck Z-Turn Mower 24hp V-Twin Kawasaki
Designed to take performance, comfort, and productivity to the next level with a Kawasaki engine, this mower offers a quiet, reliable, and smooth power. The commercial rated hydraulic system creates the ultimate mowing experience that is practical for the maintenance needs of your lawn. Additionally, the premium integrated zero-turn transmissions feature larger drive axles and charge-pumps to boost performance and maneuverability. The productivity attributed to this mower is 4.2 acres/hr. Due to viscous dampers and dual levers with a padded- grip, attaining a comfortable operator experience is easy. The durable blade spindles that have aluminum housings offer efficient heat dissipation.
Features and Specifications:
- The front tire size dimensions of 13×6.5-6 while rear size is 22×10-10
- Weight-770 lbs
- The maximum forward speed of 8.5 mph enables faster mowing of a large area over a short time
- It uses Hydrostatic transmission
- It has the maximum productivity of 4.2 acres /hr.
- Zero-turn steering system featuring charge-pumps and expansion tanks
- Kawasaki engine for smooth and reliable power
- 3-year home warranty and commercial warranty for one year
- Dual levers containing padded hand grips
- Rugged fabricated steel deck providing ease of collection and mulch
- Has durable blade spindle with aluminum housings
- Traveling connection
- Enhanced comfort and performance
- Increased productivity in an hour
- Zero-turn transmissions that support longer life
- Electrical systems and battery are within reach
- Easy to make adjustments
- Dual levers promote stress-free steering
- Kawasaki engine delivers smooth and reliable power
- Only a commercial warranty of one year
- Relatively expensive when compared to other mowers
#5. Yard Machines 420 cc 42-Inch Riding Lawn Tractor
Powered by a reliable 420 cc engine with a shift on the Go Drive System, this machine is another great choice when seeking to combat all the obstacles in lawn care. The 7-speed gear shift lessens the effort of maintaining beautiful lawns. With a 42-inch blade, this equipment cuts an extensive area regardless of the terrain. This mower is suitable for mowing lawns or any area with grass or hilly regions. When looking for the best riding lawn mower for hills, this machine is perfect. Furthermore, mid-back seat boosts the ease and comfort when using this machine.
Features and Specifications:
- Strong 420 cc engine with on-the-go drive system to enable ease on small ridges and hills
- 42” cutting deck for large cutting capacity
- Comfortable mid-back seat to ease mowing on large yards and lawns
- Two years limited warranty
- 7-speed gear shift to enhance power and mower uneven, hilly terrain
- Rear and front wheels facilitate smooth movement and stability for safety
- Designed to reduce the fatigue incurred in lawn jobs
- Supports bagging band mulching to improve the lawn appearance
- Ideal for large yards due to the powerful engine
- Easy to use
- Lessens the fatigue when mowing large yards
- Suitable for riding on small hills and ridges
- Relaxed and comfortable mid-back seat
- Performs bagging and mulching function efficiently
- Has a large cutting deck thus cuts a wide area
- Best for use on large, hilly, and uneven lawns
- An hour is required to assemble the machine before using it
#6. Poulan Pro P46ZX Briggs V-Twin Pro 22 Zero Turn Radius Riding Mower
When it comes to advanced performance, durability, and comfort, Poulan Pro riding mower is guaranteed to fulfill and surpass the expectations of the buyer. This riding mower comes with a covered deck, ten-year warranty, and an electric clutch. This machine cuts the estimated mowing time in half due to the superior features that improve the level of maneuverability. By using the 46-inch mower, the direction can be changed with ease, resulting in increased speed when mowing lawns. Moreover, since the engine runs for a shorter period, this mower lasts longer.
Features and Specifications
- Comfortable high back seat
- Dimensions of 78×61.5×35.5 inches
- A three-year limited homeowner warranty
- Powered by 22 HP Briggs and Stratton engine
- An adjustable cutting height to 4”
- Fuel capacity of 3.5 gallons eliminating the need to keep on refilling the machine
- Powerful EZR cutting up to 2.4 acres per hour
- Weight-750 pounds
- 46” deck with two blades hence improving performance
- It has a digital hour meter
- A maximum speed of 6 mph which saves time
- A drive system with a dual hydro-gear EZT is present
- Has dual wheel hydro transmission
- Provides shorter mowing time
- Increases ease of maneuverability
- Improved durability
- Easy control just by moving the arms backward and forward
- Tackles the obstacles easily
- Trimming in the yard is reduced due to the ability to get close to the objects
- Suitable for large areas
- Intended for homeowner use rather than for commercial purposes
- Time is required to assemble the equipment properly
Types of Riding Lawn Mowers
- Riding Mowers
Riding mowers come with a single blade of 26” to 32” placed in the middle and rear engines. The cost ranges from $700 to $1200 and the mowers can bag, mulch and pull carts. The riding mowers replaced push mowers to mow areas of the same size but more comfortably and faster. When used on rough and hilly areas, the bearings will wear down faster, but it can fit as the best riding lawn mower under 1500$.
- Light Garden tractors
These mowers resemble the garden tractors due to the large 22” or more rear tires and wheels. The only difference is that light garden tractors lacks the sturdy frame and a few qualities found in the garden tractors. Additionally, these tractors are not suitable for use to tackle heavy duty work. The rear wheels are essential for getting the large 54” decks higher form the ground.
- Lawn Tractors
Equipped with larger wheels and wheelbases, this tractor can bag or mulch, pull equipment like yard carts, spike aerators or lawn stripping rollers and dethatchers. The deck size ranges from 42” dual blades to 54” triple blades and the engines range from one cylinder with an output of close to 15 HP to 2 cylinders which deliver up to 24 HP. The cheapest costs at $1,100 up to $2,000 while the models up the ladder sell at $2,000 and $2,800.The factors affecting the prices attribute to stronger engines, larger decks, better tires and smaller turning radius.
- Zero-turn Mowers
The zero turn mowers have rear wheels and engines that move in an autonomous system which is made possible due to the dual hydrostatic transmissions. Transmission of power is through the pumps that facilitate the driving function of the hydraulic motors. Therefore, changing from full speed forward to full speed reverse is faster. Also, the zero-turn mowers can turn around in their footprint hence no mowing is needed in elaborate patterns as seen in the tractors. This type of mower is of good quality.
Attaching the bagging kits can affect the balance of zero-turns and lead to a massive rear and prone to causing wheelies while going uphill. However, though this model is considered the best riding lawn mower, the cheaper models are tricky to handle and can tip over accidentally when the inner rear wheel is moving on the spot.
- Garden tractors
The engines in this type of tractors are 24 to 26 HP and the only differences experienced arise from stronger transmissions and frames. This type of mower has a design for ground-engaging tasks including grading or plowing and tilling. The deck sizes range between 48” to 54” and handles rougher terrain than the yard, lawn or other tractors. The prices often range from $2,800 to $4,500.
How to Choose the Best Riding Mower
The following are factors to consider when buying the best riding mower:
The prices of different types of mowers differ due to the variability in the features. Consider checking the price since the less expensive mowers might lack the efficiency and quality performance desired. Additionally, it is advisable to purchase the best riding lawn mower for the money since the more expensive a mower is might reflect how powerful the engine is and the time it takes to cut the grass. The more expensive a mower is, the more options available.
- Cutting Methods
The buyer should check whether the model facilitates mulching and collecting capabilities or only the side discharge is functional. Bagging or collection offers tidy results and eliminates the need to rake clippings after mowing. The side discharge is suitable for coarser, taller, and wilder grass types while mulching is ideal if you cut the grass a lot often. Therefore, it is crucial to choose the model that has the desired method of cutting. A lot of models offer 1.5-4″ cutting height and only 4-6 settings to choose from which might act as a restrictive factor to some users. The good news is, the pricier models give more options since there are enough settings.
- Deck size
This factor translates to the area that a mower can cover in a certain time frame. Hence, to speed up the mowing process, the user should look for a mower that takes less time to mow a large surface. The deck widths range from 30” to 54” so customers can choose the best-suited deck size for the yard.
When the yard presents tight spots and passages, the objects might act as obstacles during the mowing process. The efficient riding lawn mower for such a surface should be small. The turning radius determines the maneuverability offered by the mower. Since the turning radius is in inches, the lower the turning radius is, the more the machine can maneuver easily.
To have a glimpse of how reliable the mower is, the buyer should check on the warranty offered. It is essential to confirm with the seller before purchasing the mower. Also, various brands manufacture mowers in different specifications and qualities that lead to different performance and results. Moreover, brands that have been in the industry for a long time deliver quality and better equipment.
A riding lawn mower that has hydrostatic transmission is easier to use than a lawn tractor using a manual transmission. When using the manual tractor, you are required to stop when changing the gears to avert the occurrence of accidents.
- Mowing conditions
When the lawn is a bit challenging and not flat, the user should consider the terrain before making a purchase. If the yard is steep, consider purchasing a machine that has a low center of gravity and a reliable engine. If the grass grows unevenly, you can experience a comfortable ride on the lawn mower if you buy the best mower for such stringent conditions.
Riding Lawn Mower Safety Tips
The hazards associated with riding lawn mowers are many. To avoid the occurrence of accidents, the following tips can be used before, during, and after using the mower to minimize the presence of hazards.
- The area to be mowed should be free of rocks, toys, and wire which can be thrown by the blade.
- The user should stop the edges when crossing graveled areas.
- When making a turn, the user should slow down to prevent the mower from tipping over.
- It is crucial to ensure the machine is not left unattended while running in the yard.
- Understanding the essential components of the mower is critical, and the user should read the operation manual before starting the machine.
- Know how to stop the mower engine quickly in case of an emergency.
- To reduce the chance of causing accidents or hurting the bystanders, stop the mower when someone enters the area.
- Check to confirm the mower operator-presence control system is functional since it helps in shutting off the blades in case the operator dismounts the machine.
- Ensure the blade drive belt is free of debris and is at the proper tension.
- Putting on the correct attire for the job is advised which includes long pants, close-fitting clothes, and safety boots. Heavy work gloves should be worn correctly to protect the hands when handling the blades and items that might be sharp or have metal burrs on the edges.
- Before mowing the area, clear the area of people and pets and especially children who are more prone to danger.
- When operating on a slope, do not mow uphill if the grade is greater than 10 degrees.
- It is also advisable to avoid mowing wet grass as the tires may lose traction.
- Extra care is essential when using a grass catcher as the stability of the machine can be affected.
- It is fatal to attempt stabilizing the mower by putting the foot on the ground.
- All the movements when mowing a slope should be slow and gradual. Sudden changes in speed and direction should be few or none as they can cause the machine to roll over.
- When mowing on a slope using low ground speed to prevent having to shift or stop while on the hill.
- Users should be on the lookout for holes, rocks, and hidden objects that might be obscured by tall grass.
- Avoid turning on a slope and if you lose traction, disengage the blades. Move at a slow pace on a steep area.
- It is best to avoid mowing close to drop-offs and ditches since the mower can suddenly roll over when the wheels move to the edge.
- To hinder the occurrence of accidents, never mow down a slope higher than 15 degrees.
- Always avoid mowing across any hill to prevent tip-overs, and the best direction to mow is up and down to reduce accidents.
FAQs About Riding Lawn Mowers
- Is the reverse gear available in riding lawn mowers?
Riding lawn mowers have a reverse gear. When the riding lawn mower is in reverse, the blades disengage, but an override is present on the ignition key which allows the user to mow in reverse when necessary.
- After buying the mower, is it delivered fully assembled and ready to use?
Some of the mowers require a short period of an hour to assemble the machine. The seat and steering wheel and small parts need fixing while the battery cables need connection. The assembly process is quite easy to carry out.
- How can I shift gears on the go and how does it operate?
The clutch function allows the user to move while changing speeds.
- How is the riding lawn mower delivered?
A truck carries the machine on a pallet close to the driveway.
- How do I start the riding lawn mower?
Starting the machine is easy and fast since riding mowers are key-start mowers. It is not likely to encounter any problem when starting the mower, and first-time users can carry out the function on their own, even on a new machine.
- What is zero-turn?
Zero–turn is the zero degree-turn radius which means that the zero turn mower can turn within its footprint.
- Is it a challenge to learn to drive a zero-turn mower?
Steering a zero-turn mower is easy since it only requires pushing the handles forward for the forward motion and pulling back to reverse.
- Is it safe to use zero-turn mowers on slopes?
Operating a zero-turn on a slope over 10 degrees is not recommended because the zero turn mower steers by traction of the rear wheels and a loss of traction could prevent the ability to stop leading to accidents and damage to the lawns.
Medium to large sized properties might present a daunting task when maintaining the lawns using an ordinary lawn mower. Hence, purchasing a riding lawn mower is essential to lessen the time taken in cutting the grass. Considering the views above on the best riding lawn mowers, it is clear that when purchasing the mower, considering the terrain of the yard is vital since the mowing conditions determine maneuverability. Also, the price of the mower determines how powerful the engine. Finally, the top speed and deck size translate to the area that the riding lawn mower can cover in a short time.