Cub Cadet Riding Mower Won’t Start! How to Fix. Cadet riding lawn mower

Cub Cadet Riding Mower Won’t Start! How to Fix?

Riding lawn mowers made by the well-known manufacturer Cub Cadet are well-liked for their endurance and durability. For the Cub Cadet mower owners, the most annoying problem is when their mower won’t start.

The most typical causes are dead battery, clogged air filter, bad spark plug, and faulty safety switch and ignition problems.

A damaged or worn spark plug can make it difficult to start the engine and reduce its efficiency.In this article, the most typical causes of the Cub Cadet riding mower not starting will be discussed along with fixes.

Why Does the Cub Cadet Riding Mower Won’t Start?

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cadet, riding, mower, start

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The Cub Cadet riding lawn mower won’t start for a number of different reasons. There are a few reasons that might be the cause of the mower not starting.

The main reason is the battery not having enough charge and loose connections. The connections may also be loose and unclean.

This problem can also be caused by a dead battery, which might occur if the battery is old or hasn’t been recharged adequately. A blocked fuel filter is an additional option since it might stop fuel from getting to the engine.

Stale or tainted gasoline as well as a defective spark plug might prevent the Cub Cadet riding mower from starting.

The starter solenoid engages the starter motor to crank the engine, and if it’s broken, that won’t let the engine start.

Reasons of Cub Cadet Riding Mower Won’t Start (Easy Fixes Included)

Here are several signs that your Cub Cadet riding lawn mower won’t start and how to fix them.

Damaged Battery

The mower’s electrical system depends on its battery to operate; without a functional one, the engine won’t start and the mower won’t run. The battery won’t supply the necessary power to start the engine if it is weak or dead.

The mower’s battery may eventually run out of power, especially if it hasn’t been used for a while. Old age, lack of usage, or leaving the headlights on for a lengthy amount of time can all also cause the battery to get drained.

The Fix

Try using a battery charger to recharge the battery if it is weak but still functional. If the battery has fully run out of energy or isn’t holding a charge, you might need to replace it.

Examine the battery connections for corrosion or debris; if so, the mower’s electrical connection may be affected. To clean the terminals of any corrosion or debris, use a wire brush or battery terminal cleaner.

Verify that the battery wires are secure and free of corrosion. The battery may be unable to supply power to the mower’s electrical system because of loose or corroded wires.

Spark Plug Issues

The spark plug may eventually become clogged with carbon or oil, which will stop it from sparking. This may occur if the mower is not properly maintained or if a filthy air filter is utilized.

The spark plug may be unable to create a spark if the space between its electrodes is either too large or too tiny.

The Fix

You might try using a wire brush or a spark plug cleaner to clean a clogged spark plug. Check the manufacturer’s instructions carefully before cleaning the spark plug.

You might need to replace in a new spark plug if the old one is worn out, broken, or incapable of being cleaned.

Use the proper spark plug type for your Cub Cadet riding lawn mower, and then adjust the gap as recommended by the manufacturer.

Faulty Fuel System

The engine might not function and the mower might not start if the gasoline tank is empty. Also the fuel filter may clog up with dirt and debris over time, preventing gasoline from reaching the engine and resulting in the mower not starting.

Old or stale gasoline in the fuel tank may not support combustion and cause problems with the engine.

The Fix

Ensure that new gasoline is poured in the fuel tank. It is required to change or thoroughly clean the fuel filter if it is blocked.

The carburetor might need to be cleaned or replaced if it’s unclean. Use brand-new fuel whenever possible, and don’t keep it in storage for a long time.

Check for efficient functioning or repair the defective fuel pump if necessary if the Cub Cadet riding lawnmower is equipped with one.

Broken Safety Switches

The seat switch, brake switch, PTO switch, and ignition switch are just a few of the safety devices found on a Cub Cadet riding mower. The lawnmower could not start if any of these switches are not working properly.

The mower could not start until someone is seated on the seat, for instance, if the seat switch is malfunctioning. The mower could not start if the brake switch is broken unless the brake pedal is used.

The safety switch itself might be broken or defective, which would make it impossible to start the mower.

The Fix

Make that the seat switch, blade engagement switch, and other safety switches are in the appropriate positions by checking them. If not, make any necessary adjustments or switch replacements.

Check to see whether the problem is fixed by adjusting or cleaning the switch. If necessary, modify or replace the switches after making sure they are making good contact.

Clogged Carburetor

Many issues that may make the engine difficult to start might result from a dirty or clogged carburetor. It may hinder the proper quantity of air from blending with the fuel, which might lead to a weak or nonexistent spark.

The Fix

To resolve these problems, consider using carburetor cleaner on the carburetor and its jets, changing the defective float valve, and checking and adjusting the stuck choke.

Checking the spark plug and air filter to make sure they are clean and working correctly is also a good idea.

How Can You Keep A Cub Cadet Riding Lawn Mower From Not Starting?

Here is a general guide to replacing the transmission if the riding mower won’t go forward or reverse:

  • Be sure you have read and comprehended the Cub Cadet riding mower owner’s manual.
  • Maintain a charged battery at all times, even if you don’t use the mower regularly.
  • Using fresh fuel is crucial since old fuel can degrade over time and lead to starting issues.
  • The engine has to have regular oil changes to stay in excellent shape.
  • Regularly inspect the air filter and replace it if necessary.
  • Conduct regular inspections the spark plugs and repair them if needed.
  • Debris accumulation can lead to problems with the mower’s numerous components, so be sure to regularly clean the mower and remove any dirt.

Maintaining a beautiful lawn can be a daunting task, especially if you lack the appropriate know-how and tools to handle the challenges that may crop up. Fortunately, LawnAsk is here to offer you an all-encompassing resource that covers everything you need to know about lawn care.

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Cub Cadet XT1 ST54 Lawn Tractor

A riding lawn mower takes the toil out of cutting a lawn, but not all riding mowers are created equal. There are small mowers for low-acreage lawns, electric mowers for easy operation, and big mowers, like the Cub Cadet XT1 ST54 Lawn Tractor, for cutting acres and acres of grass. With a wide 54-inch mowing deck and an impressive 24-horsepower engine, the XT1 ST54 is one of the faster and larger-sized lawn tractors on the market. It’s also chock full of convenience and safety features. We put this Cub Cadet to the test, using it to cut our two-acre yard and to haul brush.

Design: Lots to like

Very few details were overlooked when Cub Cadet designed the XT1 ST54 riding lawn mower. Let’s start with the core components: The ST54 has a 24-horsepower Kohler V-Twin engine and a rugged fabricated 54-inch deck made with 11-gauge steel, meaning it can handle impacts from rocks, roots, and other hazards with minimal damage. It also has a self-charging electrical system that will charge the battery when the mower is in operation. As long as you are running the mower regularly you will power to electric start the engine

Around the edges of the deck, it boasts three blades and four anti-scuff wheels that adjust the deck to the terrain to keep a level cut. A single lever can raise or lower the deck into 12 different positions between 1 and 4 inches. There is no PTO lever to engage the cutting blades, as the Cub Cadet has an electric PTO that engages with the push/pull of a small yellow knob on the console.

Very few details were overlooked when Cub Cadet designed the XT1 ST54 riding lawn mower.

The Cub Cadet has a push-button electric start with electronic fuel injection, so there is no choke you need to set. Just press the button, and the engine fires right up. Press it again and the engine turns off. There also is a push-button, cruise control setting that maintains your speed over level terrain. Got a large area to mow and want an even cut? Push the button, sit back, and cruise.

Not only can you automatically engage the hydrostatic transmission and drivetrain, but you can also disengage it when needed. If you need to move the mower without engine power, a simple transmission bypass rod can be used to disconnect the transmission so you can push the mower right where you need it.

The Cub Cadet supports a variety of optional mowing attachments for mulching, snow plowing, and more. A quick wash adapter on the deck allows you to connect your garden hose for cleaning. If you are mowing at night, the Cub Cadet has an LED headlight that delivers a steady and bright beam of light. They won’t brighten and dim with engine output like traditional bulbs.

Performance: Fast and effective

Most people purchase a riding lawn mower to cut grass, and the XT1 ST54 excels in this area. We found that its mowing deck cuts a full swatch, allowing us to make fewer passes across the lawn. The 24HP Kohler engine starts and runs without a hitch and provides plenty of mowing power. The Cub Cadet cuts at a blazing 5.5 miles per hour in forward and an impressive 3.2 miles per hour in reverse, meaning we could cut even large areas quickly and efficiently.

If you have a smaller or slower lawn mower, you’ll be amazed at how fast the Cub Cadet mows. It cut our mowing time down by a third. It is also highly maneuverable, with a 16-inch turning radius that made us think we were driving a zero-turn mower. This handling means you can tackle lawns that have obstacles with ease.

If you have a smaller or slower lawn mower, you’ll be amazed at how fast the Cub Cadet mows. It cut our mowing time down by a third.

Our yard has a little bit of everything, from straight flat sections to hills and plenty of obstacles, and we had no problem using it to remove brush cuttings and mowing slightly to moderate inclines. The side discharge discards the cut grass close to the tractor so there is little to no dust. Unfortunately, the mower does not ship with a bagger, but you can purchase one as an optional accessory.

Still, this Cub Cadet is sold as a riding lawn mower and not a garden tractor, so don’t expect it to be able to pull heavy loads or mow on steep hills. When we tried to pull a railroad tie from an old garden bed, the mower struggled, and the wheels spun out more than once. We experienced similar slippage on a steep, grassy hill. But overall, we found the floating-style deck was easy to move from height to height, and it helped the ST54 deliver an even cut on uneven terrain.

The floating-style deck was easy to move from height to height, and it helped the ST54 deliver an even cut on uneven terrain.

Gas Mileage: Roomy tank lasts for hours

With a 24HP engine and three cutting blades, the Cub Cadet XT1 ST54 is a powerful lawn mower. It guzzles fuel faster than a smaller mower, especially at high speeds, but the three-gallon tank helps to offset consumption. We were able to mow several hours without a refill. A side-mounted gas spout and a transparent container made it easy to check the fuel level as we were mowing and refill the gas as needed.

We were able to mow several hours without a refill.

Noise Level: Ear protection advised

The noise level from the ST54 is on par with most gas-powered riding lawn mowers. It is loud enough that you cannot hear your surroundings and have to stop the mower to talk to someone. We recommend using some form of hearing protection while using the Cub Cadet lawn tractor.

Safety: Multiple levels of protection

The Cub Cadet XT1 ST54 has a wide variety of safety features to protect you in case of an accident. The seat has a sensor that detects when someone is sitting on it and will prevent the mower from starting if it is vacant. The mower will also turn off if the rider comes off the seat without engaging the parking brake. Another useful feature is the blade brake clutch, which turns off the blade but keeps the motor running so you can safely empty the bag of grass without having to turn off the engine.

The ST54 can both drive and mow in reverse, but it has safety features to prevent you from going backward by mistake. When driving backward, you have to press the reverse button on the console and depress the reverse pedal on the riding mower. Mowing in reverse requires an extra step. You first have to turn the key to the Reverse Caution Mode before you engage the reverse button and the reverse pedal.

Comfort: Could be better

Mowing takes time, and you will be sitting for hours in the seat, so it better be comfortable. The seat in the Cub Cadet XT1 ST54 has an ergonomically-shaped molded plastic frame with padding and a high back that provides extra support. The seat has springs that do a decent job offsetting the bumpy ride of the riding mower.

There are no armrests on this Cub Cadet model, which is disappointing. You’ll have to upgrade to the XT2 or XT3 models if you want this extra level of comfort. Next to the seat within easy reach is a cup holder and a holder for small tools.

The seat has springs that do a decent job offsetting the bumpy ride of the riding mower.

Maintenance: Quick and easy

Maintenance is a breeze thanks to the Bluetooth-enabled Cub Connect mobile app, which provides reminders and lets us log any work we’ve done on the riding mower. It was easy to do the essential maintenance, like changing the oil, ourselves; the oil dipstick is accessible underneath the hood.

Even the oil drain is right out in the open. Just attach the drain tube, which is included with the mower, twist to unlock the drain plug, and let it drain. Once the oil is completely removed, we were able to turn to close the plug and refill with clean oil. It takes 15 minutes tops.

The brand’s patented SmartJet high-pressure deck washing system helps to mitigate the buildup of grass clippings and other debris. If you happen to damage the blades, they are replaceable. Just makes sure you purchase the 54-inch blades. They are harder to find and a bit more expensive than the common 42-inch size.

Price: Get what you pay for

With a price tag just under 3,000, the Cub Cadet XT1 ST54 is pricey, but you get what you pay for. The lawn tractor has a wide mowing deck, a powerful engine, three blades for cutting, and a slew of convenient features that make mowing enjoyable.


A worthy investment.

The Cub Cadet XT1 ST54 Lawn Tractor cuts evenly and mows quickly, making short work of most household lawns. The seat could use some armrests, and the reverse could be easier to engage, but overall, this mower is a worthy investment for people with larger lawns.

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The best riding lawn mower for every size and type of lawn in 2023

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  • Best overall
  • Best budget riding lawn mower
  • Best riding lawn mower for extra-large lawns
  • Best electric riding lawn mower
  • Best small riding lawn mower
  • What else we considered
  • How we research riding lawn mowers
  • How to choose a riding lawn mower
  • Riding lawn mower FAQs
  • Check out our other lawn care guides

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Traditional push mowers are perfectly fine for smaller yards, but if you’re working with anything larger than about half an acre, you’re going to want to upgrade to a riding mower. Featuring extra-wide cutting decks and comfortable seats, these machines allow you to complete the job quickly and easily.

As a former landscaper at a large state park, I was tasked with operating, maintaining, and repairing riding mowers, and used this experience to help assemble this list of options. I also called upon several experts in the field to add additional insight and advice.

Based on my own hands-on experience and the feedback from these experts, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of the best riding lawn mowers for a wide range of yard sizes and budgets. At the end of this guide, read more about our research methodology and what to consider when shopping for a lawn mower.

The best riding lawn mowers in 2023

Best riding lawn mower overall: Toro Timecutter 75755 Zero-Turn Mower. See at The Home DepotThis Toro Timecutter 75755 zero-turn mower combines comfort with versatility, thanks to its seat suspension system, straightforward controls, and hassle-free maintenance.

Best budget riding lawn mower: Troy-Bilt Pony 42. See at The Home DepotThe Troy-Bilt Pony 42 packs an impressive amount of features into a compact frame, like a 7-speed transmission and anti-scalping wheels, while costing significantly less than similar options.

Best for riding lawn mower for extra large lawns: Toro Titan 60. See at The Home DepotThe size and power of the Toro Titan 60 allow you to quickly and comfortably complete mowing tasks on large yards — up to 7 acres — and it has the bells and whistles to ensure a comfortable and hassle-free ride.

Best electric riding lawn mower: Ryobi 38-inch 100Ah Riding Lawn Mower. See at The Home DepotRyobi’s 38-inch 100Ah Riding Lawn Mower is a low-humming and low-maintenance option that runs for up to 2 hours or 2 acres of mowing.

Best small riding lawn mower: Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro LT42. See at The Home DepotIt might not have the cutting width or power of a larger mower, but the Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro LT42 packs an impressive amount of bells and whistles into a relatively small package.

Best overall: Toro Timecutter 75755 Zero-Turn Mower

Pros: Wide cutting width; durable deck; comfortable ride; maintenance and cleanup is easy

Cons: Not CARB compliant, very expensive

We’re big fans of Toro mowers, which along with the enthusiastic recommendation of our expert Chavez, made the Toro Timecutter 75755 a no-brainer for our top pick. Its price might be significantly higher than our other options, but if you’re planning on doing a lot of mowing and comfort is a top priority, this could be worth the investment.

Chavez’s main reason for recommending Toro riding mowers like this one is the MyRide suspension system — she specifically cited it as a great benefit for those with back pain. By suspending the seat platform with a series of springs and shocks, this system makes for an extremely comfortable ride, and you can even adjust and customize the ride settings to your personal preference. As someone who has bounced and rocked their way across large yards on subpar seats, sitting on the MyRide system is a huge upgrade. Another benefit of this MyRide system is the fact that the seat can be flipped up and out of the way when performing basic maintenance.

The convenient washout ports on the deck also make this Toro model easy to keep clean. Instead of crawling underneath or raising the entire unit, these ports allow you to simply connect a garden hose and blast away dirt, grass, and debris. I’m also a big fan of the heavy-duty 10-gauge steel deck. As someone who spent hours repairing mower decks that were dented and split from hitting large rocks or trees, having a heavy-duty deck can be a huge time-saver down the line.

The large, 50-inch deck is perfect for yards up to 4 acres in size, and the zero-turn steering makes it easy for anyone to maneuver around corners and landscaping elements. A straightforward control panel also allows users to quickly change mowing speeds. These elements all add up to one thing — more time for you. You’ll get finished quicker and back to enjoying your day doing what you really want to be doing.

Best budget riding lawn mower: Troy-Bilt Pony 42

Pros: Cup holder, 5.5 mph speed, five height settings

Cons: Lacks zero-turn capability, 500cc engine may not be powerful enough for some users

If you’re looking for an affordable riding mower that’s capable of efficiently cutting lawns up to two acres, the The Troy-Bilt Pony 42 could be just what you’re looking for. Its 42-inch deck is large enough to make quick work of smaller yards, and also makes this mower compact enough for those who are short on storage space.

The 7-speed transmission is simple to use, and a separate lever allows you to mow in reverse, a feature not found on similar mowers. If you have an awkwardly-shaped yard, or have numerous landscaping elements, you’ll really appreciate this feature. A pair of automatic headlights also make it possible to safely mow when the sun begins to go down.

A pair of anti-scalping wheels on the deck reduce the chances of you ending up with patches of “scalped” grass, which makes this mower especially useful for those who have uneven or hilly yards. Plus, it has a rear-tow hitch included, so you’re all set to haul a small trailer or cart around the yard, for those non-mowing projects.

Its tractor-style body doesn’t have the zero-turn capabilities of our higher-end mowers, but it’s still relatively maneuverable thanks to its slim 18-inch turn radius. It’s also compatible with bagging and mulching kits, as well as sun shades, snow blades, and tire chains, making it a versatile lawn-care tool.

Best riding lawn mower for extra-large lawns: Toro Titan 60

Pros: Dual LED headlights, 3 year warranty/300 hours, comfortable seatCons: Expensive, bulky size might not be ideal for users who don’t have a lot of storage room

Time is obviously a big factor when it comes to mowing oversized lawns, and the Toro Titan 60’s forward and reverse speed are a big reason why we chose it as our top pick in this category.

The hydrostatic rear-wheel transmission allows you to reach speeds of up to 9 mph and 3 mph in reverse. The large, 22-inch rear tires of this mower are also designed to protect your grass from divots, as well as provide enough traction to keep you moving — even on uneven ground. It also features 15 quarter-inch deck adjustments, which are adjusted with a spring-assisted foot pedal, making it quick and easy to customize the deck height as you mow.

I’m most impressed by the heavy-duty frame, which is constructed of square tubular steel. This design not only makes it durable enough to handle the wear and tear that comes from tackling large jobs and heavy use, it also provides the sturdy foundation a large mower like this needs. This FOCUS on durability extends to the deck as well, which is made of 10-gauge steel and coated with a corrosion-resistant finish.

In my experience, open frame mowers like this one are great, not just for how easy they are to jump on and off, but because they are much easier to perform maintenance and repairs. The Toro Titan 60 also has a hinged floor pan, which makes it easier to access the deck and engine.

Best electric riding lawn mower: Ryobi 38-inch 100Ah Riding Lawn Mower

Pros: Eco-friendly, low maintenance, quiet operation

Cons: About two hours of mowing time per charge, batteries are expensive to replace when the time comes

Unlike its gasoline counterparts, the electric Ryobi RY 48111-1A is a hassle-free option void of belts, spark plugs, oil changes, filters, or anything of the like to worry about. Plus, since it lacks a bulky engine, it has a more compact go-kart-style body design that can fit in tighter areas.

The Ryobi RY 48111-1A is also focused on providing a comfortable riding experience, with a quiet fume-free operation, as well as a cruise control function and a USB charger for your phone. When it comes time to recharge the mower’s batteries, it’s not like charging an electric car battery, and you don’t need a fancy electricity upgrade: Just plug it into a regular old 120-volt outlet. It takes about 12 hours to fully charge.

On the subject of batteries, the downside is that over time they will not hold a charge as well; it’s just a fact of life with batteries. Eventually, you’ll need to replace them. The replacement batteries will run you about 150 each.

Best small riding lawn mower: Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro LT42

Pros: Hydrostatic transmission, comfortable seat, 16-inch turning radius

Cons: May be too narrow for extra large yards, lacks zero-turn steering

If your yard is 1 to 2 acres in size, avoid the massive size and bulky frames of larger mowers and go with this compact model from Cub Cadet. Its 42-inch deck is wide enough to efficiently cut a lot of grass in each pass, but is still small enough to for easy storage. This small size also makes it more convenient for maneuvering around obstacles, and combined with a 16-inch turning radius, it is ideal for yards with tight landscaping elements or narrow entryways.

It’s also designed with comfort and hassle-free operating in mind. A push-button cruise control setting allows you to conveniently set your desired pace, and the 12 deck positions make it easy to precisely dial in your preferred cutting height. Plus, the 15-inch high chair provides a sturdy and comfortable seat as you steer.

A digital readout also keeps you notified of any maintenance intervals coming up, so you’ll always know when its time to change the oil or air filter. These reminders can go a long way in extending the lifespan of your mower and prevent you from inadvertently causing damage to the engine or other components. We’re also big fans of the three-year-limited warranty, especially since it doesn’t have a maximum hour limit like most other models.

Editor’s note: We’ve noticed ths model’s stock varies significantly by ZIP code.

The best riding mowers: Troy-Bilt, Toro, and more compared

Up your summer lawn care game with a riding mower that makes for a faster, more eco-friendly mowing experience.

Taylor Clemons is a tech writer and reviewer based near Cleveland, OH. After graduating from Tiffin University in 2011, they spent several years in lawn and garden manufacturing before working on their own (now defunct) game review site, Steam Shovel.

Sean Jackson is a creative copywriter living in Florida. He’s had work published with CNET,, theScore, ESPN, and the San Francisco Chronicle.

Taylor Clemons is a tech writer and reviewer based near Cleveland, OH. After graduating from Tiffin University in 2011, they spent several years in lawn and garden manufacturing before working on their own (now defunct) game review site, Steam Shovel.

Sean Jackson is a creative copywriter living in Florida. He’s had work published with CNET,, theScore, ESPN, and the San Francisco Chronicle.

Riding mowers are a popular mower choice for homeowners, especially if you have a big property to maintain every summer. They have cutting decks measuring from 42 to 72 inches, so you can make short work of everything from typical lawns to large properties, like sports complexes and golf courses.

Unlike their push mower counterparts, riding mowers have more features to consider in order to find the right fit for your yard. You can choose either a manual or hydrostatic transmission, so you can “set and forget” your speed or operate your mower like a car. You can even get riding mowers with cruise control or all-wheel drive for better traction.

While gas engines are far more common among riding mowers, there is a wide selection of battery-powered models if you’re looking for a more eco-friendly solution for lawn care. To help you find the perfect fit for your yard and workshop, I’ve rounded up five of the best riding mowers you can buy. I broke down their cutting widths, transmission types, power sources, and other features, as well as their price points to help you decide which one best matches your needs and your budget.

Troy-Bilt Super Bronco XP

Best riding mower overall

  • 24HP engine
  • 54-inch cutting deck
  • Automatic transmission
  • Attachments and accessories available

Troy-Bilt Super Bronco XP tech specs: Engine: 24HP Kohler | Cutting width: 54 inches | Transmission: Hydrostatic/Automatic | Max yard size: 4 acres

The Troy-Bilt Super Bronco XP riding mower is an excellent choice for a variety of lawns. It’s built with a 24HP Kohler engine and a 54-inch cutting deck to let you handle inclines and rough terrain or haul tools, mulch, and potting soil around your property.

The hydrostatic, automatic transmission makes operation similar to a typical car, so you can spend more time actually cutting your grass and less time learning how to drive your mower. With a 3-gallon tank, you’ll be able to mow up to 4 acres at a time.

Ryobi 80V electric riding lawn tractor

Best electric riding mower

  • 2.5 acre max range
  • Quick-charge batteries
  • LCD heads-up display
  • USB charging ports

Ryobi 80V electric lawn tractor tech specs: Engine: 80V brushless electric | Cutting width: 46 inches | Transmission: Hydrostatic/Automatic | Max yard size: 2.5 acres

Electric riding mowers have become more popular in recent years as homeowners and landscaping professionals look for ways to make lawn care more eco-friendly. The Ryobi 80V electric lawn tractor features a 46-inch cutting deck and enough power to let you mow up to 2.5 acres on a single charge, and you can recharge your mower batteries in as little as 2.5 hours.

This means you can take care of other tasks, like weeding or landscaping, while you’re waiting for your mower to recharge. An LCD screen gives you a heads-up display of run time, battery levels, and reminders to inspect and sharpen your mower blades. It even has two USB ports for charging your phone while you mow.

Toro Titan Max

Best zero-turn riding mower

  • Mows up to 7 acres at once
  • Highly maneuverable
  • 10-gauge steel construction
  • Tool-free air filters

Toro Titan Max tech specs: Engine: 26HP Kohler 7000 | Cutting width: 60 inches | Transmission: Dual hydrostatic/automatic | Max yard size: 7 acres

Zero-turn riding mowers are popular with homeowners who have larger properties or lots of obstacles like trees or specialized landscaping. The Toro Titan Max’s exceptional maneuverability and larger cutting decks make quick work of yards up to 7 acres in size, while the 26HP Kohler 7000 engine uses a dual hydrostatic drive for smooth, intuitive operation.

Toro also made regular maintenance a bit more streamlined with tool-free air filters. The deck and mower body are made from tough, 10-gauge steel to stand up to dings, rocks, run-ins, and anything else your lawn can throw at it.

Cub Cadet CC30E

Best compact riding mower

  • Battery-powered
  • Great for yards up to 1 acre
  • Compact design great for small storage areas and narrow spaces
  • Push-button cruise control

Cub Cadet CC30E tech specs: Engine: 56V electric | Cutting width: 30 inches | Transmission: Hydrostatic/Automatic | Max yard size: 1 acre

Compact riding mowers like the Cub Caded CC30E are great for suburban lawns on the smaller side. The CC30E features a smaller design that is perfect for storing in multi-use sheds and garages or maneuvering through gates and narrow spaces. The 30-inch cutting deck and 56V battery let you mow up to 1 acre (or one hour) at once.

It uses a hydrostatic drive for smooth, intuitive driving while the 18-inch turning radius lets you easily mow around trees and other obstacles. It even features a push-button cruise control, so you can “set-and-forget” your forward speed and concentrate on mowing around obstacles, as well as staying aware of your surroundings.

DeWALT Z160 Commercial

Best riding mower for large properties

  • Mow up to 10 acres
  • 5.5 gallon gas tank
  • Dual hydrostatic drive
  • Great for hills and inclines

DeWALT Z160 Commercial tech specs: Engine: 24HP Kawasaki V-Twin | Cutting width: 60 inches | Transmission: Dual hydrostatic/automatic | Max yard size: 10 acres

The DeWALT Z160 Commercial zero-turn riding mower is designed from the ground up to handle large properties. The 60-inch cutting deck and 24HP Kawasaki V-Twin engine let you mow up to 10 acres at once, making it an almost perfect choice for rural properties or landscaping professionals. The dual hydrostatic drive makes operation smoother, though the twin-stick steering does take some getting used to.

With 22-inch rear wheels, you can easily take on inclines and rolling hills that may be on your property. A 5.5-gallon fuel tank means you’ll spend more time actually mowing and less time refueling. And if you opt for the bagger attachment, you’ll be able to gather up to 11 bushels of clippings before you need to empty.

What is the best riding mower?

I chose the Troy-Bilt Super Bronco XP as the best riding mower you can buy. It features a 54-inch cutting deck and 3-gallon fuel tank, letting you mow up to 4 acres in a single go. The 24 horsepower engine also lets you take on steeper inclines and rough terrain or haul tools and gardening supplies around your property. The hydrostatic drive makes operation similar to a typical car, while an LED display gives you accurate usage hours for streamlined maintenance.

Best riding mower

Cutting width

Transmission type

Ryobi 80V electric riding lawn tractor

Which is the right riding mower for you?

Other than your budget, there are a lot of features and scenarios you have to consider while shopping for a new riding mower. The size of your yard will determine how wide the cutting deck should be, though either a 42 or 46-inch version will be more than enough for most yards.

You can choose either a manual or hydrostatic transmission. A manual model lets you “set and forget” your speed so you can FOCUS, while hydrostatic models operate more like cars, going faster the harder you press the pedal. This makes them more intuitive to operate but also more expensive.

Zero-turn mowers are designed for mowing in oddly-shaped areas or around lots of obstacles like trees, lamp posts, and lawn ornaments. They’re called “zero-turn” because they have a zero-inch turn radius; you pivot around either rear wheel for ultra-tight turning.

Buy this best riding mower.

If you need.

A well-rounded riding mower. The 54-inch cutting deck and 24HP engine let you mow up to 4 acres at a time.

Ryobi 80V electric riding lawn tractor

An all-electric riding mower. The electric engine requires less maintenance than gas models, making your lawn-care routine more eco-friendly.

An excellent zero-turn riding mower. Precision maneuvering lets you mow around trees, landscaping, and other obstacles with ease.

A compact riding mower. The 30-inch deck and smaller build make this riding mower perfect for smaller suburban lawns.

A riding mower that can handle larger properties. This commercial-grade, zero-turn riding mower lets you cut up to 10 acres at once.

How did we choose these riding mowers?

I used to work for MTD Products (now owned by BlackDecker), which assembles a variety of lawn mowers, snow blowers, and other powered lawn equipment. Using the expertise and knowledge I gained during my time there, I looked for riding mowers with these qualities:

  • Motor size: You’ll want a riding mower with at least a 10HP engine to give you enough power to handle minor inclines and lawns up to half an acre. Larger riding mowers like the John Deere Z530M have more powerful engines, often topping out over 20HP to let you tackle rough terrain and even haul equipment.
  • Cutting width: Many riding mowers have either a 42 or 46-inch cutting deck, which is great for lawns between.5 and 1.5 acres. However, if you have a large, multi-acre property, you’ll want to choose a larger cutting deck. Many brands have options between 50 and 72-inch cutting decks.
  • Transmission type: The less expensive riding mowers will have either a 6 or 7-speed manual transmission. This means you will use a dedicated lever to set your engine’s forward and reverse speeds, with a single brake pedal for stop control. The more expensive models feature a hydrostatic drive, which operates in a similar way to an automatic transmission in a typical car or truck.
  • Accessories: Lawn care goes beyond regular mowing. I chose riding mowers that have the ability to hitch small trailers or wagons for hauling tools, mulch, or potting soil. I also chose mowers from brands that make after-market add-ons, like rear bagging units for collecting grass clippings, mulching kits for re-feeding lawns, and snow plows for year-round use.

How do you decide which riding mower to buy?

Assuming you have a budget in mind, the first thing you need to do is find out how big your lawn is. You can either find your lot size on your memorandum deeds if you’ve bought your house, or you can check your city’s website to see if you can request lot measurements if you’re renting. If your lot measures about an acre, you’ll be able to use a 30 or 42-inch cutting deck without any issues. For lawns up to two acres, a 42 or 46-inch deck is ideal. And if your lot is over two acres, you can get a mower with up to a 72-inch cutting deck to handle larger areas.

The transmission type is also important. Many newer models have what is known as a hydrostatic drive. This means that they operate similarly to how a car drives: You push the pedal and it moves forward or backward. And the harder you push, the faster you go. This makes it easier to learn how to drive, but that also makes the mower more expensive. stripped-back models have variable speed manual transmissions, which allow you to “set and forget” your speed so you can FOCUS on paying attention to obstacles and people who may be nearby.

And finally, you’ll want to consider the power source for your new riding mower. Gasoline engines are far more common, but there is now a wider variety of battery-powered models to choose from. The perks of a gas engine are that you’ll get near-infinite run times (as long as you have enough fuel to keep the engine going) and a bit more power for handling steep inclines and rough terrain. The downsides are dealing with exhaust emissions and maintenance that can be a time and money sink. Electric models don’t need engine maintenance, so you save a bit of money in the long run. But they usually have a maximum run time of about an hour, which means that you may have to plan your mowing over several days if you have a larger yard.

How big of a yard do I need for a riding mower?

Riding mowers are best suited for yards measuring one acre or larger. A model with a 42-inch cutting deck is great for mowing up to two acres, so if you have more land than that, you’ll want to spring for a 46, 54, 60, or 72-inch cutting deck.

If you’re right on the threshold, you can get what’s known as a “mini rider.” They usually have compact bodies for easier storage and 30-inch cutting decks to make short work of lawns that are just a touch too large for a push mower.

How long should a riding mower last?

No matter if you choose a gas or battery-powered riding mower, proper maintenance is key to extending the life of your mower. For gas engines, you should change the oil and filters, clean the spark plugs, and sharpen the blades before you mow for the first time in the spring. And you should use fuel treatments like STA-BIL to prevent gas in the tank or extra jerry cans from going bad from moisture contamination. This prevents buildup of gunk that can ruin your engine, improves engine performance, and gives you a cleaner cut for a healthier lawn.

Electric mowers don’t need engine maintenance, but you should perform thorough inspections at the start of mowing season to check for battery damage, corrosion on battery contacts, damage to the battery housing, and also to sharpen the blades. If you do regular maintenance, not only will you save money by avoiding big repairs from worn-out parts, but you can also expect your riding mower to last 10 years or more.- which is great news, since they can be an expensive investment.

What is the cheapest riding mower?

Unfortunately, riding mowers aren’t ever really what we consider “budget-friendly.” However, there are models like the Murray MT100 that retail for less than 2000 without sacrificing power or cutting width.

Are there alternative riding mowers worth considering?

Whether you’re shopping at a big-name DIY store like Lowe’s, a local hardware store, or an authorized brand dealer, there are tons of options for a new riding mower. You can choose either gas or battery-powered models, cutting deck widths from as small as 30 inches to as wide as six feet.

Here’s a short list of other riding mowers I thought were great choices:

John Deere Z530M. Runner-up best zero-turn riding mower

The John Deere Z530M features a 60-inch cutting deck for making quick work of large properties. Exceptional maneuverability lets you mow around trees, lawn decor, and other obstacles with ease.

Husqvarna YTH1942. Great for larger suburban lawns

The Husqvarna YTH1942 features an updated, 19 horsepower engine and 42-inch cutting deck to take on inclines and haul dirt, mulch, and gardening equipment.

Murray MT100. Best budget-friendly riding mower

For under 2000, you’ll get a 13.5 horsepower engine, a 42-inch cutting deck, and a 6-speed manual transmission with the Murray MT100.

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