BEST Riding Lawn Mowers of 2023 [Reviews]
Old-fashioned push lawn mowers are great for small urban and suburban lawns – but they don’t cut the mustard for rural and exurban homeowners. Ride-on mowers are the standard for keeping large lawns beautiful and tidy.
Riding mowers come in all shapes and sizes: commercial-grade zero-turn mowers, compact rear-engine designs, high-tech electric models, and more. Finding the right fit for you can be a hassle.
That’s why we’ve reviewed over two dozen ride-on mowers, and found the top 9 today. We looked at power, width of cutting deck, weight, special features of riding mowers to come up with our ranking. We’ve also included a helpful buying guide and FAQ to make your shopping experience a breeze.
Riding mowers range in cost from less than 2,000 to 4,000 or more. To make your choice easier, we have listed the general price (fluctuate) for each riding mower on our list:
- “Inexpensive” – less than 2,000
- “Moderate” – 2,000 to 4,000
- “Expensive” – Above 4,000
Here are Lawn Love’s picks for the top 10 riding lawn mowers:
Top 10 Riding Lawn Mowers — Reviews
Best Overall: Husqvarna YTH18542
Husqvarna’s YTH18542 riding mower is designed to be compact and durable while providing enough power to cut any medium-to-large sized lawn.
Designed with maneuverability in mind, this tractor-style mower has a tight 16-inch turn radius. A single foot pedal controls a hydrostatic drivetrain for smooth transitions between forward and reverse.
The 18.5-horsepower engine is made by Briggs Stratton, America’s most reliable small engine manufacturer. The YTH18542 can reach a top speed of 7.4 mph, making it one of the fastest tractor-style mowers on the market.
Despite its compact size, Husqvarna has packed a ton of features into this machine. The 42-inch deck uses air induction to keep your grass from flattening under the mower, ensuring a clean cut every time. Dual anti-scalp wheels protect your lawn from the mower deck when passing over uneven terrain.
Husqvarna offers a three-year bumper-to-bumper warranty on new mowers.
A clipping bag and mulching kit are sold separately to increase this lawn tractor’s utility. The YTH18542 is also compatible with Husqvarna’s whole line of tow-behind accessories.
5000 Electric Riding Mower Review
Power Source: 18.5 HP Briggs Stratton Intek engineTransmission: Foot-operated hydrostatic transmissionTop Speed: 7.4 mphDeck Width: 42 inchesCutting Height: 6 positions, 1.5 to 4 inchesPrice Range: Moderate
Best Electric Riding Mower: Ryobi RY48111
An improvement on the original RY48110, Ryobi’s new generation of riding mowers features a state-of-the-art 100 amp-hour battery, allowing for up to 2.5 hours of continuous mowing on a single charge.
The 38-inch cutting deck can fit into tight spots and create precise cuts around garden beds and landscape features. Three separate brushless motors power the wheels and two blades, delivering cutting power comparable to a gas-powered mower. The Ryobi RY48111 has a top speed of 8 mph, making it the fastest mower on this list.
The RY48111 also is the quietest riding mower on the market, never exceeding 70 decibels. What this means: You can mow bright and early without disturbing the neighbors.
Other things we liked about this riding mower:
- Active cruise control delivers consistency on long stretches of lawn.
- Mulching capability: This mower comes equipped with mulching capability, with an optional collection bag sold separately.
- Cool features: The RY48111 has LED headlights, a cupholder, and a USB charging port.
- Battery charges overnight with a standard 120V power outlet. This mower is the most energy-efficient choice for yards under 2.5 acres.
Power Source: 100 Ah battery, 3 brushless motorsTransmission: NoneTop Speed: 8 mphDeck Width: 38 inchesCutting Height: 12 positions, 1.5 to 4.5 inchesPrice Range: Moderate
Best Zero-Turn Mower: Cub Cadet Ultima ZT1
A top-of-the-line mower for residential markets, Cub Cadet’s Ultima series makes short work of the largest lawns. Driven by a 22-horsepower Kohler engine, this machine can reach a forward speed of 7.5 mph.
A fully adjustable racing-style seat provides ultimate comfort while operating the ZT1. The lap bar control is also adjustable in three dimensions to ensure precise maneuvering. Dual LED headlights help you cut in low-light conditions, and the rubberized cockpit floor reduces vibrations.
The 20-inch rear wheels and 11-inch front wheels offer enough traction to tackle gentle hills, and are engineered to protect your turf while pivoting. A 3.5-gallon gas tank lets you spend more time mowing and less time refueling.
Cub Cadet offers a three-year, unlimited hour powertrain warranty and a lifetime warranty on the frame. The ZT1 also comes in a 50-inch version for added efficiency and coverage. Cub Cadet has also recently released the Ultima ZT1 56V MAX60 electric zero-turn.
Power Source: 22 HP, 725 cc Kohler 7000 series twin-cylinder engineTransmission: Dual hydrostatic transmissionsTop Speed: 7.5 mphDeck Width: 42 inchesCutting Height: 15 positions, 1 to 4.5 inchesPrice Range: Moderate
Most Bang for your Buck: John Deere S120
If you have thick grass or heavy brush on your property, the 22-horsepower John Deere S120 delivers heavy-duty power at an affordable price.
The high-torque engine makes the S120 great for cutting thick grass and hauling heavy loads. John Deere makes a wide range of tow-behind and front-mounted accessories, such as spreaders and snow plows. This little lawn tractor does the work of more expensive models with ease.
The S120 has large 22-inch rear wheels and an 18-inch turning radius. The high-back seat is fully adjustable, including lumbar support.
The 100-series also includes the inexpensive S100 and the highly acclaimed S180. The entire line is compliant with the CARB California emissions standards and is backed by John Deere’s 2-year bumper-to-bumper warranty.
Power Source: 22 HP V-twin engineTransmission: HydrostaticTop Speed: 5.5 mphDeck Width: 42 inchesCutting Height: 13 positions, 1 to 4 inchesPrice Range: Moderate
Cub Cadet XT1
The XT1 is Cub Cadet’s most popular lawn tractor. Powered by an 18-horsepower Kohler engine, this machine is designed with comfort in mind. It features a wide-bottomed, high-backed seat with adjustable back support and an ergonomic, anti-vibration steering wheel.
A smooth hydrostatic transmission, responsive steering, and cruise control make the XT1 easy to operate. A proprietary paint protects the tractor from corrosion. A quick-connect deck wash system lets you plug in an ordinary garden hose for easy cleaning.
This Cub Cadet has long-lasting LED headlights and is backed by a three-year powertrain warranty and five-year chassis/axle warranty.
Power Source: 18 HP Kohler 5400 Series single cylinder engineTransmission: HydrostaticTop Speed: 5.5 mphDeck Width: 42 inchesCutting Height: 5 positions, 1 to 4 inchesPrice Range: Moderate
If you’re looking for a budget option but still want a tractor-style mower, the Troy-Bilt Pony is your best bet. Though the Pony isn’t the most powerful mower on the market, it has all the features you need to keep a medium- to large-sized lawn neatly mown.
Built around a reliable 15.5-horsepower Briggs Stratton engine, this Troy-Bilt lawn tractor can easily tackle regular mowing jobs. The 7-speed “shift-on-the-go” manual transmission is designed to smoothly move from one gear to the next.
- Automatic headlights that adjust to low-visibility conditions
- A cupholder to help you stay hydrated on hot summer days
- 2-year limited warranty
Power Source: 15.5 HP single cylinder Briggs Stratton engineTransmission: 7-speed manualTop Speed: 5.5 mphDeck Width: 42 inchesCutting Height: 5 positions, 1.25 to 3.75 inchesPrice Range: Inexpensive
Ryobi 42-inch Zero Turn Mower
Ryobi’s mastery of electric power doesn’t end at rear-engine mowers. Ryobi went all-out to design an eco-friendly zero-turn mower that can hold its own against its gas competition.
Powered by four separate motors, one for each driving wheel and one per blade, this zero-turn mower distributes exactly the right amount of power to the components that need it most. The 75 amp-hour battery can last up to 2.5 hours of constant mowing, making short work of yards up to 3 acres.
A 7 mph top speed and fast, responsive turns let you mow farther and faster than other electric mowers. The battery charges overnight from a standard 120-volt outlet. A digital meter keeps track of the battery level and hours of use. This zero-turn mower has powerful LED headlights, two cupholders, and a USB charging port.
This Ryobi mower doesn’t quite produce enough power to tackle thick brush or wild growth, but it is perfectly capable of handling standard grasses. This mower comes with mulching capability, and a bagging system is sold separately.
Power Source: 75 Ah battery, 4 brushless motorsTransmission: NoneTop Speed: 7 mphDeck Width: 42 inchesCutting Height: 12 positions, 1.5 to 4.5 inchesPrice Range: Expensive
This Husqvarna zero-turn mower is ready for heavy-duty work with a 26-horsepower engine and a 54-inch cutting deck. With the most powerful engine on this list, the Z254 makes short work of lawns and fields.
Though the Husqvarna Z254 costs more than the Cub Cadet mentioned above, customers with massive yards or dense, wild growth areas can benefit from the added power.
Because of its FOCUS on cutting power, the Husqvarna Z254 is a little slower than other zero-turn models on the market. It has a single-lever deck height adjustment with six positions. The Z254 uses Husqvarna’s air induction system to keep grass upright for a cleaner cut. This zero-turn mower also is equipped with a “ready start” system for easy operation.
Power Source: 26 HP Kohler engineTransmission: HydrostaticTop Speed: 6.5 mphDeck Width: 54 inchesCutting Height: 6 positions, 1.5 to 4 inchesPrice Range: Moderate
Toro 42-inch Timecutter
The last entry on our list, the Toro Timecutter series features a “Smart Speed” system that automatically adjusts the lap bars’ sensitivity to your operating pace. How cool is this? It has three modes of operation that redirect engine power:
- Mow mode is focused on speed, topping out at 7 mph.
- Tow mode focuses on wheel torque, with a top speed of 5.5 mph.
- Trim mode directs power to the cutting deck, reducing the top speed to 4 mph to plow through thick brush.
Other things we like about Toro’s Timecutter:
- Cupholder and an under-seat storage cubby in the cab.
- Tire fenders, which protect the engine and the operator from mud and debris.
- Shock-reducing dampers that keep the steering bars steady when you hit bumps.
Toro offers a 3-year, unlimited-hour residential warranty. The Timecutter is compliant with California emissions standards. Owners of larger yards should check out their 23hp 50-inch version and 23hp 54-inch model.
Power Source: 18 HP Kawasaki V-Twin EngineTransmission: HydrostaticTop Speed: 7 mphDeck Width: 42 inchesCutting Height: 1.5 to 4.5 inchesPrice Range: Moderate
Buyers Guide: Riding Lawn Mowers
Buying a ride-on mower is a big decision. With so many options available, choosing the right one can feel overwhelming. This buyers guide will walk you through the types of riding mowers on the market and outline the important factors to consider. We’ll also explain how we came up with our rankings.
Types of Riding Lawn Mower
Riding lawn mowers are not all the same. While most ride-on mowers run on gasoline, several electric mowers have hit the market in recent years. Whether gas or electric, riding mowers tend to come in three general body shapes.
Rear-engine riding mowers are the most compact and least expensive model. The engine (or electric motor) is mounted behind the operating seat. This gives rear-engine mowers great front visibility but can affect their turn radius. With smaller cutting decks, rear-engine mowers can fit through gates and are great for medium-sized lawns.
The standard riding lawn mower for over a century, the lawn tractor has a front-mounted engine that powers the wheels and cutting deck. Lawn tractors typically have cutting decks around 42 inches, though higher-horsepower tractors may be larger. Recent models may have automatic or hydrostatic transmissions, though many are manual.
The zero-turn mower has been around since the 1960s and has risen to prominence in the last 20 years. These high-tech machines use a hydraulic system to control the two powered wheels independently, allowing them to rotate on a dime.
Zero-turn mowers are typically controlled by a pair of levers across the operator’s lap and can be tricky to maneuver without practice. Their shape allows zero turns to sport wider decks. Zero-turns are usually a little more expensive but are the best choice for large yards.
With fossil fuels on the decline and rising gas prices, it may be the right time to invest in a battery-powered riding lawn mower. New advancements in green technology have led to some truly impressive eco-friendly lawn mowers from several manufacturers. With batteries that last up to three hours on a single charge, electric mowers can deliver similar power outputs to gas models.
What to Look for in a Riding Lawn Mower
Riding lawn mowers are complicated machines, and it’s important to consider a variety of specs when comparing them. We looked at several details and features to determine utility and cost-effectiveness for our top 9 picks.
An important stat for any tool, the power of a riding lawn mower’s engine will determine your top speed and your blade torque. Gas engines of this size usually measure in terms of horsepower (HP), while large batteries measure amperage per hour of use (Ah).
Consider a higher-horsepower engine if you plan to cut thick brush or wild growth. Low-to-medium power is usually adequate for standard grass lawns.
A wider machine increases your coverage on each pass across the yard. Wider machines are more efficient, but require more power to operate and are therefore more expensive.
Adjustable decks are standard in modern lawn mowers. Most of them can cut grass between around 1.5 inches and around 4 inches, with several increments in between. This feature is usually more a matter of preference than necessity.
Manufacturers like to add comfort and utility features to their riding lawn mowers to make them stand out. Features like cupholders, USB chargers, and anti-vibration steering wheels are great for getting more enjoyment out of mowing. Some models include mulching kits or leaf bags, while other manufacturers sell them as separate attachments.
The most important factor in choosing the right mower is your budget. Riding mowers are a big purchase, and we recommend you shop at a few different vendors and local dealers to find the best deal. We quantify the above features and compare them to cost, to help you get the best value.
FAQ About Riding Lawn Mowers
Our research shows that the best riding lawn mower is the Husqvarna YTH18542. We chose this as our top riding mower for its reliability and utility relative to price. Other standouts: We also found that the best zero-turn mower is the Cub Cadet Ultima ZT1 and the best rear-engine mower is the electric Ryobi RY48111.
Hydrostatic drivetrains rely on hydraulic fluid to transfer power from the engine to the blade or wheels. Because there are no gearboxes involved, power can smoothly increase and decrease along the drivetrain without the need for manual shifting.
This increases engine efficiency and allows power to flow differently to each part of the machine. Zero-turn mowers use this method to supply power to both wheels independently.
Riding lawn mowers are a big investment. Although some budget riding lawn mowers will cost under 2,000, the majority of residential-use models are priced between 2,000 and 4,000. Plan to spend around 3,000 on a new ride-on mower, or shop around local dealers for discounted on pre-owned machines.
When to Call a Lawn Care Pro
Riding lawn mowers are a hefty investment and they take up space in your garage. If you’d rather a lawn care pro keep your grass green and healthy, we can help. Lawn Love pros can give your yard a professional manicure at affordable prices. Call 800-706-4117 to see how a professional lawn care crew can show your yard some Lawn Love.
Lawn Love participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and other retailer affiliate programs. Lawn Love may earn revenue from products promoted in this article.
Main Photo Credit: Shutterstock photo with text overlay
Electric Mower Garden Tractor
Electric mowers are quiet, convenient and since GMP’s energy supply is 100% carbon free and 78% renewable your mowing is a lot greener than gas.
Did you know?
Lawn care equipment like mowers and trimmers don’t have to meet the same emissions standards cars do. The EPA estimates lawn and garden equipment running on fossil fuel creates 23 million tons of carbon emissions in the US each year.
Buy your new push mower and garden tractor from a Vermont retailer to qualify. Push mowers must be at least 36 volts.
How to get your rebate
E-mower Rebates GMP Energy Innovation Team 2152 Post Road Rutland Town, Vermont 05701
Have questions? Call us at (888) 835-4672.
After a couple of weeks and three cuts, I’m sold on DeWALT’s cordless, brushless, battery-powered lawn mower.
By Mark Wolfe | Updated May 18, 2023 1:42 PM
We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.
When did DeWALT start making lawn mowers? As manufacturers pour resources into building the best battery-powered lawn mowers, shoppers have a wealth of options, and they’re not just coming from the traditional brands. In addition to time-tested lawn-mower companies like Toro, Snapper, and Craftsman, we’ve seen the relatively recent rise of newcomers like Greenworks and Ego. One interesting subset of battery-mower makers are the businesses known for their cordless hand tools. Suddenly drill and saw brands such as Milwaukee, Makita, and DeWALT are making lawn mowers and leaf blowers. It actually makes a lot of sense.
In the early 1990s, DeWALT was the first company to list a full line of contractor-grade cordless hand tools. The offering was a massive success, earning the company a loyal customer base that continues to grow. Continuing innovation is the key, as it was one of the first companies to upgrade from nickel-cadmium to high-efficiency lithium-ion batteries, and it constantly rolls out new features for improved ergonomics and overall performance. With DeWALT’s battery and motor expertise in-house, along with a strong culture of innovation, it makes sense that the company would easily move into battery-powered lawn equipment. This spring I finally got the chance to give one of its mowers a try.
I recently tested the DeWALT 2X20V MAX 21.5-inch self-propelled lawn mower for a couple of weeks on my own lawn. After trying out dozens of lawn mowers for previous articles, I approached the DeWALT project with certain expectations regarding overall mowing performance, battery runtime, user comfort, and convenience. In short, this mower did a great job for me, outperforming many of my expectations. Read on to learn more about the DeWALT cordless lawn mower and why I recommend it as a top pick for anyone who might be shopping for a cordless mower right now.
DeWALT 2X20V MAX 21.5-Inch Self-Propelled Lawn Mower: At a Glance
- Heavy-duty steel mower deck with 3-way grass-clipping management
- Front-wheel drive self-propel system supports safe operation and smooth turns
- Powered by 2 rechargeable DeWALT XR 20-volt (V) lithium-ion batteries
- 2-stage brushless motor preserves battery life and automatically increases power for tougher mowing conditions
- Ergonomic cushioned hand grip reduces operator fatigue
- Heavy and cumbersome to maneuver manually without the self-propel feature engaged
- Takes a long time to recharge the batteries with the included DCB107 battery chargers
- The mower’s battery compartment has an awkward design
Get the DeWALT lawn mower at:
What is the DeWALT 2X20V MAX 21.5-inch self-propelled lawn mower?
The DeWALT DCMWSP244U2 is a 3-in-1 cordless electric mower with a 21.5-inch,15-gauge stamped-steel deck and a high-output brushless motor. It features a push-button start, a padded handle, and ergonomic controls. The mower is powered by two 20V 10 amp-hour (Ah) lithium-ion batteries for a total of 40 volts of power and 400 watt-hours, and it comes with two battery chargers.
The motor is equipped with auto-sensing tech that seamlessly increases torque when encountering tougher mowing conditions. A removable discharge chute, grass catcher, and integrated mulch plug allow for quick conversion to your preferred method of grass-clipping disposal. Adjustable front-wheel-drive (FWD) self-propulsion eliminates half the work of mowing, lets you choose your own pace, and works on all kinds of terrain. The deck can be adjusted to six different cutting heights from 1.5 to 4 inches. With up to 60 minutes of runtime per charge, this mower is ideal for properties up to a half acre.
How easy is the DeWALT lawn mower to assemble?
Upon its arrival, the first order of business was to assemble the mower and charge the batteries. At just under 80 pounds in the box (about 65 pounds fully assembled, with no batteries installed), it was a bit cumbersome to lug into the workshop and unpack, but assembly itself was a cinch.
I raised the lower section of the handle to the operating position, attached the upper handle to the lower handle with two large thumb screws, and clipped the power cord into the handle slot. That was it. The blade was preinstalled at the factory. Next, I plugged in the chargers and loaded the batteries to charge overnight. Total unboxing and assembly time was about 5 minutes, and charging time was about 8 hours.
How easy is the DeWALT lawn mower to use?
This mower runs on two batteries at the same time. One head-scratching moment occurred when I loaded the batteries in the mower. The battery compartment is oriented horizontally with the battery mounts beneath the top. I couldn’t actually see the contacts at the back unless I knelt and bent down to look inside. This was not a big problem, just awkward to align the batteries into the slots. But because the “fuel”-gauge feature on the XR battery happens to be on the contact end, it is concealed inside the mower housing when installed. In order to check the battery level, I would have to remove the battery. The only thing I didn’t like was the slow charging system, but an upgrade to the DeWALT DCB118 fast charger could reduce the 8-hour recharge time to just 1 hour.
Starting and controlling the DeWALT cordless mower was similar to the process for other mowers I’ve tested. A security key, inserted below the start button on the handle, unlocked the mower so that it would start. I pressed and held the start button, then pulled the wire lever down to the padded hand grip. This started the motor and blade. To start the self-propel system, I could squeeze one or both of the levers angling downward from the hand grip.
How well does the DeWALT lawn mower work?
I set up the test area in my yard, with about 10,000 square feet of lawn that included some short but steep slopes, weedy spots, and dense grass. I mowed the test plot with the DeWALT cordless mower three times, and it required just over two full battery charges each time. It mowed about 5,000 square feet per charge when adjusted to 2.5 inches high with the grass catcher in place. At 3.5 inches that extended to about 8,000 square feet. I got an additional few hundred square feet per charge by removing the bag and using the side-discharge and mulching options.
The DeWALT electric mower is a great choice for small and medium-size yards. The advertised 60-minute runtime per charge might hold up in some circumstances—see the manufacturer’s fine print—but I got more like 40 minutes, which, as noted, was good for up to about 8,000 square feet of lawn space. That should be plenty for anyone with a quarter-acre lot and most half-acre lots when the house, driveway, landscape beds, and other non-grass areas are removed from the equation.
Is the DeWALT lawn mower good quality?
In addition to the heavy-duty steel deck, a few key features pointed to higher-than-average quality and thoughtful design. For one thing, the integrated mulch plug, which is built into the bagger hatch, simply and effectively eliminates the need to keep track of an easy-to-lose part. For another, the FWD self-propel configuration drives quite well across all kinds of terrain and makes turning easier than with rear-wheel drive. Plus, the added forward weight of this configuration counterbalances the weight of the bag even when it’s full.
At the controls, everything was well laid out for easy operation, and the cushioned handle felt comfortable while I was mowing. Also, this mower is a space saver. With its fold-flat handle and vertical storage capability, it only needs about 2.5 square feet of storage floor space.
Is the DeWALT 2X20V 21.5-inch cordless brushless lawn mower worth the money?
At about 600, the DeWALT electric mower costs about twice as much as the cheapest self-propelled gas mowers. But it’s about the same price as higher-quality gas mowers and comparably equipped battery-powered mowers. So it’s at least a fair value if we stop there.
In my tests of other battery mowers at similar prices, I can say that this one offers a combination of features that others do not. DeWALT gets all of the basics right: Mowing power, operational comfort, battery life, and overall functionality are all at least as good as anything else out there. The steel deck is as stout as any I’ve tested, and better than most. The FWD self-propel system is a rarity among battery mowers, and it’s a nice touch. Altogether the base quality and thoughtful features make it a value purchase within the 600 range.
Is the DeWALT 2X20V MAX 21.5-inch self-propelled lawn mower right for you?
Battery-powered lawn mowers run quietly, keep the air cleaner, and eliminate the need to transport and store gasoline. Over the past couple of decades, battery technology and electric- motor efficiency have advanced, and have come down to approachable levels for many customers. DeWALT has leveraged its position as a leader and innovator of cordless tools to introduce this electric lawn mower.
This mower is easy and comfortable to operate on all kinds of terrain, eliminates all of the downsides of maintaining a gas engine, and delivers a nice, even cut. The price is in line with the competition, and the quality appears to be better than most. Overall, I’d say it’s a solid choice for anyone maintaining up to about 5,000 square feet of lawn, or roughly a quarter- to half-acre lot.
Where to Buy the DeWALT 2X20V MAX 21.5-Inch Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
Get the DeWALT lawn mower at:
Meet the Tester
Mark Wolfe is a writer and product tester with an extensive background in the nursery and landscaping industry. For more than 20 years he mowed, edged, planted, pruned, cultivated, irrigated, and renovated beautiful landscapes for home and business owners. Now he tests and writes reviews about the latest outdoor power equipment, hand tools, lawn-care products, and other outdoor-living goods.
The 8 Best Riding Lawn Mowers of 2023, Tested and Reviewed
Michelle Ullman is a home decor expert and product reviewer for home and garden products. She has been writing about home decor for over 10 years for publications like BobVila.com and Better Homes Gardens, among others.
Barbara Gillette is a Master Gardener, herbalist, beekeeper, and journalist. She has 30 years of experience propagating and growing fruits, vegetables, herbs, and ornamentals.
Emily Estep is a plant biologist and journalist who has worked for a variety of online news and media outlets, writing about and editing topics including environmental science and houseplants.
For lawns that are 1 acre or more, a riding lawn mower can make turf maintenance less of a chore. Instead of sweating behind a push mower, you’ll ride in comfort while keeping your lawn in tip-top shape. Marc Mayer, Director of Technical Operations at TruGreen, says, Commonly, homeowners choose a riding lawn mower to save time and/or energy if they have a large lawn area that is too much work to utilize a walk-behind mower. Most ride-on mowers can also be used for other chores around the yard to improve efficiency, such as pulling a trailer or aerator.
Noah James, professional landscaper and owner of Liberty Lawn Maintenance, adds, A riding mower gives you the precision you need to make straight lines and even cuts. Plus, with options like zero-turn technology, you’ll be able to trim around obstacles and corners like a pro. Riding mowers have the power, agility, and versatility to handle it all with ease.
We’ve tested over a dozen lawn mowers in our own lawns across the country including six riding lawn mowers, using each for three separate mowing sessions. During each session, the mowers were evaluated for ease of operation, comfort while riding, intuitiveness of the controls, battery runtime where applicable. and of course, how well the mower cut the grass. We considered how well the mowers maneuvered around obstacles, the range of accessories available for separate purchase, and the overall value of each mower before compiling our final list of winners.
John Deere S100 42-Inch 17.5 HP Gas Hydrostatic Riding Lawn Tractor
- Very easy to maneuver even around tight turns
- Excellent performance cutting both wet and dry grass
- Smooth, comfortable ride
- White Glove Service
Our top-scoring riding mower performed like a Champion on all three mowing sessions at our 10-acre New Jersey yard (although the manufacturer recommends it for yards up to 1 acre in size). We were amazed at how easy it was to maneuver even around tight corners or close to trees. And it did a great job of cleanly cutting both dry and wet grass; remarkably, it did not leave any ruts on the wet grass, just small indentations. The mower provides a comfortable, smooth ride; we drove it down a 500-foot gravel path to reach the lawn without any discomfort or difficulty. This mower has 13 cutting levels ranging from 1 inch to 4 inches, and we found it very easy to set the desired cutting height. Even better, it was delivered already assembled and ready to go thanks to its White Glove Service.
The cutting deck is 42 inches, which is a good size for making quick work of the lawn, yet not so large that it’s bulky or hard to steer. It has a tight 18-inch turning radius. And with its 17.5-horsepower Briggs Stratton engine, this is a powerful mower that won’t struggle with slopes, tall grass, or thick weeds. It discharges the clippings to the side, and we found that it also easily cleared away fallen leaves from the grass. John Deere sells clipping bags, mulchers, and several other yard maintenance accessories separately. Like most gasoline-powered riding mowers, you will need to occasionally perform oil changes, but the process is not too difficult. And thanks to the electric start, it’s very easy to power the mower up and get right to work.
We found the seat to be quite comfortable, and you can adjust the position to suit your height. All of the controls are easy to identify and use, although it took us a few minutes to get used to the side-by-side foot pedals for going forward or reversing. The mower’s top speed is 5.5 mph going forward, and 3.2 mph in reverse. It can cut the grass in either direction. It has headlights if you want to mow at dusk or dawn, and a cup holder to keep your favorite beverage close at hand while you work.
This riding mower is covered by John Deere’s 2-year/120-hour bumper-to-bumper warranty. And it’s quite reasonably priced for a riding mower; overall, it’s hard to go wrong with this hard-working mower.
Price at time of publish: 2,399
Cutting Width: 42 inches | Power Type: Gasoline | Weight: 414 pounds | Cutting Options: Side-discharge | Size of Yard: Up to 1 acre
Ryobi 80V HP Brushless 42-Inch Electric Cordless Riding Lawn Tractor
- Excellent performance
- Comfortable and fun to drive
- Long battery runtime
- LCD screen and app for tracking battery life
If you are looking for an electric riding lawn mower with all the power of a gas model, but without the fumes or bother of a gas engine, the RYOBI 80V HP Brushless 42 in. Battery Riding Lawn Tractor is our top choice. We found it fun to ride; with a maximum forward speed of 7 mph, this is a zippy mower that speeds up or slows down almost immediately when adjusting your foot on the lever, but we did find it a bit jerky at times. It also was somewhat tricky to assemble, taking us over an hour to have it ready to go. The mower has a 42-inch deck and four steel blades with 13 different cutting height positions to choose from (within 1.5 to 4.5 inches), so you can really fine-tune the look of your lawn. It did a great job cutting the grass, whether wet or dry, at our third-acre Iowa test garden, and even chopped up small sticks, leaves, and weeds very easily. It even features a warning beep when backing up; while we appreciate this safety feature, it admittedly did become tiresome to hear the beep every time we reversed.
According to the manufacturer, it has the equivalent of a 21-horsepower engine, but it runs on the included three 80-volt, 10Ah batteries which allow you to cut up to 2 acres on a single charge (about 60 minutes of runtime) and quickly recharge in less than 2.5 hours thanks to the onboard charger. In our test sessions, the batteries never dropped much below 80 percent capacity, and we appreciated the LCD touchscreen that lets you keep tabs on the battery runtime and charging speed, as well as blade speed, driving speed, and blade height. Other extra features we like include LED headlights, front and back storage compartments, two tow hitches, two cup holders, and two USB ports to charge your phone.
Of course, the most important feature of a lawn mower is how well it cuts grass, and this one left our test lawn looking great, without creating ruts, ridges, or unevenly chopped grass. The mower discharges clippings to the side, but you can purchase a bagger and mulching kit separately, as well as various lawn care attachments. This is a powerful, feature-packed riding lawn tractor so it comes at a bigger price tag than other picks. If you don’t need all of these features, you may want to choose a more budget-friendly model. However, we think if you are looking for a great electric riding mower with all of the features and power you need, this is your best bet. It comes with a 5-year limited warranty.
Price at time of publish: 4,999
Cutting Width: 42 inches | Power Type: Battery | Weight: 557 pounds | Cutting Options: Side-discharge | Size of Yard: 1 to 2 acres
Toro TimeCutter 50 inch 24.5 HP Zero-Turn Riding Mower
- Excellent cutting performance
- Very comfortable, smooth ride
- Easy maintenance
- Zero-turn radius
- A bit of a learning curve to handle
- Bagger and mulching kit must be purchased separately
- No headlights
While we did have a bit of a learning curve with this powerful gas riding mower from Toro, once we got the hang of using the hand levers to control our speed, braking, direction, and blade engagement, we found that it was easy to maneuver between trees and other obstacles on our half-acre Iowa lawn. But if you have a larger property, you’ll be happy to know that this mower is rated for yards up to 4 acres in size. It has a hefty 50-inch cutting deck, so the zero-turn capability comes in handy when swiveling such a large mower around flowerbeds, between trees, or near retaining walls or other obstacles. We also found it very easy to set the cutting height, which ranges from a low of 1.5 inches to a high of 4.5 inches.
On our first mowing session, the grass was wet and the mower’s tires slipped a bit while moving down a slope, but on subsequent sessions, we had little problem in mowing over wet grass, thick grass, leaves, and other small lawn debris. The mower left the grass very evenly cut, with a lush, full appearance. Like many riding mowers, the clippings discharge to the side; if you want a bag or mulching kit, you’ll have to buy them separately. We definitely appreciated Toro’s MyRide suspension system, which keeps the ride smooth and pleasant even when the terrain isn’t completely level. And with a top speed of 7 mph, this mower can get the job done quickly. It has a cup holder to keep a cold beverage close at hand but does not have headlights, unlike many other riding mowers.
One great feature of this gas mower is that while it does require annual oil changes, it’s designed to make the task as easy as possible, so you won’t have to waste your afternoon on maintenance. It also has wash-out ports underneath the deck, so you can quickly blast away caked-on grass, mud, and grunge with your garden hose. And the sturdy construction, including the steel deck, means that this mower can take a beating and keep right on mowing without a pause. It comes with a 3-year residential limited warranty.
Price at time of publish: 4,299
Cutting Width: 50 inches | Power Type: Gasoline | Weight: 694 pounds | Cutting Options: Side-discharge | Size of Yard: Up to 4 acres
Best Lawn Tractor
Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro LT 46-Inch Hydrostatic Drive Gas Riding Lawn Tractor
- Comfortable, adjustable seat
- Reasonable price
- Excellent performance in cutting grass
We put this gas-powered lawn tractor to the test on a 6-acre Iowa property that once housed horses, and so is rather bumpy, and also has many trees and other obstacles. The mower was easy to assemble, but the instructions for starting it were somewhat unclear, and it took us several tries to get it up and running. Still, once we figured it out, we were very pleased with the mower’s performance. It operated beautifully over wet grass, thick grass, and uneven spots, plus, it maneuvered easily around all obstacles. The mower has a 23-horsepower/725 cc Kohler engine with plenty of power, and the 46-inch deck is big enough for getting the job done quickly but not so large that it’s hard to slip between trees and other obstacles.
The mower has 12 cutting settings ranging from 1.5 inches to 4 inches. We found it very easy to adjust the cutting height, as well as other controls on the mower. It has a 16-inch turn radius, which is tight enough for most lawns, although we couldn’t get quite as close to some trees as we would have liked. The maximum forward speed is 5.5 mph, which is a bit slower than some other models, but more than sufficient for most users. Overall, we felt like our lawn looked great once we finished mowing, and the mower spewed the grass clippings evenly from the side chute. Like most riding mowers, if you want a bagger or mulching kit, you’ll need to purchase them separately. There are quite a few other attachments available for this mower as well.
The seat can be adjusted, which was a definite plus for us, along with the smooth ride. On the downside, this mower does require periodic oil changes, but the process shouldn’t be too difficult or time-intensive. And on the plus side, the mower has cruise control, so once you find a speed that you like, you can easily set the mower to continue at that pace. It also has headlights for mowing in shady spots or at dusk. While riding mowers are undeniably expensive, this one is reasonably priced for the quality and performance it provides. It’s rated for use on lawns up to 4 acres in size and comes with a 3-year warranty.
Price at time of publish: 2,574
Cutting Width: 46 inches | Power Type: Gasoline | Weight: 575 pounds | Cutting Options: Side-discharge | Size of Yard: Up to 4 acres
Best Battery Zero-Turn
Ryobi 80V HP Brushless 42-Inch Battery Electric Cordless Zero Turn Riding Mower
- Intuitive and easy to use
- Joystick for steering and speed control
- Long battery runtime
- Very clean cut on all types of grass
- Initially received a defective mower, although customer service was excellent
We tested this mower on a half-acre property in Iowa. While it was fairly straightforward and quick to assemble the mower and give the batteries an initial charge, it turned out that our first test mower had an electrical problem that required several phone calls and a technician’s visit before determining that the mower was defective. However, we were quickly provided a new mower, which was already assembled and ready to go. Despite this unfortunate start to our testing sessions, we were very impressed with the manufacturer’s customer service, and we loved the performance of this zero-turn mower, which has a 42-inch deck and power that Ryobi claims is equivalent to 31 horsepower.
Unlike many other riding mowers, which have levers, pedals, or steering wheels to control the motion of the machine, this one has Ryobi’s iDrive joystick, which lets you set your speed in forward or reverse, as well as turn and maneuver the mower. Not only was this fun, but it was also very intuitive and easy to use. The mower also has an LCD screen that shows battery life and runtime. This mower comes with four batteries: two 80-volt, 10-amp hour and two 40-volt, 12-amp hour batteries, which can all be charged simultaneously. In our testing sessions, the batteries still had plenty of charge left once mowing was finished. Ryobi claims that you can mow up to 3 acres on a single full charge.
Setting the cutting height, which ranges from 1.5 inches to 4.5 inches, is easily accomplished with a single lever, and with four blades, this mower easily handled wet grass, thick grass, and tall grass, leaving our lawn looking great. The clippings discharge from the side, although you can purchase a bagger or mulching kit separately if desired. While riding the mower, we especially appreciated how quiet it is in comparison to gas mowers—we could actually talk to nearby family members while riding it—and how smooth and comfortable a ride it provides, thanks to the superior seat suspension that absorbs a lot of the bumps and vibrations. The mower also has some nice extra features, including headlights, cup holders, and USB charging ports. While this mower is undeniably a big investment, we felt that its performance, power, and ease of use make it well worth the cost for those with big yards. It has a 5-year warranty.
Price at time of publish: 5,999
Cutting Width: 42 inches | Power Type: Battery | Weight: 700 pounds | Cutting Options: Side-discharge | Size of Yard: Up to 4 acres
Best Gas Zero-Turn
Cub Cadet Ultima ZT1 42-Inch 22 HP Zero-Turn Mower
- Seat can be fully adjusted for a comfortable ride
- Relatively reasonable price
- Easy to control
While all riding mowers are fairly expensive, particularly zero-turn mowers, the Cub Cadet Ultima Series ZT1 Zero-Turn Mower is relatively reasonable in price, making it even more of a great option for yards up to 4 acres in size. While testing, It took us around 30 minutes to assemble, but it did take us a little longer to figure out the choke. However, once we understood the instructions, we got started mowing a third-acre Iowa lawn that includes hills, several obstacles, and areas of very thick, tall grass. Initially, we took it easy and went slowly while we got used to the handling of the mower, which was a bit touchy. However, once we got the hang of it, we did find the mower to be easy to control, and we really liked being able to make sharp turns around obstacles. We did report some rattling from a belt that needed to be tightened, but that didn’t affect the performance.
2023 Tractor Supply Lawn Mower Lineup
While mowing, we found it very easy to adjust the cutting height, which has an impressive range of 1 inch to 4.5 inches. We mowed right through very tall patches of grass without a hitch and liked the way the clippings were ejected far to the side of the mower, so there was no annoying buildup of clumps. It’s easy to speed up or slow down; the more you push the handlebars, the faster you’ll go, up to a top speed of 7 mph. Plus, you can mow both forward and in reverse, which made it easier to reach some trickier spots on the lawn. The mower felt very stable and safe even while mowing on slopes. Initially, we found the ride to be somewhat bumpy, but once we had the fully adjustable seat set to our ideal position, the ride became quite smooth.
With a 22-horsepower Kohler engine, this is a powerful mower with a very sturdy build. Like other gas mowers, it does require periodic oil changes. While we liked its side-discharge function, you’ll have to purchase a bagger or mulching kit separately if that’s your preference. Cub Cadet also sells various attachments that can be added to the mower for other lawn care functions. It has a 3-year warranty.
Price at time of publish: 3,499
Cutting Width: 42 inches | Power Type: Gasoline | Weight: 580 pounds | Cutting Options: Side-discharge | Size of Yard: Up to 3 acres
Best for Hills
Troy-Bilt Bronco 42 in. 19 HP Automatic Drive Gas Riding Lawn Mower
- Automatic transmission
- Good traction on hills
- Extra leg room
- Compatible with a variety of accessories
While we were not able to personally test the Bronco 42, we still recommend this 19-horsepower, 42-inch gas mower for yards up to 2 acres in size, especially if your yard has a lot of slopes. This sturdy mower has an automatic transmission and uses a simple foot pedal to control your speed, just like your car. That means you are likely to feel comfortable handling the mower from the start, even if you have never used a riding lawn mower before.
The mower has anti-scalp, 20-inch all-terrain wheels, making it much easier to mow smoothly over uneven terrain or up and down slopes without bogging down or damaging your turf. Note that as with all riding mowers, you should always mow from side to side across a slope, not up and down the slope, to maintain stability. There are five cutting height settings, which are easy to adjust with a single lever, and range from 1.25 inches to 3.75 inches. That’s a smaller cutting range than many other riding mowers, but it easily handles most common lawn grasses, and the double blades, large wheels, and sturdy construction of the mower allow it to plow right through tall or thick turf without a problem.
The Troy-Bilt Bronco 42 has a step-through frame that offers more leg room, and the mid-back seat and rubber footpads keep you comfortable while you work. Its 18-inch turn radius is tight enough to maneuver around most yard obstacles, such as trees, fences, flowerbeds, or playsets. The machine has a rear hitch to pull garden carts, sprayers, and spreaders. It comes with a side-discharge chute for clippings, but if you prefer to bag or mulch the grass clippings, you’ll need to buy those accessories separately. Like all gas mowers, you’ll need to carry out periodic oil changes, usually recommended after every 50 hours of use or annually. It comes with a 2-year warranty.
Price at time of publish: 2,199
Cutting Width: 42 inches | Power Type: Gasoline | Weight: 520 pounds | Cutting Options: Side-discharge | Size of Yard: 1 to 2 acres
Cub Cadet 30 in. 56-Volt MAX 30 Ah Battery Riding Lawn Tractor
Not everyone needs a beast of a mower that can handle yards up to 4 acres in size. If you have a lawn that’s 1 acre or less, or you have a lot of obstacles on your property that require a smaller mower to maneuver between and around them, we recommend this battery-powered mower from Cub Cadet. It has a 30-inch deck that can slip through a 36-inch gate, and which won’t take up a lot of space in your garage or garden shed. While we were unable to test this mower ourselves, it’s still our top choice for smaller yards.
The mower comes with a 56-volt MAX 30 amp-hour battery that can mow up to 1 acre, or for 1 hour, before needing a recharge, which takes roughly 4 hours. It’s supremely quiet compared to gas mowers, and the ride is smooth and comfortable. Plus, no need for oil changes, pouring gasoline into a fuel tank, or smelly fumes. You can adjust the cutting height within a range of 1.5 inches to 4 inches, and no bogging down on tall or thick grass. The 18-inch turning radius is tight enough to easily work your way around most obstacles.
One feature that we especially approve of, and yet isn’t offered on many riding mowers, is this model’s cruise control, which allows you to set your speed up to a maximum of 5.5 mph and then let the mower keep your pace steady; no need to concentrate on maintaining an even speed by pushing pedals or gripping levers. Plus, it has a very comfortable high-back seat with armrests, LED headlights, a cup holder, and two onboard USB ports to power up your phone or music while you ride. Additionally, unlike every other mower on our list, this one includes the mulching kit—all others require you to purchase that separately—so you can turn the grass clippings into fine mulch to help feed your lawn. It comes with a 3-year warranty.
Price at time of publish: 3,600
Cutting Width: 30 inches | Power Type: Battery | Weight: 362 pounds | Cutting Options: Mulch, side-discharge | Size of Yard: Up to 2 acres
Our top recommendation, the gas-powered John Deere S100 42-Inch Riding Lawn Mower, is supremely easy to maneuver around obstacles while creating a very smooth cut even on thick or tall grass. It comes with “White Glove Service” delivery, so you won’t have to assemble it, and it is easy to operate and maintain. However, if you prefer an electric mower, then we recommend the Ryobi 80V 42-Inch Battery Riding Mower, which has a lot of power and excellent battery runtime; you can get up to an hour of mowing done before needing to recharge. That’s enough for most people to complete the task on just one charge.
How We Tested the Riding Lawn Mowers
After testing eight walk-behind lawn mowers across the country, we tested six riding mowers, including gas, electric, and zero-turn options, each tested on a different property with varying terrain and lawn conditions, including slopes, rough spots, tall grass, and wet areas. We started by recording how long it took to unbox and assemble the riding lawn mower, as well as the difficulty or ease of assembly. (Two of the mowers were delivered assembled and ready to go, however.)
Once the grass was long enough to require mowing, we tested the riding mower on three separate occasions. For each session, we recorded the date and weather conditions, the size of the area to be mowed, the height of grass to be cut, and the length of time it took to accomplish the mowing. At the end of the session, we noted how cleanly and evenly the lawn had been cut, as well as how well the side-discharge chute shot the clippings back onto the lawn. (Only one of our tested mowers included an option other than side-discharge of the clippings; commonly clippings bags and mulching kits are not included with a riding mower, but must be purchased separately if desired.)
As we rode the mowers, we noted how easy it was to speed up or slow down the machine in both forward and reverse, the ease of raising or lowering the cutting height, how well the mower maneuvered around obstacles, and how evenly the mower cut all types of grass, including tall or thick patches as well as wet turf. We also paid attention to the comfort of the seat and the overall comfort of the ride, noting if it was unusually rough, had excessive vibration, or was in any other way uncomfortable to use the mower. We also tried out any extra features on the mowers, including headlights, cupholders, USB charging ports, or onboard storage areas.
At the end of each mowing session, we noted how much battery charge was left on electric mowers, as well as the length of time required for a full recharge. Finally, we summed up each experience with the mower, noting whether or not we felt it was a good value for the performance delivered.
What to Look for in a Riding Lawn Mower
One of the first decisions you’ll need to make is whether to buy a gas- or electric-powered riding lawn mower. Marc Mayer, Director of Technical Operations at TruGreen, says, Like in the automobileworld, battery-powered equipment is popular right now. Electrical mowers on both the residential and professional/commercial side are becoming more preferred over gas powered. You have to take into account that they both require different maintenance schedules, and it’s important to ask questions like ‘How long does the battery last, and what is the cost of a replacement battery’ before making a commitment to electric.
As a general rule, gas mowers, including our Best Overall choice, the John Deere S100, are more powerful than electric models, but they’re louder, less eco-friendly, and require more maintenance, including regular oil changes. Plus, in some locations, gas mowers have very stringent requirements for emission levels that some models can’t meet. However, Noah James, professional landscaper and owner of Liberty Lawn Maintenance notes that the power of a gas mower can be especially useful if your lawn has rough areas, thick weeds, or especially tough grass.
Electric mowers, on the other hand, like our Best Electric Riding Mower, the Ryobi 80V Brushless Electric Riding Mower, are typically less powerful and require you to keep an eye on the battery charge level, but they’re also quieter, easier to start, and better for the environment. Still, while electric mowers require consistent charging, they often don’t require as much maintenance as gas models that have spark plugs, belts, and filters that must be maintained over time.
The deck size of a lawn mower dictates how wide a path it cuts—larger decks cut wider paths on each pass. Most residential riding mowers have decks that are around 42 inches, but if you have a very large property, you might want to consider a mower with deck that’s considerably bigger, like our Best Gas Mower pick, the Toro TimeCutter Zero-Turn Mower, which has a 50-inch deck. And of course, small properties, or lawns with many obstacles, might do best with a mower that has a smaller deck.
Keep in mind that the larger the mower, the harder it will be to maneuver through gates and other obstacles, plus the more space it will require in your garage or shed. Also, a mower’s deck size will impact its turning radius—except for zero-turn mowers, which can manage wider decks thanks to their overall design—and will also make it more challenging to navigate uneven terrain. Our Best Battery Powered Zero-Turn Mower, the Ryobi 80V Electric Zero-Turn Riding Mower, turns on a dime even with its 42-inch deck.
While the typical push mower‘s engine is just 2 to 5 horsepower or the equivalent in battery power, a riding mower requires considering more oomph, with most having engine power or equivalent battery power of 13 to 30 horsepower. Noah James says, Make sure the riding mower you’re considering has enough horsepower to handle your specific needs. A larger engine will be able to handle thicker grass and steeper hills with ease.
As a rough guideline, a lawn that’s less than an acre can be handled by a riding mower with at least 13 horsepower, but a 3-acre lawn needs at least 18 horsepower to get the job done, and even more if your lawn has slopes or rugged terrain.
Don’t forget to consider how the lawn mower handles grass clippings. Just about every riding mower has a side-discharge chute to spit the clippings back out onto your lawn. But many brands also offer mulching kits or clipping bags for their riding mowers; note that you’ll generally have to purchase these separately. However, our Best Small Mower, the Cub Cadet 30-Inch Battery Mower, does include a mulching kit. If you want to mulch or bag your clippings, be sure that any riding mower you are considering offers these options, and remember to add the price of the accessories to the cost of the mower itself.
The defining feature of zero-turn mowers is a zero-degree turning radius, but these mowers are generally also much faster than regular riding mowers. However, keep in mind that it’s easier to maintain control around obstacles at lower speeds, so unless you have a very large, flat lawn, you’re unlikely to be running your mower at top speed very often. Plus, zero-turn mowers are much more expensive than regular riding mowers.
According to Marc Mayer, a riding lawn mower is suited to any type of turf, but because these machines are heavy, they can cause soil compaction, which can affect the health of your grass. You can help prevent this by not mowing when the ground is wet, and by trying to avoid mowing over the same area more than once.
The top speed for standard riding lawnmowers ranges from 4 to 6 mph. Zero-turn mowers are much faster, with some going 8 to 10 mph at full speed. While speed is a great factor to consider if you prefer to quickly complete outdoor tasks, a speedy job does not always result in a better cut, so don’t automatically assume that you need the fastest mower available.
The easiest way to transport a riding lawn mower is with a trailer. Mowers can be driven up a ramp into a low trailer and towed behind a vehicle. You may also transport riding mowers in the bed of a pickup truck, but special ramps are required. Of course, if you are merely loaning the mower to a neighbor or somewhere very close by, you may be able to ride the mower to the location, as long as the terrain permits this and you keep the blade turned off and elevated.
Why Trust The Spruce?
Michelle Ullman is the home improvement/tool expert for The Spruce. She has extensive experience not only in writing about all things related to the home, but also in carrying out various DIY projects, including landscaping, painting, flooring, wallpapering, furniture makeovers, and simple repairs around the house and yard.
For this roundup, she relied on input from our team of testers, but also considered dozens of other riding lawn mowers of various types, evaluating each for features, power, effectiveness, ease of use, and overall value. She also considered feedback from customers, both positive and negative, as well as reviews and information on landscaping websites. Noah James, professional landscaper and owner of Liberty Lawn Maintenance, and Marc Mayer, Director of Technical Operations at TruGreen, also provided additional expert input.
What Is The Spruce Approved?
Here at The Spruce, we want to ensure we fully stand behind every product we recommend and that when we say something is the best, we mean it. You might have noticed The Spruce Approved badge next to the products on this list. Every product with this badge has been rigorously tested in person and carefully selected by our expert team of lab testers and editors. In most cases, we buy all these products ourselves, though occasionally, we get samples provided to us directly by companies. No matter how we procure products, they all go through the same tests and must meet the same strict criteria to make the best-of cut.
The Best Electric Riding Lawn Mower, Including Mower with Cruise Control
Welcome to the Thomas guide to the best electric riding lawn mower 2023. Thomas has been connecting North American industrial buyers and suppliers for more than 120 years. When you purchase products through our independent recommendations, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Having a perfectly healthy and trimmed lawn is every homeowner’s dream. However, spending a fortune on landscaping services every few weeks isn’t practical, and using the typical push mower can take hours. A riding mower is a great solution, as it is comfortable to use and can get the job done in no time. Gas-powered riding mowers are the traditional option for buyers, but more and more manufacturers are offering electric riding lawn mowers as they can offer a true one-time investment, unlike gas mowers.
Electric riding mowers tend to use brushless motors that are powered by multiple rechargeable batteries. Unlike a gas engine, electric mowers have zero carbon emissions and no fumes, making them very environmentally friendly. They are also a lot quieter than gas-powered lawn mowers and don’t require expensive maintenance, such as filling up on gas and replacing spark plugs, belts, and filters.
Here is a list of the best electric riding lawn mowers, followed by a buying guide to help you select the best electric riding lawn mower.
Thomas’ Top Picks for the Best Electric Riding Lawn Mowers 2023
Gas-powered mowers are a thing of the past, and there is a type of electric riding lawn mower out there for any lawn.
Best Battery Life for a Mower: Greenworks Pro 60V 42-Inch CrossoverT Riding Lawn Mower | Buy Now
Best Mower with Cruise Control: RYOBI 38-Inch Electric Riding Mower 100 Ah | Buy Now
Scroll down to read more about these top picks for the best electric riding lawn mowers, according to many happy buyers.
listed in this article were as shown in US on lowes.com, homedepot.com, walmart.com, tractorsupply.com, and cubcadet.com (USA) as of May 2023
Best Overall Mower—EGO POWER 42-Inch Z6 Zero-Turn Riding Mower
With innovative technology and plenty of battery power, the EGO POWER Z6 riding mower has earned its spot at the top of the list. This zero-turn mower comes with four lithium-ion batteries that can last up to two acres on just one charge. The electric mower even has the capacity to hold up to six batteries to extend its life further.
The featured wall charger can charge six batteries at once and get a full charge on four 10 Ah batteries in just two hours, making it perfect for long lawns that need multiple runs. The batteries even have fuel gauges to alert the user when they are ready to return to work.
“The power and speed remained consistent whether the mower was fully charged at 100% or down to 5%,” wrote a customer. “This is not any basic electric mower, it is very user intuitive with an advanced control panel and Bluetooth connection that grants a remote key and charging status from a user’s phone. On top of it all, it even has a USB phone charger.”
Deck width: 42 in.
Power: 56 V
Maximum speed: 8 mph
Best Mower for Large Residential Lawns—RYOBI 54-Inch 115 Ah Zero-Turn Electric Riding Lawn Mower
At 54 inches wide, the large cutting deck on the RYOBI electric riding lawn mower can cover a surface area that a push mower couldn’t dream of. This electric rider comes with 115 Ah lead-acid batteries that run for 2.5 hours. It also integrates five brushless motors that have the power to cut any large lawn up to 3.5 acres.
After cutting such a long lawn, most users would be fatigued on any regular gas mower, but the RYOBI lawn mower gives riders the most comfortable experience. This is thanks to its easy-to-control zero-degree turning radius, the convenient arm supports, and a double cup holder.
The three mower blades are able to cut through large swaths of grass. “We live on a farm and we do get tall grass and it handles it,” wrote one customer. “It has a nice large chute that almost never gets plugged.” Another person who lives on five acres noted, “I can mow all grassy areas on a full charge and still have about 20–40% remaining. It cuts like a dream.”
Deck width: 54 in.
Power: 48 V
Maximum speed: 7 mph
Best Mower for a Smooth Ride—HART 80V Brushless 30-Inch Lithium-Ion Riding Mower
According to reviews, this 80V electric HART riding mower makes cutting the grass much easier and smoother than many gas-powered mowers. Customers report that this thing’s lithium-ion battery makes it operate extremely quietly. It can easily cut through thick grass, too, thanks to 80 volts of power.
Even on a lawn with a ton of barriers and obstacles, the tight turning radius allows for simple navigation when maneuvering through small gates and around turns. Without fuel and the need to replace spark plugs, even maintenance is nearly non-existent.
“As someone that does a lot of lawn mowing, the smooth and comfortable ride of this will be so appreciated,” one reviewer confirmed. “I love that I can adjust the height for an even more comfortable ride.”
Deck width: 30 in.
Power: 80 V
Maximum speed: 5 mph
Best Battery Life for a Mower—Greenworks Pro 60V 42-Inch CrossoverT Riding Lawn Mower
The Greenworks Pro CrossoverT riding lawn mower has six batteries with 8Ah of power to cover up to 2.5 acres per charge. One of its best features is its set of three turbochargers that each hook up to two batteries for simultaneously recharging in only 90 minutes.
Not only does this electric mower have a long battery life, but it’s tough, too. It has the power of a 24hp gas engine and can handle any surface as it climbs a 15° incline. It even has SmartCut technology to reserve power while handling any lawn condition, from thick to wet grass.
This electric rider can do more than just trim the grass: It can tow and has a cargo bed for transporting loads up to 200 pounds. “We have close to two acres to mow, it is not flat, and there are lots of things to go around,” wrote a buyer. “Starting at 100% charge, it does the whole thing.”
Deck width: 42 in.
Power: 60 V
Maximum speed: 8 mph
Best Mower for Medium-Sized Lawns—Cub Cadet CC30E Electric Mini Riding Mower
For medium or smaller lawns, most buyers would not need commercial-sized zero-turn mowers, let alone have the space to store them, but the Cub Cadet electric mini riding mower is just the right size. At 30 inches in width, Cub Cadet has a smaller cutting deck and is a much more compact machine for tight backyards.
Even though this Cub Cadet model is smaller and more economical than others on this list, it still has all the necessary bells and whistles, such as LED headlights and USB charging. It uses a 30 Ah lithium-ion battery that can last one hour or for one acre, which is just enough time for houses on limited land.
Even when the rechargeable battery level starts to dip, there will be no fade in the cutting performance. “What they advertise has been right on,” explained one customer. “I normally have 23% left after mowing 3/4 of an acre lot.”
Deck width: 30 in.
Power: 56 v
Maximum speed: 4 mph
Best Mower with Cruise Control—RYOBI 38-Inch Electric Riding Mower 100 Ah
For an easy electric ride, the RYOBI electric riding mower features a cruise control button to set a consistent speed up to 8 mph. To further customize their ride, users have 12 cutting heights to choose from—ranging from 1.5 inches to 4.5 inches—to get the best grass length.
The control panel also has a gauge for the lead-acid battery and the option to turn on the LED headlights for mowing in low light.
One happy buyer wrote, “Cruise control works very well even on steep hills.” Due to the 16-inch turning radius, they also found that the mower “zips around corners.”
Deck width: 38 in.
Power: 48 V
Maximum speed: 8 mph
The Best Electric Riding Lawn Mower—Summary
For a very advanced and efficient machine, the EGO POWER Z6 riding mower (US4,499, Lowe’s) has lots of battery power and interactive features.
For a great battery life with little in-between time, the Greenworks Pro CrossoverT riding lawn mower (US3,999.99, Tractor Supply Company) will last and has extremely fast-charging batteries.
Choosing the Best Electric Riding Lawn Mowers—Buying Guide
Although electric riding mowers are becoming more popular due to their numerous benefits, they are still somewhat limited on the market compared to the number of gas mowers for sale. However, there are still lots of variations in size and power out there when choosing the best electric riding mower.
Since the entire cutting and driving force behind electric mowers comes from their batteries, a buyer should prioritize considering all of their aspects.
Types of Batteries: There are two common types of rechargeable batteries that electric lawn mowers will come with: a lead-acid battery or a lithium-ion battery. Generally speaking, lithium-ion batteries are typically more efficient and will last longer; however, these factors can be heavily impacted by the type and quality of the electric lawn tractor.
Power: The power of these batteries can be determined by their amperage hours (Ah). This directly measures how many amps a battery can exert per hour. This can also reflect the battery’s capacity, so a higher Ah can last longer. Again, this is dependent on each lawn tractor. For example, the voltage of electric mowers will tell the buyer a lot about how much power the electric rider is capable of, but it also needs enough Ah in a battery to last, and vice versa.
Runtime: How long an electric lawn mower can last per charge is typically measured by acreage or hours. For most buyers, acreage will be the best way to estimate if a lawn tractor can finish the job in a single charge. For long lawns or farms, lawn mowers that can cut up to three acres or more will be the best fit. However, for smaller land, that extra runtime isn’t needed.
Charging: The battery charger itself and how long it takes to charge are also very important. Most electric lawn mowers won’t last over three hours, so for the jobs that may take a little longer, needing two cutting sessions is normal. That is why riding mowers that feature a fast charger that can charge all the batteries at once are a must for getting right back to work.
The other big characteristic that sets electric riding mowers apart from one another is the style of steering and the turning radius.
Standard Riding Mower: A standard riding mower is the traditional design of lawn tractors that come equipped with a basic or ergonomic steering wheel. These models will have various turning radiuses, but in the department of electric riders, they typically have a turning radius of 16 or 18 inches. These mowers are more compact and less expensive, making them the best choice for those either on a budget or with small yards.
Zero-Turn Mower: A zero-turn mower has a turning radius of zero, hence the name. Instead of a steering wheel, the direction and speed are controlled by two handles on each side. They are incredibly easy to control and can make cutting the lawn very fast and efficient. They are also the best electric riding mowers for very large lawns and land that has lots of obstacles to move around. However, a zero-turn lawn mower is often more expensive, larger, and can’t handle large slopes and hills.
For buying any lawn equipment, the choice will really depend on the type of lawn a buyer is looking to trim. The following can be further considered to narrow down what is the best electric lawn mower for each user.
Cutting Deck Size: The cutting deck of a lawn mower is where the blades are, so the cutting deck size tells a buyer how much area will be covered after one run. A large cutting width is more efficient, making it an excellent choice for large lawns. On the other hand, a wide cutting deck will likely make the job more difficult for smaller yards as they can’t as easily move through tight spaces.
Accessories: Some lawn mowers will offer different features and accessories to make the job more comfortable, such as cup holders, USB charging ports, and headlights. Electric mowers can also either come with or are compatible with, mulching and bagging kits. A bag can neatly collect all of the grass clippings, but the process can be seen as wasteful and time-consuming. Mulching is an alternative process that finely chops the grass multiple times and spreads it across the lawn. It is great for the environment and the health of the grass. A mulch kit can be added to compatible mowers to enable this feature with a mulching plug and mulching blades.
We hope our review of the best electric riding lawn mowers has been helpful. For more suppliers of related products, including edge and weed lawn trimmers, hand shears, fertilizers, weed killers, and leaf blowers, consult our additional guides, or visit the Thomas Supplier Discovery Platform.
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