Husqvarna Automower 430XH review: Set up is a chore, but mowing won t be. Are Husqvarna mowers good

Even for the most avid lawncare enthusiast, mowing can become burdensome.

Android Central Verdict

The Husqvarna Automower 430XH isn’t for everyone but can benefit everyone with a lawn. It offers consistent mowing with little to no assistance for the user once it is set up. Unless you have loose dirt, tree roots, or other debris in your yard, then you’ll be helping the mower get unstuck.


  • Consistent mowing performance
  • Silent operation
  • Inexpensive replacement blades
  • Able to manage large areas
  • The companion app is quite helpful


  • – The boundary wire is a pain to install
  • – Requires boundary wire to operate
  • – Easily stuck

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Robot vacuums have become commonplace over the past few years, with devices ranging from basic floor cleaners to ones packed with AI-powered cameras. A handful of companies hope a similar trend holds true for robotic lawnmowers. A brand that has been at the forefront of these products is Husqvarna.

Well known for making power tools for outdoor projects, the company is familiar with what it takes to withstand the beating nature can put out. I put the Husqvarna AUTOMOWER 430XH to the test on my rural farm stead for a few months, and I can say that I’m ready for these devices to become more common.

Husqvarna AUTOMOWER 430XH review: Price and availability

The Husqvarna AUTOMOWER 430XH launched in 2019 for 3299.95 through multiple retailers including Amazon, Lowes, Home Depot, and Husqvarna. Since its release the lawnmower has seen multiple price changes, but is currently retailing for 2499.99 at many of the same launch retailers.

Husqvarna AUTOMOWER 430XH review: What’s good

When I was first presented with the opportunity to review a robotic lawnmower, I was both excited and skeptical. Just as I was when I got my first robot vacuum cleaner, but now I don’t want to know what my life would be like without using one of the best robot vacuum cleaners. This is because of the time it has given my family back, and it takes care of a task I’d just as soon not do.

My hope for a robot lawnmower was much the same as the vacuum situation. While I don’t necessarily dislike mowing my yard, I actually quite enjoy it the first few times in the spring, but as the summer rolls on, it very much becomes a chore. So getting something to take the task off my list is very much welcomed. But I live on five acres in rural Kansas, and though I didn’t expect a robot mower to take on my entire property, anything would be welcomed.

The AUTOMOWER 430XH is one of the larger consumer models offered by Husqvarna. It features many of the same conveniences found on basic robot vacuums, like compatibility with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, mapping, a charging dock, spot mowing, and others. But instead of spinning brushes, you get three spinning razor blades for a 9.45-inch cutting path in your yard.

The unit also features sensors that help it to maintain balance and stop the mower if it gets lifted or tilted. However, unlike your vacuum that will start vacuuming once charged, the Husqvarna AUTOMOWER 430XH needs you to set boundaries and guide it some.

DimensionsWeightBatteryCutting widthCutting systemCutting heightLawn sizeMaximum slopeConnectivitySafetySensorsBoundary wire requiredWeather resistantSmart featuresWarranty
29.5 x 24.8 x 13 inches
32.4 pounds
5 Ah, 50 min charge time, 145 min run time
9.45 inches
3 pivoting razor blades
2. 3.6 inches
.8 acre, 1,432 sqft/hr
Cellular, Bluetooth
GPS Theft tracking, PIN code, Alarm
Lift, Tilt, Ultrasonic
Weather timer, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Map locator
2 years

When purchasing an AUTOMOWER, there are two options, professional installation, and self-installation. Being a person that likes to do things himself, I wanted the task of installing it myself. Inside the box for the 430XH is 2461-feet of loop wire, extra blades, low-voltage wire, loop wire couplers and connectors, wire stakes, labels, charging station, ground anchors, and the mower.

A word of advice before you begin installing the loop wire, walk your property and get a clear game plan for where you want the Husqvarna AUTOMOWER 430XH to cut. It will save you a lot of time and frustration laying the wire.

With the boundary and guide wires installed, it was time to connect them to the charging station and power everything up. I switched on the primary power of the Husqvarna AUTOMOWER 430XH and put it on the charger. While charging, it booted up and was ready to pair with the Husqvarna AUTOMOWER Connect app on my Google Pixel 7 Pro.

The app allows you to monitor the mower’s power status and location on your property, schedule mowing, change cutting height, set the weather timer, and more. Using the app, you also get all sorts of different insights as to what your mower has accomplished. You can see stats like how far your AUTOMOWER 430XH has traveled, how much time has been spent charging, cutting, and searching for the base station, and more.

So, the big question is, how good is it as a lawn mower? Well, pretty darn good. Firstly, it is very quiet. Like spooky quiet. Even when it is quiet outside, you have to really listen to hear the motor spinning the blades. My brother and I were sitting outside one evening chatting after watching a football game, and the mower snuck up and scared us.

When I first started the mower, both my wife and I watched it for a bit to see if it was doing anything. Because it isn’t shooting grass clippings out of a chute like most mowers, it is hard to see if grass is getting cut. That is unless it’s in a very tall patch of grass. However, when the mower does encounter an area that is particularly overgrown, it will stop and begin cutting in a spiral pattern to ensure it is fully and evenly cut.

For a device that is designed to automate cutting your lawn, the Husqvarna AUTOMOWER 430XH does a really good job. The unit works great, and the app compliments it well. But, there are some hiccups reaching that point right from the start.

That is the boundary wire installation. Laying out the wire is very tedious and, depending on when you install it, very labor intensive. If you live in an area that doesn’t get too hot and receives plenty of rain, or you set up your mower in the springtime, installing the wire isn’t too bad. But if you install it when I did, in July in Kansas, then it is both difficult with the hard and dry ground and exhausting.

The mower’s display will tell you “No Loop Found,” so you at least know why it isn’t cutting the grass. Also, the charging station has an LED light to display its status, including if the boundary wire loop is broken. But where that break is located is a mystery. If you’re lucky, the break happens by the mower, and you can more easily find it. Otherwise, it is a bunch of walking and trying to find the break, or you can purchase a piece of equipment to tone the wire to find the issue.

Lastly, even with the grippy wheels, the AUTOMOWER 430XH gets stuck and caught on things easily. Now, I admit, my yard isn’t pristine and has more than a few dips in the grass, sticks, and roots to contend with. But I also don’t think it’s bad either. The mower does fine going over small twigs and can handle a pretty good incline. However, if the mower manages to get a larger stick between its wheels or get into loose dirt, it’s going to need help.

Even though Husqvarna has been in the robot lawn mower game for some time now, it’s only just now starting to get some new contenders. Worx is a brand that’s been making affordable outdoor power tools for a while and is also making lawnmowers. Its Landroid L is the closest in terms of cutting area to the AUTOMOWER 430XH.

The Landroid L is rated for up to a.5 acre, the Husqvarna model is.8, and it uses a brushless motor to power the floating cutting disc and wheels. You’ll need to install the boundary wire for the Worx mower, but there are some accessories that can help out too. Such as the ACS antic-collision system, which attaches to the mower to give it ultrasonic detection powers. This means it will sense objects and avoid them rather than just bumping into them. But if you don’t purchase the ACS, it’ll simply respond like the AUTOMOWER 430XH.

The Worx Landroid L offers an 8-inch cutting path and up to 3.5 inches of cutting height. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity allows you to control the mower from anywhere with your smartphone. It does lack GPS, though, so you won’t be able to see it on a map or track it if stolen. However, Worx does offer add-on accessories to solve that issue. The Landroid L comes in quite a bit lower on the price scale at about 1300 at Amazon but won’t cut as large of an area as the 430XH.

Another popular option is from Gardena. This company is part of Husqvarna, so it has some solid backing. Gardena mowers offer similar productivity as Husqvarna but with slightly fewer features and smaller mowing capacity. You’ll find them at a much lower cost compared to the AUTOMOWER 430XH, though. The SILENO Life, model 15108-41, is rated for just under a half acre with an 8.7-inch cutting path. There’s no Wi-Fi or GPS onboard, but you can manage the mower with the companion app if you’re in Bluetooth range.

The mower offers PIN code protection and lifts and tilt sensors. You’ll need to install the boundary wire to define Gardena’s mowing area. Weighing only 18.3 pounds, the SILENO Life is easy to carry and store. Just keep in mind that you won’t be able to cut very large lawns with it, but if you have a smaller yard, this is an option worth considering.

Husqvarna AUTOMOWER 430XH review: Should you buy it?

The portion of my yard that I tested the Husqvarna AUTOMOWER 430XH on was all the space it could handle. But the mower did a great job keeping the grass maintained. However, there was little downtime for the robot. In order to keep up, it had to run nearly non-stop. So if you have a yard under one acre, it will do a great job for you. Assuming you have an already tidy yard without patches of loose dirt.

I’ve really enjoyed using this mower. It saved me tons of time, even if I did have to rescue it many times from getting stuck on a stick or in a hole. Remember that you’ll need to run a boundary wire to use the mower. While not overly complicated, it’s not a simple task. So, if that’s not something you’re willing to do, you’ll need to add the installation cost to your purchase. Depending on your needs or yard size, Husqvarna offers a helpful tool to assist you in finding the right robot lawnmower for your yard.

Robot lawnmowers are not inexpensive devices, but hopefully, they will begin to come down in price. Does that mean the Husqvarna AUTOMOWER 430XH isn’t worth it? No. I think it is wonderful. But, considering the price, I do wish I could forgo the wire and define the mowing area with GPS. In the end, if you have it in your budget and a suitable yard for the robot lawn mower, it is a great way to get some of your time back since it won’t be spent mowing.

Husqvarna LC121P Review, 21 in. 163cc Briggs Stratton Lawn Mower

The combination of the Husqvarna design and built with a quality Briggs Stratton engine makes this a formidable option for medium to large yards. This is a great option with multiple features and outstanding performance.

Power System/Engine

The Husqvarna LC121P is powered by a 163cc Briggs Stratton engine. It has a good range of height adjustments with 9 options in total. The 11 inch rear wheels and the sealed ball-bearings make for smooth and efficient operation. This lawn mower has a 21-inch blade so it will make quick work of your medium to large yard. The ReadyStart ignition makes for an effortless start.

The handles fold back for easy storage. The lawn mower has an over-molded grip for added comfort. The Husqvarna LC121P has a mulching feature, rear bag or side discharge. The grass is collected in a 1.9-bushel grass bag that is easy to remove or put on.

You can get the perfect height according to your needs, the type of grass and the time of year. They are 9 positions to choose from and adjustment is a breeze. Getting the height correct is one of the most important aspects of a good looking and healthy lawn.

To give you a visual representation of the Husqvarna LC121P please watch the video below:

Design and Build Quality

As you would expect from Husqvarna the build quality is of a high standard. Every aspect of the machine has been designed for comfortable and effective use. It has a solid and durable steel deck. The single blade is 21-inches.

The soft-grip handles are over-molded to keep you comfortable for longer. This will reduce fatigue as you operate the lawn mower.

It has been designed to be compact and easy to store. Once the handles are folded back it will fit most sheds or garages easily.

The wheels have also been well designed and are effective and smooth.


The Husqvarna LC121P is built to perform effectively and with ease. The Briggs Stratton 163cc engine gives it plenty of power and the ReadyStart ignition allows you to get it up and running in no time.

The 11 inch rear wheels allow you to glide effortlessly even on rough parts of the yard and they are made even smoother by the sealed ball bearings. This and the 21-inch blade make this a formidable option for any medium to large yard. You will be able to cut the grass quickly and effectively with minimal hassle or effort.

The 3-in-1 side discharge, rear discharge, and mulching features are useful as is the generous 1.9-bushel grass bag. This will mean fewer trips to empty the bag for faster results.

The gas tank will give you approximately 50 minutes of use depending on the condition and height of the grass. This is generally enough for most medium to large yards, although in some cases you will need to top up to complete the job. This is relatively easy to do once you have the hang of it.

The lawn mower has good safety features and the operator presence control bar will automatically stop the engine when released. It also has a deflector at the rear to stop stones or debris shooting back and striking the user.

Minimal assembly is required and is pretty straightforward. The Husqvarna LC121P is comfortable and user-friendly.

Husqvarna vs. John Deere Brand Comparison | The Saw Guy

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If you’ve got a large lawn, chances are you don’t want to be pushing a mower across it. At a certain point, the land gets too large to be able to mow comfortably without a riding mower. That’s where our Husqvarna vs John Deere zero turn mower article comes in. Does Husqvarna really stand a chance?

These cool lawn tractor machines, also known as zero-turn riding mowers, which can make a full 180-degree turn without missing any grass and are suitable for many different types of terrain and they make mowing faster, easier, and more efficient.

There are many companies​ that build zero-turn mowers. Two of the more well-known, however, are Husqvarna​ and John Deere. In this article, we’ll take a look at what these two companies offer and how they stack up against each other.

  • Brief Company Histories:
  • Husqvarna Company History
  • John Deere Company History
  • Husqvarna Group
  • John Deere
  • Husqvarna Product Lines
  • John DeereProduct Lines
  • Husqvarna Reputation and Tool Affordability
  • John Deere Reputation and Tool Affordability
  • ​John Deere Z345M Zero-Turn Riding Mower
  • ​Husqvarna Z246 Zero Turn Lawn Mower
  • Head to Head
  • Engine, Drive, and Power
  • Safety
  • Husqvarna Warranty
  • John Deere Warranty

Brief Company Histories:

Husqvarna and John Deere are two of the more “iconic” power tool companies out there. And they both have pretty interesting histories.

Husqvarna Company History

Husqvarna is the world’s largest producer of outdoor power products. Its product line is extremely diverse and includes everything from chainsaws to robotic lawn mowers. This Swedish company was founded in 1689 as a military weapons factory and, over the years, it has changed its product offering several times.

Husqvarna has been focused on outdoor power tools since the early 1900s, beginning with chainsaws and ultimately moving through riding mowers and other tools. The company has grown through acquisition, and today they own several other brands including Poulan Pro.

John Deere Company History

If you aren’t familiar with Husqvarna, then you’re almost certain to know a little bit about John Deere. This company was founded in 1837 in Grand Detour, Illinois by John Deere as a solution to the demands of prairie life. Deere and his neighbors found that the farm machinery that had come from the east coast wasn’t suitable for the harder ground of Illinois, so he began innovating and created the company we all know and love today.

Both Husqvarna and John Deere are well-known for making products that are durable and which perform well. You’ll find many people are so loyal to one brand they wouldn’t consider anything else!

The zero-turn mowers produced by each company are a fantastic option for anyone who has a yard size of about ½ acre or more. They both have lap bars that make them easy to maneuver, and their long decks mean that they can cover a lot of ground in a short period of time.

Ultimately both of these tractors will perform similarly, but if you’re trying to decide between these two companies there are a few key things to consider.

Husqvarna John Deere Parent Companies

Husqvarna Group

This is the parent company of Husqvarna. They own a wide variety of brands:

  • Husqvarna
  • Gardena
  • McCulloch
  • PoulanPro
  • Weed Eater
  • Flymo
  • Jonsered
  • Klippo
  • Diamant Boart
  • RedMax
  • HTC
  • Blastrac

John Deere

John Deere is its own company. They own a wide variety of brands:

  • Wirtgen
  • Hagie
  • PLA
  • Mazzotti
  • Monosem
  • AI Products
  • Blue River Technology
  • Harvest Profit
  • Bear Flag Robotics
  • Kreisel Electric

Husqvarna vs. John Deere Product Lines

Both Husqvarna and John Deere sell a wide variety of products. Below, you’ll find what each brand’s product line consists of.

Husqvarna Product Lines

Husqvarna also sells outdoor power equipment, but they have a wider variety of products available.

Here are some of the specific types of products you can purchase from Husqvarna:

  • Robotic Lawn Mowers
  • Zero-Turn Lawn Mowers
  • Riding Lawn Mowers
  • Walk-Behind Lawn Mowers
  • Push Lawn Mowers
  • Stand-On Lawn Mowers
  • Chainsaws
  • Pole Saws
  • Forestry Clearing Saws
  • Axes
  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • String Trimmers
  • Leaf Blowers
  • Combi Trimmers
  • Hedge Trimmers
  • Lawn Edgers
  • Snowblowers

John DeereProduct Lines

STIHL sells a variety of outdoor power equipment.

Here are some of the specific types of products you can purchase from John Deere:

  • Cutters
  • Shredders
  • Harvesting Equipment
  • Planting Equipment
  • Seeding Equipment
  • Tractors
  • Mowers
  • Utility Vehicles
  • Dump Trucks
  • Backhoes
  • Dozers
  • Excavators
  • Swing Machines
  • Skidders

Husqvarna vs. John Deere Brand Reputation Cost of Tools

Here we’ll go over the reputations and cost of the tools of each brand.

Husqvarna Reputation and Tool Affordability

Husqvarna is one of the most reliable and durable outdoor power equipment brands on the market. Not only that, but their lawnmowers also come with plenty of sought-after features. Some of those features include pedal-operated speed, ergonomic seating, and direction control.

Most recently, Consumer Reports recognized Husqvarna as one of the most reliable lawn mower brands on the market. Consumer Reports recommends multiple Husqvarna lawn mowers also. Perhaps the only downside to this lawn mower brand is that its products typically come with a premium price tag.

John Deere Reputation and Tool Affordability

John Deere is known for its robust construction, high-quality production, and low failure rate. Their products are both powerful and efficient. In fact, in 2020, Deere was recognized as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies.

John Deere is a privately owned company, and that allows them to control their without much influence from outside sources. Because of this, John Deere products tend to be more expensive than Husqvarna products.

John Deere Z345M Zero-Turn Riding Mower

The John Deere mower comes in the iconic green and yellow. It’s a great tractor that is designed with speed and performance in mind. The 42-inch deck is wide enough to cover large swaths of grass without sacrificing maneuverability. This John Deere lawn tractor makes taking care of your large yard a breeze.

​Husqvarna Z246 Zero Turn Lawn Mower

The Husqvarna lawn mowers come from one of the most trusted power tool brands in the world. It’s 46-inch deck makes it a slightly bigger machine, so it might be a better option for you if you have a larger yard. It is backed by Husqvarna’s 5-year warranty that is well-known within the industry for its service and care.

Head to Head

We’ve looked at a few key buying points​ that anyone should consider before investing in a zero-turn riding lawn mower.

Engine, Drive, and Power

A zero-turn riding mower is a big investment so you want something that you know is going to perform well.

Both the Husqvarna and the John Deere perform similarly in terms of engine, drive, and power, though it’s worth noting that the John Deere does perform a little bit better.

The John Deere comes with a 42-inch cutting deck that’s powered by a 22 horsepower V-Twin engine.

This means that it tops out at a high 7 miles per hour speed so you can fly through your yard and get the job done quickly and efficiently.

In comparison, the Husqvarna has a longer (and as a result slightly heavier) 46-inch cutting deck that’s only powered by a 20 horsepower Briggs Stratton Endurance Series V-Twin engine.

This means that it can only go 6.5 miles per hour, though you do get two extra cutting inches which does speed up the process.

Even though the John Deere might move a little faster, one annoying thing is that it does have a significantly smaller fuel tank.

At 2.1 gallons vs. 3.5 in the Husqvarna, you’re going to need to stop way more often to refill.


Safety is obviously very important when operating any piece of heavy machinery and with zero-turn mowers, you need to be extra careful.

Because these mowers use lap bars instead of traditional steering wheels, there is a learning curve for using it.

The Husqvarna and the John Deere mowers take safety seriously.

Both of these lawn tractors have parking brakes that must be engaged to start the system and they also come equipped with low fuel warning lights, speed controls, and easy-to-use ignition switches.

However, in this category, the Husqvarna takes home the trophy because of its ingenious parking brake system.

Instead of having the parking brake installed as a separate piece, Husqvarna has integrated it into the control levers.

When the levers are swung out, the brake is automatically engaged so the machine stays stable.

When they’re turned in, the brake is disengaged, making the machine easy to start.

This makes getting in and out of the machine significantly safer. This is because there is no way to accidentally disengage the parking brake and have the machine drift.

Comfort and Ease of Use

Finally, if you have a large yard and are going to be spending a long time mowing it, you want to make sure the experience is comfortable.

Both of these riding lawnmowers have easy-to-use control panels. They’re button operated and quick to find, so you won’t be stuck trying to find the control.

They also have adjustable lap bar systems which allow you to create the most comfortable experience possible for yourself.

Which Brand Offers Better Reliability?

By the time your tractor is 4 years old, around 22% of John Deere lawn tractors will break down and need servicing. In comparison, more than 30% of Husqvarna lawn tractors will need repair.

For zero turn mowers, John Deere wins. John Deere zero turn mowers come in at a 30% chance of needing repairs in 4 years. Husqvarna proved the least reliable zero turn mowers on the list, with 55% of their mowers needing repair by the fourth year.

What Consumers Complained About:

Husqvarna had a number of complaints that all came back to one thing, the cost of transmission repairs needed early in ownership. It’s expensive. A lot of people mentioned that the warranty information is misleading as well. the warranty only covers engine and transmission for 1 year, leaving owners to have to cover the cost of the repairs.

John Deere had a few fairly minor complaints, but they weren’t consistent complaints.

Husqvarna vs. John Deere Warranty Comparisons

Husqvarna Warranty

The standard Husqvarna warranty lasts one year and covers any defects in workmanship or materials when the machines experience normal use. Basically, if the machine, motor, trigger system, or engine breaks, it will most likely be covered.

John Deere Warranty

John Deere products include warranties anywhere from 2 to 4 years. It all depends on the product. For tractors, it varies on the model. Any failure due to defects in materials or workmanship occurring during the applicable warranty period is covered. However, this is subject to exclusions.

Final Thoughts

No matter which one you choose, Husqvarna vs John Deere zero-turn riding mower will make you happy.

Each has its pros and cons. However, overall, they’re some of the best options out on the market right now. To see more about our top rankings for zero-turn mowers, check out our 2019 buying guide

Husqvarna vs. John Deere Frequently Asked Questions

Is Husqvarna a good brand?

Yes, Husqvarna is a good brand. Lots of homeowners like them because high-quality products are available at reasonable prices.

How long do Husqvarna products last?

Tools need regular maintenance. Assuming you take good care of your tool, your Husqvarna products can last up to ten years.

How long do John Deere products last?

John Deere products generally last longer than Husqvarna products. They tend to last 8 – 10 years, with repairs in between, of course. However, yours could last longer as we don’t know all the information since this comes from reviewers.

Who makes Husqvarna?

Husqvarna Group is the parent company and manufacturer of Husqvarna products.

Does Husqvarna own John Deere?

No, Husqvarna does not own John Deere.

About Gus Donaldson

I built houses for over 30 years and recently retired. I’ve made lots of mistakes and hopefully teach you not to make the same ones. I still love to build and have a garage workshop that I use for hobby projects like the walnut bookshelf I made for my wife. I like to write and let people know that working with your hands and tools does not need to be intimidating.

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The Husqvarna YTH18542 is a consumer-grade riding lawn mower that yields professional-level results.

Top Ten Reviews Verdict

If you want professional-level results without hiring a service, this is the riding mower worth considering.


  • Very compact, which makes it easy to maneuver and store
  • Air induction gives a consistent cut
  • Great safety features


Why you can trust Top Ten Reviews

Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

The Husqvarna YTH18542 is a consumer-grade mower that yields professional-level results. It’s small and easy to operate, and has several convenient features that make cutting your lawn less of a chore. It comes equipped with a powerful Briggs Stratton engine and a 2.5-gallon fuel tank, which is about a gallon less than some other machines we evaluated for our best riding lawn mowers guide.

But considering the Husqvarna YTH18542’s size and fuel efficiency, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll run out of gas while mowing an average- to large-sized lawn. Its reinforced cutting deck is constructed out of flat-stock steel, which is great for withstanding the elements and the wear and tear that comes with mowing your yard regularly.

Husqvarna YTH18542 Riding Lawn Mower: What you need to know

When it comes to cutting grass, the Husqvarna YTH18542 Riding Lawn Mower has some unique technology that ensures you get the best cut possible. For example, it employs air induction, which enhances airflow through the deck, so you get a more consistent cut.

The transmission on this mower is pedal-operated and hydrostatic, which means you control both speed and direction with your feet, letting you keep both hands on the wheel. This method gives you greater control, so you can be certain it will go where you want it to.

The machine’s cruise control is a handy feature, especially if you’re mowing over uneven terrain. It will maintain a constant speed, no matter what you happen to be rolling over. This takes the guesswork out of safely traversing small hills, inclines and other obstacles.

One of the biggest selling points of this riding lawn mower is its size. It’s about as compact as they come, which makes it much easier to maneuver and store. Despite its small stature, it has a cutting width of 42 inches, which is about double of what you’ll get on the largest push-mower. It also has a number of convenience features such as an adjustable sliding seat, which is also ergonomically designed for maximum comfort while you mow. Under the seat, you’ll find a safety switch that will automatically shut the machine down if you leave the seat. This reduces the likelihood of injury if you ever have an accident that throws you from your chair.

Should you buy the Husqvarna YTH18542 Riding Lawn Mower?

With small flaws and large benefits, it’s hard to go wrong with this riding lawn mower. It’s compact, maneuverable and easy to store. It also has a great engine and several options and accessories that make the chore of mowing your lawn that much more bearable.

Alternatively, if you do need a more sizable fuel tank, check out our Cub Cadet Ultima ZT1 review or if you’d prefer to deal with batteries, then check out our Ryobi RY48111 review, which is one of the best electric lawn mowers.

The Best Zero-Turn Mowers of 2023

These achieve the rare feat of making lawn mowing fun.

By Roy Berendsohn Published: Mar 1, 2023

husqvarna, automower, 430xh, review, chore, mowing

When it comes to yard work, zero turn mowers do the impossible. They make lawn mowing fun. They accomplish this by putting unprecedented speed, control and maneuverability at the disposal of the person mowing the lawn. The so-called “zero turn” feature of these mowers converts a grass cutting machine into something akin to an amusement park ride. You steer the machine with two levers—the left lever controls the left wheel, the right lever the right wheel. With that steering setup, you can zoom over the landscape cutting straight lines, curves, or pivot the mower into and out of a corner. What’s not to like?

Read on to understand how these agile grass cutters work, how we go about testing them, and see some candidates that we’ve recently tested as well as some that we haven’t but that we think look particularly promising.

How Zero-Turn Mowers Work

A zero-turn riding mower consists of an operator platform, a frame and wheels, an engine (or battery bank), transmissions (or motors), and a pair of control levers commonly known as lap bars. In gas mowers, the engine powers a pulley system. One group of pulleys drives the blades, another group powers a pair of transmissions–one at each rear wheel. When you move the lap bar forward or back, you are directing the transmission to go faster, slower, or even turn the opposite way. When one drive wheel turns clockwise and the other counter clockwise, the mower pivots. When the wheels rotate at different rates, the mower turns in an arc-shaped path. When the lap bars are in the neutral position, the mower stops. Aside from a parking brake, there’s no other braking mechanism. Battery-powered zero-turn mowers work the same way, but have separate motors to drive the rear wheels and one for each blade inside the mower deck.

When it comes to transmission, most mowers have a Hydrogear EZT—a well-known and cost-effective residential-grade transaxle with a reputation for durability.

Some mowers use a deck stamped from one piece of steel, others use a deck fabricated from multiple pieces and welded together. A fabricated deck can be built from thicker steel at a lower cost than it would be able to be built otherwise. Once you’re talking about stamping metal as thick as 10 gauge (about 1⁄8 inch thick), the cost of stamping such a deck would push up the mower’s price beyond what most people are willing to pay. The decks in the mowers below range from 42 to 52 inches, a typical size in this class of product. When powered by these engines and the Hydrogear, these mowers will deliver a decent cut quality at their rated top speed of 7 mph. Note, however, that cut quality declines steeply if you maintain that speed in very thick grass or on uneven terrain.

As to the electric mowers, they represent the leading edge of the technology in this category. These are remarkable and expensive mowers powered by large-voltage lithium-ion batteries. If you’re interested in reducing mowing noise and simplifying your maintenance routine by eliminating gas and oil, they’re worth a look.

Selecting a Zero-Turn Mower

Everyone would like to select the biggest possible zero-turn mower with the hope of whittling a big grass cutting job down to size as quickly as possible. Reality usually intercedes because these machines are expensive and the wide range of options available today quickly drive up the cost. Roughly speaking, you start somewhere in the range of a mower with a 42-inch deck costing in the vicinity of 3200 to 3500 and move up in increments of 1000 to 1500 until you reach entry-level commercial-grade equipment that costs 7000 to 8000.

Again, speaking in terms of approximation, a mower with a 42-inch deck will cut a two-acre lot (that takes into account that the house, driveway, outbuildings and various landscape features are taking up some of that space). Use a mower with a larger deck to cut anything over two acres. But here’s the caveat. That entry-level ZTR mower (3200, say) with a 42-inch deck will wear out faster and need more maintenance than a mower with a 50-inch deck, a heavier frame, larger engine and higher quality transmissions, and thicker deck with more robust blade spindles, costing 4500.

In the simplest possible terms, you can cut a smaller area with a larger mower and expect more longevity out of the machine (not to mention a nicer mowing experience) or you can cut a larger area with a smaller machine and encounter more maintenance and a mowing experience that will be, we might say, a bit more rugged.

But there are still other factors to consider, in selecting a mower other than deck size and your budget. Larger mowers take more space in a garage or outbuilding. And a mower with a 50-inch or even 60-inch deck, as useful as it might be in getting the job done more quickly, may not fit through a fence’s gate, and it might be more difficult to maneuver in tight spots without creating scalp marks on the lawn from a lot of close-quarter pivoting.

Carefully consider all these factors when shopping for a mower: your budget, maintenance and whether you will perform that work yourself, mowing speed and time, maneuverability and trimming in tight areas, the importance that you place on your comfort while mowing, cut quality, longevity, storage, and access to the landscape.

How We Select and Test

There’s only one way to test a mower, and that’s to cut grass with it. But we also do more than mow.

We raise and lower the deck and adjust the seat. We look at service point access (the air filter, the spark plug, and the oil filter) and how easy it is to remove the deck. We mow approximately an acre with each mower, considering cut and mulching quality while running uphill, downhill, across washboard, and along sidehills. (On sidehills, we’ll mow surfaces pitched up to approximately 20 degrees; manufacturers generally recommend not going steeper than 10 degrees, but we like to be thorough.) We evaluate power and speed relative to cut quality—we investigate whether the mower delivers a decent cut mowing at full speed. When mowing in damp conditions, we look at whether the mower’s tires accumulate grass and how effectively it discharges moist clippings. Finally, we test maneuverability (these machines are, generally, very nimble) and how readily they come to a stop when you back off the lap bar control levers.

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