Lawn Tractor Tires – Sizing Buying Guide
Replacing a damaged or worn-out lawn tractor tire is easy to do, and a whole lot easier than taking the tractor in to be serviced at the dealership or local repair shop. The first step is to find the right replacement tire. When you are shopping for new lawn tractor tires, there are four primary considerations: tire size, ply-rating, the type of terrain and traction requirements, and of course, the price.
Lawn Tractor Tires Sizing
Like any other tire, lawn tractor tires have a series of numbers molded on to the side that spell out specific details about the tire. There are two different sizing systems: two-number system, and three-number system.
Lawn tractor tires using the two-number system display numbers as 4.80-8, for example. This means the tire’s width is approximately 4.8 inches and the rim is 8 inches in diameter. Those are the only two numbers you need to find the right size replacement tire.
The three-number lawn tractor tires numbering system works a bit differently. 15×6.00-6 is a common size. The first number before the “x” indicates the tire’s diameter when inflated and not under load. The middle number between the “x” and the “-,” indicates the tire’s width. The final number indicates the width of the rim. Note that the last number is width, not diameter of the rim. This is always the case with three-number sizing for lawn tractor tires and other garden equipment tires.
Lawn Tractor Tires Ply-rating
Lawn Tractors are very rarely over-loaded, but a tire with a higher carrying capacity is also more resistant to punctures because the casing of the tire is thicker and stronger. If your lawn tractor runs over rough terrain with lots of thorns, or you use the tractor for work other than just mowing, consider replacing with a “B/4-ply” rated tire instead of a “A/2-ply” rating. The number of plies is always stamped on the side of the tire. There are only two options, A/2-ply or B/4-ply in the common sizes for lawn tractors.
There are three main classifications of tread pattern types for lawn tractors: mixed-use turf tires, knobby all-terrain tires, or ribbed tires.
- Turf treads are most common and usually have circumferential rows of chevron shaped tread blocks. These are designed to provide some traction on slick grass, while not digging up and damaging the turf. If you are replacing one tire, you can usually find a tread pattern that is identical, or close to identical to the pattern on the remaining tires, or what came on the tractor when new. A good versatile turf tire is the WDT P512A tire.
- Knobby, all-terrain treads typically have large tread blocks and deeper grooves to provide traction in loose surfaces like dirt, sand or mud. These tires sometimes have a herringbone tread pattern, like the tread on a farm tractor. They feature a high void area (space between the blocks) to evacuate debris from the tire. If you use your tractor primarily for towing or other jobs on dirt paths without the mower deck, a knobby, all-terrain type tread like the WDT P328 tire may be the answer.
- Ribbed treads have circumferential grooves and straight ribs that are either flat or slightly scalloped. These patterns provide some lateral stability to keep the tire from sliding sideways, but are primarily designed to roll easily and last a long time. They don’t provide as much traction as a turf or knobby, all-terrain tire.
You can find a large difference in the price of lawn tractor tires. This is due to factors like the brand name, the associated features and benefits, and even the country of manufacture. A few minutes of online research to see typical for your specific size of tire will be helpful to manage your expectations and to set your budget. This will likely determine if you are going to buy a premium name brand, or if you are better suited to a cheap tractor tire made in china. Small lawn tractor tires can be found for as little as 20, and can run as high as 60 or 70.
No matter what size, ply rating or type of lawn tractor tire you need, you can find multiple options at low on Tires-easy.com. Tires-easy.com has one of the largest selections of lawn tractor tires on the web, a super knowledgeable customer service team, and an extensive distribution network for fast and accurate shipping every time.
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Everything You Need to Know About Buying Lawn Tractor Tires
A great lawn is something to be proud of. It can do wonders to boost your home’s curb appeal – and regular maintenance of your yard’s grass can help it grow better. But a lawn is only as good as the landscaping equipment you use to maintain it. Having a quality lawn mower or tractor is obviously an important piece of the puzzle – but you may not even think about the quality of the lawn tractor tires on these types of vehicles.
You will need to replace your lawn mower tires and other equipment from time-to-time – especially if they get damaged. Worn-out tires can compromise your precious lawn and cause your mower to spin out or create deeper grooves in soft soil.
Further, if you use your equipment for more than just mowing, you might need more versatile lawn tractor tires than what a typical model delivers for improved grip or extra strength when towing heavy loads.
Today, we are going to break down everything you need to know about lawn tractor tires to help you find the ones that fit your needs best.
Tread Pattern Types
First, you need to understand the difference between tractor tire tread types – and what each pattern equates to.
This tire has no tread pattern grooves whatsoever and is used on zero-turn mowers – of which have two control levers instead of a steering wheel. This allows mowers to make tighter turns, but it does not provide much traction.
The smooth tread pattern is primarily used for golf and ground maintenance equipment.
Straight Rib Tread
This tire pattern features straight, shallow ribs and are designed for riding lawn mowers and lawn trailers. These tires work well on wet, slippery surfaces like recently watered lawns or slightly muddy terrain after a rainfall. The straight grooves help to dispel water for better grip and minimal turf damage.
This pattern is ideal for both residential and commercial equipment – and can be used on lawn trailers, tractor attachments, transport vehicles, and farm implements.
Chevron Turf Tread
This is one of the most common tractor tire tread patterns – as it provides adequate traction for mowing typical front lawns or other grassy areas. This pattern helps to provide grip on wet or dry grass without damaging the turf beneath.
The Chevron turf tread is used on commercial and residential mowing equipment – like garden tractors, walk-behind mowers, turf maintenance vehicles, golf carts, snow blowers, and utility vehicles.
Commercial Turf Tread
As the name implies, this tread pattern is used on commercial mowing equipment that is larger than a typical lawn tractor. This tread pattern provides superior traction and long-lasting tread that resists punctures.
Round Shoulder R/S Turf Tread
This is another common tread pattern for lawn mowers and garden tractors because it enables tires to be highly maneuverable and can make tight turns. Tires with this pattern are intended for those looking for superior traction with the least amount of damage.
The round shoulder R/S turf tread, generally used for residential mowers and garden tractors, is widely considered to be the most popular and is highly praised for its ability to work on any terrain without causing much impact.
Lug Traction Tread
This pattern is a top choice for lawn equipment – such as trenchers, ditching machines, and larger garden tractors since the deep lugs offer extremely powerful traction, especially in soft dirt. Tires with the lug traction tread are ideal for serious landscaping – and would more than likely damage a typical lawn.
Modified or Wide Footprint Chevron Turf Tread
This wider chevron pattern provides better weight distribution for larger mowing equipment – of which may also be towing heavy loads. This pattern is ideal for commercial mowing equipment and applications – commonly used for golf course fairway mowers.
Understanding Lawn Mower/ Lawn Tractor Tire Size
One of the most confusing parts of finding new lawn and garden tires is determining which size you need for your specific piece of equipment.
Thankfully, lawn and garden tractor tires have numbers on the tires which indicate the size.
Now, some tires use a two-digit number here while others use three. An example of a two-digit number would appear as 9.50 – 8 while a three-digit number would be 18x 9.50- 8.
So, here is what those numbers mean.
The first number in a three-digit system (in this case 18) refers to the diameter or height of the tire. Note: this is the height of a tire that is inflated – but not bearing any load.
The second number in a three-digit and the first in a two-digit (in this case 9.50) is the width of the tire in inches.
The third number in a three-digit and the second in a two-digit system (8) is the rim diameter size, which is the smaller hole in the middle of the tire. On lawn mowers and tractors, this number will typically be smaller than the width of the tire, since these types of tires are generally wider than the rim.
Now, you may be wondering just what does NHS mean on a tire.
If you see these letters after the sizing numbers, you will know that your tires are “Non-Highway service. This simply means that they are not rated for highway speeds, which is pretty common for lawn tractor tires since the equipment isn’t designed to go very fast.
You will tend to see more information on the side of a lawn tractor tire – which refers to the ply rating or load index. Higher numbers will mean that the tire is stronger and able to withstand heavier loads since they are made with more ply layers.
The load range system uses letters to indicate how many plies the tire is. Here is a useful chart to help you:
- Load Range A (LRA) = 2 ply
- Load Range B (LRB) = 4 ply
- Load Range C (LRC) = 6 ply
- Load Range D (LRD) = 8 ply
- Load Range E (LRE) = 10 ply
- Load Range F (LRF) = 12 ply
So, a tire that has the measurements 15 x 6.50 – 6 NHS LRA would be 15 inches tall with a 6-and-a-half-inch width for a 6-inch mount. It is 2-ply and not highway rated.
Best Lawn Tractor Tires
There are lots of lawn tractor tires on the market that fit into all budgets. However, some brands offer better quality tires that are longer-lasting or provide a more comfortable riding experience.
Here are some of the best tractor tires to consider, depending on the type of lawn tractor vehicle you own and how you will be using this equipment.
Riding Lawn Mowers and Lawn Trailers
Greenball Soft Turf Lawn and Garden
This tire has a square shoulder design for superior traction and even weight distribution for minimal turf damage and a smooth, comfortable ride.
- Available in a range of dimensions from 11” to 24” with a tread depth of 4 millimeters.
- Chevron tread design
- 2 and 4-ply
- 12 PSI
- Applicable for both front and/or rear
D. Available Sizes
Deestone D265 Turf
This lawn mower tire also uses square shoulders along with a broad tread pattern for great traction on grass and minimal tearing and turf damage. A popular choice for commercial and residential mowers, the D265 is an all-purpose tire that comes in a wide range of sizes. Suitable for garden tractors, walk-behinds, and turf maintenance vehicles. Classic chevron turf tread pattern provides excellent traction and stability.
- Diameter ranging from from 10.4 – 20 inches with a tread depth of 2.8 – 8.4 millimeters, depending on tire size
- Chevron tread design
- Available in 4 and 6-ply
- Strong nylon construction ensures durability an long wear
- Wide tread for optimized ground contact and damage reduction
- 28 PSI
- Designed for both front and rear applications
- The Chevron pattern provides exceptional grip on both wet and dry turf surfaces.
- Excels at reducing turf damage
D. Available sizes
This lawn and garden tire is not just for lawn tractors and mowers – it can also be used on wheelbarrows, small construction vehicles, and trailers. The rib pattern makes it extremely stable and durable without damaging the soft turf beneath it. B. Features
- Ranging from 13 to 18-inch diameter with available tread depth of 2.2, 2.5, 2.8, 3.0, 3.2, 3.7, and 4.3 millimeters.
- Straight rib tread design
- 4 and 6-ply
- 48 PSI
- Available for both front and rear applications
- Superior performance on dry, wet and snowy surfaces thanks to the excellent traction provided by the straight rib tread design.
D. Available sizes
Tires for Wheelbarrows and Garden Equipment
This straight rib tractor tire is designed for smooth steering, easy roll resistance, and durability with even weight distribution so that the soft soil beneath is not damaged. This tire is typically used for wheelbarrows, but it can be used on lawn mowers, tractors, and lawn equipment. B. Features
- Available in 12 to 16-inch diameters with a tread depth of 4 millimeters
- Straight rib tread design
- Comes in 2 and 4-ply
- 50 PSI
D. Available sizes
This tire is made for garden tractors to provide great traction and performance on wet and dry surfaces.
- Diameter ranging from 13-16 inches with a tread depth of 9.7 – 12 millimeters, depending on tire size
- 4 ply
- Strong nylon construction ensures durability and long wear
- Large ground contact enhances handling stability
D. Available sizes
This tire is recommended for use on gardening equipment like wheelbarrows or small trailers. It comes in a tubeless tire design, so it can easily roll over hard surfaces, loose dirt, or grass.
- 16-ince diameter with 3.175 Millimeter tread
- Straight rib tread design
- Available in 2 and 4-ply
- 50 PSI
- This tire is designed for great traction on both wet and try surfaces – and multiple types of terrain.
D. Available sizes
Tires for Hand Trucks and Hand Dollies
Greenball Stud Lawn Garden Stud Tread
This tubeless tire is best for handcarts, small garden trailers, and other type of lawn equipment. B. Features
- Available in 8 to 16-inch diameters with a tread depth of 5 Millimeters Dimensions
- Stud tread design
- 24 PSI
D. Available sizes
Greenball Rib Lawn Garden
This straight rib tread design is optimal for heavy loads on gardening equipment like trailers, hand trucks, and equipment like pressure washers as well as lawn mowers and tractors. B. Features
- 11 to 18 inch diameters with tread depth of 5 Millimeters
- Straight rib tread design
- 12 PSI
D. Available sizes
Tires for Hand Trucks, Hand Dollies, Handcarts, and Small Utility Trailers
These types of tires use commercial/diamond head tread or Sawtooth tread patterns – and are designed for driving on harder surfaces like concrete, asphalt, pavement, as well as turf. These types of tires are best for residential gardening equipment or industrial product usage as they can withstand heavy loads.
Greenball Sawtooth Lawn Garden
This lawn and garden tire has a Sawtooth tread pattern for easy rolling over multiple types of turf. These tires are extremely sturdy and able to withstand up to 440 pounds. B. Features
- This tire is available in 8 to 12-inch diameter with a 4 Millimeter tread
- Sawtooth tread design
- 50 PSI
- The non-directional Sawtooth tread pattern provides excellent traction on both wet and dry surfaces.
D. Available sizes
Trac Gard N775 Sawtooth
This bias tire is designed for utility golf carts and is also suitable for lawn and garden equipment like small tractors, lawn mowers, and wheelbarrows. It features a zig-zag Sawtooth tread for a stronger biting edge that provides extra traction. B. Features
- 8 to 16-inche diameters with a tread depth of 9.5 Millimeters
- Sawtooth tread design
- 38 PSI
- The zig-zag tread Sawtooth pattern allows for even weight distribution and superior traction on wet and dry surfaces.
D. Available sizes
Trac Gard N766 Turf
This tire is designed for a wide range of use on numerous lawn and garden equipment – and can handle both off-road and on-road surfaces. The unique tread pattern design helps to support heavy loads while resisting punctures, making it a great choice for heavy duty gardening tasks. B. Features
- 11 to 24-inch diameters with a tread depth of 7.1 Millimeters
- All-purpose tread design for versatile use with minimal turf damage
- 30 PSI
- This tire’s all-purpose tread pattern provides superior traction on multiple types of terrain, including wet and dry surfaces.
D. Available sizes
No matter what type of lawn or garden tractor vehicle you are in the market for – or what types of applications you will be using it for – you can find a top-quality tire to fit your needs (and your wallet).
The quality of your lawn tractor tires can improve the appearance of your yard or garden and make any task much easier.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our tire experts at Giga Tires if you have any questions. We’re happy to point you in the right direction and help find the lawn tractor tire that is just for your needs!
Firestone Garden and ag lawn tractor/mower tires are ideal for light. to medium-duty applications. Find the right replacement lawn tire for your equipment below.
SUPER ALL TRACTION™ II 23° Tire
[R-1] The Super All Traction II 23° Tire features Firestone’s modern, proven 23-degree tread design to maximize traction and improve ride. This premium bias tire is a value-priced alternative to radials. Choose this farm tire and see for yourself why today’s best tractors and combines are manufactured with it.
TURF AND FIELD™ G2 TIRE
Tractor, Fronts and Implements
[G-2] The Turf and Field G2 Tire is designed with a low profile that delivers sure traction and holds well on hills. It has a wide footprint to improve flotation and minimize soil compaction on turf or other delicate surfaces.
FLOTATION 23° G-1 TIRE
[G-1] Firestone’s Flotation 23° G-1 Tire is a traction tire for compact tractors and sprayers. This farm tire’s 23-degree tread design provides excellent traction and flotation with minimal ground disturbance in many soil conditions.
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
How to Fix Spinning Lawn Mower or Tractor Tires
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.
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
Top 5 BEST Riding Lawn Mowers of 
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.