Toro timecutter mower deck. The 8 Best Riding Lawn Mowers of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

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.

Best Overall

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
toro, timecutter, mower, deck, best, riding

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

Best Electric

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

Best Gas

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
  • Expensive

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
  • Zero-turn
  • 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

Best Small

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

Power Source

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.

Deck Size

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.

Engine Power

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.

Grass Clippings

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 riding mowers: Mow your lawn faster

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

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

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

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

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

While gas engines are far more common among riding mowers, there is a wide selection of battery-powered models if you’re looking for a more eco-friendly solution for lawn care. My pick for the best overall riding mower is the Troy-Bilt Super Bronco XP for its 24HP engine, 54-inch cutting deck, and ability to mow up to four acres with a full gas tank. You can keep reading below to find out more about the Troy-Bilt Super Bronco XP as well as our other top picks.

Troy-Bilt Super Bronco XP

Best riding mower overall

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

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

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

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

Ryobi 80V electric riding lawn tractor

Best electric riding mower

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

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

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

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

Toro Titan Max

Best zero-turn riding mower

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

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

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

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

Cub Cadet CC30E

Best compact riding mower

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

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

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

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

DeWALT Z160 Commercial

Best riding mower for large properties

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

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

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

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

What is the best riding mower?

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

Best riding mower

Cutting width

Transmission type

Ryobi 80V electric riding lawn tractor

Which is the right riding mower for you?

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

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

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

Buy this best riding mower.

If you need.

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

toro, timecutter, mower, deck, best, riding

Ryobi 80V electric riding lawn tractor

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

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

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

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

How did we choose these riding mowers?

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

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

How do you decide which riding mower to buy?

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

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

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

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

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

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

How long should a riding mower last?

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

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

What is the cheapest riding mower?

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

Are there alternative riding mowers worth considering?

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

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

John Deere Z530M

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

toro, timecutter, mower, deck, best, riding

Husqvarna YTH1942

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

Murray MT100

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

The Best Zero-Turn Mowers of 2023

These achieve the rare feat of making lawn mowing fun.

By Roy Berendsohn Published: Mar 1, 2023

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.

Toro TimeCutter 60-inch Zero Turn Mower Review (75760)

Having reviewed and used dozens of ZT mowers over the years, our team likes to stay up to date. We want to test and review the latest advances and technologies manufacturers integrate and migrate into both commercial and residential products. This week, the ~4,700 Toro TimeCutter 60-inch zero turn mower (model 75760) came into the PTR shop. This updated zero-turn mower features some compelling new upgrades over the MX6050 that should appeal to those shopping for a ZT in this price range.

What’s Carried Over from the MX6050

It’s always good when a manufacturer keeps the features consumers like. The new Toro TimeCutter 60-inch zero-turn hangs onto what makes the Toro MX6050 such a great mower. You still get the 10-gauge fabricated deck and reinforced leading edges across the entire front of the deck to protect against minor impacts and abrasions.

The commercial-level 24.5 HP Toro Commercial V-Twin 708cc stays, as does the tool-free oil drain and filter system.

Speeds are unchanged with the Smart Speed system. You get up to 7 MPH in Mow mode, 5.5 MPH in Tow mode and 4 MPH in Trim mode.

With the Toro Timecutter 75760 you also get the 3-year limited residential warranty.

What’s New with the Toro Timecutter 75760 ZT

Now, while much is the same, Toro made significant changes as well. While the deck still has a foot pedal lift, the pedal itself has a beefier build quality than before. Toro also now utilizes a more commercial-style drop-pin height adjustment system instead of a lever.

The IronForged fabricated 10-gauge steel deck adds a fully tubular 2″ x 2″ front axle with rugged solid cast aluminum caster hubs. Previously, if you slammed into something with one caster at 7 mph, you’d potentially bend the frame and total the mower. Toro designed these new caster hubs for easy replacement—removing a pain point for dealers when dealing with damage.

The Toro Timecutter 75760 also uses Kevlar-reinforced belts for better durability on the blade drivetrain as well.

Toro TimeCutter 60-inch Zero Turn Adds Step-Through

The step-through front-end model features a split footrest and lowered axle that lets you quickly exit the mower when you need to pick up debris. A fixed rubber floor mat reduces vibration to your heels while driving.

You also get a new under-seat cubby to stash things like sticks, small toys, avocados, and whatever else you might come across in your yard while mowing.

While they kept the Smart Speed system, Toro moved it to the right side of the mower to get it away from your legs while mowing.

We got very curious about the Smart Speed system and quickly began looking under the chassis to see how it worked. This ingenious system actually mechanically adjusts the throw-arms from the two lap bars. This lets Toro use the same hydrostatic transmission while delivering three different speed ranges. Whether you’re Mowing, Towing, or Trimming, Smart Speed alters the maximum speed of the mower—but allows you the full range of arm movement while driving.

Toro went with a pair of ZT-2800 hydrostatic transmissions. This is Hydro-Gear’s largest residential-grade transaxle designed for larger properties. We like that it’s fully serviceable with an external oil filter.

Air filters also change without a single tool. Just pop open the rear cover, reach in, and remove and replace the filter.

One last thing—in addition to that 3-year limited residential warranty, Toro now adds a 300-hour commercial use warranty for mowers using their Toro engines. That’s pretty cool—and makes sense given it’s basically the same motor used in some of their 2000-series commercial mowers.

How Fast Does the Toro TimeCutter 60-inch ZT Mow?

For the commercial guy, speed plays a big part in the purchasing decision. For residential use, we typically see them well under those 10-12 mph levels of a commercial mower costing twice the price. The same goes for the Toro TimeCutter zero-turn mower. At 7 mph, you won’t be flying across the grass—but you won’t feel like you’re crawling either.

The Toro commercial V-twin engine effortlessly drives this mower across grass. The high-back seat feels comfortable at all speeds. The mower jostles a bit while mowing for sure—but it never felt jarring at the seat. The deck is well-isolated from the chassis.

We found the armrests a bit low for our liking—a minor issue. You can lift up the seat to manually adjust it forward and back, but both I and our news editor, Chris, found the default setting perfect for our 5’9 – 5’10 heights.

Other Amenities

The cup holder on the left and storage tray on the right make for a nice touch. The dampeners on the lap bars really give them the perfect amount of resistance for steering at any speed. Finally, we liked the oversized fenders which did a great job protecting us from spray—a common occurrence when cutting Florida grasses.

You get a 3-gallon gas tank on the Toro Timecutter 75760. That limits commercial use somewhat but should allow for plenty of residential acreage before having to refuel.

How You Adjust the Height of Cut

Toro made it super-easy to adjust your cutting height. On the Toro Time Cutter ZT mower, you just push down on the deck lift pedal with your foot, relocate the height pin, and release the deck back down. You can vary the height from 1.5 to 4.5 inches which should cover everything from Fescue to Zoysia and thick St. Augustine.

Toro also made it easy to adjust the height of the anti-scalp rollers. Do this whenever you significantly modify your cutting height.

How to Use the Smart Speed System

As mentioned earlier, Smart Speed lets you adjust the maximum driving mode or speed while keeping the blade tip speed constant. For example, you definitely want it on the “Mow” mode (the highest speed) for normal mowing and transportation. For efficiency when bagging, mulching, or towing, however, the center “Tow” mode works best. When cutting really wet grass or when you simply want to limit the speed, the “Trim” mode will take care of you. Here’s how we look at it:

TOP 5 Zero Turn Mowers Under 3500 | 2023

To adjust the speed, put the mower into neutral, disengage the blade, and adjust the Smart Speed lever (located on your right below the seat) to the desired setting. As we found out, this manually limits the top speed for the lap bars—effectively granting you three speed “ranges” above.

Pricing

You can pick up the Toro Timecutter 60-inch zero-turn mower for about 4799 at Home Depot or any authorized Toro dealer.

Toro Time Cutter Zero Turn Specifications

  • Model: 75760
  • Engine: 24.5 HP (3,600 RPM) Toro Commercial V-Twin
  • Displacement: 708cc
  • Fuel capacity: 3 gallons (11.4 L)
  • Cutting width: 60 in. (152 cm)
  • Deck: 60 in. IronForged™ fabricated 10-gauge steel
  • Deck lift: Foot-operated
  • Height of cut: 1.5 – 4.5 in. (3.8 – 11.4 cm)
  • Mow Speed: 7/3 mph (11.3/4.8 km/h)
  • Tow Speed: 5.5/2.4 mph (8.8/3.8 km/h)
  • Trim Speed: 4/1.7 mph (6.4/2.7 km/h)
  • Seat: 18 in. (45.7 cm) handcrafted high-back with armrests (knob adjustment)
  • Steering controls: Dual dampened wrap-around levers
  • Tires (front): 13 x 6.5 in. (33 x 16.5 cm)
  • Tires (rear): 20 x 10 in. (50.8 x 25.4 cm)
  • Transmission: Dual hydrostatic HG-ZT2800
  • Warranty: 3-year / unlimited hour residential and 3-year / 300-hour commercial engine

Wrapping It Up

Much goes into deciding on a new zero-turn mower. For residential use, that may involve a careful look at the warranty and features. For commercial users, the dealer relationship and serviceability are key. With that in mind, it’s great to know that Toro has 3,000 servicing dealers across the U.S. and Canada.

We genuinely like the upgrades made to the 60-inch Toro TimeCutter Zero Turn mower. They added practical new features like an upgraded cut height system, storage cubby, easier walk-through front, and replaceable cast aluminum spindles. They kept the features that already made this mower a great choice—like Smart Speed and the premium seat—but made them better.

The mower drives great, services easily, and comes with a great 3-year warranty. It’s an easy recommendation, especially at this price. For those who need something a bit larger than the Toro TimeMaster push mowers, the TimeCutter line might be worth looking into.

Get more information from the Toro website.

Clint DeBoer

When he’s not playing with the latest power tool, Clint DeBoer enjoys life as a husband, father, and avid reader—especially the Bible. He loves Jesus, has a degree in recording engineering, and has been involved in multimedia and/or online publishing in one form or another since 1992.

Clint’s career has covered nearly the entire realm of audio and video production. After graduating at the top of his class with an Associates Degree in Recording Engineering, he began working for the famed Soundelux studios in 1994, one of the largest post-production companies specializing in audio for feature films television. Working on a myriad of feature films, Clint honed his skills as a dialogue editor, foley editor, and sound designer. Years later, he moved into the expanding area of video editing, where he served as the company’s senior AVID video editor for three years.

Working for such clients as Universal Pictures, Hollywood Pictures, Paramount Home Entertainment, NASA, Universal Studios, Planet Hollywood, SEGA, NASCAR, and others, Clint DeBoer dealt extensively with client management as well as film video editing, color correction, and digital video MPEG compression. He also carries several THX certifications (Technician I and II, THX Video), and is ISF Level II Certified.

After founding the CD Media, Inc. publishing company in 1996, he went on to help start or grow several successful online publications, including Audioholics (as Editor-in-Chief for 12 years), Audiogurus, and AV Gadgets. In 2008, Clint founded Pro Tool Reviews followed by the landscape and outdoor power equipment-focused OPE Reviews in 2017. He also heads up the Pro Tool Innovation Awards, an annual awards program honoring innovative tools and accessories across the trades.

Crediting God and his excellent staff for the success of what is now the largest power tool review publication in the industry, Clint DeBoer hopes to see continued growth for the company as it rapidly expands its reach. Pro Tool Reviews critically reviews hundreds of hand tools, power tools, and accessories each year to help inform users about the best and newest products in the industry. Reaching everyone from the construction industry professional and tradesman to the serious DIYer, Pro Tool Reviews helps tool consumers shop better, work smarter, and stay aware of what tools and products can help put them at the top of their game.

I tested Toro’s zero-turn mower for a few weeks and this is what happened.

By Mark Wolfe | Updated Apr 21, 2022 12:30 PM

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.

A zero-turn, or zero turning radius, mower is one that is engineered with drive wheels that can rotate in opposite directions, effectively turning the mower in place. Zero-turn mowers have been popular with professional landscape maintenance companies and large-property owners for decades. Unlike conventional lawn tractors that perform a wide range of functions beyond mowing the grass, zero-turn mowers are specially engineered to maximize mowing speed, efficiency, and grass appearance. As zero-turn tech continues to spread into the consumer mainstream, improvements move toward operator comfort. For a great example, look no further than the Toro brand.

The Toro Company, based in Bloomington, Minnesota, was founded in 1914, when it began building tractor engines. By 1919, with the invention of the Toro Standard Golf Machine, the company established a lasting reputation of producing innovative, dependable mowing equipment. A global giant in the mower industry, The Toro Company’s lineup includes respected brands such as Exmark, the leading manufacturer of commercial zero-turn mowers, and one of the fastest-growing commercial zero-turn mower brands in Spartan Mowers. However, many of the mowers within the Toro brand target the residential market, with equal attention to details of performance, convenience, and user comfort.

When I was presented with the opportunity to try out a brand-new Toro TimeCutter MyRIDE zero-turn mower, I was happy to oblige. The marketing materials promise great things, like “commercial-grade DNA that pros rely on” and “the ultimate in comfort.” After putting the 50-inch TimeCutter MyRide Zero Turn Mower to the test on my 2 acres of established lawn and old field, I support those claims and more. It may not be the right choice for every shopper, but anyone with lots of grass to mow would do themselves a favor by taking a closer look. Read on for more details about the machine and my experience mowing with it.

Toro 50″ TimeCutter MyRIDE Zero Turn Mower: At a Glance

Rating: 9.7/10

Pros

  • Mowing speed up to 7 mph
  • Smooth, comfortable ride
  • High-capacity fuel tank
  • Heavy-duty construction
  • Professional-quality cut

Cons

Get the Toro 50″ TimeCutter MyRIDE Zero Turn Mower at:

What Is the Toro 50″ TimeCutter MyRIDE Zero Turn Mower?

The Toro 50″ TimeCutter MyRIDE Zero Turn Mower is a premium residential mower built for wide-open spaces and larger lawns dotted with obstacles. I use the term “residential” loosely since it is packed with tons of commercial details, like an incredibly strong 10-gauge steel frame, forged mower deck, large-capacity fuel tank, and a commercial-grade 24.5-horsepower engine.

The comfortable ride of the smooth MyRide suspension system and thoughtful conveniences like the Smart Speed control system and toolless oil change system complement powerful performance. This is an approachable mower for new zero-turn users. It is highly capable, comfortable to operate, and intuitive to learn. Available accessories include a recycler kit to mulch grass clippings, a grass-striping kit, and a bagger, as well as numerous tow-behind lawn care tools.

How Comfortable Is the Toro 50″ TimeCutter MyRIDE Zero Turn Mower?

The 50″ TimeCutter MyRIDE Zero Turn Mower was designed with comfort top of mind. It starts with a generously cushioned 18-inch seat with armrests. Next, the MyRide system positions the operator on a floating platform with more than 3 inches of cushioned independent movement above the mower frame. The platform is cushioned by an adjustable shock-absorption system that takes on any bumps in the landscape, which makes for an amazingly smooth ride. In my test run, I mowed a gently sloped 1-acre field full of ruts and rocks in about 20 minutes, which translates to about 3 acres per hour. That was close to maximum speed for the mower, and the ride was butter-smooth.

At this point, I should note a few additional comfort and convenience points. First, the mid-mount deck configuration places the operator directly above the mower deck, which affords excellent visibility. Second, the foot-operated deck lift lever made it easy to raise the deck to ride over an approaching rock or other low obstacles, without stopping to reach for the deck’s hand lever. Also, the Smart Speed control system allowed me to easily pick up the pace for straight mowing, and then work slow and steady while trimming around trees, landscape beds, and other obstacles. Finally, the handles automatically control the parking brake, setting it whenever they are in the “parked” position and releasing it when the handles are raised to the “move” positions.

Comfort and convenience features include:

  • Mid-mounted deck
  • 18-inch high-back seat with armrests
  • MyRIDE suspension system
  • 18-inch by 9.5-inch rear tires
  • Smart Speed control system
  • Foot-operated deck-height adjustment
  • Automatic parking brake

How Powerful Is the Toro 50″ TimeCutter MyRIDE Zero Turn Mower?

The commercial-grade 708-cc, 24.5-horsepower Toro V-Twin engine with cast-iron cylinder liners and full-pressure lubrication delivers outstanding performance. The top mowing speed is listed at 7 miles per hour, which would be about right based on my experience of mowing an acre in 20 minutes. Even at that fast pace on bumpy terrain, it tracked well and left a nice clean finished cut.

In another portion of my yard, where Bermuda grass grows especially thick, I tested the TimeCutter’s ability to low-cut the semi-dormant grass ahead of spring. This is the normal procedure for warm-season grasses at the end of winter, but it puts extra strain on the mower since airflow to the deck is constricted by the surrounding grass. Commercial mowers are equipped with adequate power to low-cut the grass at a nearly normal mowing pace, while residential mowers must work at a snail’s pace. The TimeCutter resembled a commercial mower while low-cutting, without slowing or bogging down in the least.

The Toro 50″ TimeCutter MyRIDE Zero Turn Mower is well constructed to handle hard work while reducing operator strain and fatigue. The mower frame and deck are fabricated from thick, 10-gauge steel, and the leading edge of the deck is reinforced with an extra layer of steel for extended wear protection. The rear drop-pin towing hitch has a towing capacity of up to 442 pounds, for fertilizing, aerating, and other heavy-duty lawn-care projects.

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Power and performance features include:

  • 708-cc, 24.5-horsepower Toro commercial V-Twin engine
  • Cast-iron cylinder liners and full-pressure lubrication
  • Mowing speed up to 7 mph
  • 10-gauge steel frame
  • 50-inch fabricated 10-gauge steel deck with reinforced leading edge
  • Mowing height range of 1.5 to 4.5 inches
  • 3-gallon fuel capacity
  • Towing hitch
  • Easy maintenance features: toolless oil change and belt cover

It is important to note that, for all its capabilities, there are a few areas where this mower does not excel. Most importantly, it is not designed for use on hilly terrain. The manufacturer recommends avoiding slopes greater than 15 degrees, or about 5.5 feet of elevation change per 20 linear feet. Also, the size of the machine is scaled for larger properties with 2 to 4 acres of grass. Small and midsize properties increase the instances of bottlenecks such as narrow walk-through gates or pathways between landscape beds where the 50-inch TimeCutter simply will not fit.

Is the Toro 50″ TimeCutter MyRIDE Zero Turn Mower Worth the Money?

The Toro 50″ TimeCutter MyRIDE Zero Turn Mower is loaded with feature upgrades that make it highly competitive among top-tier residential zero-turn mowers. Pro-quality construction and performance combined with perhaps the most comfortable ride in the industry make a convincing argument for the MSRP of 4,599. Still, The Home Depot sells it for 200 below MSRP at 4,399.

Major brand competitors include John Deere and Cub Cadet, both with closely comparable models. Cub Cadet Ultima ZT2 with a 50-inch deck offers less horsepower (23), thinner steel (11-gauge) in the deck, and is priced 100 lower than the Toro 50″ TimeCutter MyRIDE MSRP at 4,499. John Deere Z515E with a 54-inch deck that is stamped, not fabricated, comes with a 24-horsepower engine and a simple 2-spring suspension system, also for 4,499. So, the 50″ TimeCutter MyRIDE appears to be priced just about right and could even be considered a bargain.

Is the Toro 50″ TimeCutter MyRIDE Zero Turn Mower Right for You?

To get the best bang for your buck, an ideal yard for the Toro 50″ TimeCutter MyRIDE Zero Turn Mower would be between 1.75 and 4.25 acres, with lots of grass and no steep hills. Regardless of whether you strive for a pristine, golf-course-like lawn or more of a wild-prairie-type appearance, this mower can help. In fact, bumpy, rough ground with occasional mow-around obstacles is where it excels.

With a maximum mowing speed of up to 7 miles per hour, this TimeCutter can tackle a wide-open 3 acres in about an hour, or slightly longer where there are trees and landscape beds to navigate. And you may even be able to skip the next chiropractor appointment. But if your yard is on a mountainside, in a forest, or requires navigating narrow (less than 60 inches) passageways, this big zero-turn mower may not be the best choice.

Where to Buy the Toro 50″ TimeCutter MyRIDE Zero Turn Mower

Get the Toro 50″ TimeCutter MyRIDE Zero Turn Mower at:

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