Value riding lawn mower. 6 Best Riding Lawn Mowers for the Money

Best Riding Lawn Mowers for the Money

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If you have a medium to large-sized property, trying to keep it maintained can prove to be quite difficult with an ordinary lawnmower. Pushing a mower around uneven terrain can be time-consuming, physically demanding, and expensive if you choose to pay a professional to do all of the hard work for you.

However, instead of struggling to keep your grass under control or spending large amounts of money continually, a ride-on mower is a great gardening investment.

A ride-on mower requires less energy, and it means that your mowing chores are done faster, and you can still get that highly desired professional look.

Our Top Pick for the Best Riding Lawn Mower

Our top pick for the best riding lawn mower is the Husqvarna YTA24V48 Tractor Mower.

With air-induction mowing technology, it improves grass lift and delivers a superior cut. Plenty of special features such as the choke less start, 48-inch cutting width, and 24 HP power output make this a machine worthy of the top of the best lawn mowers list.

Before you set out to buy your shiny, new gardening best friend, there are a few gardening and mechanical specifications to look out for. So ask yourself these two questions:

  • What is the size of your yard and what kind of terrain does it have: small, medium or large, flat, gradual, steep inclines, hilly?
  • What kind of obstacles are there (trees, bushes, flower beds)?

Choose the Size of Your Ride-on Mower

Generally speaking, ride-on mowers are ideal for properties that are half an acre or more. However, there are smaller models that can be used in smaller yards as long as you have a gate that is wide enough to let the machine through.

The size of the ride-on mower relates to the size of the mower’s cutting deck.

Whether you own a residential property, acreage, or an estate, the size of the cutting deck can make all the difference to your mowing experience.

Consider the following guide that can help you decide on the right size of mower for your property.

30”. This size is ideal for small to medium-sized properties that have a flat lawn and if you have to negotiate your way through a narrow gate.

42″. This type of ride-on mower will work effectively on flat lawns and medium properties up to 2-acres, and they can maneuver well around detailed landscaping and trees.

46”-48”. This size is ideal for medium to larger sized properties, and will have no trouble getting underneath bushes and for mowing up gentle to medium sloping gradients or hills up to 15°.

Remember: any slope or hill that is over 15° can be dangerous with such a heavy piece of machinery.

50””. Larger sized ride-on mowers are ideal for properties over 3-acres or more. They can handle moderate slopes, large open areas, and rougher terrain.

Consider push mowers or zero-turn mowers should a ride-on mower not suit your property.

Choosing a Transmission

Ride-on mowers can either be operated by a manual, automatic, or hydrostatic transmission.

Manual Transmission

The beauty of manual transmission is that it offers you a range of set speeds you can select and gives you more control over the movement of the mower. Look for mowers that let you shift up or down without having to stop or use a clutch.

Automatic Transmission

The automatic transmission in a ride-on mower is similar to the automatic transmission in a car. You can control the speed of the mower just by stepping on a pedal.

Hydrostatic Transmission

Mowers with hydrostatic transmission uses fluid rather than a belt to shift the power from the engine to the wheels. This type of transmission offers you a smoother ride and the mower will require less maintenance.

Handy Operator and Mechanical Specifications

Engine Horsepower

Horsepower (HP) measures the power output of the ride-on mower engine. The more horsepower the more work the mower is able to do. Ride-on mowers that have a higher horsepower are faster and can handle rough terrain.

Cruise Control

Just like the cruise control can take the stress out of driving on a long stretch of road for a long period of time, it is much the same with a ride-on mower. Cruise control allows you to stay on one speed while you are mowing along in one stretch.

Cutting Blades

If you have a lot of grass, especially high grass, and tough weeds, it is best to choose a mower with more than one cutting blade. Some of the small tractors have only one blade, but there are lawn tractors that have 2 or 3 blades. Although, with the powerful engines that are on most models, you can still get a good cutting performance out of one blade.

Anti-scalping Wheels

Anti-scalping wheels give you better traction on the ground. They are especially ideal for driving over uneven terrain and for traveling up hills.

Turning Radius

The turning radius describes how tightly you can turn the mower. A smaller turning radius means you can make sharper turns, which is especially useful if your lawn has a lot of obstacles and tight corners.

Extra Attachments

Some ride-on mowers allow extra attachments to be fitted, which enables you to do additional gardening maintenance like mulching, ridging, and edging. Also, there are ride-on mowers that function as a tractor. You can use them for clearing your driveway clear of snow or you can attach a trailer.

Operator Comfort Features

Most ride-on mowers come with extra comfort features like a high-back seat with lumbar support, extended leg room, an easy to access control panel, cup holders, and LED headlights for low light conditions.

Warranty Information

Just like any other mechanical power tool, especially large machines with lots of moving parts, it is a good idea to look for a warranty that covers the mower for 2 years or more.

Some manufacturers offer a generous 4-year warranty. However, it might be a limited warranty, so it is best to read the fine print, which can be accessed through their website.

Lawn Mower Safety Tips You Need to Know

According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 80,000 injuries are treated because of the unsafe operation of gardening machinery. For many homesteaders operating a large gardening machine is a mandatory part of their weekly chores, but by practicing some safety tips, you can stay injury-free.

  • Operator Manual. Always read your Operator’s Manual thoroughly before operating your mower.
  • Wear protective eyewear. Even though you will be seated high up off the ground on the mower, there can be flying debris. If you are mowing in an area that has a lot of low hanging branches, it is a good idea to wear protective headgear or at least a hat.
  • Mowing in daylight hours. If you can, try to mow in daylight and when the grass is dry. Although a lot of ride-on mowers have LED headlights, a mower can still get into trouble when they are mowing through wet grass or muddy areas.
  • Check your work area. Check your yard or property for any debris or objects that are lying around and could cause damage to the mower and to yourself when you mow over them.
  • Children/Pet Alert. Make sure that there are no children or pets or livestock around while you are mowing.
  • Drive Safe. Always look 3-4-feet directly ahead of you just like you would when you are driving your car.
  • Negotiating difficult terrain. Take care when mowing up hills and inclines. It is best to mow up and down an incline and not across.
  • Operating Safety. Turn off the mower when you need to get to cross a driveway or to open and close a gate, and do not leave the mower unattended.
  • Cleaning the mower. If you need to clean out any grass from the grass chute, switch off the mower first.
  • Fixing the mower. Do not try to fix the mower while it is running.
  • Hot engines. Stay clear of a hot engine.
  • Mowing in hot weather. If you are mowing for long periods on a hot day, make sure you are wearing a hat and have water with you.

Best Riding Lawn Mowers – Reviews

Ryobi Electric Rear Engine Riding Lawn Mower

If you are looking for a green alternative to a gas-riding mower for a 2.5-acre property, the Ryobi Electric Rear Engine Riding Lawn Mower is just right for you. It is powered by a 100 Ah battery that provides up to 2.5 hours of runtime, which means it is powerful and you do not have to worry about fumes, belts, spark plugs, or filters.

The RY48111 can be charged via a 120-volt outlet and there is a USB phone charger for a phone or MP3 player.

Operating this machine is very easy due to the hydrostatic drive and the drive pedal is highly responsive. Smart cruise control also provides excellent maneuverability over level ground and slight slopes.

The Ryobi riding mower comes equipped with a 38-inch 2-blade steel deck and a 12 position manual deck adjustment that makes it easy to get a clean, level cut on your lawn. As this mower emits only 70 dB, it is extremely quiet, so you can mow your lawn without disturbing your neighbors.

User-friendly features include a comfy good-sized seat, an easy-gripping steering wheel, controls that are located right near your seat, and LED headlights. Plus, this riding mower also has a towing capacity of 350 pounds.


  • Ideal for 2.5-acre properties
  • Good value for money
  • Powerful
  • Very good battery life
  • Easy to adjust deck
  • Highly responsive controls
  • Delivers a clean and level cut
  • Conveniently locates user-friendly controls


  • Expensive
  • Not ideal for steep hills or heavy-duty use
  • Not ideal for lawns with very high grass

Husqvarna YTH18542 Riding Mower

The Husqvarna name is synonymous with outstanding ride-on mowers that are built to last and are easy to drive. The Husqvarna YTH18542 Riding Mower has a powerful 18.5 HP Briggs Stratton engine and a 2.5-gallon fuel tank so this mower is ideal for maintaining a medium to a large-sized property.

Driving the YTH18542 is effortless due to the intuitive hydrostatic transmission that lets you control the smooth variable forward and reverse speed at the push of a pedal, which means you can keep both hands on the steering wheel for optimal driving control.

You can even mow in reverse with a simple press of a button. Sturdy anti-scalping rear tires give you that much-needed traction for uneven terrain and the 16-inch turning radius is ideal for tight corners.

You can be assured of a consistent cut every time as the air induction technology improves the flow of the air from the top and bottom of the deck.

Husqvarna has your comfort in mind when they designed this riding mower. You can quickly adjust the cutting height of the 42-inch reinforced steel deck with the adjustment lever that is conveniently located within arm’s reach of your seat.

For those long hours working on a larger property, the comfortable 13-inch mid-back vinyl seat can be adjusted forward and backward and the ergonomic steering wheel has a nice soft grip. A cup holder is a perfect place to keep a cool drink on hand while you are working.

The mower is really easy to keep clean and you can connect a water hose to the underside of the deck and hose the machine down.

If you prefer to work at dawn or twilight, the Husqvarna ride-on mower also comes with LED headlights.

As well as providing you with an overall high-quality mowing and cutting performance, Husqvarna has also designed this ride-on mower to accept other attachments, so you can use it for all your towing needs.


  • Fast
  • Good value for money
  • Ideal for small to medium-sized properties with slight inclines
  • Powerful engine
  • Easy to operate
  • Good steering
  • LED headlights
  • Comfortable seat and steering wheel


  • Can be difficult to maneuver around obstacles
  • Not ideal for mowing up steep hills
  • Does not have a gas gauge

Husqvarna YTA24V48 Tractor Mower

If you have a medium to large-sized property up to 3-acres, the Husqvarna YTA24V48 Tractor Mower is the perfect ride-on mower for you. The powerful 24 HP Briggs Stratton engine is famous for its reliable long-term performance, a better cut, minimal vibration, quieter operation, and reduced overheating.

There is no need to prime the engine as the choke-less start key allows for a highly responsive start. At just the push of a pedal, the fast automatic hydrostatic transmission provides fast and smooth, variable forward and reverse speeds.

Built strong for tough tasks, the durable 48-inch steel-reinforced spring-assist deck has 6 height positions to choose from, which can be easily adjusted to suit any kind of terrain or grass level you have on your property. Special Air Induction mowing technology also improves airflow within the deck, thus ensuring a clean, consistent cut every time.

A heavy cast-iron oscillating front axle provides superior balance and a 16-inch turning radius helps you to maneuver the mower around trees or other obstacles.

When it comes to cutting thick grass, the ‘Electric Blade Engagement’ system can be operated by just a pull of a switch that is located on the control panel.

value, riding, lawn, mower, best

The Maintenance Minder reminds you when it is time to service your tractor, and there is a convenient cup holder for your drink. You will enjoy a comfortable mowing experience as Husqvarna has included an ergonomic seat and a soft-grip steering wheel.


  • Ideal for medium to large properties up to 3-acres
  • Powerful
  • Good speed
  • Cuts well
  • Smooth operation
  • Good turning radius
  • Sturdy construction
  • Ideal for cutting thick grass

Husqvarna YTH24V54 Riding Mower

Once you ride on the Husqvarna YTH24V54 Riding Mower you will wonder how you ever managed to maintain your property without it. A seriously heavy-duty mowing machine, the YTH24V54 cuts effortlessly through long, thick grass.

The powerful 24 HP Briggs and Stratton Intek V-Twin engine provide the necessary power for longer mowing tasks and there is no need to prime or choke the engine. Ready-start technology turns the mower on with just a turn of the key and ensures reliable, continuous power, as well as preventing the engine from overheating.

Equipped with a 54-inch reinforced steel cutting deck, you can cut and trim grassy areas in one quick sweep, and air induction keeps the deck clean. An electric blade engagement system means you can raise and lower the deck by simply pulling a switch. Riding over uneven terrain is no problem for this mower as it has 4 anti-scalp wheels.

The foot pedal-operated hydrostatic transmission provides a smooth gear-changing experience. With a 16-inch turning radius and a special move-in-reverse feature, you can easily maneuver the lawnmower in tight corners and around obstacles. A super-fast machine, this riding mower delivers top speed, so all your mowing jobs will be done quickly.

Driving the Husqvarna riding mower is a delight as it has a step-through design, an ergonomic steering wheel, and the 15-inch high-back adjustable seat is very comfortable and supportive. For safe low-light driving, the riding mower also has high-intensity headlights.

The YTH24V54 is ideal for medium-large-sized properties that have uneven terrain and slight inclines or slopes, but it is not designed for very steep hills as it is quite bulky.


  • Powerful
  • Fast
  • Great cutting performance
  • Very good turning radius
  • Works best on hilly terrain
  • Ready-start technology
  • Mow in reverse
  • High-intensity headlights
  • Comfortable seat


  • Not ideal for very steep hills
  • Gas tank is a bit small
  • Screws can come loose easily underneath the seat

Husqvarna TS 348XD Riding Mower

Husqvarna is one of the most trusted manufacturers of outdoor power and lawn care equipment, and its smartly designed TS 348XD Riding Mower offers you the perfect combination of power and operator comfort.

Durable and dependable, the Husqvarna ride-on lawnmower is an excellent choice for those homesteaders who have a medium property with flat terrain.

Powered by a reliable 726cc OHV engine, the riding mower delivers sufficient power and torque for fast cutting in one go, and the automatic variable transmission gives you more control over the speed of the mower.

For easy maneuverability and fast blade engagement in yards that have obstacles or awkward corners, the efficient 48-inch steel cutting deck can be adjusted up or down with the 5-position hand-controlled height adjuster.

The fuel sight window on the tank helps you to keep track of the fuel usage.

Its durable front and rear wheels allow for a smooth ride over uneven terrain and also help to prevent any scalping on your lawn.

The turning radius and manual power take-off (PTO) mechanism make this machine quite easy to maneuver when you are doing sharp turns and getting in and out of tight spots.

Husqvarna has included some great ergonomic features that will make your mowing easier.

For your riding comfort, the lawn mower has a comfortable high-back seat that allows extra room for people with longer legs and an adjustable soft-rim steering wheel. The unique step-through frame allows you to get in and out of the machine quickly.

A highly versatile machine, you can attach a garden cart or a small trailer to the lawn mower.

Husqvarna offers a 2-year limited warranty on the riding mower.


  • Ideal for medium properties with uneven terrain
  • Easy to use
  • Durable and dependable
  • Powerful engine
  • Efficient cutting deck
  • Good turning radius makes it easy to maneuver
  • Very good cutting ability
  • Comfortable seat
  • Adjustable soft-rim steering wheel
  • Unique step-through frame
  • Compact design


  • Expensive
  • Belt does not last very long
  • Not ideal for lawns with very high grass
  • Small fuel tank

Husqvarna TS 354XD Garden Tractor

With unbeaten design features and capabilities in its class, the Husqvarna TS 354XD Garden Tractor is perfectly suited for a medium to large-sized property that has harsh mowing conditions.

The reliable Kawasaki 24 HP engine produces maximum power, quieter operation, and low emissions, so you can mow fast anywhere – with a consistent result every time.

Built like a tank, the TS 354XD has a rugged 10-gauge welded steel ClearCut™ cutting deck and the additional welded reinforcement strips ensure long-lasting durability. Instead of painted plastic that can fade, Husqvarna has made the hood from solid steel.

The commercial-grade electric locking rear differential keeps both rear tires moving in unison without overheating and provides unmatched traction on inclines and wet, slippery conditions. Six anti-scalping tires also prevent any damage to your lawn.

You have a lot of cutting versatility at your disposal as the cutting deck has 6 height-of-cut settings that range from 1-4-inches.

Adjusting the mower’s maximum speed of 5.5 MPH and 2.5 MPH in reverse can be done quickly via the pedal-operated Tuff Torq hydrostatic transmission. Cruise control and a 16-inch turning radius make it easy to maneuver the riding mower in a tight yard. A cast-iron front axle and dual draglinks allow for improved balance and stability, as well as a tighter turning radius.

For comfort and support while you mow, the deluxe 21-inch high back seat has armrests and the cockpit is very roomy. The oversized soft-touch steering wheel guarantees reduced effort and better ergonomics. Husqvarna also includes LED headlights for increased visibility in low light conditions, an hour meter, a large 4-gallon fuel tank with an easy-access fuel cup and visible fuel level, and a deck washout port.


  • Ideal for medium to large properties with harsh conditions
  • Maximum power
  • Reliable performance
  • Solid steel construction
  • Versatile 6 height-of-cut settings
  • Maximum speed up to 5.5 MPH and 2.5 MPH in reverse
  • Unmatched traction on inclines and wet, slippery conditions
  • Anti-scalping tires
  • Cruise control
  • 16-inch turning radius is ideal for maneuvering in tight yards
  • Improved balance and stability
  • Deluxe 21-inch high back seat has armrests
  • Roomy cockpit
  • Oversized soft-touch steering wheel
  • LED headlights
  • Deck washout port


  • Expensive
  • Needs more shock absorption in the seat
  • Very bulky
  • Engine is very loud when engaging the deck

Our Top Pick for the Best Riding Lawn Mower

Our top pick for the best riding lawn mower is the Husqvarna YTA24V48 Tractor Mower.

With air-induction mowing technology, it improves grass lift and delivers a superior cut. Plenty of special features such as the choke less start, 48-inch cutting width, and 24 HP power output make this a machine worthy of the top of the best lawn mowers list.

Welcome to the one and only riding lawn mower buying guide you need to look at, before you bite the bullet and buy one yourself.

Here’s what I did to make this the most thorough guide out on the internet. Believe me most websites want to sell one of these instead of simply reviewing it, so there are very few unbiased opinions out there.

I researched all the best selling riding lawn mowers on Lowes, Home Depot, and Sears websites for this comparison guide. Each mower is listed below with the data you need to make a proper buying decision. I actually used this data to buy my own riding mower, wait till you hear about how my purchase went from really good to really bad, and what I did to fix the situation.

The Only Data Really Worth Mowing Over:

Pros and Cons by Model # (Discover cool features and reliability problems.) Currently I’m still sifting through hundreds of reviews, but I will be posting the pros and cons very soon. Remember you will still have access to the most popular data people use to choose a lawn tractor, such as deck size, horsepower, brand, total reviews, average review rating, and of course price. My pros and cons section will be very insightful and loaded with info you can only learn by reading a ton of customer reviews.

Total Customer Reviews (Top sellers usually indicate a good product.)

Average Review Ratings (A good riding mower should rate well.)

Cost Where to Buy (Click on the model and go right to the retailer who sells it the most).

So these are the basics I used to create this buying guide. I suggest to any serious buyers that they read the latest customer reviews on the mower they’re considering. This is easily done by simply clicking on the hyperlinked model name above each tractor photo. Once clicked, a new page or tab will open where you can finalize your opinion by reading what others have complained or praised about. If you want to continue shopping simply close that window to go back to this buying guide.

Without further waiting I present to you that 2015 list of the best selling riding lawn mowers at Home Depot, Lowes, Sears retailers.

19 Horsepower

Automatic Transmission

4.3 out of 5

A19A42 42 in. 19 HP Briggs Stratton Automatic Gas Front-Engine Riding Mower

20 Horsepower

Automatic Transmission

4.4 out of 5

Ariens A20VA46 46 in. 20 HP V-Twin Briggs Stratton Automatic Gas Front-Engine Riding Mower

20 Horsepower

Hydrostatic Transmission

4.6 out of 5

17.5 Horsepower

Automatic Transmission

4.2 out of 5

John Deere D105 42 in. 17.5 HP Automatic Front-Engine Riding Mower

22 Horsepower

Hydrostatic Transmission

4.3 out of 5

John Deere D140 48 in. 22 HP V-Twin Hydrostatic Front-Engine Riding Mower

19 Horsepower

Automatic Transmission

3.5 out of 5

Cub Cadet LTX1040 42 in. 19-HP Front-Engine Automatic Drive Riding Mower

19 Horsepower

Hydrostatic Transmission

4.3 out of 5

John Deere Model # D110 42 in. 19 HP Hydrostatic Front-Engine Riding Mower

25 Horsepower

Hydrostatic Transmission

4.3 out of 5

John Deere D170 54 in. 25-HP V-Twin Hydrostatic Front-Engine Riding Mower

19 Horsepower

Automatic Transmission

4.3 out of 5

Ariens A19A42 42 in. 19 HP Briggs Stratton Automatic Gas Front-Engine Riding Mower

20 Horsepower

Automatic Transmission

4.3 out of 5

Ariens 46 in. 20 HP V-Twin Briggs Stratton Automatic Gas Front-Engine Riding Mower

24 Horsepower

Hydrostatic Transmission

4.5 out of 5

Husqvarna YTH24V48 V-Twin Hydrostatic 48-in Riding Lawn Mower with Briggs Stratton Engine and Mulching Capable

22 Horsepower

Hydrostatic Transmission

4.3 out of 5

John Deere D130 V-Twin Hydrostatic 42-in Riding Lawn Mower with Briggs Stratton Engine and (Mulching Capable)

22 Horsepower

Hydrostatic Transmission

4.3 out of 5

Husqvarna YTH22V46 V-Twin Hydrostatic 46-in Riding Lawn Mower with Briggs Stratton Engine and Mulching Capable

15.5 Horsepower

Hydroc Transmission

3.8 out of 5

Troy-Bilt Pony Shift-on-the-Go 42-in Riding Lawn Mower with Briggs Stratton Engine and Mulching Capable

17 Horsepower

Automatic Transmission

3.7 out of 5

Troy-Bilt Bronco Automatic 42-in Riding Lawn Mower with Kohler Engine and Mulching Capable

19 Horsepower

Automatic Transmission

4.0 out of 5

Craftsman 19HP Briggs Stratton 46” Riding Mower

420cc ? Horsepower

Automatic Transmission

3.5 out of 5

Craftsman 420cc 42 Riding Mower Front Engine

19 Horsepower

Hydrostatic Transmission

4.5 out of 5

Craftsman 19HP 42” Turn Tight® Riding Mower

22 Horsepower

Automatic Transmission

4.0 out of 5

Craftsman 22HP 42” Turn Tight® Fast Riding Mower

Comparing Riding Mower Features and Options List

Hours Meter. A analog or digital counter that logs total amount of hours on machine.

Deck Size: Typical residential deck sizes range from 42 to 46. A larger deck will allow you to save time. This is especially useful for people that have to mow lawns of 1 acre and above.

Transmission Types:

6 Speed. Just like a manual transmission on a car, a lawn tractor can be outfitted with a manual transmission. Typical usage requires the engagement of a clutch to change gearing. Riding the clutch to assist in braking will wear down the clutch as in a regular car. I’ve noticed several complaints throughout the years about clutches wearing out prematurely, and based on the other reviewers, I have concluded that most of the clutch problems stated in reviews are most likely user error generated.

To Clutch or not To Clutch Ride is the Question and a reoccurring topic on Car Talk with Click and Clack, The Tapport Borthers. If you’re a car nut like I am, you need to check out the NPR Peabody Award winning radio talk show online. I routinely download episodes using a app onto my Samsung Galaxy (soon to be replaced S4. I’ll be doing a Smartphone Consideration article soon. I’m mostly looking to acquire the best virtual assistant in my next Smartphone and Cortana from Microsoft Windows 10 is looking really promising. BTW: Sign up for a Microsoft Windows 10 Technical Preview and download the new beta version operating system for free.).

Automatic Transmission. Automatic transmissions work similarly to what you will find in a Ford Explorer 6-speed SelectShift Automatic or a Hyundai Elantra 6 speed automatic.

Variable or CVT Transmission. A gear-less transmission, single speed transmission, or one speed automatic are all part of the nomenclature a constant variable transmission (CVT ) is known for.

Hydrostatic Transmission. An internal pump and motor drive system where hydraulic oil pushes out pistons and it’s those pushed out pistons that cause the motor to turn. With this type of transmission there are only 2 pedals on the floor board and no gear lever. Pressing the go pedal firmly causes the mower to reach full speed, pressing it lightly causes the mower to move slowly, kind of like a car. The reverse pedal works the same way, the only thing that changes is that pressing it causes an opposite set of pistons to turn the motor in reverse. This is typically a sealed system that is not meant to be serviced.

Why Buy A Front Engine Riding Mower Instead of a Self-propelled Lawn Mower?

Once again I did my over the top OCD research, because we just bought a house with too much land for a typical self-propelled lawn mower to handle.

Our property is only a half acre but it’s not perfectly flat, and it takes hours to mow with a standard lawn mower. Since I can’t waste time, because I’m always working on making videos and articles for you guys, I simply had no choice but to abandon the self-propelled Honda mower I picked from my other guide, and decided to allocate 4 x more money for a lawn tractor.

At first I hated the idea of spending 2,000 on a lawn mower, but after I used it to cleanup an entire yard full of leaves with minimal effort and actual fun, the money factor became less of an issue for me. I actually can’t wait to mow my lawn this year, and clean up the leaves using the riding mower I found by doing this OCD research. I hope you guys like it, and share it in your social sphere because if it wasn’t for you guys doing that for me, I wouldn’t be making these in-depth buying guides and how-to videos.

This fall I went to Glastonbury Home Depot to buy one of the last tractors that was still in a crate in Connecticut. The guy helping me knew very well why I drove 30 minutes to his store when I have one 5 minutes away from my house. It was because I wanted a brand new untouched machine.

What happened was that a few days later a guy comes to my house and delivers a machine that’s been sitting outside at Bristol Home Depot for months. They did not even bother cleaning any dirt or leaves off the machine. I was pissed off, because I didn’t originally have plans to spend two grand on a lawn tractor and I can’t imagine what putz would deliver something so expensive in such bad shape. When you spend 100 on a brand new product, you expect that product to be clean and in it’s original packaging right. then what the heck were these morons doing that day?

But the icing on the cake was that they gave me someone’s returned bagger that was missing parts, a manual, and it was disgustingly dirty; it looked like it was used for years prior to the return. Well, after my wife calmed me down, I called Glastonbury HD, spoke to a manager, they apologized, then scheduled a pickup and a delivery of the crated tractor, and a brand new bagger from Glastonbury, which was hand delivered by the store manager. They wanted to cheap out on the delivery cost at Glastonbury, and Bristol HD just had a careless manager and employees working that day.

Most of the time they get it right, but when they don’t you have to talk to someone that can do something about it. This year I literally spent a small fortune at these stores remodeling our house, and dealt with more than one headache. But one time, I made a mistake in ordering the wrong whirlpool tub, and it sat at my house for months before I opened the box. I called HD up, and they had that thing on a truck the very next day to process the return. I ended up upgrading that tub to something better at a different store instead. I’m not so sure it would go this smoothly at a small mom and pop shop who already spent your money on their overhead costs the month you bought it.

Riding Lawn Mowers – Must-Have Piece Of Equipment For Landscapers

Corey Majeau is a researcher, product tester, and writer for many sites including Homedit. With ten years of experience as a content writer, graphic designer, and hands-on product tester. Corey brings a certain level of quality and personality to the team.

Most riding lawn mowers look like small tractors with a cutting deck that’s integrated underneath the mower. Their function is simple – cutting grass. Since they’re larger than your regular mower, however, they’re able to cut grass that’s from 70cm to over a meter. Riding lawn mowers are not only a great option for those that own a big property, but they’re also incredibly fun to ride. After all, there’s nothing more appealing than being able to zoom around the yard.

If you’re thinking of getting a riding lawn mower, you could be overwhelmed by the sheer variety of riding lawn mowers out there. To get you started, we’ll talk a little bit about what to look for when purchasing a riding lawn mower, before breaking down the details of 5 of the best riding lawn mowers there are on the market.

How to Choose a Riding Lawn Mower?

If you’re able to, you should test out your riding lawn mower before purchasing it. By testing out the riding lawn mower, you’ll have a better idea of whether or not the seat is cushioned sufficiently for comfort, if the controls are easy to use, and if the steering wheel and levers are at a comfortable height and angle for you.

While most individuals that are purchasing a riding lawn mower have larger lawns, it doesn’t mean that you can’t purchase a riding lawn mower if you’ve got a smaller lawn. If you’ve got a lawn that’s a little smaller, you can consider getting a zero-turn model. These have rear-mounted engines and rear-wheel brake steering that has a tighter turning circle.

Something else to consider is mulching options. They’re usually an option on many models and you want to make sure that it’s able to properly hold the clippings and chop them up finely before blowing them into the lawn.

Riding lawn mowers are heavy and typically weigh 150kg or more, so you want to make sure that you’re at the center of gravity. Even if you’ve got a lawn that has a slope that tilts greater than 10 degrees, it’s not advisable to mow sideways. Zero-turn models are generally better at handling slopes, but it’s still not advisable to do so.

In terms of driving, most individuals tend to purchase manual transmission options as they’re cheaper. Automatic or hydrostatic transmission models might be the better purchase if you’re looking to increase or decrease your speed without changing gears. Some of them even have cruise control for added convenience.

Types of Lawn Mowers

There are different ways to classify lawn mowers, but the two most common categories that a lot of people use to identify these products are ride-on and walk mowers. Each of them has a number of sub-categories, so here is what you need to know about them.

#1: Ride-on mowers

Riding mowers are just what they appear to be, mowers with seats that you can ride on. They are good for cutting large portions of grass, where walk mowers would require more effort on your behalf. There are different types of ride-on mowers:

  • Lawn tractors are easy to recognize because of their larger size and front-mounted engines. These mowers have powerful engines that can have up to 25 horsepower. They are equipped with either one or two cylinders, which helps determine how powerful they are. The cheaper models have lever-operated gear transmissions, while more powerful ones are usually equipped with continuously variable transmission.
  • Zero-turn mowers are considered to be the equivalent of today’s sports car. They are easier to maneuver compared to lawn tractors and they can make really sharp turns that makes cutting grass easier and more fun. They are great when you have plenty of obstacles to overcome and are efficient on lawns with irregular shape.
  • Rear engine riding mowers are good for average-sized lawns. The engine is located on the back of the mower. This type of mower is operated with continuously variable transmission and single-cylinder engines.

#2: Walk mowers

Walk mowers require a little more effort to operate since you literally have to walk behind the mower and push it through the grass for it to do its job. Just as ride-on mowers, this category has a bunch of different sub-categories, as follows:

  • Cylinder mowers are sometimes referred to as reel mowers and are characterized by cylindrical blades located in the front side of the machine. They operate by trapping grass and cutting it, pretty much as a large pair of scissors would do. They are indicated for soft grass but are most efficient on flat lawns and won’t perform that well on rough surfaces. They are also pretty inefficient on lawns with tall grass.
  • Rotary mowers are the most popular category of walk mowers that you’ll find in various households all over the world. They are equipped with a single blade that rotates at high speed in horizontal motion. Rotary mowers have proven themselves efficient when trying to cut medium to tall grass, but their cuts are not as precise as those of a cylinder mower.
  • Push mowers require more elbow grease because your pushing power controls the wheel action. They are the least expensive option of all, but they are often chosen because they are easy to handle and pretty lightweight. That makes them pretty easy to maneuver, but they do require putting in more effort. They offer people a good excuse to exercise, though.
  • Self-propelled mowers use transmission power for the torque needed to move forward, so all you have to do is guide them in the right direction. They are a category of mowers that’s pretty easy to operate. They have consistent cuts thanks to their ability to operate at constant speeds.
  • Mover mowers are a category that’s a little bit different compared to the others, as they sit a few inches above the ground, on an air cushion. They are super easy to maneuver and can move in any direction. That makes them pretty efficient around obstacles and they are pretty cheap as well. However, their lack of power makes them unsuitable for large yards.

How to Choose a Riding Lawn Mower

When you’re looking to buy a ride-on lawn mower, there are four main features that you need to pay attention to determine if the product you’re consider is actually worth the money:


  • Horsepower is a term used to describe the output of an engine. This basically helps determine how powerful the engine is. Keep in mind that this engine power is distributed amongst several parts of the lawn mower, such as the cutting blades and the drive transmission. horsepower translates into more power for the mower, which makes it easier for it to cut grass in difficult conditions or find its way up the hill.
  • The cutting width of a lawn mower will determine the width of the grass patch that can be cut in a single pass. Ride-on mowers can be compact and cut patches of grass that are 30 inches in width, while larger models that cut grass as wide as 50 inches. Needless to say, the size of your yard is the most decisive factor when choosing mowers with a specific cutting width.
  • The fuel capacity is actually a measurement of how much fuel the tank can hold. This, of course, depends on the size of the mower and its fuel consumption. The idea is that your mower should not run out of the fuel in the middle of the lawn cutting process. That makes mowers with small tanks suitable for smaller yards, and those with larger tanks more adequate for larger ones.
  • The transmission of a lawn mower is what delivered power from the engine to the wheels. Ride-on mowers have one of three types of transmission: automatic, manual, or hydrostatic. Manual transmission mowers most likely have clutches and gears that need shifting, automatic models grant you control over the speed with the help of a gas pedal, and a hydrostatic transmission does pretty much the same thing.

Best Riding Lawn Mowers

Husqvarna YTH18542 42 in 18.5 HP Briggs Stratton Hydrostatic Riding Mower

The final riding lawn mower that we’ve got on the list is the Husqvarna riding lawn mower. It’s the perfect lawn mower to purchase if you’re looking for something that offers premium performance with quality results. Its compact size means that they require less space for storage, and they’re much easier to maneuver than a larger mower.

It also comes with numerous features from a Stratton Intek engine for powerful performance, foot pedal-operated hydrostatic transmission, fender-mounted cutting height adjustment, and an adjustable seat. Its 16-inch turning radius means that it’s good for smaller spaces and for navigating around obstacles. The mid-back seat is also supremely comfortable, and the mower also has an ergonomic steering wheel.

The 42-inch reinforced cutting deck of the riding lawn mower also comes with uniquely integrated air induction mowing technology that’ll make sure that you’ve got a clean and consistent cut of grass every time. You won’t regret purchasing this riding lawn mower that comes with plenty of features, it’s also rated highly and is a great mower that’ll get the job done.

Snapper 2911525BVE Classic RER 28 inch

This classic riding lawn mower has tried and true features with an easy to use design. While it may have that old-time classic look, it has modern features and mowing innovations which makes it a great addition to your home. The engine has long-lasting durability and is also rear mounted for a classic look.

It’s easy to start your mower as the controls aren’t difficult to operate, and the electric switch means that you’ve got a reliable start every single time. Other innovative features include the convenient 5-speed shift as well as the rolled edges of the mowing deck that helps in sucking up clippings for a clean cut.

You won’t have to worry about this riding lawn mower taking up space as it’s got a vertical stand-on edge capability that makes it perfect for saving space during storage. The adjustable mid-back seat means that you can adjust it to a level that suits you best. It’s also suited for lanes of all sizes, and those that have purchased it have given it rave reviews for its easy maneuverability, and ability to climb up small slopes.

Troy-Bilt 382cc 30-Inch Premium Neighborhood Riding Lawn Mower

This particular riding lawn mower comes with a 30-inch cutting deck along with the benefits of a standard riding lawn mower. You can easily store this riding lawn mower in a garage or shed, and it’s great for medium-sized landscapes along with even terrain. The mower is powered by a powerful engine and has a six-speed transmission for clean performance and durability.

There are also five adjustable settings on this riding lawn mower along with an 18-inch turning radius. You can easily check the fuel tank capacity through the fuel sight window, and the 5-height adjustable blade with manual power take-off makes blade engagement incredibly quick and swift. You’ve also able to raise your seat to mid-back and the steering wheel is a soft grip wheel for added comfort.

With this mower, you’ll be able to navigate easily around your yard due to its smaller cutting deck and compact size. You can also mow your lawn with ease due to the comfortable mid-back seat and won’t have any trouble maneuvering thanks for the 18-inch turning radius. Best of all, this riding lawn mower is made with high-quality materials to last for a considerable period of time.

Husqvarna Z254 54 in. 26 HP Kohler Hydrostatic Zero Turn Riding Mower

This riding lawn mower has the perfect combination of both performance and style. It has a cutting-edge design along with innovative features that makes it a popular option among many. It’s 26 HP Kohler engine gives it a powerful reliable start-up, and it can go up to a maximum speed of 6.5 MPH.

Other features in the lawn mower include a park brake system that will automatically turn on or off when the steering levers are moved outward or inward. There’s also a specially integrated air induction mowing technology that draws air from the top and bottom to swiftly cut the grass and deliver a superior cut.

The lawn mower is also constructed with heavy flat-stock steel for ultimate durability, and clippings can be discharged, mulched or bagged. With an innovative and maintenance-free transmission, you can use this riding lawn mower year after year with no issues at all. It’s a zero-turn mower that’s incredibly easy to use and has lots of power and speed.

Troy-Bilt Neighborhood Rider Riding Lawn Mower

For a powerful and dependable riding lawn mower, this is the perfect addition to your home. It has a 30-inch cutting deck along with a Troy-Bilt engine for superior performance. The mower also comes with an 18-inch turning radius along with a 6-speed transmission which allows you to mow at your own pace.

Other features of this riding lawn mower include a clear fuel tank window that displays how much gas you have left as well as five adjustable height settings. The mower itself is also made with sturdy durable 14-gauge steel to last you for several years to come. It’s easy to use and due to its small stature, it’s able to save a considerable amount of garage and shed space.

On top of that, the engine of the mower also fires up responsively, and the padded mid-back seat means that you’ve got a comfortable saddle that feels fantastic even if you’re going at a higher speed. Performance-wise, the mower also performs pretty well or a smaller riding lawn mower. While it’s great for tight quarters, it’s not recommended to ride this up a hill.


How much does a riding lawn mower cost?

It depends on the exact category of lawn mowers that you’re looking to purchase. For example, a lawn tractor can cost anything between 1,000 and 3,000, while a zero-turn mower can cost between 1,000 and 6,000.

What are the best lawn tractor brands?

A lawn tractor is not a cheap expense, and before spending thousands of dollars on one of these pieces of equipment, you need to know what brands are worth it and which ones are less desirable. When it comes to lawn tractors, the brands that currently stand out the most (in a positive way) and Husqvarna, Cub Cadet, and Poulan.

How do I ride a lawn mower?

Ride-on lawn mowers are relatively easy to operate because they don’t require as much elbow grease as other types of mowers out there. Pretty much everything you have to do is climb into the driver’s seat and turn on the power switch or press the “start” button. A ride-on mower with automatic transmission doesn’t require shifting gears to change speeds.

Corey Majeau is a researcher, product tester, and writer for many sites including Homedit. With ten years of experience as a content writer, graphic designer, and hands-on product tester. Corey brings a certain level of quality and personality to the team.

Don’t spend half the day mowing your lawn when you can purchase a riding lawn mower to better manage your expansive yard.

By Tony Carrick and Mark Wolfe | Updated Jun 22, 2023 11:17 AM

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

For yards larger than a half acre, a push lawn mower just doesn’t cut it. Walk-behind lawn mowers are simply too small to mow the yard in a reasonable amount of time. Unless you enjoy spending the better part of a Saturday cutting grass, you need a riding lawn mower. Riding lawn mowers feature powerful engines and wide mowing decks that allow you to mow a large yard more quickly than with a standard push mower.

A riding mower is an invaluable tool for those who live on large pieces of property. But with so many different kinds of riding mowers on the market at a wide range of prices, how do you know which one is right for your yard? We compiled the following recommendations based on hours of research as well as our own riding mower field-test results. Read on to learn more about choosing the right model for your property, followed by our best riding lawn mower in-depth reviews.

  • BEST OVERALL:John Deere 42-Inch S130 Lawn Tractor
  • BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK:Troy-Bilt Pony 42 Riding Lawn Tractor
  • UPGRADE PICK:Cub Cadet Ultima ZT2 60-Inch 24 HP Zero-Turn Mower
  • BEST GAS LAWN TRACTOR:Cub Cadet XT1 LT50 Enduro Lawn Tractor
  • BEST GAS ZERO-TURN:Toro 50-Inch TimeCutter MyRIDE Zero-Turn Mower
  • BEST BATTERY ZERO-TURN:Ego Power 42-Inch Z6 Zero-Turn Riding Mower
  • BEST FOR SMALL YARDS:Ryobi 30-Inch 50 Ah Electric Riding Lawn Mower
  • BEST FOR LARGE YARDS:Toro 54- Inch TimeCutter MyRIDE Zero-Turn Mower
  • BEST FOR ROUGH TERRAIN:Ariens Ikon 52 Kawasaki V-Twin Zero-Turn Lawn Mower

How We Tested the Best Riding Lawn Mowers

With so many different types of riding lawn mowers to choose from, we compiled our list based on a diverse range of buyer needs. We selected the top models from reputable brands, including options for small, midsize, and large-acreage properties. Our choices include lawn tractors and zero-turn mowers, and we included a compact rear-engine model. With the rise in popularity of battery mowers, and the still-strong performance of gas-powered machines in this category, we made sure to include both.

We tested several of these picks, with more testing to come. Our riding lawn mower tests involve multiple-week trials on varied terrain with slopes and bumpy ground, both rough mowing and finish mowing. Several of the mowers below have already been tested; we have mowed at least 16 acres over at least 8 hours. We scored the mowers using a rubric in order to compare measurable specifications, such as deck width, frame steel gauge, and engine horsepower. We also took into account our subjective observations that describe the overall user experience in terms of comfort and convenience, not to mention mowing results.

Our Top Picks

We’ve compiled our top riding lawn mower recommendations based on brand reputation, spec analysis, and our own hands-on testing results. This list includes riding lawn mowers with powerful engines, wide mower decks, and durable construction from some of the most reputable lawn mower manufacturers.

John Deere 42-Inch S130 Lawn Tractor

Our top pick comes from a brand that is synonymous with durable performance, as it boasts a full range of riding lawn mowers built to last for decades. The John Deere S130 combines dependability with operational comfort and convenience. This lawn tractor comes equipped with a 22 horsepower (HP) Briggs Stratton 44 V-twin engine, a TLT 200 hydrostatic transaxle, and 20×10-8 rear tires that will provide many years of mowing service. It also features a single-lever throttle with spring-return choke, electric blade engagement, a dash-mounted fuel gauge, and the John Deere Easy Change 30-second oil-change system to make mowing and caring for the mower significantly easier.

At a glance, this mower may not appear much different from other lawn tractors, but a few key features set it apart. The mower’s frame is fabricated of full-length welded steel with a cast-iron front axle for decades of reliable operation. The engine features a full pressure lubrication system for extended working life. It is also compatible with numerous attachments, including branded and universal baggers, snow blowers, dump carts, and others that expand its usefulness beyond mowing.

In our at-home test of the John Deere S130, one of the first characteristics that stood out was its comfort. The two-piece seat allowed for cooling air circulation between the seat and backrest, unlike other mower seats with a one-piece design. The seat bottom was positioned 32 inches above the ground, providing a vantage point 3 inches higher than many competitors for improved visibility. We also liked the easy-to-use control layout, including push-button blade engagement and the dash-mounted gas gauge, keeping everything right at our fingertips. Plus, hydrostatic operation, controlled by side-by-side pedals, eliminated gear selection—we simply pressed one pedal to go forward and the other to reverse.

As for maneuverability and mowing performance, we could not have been happier. Top speed was about 5.5 miles per hour (mph), which was good for about 2 acres of mowing per hour. The deck shape allowed for extremely close edge cutting to minimize trimming later on. A spring-assisted lever made it easy to raise and lower the deck to any of the 13 preset heights between 1 and 4 inches high. The large tires cushioned the ride across uneven terrain, and the tight turning radius let the mower make surprisingly narrow turns, leaving an uncut diameter of just 25 inches.

In general, we liked the fast speed combined with the slightly narrower deck because it allows the operator to access tight spaces while still mowing a lot of grass quickly. The comfortable ride, ease of operation, and dependable components make this a great choice for those who have medium-to-large-size yards.

Product Specs

  • Ideal power and size for properties from 0.5 acre up to 2 acres
  • Tight turning radius with a smooth, comfortable ride
  • Seat bottom is 32 inches above the ground, which provides a higher vantage point than other mowers
  • Easy maintenance with the John Deere Easy Change 30-second oil-change system; compatible with numerous attachments
  • Higher price point than competitors in the same size and power range
  • Limited capability on hilly terrain

Get the John Deere riding lawn mower at Lowe’s or John Deere.

Troy-Bilt Pony 42 Riding Lawn Tractor

This lawn tractor from Troy-Bilt features a powerful motor and ample mowing deck at a cost lower than that of other riding lawn mowers. The Troy-Bilt Pony 42 features a single-cylinder engine and a 42-inch mowing deck, which is suitable for 1 to 1.5-acre lawns. A twin-blade deck offers ample cutting power. And while the Pony doesn’t include a hydrostatic transmission, its seven-speed shift-on-the-go transmission is smoother than other manual-transmission lawn tractors. An 18-inch turning radius allows for easy maneuverability in the yard, while a 1.36-gallon tank capacity supplies enough fuel for medium-size lawns.

The Pony has a padded high-back seat and soft grips on the steering wheel for comfort. Additional features include LED headlights for mowing in low lighting, a rear hitch for accessories, and an integrated washing port on the deck.


Product Specs

  • Type: Lawn tractor
  • Powered by: 15.5-HP 1-cylinder gas engine
  • Deck size: 42 inches
  • Budget-friendly price point for a lawn mower that is built to last
  • Low-maintenance Briggs Stratton gas engine with electric start will provide years of dependable service
  • 42-inch deck is suitable for mowing up to 2 acres of grass
  • 7-speed manual transmission is less convenient than hydrostatic transaxle
  • Does not include an anti-scalping deck

Get the Troy-Bilt riding lawn mower at The Home Depot or Troy-Bilt.

Cub Cadet Ultima ZT2 60-Inch 24 HP Zero-Turn Mower

This high-performance zero-turn mower has plenty of power and features to take on large yards. With its powerful 24-HP Kawasaki twin-cylinder motor, 3.5-gallon gas tank, and a massive 60-inch deck, the Ultima can mow lawns of 3 acres or more. With its hydrostatic transmission, this zero-turn mower smoothly reaches speeds up to 7.5 mph. The large deck features Cub Cadet’s AeroForce cutting system for a top cut along with 15 height adjustments ranging from 1 to 4.5 inches.

Cut the lawn in comfort thanks to a cushioned seat with armrests, a suspension system, adjustable lap bars, and comfortable hand grips. LED headlights allow you to work in low-light conditions, while Cub Cadet’s built-in SmartJet deck pressure-washing system keeps the mowing deck clean.

Product Specs

  • Type: Zero-turn mower
  • Powered by: 24-HP V-twin Kawasaki gas engine
  • Deck size: 60 inches
  • Commercial-grade engine and heavy-duty frame will withstand many years of hard use
  • 60-inch deck and 7.5 mph mowing speed; cuts up to 4 acres per hour
  • Open frame and hinged floor pan allow easy access to the mower deck for maintenance
  • Comfort features include padded high-back seat with armrests, cup holder, and 20-inch wheels for a smoother ride
  • Premium price point for a residential mower, but value priced for the quality/capability
  • The wide deck is too large to navigate walk-through gates and narrow pathways

Get the Cub Cadet Ultima riding lawn mower at The Home Depot.

Cub Cadet XT1 LT50 Enduro Lawn Tractor

There’s a lot to like about the Cub Cadet XT1 LT50 that makes it an excellent all-around riding lawn mower. Let’s start with what’s under the hood: a powerful 24-HP twin-cylinder Kohler engine, which is more than enough to power its 50-inch cutting deck or handle inclines. The engine and deck size make this mower suitable for lawns up to 1.5 acres. A hydrostatic transmission enables smooth speed changes, while a short wheelbase enables an impressive 16-inch turning radius. The cutting deck provides ample cutting power thanks to its three cutting blades and 12 easily adjustable cutting heights. A 3-gallon fuel tank ensures you won’t need a refill, even for large jobs.

Other features that set the Cub Cadet XT1 LT50 apart include a cruise-control feature that maintains a constant speed for the perfect cut and a SmartJet deck pressure-washing system, which allows a garden hose to be attached to the mowing deck to power-wash the interior.

Product Specs

  • Type: Lawn tractor
  • Powered by: 24-HP Kohler V-twin 7000 gas engine
  • Deck size: 50 inches
  • Wider deck and bigger engine; mows more grass faster than other lawn tractors
  • 15-inch high-back seat with 10-degree incline and slide slope adjustment for outstanding comfort
  • Extremely tight turning radius of just 16 inches for best-in-class maneuverability
  • Features include push-button cruise control, LED headlights, battery indicator, and translucent fuel tank

Get the Cub Cadet XT1 LT50 riding lawn mower at The Home Depot, Tractor Supply Co., or Blain’s Farm Fleet (with stamped deck).

Toro 50-Inch TimeCutter MyRIDE Zero-Turn Mower

Owners of large properties prefer zero-turn mowers because they cut grass faster and more efficiently than lawn tractors, and they leave a great-looking finish. The Toro 50-inch TimeCutter MyRIDE zero-turn mower is an excellent choice for anyone mowing up to 4 acres of grass. It comes equipped with either a 24.5-HP Toro Commercial V-twin engine or a 23-HP Kawasaki engine, both of which are engineered and manufactured for the rigors of daily use in the professional lawn care industry. The MyRIDE floating suspension allows 3 inches of travel between the seat and the mower frame for an incredibly smooth ride on bumpy lawn areas.

Numerous commercial features make the Toro 50-inch TimeCutter one of the most dependable and convenient mowers for large properties. The dual hydrostatic HG-ZT 2200 transaxles and 10-gauge steel-fabricated triple-blade deck combine for fast mowing—up to 7 mph—with an incredibly clean finished cut from 1.5 to 4.5 inches high. The 3-gallon gas tank is more than adequate for mowing 4 acres of open ground without stopping to refuel. When it comes to maintaining the mower, the built-in deck washout port and toolless oil-change system make it quick and easy.

As for comfort and control of the mower, it offers a nice mix of professional durability with comfort and convenience upgrades that owners will appreciate. Dual wraparound levers with pro-control dampers offer intuitive steering control that even those new to zero-turn mowing will settle into right away. The 18-inch hand-sewn high-back seat includes padded foldaway armrests and adjusts forward and back to fit most users with the simple slide of a lever. A foot lever assists with deck-height adjustments to eliminate arm strain. And operators can stay hydrated while mowing on hot days thanks to a built-in cup holder.

We tested a Toro 50-inch TimeCutter MyRIDE for more than a month. The model we used came equipped with the 24.5-HP Toro Commercial engine. Although it was packed with commercial details, the mower was not quite as fast as a true commercial mower (which would cost at least twice as much). Still, at or near top speed, we were able to mow our 2-acre test area in about 40 minutes, or roughly 3 acres an hour, which is excellent among residential zero-turn mowers. We mowed the property twice per tank of gas, with a little left in the tank after the second cut, so we can confidently say after mowing four times that it will mow 4 acres per tank.

The MyRIDE suspension system was a unique configuration we haven’t seen elsewhere. The “cockpit” of the mower, including the seat and footrest area, is mounted on a floating platform that is attached to the mower frame by a shock absorber. The adjustable system provided more or less resistance as conditions required. It really did provide an outstanding amount of cushioning compared to the spring-seat systems that most zero-turn mowers use.

While we loved the power and comfort of the Toro TimeCutter, this model was a bit too wide to access a gated area on the property, and it could not navigate a narrow pathway to another isolated spot. Also, as with other zero-turn mowers, this one is not rated for use on slopes steeper than about 15 degrees, or 5.5 vertical feet per 20 linear feet, so we avoided those areas as well.

Product Specs

  • Type: Zero-turn mower
  • Powered by: 24.5-HP Toro Commercial V-twin engine or 23-HP Kawasaki V-twin engine
  • Deck size: 50 inches
  • Commercial-grade engine is designed for thousands of hours of hard use
  • Fast mowing at speeds up to 7 miles per hour; it can mow about 3 acres in an hour
  • MyRIDE suspension system offers an incredibly smooth ride over bumpy ground
  • 3-gallon fuel capacity, which is enough to mow up to 4 acres per fill-up
  • 10-gauge steel frame and forged-steel deck offer outstanding toughness and durability
  • Due to the width of the deck, this mower cannot drive through most walk-through gates
  • Zero turns in general, and this one included, are not designed for hilly terrain

Get the Toro 50-inch TimeCutter riding lawn mower at The Home Depot (with 24.5-HP Toro Commercial engine), Mowers Direct (with 24.5-HP Toro Commercial engine), or Tractor Supply Co. (with 23-HP Kawasaki engine).

Ego Power 42-Inch Z6 Zero-Turn Riding Mower

Those who measure their yard in acres instead of square feet may have thought a gas-powered mower was the only option. That is no longer the case. The Ego Power zero-turn riding mower mows up to 2 acres per charge and can easily be upgraded to mow more than 3 acres per charge. Many of the features found on gas-powered zero-turn mowers are also found on the Z6, such as adjustable lap bars to control the drive wheels, heavy-duty front swivel casters, and an adjustable high-back seat. Other features include a 42-inch mowing deck with 10 height settings between 1.5 and 4.5 inches and the option to discharge, mulch, or bag the grass clippings.

Independent electric motors drive the wheels and blades. Blade power is adjustable to conserve battery life during normal maintenance or to power through tougher areas. Powered by the included four 56-volt 10-amp-hour (Ah) lithium-ion batteries, the Z6 delivers mowing performance equivalent to that of a 22-HP gas engine. Four batteries mow up to 2 acres per charge, but the Z6 has six battery ports. Add up to two additional batteries (sold separately) to mow more than 3 acres per charge. The Z6 also features bright LED headlights and a battery-life indicator. The included Rapid-charge adapter is reputed to be one of the fastest available, topping off a set of depleted batteries in just 2 hours.

After a month of testing, we were sold on the Z6 as a viable alternative to gas for larger properties. Our test property featured rolling terrain with about 2.25 acres of grass, including a large open acre-plus, and the rest broken up with landscape beds, walkways, and buildings. We tested in the basic four-battery configuration as well as with two additional batteries in order to learn more about top-end functionality.

We were pleased to note that runtime and acres per charge were as advertised in the four-battery configuration. The Rapid-charge system refueled the four batteries in just 2 hours. To test the six-battery configuration, we mowed the entire property at the highest setting, then dropped the deck three notches and started mowing the big field again. With all six batteries, we mowed approximately 3 acres and recharged all six in about 3 hours.

The overall Ego Power Z6 mowing experience was really good. The mower starts easily and reliably. The controls, gauges, and adjustments are fairly intuitive. The sound level is extremely quiet, especially compared to a large gas-powered zero-turn mower. The suspension seat was quite comfortable, but the relatively small rear tires and overall light weight of the machine made for a bouncy ride on the roughest ground. We also noted that it climbed inclines well.

While the performance was really quite good, we did note a few rough spots. We felt a bit of “slop” or looseness in the lap bars and the front casters, particularly when navigating tight spaces, and the machine seemed to have a slight pull to the right when both bars were at full forward speed. Also, while the mower did a great job in “standard” mode (or medium blade speed) while cutting well-maintained grass, it struggled slightly in overgrown areas. In one patch of 12-inch-high crabgrass, we increased to full blade speed and still had to slow down to get a clean cut. But even with those issues, we still agree that the Z6 would make a rock-solid choice for owners of large properties who are seeking an alternative to gas.

Product Specs

  • Type: Zero-turn mower
  • Powered by: Up to six 56-volt 10Ah batteries (4 included)
  • Deck size: 42 inches
  • Includes four 56-volt 10Ah lithium-ion batteries with space for 2 additional batteries
  • Onboard Rapid battery-charging system
  • 10-position 42-inch deck
  • Mows at speeds up to 7 miles per hour
  • Bright LED headlights for low-light mowing

Get the Ego Power riding lawn mower at Amazon, Ace Hardware, or Lowe’s.

The Best Riding Mowers and Lawn Tractors

While good, cheap walk-behind lawn mowers are sufficient for yards up to half an acre, a riding lawn mower might be a better option for a more sprawling spread. These are not inexpensive machines; expect to spend 1,000 or more, no matter which model you buy. For this guide, we’ve rounded up rear-engine mowers and lawn tractors selling for 2,000 or less that incorporate useful features, deliver on performance, and prove their value to frugal homeowners with properties that stretch to an acre and beyond. We’ve also included a pricier electric mower, for those looking to avoid the noise and fumes of a gas-powered engine, and a zero-turn riding mower, for yards that require maximum maneuverability.

and availability are subject to change.

Cub Cadet CC30H

Best Value Rear-Engine Riding Mower 2,099 from Cub Cadet Shop Now

  • 382cc engine packs plenty of power, users say.
  • Hydrostatic transmission for a smoother ride and no shifting.
  • 5 cutting heights, from 1.5 to 4 inches.
  • Mulching kit included.
  • Mows in reverse.
  • Deck wash connection.
  • Inadequate power for hills, some owners complain, and reverse can be tricky to engage.
  • Hydrostatic transmissions eat up more fuel and require fastidious maintenance.
  • No CARB-compliant version available.

Takeaway: Although it’s not perfect, the Cub Cadet CC30H (13A221JD010) is one of the better rear-engine riding mowers you can buy, according to both users and expert reviewers. The narrower 30-inch deck and low top speed (4 mph) make it best suited for less spacious properties (about an acre at most), but the compact size and foot-pedal-operated hydrostatic transmission make it easy to operate and maneuver through gates and around other obstacles. The turning radius is not super tight, at 18 inches, but the fairly simple-to-engage reverse mowing feature is a standout for many owners. Cutting and mulching performance draw kudos as well, although some reviews suggest that the optional bagging unit can be prone to clogging and leaving clippings behind. Overall, however, this highly rated mower has a lot of happy purchasers, and many say it has actually made yard maintenance “fun.” This Cub Cadet riding mower carries a three-year warranty.

Craftsman R110

Cheap Rear-Engine Riding Mower 1,799 from Lowe’s Shop Now

  • 10.5 HP Briggs Stratton engine.
  • 5 cutting heights, from 1.5 to 3.75 inches.
  • Mows in reverse.
  • Mulching kit included.
  • Manual transmission can be tricky to operate for some.
  • Clippings bag costs extra.
  • No washout port.

Takeaway: If you’re willing to tackle a manual transmission, a no-frills riding mower like the Craftsman R110 is a step up from a walk-behind and a good cheap option that appeals to homeowners with smaller yards. Users like both the price and the performance, and claim it’s easy to get it up and running and pretty simple to operate — once you get the hang of the shifting and the between-the-legs positioning of the gear knob. Other than this quibble, owners say it’s a powerful little model that gets the job done on relatively flat yards and it seems sturdy enough to stand the test of time. This Craftsman riding mower features a 30-inch cutting blade, 6 speeds (which top out at about 4 mph in both forward and reverse), and an 18-inch turn radius. This mower carries a two-year warranty.

Cub Cadet XT1 LT42

Best Value Lawn Tractor 2,199 from Cub Cadet Shop Now Also available from Home Depot, Tractor Supply, and Blain’s Farm Fleet.

  • 18 HP Kohler engine with hydrostatic transmission.
  • 42-inch twin blades for cutting.
  • 12 cutting heights, from 1 to 4 inches.
  • Relatively narrow 16-inch turning radius.
  • Mows in reverse.
  • Washout port for easier cleaning.
  • High-back, adjustable seat praised for comfort.
  • Comparatively generous 3-year warranty; 5 years on chassis and front axle.
  • Mulching performance is only so-so, according to owners who purchased that kit.
  • Checkered reliability record in the past.
  • Scattered reports about vibrations and noise.

Takeaway: This Cub Cadet lawn tractor has a less powerful engine than you’ll find on competing models, but reviewers say its 18 horses are still more than enough for relatively flat lawns of up to two acres — and it can even manage some inclines. It’s also very easy to handle, with a slightly tighter turning radius than many other lawn tractors and a no-shift hydrostatic transmission that accelerates smoothly and can reach maximum forward speeds of 5.5 mph (3.1 mph in reverse); a cruise control setting adds to the operating convenience. The quality of the cut scores well with experts and users, too, and it’s said to be consistent and level, even on wet grass. The Cub Cadet brand has taken some knocks in lawn tractor reviews in the past when it comes to reliability, but feedback on the Enduro series in particular is quite good overall. This lowest-priced entry in the line is a Home Depot bestseller, earning more than 1,500 5-star ratings from owners posting online feedback.

Troy-Bilt Bronco 42

Best Cheap Lawn Tractor 1,999 from Troy-Bilt Shop Now

  • 19 HP Briggs Stratton engine.
  • Automatic transmission.
  • Good-size 42-inch cutting path.
  • Very good cutting performance across the board.
  • Mows in reverse.
  • Choice of just 5 cutting heights (1.25 to 3.75 inches) is somewhat limited in this class.
  • Low-back seat may be uncomfortable for some users.
  • Relatively small fuel tank for a lawn tractor; 1.36-gallon capacity is more on par with rear-engine riding mowers.
  • No washout port, which can make it harder to clean the mowing deck.

Takeaway: Although it’s not as feature-packed as the competition, this relatively low cost Troy-Bilt Bronco 42-inch lawn tractor (model 13AL78BS023) doesn’t skimp when it comes to performance. The Bronco is a step up from Troy-Bilt’s cheaper line of Pony lawn tractors, and experts and users say it does a very good job of cutting evenly, bagging clippings, and mulching debris (although the mulching blade can be a bit of a hassle to install). Its 19-horsepower engine is strong enough for mowing moderately hilly terrain, and the 42-inch twin blade and 5.5 mph speed (2.5 in reverse) will make short work of most yards. Better still, the automatic transmission and 18-inch turning radius mean that obstacles and tedious gear shifting won’t wear you down. While you won’t find as many cutting heights or the same ease of adjustment as on pricier models, those are fairly minor quibbles. Overall, according to owner feedback, this latest incarnation of the time-tested Troy-Bilt Bronco line provides solid value for the price. The manufacturer offers a two-year warranty on these mowers.

Troy-Bilt Mustang Z42

Best Cheap Zero-Turn Mower 3,550 from Northern Tool Shop Now

  • Turning radius of zero for extremely tight handling.
  • 679cc engine with dual hydrostatic transmission.
  • 42-inch cutting deck with two blades.
  • 9 cutting heights, from 1.5 to 4.5 inches.
  • Mows in reverse.
  • Washout port and easy-clean floor pan.
  • High-back seat for extra comfort.
  • Steering system can be challenging for new users.
  • Not CARB-compliant.
  • Requires assembly, some owners complain.

Takeaway: Zero-turn riders tend to be very pricey, but the Troy-Bilt is at the lower end of the cost spectrum. For the money you get a capable, by the numbers machine, according to a Popular Mechanics review. Getting around landscaping and into tight corners is a piece of cake — once you’ve gotten used to the two-handed lever-based steering system, owners say. Buyer reviews are very positive for the most part, but some owners express frustration at having to assemble the mower, a task they found difficult. Once it’s together, though, the Troy-Bilt does what it’s designed to do, reviewers say. It has a nimble maximum speed of 7 mph in mowing mode (2.5 mph mowing in reverse) and comes with a three-year manufacturer’s warranty.

Ryobi RM480e

Best Electric Riding Mower 3,650 from Amazon Shop Now Available on eBay

  • Eco-friendly, battery-powered motor; no fumes or fuel hassles.
  • Powerful enough for mowing or using yard attachments.
  • 38-inch twin-blade deck.
  • 12 cutting settings, from 1.5 to 4.5 inches.
  • Covers up to 2 acres on a full charge.
  • Tighter-than-average 16-inch turning radius.
  • Mow in reverse.
  • Ready to mulch; no kit required.
  • USB phone charger and holder.
  • Very expensive for a rear-engine riding mower.
  • Takes up to 14 hours to recharge fully.
  • Cruise control takes some getting used to, some owners say.

Takeaway: Electric riding lawn mowers remain a bit of a novelty, but the 48-volt Ryobi RM480e (RY48110) is considered one of the better ones available, measuring up surprisingly well when compared to gas-powered ride-on mowers. Unlike many rear-engine riders, it packs enough punch to tow reasonable loads — it can even push a snowplow — and owners claim it can handle 15-degree inclines with ease. (Maximum forward speed is 8 mph, cutting speed tops out at 5 mph, and the reverse speed max is 3 mph.) importantly, most reviewers say the deck delivers a nice, even cut, and the ease of operation, tight turning ability, and quiet ride win high accolades. Just keep in mind, as the reviewer at Today’s Mower points out, that controlling the speed using the foot pedals and learning to manage downhill braking, which is different than it is on a gas-powered riding mower, will take some getting used to. Some users also say this mower could benefit from better suspension and perhaps a more comfortable seating arrangement. Still, the vast majority of owners are highly satisfied with the Ryobi RM480e, notwithstanding its relatively high cost. This Ryobi riding lawn mower carries a three-year warranty.

John Deere E130

Best Lawn Tractor 1,999 at time of publishing

  • Relatively powerful 22 HP engine with hydrostatic transmission.
  • 42-inch twin-blade cutting system.
  • 13 cutting heights, adjustable from 1 to 4 inches.
  • Mows in reverse.
  • Quick-change motor oil system.
  • Washout port for easier cleaning.
  • Very strong reliability record.
  • Proprietary oil filter is expensive.
  • A handful of owners complain about quality-control issues.
  • On the pricier side compared with competitors.

Takeaway: A vast majority of owners and experts agree that, while you’ll pay a little more for John Deere mowers, they’re a clear step above any other brand. One of the cheaper models in the brand’s 100 Series lineup of entry-level lawn tractors, the E130 scores quite well with the pros — even higher than some of its better-kitted cousins — and earns serious praise from owners, too. It’s got the basics more than covered, with a decent-size deck, 18-inch turning radius, a hydrostatic transmission, and speeds up to 5.5 mph moving forward and 3.2 mph in reverse, with the option to set the mower on cruise control. The 22-horsepower engine is strong enough to handle hilly yards of an acre or so, and most owners say the mowing deck cuts evenly and does a good job of mulching. Add to that easy operation, a high-backed, padded seat that’s comfy enough for longer jobs, and a design that makes maintenance much more simple, and there’s a lot to like here. Truly negative owner feedback for this John Deere lawn tractor is pretty hard to find, although we did see a few reviews from users who claimed that their purchases were plagued with mechanical problems. As with all 100 Series mowers, the E130 carries a two-year/120-hour warranty.

What We Considered

To find the best riding mowers and lawn tractors for homeowners on a budget, we turned first to the professionals. Consumer Reports reviews and tests more riding mowers than any other credible expert. Other sources we consulted include Popular Mechanics and Top Ten Reviews, as well as the respected enthusiast site Today’s Mower, among others. To see what consumers had to say about how these mowers fared in real-world usage, we pored through hundreds of posted with manufacturers’ and on retailers’ sites, including Home Depot, Lowe’s, Mowers Direct, and Amazon. While the mowers in our lineup may have fewer frills, a bit less power, and perhaps shorter lifespans than pricier models, we found that consumers are quite satisfied overall with our affordable picks.

To determine which type of riding mower will best suit your specific needs, there are a few things to know. The terms riding mower and lawn tractor are often used interchangeably, but the primary distinction concerns the placement of the engine: under or behind the seat in a riding mower and mounted in front of the seat in a lawn tractor.

  • Rear-engine riding mowers are best suited for relatively flat yards not much larger than an acre. Their decks are comparatively small, often 30 inches or so, and they usually have a single cutting blade. Their more compact size makes them easier to navigate in tight spaces and means they’ll need less room for storage. While their engines are peppy enough to cut grass — 10 to 14 horsepower is common on lower-priced models — they don’t have the strength or build to do any real hauling or pull any but the lightest attachments, like a seed and fertilizer spreader.
  • Lawn tractors, which can tackle larger properties up to two acres with bumps and slopes, have a significantly wider cutting radius — usually from 42 to 48 inches — and two blades to work with. They’re heavier than riding mowers, which helps with traction, and their more powerful, 15- to 26-HP engines make them better able to deal with bumps and slopes. These workhorses are also capable of hauling heavier attachments like dump carts and trailers. Many sport automatic transmissions or use hydrostatic (hydraulic-driven) transmissions, as opposed to the manual shift drives common on many riding mowers, which keeps them moving at a steady clip and makes for easier maneuvering around obstacles.
  • Zero-turn riding mowers are more expensive, starting at around 2,500. They have rear-mounted engines as powerful as those found on lawn tractors and cutting decks that are similarly wide. Guided with a two-lever steering unit, their rear wheels can spin forward and backward independently, allowing the mower to turn 360 degrees on a dime (the turn radius is literally 0 inches) and maneuver close to obstacles. They’re best suited for lawns of up to two acres with a lot of trees and landscaping or tighter, fenced corners. Like cheaper riding mowers, however, ZTR mowers aren’t designed for hilly terrain or to haul attachments.

Note: Residents of California must buy lawn mowers that comply with standards set by the California Air Resources Board. With the exception of the Cub Cadet CC30H, our top picks come in versions that are CARB-compliant.

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