If you own a good-sized yard on your property, mowing can be a serious and much-dreaded chore. Walking around and pushing a mower is not only time-consuming but also exhausting.
This where riding mowers come in. They are designed to cut down on the time and energy spent grooming your yard. This type of lawn tractor allows you to ride along and steer your way across your lawn. Self-propelled instead of push-propelled, they have made it far easier to handle the chore of keeping grass trim and neat.
This website is geared towards helping people figure out which type fits their needs. The best riding lawn mower for you varies depending in your yard size, layout, and personal preferences. So keep reading and check out our reviews below for more info.
Top 10 Comparison Table
|Husqvarna 960450057 GTH52XLS||52 inches||24HP||7.8 MPH||
|Troy-Bilt 540cc||46 inches||19 HP||7 MPH||
|Husqvarna YTA24V48||48 inches||24 volts||7.4 MPH||
|Troy-Bilt TB42||42 inches||420cc HP||6 MPH||
|Poulan Pro 960420182||42 inches||15.5HP||7-8 MPH||
|Poulan Pro 967330901||46 inches||22 HP||6 MPH||
|Cub Cadet Xt1||42 inches||18 HP||-||
|Husqvarna YTH24V48||48 inches|
|Troy-Bilt 382cc||30 inches||382cc||4.25MPH||
|Yard Machines 420cc||42 inches||420cc||5 MPH||
Why Choose a Riding Mower?
The first thing is to decide whether you can get away with a smaller, cheaper walk-behind mower.
For those who own a medium-sized lawn, riding mowers are considered a must. Pushing a smaller one around on such a large plot may be too much to handle. The thought of driving one’s way through a chore may be enough for homeowners to look into a lawn mower they can ride on. Many hardware stores suggest that a half-acre lawn is where one becomes necessary.
These mowers are better for the bigger lawns, even ones with small inclines and knolls. If it has intricate flower beds and steep drops, then push or electric models are better suited in terms of handling, but it takes energy and effort to move them around. Also, lawn tractors have more weight and can push through brush and tough weeds better than a push mower.
So if you simply need to cut a lot of open grass and want to be done with it in a short amount of time, then a garden tractor could be for you.
Which Riding Mower is Suited for Your Lawn?
There is no shortage of different mowers to choose from. The question now becomes how to decide which one best fits your needs.
When shopping for a new lawnmower, most go with price, brand, features, and sometimes whatever the dealer says. That can work in some instances, but not all the time.
The biggest factor may be knowing what type of land you have what you need out of your lawn mower. If your yard is small, then you can go with price or features. However, if you have plenty of green space on your lawn with fences, gardens, large rocks, and slopes, then you should take the layout into account.
Here are some possible areas to consider:
Size of the lawn
Figure out how large of a mowing deck and cutting path you need based on the size of your lawn. For lands sized an acre and a half, 30 to 40-inch mowing decks are considered ideal.
For lands up to three acres, 40-48 inches is preferable. More than that, go beyond the 48 inches.
Usually the larger the mowing deck, the larger the vehicle. Regular riders can be used for medium-sized lawns. For large yards, a bigger garden tractor may be needed.
Figure out how important handling is by taking a good look at the layout of your lawn. Garden tractors can be front-drive, rear-drive, or zero-turn handling. Lawn tractors also have a tighter turning radius for better cuts.
If you have obstacles around your yard, a tractor that can make tight turns is more desirable. The smaller turning radius, the better to make tight turns. A zero-turn radius mower could be ideal, but these are priced higher than others.
A fast mower may be the best thing when it comes to downtime, but it may not be best for your grass. You may want to slow down to get a better cut.
Gear-driven manual transmission mowers provide constant, steady speeds in cutting a stream of grass.
Like a car, garden tractors with automatic transmission have a pedal for gas and brake. This can be good for slowing down when making turns or cutting close to flower beds.
The different types of engines not only help determine power, but also balance, and longer lifespan for your machine. Single cylinder engines are fine for smaller lawns, but twin engine cylinders (16 horsepower or more) provide better balance and power, resulting in a smoother cut. Smoother running machines also tend to be more durable.
The more expensive mowers are also the more comfortable with features such as cruise control. Some also prefer a smoother ride while mowing, so balance and stability could be other considerations.
Putting down a large sum of money for a riding mower is reasonable and even expected. Top brand name types such as Snapper, Poulan, Craftsman, and Toro do not come cheap.
However, the goal is to determine which type is best for your lawn and how quickly and efficiently it can your grass. Don’t buy one simply for its looks.
Top 10 Riding Lawn Mower Reviews
1. Husqvarna 960450057 GTH52XLS
This is one top heavy duty tractor that can take on even hilly terrains without any problems. It got enough power to even scale uphill while pulling a loaded trailer behind it and excels where its competitors fail.
This is an excellent mower that takes hilly terrains with top speed and power, and you don’t even need to change gears thanks to the auto transmission. It can help you mow long grass, those huge piles of leaves and even bits of sticks scattered over your yard.
The seating position is adjustable and comes with hand rests coupled with a smooth grip on the steering wheel which makes riding easy and efficient. The model is equipped with an electric engagement of the cutting blades.
- Powerful and robust ready to take on difficult terrains
- Can be used to pull loads
- The locking rear wheels provide a superior grip
- Comes with a battery ender
- The deck is durable and sturdy
- The fuel gauge meter cannot be viewed conveniently
- Tall persons can find it difficult to mount or dismount and have to go under the steering wheel
It is well capable of handling large landscapes of even 3 acres. This is a powerhouse and even areas with dense grass and vegetation are no match for it.
The riding lawn mower has always been a performer and favored with high ratings and positive reviews. Considering the price, it is the best machine you can choose in this category of heavy duty mowers.
2. Troy-Bilt 540cc Briggs & Stratton Intek
If you have a property with many obstacles, this can be great to cut your way past them. The fully adjustable seat and steering system make it comfortable to ride providing adequate lower back support.
Its 540cc 19 HP Briggs & Stratton Intek engine provides enough power for cutting tough grass and driving it over the terrain. It has an automatic transmission so that you do not have to worry about changing gears – perfect if you are looking to get the work done quickly without a lot of attention.
The mower has attracted a patent for its Soft Touch Steering wheel which eliminates any difficulties in maneuvering. The deck wash system is also patented and makes way for simple and quick cleaning.
The 46-inch side discharging mowing deck gives you enough room to mow a large area.
- Mow-In-Reverse function enables you to cut grass in reverse mode
- Automatic transmission removes maintenance issues
- The powerful engine can be used to take on slopes
- The engine can be easily maintained and lasts for years to come
- The auto transmission has not been liked by some customers. They feel it is a bit jerky and does not provide a smooth experience.
You can use this machine to mow your medium to large sized yards without any problems. You can even use them on inclines, but the elevation should not be too much for it to handle.
It features as an outstanding performer in its area and even clears obstacles in your property with ease.
You can also purchase a mulching kit separately to enhance your mowing efforts.
3. Husqvarna YTA24V48
Husqvarna is one of the most respected names in lawn mowers and power tools so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the third product on our list is another one of theirs.
The YTA24V48 features a 24HP Briggs & Stratton engine, a 48″ cutting deck, a chokeless start, and a fast CVT transmission. It is also equipped with a 12V battery so you won’t have to worry about having to do any extra work just to get it to start up.
When it comes to cutting, there’s nothing to complain about this machine. It utilizes an air induction mowing technology within the cutting deck which lifts the grass blades up thus ensuring a clean and even cut. Uneven terrains aren’t a problem for this tractor as it has a cruise control feature which allows for consistent speed even when the ground gets rough.
- It can run pretty fast – 7.4MPH – which means you’ll be able to cover a lot of area in a short amount of time
- The 3 gallon fuel tank will allow you to get a lot of work done before you have to refuel
- The control panel is straightforward and easy to understand
- The manual that comes with the machine is very detailed and has a very helpful troubleshooting guide
- The battery can discharge pretty fast especially if you forget to remove the key or haven’t used your machine for some time
- If your battery is discharged, you won’t be able to start the machine at all
- Since it is belt driven, it may have a bit of trouble climbing up hills and slopes at times
Overall, this is a decent piece of machine that can handle mowing jobs for medium sized lawns. It is powerful enough to handle grass up to 6 inches tall. However, we don’t really recommend this model for properties with a lot of hills and slopes because it is belt driven. While it can climb up with no problem at all, turning on the cutting deck while on an incline can result to patchy and uneven grass.
4. Troy-Bilt TB42
The Troy-Bilt TB42 is a 420cc, 7-speed foot pedal activated CVT lawnmower. This machine is best for those who have large lawns which require regular maintenance. It has a 1.36 gallon fuel tank and has a max speed of 6mph which means you’ll be able to cover a decent area in a shorter amount of time before you’ll have to refuel.
It has a 42-inch cutting deck with 5 height adjustment levels – perfect for those who have lands with uneven terrain. This allows them to still have lawns which look perfectly polished despite the bumpy soil underneath all the greens.
Those who are tall or have long legs don’t have to worry about comfort when using this machine. The body is a 13-gauge step through console design and has a decent amount of space between the seat and the control panel. This not only gives the right amount of leg room but also makes it a whole lot easier to get on and off the machine.
One drawback with the TB42 is it doesn’t do well with inclines as it can only handle about 15 degrees. Add to that the fact that this model is top heavy so you can expect a bit of trouble climbing up a hill.
- Fast and easy to maneuver
- Has a decent size fuel tank
- Can go up to 6 mph
- Cutting deck can be adjusted to 5 levels
- The step through design allows for easy mounting and dismounting for the operator
- You can purchase a bagger or a mulch kit attachment separately if you would like to mulch the cut grass.
- Can only handle about 15 degrees of incline
- The turning radius is a little large so it might not be suitable to use in lawns with large obstacles
The Troy-Bilt TB42 is a great machine that can get the most yard mowing jobs done quick and only requires a minimal amount of effort. However, this is provided that the land you are mowing is flat or only goes up an incline of less than 15 degrees. It is easy to maneuver but the turning radius is a bit large so you might have some trouble maneuvering around trees or large obstacles.
Overall, this is a good riding mower to invest in if you are looking for one to use on a large area with minimal inclines and obstacles.
4. Poulan Pro 960420182
If you want to cut like a pro with minimum effort, this is the machine to go for. The riding lawn mower comes with an auto hydrostatic transmission for easy speed adjustment and a more comfortable ride.
This machine is equipped with a 15.5HP single cylinder overhead valve engine with an easy to maintain air filter design. This not only ensures that it runs smoothly and efficiently but also saves you from expensive and time consuming maintenance work. The cutting deck provides 6 cutting positions which allows you to choose your desired length for your grass. The oscillating front axle has a turning radius of 6 inches for easy maneuvering around obstacles and even cuts in rough terrains.
The reinforced vented deck allows for optimized airflow throughout the machine – giving ultimate performance. The easily engaged blades give you a perfect cut each time you take it for a spin. You can operate it easily without any hassle thanks to the spring assisted bumper mounted deck.
Some models come with drive control and give more freedom.
- Comfortable seating position with springs
- Headlights for cutting at night
- Easy to clean air filters
- You can purchase additional attachments so you can make the most out of your machine
- Is not suitable for cutting grass more than 6 inches tall.
- The leatherette seat cover can be slippery when you use it uphill.
The mower is solid and strong and gets your mowing job done in a jiffy with fast speed. It is suitable for medium to small yards but you may need a few breaks considering the amount of foot pressure required to operate the pedal.
It is something which gets the job done as it’s supposed to, and the auto transmission provides the icing on the cake.
5. Poulan Pro 967330901 P46ZX Briggs V-Twin Pro
This Poulan Pro model is a zero turn mower with a 22 HP Briggs V-Twin Pro engine, 46″ cutting deck, and dual hydro gear EZT transmission.
Unlike other riding mower, the P46ZX does not come with a steering wheel. Instead, handle bars are used to maneuver this machine around. This can be a disadvantage for most people but we did find that it gives more control once you get used to it. The thing is though, it feels a lot like getting an upper body workout as you have to move your are forward, backward, left, and right to maneuver the machine. Yes, a lot like working out on an elliptical.
There’s nothing to complain about when it comes to power and efficiency as the 22 HP Briggs V-Twin Pro engine and 46″ cutting deck can definitely get the job done. Add to that the fact that it is a zero turn mower, you can expect that your yard keeping chores can be completed in a jiff. Since you are able to get the job done fast, this shortens the amount of time you’re using the machine. This reduces the amount of wear and tear your mower experiences thus ensuring less maintenance work and longer life for your machine.
- Easy maneuverability
- 3.5 gallon fuel tank
- 46″ RX reinforced deck with 10 year warranty
- High back seat for added comfort
- Top speed is 6MPH
- While we did list down maneuverability as one of the pros for this machine, the handle bars may be a problem for some users as it does take a lot of getting used to and may require some muscles. While we did not have much of a problem with it, this component may not work for everyone especially those with weak arms.
This is an excellent riding mower which packs in a lot of power and provides users with maximum maneuverability. It has a large fuel tank and can handle 2.5 acres of land per hour making it ideal for those who have large properties. The only thing that might put you off this machine is the handle bar steering mechanism. Also, it is a little more expensive than the other product on our list. But when you think about it, you’ll be getting a riding mower and a zero turn mower in one.
6. Cub Cadet Xt1 Enduro Series Lt
The base model of the XT Enduro series, it comes with the same sturdy chassis used for the higher models. You can expect some good strength, durability, and comfort on offer.
The 18 HP Kohler engine is built to last and the Tuff Torq foot control makes for an easy ride. The engine is a single cylinder, and you can invest a bit for and get the XT2 with a twin cylinder. But nonetheless, it is powerful enough to get tough mowing seem like an easy task.
It saves you time by allowing you to mow in reverse which many other models lack. You can also adjust the height of the cutting deck quickly by moving the big handle back and forth without any hassle of levers.
You also don’t need any lever to reverse; there is another separate pedal which controls it.
- It does a great job of mowing uneven yards
- The blades can be engaged while moving in reverse
- The turning radius makes it easy to move around
- The hood is made of plastic which may not be that durable
- Lacks some features of the top models
This one can be used for even to medium to large semi-uneven terrains and can tackle a bit of incline. But if you want more functions and better longevity, it is better to go for the XT2 by investing a bit more.
But that is not to say that this model is without its merits. If you want an entry level machine with tough endurance and sound performance, this can be your ideal choice.
8. Husqvarna YTH24V48 Yard Tractor
As we mentioned earlier, Husqvarna is one of the most respected names when it comes to mowers so here’s another one of theirs.
The YTH24V48 features a 24 Hp Briggs and Stratton V-Twin engine, a fast hydrostatic pedal transmission, and a 48-inch cutting deck. It is also equipped with cruise control, easy cutting blade engagement, an ergonomic steering wheel, and air induction mowing technology. All this is packaged in a compact machine.
Since it is not bulky, this mower is very easy to maneuver around. It can pass cut around trees and garden beds easily so you don’t have to worry about needing a smaller mower. It can also work on slopes with no problems at all.
- 24 HP Briggs and Stratton V-Twin engine
- 48 inch cutting deck
- Electric blade engagement
- Cruise control
- Cutting height adjustment
- Adjustable seat
- Compact design
- 2.5 gallon fuel tank
- You have to check and tighten the bolts around the cutting deck from time to time as they tend to loosen after a couple of uses
- Husqvarna’s customer service can be a little unreliable at times
This is a solid offering from Husqvarna and would benefit those who have lands that are 2 acres and below. It is fast, can handle inclines, easy to maneuver, and has extra sharp blades. Added features like cruise control, electric blade adjustment, etc. make this machine suitable for beginners and yard work veterans alike.
9. Troy-Bilt 382cc Powermore OHV
When you speak of a reputed company with long history in farming products, nothing comes close to Troy-Bilt.
The new 30-inch monster is powerful and sturdy and rides like crazy powered by a 382cc Powermore OHV engine. The 6-speed transmission gives more control over your ride and speed and gives you the choice to cut as you like. It is made to be durable and give you a clean yard for years to come.
It is equipped with a compact cutting deck so that you can reach even where traditional mowers can’t. Its small size also makes it easy to store in your garage.
The blade is adjustable at 5 levels of height and engineered with manual power take off for quick and hassle free blade engagement. It is a mower that delivers exceeding your expectations.
- Its compact size makes it easy to navigate and store
- The mid back seat is comfortable enough
- The wide wheels are durable and made to last
- The fuel tank capacity enables mowing for up to an acre without refueling
- The steering comes with a soft grip wheel
- Does not suck up leaves or flower petals
- The seating position needs to be changed when a different sized person is riding
It is one of those proven products you can opt without any apprehension. It can tackle medium sized yards with even terrain without any problem and the tank capacity of 1.3 gallons gives you freedom to cut more land without refueling.
10. Yard Machines 420cc 42-Inch Riding Lawn Mower
If you are looking for a tractor mower or a riding mower that does the job, this is a great choice.
Featured in the heavy duty tractor cum mower category, the wide 42 inch blades are perfect for cutting a wide area at one go. The machine is built for hilly and grassy areas and is installed with a 7-speed gear system to give you enough power to ride challenging terrains while easing on the even ones.
It is fitted with tall tires which provide the necessary grip and make it ready for your grassy yard. 420 cc power packed engine pulls through any ground and the optional speed settings add a sweet touch.
- The dual cutting blade deck is a gem of an addition
- Includes features of high range models at an affordable price
- The gears make it easy to mow on inclines
- The mowing deck is equipped with rollers
- Provides savings on time and fuel costs
- After market accessories are not easy to fit due to nuts fitted with impact wrench
- The blades cannot be engaged while reversing
Able to take on medium to large landscape in challenging terrains, this product from Yard Machines carries the trademark quality and standard of the company. The combination of engine power, manual 7-speed transmission, and optional speed settings make it very easy to maneuver and get your cutting and mowing done in a breeze.
It can be a great addition to your garage if you want a heavy duty tractor mower.
Time to Pick the Best
The key thing is to understand the needs of your lawn. You have to take into account size and the layout of your yard. Is it level and flat or are there some undulations which would require a good motor to go over in key spots? Are there gardens or fences on the side which would necessitate a need for a more maneuverable tractor? How often do you need to mow will raise the question of durability.
As long as those things are kept in mind, then you already have a good idea of what to look for to get the best riding lawn mower. The other concerns such as comfort, brand, and appearance should be secondary. Our reviews should have given you a good idea.
While the above list shows some pros and cons to a few models, don’t be limited to these choices. Instead, figure out what you want and need in a mower and then go shopping around for an ideal one at a good price.
I have the Poulan pro with the 19 HP B&S motor.
It has six cutting positions, I assume 6 is the 4.5″ cut.
I have Flortran St. Augustine grass with lots of direct sunlight. Is the 5 or 6 position best for this type situation?