Who Makes The Best Riding Lawn Mower
Defining what makes a riding lawn mower the best is subjective. Generally speaking, if we compare riding lawn mowers, the best one is the one that satisfies your unique mowing needs and wants, is adequate to the size and geography of your lawn, and fully meets the expectations of your budget.
If your goal is to find the highest rated lawn tractor that will cost under $1,500, your choice is limited to just a few well-known brands such as Troy-Bilt, Husqvarna, Snapper, John Deere, and a few others.
Here are the main features to look for in a good riding lawn mower:
- a user-friendly design that makes you feel comfortable at all times
- the transmission type and cutting deck size adequate to your mowing needs
- the construction of the mower made of durable materials
- increased stability on the slopes
- at least a 2-year warranty from the manufacturer.
How To Stay Safe While Operating A Rider
Riding mowers can save a lot of time and help you make your yard look great, but they are pieces of heavy machinery that must be handled with caution. Here are a few safety tips for operating a riding lawn mower.
Understand All Components and Features Thoroughly
Some of these lawn mowers have more bells and whistles than you can shake a stick at, like the John Deere X350-4. Be sure you know what everything does before you start using it. Call customer service, read the manual, watch Youtube videoswhatever it takes to learn the machinery.
Know Where the Emergency Shutoff Is
All riding lawn mowers have an emergency shutoff. Be sure you know where that is located and how to use it.
Wear Eye and Ear Protection
As is the case with so many power tools, you should wear protection for your ears and eyes. Engines are loud, and blades can kick up debris from time to time, which brings us to our next point.
Clear the Yard of Debris
Do your best to remove any rocks, sticks, toys or other objects from your lawn before mowing. Even the smallest obstructions can be extremely dangerous when flung by a lawn mower at 7500 RPM. A piece of gravel can easily break a window or injure a person.
Remove the Spark Plug Before Changing Blades
Mow Up and Down Hills Not Across
How Much Do The Best Riding Lawn Mowers Cost
If youve already been shopping around for a rider lawn mower, youll know that they can set you back a hefty amount. Models from brands such as Cub Cadet can cost up to $3,000, though they will be equipped with the top range of features you can possibly find when it comes to the riding experience and power.
There are more affordable options available starting at around $1,200, which wont have the flashiness of more expensive models. If you arent concerned about those add-on features, then this type of mower will still serve you well and get the job done. In terms of money, you can also see a rider lawn mower as an investment, as they tend to last between ten and twenty years. If you have a huge space to cover, then you can also see the cost of a riding lawn mower as drastically cutting out the time you would manually have to mow too, so you have more of your own time to focus elsewhere.
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Gas Mileage: Floating Tank Is Difficult To Read
John Deere E100 series lawn tractors have a gas tank immediately below the drivers seat. In order to access it, you must lift the chair.
The gas tank, however, was one of the biggest frustrations we experienced with this lawn tractor. The tank was full the first time we mowed, but by the end of the three-acre mowing, the gauge read that the tank was empty. Thinking the machine must guzzle gas, we attempted to refill, only to find that the tank was still nearly full. After sitting, the gauge returned to the top to show the fuel tank was two-thirds full. The next time we mowed, however, the gauge sank to the bottom, despite being just under half full.
The gas gauge is designed to read the gas level with the help of the floating tank, but we found it was often incorrect.
The fuel tank floats beneath the drivers seat. Its sitting on springs, instead of being bolted into the machines frame. The gas gauge is designed to read the gas level with the help of the floating tank, but we found it was often incorrect, which left us manually tracking how much gas we had used and refilling more frequently.
Smallest Cheap Riding Lawn Mower
The cutting deck on the Snapper 2911525BVE Classic Riding Lawn Mower is only 28 inches, so its compact, which makes it perfect for people with small yards. It will easily navigate between trees and shrubs and can be parked in a small garden shed or a corner of your garage. It comes with a bolted-on stand so you can store it vertically, taking up even less space and making it very easy to clean the undercarriage or change blades.
Despite the size, its powerful enough, with an 11.5 HP Briggs and Stratton Intek engine sitting in the rear of the mower and providing a less-bumpy ride with lots of legroom and foot pedals that are easy to reach.
The controls are simple, including engaging/disengaging the blades. Start-up is simple: just turn the key and pull the start button no need to choke or prime the engine like many push mowers and some riding mowers. Its fun to ride and is reasonably fast on straightaways top speed 4.5 mph.
This riding mower is excellent for beginners with small yards, being the next step up from a push mower. Its comfortable, although it would be a bit more ergonomic if it featured a high back seat, and safe, including a typical debris management system, keeping projectile rocks away from you, that we expect from modern riding mowers.
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Riding Lawn Mowers Must
Most riding lawn mowers look like small tractors with a cutting deck thats integrated underneath the mower. Their function is simple cutting grass. Since theyre larger than your regular mower, however, theyre able to cut grass thats from 70cm to over a meter. Riding lawn mowers are not only a great option for those that own a big property, but theyre also incredibly fun to ride. After all, theres nothing more appealing than being able to zoom around the yard.
If youre 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, well 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.
Features To Look For In Riding Lawn Mowers
Buying any new product is always exciting and it can be tempting to purchase the product that has all the bells and whistles even if you dont need them. Riding mowers are a considerable purchase, though, and so its crucial that you do more than a little research before you hit Confirm Order. You dont want to receive the mower only to find out that its not suitable for what you want or need, and if you think its hassle trying to return a smaller product that was wrong, imagine how much hassle it will be to return and exchange something as mammoth as a riding mower.
Tank Size – The tank size of your mower will determine a couple of things. For one, it will give you an indication of how much mowing you can do before needing to replenish the tank. The larger the tank, the fewer refills it will take between mows.
Smaller riding mowers will have smaller tanks, but these are typically ideal for smaller lawns. However, if youre mowing larger areas such as huge yards or perhaps something for a business such as farmland or even a sports field, then you will require as large of a tank as possible. This could mean you go over budget, so always take that into consideration before payment.
These mowers are also better for the environment as they do not contribute to emissions from burning fuel. If this is something you try to be conscious about, then it might be worth looking into the power and reliability of electric and hybrid models versus fuel-based mowers.
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Least Expensive 42 Riding Mower To Buy Troy
Why We Like It
When you first look at riding mowers for sale, you may be a bit intimidated by the price tags you see. If youre looking for a cheap riding lawn mower at the lowest possible price point, the Troy-Bilt Pony is a model thats well worth the price.
With a 42-inch cutting deck and a 13.5 HP engine, the Pony provides plenty of power and capability, all at a price that almost any homeowner can reasonably afford.
- 2-year warranty
Our Take Away
Even though its a budget option, this Troy-Bilt riding mower has a lot going for it. Smaller engine size notwithstanding, the Pony has plenty of get up and go and will easily handle any residential lawn under 2 acres.
Overall, the Troy-Bilt Pony riding lawn mower is an especially good option for homeowners on a tight budget, but still want or need to invest in a riding mower. If youre looking for a top-rated riding lawn mower for under $1,500 this is it.
Troy-Bilt Cheapest Riding Mower With 42 Mower Deck
What To Know Before Buying A Riding Lawn Mower
Image by Canva Photos
Unfortunately, theres no real one-size-fits-all when it comes to these machines. The best riding lawn mower for you will depend on a lot of different factors:
How much yard do you have to mow? If youve just got a little patch of green out in front of an apartment, then a riding lawn mower might be overkill. Smaller yards, especially those with lots of obstacles or weird nooks and crannies, will definitely be pleased to see a ZTR mower. If youve got around an acre, the lawn tractor is probably your best bet. Anything over 2 acres probably calls for a fully-fledged garden tractor.
The garden tractor may sound like the most appealing option, considering its wide range of capabilities. But the average price of these babies may make your wallet tremble. Theyre a worthy investment, but they can be a hefty one. Take a look at your budget before you start your search, so you know what you have to work with.
This might not seem like something important to consider, but grass comes in many shapes and sizes. Knee-high grasses with thickets and brambles and other interspersed wild plants are almost sure to be too much for any standard lawn tractor to handle.
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What We Like About Husqvarna Kohler Riding Mower
We wish other mowers had the same air induction technology that the Husqvarna Kohler Riding Mower has to really improve the grass as your cutting.
If you need to make your lawn look immaculate, not simply just maintain the overgrowth, you really need to purchase the Husqvarna Kohler Riding Mower.
We also like how the cutting deck is made of reinforced steel, so it wont break when you hit a rock.
- Durable and powerful
- Improves the look of your lawn well
- Maintenance-free transmission
- Can attach a snow blade or blower
Best Of The Rest Budget Riding Mowers
Like any product review article, there were many other options we could have included on this list. Usually the ones we left out were comparable to the ones we did include, but didnt have the same level of reputation, they were missing one of two features or they were slightly over the budget of $1500.
Thats why we decided to include a best of the rest section. We encourage you to give these products a look as well, you might find they suit your needs better than the ones weve reviewed in full here.
Cub Cadet Xt1 Enduro Series Lt 46
Best Mower for a Smooth Ride
Cub Cadet makes our list of the top models on the market today with their XT1 Enduro Series LT Mower. This power-packed dynamo delivers impressive performance and a smooth, hydrostatic transmission that eliminates the need to shift gears. With an impressive 22 HP Kohler 7000 engine and 46 cutting width, this is one of the finest mowers in its class. It cuts grass easily with clean, precise results.
Its rear-wheel drive offers great traction and handling. The 16 turning radius is great for getting into those hard-to-reach corners. Raising or lowering the cutting deck is easy. The cruise control allows you to focus on steering instead of worrying about maintaining the perfect speed. This model from Cub Cadet is incredibly comfortable to operate with adjustable seating, an optimized steering wheel, and even a cup holder. Its built-in headlights ensure youll be getting optimum mowing conditions any time of the day or night.
Why we liked it: If youre looking to mow lawns with slightly uneven terrain, this 22 HP model is one of the greatest models out there. It delivers exceptional performance and an impressively smooth ride. It’s one of the most affordable buys on the market today.
Engine HorsepowerCutting WidthFuel Capacity
How Long Does A Riding Lawn Mower Last
A riding lawn mower should last anywhere between five and 10 years. But the years dont matter as much as the hours of use. Consumer riding mowers are made to last about 300 hours. If you have a two-acre lawn, you may spend 60 hours a year using the mower and the mower will last five years. This varies based on where you live, rainfall, type of grass, type of terrain, etc., so its only to give you a rough idea. Make your mower last longer with routine maintenance and storing it properly during the off-season.
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Great Handling Smooth Cutting
The powerful riding lawn mower for small yards is comfortable and easy to control. The Home Depot
The 30-inch cutting deck of the Troy Bilt riding mower makes it the best riding mower for yards smaller than one acre, and the best riding lawn mower for the money. Its a small riding lawn mower thats easy to store and maintain. And the 382cc single-cylinder Troy Bilt engine is powerful enough to chew up and spit out just about any lawn. Maneuvering around trees and along fences is fluid and comfortable, thanks to the Soft Touch steering wheel. While not as versatile as a lawn tractor, you can add mulching attachments to help keep the yard looking sharp. For anyone with a smaller yard, who doesnt need a monstrous machine, the simple yet effective Troy Bilt riding lawn mower is the perfect fit.
How Cr Tests Lawn Mowers & Tractors
To get you ratings and reviews of the latest models by early spring, our testers travel to Florida to conduct tests in late winter at grounds we specially prepare each year. We plant 1,800 pounds of grass seed . We cut 500,000 square feet of grass in three modesmulching, side-discharging, and bagging a total of 3,000 pounds of clippings. We mow both level turf and slopes to get a feel for each and every model. We also review the convenience features on every model we assess.
The Overall Score for each model in CR’s mower ratings incorporates all that performance data, along with predicted reliability and owner satisfaction ratings from our latest member surveys. The surveys leverage data on more than 78,000 lawn mowers and tractors that members purchased between 2010 and 2020.
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Q: What Size Riding Mower Do I Need
A: While were at, how long is a piece of string? You get what we mean? The size of the riding mower that you need will depend on how large your yard or cutting area is. Riding mowers are designed to cover much more ground than standing push mowers, so they will be larger than what you are used to.
If you have a large cutting area, then a larger, more powerful riding mower will be needed as they will complete a whole cut of your lawn in one go as opposed to needing to stop halfway through to refill the tank.
Conversely, smaller mowing areas will require smaller mowers as they will be easier to maneuver in tight spaces and will also not provide too much power that it becomes uncontrollable, sending you, unfortunately, through the neighbors fence and causing general mayhem and disaster while next door is trying to enjoy a family barbeque.
The best riding mowers will show the total cutting area from one fuel tank or charge, so make sure you know the size of your yard before purchasing to ensure you dont run out of juice halfway through a mow.
Competition: Smaller More Convenient Options
RYOBI RM480e Electric Riding Lawn Mower: This electric RYOBI mower is a solid option for those who don’t want to deal with gas. The model is quiet and powerful enough for relatively flat and small yards.
John Deere E120 Gas Lawn Tractor: If you don’t need a large 54-inch mowing deck, then the John Deere E120 is an excellent choice for household cutting jobs. It has an average-sized 42-inch mowing deck, a 20HP engine, and a top speed of 5.5 miles per hour, rivaling the Cub Cadet.
A worthy investment.
The Cub Cadet XT1 ST54 Lawn Tractor cuts evenly and mows quickly, making short work of most household lawns. The seat could use some armrests, and the reverse could be easier to engage, but overall, this mower is a worthy investment for people with larger lawns.
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