What Else We Considered
What else we recommend
John Deere E120 : I’m a big fan of how simple this mower is to operate, making it great for beginners as well as those who just want a compact machine that they can jump right on and get to work. Its intuitive controls are similar to a car, with a traditional steering wheel, brake on left and forward pedal on the right. John Deere also delivers the mower to you and teaches how to use everything, which makes this a great choice for first-time users with no experience.
Ryobi RY48ZTR100 : This mower combines the maneuverability of a zero-turn mower with the convenience and hassle-free operation of a battery-powered machine. Its 100 Ah battery provides a 2 hour runtime, and the 42-inch deck can handle yards up to 3 acres in size. The digital battery level readout is my favorite feature, ensuring that you always know how much juice you have left, so you’ll never be stranded out in the middle of the yard. It’s on the higher end of the price spectrum though, which is why we decided not to include it as one of our options.
Riding Mower Engines And Transmissions
Consider the power and performance of engines and transmissions when trying to choose the best riding lawn mowers.
- Engines that offer twin cylinders, overhead valve design and precision governor controls can provide smoother operation, higher efficiency and quicker response in high load conditions.
- Mowers with manual transmissions require you to shift gears, much like cars with manual transmissions.
- Mowers with an automatic and hydrostatic transmission allow for continuously adjustable speed control without shifting.;
- Hydrostatic and automatic transmission models feature hand or foot operation via a pedal or lever.
- Mowers with automatic or hydrostatic transmissions also tend to cost less.
How Do I Ride A Lawn Mower
Ride-on lawn mowers are relatively easy to operate because they dont require as much elbow grease as other types of mowers out there. Pretty much everything you have to do is climb into the drivers seat and turn on the power switch or press the start button. A ride-on mower with automatic transmission doesnt require shifting gears to change speeds.;
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Benefits Of Rear Engine Riding Lawnmower
- You become less exposed to gas fumes and allowsyou to breath in freely since the fumes isnt coming directly towards thedriver.
- Its easy to clean and assemble together. Also,you can easily sharpen the blades and lubricate the wheels.
- You can easily steer and maneuver around your lawnsand through shrubs and flower beds.
- Its easy to store and maintain.
Where Are Riding Lawn Mowers Made
Since most lawnmower producing companies are US-based, their products are mostly made in homeland factories. But with the increasing market demand, some of them even have manufacturing factories in Europe, Mexico, or China.
For example, top companies like Husqvarna made all their products in Orangeburg, South Carolina, McRae, Georgia. The parent company of Cub Cadet Corporation, MTD produces its products in the USA, Europe, Mexico, and china. Also, John Deere manufactures more than 80% of lawnmowers in Waterloo or Lowa.
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What Is A Zero
Zero-turn mowers use two separate steering levers instead of a traditional steering wheel to control both sides of the machine independently. By pushing one lever forward and the other back, you can execute an almost zero radius turn. This allows you to avoid those annoying patches of grass left over from traditional mowers, that would otherwise require you to go backwards and finish up.
Runner Up John Deere S120 42 Lawn Tractor
Why We Like It
As you continue reading, you will probably get the picture that were pretty big fans of this John Deere 42 Mower. And while the mowing deck is considerably smaller than our Editors Pick from Husqvarna, this smaller deck riding lawn mower from John Deere wins our Runner Up slot for the best riding mower in 2021.
The John Deere 42 riding lawn mower stands out as the best overall riding mower package in its class, with a V-Twin 22 hp Engine,; Hydrostatic foot pedal controlled transmission, tight 16 turning radius, adjustable seat, and anti-scalp wheels.;
- 22 -horsepower V-Twin John Deere engine
- 30-second Oil Change System
- White-Glove Home Delivery From Home Depot
- Lumbar-supporting seat
- Hydrostatic transmission
Our Take Away
Thanks to its power, highly maneuverable 42 mowing deck, and range of convenience features, we find the John Deere S120 42 lawnmower is of the best mowers for any lot size up to 2 acres. The John Deere is a fantastic choice riding mower for the money, especially if you plan to use a riding lawn mower with an optional bagging attachment here.
For larger properties, areas with thick grass, and just tough jobs in general and if your budget allows it we can recommend an upgrade to the Husqvarna 54 Riding Mower See our Best Upgrade Riding Mower section below.
John Deere; Editors Choice Best Riding Mower
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Ryobi Rm480e Best For The Environment
Ryobi is renowned for its specialization in the production of affordable outdoor products and power tools, which makes it the choice of many professionals and homeowners, who are value conscious and Ryobi RM480E is also not an exception.
This battery operated fully electric riding lawnmower is highly efficient and perfect for homeowners who want an easy to maintain and pollution free tool. Ryobi RM480E is fun to drive and easy to maneuver in tight spaces and corners due to its high-quality turning point of about 16 inches making it the perfect lawnmower for the elderly and disabled.
Its big brushless motor powers the blades on the bottom instead of belts, which allows you to mow quietly without using an earplug or disturbing the neighborhood. You can mow up to 2 acres thanks to its cost-effective battery that requires about 12 hours to charge 100%.
- Engine: 2 Direct Drive Brushless Blade Motors
- Cutting width: 38
- Height of Cut: 1.5 4.5
- Battery capacity: 75Ah
The 3 Different Types Of Riding Mowers
There are really three styles of riding lawn mower out there: tractor, rear engine, and zero turn.
Best for most homeowners;
The most common type of rider among consumers is the lawn tractor style lawn mower with the engine in the front.; Typically they have more power, wider cutting decks, and more versatility than their rear engine counterparts.; For example, front-engine lawn tractors can typically power de-thatchers and aerators.
Best for small lots and budget shoppers
What makes a rear engine riding mower?; You guessed it, the engine is in the rear.; Rear engine mowers are typically inferior to front engine mowers across all dimension aside from two: maneuverability and price.; Generally they have smaller engines that you sit on-top of, making the length of the mower shorter and easier to maneuver.; Of course, you give up power with the smaller engine, and rear engine mowers usually have smaller cutting decks.
Best for landscape professionals and lawn care enthusiasts
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Best Small Riding Lawn Mowers Your Pick
We hope you were able to find the best small riding lawn mower on the list that we made. All the mowers that we have put on that list are worth the investment, but you should buy according to your needs and budget.
If you have a flexible budget, you can go for any one of them without worrying about anything. But, make sure that you keep the factors in mind that we mentioned above, as they will help you make the right purchase.
Ariens Zoom 34 Small Zero Turn Lawn Mower
If youre looking for a small zero-turn lawn mower, the Ariens Zoom is a solid bet. Zero turn mowers are fantastic as they are not only fast, but they are extremely maneuverable . They do take a bit of getting used to, as you operate them via levers rather than a normal steering wheel.
If youve got a small yard and want maneuverability, go with this amazing piece of machinery by Ariens. Its got a 19 Horsepower Kohler Series 6000 engine that packs a punch, a 34 cutting deck, and EZT transaxles.
Theres a reason every professional landscaper uses a zero turn, and if youre looking for a small lawn mower and dont mind paying a couple extra bucks to cut your lawn faster, Id highly recommend this one.
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Factors To Consider When Buying A Riding Mower
There are a number of features to consider when purchasing a riding mower.; Here, well break down the jargon and help you decide which features are best for you.
Cutting Deck Size
Probably the most important spec when it comes to any riding mower tractor, rear engine, or zero turn is the cutting deck size.; The deck size is basically how much grass gets cut, and equivalent to the blade length.; Smaller riders usually rear engine range from 28 to 36 inches wide not that much bigger than say a 24 inch push mower.; Tractors typically have larger cutting decks, usually from 36 to 48 inches.; Some such as the Craftsman model we recommend, have 54 inches.; Zero turn mowers can have cutting decks from 40 to 60 inches.;;
The wider the cutting deck, the more grass you cut at once.; However, a larger cutting deck means a larger mower, which means its tougher to cut close corners and get into tight spaces.; So thats the tradeoff you have to make.; Additionally, wider cutting deck generally means a higher price.
If you have a half acre lot or less, youre best off going with a cutting deck on the smaller end, simply because you wont have a whole lot of wide swaths that need cutting compared to all of the various corners and edges.; If you have a 1+ acre lot, or a smaller lot with long straight-a-ways, go for a larger cutting deck.; Only go for an extremely large deck if your lot is giant and regular.
Mulching and Discharge
The Most Reliable Zero
Perhaps you would prefer a zero-turn lawn mower. If thats the case, Consumer Reports explains that there are several reliable lawn mower brands to choose from. Take, for example, lawn mower brands like Bad Boy and Gravely, both of which earned Excellent predicted reliability ratings.
Meanwhile, popular lawn mower brands like Craftsman, John Deere, and Toro were given Very Good reliability ratings by Consumer Reports. Further, well-known lawn mower brands like Ariens, Cub Cadet, Husqvarna, Poulan Pro, Simplicity, Snapper, and Troy-Bilt were all given Good ratings for reliability.
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Garden Tractor Features To Look For:
- Dont get carried away with the extras. Unless you have a very flat lawn, lawn sweepers, aerators, rakes and other lawn-care equipment can be tricky to use.
- Members who own a garden tractor told us its worth going for a smaller cutting width, but splashing out on a powerful engine, 500cc and above, and power-steering, so the machine is easy to use, no matter how long your grass is.
If you don’t want to spend time looking through our reviews, here’s our round-up of the;top five lawn mowers for large gardens.
What Are The Different Types Of Riding Lawn Mower
If youve shopped for riding lawn mowers previously, youve probably seen prices ranging anywhere from just over $1,000 to upwards of $5,000. Why such a difference?;
Prices range because there are three different types of riding lawn mowers: the lawn tractor, the Zero-Turn-Radius mower, and the garden tractor.;
They sound similar, but each category has unique uses and nuances in the outdoor power business. Lets dispel the confusion and get to the bottom of whats what:
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Riding Lawn Mowers And Lawn Tractors
Standard riding mowers and lawn tractors are recommended for property of 1/2 to 3 or more acres.
- They have a cutting deck size of 38 to 54-inches.
- Multiple speeds allow you to adjust for different terrain in the yard.
- Lawn tractors are designed to mow and assist with other yard maintenance tasks.
- Lawn tractors have a brake pedal that makes it easier to stop than a zero-turn mower.
- Mowers with a mulching kit eliminate the need to clean up grass clippings.
How To Choose A Riding Lawn Mower
Here’s what the experts we interviewed had to say about selecting and purchasing a riding lawn mower:
- Consider a zero turn mower: Blake recommends choosing a zero-turn mower, explaining that they “make easy turns, no shifting, and you control the ground speed.” This lets you finish quicker, and according to Blake, have “more time to fish or golf.” Zero turn mowers take a little getting used to and are a bit pricier, but they’re primarily what landscaping pros use for cutting lawns.;
- Check the maintenance and warranty: Blake said the most important thing to ask yourself is, “the place you are buying your lawn equipment, will they be the place to help you in the future with service and parts?” As someone who spent a significant amount of time repairing decks, handling grease guns, and struggling with frustrating mower repairs, I can’t stress this point enough.;
- Look at a lot of options: Since customers will have different priorities or features that mean the most to them, take the time to look at a range of options. Blake says, “take your time, read all the reviews and specifications, and your investment will pay with service and great looking yard.”
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Husqvarna Mz Series Zero
Our Take Away
This zero-turn mower truly is the ultimate residential mowing machine.; WIth cutting height adjustments from 1.5 4.5 inches, tons of options, power and speed, and the reliability of a Husqvarna.; If you have a large property, and a larger budget to match This mower should be at or near the top of your list.
Husqvarna MZ Series Zero-Turn 61 Mower;
Best Zero Turn Mower For The Money
If you have a large yard with trees, rocks, and other trouble spots to mow around check out the 10 best zero-turn mowers for 2021.; These Zero-Turn mowers quickly maneuver around trees, tight obstacles, and will help you reduce your lawn care time to less than typical riding mowers.;;
The Zero-Turn Riding Mower is in fact, considered the most efficient lawn mower on the market by homeowners and professional landscapers alike. So, how do zero-turn mowers work, and what is the best zero-turn lawn mower to buy?; Keep reading to find out more about the 10 best Zero-Turn mowers, and to find the perfect-size zero-turn mower for your needs.
Note:; Dont miss our FAQ section at the end, where we provide a Zero-Turn Lawn Mower Buyers Guide to help homeowners make a well-informed choice before buying a riding lawnmower.
How Does a Zero-Turn Mower Work?
Zero-turn lawn mowers differ from Riding lawn mowers, based on their Steering Methods. A zero-turn mower steers by the use of two independent Wheel Motors and lap bars, and unlike riding lawnmowers which use a traditional steering wheel. Zero-turn mowers use lap bars to pivot the mower up to 180 degrees, by pushing one lap bar forward or backward more than the other.
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Husqvarna Z254f Hydrostatic Zero
Best Riding Mower for Power
Your top dollar is worth every inch of this solid hydrostatic Husqvarna. It’s one of the best riding lawn mowers out there, boasting an impressive 23 HP engine power with superior and uniform cutting. It chugs along at speeds up to 6.5 MPH. Any detachable accessories like mulching kits, bags, and carts are sold separately. You’ll feel like a landscaping pro, tackling over 2 acres in one tank. The zero-turn capabilities include braking safety mechanisms to help comfortably and safely mow the tightest terrain with speed and confidence.
Why we liked it: This is one of the most powerful workhorses you can buy. It’s a long-lasting, non-commercial zero-turn thats well worth forking out the money especially for big country living lawns.
Engine HorsepowerCutting WidthFuel Capacity
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
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Calculate What You Need To Find A Riding Mower For Small Yards
The key to finding the best riding lawn mower is to get the right amount of power with the most effective cutting deck. If your yard is smaller than two acres, dont waste money on horsepower you dont need and cut widths too large to work in small areas.;
There are four types of ride-on mowers to choose from: riding mower, lawn tractor, garden tractor, and zero-turn mower. While they all cut grass, they do so in different ways. A riding mower with a rear-mounted engine will be the least expensive option, but also the slowest and weakest. Riding mowers are the smallest of the bunch and have a maximum cut width of 30 inches. Thats a plus for small lawns .;
A lawn tractor, however, is what most people envision when they think of a riding mower. Lawn tractors have the engine in the front, the cutting deck is between the front and rear wheels and they can be modified to do more than just cut grass. Garden tractors are bigger, more powerful, more versatile versions of a lawn tractor. And zero-turn mowers have a rear-mounted engine with their unique push bar steering to sharply maneuver around any obstacle.;
If you have a yard too large for a push mower, yet smaller than an acre, a riding mower or small lawn tractor is the most efficient grass chopper to get. If you want horsepower and functionality, go for the lawn tractor. A lawn tractor can do more than cut grass and has the power to drive on any lawn.