If you’re lucky enough to have a big garden, you’ll know that the downside can be a lot of hard work. So why not let technology take the strain? Here’s our list of the best riding lawn mowers to tidy your own private Eden in a fraction of the time.
Top 7 Riding Lawn Mowers
- POWERFUL BRIGGS AND STRATTON GAS ENGINE WITH READY START: Powerful gas engine suitable for...
- 46-INCH CUTTING DECK WITH INCLUDED DECK WASH: Lawn tractor comes equipped with wide...
- Powered by a 382cc Auto Choke OHV engine with top forward speeds of 4.25 MPH and a 6-speed...
- The 30-Inch cutting deck featuring 5 adjustable settings couples the benefits of a...
- Starts cutting with the press of a button (not programmable to a schedule)
- Ideal for Small yards up to 1/20 of an Acre - cutting Height of 0.5"-1.75"
- 26 HP Kohler engine provides reliable startups and a max speed of 6.5 MPH
- A patent-pending park brake system automatically activates or deactivates as the steering...
- Powered by a reliable 19 HP/540cc Briggs & Stratton Intek engine and a Foot-Pedal...
- Featuring power and operator comfort, this automatic mower is ideal for mowing large areas
- 24 hp Briggs and Stratton Intek V-Twin engine features ReadyStart for easy starting and...
- Foot pedal-operated hydrostatic transmission allows you to change speed and direction,...
- 11.5 hp Briggs & Stratton Power Built 4-Cycle OHV Engine
- Vertical Stand-on-Edge Capability
What Need To Consider When Buying The Riding Lawn Mower?
If all those different features sound a little confusing, our buying guide is here to help. We’ll take you through the questions to consider so that you select the riding lawn mower that’s best for you.
The first thing to think about is how big space you want to mow. We’re assuming here that your garden is pretty big, or you wouldn’t be considering a riding lawn mower in the first place. But how big is “big”? And what does that mean for your choice of the mower?
At the lower end of the scale, common sense rules. If it’s going to be more hassle to store and maintain your riding lawn mower than to use a standard one, don’t bother. It might look fun, but if you’re only riding for a few minutes, the novelty will quickly wear off.
A reasonable rule of thumb is that a riding mower is great for areas of half an acre upwards. If you’ve got a smaller patch, though, don’t despair. Rear engine riding mowers are considerably smaller than other kinds. In fact, some are no wider than a standard walk-behind mower. Options like the Troy-Bilt Premium Neighborhood mower reviewed in our list can fit into tighter spaces and side returns.
On The Level
Next, think about the characteristics of your green space. Is it level or sloping? Is the ground smooth or rocky? Are there obstructions like annoying tree roots? And will you need to navigate around features like flower beds, patios or garden ornaments? All these things will affect the kind of power you need.
If your lawn is as flat as a pancake – lucky you! Not only will you be sure of a secure ride, but you also needn’t invest in a mower with a large engine. That will mean that lower cost options will be just as capable of giving you good results.
If you’ve got a slope to contend with, though, make sure you check the specifications of your mower carefully. It’s important that the engine is powerful enough to keep cutting without slowing to a crawl. And you’ll need something with a low center of gravity to keep it good and stable while you mow.
Don’t Forget About Comfort
It’s easy to get caught up in discussions about torque and horsepower but remember your own comfort too. If your garden is big enough for a riding lawn mower, the chances are you’ll be spending hours sitting on it. If it isn’t comfortable you won’t want to use it, and you’ll have spent a lot of money for nothing.
So what features do you need to consider?
Start by looking at the seat. Generally speaking, a seat with a higher back will be more comfortable if you’re mowing for long periods. Basic seats will often be described as “mid-height” – which we’ve found usually means they’re actually quite low.
Check for armrests too. In some cases, like the Ariens IKON-X, they’ll come as standard. But that’s not always the case, even for expensive mowers. We love Husqvarna’s Z254 zero turn mower, but if you want armrests you have to buy them separately.
If you’re going to splash your hard-earned cash on something as expensive as a riding lawn mower, you’ll want it to last. That means considering the ease and costs of maintenance.
Examining the warranty is a good start. Often, different mowers may have a number of different warranties. The length of the warranty on the steel chassis, for example, may be different from that on the engine. Check carefully to see what’s covered and for how long.
And if you’re buying from somewhere that isn’t local, check what the options are if something goes wrong. You may have to meet delivery costs yourself. For something as large and heavy as a riding lawn mower, those costs can be significant.
Riding lawn mowers and garden tractors can be very versatile machines. Many are real workhorses for the garden – so consider what you need your mower to do.
The obvious answer, of course, is to cut the grass – but it doesn’t need to stop there. Mulchers reduce the volume of garden waste. Even better, applied to the soil mulch conserves moisture and adds nutrients. Lots of mowers have mulching attachments, either included as standard or available for purchase separately. The Swisher ZTR2454BS goes one better, and mulches as it cuts without any add-ons at all.
Perhaps you live in an area where the weather gets pretty cold in winter. A robust riding mower can also make a fantastic snow plow with the right attachment. If this would be useful for you, check whether there’s a compatible accessory before you buy.