Cutting grass used to be a chore no one wanted. That’s why you got someone else to do it for you if you could afford it. But who says it should stay boring? If you’ve got a large yard, you lack the strength to use a traditional lawn mower, or you simply want to spice up such a boring task, then you’re in the market for a riding lawn mower. Now, there are two types of riding mowers and then there are also a variety of sizes to choose from. If you need help choosing, then we’re glad to help out. We just happen to have a list of the 6 best riding lawn mowers on the market today.
Top 6 Riding Lawn Mowers of 2018 Reviewed
- Top 6 Riding Lawn Mowers of 2018 Reviewed
- Riding Lawn Mower Buying Guide
1. Troy-Bilt Premium Neighborhood Riding Lawn MowerRiding Lawn Mower Under 1500
The Troy-Bilt Riding Lawn Mower features a powerful 382cc OHV engine, a 30-inch cutting deck, a 1.3-gallon tank with a fuel sight window, a 5-height adjustable blade, manual power take-off, a 13-inch soft grip steering wheel, and a mid-back seat. This riding lawn mower has an 18-inch turning radius and a top forward speed of 4.25 mph as well as a 6-speed transmission. Assembly is as easy as pie. The cut looks level and even from the sidewalk point of view (which is what’s important, right?). The turns aren’t as tight as a zero-radius mower but it’s good enough. It’s very comfortable to sit on. The power of the motor is sufficient. As for storage, this riding lawn mower is on the small side so it won’t take up that much space in your garage.
However, it does take time to get used to if you’ve never driven one of these before. Particularly, the reverse mowing feature is not so easy especially since there are quite a number of steps to do this. It may have difficulty going up an incline. Also, except for the frame and blade deck, the rest of the mower is plastic.
- Mows pretty well
- Easy to assemble
- Small footprint in the garage
- Takes a while to learn how to use the reverse mow feature
- Mostly made out of plastic
- May have difficulty going up an incline
2. Raven Hybrid Riding LawnmowerRiding Lawn Mower For Rough Terrain
You know that multitool pocket knife that you always wanted when you were a kid? Well, the Raven MPV7100 is just like that. It’s a riding lawn mower with a lot of something extra. As a lawnmower, this features a 420 cc gasoline-powered engine, a 46-inch removable fabricated deck with 10 adjustable cutting heights, and a 14-inch turning radius. Assembly is easy. The cut of the mower is great. Even better, you can run it pretty fast and still get a fantastic finish cut. And since it’s a hybrid motor, you can run it quietly using electricity. Now, the extras. You can remove the mower deck to transform this riding lawn mower into a proper ATV and, if necessary, you can use the Raven MPV7100 as a generator for when you need power.
However, there are certain things we didn’t like with the Raven. The company has poor customer service. Also, some users have reported surging and problems with the battery.
- 3-in-1 vehicle
- Mows very well
- Comfortable ride
- Poor customer service
- Problems with surging
- Battery problems
3. Poulan Pro P46ZXZero Turn Riding Lawn Mower
The Poulan PRO Zero Turn Mower is for users who have a need for speed and taking tight turns around the garden. This type of lawn mower features a dual wheel hydro transmission – you use two levers to independently control each wheel, allowing you to maneuver more easily. The Poulan PRO Zero Turn Mower has a powerful 22 HP Briggs & Stratton engine, a 46-inch RZ Reinforced Deck, durable caster wheels, a welded frame, a 15-inch extra high back seat, and an easy access panel. You can choose between 6 height positions, from 1.5 inches to 4 inches. It has a forward speed ranging from 0 to 6 mph.
We love the fact that even though this is a zero turn mower, it has a short learning curve. You’re able to cut fast and clean. No need to use a push mower after for extra trimming as this one already does the job splendidly. Like all zero turn mowers, the Poulan PRO P46ZX is not for lawns with steep inclines. Also, 46 inches is small for a cutting deck so this is more for lawns that are no bigger than 5 acres.
- Fast learning curve
- Shorter mowing time
- Clean cut
- Not for steep inclines
- Small cutting deck compared to other ZTR mowers
4. Cub Cadet XT1Entry Level Riding Lawn Mower
The Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro Series LT 42 is the entry level lawn tractor of the Cub Cadet XT1 series. It features an 18 HP Kohler 5400 Series Engine and a Tuff Torq foot-controlled hydrostatic transmission. It has a 42-inch twin-blade deck and 3-gallon fuel tank. Driving this lawn tractor is quite easy; you don’t need to shift gears in order to move fast or slow, just use the pedal. It mows quite evenly which is really what you’re after. And it uses fuel efficiently. The best thing about this is that you are able to use attachments such as a snow plow so it becomes a year-round piece of equipment.
However, these attachments including the mulch kit cost extra. Also, mowing in reverse is not that easy as it requires you to take a couple of steps before you can do it. And be aware that the seat is a bit slippery so you might find yourself sliding out of it every now and then.
- Great Mower
- Easy driving
- Solid construction
- Attachments cost extra
- Mowing in reverse isn’t easy
- Seat is slippery
5. Poulan Pro 960420182Riding Lawn Mower Under 2000 Dollars
The Poulan Pro 960420182 is a lawn tractor that features a 42-inch reinforced vented deck, auto hydrostatic transmission, a 155 HP Briggs & Stratton single cylinder Overhead Valve Engine, an oscillating front axle with a 6-inch turning radius, and 6 adjustable cutting heights. There’s even a built-in cup holder to keep you hydrated while the mower does all the work. This is a really easy lawn tractor to use. Assembly isn’t hard to do, even if you barely read the instructions. The grass is cut evenly and the edges don’t require extra trimming from a push mower because it turns almost as good as a zero turn mower. It can go pretty fast, up to 8mph, especially going downhill. The deck features anti-scalp deck wheels so you don’t scalp your lawn when passing through uneven terrain.
However, the seat on this one is as slippery as the Cub Cadet XT1 so you may need to have a firm grip on the wheel to keep from sliding. Also, the narrow frame of the mower makes it easy to tip over when going over hills. Plus, there’s no cruise control.
- 6-inch turning radius
- Good mower
- Built-in cup holder
- May tip over on inclines
- Slippery seat
- No cruise control
6. Husqvarna Tractor MowerRiding Lawn Mower For A Small Yard
The Husqvara 960430211 features a 540 cc 18.5 HP Briggs & Stratton single cylinder, a Fast CVT transmission, a 42-inch stamped metal deck, a 16-inch turning radius, an adjustable cutting height ranging from 1.5 to 4 inches, and a maximum forward speed of 7mph. This is a side-discharge mower, in case you’re wondering. Cleanup is a breeze due to the presence of the deck wash port. Long-legged individuals will be glad to learn that this mower has a lot of leg room. While the turning radius isn’t as tight as a zero turn mower, it’s still pretty impressive.
However, there’s no cruise control so expect to be putting your foot on the pedal the entire time. The cutting deck is only 42 inches so it’s not recommended for large yards that measure 2 acres or more. Also, this mower isn’t suited for mowing hills that have inclines higher than 15 degrees.
- Easy to use
- Lots of leg room
- Solidly built lawn mower
- Can only cut a 42-inch wide path
- Not for lawns more than 2 acres
- Not for hills with steep inclines
Riding Lawn Mower Buying Guide
When choosing a riding lawn mower, it’s best to know what you need going in. After all, it is a huge investment. A wise one, to be sure, but very costly. If you make a mistake in your purchase, you’ll be out of pocket several thousand dollars. Obviously, the perfect solution to this dilemma is to learn a thing or two about riding lawn mowers so that you are able to get the mower you need at the price point you’re willing to pay. Our guide is specifically designed to do that.
How big is your lawn?
The size of your lawn will help determine the riding lawn mower you buy. Lawns that are less than half an acre typically do not require a riding lawn mower. A push lawn mower would be a more cost-efficient choice. However, you do know best regarding your limitations. Lawns that are half an acre to 1 acre will benefit from a riding mower with a 30 to 40-inch cutting deck. Lawns that are 1 to 2 acres require a cutting deck that ranges from 38 to 48 inches.
Of course, some riding lawn mowers on the lower end of this range are able to handle larger yards due to some of its features. Then there are those large plots covering 2 acres or more. Experts recommend lawn mowers with decks that range from 46 to 54 inches. Naturally, a smaller sized riding lawn mower can still perform an adequate mowing job on lawns of this proportion. However, it won’t necessarily be efficient.
What types of riding lawn mowers are there?
We’re all pretty familiar with the traditional riding mower. It looks so much like a tractor, doesn’t it? Probably the reason why it’s called a lawn tractor. Now, lawn tractors are specifically designed for mowing large properties. The motor is typically located in the front within a tough frame. Mowers in this category tend to feature cruise control to help you feel less tired when using the machine. Also, these tend to be offered with attachments to make it a more versatile piece of equipment. For example, the Cub Cadet XT1 series can be used with several attachments such as a snow plow to make it a year-round tool.
Zero-Turn Mowers are riding lawn mowers that feature engines in the back. This makes it easier for the rider to see where they’re going. The purpose of this is because these lawn mowers are suited for landscaping that has lots of obstacles that need to be navigated around. Zero-turn mowers are driven using two independent levers which allows for its extreme maneuverability. These are also much faster in comparison to traditional riding lawn mowers and have a tighter turning radius. The latter feature allows the rider to cut closely around hedges, flower beds, and the like without the need for extra trimming from a push lawn mower. The Poulan Pro P46ZX is a good example of this type of lawn mower.
Then there are the riding mowers built for small yards. These are light duty riding lawn mowers that feature a rear engine, often quieter than the large lawn tractors. However, these are less precise and powerful in comparison to their bigger, much more expensive brothers.
What about transmissions?
Just like with cars, there are several types of transmissions available with these riding lawn mowers. A manual transmission allows you to shift up or down to set the speed of the mower. We recommend that you find one that allows you to shift easily from one speed to the next without having to stop or use a clutch.
Automatic transmission works much in the same way you expect in riding lawn mowers. You can speed up by just stepping on the gas pedal.
A hydrostatic transmission is similar to an automatic transmission. However, as the name already implies, it makes use of fluid (hydraulic oil, to be exact) instead of belts which means this requires less maintenance and tend to be more durable.
What features should you look out for?
The features you need in your riding lawn mower tend to be a personal thing because not all lawns are the same. Below are short descriptions on several features to give you a better idea of which ones you need to have.
Horsepower: this is the amount of power that an engine produces. The higher this number is, the more powerful the motor is.
Engine displacement: this is measured in cubic centimeters (cc) and refers to the size of the cylinder of the motor. The higher the number, the more powerful the motor is.
Cruise control: allows you to set the speed you like and forget it – a particularly great feature if you’re going to mow long stretches of land.
Cut width: this describes how wide a path the mower will make when cutting the grass.
Turning radius: this measures how sharply a mower can turn which is a feature you need to look at if your lawn has obstacles that need to be maneuvered around.
Of course, there are some features that are more luxuries than necessities. Some feature a built-in cup holder such as the Poulan Pro 960420182. Some have extra leg room like the Husqvarna Tractor Mower which is great for long-legged or tall individuals.
Once you’ve decided on the size, type, and features you want in a riding lawn mower, the last thing you should do is to try it if you are able. Reviews are good and all but it’s only when you’re operating it that you really get a feel of how well the mower suits you.