A lawn mower can be a necessary home appliance for many homeowners, but those who have larger lawns to upkeep may find that push lawn mowers just don’t cut it. Experts recommend riding lawnmowers for larger lawns. They have stronger engines and can handle larger areas of grass more efficiently. And as the name suggests, they’re designed so you can ride on top of them while you mow the lawn, which can come in handy when there’s a lot of land to tackle.
“Unlike any other type of lawnmower, the riding ones let you just sit and steer instead of pushing a manually propelled type or walking behind a self-propelled type,”Bryan McKenzie is a landscape designer and cofounder of Bumper Crop Times. “The riding type is much more cumbersome as it includes a larger motor and a full-sized seat, but it allows you to mow large areas significantly faster without any back fatigue — all you need is good sunscreen.”
A riding lawnmower can be a significant investment. David Steckel, a home expert, says the average cost ranges between $1,000 and $3500. Thumbtack. It can be difficult finding the right one with so many options available. We’ve consulted landscaping professionals to help us get started. GardenExperts have explained the differences between riding lawnmowers versus other types of mowers as well as what to consider when purchasing one. They also offered their top recommendations on where to shop.
What to consider when shopping| What to consider when shopping
What exactly are riding lawnmowers, you ask?
Riding lawn mowers are more efficient than self-propelled and push mowers due to their larger engines and wider mower decks. This allows them to cut more grass with one pass. You can also ride the mower. “crucial for homeowners who experience any back issues and can’t walk behind an average lawn mower without fatigue,” said McKenzie.
Experts recommend riding lawnmowers for homeowners with larger yards than 3-4 inches. They can dramatically reduce the time required to mow. However, “if your yard is less than a half an acre, a riding lawn mower can make mowing your lawn more tedious than it needs to be because of the size of the machine in comparison to the yard,”Steckel agreed. At that point, it’s easier (and much cheaper) to use a push or self-propelled lawn mower — these types of mowers also turn the lawn mowing process into an opportunity for exercise and physical activity.
There are three main types: rear-engine riding mowers (RTM), traditional lawn tractors (ZTR), and rear-engine mowers (RTM).
Lawn tractors are gas-powered machines with a front mounted engine and a steering wheel for easy maneuvering — you simply sit on top and steer while the machine cuts the grass. “This is the most common and price-effective type of riding lawn mower,”Steckel agreed. They are also well-suited for large lawns that have slopes or hills because of their large turn radius.
ZTR mowersThey have a rear engine, a larger turning radius and a wider turning circle than lawn mowers. “They can turn on a dime and are usually faster and more precise than other riding mower options,”Steckel stated. These mowers don’t have a steering wheels. These mowers have a couple of levers that control the machine’s movement. Some models use the same wheel, however. Michael Hill claims that a mower uses two levers rather than a steering wheel. Some models, however have the familiar wheel. gardenA landscape expert Garden GuidepostThis is the best option. “if you have a lawn that has sharp edges, architectural design or you need to get close to obstacles.”ZTR mowers are lighter and more mobile than other mowers.
Rear engine mowersThe engine is located beneath the seat. They’re more compact for easier storage and are usually cheaper than the other types of riding mowers. However, they tend to have smaller mowing decks (around 30 inches wide compared to at least 40 inches for other types of riding lawn mowers) and don’t tend to cut as well or as quickly as other riding mowers. “Typically if you have a lawn that is not huge but isn’t small enough to use manual or push mowers, then this is the best option,”Hill said. These mowers can sometimes be electric — electric mowers use battery power instead of gas and are typically quieter.
The top riding lawn mowers of 2021
Experts have compiled their recommendations in order to help you choose a riding lawnmower.
Cub Cadet’s riding lawnmower features a 50-inch cutter, steel frame, and a Kawasaki 23H twin engine. It’s “made for large yards that include lots of uneven spots and obstacles — due to responsive zero-turn steering, a low center of gravity and large tenacious wheels, it can trim almost anywhere,” said McKenzie. Dual hydrostatic transmissions allow the mower to accelerate at speeds up to 7.5 mph forward and 3.5 to 3,5 mph in reverse. McKenzie noted that Cub Cadet also makes an Version electricThis model features “the same performance as the gas-powered version along with all the benefits of an electric unit.”
This electric riding mower comes from RYOBI. “eco-friendly, relatively quiet and efficient riding lawn mower,”According to McKenzie. According to McKenzie the mower has a 38 inch cutting width. It can also cut up 2 acres per charge and has a 2-hour run time. “You can charge it up from any 120V outlet and enjoy great performance without any daunting gas engine maintenance,” McKenzie said. The mower comes with LED headlights, an USB charger and cruise control for greater efficiency. However, it doesn’t have a zero turn radius, meaning it may be harder to maneuver around sharp edges or obstacles in your yard.
If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly solution, this compact option from Troy-Bilt is less than $1,500 and doesn’t sacrifice efficiency, according to McKenzie. He thought the deck of 30 inches was very attractive. “quite enough for the vast majority of medium American yards, while the 382-cc engine delivers just enough speed to finish the work faster than you expect from a small buddy like this.”The manual transmission is what the brand calls Shift on-the-Go. It allows you to change speeds quickly without having to stop or clutch.
Husqvarna’s wide mowing deck was why Hill recommended this option to Hill. “At 61 inches wide, this zero-turn lawn mower can clear more than an acre of tall grass in fewer passes,”He said. The brand claims this mower’s large cutting width can cover up to 4.2 acres per hour, which can be efficient for large lawns. The mower features a high-back seat, foam-padded levers and handle grips. It is easy to access the oil, filters, battery, hydraulic drive system, and battery. An hour meter reminds you when to service your mower.
This zero turn mower is 50 inches wide and can be used to mow up to 4 acres. It features Toro’s Smart Speed Technology, which lets you control your mowing speed in three modes: up to 7 mph while mowing, 5.5 mph in tow mode and 4 mph in trim mode. “It’s a powerful warrior that will satisfy the mowing, towing, and trimming needs of most professional users,” said McKenzie. The mower also comes with shock-absorbing dampeners and a cup holder. It also features a step through front, which makes it easier for you to use the mower and to move debris and other obstacles out of the way.
These are some things to consider when shopping for a riding lawnmower.
Since riding lawn mowers can largely vary in size and function, it’s important to consider which features work best for your lawn before splurging.
As we reported in our guide to lawn mowers, the cutting width of a lawn mower measures the size of the strip the machine can cut in a single pass — the wider the cutting width is, the less time it’ll take to mow your lawn. McKenzie says that the ideal cutting width is between 30 and 42 inches to cut one acre of grass and at most 60 inches for cutting 5 acres. The cutting width is also affected depending on how many blades are in the deck. A smaller lawn tractor may have only one blade, while larger ZTR mowers or ZTR lawn tractors have two or more.
Though a wider cutting width can speed up the mowing process, McKenzie noted that it can also limit a machine’s mobility. It can also be dangerous in some cases, McKenzie stated. “you’ll need an extra small self-propelled lawn mower to finish narrow spaces and slopes that are too steep for your glossy ride.”
Gas versus electric mower
Many riding lawnmowers use gas-powered engines. This means they need gasoline to run. Others require a charging battery for electric models. Though gas riding mowers are more durable and typically better suited for large lawns, Hill cautioned that they’re usually much louder than their electric counterparts and are less eco-friendly since they emit fumes.
Electric riding mowers can be cheaper and easier to maintain since they don’t require purchasing or changing out the engine oil, among other upkeep requirements. However, electric riding mowers do have their downfalls: Their functionality is limited to the amount of time they can be used in a single charge — if you have several acres of land (or simply forget to charge the battery), the power may not be enough to cut your entire lawn in one sitting.
Type of transmission
You can change the transmission on your riding lawnmower. determine the machine’s speedIt will determine how it handles different backyard conditions, such as mud or inclines. Manual transmission provides a set number of speeds — you select the one you want by using a lever and clutch. These are primarily found in older lawn tractors — similar to older cars — and can be useful for people who are accustomed to using a gear stick or can’t control speeds as easily with the pedal.
Hydrostatic transmissionAlso known as Automatic transmissionThis is the standard type of riding lawnmower. This allows you to change gears by pressing the pedal. This type tends to last longer — according to Mckenzie, it “requires the least maintenance and [has] the smoothest performance.”
Dimensions of the yard and terrain
As experts noted, the size of your lawn will determine whether you should invest in a riding lawn mower — it’s usually not worth it for homeowners with less than half an acre. The mower’s ability to work can be affected by the terrain. A lawn tractor can be used on lawns that are relatively flat or landscapes with many uneven sections if it has a steering wheel that allows more control. A lawn tractor is suitable for those who have a flat yard with no obstacles such as rocks or gravel. “a ZTR will probably show better results as it can turn 360 degrees on a small spot and pivot at sharp angles,” said McKenzie.
Experts suggest that the engine of your riding mower should be sized to your yard. Lawn tractors can be the most powerful type of mower and provide a lot more work. “enough power to quickly treat 2 acres to 5 or more acres,” said McKenzie. A lightweight can be used for smaller areas. single-cylinder engineZTR is more affordable. Two-cylinder engines — called V-twin engines — in ZTRs are more powerful than single-cylinder engines and provide less vibrationThese engines are quieter and more comfortable than traditional ones, and they have a longer expected life expectancy. It is recommended that riding mowers with V-twin engines be used. “for large yards with 2-5 or more acres,” said McKenzie.
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