Best Riding Lawn Mowers Review Guide For This Year
Best Riding Lawn Mowers Review Guide For This Year – If you have a large lawn or estate, or you’re a contractor or landscaper that services golf courses or public area, then a regular lawnmower won’t do the job.
The stress of the working conditions will cause it to break down. The riding lawnmower is a must-have piece of equipment for landscapers and owners of large estates. All you need to do is start the machine and drive around the yard.
You’ll finish mowing in no time, and without straining yourself while sweating in the hot sun. A riding lawnmower is fun to use; it’s like riding a small tractor or ATV around the yard.
However, with so many models available, how do you select the right model for your yard and gardening duties? To find out keep reading our Best Riding Lawn Mowers Review Guide For This Year.
Husqvarna YTH18542 Riding Lawn Mower
When it comes to making top-quality machines, Husqvarna makes some of the best models available. The YTH18542 model takes the award for the best overall riding lawnmower in this review.
This powerful workhorse allows gardeners and landscapers to tackle large yards and estates with ease. The setup and user experience of the mower feels like driving a car, and with plenty of accessories and outstanding features, it’s no surprise that this machine wins our top choice award.
This Husky model features an 18.5-hp Briggs and Stratton gas-powered motor. This engine has enough power to cut the toughest grass, and its hydrostatic drive uses pedal operation for a smooth ride and plenty of power on tap.
The FAST hydrostatic transmission comes with an auto-choke for easy startup, and the engine will roar to life on the first turn of the key in the ignition.
This model comes with a 42-inch cutting deck, making it suitable for use on large estates of up to 2-acres. The heavy-duty chassis supports the cast-iron axles, and the 13-gauge steel in the cutting deck provides you with long service life.
We like the rear differential in this mower that increases the power to the wheels when you encounter rough terrain or inclines in your lawn. The two anti-scalp wheels protect the turf from scalping that might damage the grass and your mower.
The adjustable high-back seat features an ergonomic design, and you get a comfort-grip steering wheel that reduces fatigue in your hands while mowing. The user-friendly controls are close, and you don’t have to shift your seating position to operate the machine.
The Husqvarna YTH18542 is a premium riding lawnmower delivering some of the most impressive mowing performance in its class. This machine offers a precise cut for your lawn, and there’s no chance of you scalping any high-spots.
The Husqvarna brand has a solid reputation for providing some of the best machines available. The top-quality design and construction of this mower ensure it lasts a lifetime if you keep up with seasonal maintenance.
- 18.5 hp Briggs and Stratton Intek engine offers powerful performance
- Foot pedal-operated hydrostatic transmission allows you to change speed and direction, which lets you keep both hands on the steering wheel for optimum driving control
- Tight 16 in. turning radius allows you to mow in tighter spaces and navigate around obstacles Adjustable 13 in. mid-back seat, ergonomic steering wheel and easy step-through design provide comfort and easy operation
- 42 in. reinforced cutting deck with air induction mowing technology and dual anti-scalp wheels
- Reverse operating system allows the operator to mow in reverse with a simple turn of a switch
- Rear diff for traction on rugged terrain
- Robust 42-inch cutting deck
- Ergonomic seat and controls for user comfort
- Powerful Briggs & Stratton Motor
- Fuel Capacity 2.5 gallons
- Not suitable for large estates like golf courses
Husqvarna Z254 Zero Turn Lawn Mower
Landscapers looking for the best premium model riding lawnmower should check outthe Husqvarna Z254. This machine wins our premium choice award for the best riding lawnmower.
The Z254 model is part of the Husqvarna Z200 Zero-Turn series, and it’s a high-performance machine suitable for cutting the largest lawns.
The sleek design of this cutting-edge machine looks fantastic, and the high-performance motor ensures you get a consistent, clean cut.
With a 54-inch cutting deck made from 12-gauge steel, this model has enough coverage for mowing golf courses and large lawns above 3-acres in size.
The Husqvarna Z254 features a powerful 26-hp Kohler 7000-Series gas-powered motor with chromed valves, air filtration, and an oversized cooling fan. This machine is durable and provides the user with long run times.
The maintenance-free, zero-turn transmission reduces the servicing of the machine, allowing you to mow more lawn between services.
This mower also features a design that draws air from the top and bottom of the machine, improving the grass lift for efficient and effective mowing.
The ergonomic seat and controls are within easy reach, and you won’t have to move around in your seat when operating the machine. You also get a bumper with integrated LED headlights for mowing in the early morning or late afternoon.
This model also comes with a parking brake, and three anti-scalp casters to protect your turf during mowing. This machine is the best in its class and a must-have model for professional landscapers.
The Husqvarna Z242 Zero-Turn Mower stands out from the crowd with its 18.5-hp motor and hydrostatic transmission. If you need a top-quality riding mower with all the bells and whistles, then this is the ideal model for you.
- 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 levers are moved outward or inward
- Air induction mowing technology draws air from the top and bottom of the deck, improving grass and delivering a superior cut
- Reinforced steel stamped cutting deck is made of heavy flat-stock steel for maximum durability
- Clippings can be discharged, mulched or bagged (mulching kit and bagger attachment sold separately)
- Suitable for use on large estates and golf courses
- 54-inch steel cutting deck
- Powerful Kohler 7000-Series motor
- Incredibly reliable and efficient
- Zero-Turn transmission for smooth user operation
- Fuel Capacity 3.5 gallons
- Not suitable for domestic use
The Husqvarna YTA24V48 is another model from this brand worth considering if you want to cut lawns up to 3-acres in size.
This workhorse has everything you need to mow your lawn to perfection. Featuring design and construction with premium components and materials, this model is a solid choice, and an excellent in-between machine to the two models we reviewed earlier from Husqvarna.
This riding mower features a powerful 24-hp Briggs & Stratton V-Twin Intek engine with two cylinders. You also get a FAST hydrostatic automatic transmission with pedal control for smooth movement around the yard.
Air induction from the top and the bottom of the cutting deck provide grass lift, allowing for a close, consistent, and clean cut every time. The 48-inch 13-gauge steel cutting deck offers a wide cutting diameter with each pass, allowing you to cut the largest lawns in half the time.
The cutting height adjustment mounts to the front of the machine, with easy access to the deck lever. You also get the same electronic blade management system as the other models, and an adjustable padded seat to reduce vibration and operator fatigue.
Husqvarna models feature compatibility with a wide range of accessories, including a snowblower, tow bar, and a mulching kit. Husky thinks of everything when designing riding lawnmowers.
For class-leading machines, you can’t beat the Husqvarna brand. This heavyweight contender tips the scales at 670-lbs, making is a robust and rugged riding mower. You’re sure to get plenty of use out of this machine, with a long service life that lasts for decades.
You also get the standard air-filled tires and LED headlights to help you mow in low-light conditions.
- FAST auto transmission for a maintenance free operation
- Features choke less start, charge port and electric clutch
- Air Induction mowing technology improves airflow within the deck, ensuring a consistent cut every time
- Convenient fender mounted deck lever is spring assisted for easy operation
- 3 year limited, 5 year frame/chassis and front axle, 10 year cutting deck consumer warranty
- Briggs & Stratton high-power Intek engine
- Smooth pedal-controlled auto transmission
- Sturdy 48-inch cutting deck
- Fuel Capacity 3.0-gallons
- Suitable for estates and golf courses
- Too big for use in medium to large gardens
Husqvarna YTH24V54 Riding Mower
Landscapers looking for the best riding lawnmower money can buy, should take a look at the YTH24V54 Garden Tractor. This machine is a monster, with a powerful 24-hp Briggs & Stratton V-Twin Intek engine and hydrostatic automatic transmission.
You’ll get plenty of performance out of this model, and it’s the best choice for mowing the largest estates and golf courses.
The sturdy design and build of this machine show in its appearance and its functionality.
This model features a reinforced 54-inch steel cutting deck for additional strength, and it even features a cruise control function that allows you to move the machine along with ease, reducing operator fatigue.
All you need to do is steer while you let the machine do the work. On the fender, you’ll find the adjustment lever for the cutting deck height, and the LED headlights help you mow in dimly lit conditions.
The large, air-filled tires, and padded ergonomic seat with back support, help to reduce the vibrations, adding to operator comfort. You’ll find the exhaust and grass-chute on the right side, and this model also draws air from the top and the bottom of the cutting deck to provide your lawn with a consistent, clean cut.
A crash plate bumper protects the motor from any bumps and rocks with large rocks, and the padded steering wheel helps to dampen vibrations to your hands, reducing driving fatigue in your arms.
This model is the class-leader from Husqvarna. If you’re a landscaper looking for a professional machine, then this model is your top choice. Homeowners don’t need this type of mower, and you’ll do better with the best overall model in this review instead.
- 24 hp Briggs and Stratton Intek V-Twin engine features ReadyStart for easy starting and powerful performance
- Foot pedal-operated hydrostatic transmission allows you to change speed and direction, which lets you keep both hands on the steering wheel for optimum driving control
- Tight 16 in. turning radius allows you to mow in tighter spaces and navigate around obstacles Adjustable 15 in. high-back seat, ergonomic steering wheel and easy step-through design provide comfort and easy operation
- 54 in. triple blade, reinforced cutting deck with air induction mowing technology and four anti-scalp wheels
- Electric cutting deck engagement allows the operator to turn on the mower deck with the pull of a switch on the control panel
- Powerful Briggs & Stratton V-Twin Intek engine
- Automatic hydrostatic transmission for less maintenance and a smooth ride
- Wide 54-inch cutting deck
- Suitable for use on large estates and golf courses
- Fuel Capacity 2.5-gallons
- Too big for medium to large lawns
Ryobi 38″ Battery Electric Rear Engine Riding Lawn Mower RY48110
We couldn’t call this a comprehensive review of the best riding lawn mowers without including an electric model. The Ryobi RY48110 features a powerful electric motor that runs on lithium-ion battery packs. You can charge this machine via a USB connection, and it runs so silent, you’ll wonder if it’s working at all.
When it comes to looks, this machine takes the cake in this review. This model looks more like an ATV that you would ride around a track on weekends. If you have kids, then chances are they’ll think you bought them a recreational vehicle.
You get around 2-hours of run time from the batteries, and it takes around 6-hours to reach a full charge. Therefore, if you have a large lawn, you might have to stop halfway and recharge the machine, which is a hassle.
If you live in an area where you have to obey “quiet time,” then this model is an excellent choice for near-silent operation.
The 38-inch cutting deck comes with 12-height adjustments, and the ergonomic padded seat provides you with lower-back support and vibration dampening. If you’re looking for an eco-friendly model, the Ryobi is your best option.
With zero emissions and an attractive design, this model from Ryobi is a great choice for medium to large-size gardens.
- Battery Operated: fully electric and 0 emissions
- 3 Brushless motors for superior power and performance
- Up to 2 hours of runtime or 2 acres of mowing
- Low maintenance: no belts, spark plugs, or filters
- Battery Operated: fully electric and 0 emissions
- Electric model
- Cruise control and quiet operation
- Charges with USB
- Brushless electric motors
- dual-blade cutting deck
- LED headlights
- Somewhat uncomfortable seating
- Limited run time
- Underpowered compared to gas versions
- Not suitable for large estates
Simplicity 2691339 Conquest
The Simplicity Conquest model is an outlier in this review that’s worth considering. You get a high-speed transmission, hydrostatic drive, and it feels like you’re driving a car when operating this machine.
The 52-inch cutting deck is gigantic, and suits use on the largest estates and golf courses. The 10-gauge steel prevents the deck from taking damage during operation, and the Briggs & Stratton V-Twin engine supplies plenty of power to the cutting blades.
The Briggs & Stratton commercial-grade engine features electronic fuel management alongside cyclonic technology for fast and efficient cutting. This gas-powered model features automatic traction control, providing power to both of the rear wheels.
The large tractor tires absorb vibration, and the padded ergonomic seat reduces operator fatigue. You get LED lights mounted to the front of the mower, providing you with light if you want to mow in the early morning or late evening after the heat of the day passes.
This model is the ideal choice for contractors and landscapers that service large pieces of land. The huge cutting deck makes short work of your mowing duties, and the commercial-grade motor will last for decades.
- The Briggs & Stratton commercial Series v-twin engine features electronic fuel management (Efm) for automotive style starting. Cyclonic technology forces debris away from the air cleaner and ejects it through a one-way valve, resulting in a tough engine that’s ready for anything.
- Simplicity’s Signature Free Floating Mower Deck follows the contours of your lawn, providing an even scalp-free cut. The rugged 52″ fabricated mower deck is made from 10-gauge steel with reinforced top, side skirts, corners and a steel front edge to ensure durability and a quality cut for years to come.
- With automatic controlled traction, drive power is continuously supplied to both rear tractor tires maintaining superior traction.
- Turns and obstacles are no match for the conquest yard tractor. Steering during lawn maintenance is effortless with full power steering.
- The conquest features an intuitive dash system which includes push button starting and a deluxe instrument panel complete with fuel gauge, Tachometer with “best cut” indication and maintenance reminders to provide the operator with a Premium experience.
- Briggs & Stratton V-Twin engine
- Automatic traction control
- LED lights
- 52-inch cutting deck
- Suitable for large estates and golf courses
- Not suitable for medium to large lawns
- Difficult to use the left handle
- Loose cables hang after removing the cutting deck for maintenance
Ariens Zoom 34 – 19hp Kohler 6000 Series
The Ariens Zoom model features a gas-powered Kohler 6000-series motor with twin-engine technology.
You get a 34-inch cutting deck that makes this machine ideal for cutting medium to large lawns, and the 12-gauge steel ensures that the deck stands up to the most demanding terrain.
You also get a pedal-operated deck lift, as well as a 4-point deck-hanger, and a comfortable seat with padding to support your lower back and reduce vibration.
This machine makes it into our review as a great low-cost alternative to a Husqvarna model. If you’re a homeowner on a budget, then this is the ideal machine for you.
- 660cc 19HP Kohler V-Twin Engine Riding Lawn Mower w/ 34 Stamped Deck EZT Transaxles Contents Mower
- 32-inch cutting deck
- Dual blade design for better cuts
- Compact and rugged design
- Good choice for medium to large gardens
- Affordable and good value
- Small capacity fuel tank
- Not suitable for large estates or golf courses
Best Riding Lawn Mowers Buyers Guide For This Year
Riding lawnmowers are expensive machines, and the last thing you want is to purchase a model that doesn’t suit the size of your yard. In this section, we’ll give you everything you need to know when selecting your ideal riding lawnmower.
Check out our frequently asked questions section for some more information on maintaining and using your new riding lawnmower. Here are the factors you need to look out for when choosing your machine.
The Size of the Cutting Deck:
The cutting deck refers to the area under the machine where the blades spin. The cutting deck determines the width you can cut with each pass. Therefore, a 54-inch cutting deck offers you nearly 30% more coverage area than a 33-inch model.
While this might not seem like much, it makes a massive difference if you have a large lawn. The smaller cutting deck will add 30% more time to your lawn mowing duties, and on a large estate, that can mean a significant amount of extra time you need to spend mowing the lawn.
The cutting deck is the first feature you need to look at when selecting your ideal riding lawnmower.
For a rule of thumb when selecting your mower, follow these guidelines when choosing your machine.
- Up to half an acre – Look for a cutting deck of 40-inches or less.
- From a half-acre to 2-acres, you’ll need a 42 to 48-inch cutting deck.
- For lawns larger than 3-acres, you’ll need a machine with a minimum cutting deck size of 50-inches.
Transmission and Differential:
Riding lawnmowers feature a complex set of components that are in some ways, similar to a car or go-kart. Electric and gas-powered models have entirely different motors from each other that affect the machine’s performance.
The riding lawnmower also comes with a transmission, similar to your car. There are three types of transmissions available, suitable for gas-powered and electric models. Let’s unpack the differences between these three transmission types.
Manual transmissions on a riding lawnmower are similar to that which you find in your car. Manual transmissions are cheaper to produce, and drive down the costs of the machine, lowering the price tag.
A manual transmission offers the gardener or landscaper better control, but it might be challenging to shift during turns or maneuvering around obstacles. Working a stick shift while you drive the mower can be cumbersome, and adds to the thought you need to put into your mowing.
However, manual machines are a firm favorite for cost-conscious gardeners, and they are easy to maintain and cheap to repair.
If you don’t want the hassle of switching gears with your riding lawnmower, then look for a model with a manual transmission. Similar to your car, automatic transmissions in a riding lawnmower switch gears depending on the strain on the engine and driveshafts.
The automatic transmission relies on a belt-and-pulley system that transfers the power from the motor to the blades and wheels.
With an automatic model, you don’t need to go to the hassle of shifting when turning or moving the machine around obstacles. All you need to do is focus on the task at hand. some leading models also come with cruise control, making your mowing efforts that much easier. Sit back and enjoy the ride.
The third type of transmission is the hydrostatic version. This tranny is the most powerful of the three options. The system works without a clutch, and there’s no belt-and-pulley system driving the wheels.
Hydrostatic transmissions work by using hydraulic fluids to transfer power from the motor to the driveshafts of the machine. The result is a very smooth ride, and you’ll hardly notice the power change as it switches gears.
Hydrostatic transmissions don’t require the same level of maintenance as the other types, so it saves you on costs in the long run. However, these transmissions are expensive to produce, so you can expect that to reflect in the purchase price.
Adjustable Cutting Deck Heights:
To avoid scalping your lawn, you need a cutting deck with adjustable heights. This feature helps you to elevate or lower the cutting deck to suit the area of your yard you’re mowing.
For instance, you might have a manicured lawn in front of your patio that has a level surface. You can mow this area on the low setting for a clean cut. However, the other areas of your garden might have uneven terrain. As a result, you’ll need to lift the cutting deck to avoid scalps that might damage the mower blades.
Wheels and Suspension:
When selecting your riding lawnmower, look for a machine that offers wheels for the cutting deck as well. Air-filled tires are essential for a comfortable ride, and the casters on the front of the mower help you navigate tough terrain.
The best riding lawnmowers come with a suspension system for the wheels. The suspension provides a smooth riding experience that reduces operator fatigue while providing your lawn with a clean cut.
Vibrations from the machine can be strong, and a suspension system absorbs some of it, reducing fatigue in your glutes and your hands.
The suspension removes the bumps and vibration from the machine during operation. However, you’re also going to need a comfortable, ergonomic seat for your mower if you want the best user experience possible.
Look for seats with padding to absorb vibration, and a high-backed chair featuring armrests will provide you with maximum operator comfort while mowing. Look for a seat with dampening technology to reduce operator fatigue in your glutes and lower back while working.
Zero-Turn or Steering Wheel?
Both designs have advantages and disadvantages. However, if you’re going to mow tough terrain, then we recommend you look at the zero-turn models.
Zero-turn riding lawn mowers are great for navigating your way around obstacles in your path. However, they are typically more expensive than standard steering wheel models.
Steering wheel models are less expensive, but you also need to take into consideration the size of the lawn you’re mowing. If you’re mowing a golf course, then a zero-turn model is an excellent choice to take the effort out of work.
Powerful engines make the job of mowing your lawn that much easier. Reliable and robust mechanical engines are the best choice for mowing large areas and tough grass. The power from the motor makes short work of long grasses, and you get a clean cut every time.
Electric motors are also an option, but they don’t fare as well during long mowing sessions. An electric motor has a limited range, and if you have a large lawn, you might have to stop halfway to recharge the batteries, which can take an hour or two.
Therefore, stick to gas-powered models for large lawns, and use an electric model for smaller yards. Electric models don’t have the same power on hand as gas-powered machines. As a result, the mower might struggle to cut through tall, tough grasses around the property.
Riding Lawn Mowers FAQs:
A riding lawnmower is an expensive piece of gardening equipment. Therefore, you need to make sure you have the right model to meet your gardening needs. In this section, we’ll look at a few frequently asked questions to give you further insight when selecting your ideal machine.
Q: Do I need a riding lawnmower?
A: If you have a half-acre or more of land on your property, then a riding lawnmower can help you with your mowing duties.
Electric models are best for lawns up to a half-acre, but you’ll need a more powerful and rugged machine if you have a larger estate. Gas-powered models are the best choice for estates with more than a half-acre of land.
Q: How can I prevent scalping?
A: When mowing your lawn, you might find that you cut chunks out of the high points, resulting in a bare patch in your grass, known as a “scalp.” Scalping usually occurs on uneven terrain and can leave your lawn looking unsightly.
Avoid scalping by adjusting the cutting deck height before you start mowing. If you have an adjustable height cutting deck, then raise and lower the blades as you go for the cleanest cut and no scalping.
Q: What accessories come with riding lawnmowers?
A: Some riding lawn mowers come with an accessory kit that lets you change the mower into a snowblower or snowplow for use in the winter. Check your preferred model for its accessories before you make your purchase.
How often do I need to sharpen the mower blades?
If you don’t sharpen a kitchen knife, it goes blunt. It’s the same with your mower blade.
If you don’t sharpen your blades at the start of the growing season, then you can expect the efficiency of the machine to drop throughout the season.
As a result, you’ll get an uneven cut that leaves your lawn looking shabby.
Q: What are the maintenance requirements for riding lawnmowers?
A: Think of your riding lawnmower as a car. It requires servicing now and again to keep the engine and working parts in tip-top condition.
If you’re handy around engines, then you shouldn’t have any issues with servicing your riding lawnmower yourself. You’ll need to change the oil and spark plugs, and clean out the carburetor.
However, if you own an electric model or you have no prior experience working on engines – send your machine to a dealer for service in the early spring.
Q: What’s the best way to store my riding lawnmower when not in use?
A: IF you have a garage or a toolshed that can accommodate the size of your riding mower, then that’s your best storage option.
However, many riding mowers come with a weather-proof cover for storage outdoors. If you’re going to store your machine outside of the tool shed or garage, then a cover is an essential weather guard to prevent damage and corrosion to your lawnmower.
By now, you should have a good idea about which riding lawnmower suits your gardening needs. On the off chance that you’re still sitting on the fence with your decision, why not rely on our top picks?
The Husqvarna YTH18542 Riding Lawn Mower is great for any medium-sized or large garden, and it’s an option for larger estates as well. This machine has a wide cutting deck, a powerful and reliable motor, and rugged wheels. It’s the ideal option for gardeners that want a premium model that suits smaller applications
The Husqvarna Z254 Zero-Turn Lawn Mower is the best choice for professional landscapers. This machine comes with a massive 54-inch cutting deck that makes it suitable for use on large estates and golf courses. The ergonomic seat ensures you get a comfortable ride, and the efficient cutting power leaves grass looking great.
If you’re working with a budget for your new riding lawnmower, then the Troy-Bilt is your top choice. This machine is great for medium to large-size lawns, and it has everything you need to keep your grass in check this spring and summer season.
Choose the right machine to suit your gardening needs, and take the effort out of mowing your lawn with a riding lawnmower. Thanks for taking the time to read our Best Riding Lawn Mowers Buyers Guide For This Year.