Ahh, the sweet smell of cut grass. I love it, but I can't say I always love getting out the mower. A reliable riding lawn mower makes the job so much easier. But, whether you see mowing your lawn as a chore or find it relaxing, you're going to need a lawnmower that is up to the task.
Riding lawn mowers are ideal for larger and/or hilly properties. Whilst shopping for a riding lawn mower, you should consider the size of your property and the terrain. Or perhaps you're a landscaper and need something a little more heavy-duty. Here's our pick of the 5 best riding lawn mowers based on budget, quality and reliability.
The Husqvarna YTA24V48 features foot pedal-operated hydrostatic transmission so you can keep your hands free for steering. Some other convenient features include numerous gears for moving forwards and backwards, making it easier to move along uneven terrain. The cruise control feature is particularly handy if you have a large plot of land.
It has a charge port to recharge the battery that's located in the engine bay behind the steering wheel. The chokeless start and electric clutch make this yard tractor particularly easy to start and operate with little experience.
The machine comes with 48 inch wide cutting deck, which is a great size for this price range. You'll appreciate the wide cutting deck when getting into the thicker grass.
We're impressed with the durability, including the reinforced heavy steel deck to provide better trimming. The blade engagement is electric controlled and features superior induction technology that enhances the airflow within the deck to provide consistent, even cutting. The mower has a three bumper to bumper warranty for peace of mind.
The 24 hp Briggs and Stratton Intek V-Twin engine is powerful, but still provides good fuel efficiency with around 1 gallon needed per acre of mowing. We were also impressed with the high tech waste management system which kept the blades moving smoothly, and provides an even cut.
The biggest potential downsides to the Husqvarna YTA24V48 appear to be from some buyers that have reported the engine needed to be repaired after approx 1 year. It's nice to know that if this did happen to you that you're covered by the 3 year warranty, but it's still inconvenient to go through the hassle of getting it fixed.
Overall, the Husqvarna YTA24V48 is a good choice if you have to mow a medium-sized property, prefer the foot pedal operation, and need a wide cutting deck.
If you're looking to go green, then the Ryobi RY48111 38 inch electric riding lawn mower could be a great option for you. It is an environmentally friendly lawn mower that operates via the 100Ah rechargeable lead-acid battery. You can charge it with a standard 120V outlet and once charged you'll get around 2.5 hours (or 2.5 acres) of runtime. So, if your mowing less than 2.5 acres, you should be able to get the job done on a single charge.
The Ryobi RY48111 comes with 3 motors that function with the help of the battery. These brushless motors are packed with enough power to get you out of tight situations and inclines of 15 degrees are a breeze. The battery also features a USB port that allows you to charge your phone or other devices (sound system?) as you are mowing the lawn. The electric operation emits less than 70 dB of sound, eliminating the noise commonly associated with large riding mowers. The small and compact design means it won’t occupy a lot of space in your garage.
We love that this lawn mower emits zero emissions, so there is no pollution and it's environmentally friendly. Combined with the sleep visual appeal (it looks like a go-kart) you've got yourself a machine capable of handling large yards on a single charge.
The Troy Bilt 382cc 30 inch premium neighborhood riding lawn mower is a rear-drive machine. At first glance, it's compact appearance resembles a mixture of a scooter and a mower. But don't be fooled, the performance suggests that it is a durable riding lawnmower. You'll need some time and tools to assemble it once it arrives before you can unleash it on your yard.
This mower is stated to work best on level ground. Performance does decrease on uneven terrain, as it does for most rear-drive models. The powerful 382cc engine propels the mower well and the 30inch cutting deck cuts grass with ease and even produces more push than wider models.
Overall this is a great machine if you're mainly using it on flat terrain. However, the handling can be a little tricky as the controls take some getting used to. Also, if you move into reverse, you will need to disengage the blades.
If maneuverability and steering are important considerations, you'll do well to check out this zero turn riding mower from Husqvarna. The Husqvarna Z254 boasts a super-wide 54 inch reinforced deck, powerful 26 HP Kohler 7000 series engine with consistent cut technology, and an auto brake parking system. It's a well-regarded machine with many buyers happy with the performance.
Cutting wet and tall grass is no problem with the Husqvarna Z254 thanks to the 54" deck and air induction mowing technology that draws air from the top and bottom of the deck.
The zero-turn driving system is easy to pick up, but if you haven't driven one before we recommend practicing in an open space away from obstacles until you get the hang of it.
We like that Husqvarna has included the following durability focused features; reinforced steel stamped cutting deck and cast iron blade mandrels. These heavy-duty features mean you'll be causing less general wear and tear on the machine, requiring fewer visits to the shop for repairs.
The top forward speed is 6.5 mph, with a maximum of 3.5 mph in reverse. Rider comfort is more than adequate, with a sliding 15 inch seat and spring suspension. Peace of mind is offered by Husqvarna's 3 year warranty.
We recommend the Husqvarna Z254 for those that need the extra maneuverability offered by a zero turn mower. Perhaps you have a lot of trees or other garden features that you've been struggling to navigate properly. If this is you, then this zero turn with a super-wide cutting deck is worth looking into further.
If you are looking for a wide, powerful mower then consider the Poulan Pro PP155H42 Briggs 15.5 hp automatic hydrostatic transmission drive riding mower. It is a mower that comes with a wide 42 inch deck that has an efficient airflow drawing system. It draws its air from above and this helps to cut the grass evenly, every time. Especially if you have a lawn with long grass, this mower can churn through it quickly. It has a 15.5 HP engine that provides enough power to cut on both even and uneven fields.
This Poulan riding mower has a floating deck with a front oscillating axle. This aids in level cutting as you move the machine from one side of the lawn to the other side. Its hydrostatic transmission allows for easy control. For those that find other transmission styles difficult, this hydrostatic transmission can be very smooth and efficient. The reinforced vented deck keeps air flowing and the 6 level cutting gives you the flexibility to cut grass in various patterns and designs. The engine is easy to service with an air filter that keeps it cool and clean whilst in operation.
The 5 options above are what we consider the best riding lawn mowers. If you have a medium-sized yard that isn't too hilly, then the modestly priced Troy Bilt 30 Inch might just be enough.
But, if you'd prefer a more environmentally friendly alternative, the Ryobi RY48111 Electric Riding Lawn Mower is a great option.
Lastly, if maneuverability is valued above all else, then the Z254 zero turn from Husqvarna is a fantastic choice.