If you own a good-sized yard on your property, mowing can be a serious and much dreaded chore. Walking around and pushing a mower is not only time-consuming but also exhausting.
This where riding mowers come in. They are designed to cut down on the time and energy spent grooming your yard. This type of lawn tractor allows you to ride along and steer your way across your lawn. Self-propelled instead of push-propelled, they have made it far easier to handle the chore of keeping grass trim and neat.
This website is geared towards helping people figure out which type fits their needs. The best riding lawn mower for you varies depending in your yard size, layout, and personal preferences. So keep reading and check out our reviews below for more info.
Top 10 Comparison Table
|Poulan Pro 960420174|
|Troy-Bilt 420cc OHV|
|Poulan Pro 960420170|
|Poulan Pro 967330901|
|Poulan Pro 960420167|
|Poulan Pro 960420171|
|Poulan Pro 960420165|
|Poulan Pro PB30|
|Weed Eater WE-ONE|
Why Choose a Riding Mower?
The first thing is to decide whether you can get away with a smaller, cheaper walk-behind mower.
For those who own a medium-sized lawn, riding mowers are considered a must. Pushing a smaller one around on such a large plot may be too much to handle. The thought of driving one’s way through a chore may be enough for homeowners to look into a lawn mower they can ride on. Many hardware stores suggest that a half-acre lawn is where one becomes necessary.
These mowers are better for the bigger lawns, even ones with small inclines and knolls. If it has intricate flower beds and steep drops, then push or electric models are better suited in terms of handling, but it takes energy and effort to move them around. Also, lawn tractors have more weight and can push through brush and tough weeds better than a push mower.
So if you simply need to cut a lot of open grass and want to be done with it in a short amount of time, then a garden tractor could be for you.
Which Riding Mower is Suited for Your Lawn?
There is no shortage of different mowers to choose from. The question now becomes how to decide which one best fits your needs.
When shopping for a new lawn mower, most go with price, brand, features, and sometimes whatever the dealer says. That can work in some instances, but not all the time.
The biggest factor may be knowing what type of land you have what you need out of your lawn mower. If your yard is small, then you can go with price or features. However, if you have plenty of green space on your lawn with fences, gardens, large rocks, and slopes, then you should take the layout into account.
Here are some possible areas to consider:
Size of the lawn
Figure out how large of a mowing deck and cutting path you need based on the size of your lawn. For lands sized an acre and a half, 30 to 40-inch mowing decks are considered ideal.
For lands up to three acres, 40-48 inches is preferable. More than that, go beyond the 48 inches.
Usually the larger the mowing deck, the larger the vehicle. Regular riders can be used for medium-sized lawns. For large yards, a bigger garden tractor may be needed.
Figure out how important handling is by taking a good look at the layout of your lawn. Garden tractors can be front-drive, rear-drive, or zero-turn handling. Lawn tractors also have a tighter turning radius for better cuts.
If you have obstacles around your yard, a tractor that can make tight turns is more desirable. The smaller turning radius, the better to make tight turns. A zero-turn radius mower could be ideal, but these are priced higher than others.
A fast mower may be the best thing when it comes to down time, but it may not be best for your grass. You may want to slow down to get a better cut.
Gear-driven manual transmission mowers provide constant, steady speeds in cutting a stream of grass.
Like a car, garden tractors with automatic transmission have a pedal for gas and brake. This can be good for slowing down when making turns or cutting close to flower beds.
The different types of engines not only help determine power, but also balance, and longer lifespan for your machine. Single cylinder engines are fine for smaller lawns, but twin engine cylinders (16 horsepower or more) provide better balance and power, resulting in a smoother cut. Smoother running machines also tend to be more durable.
The more expensive mowers are also the more comfortable with features such as cruise control. Some also prefer a smoother ride while mowing, so balance and stability could be other considerations.
Putting down a large sum of money for a riding mower is reasonable and even expected. Top brand name types such as Snapper, Poulan, Craftsman, and Toro do not come cheap.
However, the goal is to determine which type is best for your lawn and how quickly and efficiently it can your grass. Don’t buy one simply for its looks.
Top 10 Riding Lawn Mower Reviews
Poulan Pro 960420174 PB24VA54 Kohler V-Twin
Made by a top brand, this is one of their more powerful and largest versions that is built like a tractor.
Pros: This model packs a V-Twin 24 horsepower engine and uses an automatic transmission with a pedal to modulate speeds. With a 2.5-gallon gas tank, it has room for plenty of fuel.
A nice thing about this is the huge 54-inch mowing deck that is both enforced and comes with a 10-year warranty.
Cons: If you simply want one for a couple of acres, then there are less pricey versions. Also, its 15-inch front tires and 20-inch rear tires are common on most Poulon Pro products.
Ideal Use: This tractor seems ideal for people who have large uncomplicated yards of around five acres and who want to get through the chore in a quick and efficient manner.
Troy-Bilt 420cc OHV 30-Inch Premium Neighborhood
This tractor has a single engine on the back side.
Pros: This comes with six-speed manual transmission, providing a vast array of speed options. It also has five adjustable settings to its 30-inch mowing deck. It is cheaper than other models of similar size.
Cons: It isn’t fast nor is it powerful. With a small cutting path, it isn’t built for large plots of land. The wheels are 13.5 inches in the front and 16 inches in the back and its turn radius is a lukewarm 18 inches.
Ideal use: This mower is best suited for medium-sized yards with fairly level terrain, but isn’t build for more than that.
Poulan Pro 960420171 PB22VA48 Briggs
Not quite as large as the first item on the list, but it is still built for power.
Pros: This model features a 48-inch mowing deck and also has twin engines, though at 22 horsepower. Also has automatic transmission with petals.
Cons: It can be pretty pricey at times for its size and there are some Poulon Pro models which are easier on the budget without too much difference in cutting path size.
Ideal use: For large lawns of around three acres and can go over some small knolls.
Husqvarna YTH24V48 24 HP Yard Tractor
A tractor from a different brand, it still provides a strong engine but a different transmission than many other models.
Pros: This model has a 48-inch mowing cover and a 24 horsepower Briggs and Stratton V-Twin engine, providing lots of strength.
What is different is its its hydrostatic transmission. This type of transmission works like an automatic with a fast pedal, but uses fluids instead of belts to move the wheels of the equipment. This allows for a smoother ride and is easier to maintain in terms of durability. Also, it has cruise control and an electric blade engagement compared to a manual one.
Cons: Electric blades can be more costly to repair, so owners have to be vigilant over its care in order to enjoy a longer life span.
Ideal use: For constant runs on large lands of up to three acres.
Poulan Pro 967330901 P46ZX Briggs V-Twin Pro
This Poulan Pro model is near the top end of the market mostly because of its zero-turn radius.
Pros: Maneuverability is its chief asset as a result. Other positives are a 3.5-gallon gas tank and a 46-inch stamped reinforced mowing deck with a 10-year warranty. Throw in an electric clutch and hydro-gear EZT hydrostatic transmission, thus it has a lower center of gravity for improved balance and stability.
Cons: The bars are used to steer the machine around instead of a steering wheel. That could take some getting used to. The price is on the higher end but not unreasonable for a zero-turn version.
Ideal use: For yards up to three acres with some obstacles that need to maneuver around.
Poulan Pro 960420170 PB20VA46 Briggs
This mower isn’t as massive as the first Poulan Pro model, but is similar to it on a smaller scale.
Pros: Has a 46-inch mowing deck and a Briggs 20 horsepower twin-engine with a ready start mechanism. This Poulan Pro model also has the same 2.5-gallon fuel tank as well as automatic transmission with pedal, and the 10-year warranty on the mowing deck.
Cons: Because it is priced almost the same as its big brother, it may be wiser to just get the higher model.
Ideal use: This is a model which is good for flat terrain and a lawn size of two to three acres.
Poulan Pro 960420167 PB20A46 Kohler
A Poulan Pro version with a different, single-engine type though still good-sized.
Pros: The difference comes in the motor with this being a Kohler 20 horsepower single engine with an electric start instead of a Briggs twin engine with a ready start. Otherwise, it has a 46-inch mowing deck with a 10-year warranty on it. Also has automatic transmission and pedal.
Cons: Supposedly the electric start is easier, but the twin engines lead to less vibrations and that could mean a potentially longer machine life.
Ideal use: Good for yards of two to three acres, only lighter usage.
Poulan Pro 960420165 PB185A42 Briggs
Smaller version of some of the Poulan Pro types.
Pros: Cheaper and possibly better value while still having a 42-inch mowing cover with the same size tires as other Poulan Pro versions. Also with automatic transmission and with pedals. Does have a 10-year warranty on the drive belt and a 16-inch turn radius.
Cons: Doesn’t have the power as other Poulan Pro versions with an 18.5 horsepower Briggs engine. As a result, it is limited to more medium-sized greens.
Ideal use: A model for large medium-sized garden of about two acres given its single engine.
Poulan Pro PB30 Briggs 4-Speed
This is the smallest Poulan Pro model on the list.
Pros: Unlike the other Poulan Pros mentioned, this model has a manual transmission with four different speeds. It has a 14-inch turnin radius to go along with a 30-inch mower cover. Since it is smaller, it is also cheaper.
Cons: It has a rear-end single engine that only produces 11.5 horsepower. The gas tank is smaller at 1.5 gallons.
Ideal use: A front or backyard that is about acre in size with no obstacles and undulating terrain.
Weed Eater WE-ONE Briggs & Stratton 875 Series Gas Powered
The smallest option on the list, it has a 26-inch mowing deck and 190 cc Briggs & Stratton 875 motor.
Pros: Much less expensive than all the others while still providing a seat to ride in. It has an electric start and its blades can be adjusted up to three inches for a closer cut. This model has a manual transmission with three forward speeds and one reverse speed.
Cons: The biggest issue is that it isn’t compliant in the state of California and possibly in other states that have adopted California’s emission standards.
Ideal use: For small to medium-sized gardens of around half an acre, but check and see if it is acceptable in your state.
Time to Pick the Best
The key thing is to understand the needs of your lawn. You have to take into account size and the layout of your yard. Is it level and flat or are there some undulations which would require a good motor to go over in key spots? Are there gardens or fences on the side which would necessitate a need for a more manoeuvrable tractor? How often do you need to mow will raise the question of durability.
As long as those things are kept in mind, they you already have a good idea of what to look for to get the best riding lawn mower. The other concerns such as comfort, brand, and appearance should be secondary. Our reviews should have given you a good idea.
While the above list shows some pros and cons to a few models, don’t be limited to these choices. Instead, figure out what you want and need in a mower and then go shopping around for an ideal one at a good price.