7 Best Riding Lawn Mowers for the Money in 2021 – Riding Mower Complete Buyer’s Guide

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For people who are enthusiastic about cleaning, it doesn’t matter if it’s your lawn or your living room – all places in the house should be kept tidy regularly. However, while maintaining your bedroom or living room can be a simple task, doing the same with your lawn can be quite difficult, especially if you have a large property.

With the best ride on mower, you will spend less energy and time maintaining your lawn, while maintaining that sought-after professional look.

With everything you’ve read so far, you’re probably thinking about buying your lawn mower now, right? We also think a lot. However, while it may seem very simple to a beginner, it is never really easy to buy the right lawnmower for your needs.

Just like we did for this guide, there are many elements and specs you need to consider, such as engine power, fuel tank capacity, cutting width and height, and warranty.

Our Top Pick

Last update on 2022-12-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Top 10 Best Riding Lawn Mower To Buy In 2021

Last update on 2022-12-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

10 Best Riding Lawn Mower Review

Snapper 360Z 52-Inch 25HP Briggs & Stratton V-Twin Engine Zero Turn Lawn Mower w/ Cargo Bed, 2691323
  • The integrated rear cargo bed with a 50 pounds; Capacity makes this ztr more versatile than ever before; Plus, the rails allow for the use of aftermarket ATV accessories
  • The commercial style foot operated mower deck lift easily lifts and adjusts the mower deck between 13 height of cut positions from 1.5 to 4.5 inches
  • A durable fabricated Steel mower deck for non stop mowing season after season. All fabricated decks come with a limited lifetime Warranty
  • A fully welded Steel frame, thick walled front Axle, durable mower deck, and ball bearings in the caster spindles ensure durability and a great cut
  • High performance 724cc Briggs & Stratton professional series with ready start engine makes sure your Zero turn mower has the power to perform Year after Year
Husqvarna 960450057 GTH52XLS 24V Hydro Pedal Tractor Mower, 52"/Twin
  • FAST auto transmission for a maintenance free operation
  • Ergonomic design with an adjustable high back seat with arm rests and comfortable grip steering wheel
  • Electric engagement of cutting blades, simply pull the switch
  • Convenient fender mounted deck lever is spring assisted for easy operation
  • 3 year limited, 5 year frame/chassis and front axle consumer warranty

Last update on 2022-12-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What Is Riding Lawn Mower?

Riding lawnmower, also known as a ride-on mower, is used as a gardening tool to mow the lawn. It can help to cut acres of grass with ease. Good mowers also save a lot of time that is spent by the owner to push the manual mowers.

More importantly, you don’t need to exert yourself physically, and they allow you to mow a larger area in less time. This is used for the lawns that are half an acre or beyond this.

A riding lawn mower is a safer option as compared to other types of lawnmowers. It is ideal for mowing the land in humid areas too. It is used to cut, bag, and mulch neatly and mow around the obstacles to promote professional landscaping.

Moreover, if you have a large yard, then ride-on mower certainly helps to tidy the grasses without taking long.

How Do Riding Lawn Mowers Work?

All these machines have powerful engines that run the rotating cutting blade belt as well as the wheels. The operator sits on the seat atop the cutting deck. Pedals and levers are used to operate the moving parts. These devices also provide some means of discharging grass clippings (i.e.: via a side discharge or into a bag attachment).


The operator uses the gas and brake pedals and levers to start, adjust the cutting blade height, accelerate and guide, and stop the machine. Many models have a steering wheel and you drive it like a car. Others’ throttle and steering are controlled using levers.

Advantages

These machines minimize time and effort it takes to mow larger areas. They have electric starts and larger fuel capacities. They are as easy to operate and handle as any other vehicle. Cutting decks are adjustable so you always cut to the “right” height. Replacement parts are also easier to obtain for riding lawn mowers than for standard push models.

Bag attachments are available to collect clippings. Other attachments mulch and facilitate yard debris and leaf cleanup and fertilizer spreading. Larger tractor models may offer plow attachments for snow removal or garden plowing or trailers for hauling wood or livestock feed. Zero-turn models allow you to precision cut within tight spaces and around shrubs and trees with ease.

Technologies

New models, attachments, and upgrades become available as small engines become more powerful and expand their versatility. In addition to attachment upgrades, riding lawn mowers offer a variety of luxury options, such as adjustable seats, stereos, automatic transmissions, cruise control, and cup holders!

Gas- and electrically-powered engines are quickly being joined by engines that run on biodiesel or hydrogen fuel cells. New robotic models run on rechargeable, emissions-free batteries and need no operator! Some are solar-powered. More powerful robotic machines currently in development will be able to cut acreage, large fields, and golf courses.

Types of Riding Lawn Mowers

These devices reduce your effort and help you finish your mowing quickly. There is a variety to choose from.

Rear Engine Riding Mowers

Rear engine models provide the easiest, most comfortable experience. They tend to be smaller units with smaller cutting decks and narrow cutting widths. They require less storage space and are by far the most affordable in any brand range.

The main drawback is that, due to the lower horsepower (i.e.: 14HP), rear engine models are slower. They also are not designed for pull attachments such as bags or trailers. This type is not recommended if you have to mow an area larger than ¾ acre.

Lawn/Garden Tractors

Tractor type models are faster, more durable, and have more powerful engines (i.e.: 18 – 24HP) and heavy-duty transmissions. They are not the fastest, however, nor do they easily maneuver around obstacles or tight corners.

Various attachments are available that allow you to mow, tow, plow, or haul. The cutting deck is mounted between the front and rear axles. More expensive, full-size tractors are also equipped to tow mowing attachments behind them. Tractor mowers are designed for larger areas of 5 acres or more.

Zero-Radius/Zero-Turn Mowers

Zero-turn riding models are more expensive, high-performance units commonly used by commercial landscapers and for professional lawn maintenance. They have a 360-degree turning radius and easy four-wheel steering system that allows the operator to precisely mow around obstacles.

They offer a wider cutting width, improved maneuverability, and your ability to mow quickly at higher (forward) speeds up to 8mph. These machines can bag, side-discharge, or mulch grass cuttings. They perform the best on fairly flat yards larger than ½ acre.

Mulching Mowers

Mulching models are environmentally friendly, waste reducing units. They work best when the grass is not too high. The blades cut the grass into miniscule pieces that more rapidly decompose back into the soil. It alleviates the need to bag clippings or fertilizer the yard. If bagging is desired, grass cutting may be sent to a composting site rather than ending up in a landfill.

What to Look for When Buying a Riding Lawn Mower

When shopping for these machines, look at recognized brands that have good warranties and convenient servicing locations.

  • Be sure the unit has enough power to perform up to your expectations (i.e.: mulch);
  • Try the seat for comfort;
  • Ensure the pedal is located to suit your easy operation, and
  • Look for a machine with power steering and power deck lift that makes your task easier.

Cost

There is a wide variety of models in just as wide a variety of types, sizes, horsepower, and blade size. You should be prepared to spend no less than $500. A low-end, 14HP riding mower that is suitable for cutting up to an acre, for example, begins at $1,000 (more or less). Small garden tractors (18-24HP) range between $2,500 and $4,500. Larger tractor type options can run as high as $9,000.

Engine 

Engine size is particularly important if you intend to use the machine for more than just mowing. Their engines may be larger (16+HP) twin-cylinder or smaller single-cylinder. Twin-cylinder (i.e.: heavy-duty and tractor mower) engines are better balanced, run cooler, provide more power, and last longer.

Horsepower

The higher the horsepower the more expensive the unit will be. The horsepower is the power the engine makes available to run the machine’s components (i.e.: cutting blades, transmission, etc.). To be sure, your mower will not necessarily go faster just because it has a lot of horsepower. But it will mow steep slope or dense grass effectively.

Maneuverability

Zero-turning models allow you to effectively mow in cramped spaces and around obstacles. These types usually have separate control levers for steering. The smaller the cutting deck, the more maneuverability your riding mower will have. Larger commercial-sized wide-decked models are more expensive and will not maneuver well in tight spaces. Smaller decks are recommended for yards that have a lot of trees, obstacles, and flower beds.

Safety

Always read the product’s manual before operating it for the first time. Check the area you intend to mow for debris, rocks, and other items that can become projectiles or dangerous, or damage the machine if you mow over them.

  • Wear proper clothing including shoes, long pants, and ear and eye protection.
  • Do not let children (under 12yrs. old) operate your riding mower.
  • Keep children, pets, and others away from the machine and your mowing operation and far away from flying debris that may be tossed up by the unit.
  • Beware of hot surfaces. Do not add fuel where surfaces are hot or vapors can ignite the fuel.
  • Keep hands and fingers away from the machine. Completely turn off the machine before attempting to remove any twig, grass clump, or obstruction.

Buying Guide

If you are a little confused with all the various features we mentioned in the reviews, we are here to help bring you out of your confusion with our buying guide. We will take you through several sections to arm you with enough information that will help you make the best decision possible.

Why it’s a wise investment to make

Minimal physical effort

This is by far the biggest benefit of buying a walk-behind lawn mower. Regardless of the size of the area, you will complete the task very quickly with minimal effort. While most electric lawn mowers are generally easy to maneuver and lightweight, they are only recommended for flat terrain.

Pushing electric lawn mowers up hills and hills can be a bit challenging, even with the fact that they are lightweight, so having a riding lawn mower is a must if the terrain is uneven. Also, using a racing car will provide you with a lot of fun by making you feel like you are driving a car.

Easy to find replacement parts

If you do a little research, you will find that it is very difficult to find spare parts for electric / walk mowers on the market. This means that if such a car breaks down, you will have to buy a new one and subsequently lose a lot of money. Ride-on lawnmower replacement parts, on the other hand, are very easy to find and that’s definitely a huge plus.

Perfect for large lawns

If you read the reviews on electric lawn mowers enough, you’ll find that they are generally only recommended for small construction sites, while a ride-on lawn mower is perfect for large gardens. Mowing a large lawn with a traditional lawn mower can take up to a couple of days and you probably don’t want to waste that much time. Therefore, you should consider buying a larger machine that will help you achieve the desired result in the shortest possible time.

Saves you time Another huge advantage that a ride-on mower has over a stand-behind model is the speed at which it operates. Regardless of whether the stand-behind mower is a push or a self-propelled model, it can never match the speed of a riding lawn mower. When working on large-sized properties, this can save you a lot of time.

Key start ignition While most stand-behind mowers don’t usually come with key-start ignition, most ride-on mowers currently on the market, like the Snapper 360Z are engineered with this extraordinary feature. It enables you to ignite the machine without any physical effort. It’s perfect especially for individuals with weak upper bodies or those with physical injuries.

How to start your riding lawn mower

In fact, it is easy to start a ride on mower. Thanks to their powerful engines, elegant automatic transmissions and electronic systems, most driving models currently on the market can be easily started in seconds.

To start the mower, all you have to do is adjust the cutting height of the deck to the desired setting. Most models today also include fender-mounted levers, allowing you to easily adjust these settings.

Then get in the driver’s seat, depending on your model, turn the on / off knob or press the button. The ride-on mowers do not need to operate a clutch or change gear when engaging reverse or shifting, thanks to the automatic transmission they are equipped with. Instead, you just have to use a pedal to slow down and increase speed. Plus, with most models now offering cruise control, the task has become even easier than ever.

Features to consider when choosing a ride on mower

Ride-on mowers offer the best way to tackle large construction sites easily, delivering professional results with little effort. However, before purchasing, there are numerous factors to consider. By looking at each of these important factors, you will be able to find the right model for your needs and the type of lawn mower that best meets your needs.

Engine HP

Engine HP, or horsepower, is the term used to describe the power output of an engine. The output means what is available for sharing between the different parts of a mower like the cutting blades and the drive transmission.

Therefore, the higher the horsepower provided by an engine, the more power the machine will be able to distribute between different tasks like moving the mower up hills or across the lawn, whilst at the same time delivering the cutting power required to completely mow heavy or tall grass.

Transmission

There are three types of transmission for ride-on mowers: automatic, manual and hydrostatic. With an automatic transmission, the mower’s speed is decided by the amount of fuel sent through the throttle, while a manual transmission offers a series of gears between which you need to shift with the help of a clutch.

A hydrostatic transmission works the same way as an automatic transmission, but uses fluid pressure instead of belts. When you are thinking of buying a new ride-on mower there are a couple of notes to keep in mind.

Manual transmissions are suitable for making a lot of turns and maneuvering around obstacles and terrain changes, automatic transmissions are suitable for straight and long stretches, and hydrostatic transmissions are the best and work the same way as automatic transmissions, offering the smoothest ride possible and requiring the least amount of maintenance.

Fuel tank capacity

The fuel capacity of a ride-on mower determines how much gasoline it can hold. Generally, this is related to the size of the model. The main concern to consider is buying a model with a small fuel capacity that isn’t enough to manage your lawn, as you don’t want to keep stopping while mowing just to refuel.

Therefore, models with a larger fuel capacity such as the Husqvarna MZ61 are more ideal for large properties, while those with a smaller capacity such as the Snapper 360Z are better suited for medium-sized properties.

Cutting width

Cutting width The cutting width of a ride-on mower determines the width of the area that the blade can cut in one pass. Small models like the Troy-Bilt TB30 ride-on mower can have a cutting width of 30 inches, while larger models can have a cutting width of up to 50 inches or more. The main thing to consider is the size of your garden.

Adjustable cutting height

The basic models provide little or no height-of-cut adjustment, which can be a problem in caring for finer grass. Finding a ride-on machine like the Ariens 915223 IKON-X with a variety of cutting heights and the ability to easily switch between them is key. Look for models whose height adjustment controls are located next to the floor pedals or next to the seat to reduce tension.

If it’s zero turn

Zero turn mowers like the Poulan Pro P46ZX and Husqvarna MZ61 typically have an exceptionally tight turning radius, which allows them to have incredible maneuverability and excellent ability to navigate between shrubs, grass statues and trees. However, they have some problems when maneuvering in hills, as they tend to turn too sharply on vertical terrain.

Size

Ride-on mowers are generally made in different sizes and shapes. The mowing decks on some mowers are as low as 30 inches (such as the Troy-Bilt TB30 per neighborhood mower), while some models may have mowing decks up to 50 inches or more (such as the Husqvarna GTH52XLS with a 52 inches). As we’ve already mentioned, a larger model is more ideal for a large property without many obstacles, or it may take longer to mow the entire lawn. Conversely, the smaller models are perfect for smaller lawns or even larger lawns with many obstacles such as slopes and trees.

Warranty

When buying something expensive like a ride-on mower, you need to give your warranty top priority. If something goes wrong with your lawn mower early in its life, the warranty will save you a lot of money on the purchase of replacement parts or even the entire unit. In our experience, the length of the warranty period generally determines how long the product can be expected to last.

Safety tips to follow when using a ride on mower

There are many dangers associated with machine-mounted lawn mowers, including falling under the lawn mower and being run over. The machine could also tip over, causing injury. To avoid accidents, we recommend that you follow the following tips before, during and after using the machine to reduce the presence of hazards.

Before mowing the lawn, first make sure that there are no children or pets in the garden, as they are more prone to danger.

The grass you are about to mow should be free of toys, ropes and stones that could damage the blade.

When turning, you must first slow down to prevent the car from tipping over.

It is important to ensure that the machine is not left unattended while it is still running.

Understand the essential parts of the lawnmower: read the manual correctly before using the machine.

Learn how to quickly stop the car’s engine in an emergency.

Always make sure to stop the machine when anyone enters the yard to decrease the chances of injuring bystanders or causing an accident.

Make sure that the mower operator presence control system is working as it helps to shut off the blade in the event that the operator steps off the machine.

Make sure there is no debris on the blade drive belt and that it is in proper tension.

It is recommended that you wear appropriate clothing for the activity, including tight clothing, safety boots, and long pants. You should also wear heavy gloves appropriately to protect your hands from blades and other sharp objects.

Avoid mowing uphill when mowing on a slope if the slope is greater than ten degrees.

How to maintain your riding lawn mower

Do you have a neglected garden with many landscaping features, such as flower beds and trees? Ride-on mowers are designed to make it easier to mow a yard of this type with an intuitive design, easy maneuverability and three-in-one convertibility from bagging to side discharge to mulching. Make sure you regularly maintain and adjust your lawn mower to keep it in top condition. Here are some tips that may help you keep it.

Replace worn drive belts

Follow your owner’s manual to remove and replace a worn drive belt. Also, this could involve removing the deck from the mower. In general, the bridge straps are relatively easy to replace. Be very careful to modify and correctly position any belt mounts or guides that have been moved during the procedure.

Change oil

As recommended, change the oil when the car engine is hot. Many ride on mowers are equipped with a plastic hose and a push-pull drain plug. If your engine is equipped with an oil filter, be sure to put some oil on the rubber seal before installation.

Use an oil nozzle or funnel when changing the oil and be sure not to overfill. Check the tool periodically as you fill it. If there is an oil filter on the engine and it has been replaced, the oil level must be rechecked after the engine is running and the oil filter will hold oil.

Check battery

Se sono presenti tappi rimovibili sulla batteria, controllare periodicamente il livello dell’acqua e aggiungere acqua purificata secondo necessità. Utilizzare una spazzola metallica per pulire i terminali ossidati della batteria per garantire la massima potenza di avviamento e il corretto funzionamento del sistema di ricarica del motore. Per evitare cortocircuiti accidentali, si consiglia di tagliare il cavo negativo e ricollegarlo prima.

Check air filter

Check the air filters frequently, especially when using the machine in dusty environments or if the machine ejects a large amount of dry straw. To remove loose debris, tap the air filter on a solid surface and replace it when it is no longer effective.

Don’t use stale gas

Do not use stale gas or gas that has been three weeks ago. Drain the old gasoline into a can and pour it into your car’s tank for safe disposal. The small amount will not cause any harm to your car, so don’t worry.

FAQ ON RIDING LAWN MOWERS FOR ROUGH TERRAIN

Do you still have any questions about how to choose the best riding lawn mower for rough terrain? This section covers all possible issues you might search on the Web.

HOW DO I AVOID SCALPING?

Set the mower to the highest setting possible for your type of grass and cut only the top 1/3 of the grass. Even if that means you will have to mow again after a few days, do it. Longer stems of grass provide growth and support for a deeper root system, which means that greenery can get more water, minerals, and vitamins from the soil.

It’s well-known that you should not remove a third of the top of the grass cover. When you cut the grass high, the roots grow deeper. As a result, the grass absorbs more moisture and nutrients, which contributes to its thickness. A tall lawn blooms better than a short one. Moreover, a lawn with tall grass doesn’t have weeds. If the grass is taller, then it shades the soil. And therefore, the roots do not dry out as quickly as under the sun.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD I SHARPEN MY RIDING LAWN MOWER BLADES?

Usually, the manufacturer specifies how often the mower blade needs to be sharpened. It is necessary to follow these recommendations. However, it is worth considering the individual characteristics of the device’s operation: the frequency of use, the conditions in which the work takes place, etc.

If you mow the grass every week or more, sharpening should be done once a month. If the intensity of using the device is less, then it will be enough to sharpen the blade 1-2 times per season. You also need to sharpen the mower blade before the start of each new season after a long period of inactivity.

Pebbles or sand in the area can affect the quality of sharpening. So, it is better to inspect the blades regularly for damage. The electric lawn mower must be unplugged from the outlet, and it is better to remove the starter from the gasoline one, so you guarantee protection against accidental activation.

The blade should be changed every 2 years, or after the number of hours, the mower has been used as specified in the manufacturer’s recommendation. You will also have to replace the blade if you find damage, chips, dents, etc. on it.

HOW TO PUT A BELT ON A RIDING MOWER?

It’s a quite simple process, to be honest. Use a wrench to unscrew the whole transmission cover. After that, install a new belt and simply tighten it.

Then try starting your lawnmower engine and observe how the belt works. You must remember that the belt should not snag on other elements, and pay attention to whether it rubs against any surface. If the process goes correctly, in this case, you can safely collect the “node” back.

HOW MUCH OIL DOES A RIDING LAWN MOWER TAKE?

The amount of oil for a riding mower is usually specified in the instructions. Check and read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully before using the tool. Even if you are an experienced user, do yourself a favor and go through some basic rules and recommendations for handling a new product.

Please, keep in mind that you only have to change the oil considering the condition of the engine. For example, if you purchased a new motor or a new lawnmower, you have to change the oil right after the mowing is done. It is approximately 5-6 hours of operation. To escape different inconveniences, change the fluid every 5-10 hours to keep your tool safe from debris and trash.

In the off-seasons, it is better to use lawn mower oil with a viscosity of 10W-30. In winter, the 5W-30 liquid series is more recommended. Make sure to check the Synthetic 5W-30 out, which has amazing properties and ensures reliable operation of mower parts at relatively low temperatures.

HOW TO WASH A RIDING LAWN MOWER?

Many people ask the question: “Can I wash the lawnmower?” It is possible and even necessary, both with cleaning agents (without chemicals) and with water, but carefully. After rinsing the deck of the mower with water, wipe it off thoroughly, since, in steel decks, slight peeling of paint will be enough. If you leave moisture there, rust cannot be avoided.

Decks are also made of aluminum (anti-corrosion) and plastic (but this applies more to electric lawnmowers). Some manufacturers have models with a special hose connection. It is very simple and convenient to wash the lawn mower using such a tool. Just connect the hose (inside of which water flows), start the knife (it rotates), and the mower will wash itself.

DOES THE BEST MOWER FOR UNEVEN TERRAIN EVEN EXIST?

Yes, it does. The thing is that it looks different for everyone. The choice of the rough terrain mowers depends on your personal needs and budget. Some people prefer using only Husqvarna tools, and others like to experiment. Some of you are looking for the best commercial zero turn mower for rough terrain.

Conclusion

If it’s your first time purchasing a riding lawn mower, I hope this guide will help you to find the option to satisfy your needs fully. Read it carefully, and if you feel like you need a consultation – don’t hesitate to leave your questions below. I will manage an answer as soon as it’s possible.

And for my experienced readers, I have some questions. Do you mind helping me a little? So, how often do you change the lawnmower? Do you prefer small and convenient options or big riding tractors? Let me know!

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