Riding lawn mowers were invented to take care of such properties, and they are real heavy-duty machines meant for mowing acres upon acres of land without you needing to break a sweat. With these mowers, you can get the job done in almost no time at all while simply sitting and enjoying the drive. In this article we’ll go over all the benefits the best riding lawn mowers can offer you as well as showing you how the highest rated products on the market perform and comparing them in order to find the best among the best.
Why Buying a Riding Lawn Mower?
The main reason for buying a riding lawnmower is the fact that they can simply get the job done faster and with less hassle than other types of mowers. They can do the job two or three times faster than with other mowers, easily. At the same time, you can just sit back and enjoy the ride, not needing to break a sweat. It turns something that is usually a troublesome chore into an enjoyable experience.
However, that’s not all they offer. Riding lawnmowers are also far more adjustable than other types, usually having a ton of different blade height adjustments as well as various add-ons that can be immensely useful.
The one big downside they have over usual mowers is the fact that they are less maneuverable and can’t get into tighter spaces or mow around obstacles. Even that is solvable though, and so called zero turn lawn mowers exist – they can turn on the spot and easily mow around obstacles and in spaces where other riding mowers can’t. This cuts down on time needed for mowing even more, as you don’t have to go on foot and fix spots with a weed eater or a push-behind mower.
While we might sing the praises of riding lawnmowers in general, not all of them are as great as can be. There are some products out there which are just not up to snuff and are borderline useless. Of course, there are also those that excel in every area and are just a great purchase. To the untrained eye, both can look the same on the surface, and a lot of manufacturers will try to mask bad products as something worth buying. So, how to make sure you get a good mower? Well, fret not, we are here to help.
In this article, we go over what to look for in a mower before presenting and rating some of the best products out there right now. We also peppered in some user reviews for extra info. With all of that, making an informed purchasing decision should be easy. So, here are the products we picked out.
Meet the Best Riding Lawn Mowers
The Good: This is a durable and extremely maneuverable mower with a strong engine and great speed.
The Bad: It doesn’t perform well on uneven terrain; the wheels can stall.
The Bottom Line: It’s a mower with exceptional performance, except on rough terrains, but it is still well-worth the price.
The Good: Comes at a fairly affordable price and is a decent product in almost every regard.
The Bad: It takes a while to reach top speed and sometimes has trouble starting up.
The Bottom Line: For people looking for an affordable mower, this is a great choice, though the troubles with reaching top speed might put some people off of it.
The Good: It has decent power and speed and performs great on rough and uneven terrain.
The Bad: It’s shoddily made, and it can simply fail with no warning whatsoever.
The Bottom Line: This is a decent mower on the surface level, and it’s great that it can handle rough terrain, but it might be too low-quality to recommend.
While this summary is useful, there is more info in the article below so keep on reading.
All of the Factors Considered
Riding lawnmowers are complex machines with plenty of different features and moving parts. Combined with the overwhelming amount of different products out there, some of which might look almost indistinguishable from each other, it’s difficult to differentiate between good and terrible ones. Because of that, we compiled this list of the most important things you should consider when getting a riding lawnmower.
One of the most important aspects of a mower of any type is the cutting width. Owning a mower that can cut more grass in one go-around is an obvious benefit, and it speeds up your work immensely. If you have a huge property, you probably want to get a mower that’s as wide as possible.
However, for medium-sized or smaller properties, or even large ones that are unusually shaped, that can be a hindrance. The wider a mower is, the less maneuverable it becomes and getting around trees or into tight corners and edges can become an issue.
You should carefully consider your needs and then decide what kind of mower to get and how large do you want its cutting width to be.
Riding lawnmowers mostly run on gas engines and their strength is usually expressed in horsepower, but the cc or the displacement of the motor is also important. The more horsepower an engine has, the stronger it is. The strength of the motor affects almost everything about the performance of the lawnmower – its top speed, the speed at which the blades rotate and how quickly they reach top speed, how well it turns and goes over obstacles or uphill and so on. Some lawnmowers have multiple engines, but most have just one.
It’s good to have a stronger engine, but sometimes it can be a hindrance. Stronger engines are larger, and if you want a more maneuverable mower, a huge engine can be a big problem, rather than a benefit. Large engines also produce far more fumes as well as vibrations and are incredibly noisy – all things to consider when looking for the right mower for you.
In the end, it all comes down to what you need your mower to do and if you’re willing to put up with some of the negatives for more power.
There are various benefits to having a mower that moves faster. The one that first comes to mind is the fact that a faster mower will finish the job faster, but there are other things to consider as well.
A faster mower will be able to go up inclines easier and make sharper turns if needed, for example.
There are a few more things to consider when it comes to speed other than simply the top speed at which a mower like this can go. The speed at which it can go in reverse is also important, as well as how adjustable the speed is. You should know the limits of a mower before getting it and consider what you need it for so you could pick a machine that will serve you well and be able to do anything you require of it.
Riding lawnmowers are machines that are meant for extended use and real heavy duty work, so you should expect them to last for quite a long time. They also cost quite a pretty penny, so getting another one in just a few years or months is not easy on the wallet. As such, you should make sure that you get a lawnmower which will suffer all the wear and tear you put it through and keep on going.
Consider, first and foremost, the materials a mower is made of. Lots of metal parts is usually a good thing, unless its flimsy aluminum, while an abundance of plastic is most often a bad sign. There are some made mostly out of durable plastic, but that’s not something you see often.
Something else you should consider to make sure you get a durable machine is the country of origin. Usually, machines made in the US and Europe are of better quality and more durable than those made in Asian countries. It’s not always the case, but it most often is so.
Lastly, you should make sure all the bolts, nuts, springs and so on are held tightly in place as one of them getting loose during work can be a serious safety hazard.
You also should be afraid to shell out a bit more money for quality, as it will pay off in the long run.
These mowers are made to be used for extended periods of time and, even though you’ll be sitting for most of it, it can still get uncomfortable for various reasons. You want a mower that you’ll be comfortable with using for hours on end, as it will make your work more enjoyable and faster.
There are many aspects to consider when it comes to comfort. The material the seat is made of can make a real difference in how comfortable it is to ride a mower – is it slippery or prickly and so on. Vibration dampening can also be important as you don’t want to feel every stroke on the engine on your backside. Making sure all the controls are within arm’s reach at all times is crucial as well. Though you want the controls to be close, you also don’t want them to be too close, so you don’t accidentally trigger something you didn’t mean to trigger.
There are also other, minor things, but you get the point.
Now that you know what’s important let’s see how our products fared in these areas.
In-depth Reviews of 3 Best Riding Lawn Mowers
Wide Cutting Deck
The cutting deck of this machine is rather wide at 46 inches, but that isn’t too wide as to make it difficult to maneuver. Combined with the zero turn technology it uses this makes it able to do the job incredibly fast, probably faster than other mowers in this article.
Strong Gas Motor
The engine inside this unit features an astounding 20 HP, allowing this mower to perform well in almost every regard. It has no trouble going up inclines for example, and it can reach great speeds with ease.
The tops speed this mower can reach is a great 6.5 miles per hour, and it can go up to 3.5 mph in reverse – not that you will need it, considering that it can turn rather easily. It features the use of zero turn technology, and it can turn on the spot if needed.
The cutting deck is made out of solid steel and reinforced with heavy flat-stock steel, making for a rather durable It is well-made, and if you put it together properly, it will be incredibly durable. However, it might be difficult to assemble on your own.
Comfortable to Use
The padded chair of this unit, combined with nearly no vibrations make for a comfortable riding experience. All the controls are easily within reach, and you will have no problems using them.
Who Should Buy this Product
For people who have large properties that are awkwardly shaped, this is a godsend. If you ever had to get out of your mower and do areas of your lawn by hand, especially around trees, you will love this machine. It has plenty of power and is incredibly maneuverable, meaning that you can mow almost everything without ever needing to go on foot.
What to Watch Out For
The largest problem this mower comes across is the fact that it won’t mow the grass well on rougher, uneven terrains and it just won’t perform well. The back wheels also tend to stall on uneven terrain, meaning you will have a tough time using it if your property is like that. In that case, you should probably look for something else.
This riding mower is a thing of beauty, having a powerful engine, quite a lot of different adjustable options and it’s supremely maneuverable due to the zero turn technology. The problem is the fact that it won’t work that well on rougher terrain, even though it is still a rather fine product.
Cuts a Wide Swath
The cutting width of this unit is a great 46 inches, making it fairly maneuverable while it is still able to get the job done in adequate time. However, it’s not as fast or maneuverable as a zero-turn mower would be. The cutting height is adjustable as well.
Reliable & Strong Motor
The gas engines inside this mower features 19 HP and 540cc, making it a rather strong if a bit bulky motor. It allows it to reach decent speeds and go up inclines easily.
The top speed of this unit is a decent 5.5 mph, at least in forward while in reverse it can reach up to 2.5 mph. Overall, it’s okay but not that incredible for a mower like this. It also takes some time to reach top speed as well.
Durable & Comfortable Design
The seat of this unit is rather comfortable and provides easy access to all controls. The soft-touch steering wheel also makes it easy to use while the pedal responds immediately. It’s also rather durable, especially the wheels which make the ride smooth.
Who Should Buy this Product
This is a great mower for people who want a decent product at a decent price, which this certainly is. For people who want something more out of their riding lawn mower, this will also be a decent buy, since you have the option of buying and using various handy add-ons with it.
What to Watch Out For
The main problem this mower encounters is starting and getting to top speed. The problem with starting is rare, however, but what is constant is the fact that it takes quite a while to get to maximum speed, more than is usual for mowers like this. Once you get going, however, it maintains top speed easily. The biggest problem this poses is when going in reverse, though.
For a decent price, you get a quality mower with fairly commendable specs and good durability, as well as great versatility. It is a great deal, that’s for sure. The thing that might be a deal-breaker for some though is the fact that it takes a while to reach top speed and the transmission seems crude. It’s still a quality product, but that is something to consider.
Poulan Pro 960420188
Great Cutting Width
The deck is 46 inches wide allowing for quick mowing without losing much maneuverability. It also draws air from the top of the deck, allowing for air flow under it when mowing larger grass. It’s a floating deck too, meaning that it performs great on tough terrains. Optional attachments for mulching and bagging are available as well.
Good Gas Motor
The strong motor in this unit has 20 HP of strength allowing it to perform well in other areas. The motor also doesn’t make as much noise as is usual for an engine this strong, which is commendable.
Admirable Top Speed
Can reach a speed of up to 6.2 miles per hour, making it more than competitive with other similar products. The speed in reverse is not so admirable though, only 2.1 mph at most, making it less maneuverable than some comparable mowers. However, the oscillating front axle makes up for that and allows it to maneuver around obstacle easily.
Made in the USA
It’s proudly manufactured in America, as the manufacturer claims, but that is not a guarantee of quality. This is a proof of that – this machine has plenty of faults, and even the system meant to make the motor starting easy can malfunction meaning that you can’t start it at all. It might fail when you need it the most.
Comfort (not so) Guaranteed
It is comfortable for the most part, due to the low noise and vibration levels, but the material the seat is made of makes it too slippery for comfort. It’s a mixed bag in this regard.
Who Should Buy this Product
People who have large properties with a lot of uneven terrain that is tough to mow will love this machine. It performs incredibly well on rougher terrains that other riding mowers might struggle with, and it has the strength and speed they have while also offering some decent versatility and maneuverability.
What to Watch Out For
Despite being made in the US, it is not an incredibly quality product, and it can fail without a single warning sign. It seems to be just shoddy construction and low-quality parts that are the issue. For some, it might work fine, but for us, the engine failed to start after a while, and others have reported similar issues.
On the surface, this looks like an amazing mower at a fair price that can do something most other similar machines cannot, and that is handle mowing on rough terrain without a hitch. The thing that makes it difficult to recommend, however, is the fact that it’s just not that durable and can fail on a moment’s notice. Not a thing you want out of a 1800-dollar product.
The Best Riding Lawn Mower – Husqvarna Z254
As you can see, there is a wide variety of products out there, and picking just one of them as the definitive “best” riding mower is a near impossibility. A lot of it comes down to just taste, and what some might consider a horrible machine, others would think of as a godsend and the perfect product.
However, picking the best mower from the products in this roundup is a much simpler task, and we think we are up to it. For us, the best one of these three is the Husqvarna Z254. The reasons for this are multiple – but the biggest one is that it has one outstanding upside while having no major flaws. That outstanding upside is the ‘zero turn’ technology allowing it to be more efficient and maneuverable than any of the other mowers in this roundup, making it the best value for the price, and our best pick.
So, there you go, those are the best products we could find, and the Husqvarna product is the one we consider to be the best out of all of them. That doesn’t mean the others are not worth considering, however. In fact, they might be just what you’re looking for and could fit you better than our top pick. It all comes down to taste and what you need out of your riding mower. We hope all the info we gathered here helped you choose the best riding lawn mower for your lawn and if it did, please recommend this article to others who need similar help. Have a good day, and we hope your lawn stays well maintained.