Riding lawn mowers give homeowners a powerful and convenient way to handle larger lawns. These mowers are faster than push mowers, require less physical effort to operate and allow homeowners to spend less time on lawn maintenance.
Selecting the right riding lawn mower requires understanding the differences between mower types, attachment compatibility and learning about useful mower features. Choosing a mower with the right features can turn yard work from a chore to an enjoyable hobby.
Top 10 Best Rated Riding Mowers
Founded in 1933, Wisconsin-based Ariens manufactures all-steel riding mowers with cast-iron gear cases for added durability. It only builds zero-turn machines that use two levers rather than a steering wheel to maneuver.
|Read 10 Reviews|
Gravely received their primary patent for a motorized plow in 1916 and launched their lawn tractor in 1967. In 2008, they launched Gravely Turf Equipment to meet the requirements of golf course and turf managers.
|Read 12 Reviews|
Dixie Chopper created the first zero-turn lawn mower appropriate for commercial use in the 1980s. It joined Jacobsen in 2014 and now offers mowers in residential, light commercial, commercial and industrial varieties.
|Read 11 Reviews|
Yard-Man got its start in 1932. Today, it sells a variety of lawn and garden power equipment. Its products include self-propelled, push and riding mowers, trimmers and edgers, chain saws, leaf blowers and tillers.
|Read 18 Reviews|
Cub Cadet was founded in 1961 and is based in Cleveland, Ohio. It manufactures and markets outdoor power equipment such as zero-turn riding mowers, lawn and garden tractors and handheld, gasoline-powered lawn equipment.
|Read 427 Reviews|
Kubota was founded in 1890 and is a tractor and heavy equipment manufacturer based in Osaka, Japan. It has two models of riding mowers that feature glide steering and hydraulic deck-lifts for private and professional use.
|Read 85 Reviews|
John Deere was founded in 1837 and is headquartered in Moline, Illinois. John Deere is best known for manufacturing large agricultural equipment. It also sells a variety of residential lawn care and landscaping power equipment.
|Read 550 Reviews|
Murray has been selling affordable and efficient lawn and garden equipment over 90 years. It offers a full line of push, self-propelled and riding mowers, as well as gas-powered, handheld lawn tools.
|Read 188 Reviews|
Huskee is a brand of lawn equipment owned by MTD Products. It offers consumers multiple models of lawn tractors, walk-behind mowers, tillers and cultivators.
|Read 89 Reviews|
Founded in 1951, Snapper provides easy-to-use yard products to consumers nationwide. Its lawn equipment consists of walk-behind mowers, riding tractors, zero-turn mowers, leaf blowers, string trimmers and hedge trimmers.
|Read 82 Reviews|
What features matter most?
Riding mowers gain additional flexibility through front and back attachments. The attachments vary between manufacturers, but most have similar basic options.
- Sweepers: This attachment gathers clippings, leaves, twigs and other small mowing debris.
- Snow plow: Riding lawn mowers get usage in the winter with this front attachment, which gets snow off of driveways and walkways.
- Aerators: This back attachment automatically aerates the lawn as the mower cuts the grass. Aeration creates holes in the soil to improve drainage and increases the amount of nutrients getting to the grass seed.
Riding lawn mowers are offered with several speed options for the homeowner.
- Single speed: These mowers have a single, fixed speed. Single speed mowers are typically less expensive than multi-speed models and work well for homeowners mowing a lawn with few obstacles.
- Multi-speed: Multi-speed mowers typically have two to seven speed settings. These mowers are excellent for lawns with many obstacles, commercial users dealing with a wide variety of mowing situations and homeowners sharing yard care responsibility with multiple people in the household.
Cutting path size
The cutting path describes the blade deck size and amount of grass cut at a time.
- 36 to 42-inch deck: This standard size riding mower deck works well for homeowners with yards up to 2 acres. The deck is wide enough to create an efficient mowing path but not so wide that they need to use a weed whacker to get grass near obstacles.
- 48 to 72 inch deck: A larger deck speeds up the mowing process and reduces the time needed to mow lawns larger than 2 acres. These deck sizes are typically used by landscaping companies and other commercial users.
- Custom deck size: Custom deck sizes apply to commercial mowing or specialty situations, such as golf courses.
Riding mowers are powered by gasoline and store it in a fuel tank.
- Standard size: A standard size riding mower gas tank holds up to four gallons of gas.
- Oversized: Commercial and high-end riding mowers have oversize fuel capacity of six gallons or more.
Easy-to-control riding mowers make the lawn care process less strenuous.
- Turning radius: Navigating obstacles around a yard is much easier with a tight or zero turning radius.
- Traction: Steep slopes and slippery yards get addressed with solid traction provided by specialty tires.
- Suspension: Large areas take hours to mow, even with a fast riding mower, so a smooth suspension increases the comfort level.
Riding mowers span across a wide variety of prices, from budget models to high-end commercial vehicles.
- Sub-$1,000: These riding mowers provide basic features sufficient for homeowners not looking for a lot of bells and whistles.
- $1,000 - $5,000: Mid-range riding mowers provide more powerful engines, attachment compatibility and features designed for homeowner comfort and convenience.
- Over $5,000: The latest technology, commercial capacity and other features create a high-end riding mower.
What are different types of riding mowers?
Lawn tractors are standard riding mowers with a front engine. Many homeowners and landscapers use these mowers due to their availability and power.
Zero-turn radius mowers
Zero-turn radius mowers have a tight turning radius capable of handling many lawn obstructions. This mower is suited for level yards.
The riding mower's engine sits at the back of the mower. This placement decreases the mower's size, providing a compact option for residential use.
Who's it for?
Landscapers deal with many yards with a variety of obstacles. A riding mower speeds up the mowing process and creates a uniform lawn.
Homeowners with large yards
Riding mowers help homeowners properly care for larger tracts of land. The mowers also speed up the process and decrease the time spent on lawn maintenance.
Golf course managers
Golf courses need perfect grass for golfers. A riding mower handles the amount of land and the standardized length requirements.
Parks and common areas for residents are a great perk for properties. Property managers maintain these areas with a riding mower instead of spending the time and effort on a push mower.
Craftsman, an 88-year-old tool company, creates quality mowers for residential use. This lawn and garden equipment company, a Sears subsidiary, offers entry-level and mid-range riding mowers and other tools.
- Best for Homeowners seeking a quality built riding mower.
Ariens has a long history, starting back in 1933 during the Great Depression. This family-owned business focused on innovating the rotary tiller before moving on to other lawn equipment, such as riding mowers.
- Best for Residential homeowners seeking a powerful and affordable mower option.
Cub Cadet has created American-made riding lawn mowers since 1961. They create mid-range to high-end riding mowers for homeowners and landscapers seeking high-end features and mowers capable of handling large yards.
- Best for Property managers, landscapers and homeowners looking for high-powered riding mowers.
Dixie Chopper got its start in 1980 in Greencastle, Indiana, by creating the first commercial zero-turn mower.
- Best for Commercial, industrial and residential users who need a fast mower option.
Gravely started in 1916 when Benjamin Franklin Gravely patented a motor plow. The company focuses on heavy-duty mowers for commercial uses and homeowners who spend a significant amount of time on their lawn maintenance.
- Best for Residential and commercial landscapers doing speedy maintenance.
Husqvarna offers high-quality design with a focus on easy maintenance and long lasting build quality. This Swedish company started manufacturing lawn mowers in 1919 and continues creating innovative designs today.
- Best for Residential homeowners looking for a luxury riding mower.
The John Deere Company is the oldest lawn care company with a 175-year history. This company's distinctive green and yellow riding mowers offer homeowners feature-rich options for their lawn care needs.
- Best for Residential homeowners seeking a well-known brand with many product models.
MTD has an 80-year history with a headquarters in Valley City, Ohio. This riding mower manufacturer focuses on mid-range options for residential customers and commercial usage.
- Best for Residential homeowners wanting an affordable riding mower option.
Poulan Pro creates innovative lawn equipment with a history spanning back to 1944. The company focuses on the homeowner market with 2 and 4 cylinder engine riding mowers.
- Best for Homeowners looking for a powerful mower that's easy to maintain.
Briggs and Stratton Corporation creates the engines used in many riding lawn mowers.
- Best for Riding mower owners replacing or upgrading their current engine.
Toro develops cutting edge riding mowers and has a 100-year history.
- Best for Homeowners and commercial companies get a long-lasting riding mower from Toro.
Troy Bilt created an innovative rototiller design in 1937 and continues to create quality equipment.
- Best for Residential homeowners get a good combination of price and quality.
This company is well known for its lawn care products, which range from manual mowers to riding mowers.
- Best for Residential homeowners receive a compact and easy-to-maintain riding lawn mower.
Snapper was founded in 1894 as a lumber industry company. Its name comes from their first lawn mower design, which reminded the inventor of a snapping turtle.
- Best for Residential homeowners who are buying a riding lawn mower and want variety from a single company.
Kubota brought its products to the United States in 1969 and provides a wide range of lawn and construction equipment.
- Best for Residential homeowners and commercial businesses buy these riding mowers to handle massive lots.
Murray, founded 90 years ago, creates garden tools and equipment with a focus on affordable pricing and efficient operation.
- Best for Murray riding mowers provide residential homeowners with mid-range, high-quality options.
Huskee creates economical riding mowers for consumers that are simple and well-built.
- Best for A homeowner with a small or medium size yard gets a good value from Huskee riding mowers.
Information in this guide is general in nature and is intended for informational purposes only; it is not legal, health, investment or tax advice. ConsumerAffairs.com makes no representation as to the accuracy of the information provided and assumes no liability for any damages or loss arising from its use.
11 – 18 Best Rated Riding Mowers
MTD Products is an American manufacturer of outdoor power equipment based in Cleveland, Ohio. Founded in 1932, it owns multiple lawn and garden brands like Cub Cadet, Troy-Bilt and Yard-Man.
|Read 119 Reviews|
The Weed Eater designs and manufactures lawn and garden equipment that is sold at dealers nationwide. Its family of products include push, manual and riding mowers, as well as blowers and lawn and hedge trimmers.
|Read 80 Reviews|
Briggs and Stratton employs over 3,000 people who make over 9 million small engines for power equipment each year. More than 16,000 dealers and retailers sell lawn and garden equipment powered by a Briggs and Stratton engine.
|Read 121 Reviews|
Toro Riding Mowers offers their customers machines with cutting paths ranging from 32 to 60 inches. Founded in 1914, the company also offers riding mowers built for commercial use, sports fields and golf courses.
|Read 128 Reviews|
Poulan Pro is a brand owned by Husqvarna that got its start as an independent company in Louisiana. Today, the brand name is used for outdoor power equipment like lawn mowers, chain saws and leaf blowers.
|Read 85 Reviews|
Controlled by Sears Holdings, Craftsman offers residential riding mowers, with two models that meet CARB standards. Consumers can also find models with a narrow, 30-inch cutting width or an automatic transmission.
|Read 72 Reviews|
Troy-Bilt is a brand owned by MTD Products which is based in Cleveland, Ohio. The Troy-Bilt brand includes items like zero-turn, riding and walk-behind lawn mowers, trimmers and gardening power equipment.
|Read 414 Reviews|
Husqvarna can trace its roots back to 1689. It is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden. It manufactures outdoor power equipment including, chainsaws, lawn tractors and mowers and trimmers.
|Read 400 Reviews|