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 9 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 9 Reviews|
Kubota Tractor Corporation produces riding mowers divided into several series products. While the T and F series are suitable for residential use, the GR and Z series mowers are also appropriate for commercial applications.
|Read 81 Reviews|
With over 90 years of experience, Murray continues to manufacture lawn mowers, including four ride-on options outfitted with Briggs & Stratton engines. These models range from a compact 24-inch model to a large, 42-inch mower.
|Read 184 Reviews|
Though Snapper was acquired by Briggs and Stratton in 2004, they still offer a variety of mowers. Popular choices include three ride-on options with the ability to transition from side discharge to bagging and mulching.
|Read 79 Reviews|
Sold exclusively at the Tractor Supply Company, Huskee riding mowers are a specialized brand of MTD Products. Two of their gas-powered models meet the California Air Resources Board standards for riding mowers.
|Read 89 Reviews|
Although John Deere is better known for larger pieces of agricultural equipment, they also sell 36 different models of riding mowers, lawn tractors and zero-turn mowers for residential and light commercial turf management.
|Read 536 Reviews|
Ohio-based MTD has acquired several brands that produce riding mowers, including Cub Cadet, Troy-Bilt, Bolens, MTD Pro and Yard-Man. Sold on five continents, MTD brand machines range from consumer-grade to professional mowers.
|Read 112 Reviews|
Weed Eater offers a riding mower, called the Weed Eater One, in addition to its push-mower options. This machine is designed for consumers who prize ease of use, compact size and affordability above all else.
|Read 80 Reviews|
Famous for building exceptional engines, Briggs & Stratton engines are found in riding mowers offered by 20 different companies, including the Craftsman, Husqvarna, Altoz, MTD Gold, Brute and Snapper Pro brands.
|Read 115 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 – 16 Best Rated Riding Mowers
A small tractor company founded in the 1960s, Cub Cadet also manufacturers riding mowers exclusively built in Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee and Mississippi. The company also offers financing options on their official website.
|Read 404 Reviews|
The Swedish company Husqvarna emphasizes the durability and versatility of their riding mowers. Customers can purchase attachments that make it easy to plow snow, aerate soil and haul debris using their mowers.
|Read 383 Reviews|
Poulan Pro offers a range of seven riding mowers that all contain Briggs & Stratton engines and produce 10.5 to 24 horsepower. The three premium models offer automatic transmissions and ergonomic steering wheels.
|Read 80 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 70 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 116 Reviews|
Acquired by MTD Products in 2001, Troy-Bilt continues to manufacture riding mowers in its Martin, Tennessee plant. It offers machines ranging from a basic 30-inch riding mower to a 54-inch, hydrostatic-steering, zero-turn machine.
|Read 401 Reviews|