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Best Riding Mower Brands

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by ConsumerAffairs Research Team

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.

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John Deere
Read 676 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.

Cub Cadet
Read 515 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.

Troy-Bilt
Read 520 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.

Husqvarna
Read 480 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.

Kubota
Read 121 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.

Craftsman Riding Mowers
Read 119 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.

Toro Lawn Mowers
Read 177 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.

Ariens Riding Mowers
Read 24 Reviews

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.

Gravely Riding Mowers
Read 30 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.

Briggs and Stratton
Read 147 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.

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What features matter most in a riding lawn mower?

Attachments

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.

Speed

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.

Fuel capacity

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.

Handling

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.

Budget

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 the different types of riding mowers?

Lawn tractors

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.

Rear engine

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 uses riding lawn mowers?

Landscapers

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.

Property managers

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.

Riding mower expert reviews

Craftsman Riding Mowers

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.

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Ariens Riding Mowers

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.

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Cub Cadet

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.

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Dixie Chopper

Dixie Chopper got its start in 1980 in Greencastle, Indiana, by creating the first commercial zero-turn mower.

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Gravely Riding Mowers

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.

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Husqvarna

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.

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John Deere

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.

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MTD

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.

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Poulan Pro

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.

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Briggs and Stratton

Briggs and Stratton Corporation creates the engines used in many riding lawn mowers.

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Toro Lawn Mowers

Toro develops cutting edge riding mowers and has a 100-year history.

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Troy-Bilt

Troy Bilt created an innovative rototiller design in 1937 and continues to create quality equipment.

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Weed Eater One

This company is well known for its lawn care products, which range from manual mowers to riding mowers.

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Snapper

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.

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Kubota

Kubota brought its products to the United States in 1969 and provides a wide range of lawn and construction equipment.

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Murray Lawn Mowers

Murray, founded 90 years ago, creates garden tools and equipment with a focus on affordable pricing and efficient operation.

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Huskee

Huskee creates economical riding mowers for consumers that are simple and well-built.

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Compare Top Riding Mower Reviews

Snapper
Read 99 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.

Dixie Chopper
Read 18 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.

Poulan Pro
Read 104 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.

Murray Lawn Mowers
Read 201 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.

Huskee
Read 96 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.

Yard-Man
Read 20 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.

MTD
Read 126 Reviews

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.

Weed Eater One
Read 83 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.

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ConsumerAffairs Research Team

The ConsumerAffairs Research Team believes everyone deserves to make smart decisions. We aim to provide readers with the most up-to-date information available about today's consumer products and services.