Riding Lawn Mowers

Riding lawn mowers are a convenient way to trim your yard. Learn more about different types of riding mowers, including several top models.

While there are many benefits to owning your own yard, it also means you are responsible for mowing the grass. There are several types of lawn mowers, but the best option for most yards is a riding lawn mower. Riding lawn mowers have many benefits. For most homeowners, the biggest benefit is convenience. It is much more comfortable riding a lawn mower versus using a push variant. Not only are they convenient, but they go much quicker and are the superior option for larger yards. Starting a riding mower is much easier than using a pull-start that many walk-behind mowers feature.

There are also more options with riding lawn mowers. This allows you to pick the right mower based on the size of your yard. Riding mowers also come with additional accessories to further improve your mowing experience. In the past, riding mowers were much more expensive. However, manufacturers have created a wider range of mowers, making it easy to find the perfect, affordable riding mower for your yard.

Lawn Tractor

There are three primary variants of riding mowers to choose from. One of the more recognizable models is the lawn tractor. Many homeowners consider this the standard model. Lawn tractors are primarily used for larger yards. They have a powerful engine which helps to speed up the mowing process. They come in a variety of sizes and styles and have a wide price range. A lower end model costs around $1,000, but some of the larger, more powerful variants cost as much as $3,000. For an average home, a lower end model is more than enough, but if you are a dedicated landscaper, a higher priced model is a good investment. Lawn tractors are considered all-rounders, they do not excel in any particular area, but are easy to use.

Zero-Turn Mower

Zero-turn mowers are sometimes referred to as luxury riding mowers. The mower is controlled by lap bars, situated at the front seat. The mower has a dual hydrostatic transmission, making it easy to maneuver. Compared to other riding mowers, you can pivot and make sharp turns, making it an excellent choice for crowded yards. Because of the precision, these are the favored mowers of most professional landscaping services. They are typically smaller than lawn tractors. With lighter frames and improved maneuverability, they are typically the fastest option. Zero-turn mowers are more expensive than other riding mowers. Lower end models cost around $1,500, but higher end mowers go all the way up to $5,000 or $6,000.

Rear Engine Mowers

Rear Engine mowers are the smallest types of riding mowers. Most are controlled with a hand lever at the front. They are not as powerful as other mowers and are primarily used for smaller yards. The smaller frame adds some maneuverability, but nowhere near the level of a zero-turn mower. What they lack in power, they make up for in affordability. Most rear engine riding mowers cost between $650 to $1,250. There are a few fancier models which cost around $1,500 to $2,000, but these are mostly used by commercial landscapers.

New vs. Used

While riding mowers are more convenient than other options, the steep price is sometimes too much for homeowners, especially if they recently bought their home and are still balancing their budget. If you want to save money on a riding mower, consider buying used. Typically, the biggest downside of buying a used item comes from wear and tear. Riding mowers are built to last. Even the less expensive models are durable enough to last between 10 to 15 years. Because new models come out quite frequently, it is not uncommon for homeowners to upgrade after a few years, putting their older model on the market for a significantly reduced price.

Some local hardware stores take used lawn mowers, which is a good way to find deals. If you do not live near one of these stores, there are several websites to purchase local markets. Craigslist is a popular choice for buying used riding mowers, which are typically listed under the farms and equipment section. You can also used sites like eBay and Amazon. Unless the seller provides local pickup options, you are likely to run into costly shipping fees.

If you want to search specifically for local gardening tools, OfferUp offers more extensive options, allowing you to filter results by type of mower and manufacturer. It also includes refurbished mowers as well as used. Tractorhouse is another option for buying used riding mowers.

Cub Cadet LT42 XTI

The Cub Cadet is one of the smaller lawn tractors on the market. It features a convenient hydrostatic transmission, so there is no need to shift while you are mowing. The Cub Cadet is highly customizable, with a dozen height configurations to choose from. The smaller frame means it is more maneuverable than heavier lawn tractors. It is one of the pricier lawn tractors, typically costing around $2,000 when purchased new. 

Toro 75746 Time Cutter

Toro is a high-quality, reliable riding mower manufacturer. While they have many excellent mowers to choose from, the Time Cutter stands out above the rest. It is a zero-turn model, making it a pricier option, but it provides a smooth riding experience. It can turn on a dime and features a powerful engine, comparable to larger mowers. This makes it good on any type of terrain. Toro also provides white glove delivery, meaning all the assembly is done whenever you order a new mower. A new Time Cutter, goes for around $3,000.

Troy-Bilt Pony 42

The Pony is an excellent starter tractor lawn mower. It features a smaller engine, but it still performs well even on hilly terrain. It has a wide cutting deck, covering more surface area, making it great for both large and small yards. For many homeowners, the main appeal of the Pony is the price tag. The Pony typically costs between $1,500 and $1,700.

Craftsman R110

Even among rear engine mowers, the R110 is small. Despite the small size, it includes a Briggs and Stratton engine, considered one of the best for riding mowers. The small frame gives it a superior turning radius, almost as good as a zero-turn mower. It also navigates tighter spaces with ease. The R110 is one of the most affordable riding mowers, on average costing between $1,200 and $1,400.