In this post, I’m going to select and review the 10 best riding lawn mowers that you can buy. Buying a lawn tractor is a big decision, and I’m going to help you sort out the good ones from the bad.

Lawn tractors are worth it, because of how much easier (and fun) they make your gardening work. Here is an overview of the top 10 (click the link to see it on Amazon):

#1 – Troy-Bilt 382 cc Lawn Mower

#2 – Cub Cadet XT1

#3 – Poulan Pro P46ZX

#4 – Poulan Pro 960420181

#5 – Troy-Bilt 540 cc Lawn Mower

#6 – Husqvarna 967271501

#7 – Husqvarna 967324101

#8 – Husqvarna LTA18538

#9 – Husqvarna YTA24V48

#10 – Poulan Pro 960420182

As a father of 2 small kids, let me tell you a little secret – fathers have to do the lawn work. It’s sort of an unspoken rule that dads are expected to mow the lawn.

No one tells you this, I had to find it out myself. 🙄

So if you’re not a parent, now you know one of the unspoken rules of the household! That will help you one day, if you become a parent.

Of course, gardening is a necessary chore and I proudly take part in it. I have to do my part to keep the lawn looking fresh and clean.

But it can be a bit much at times. If you’ve used a lawn mower before, you know that it’s hard work. They’re difficult to start, and it’s practically a workout to mow the lawn. You have to control this outdated machine with your hands, while trying your best to cut the grass.

I’ll also admit I’m a bit of a lazy guy – mowing the lawn works up quite a sweat. And I don’t like that when I have to go work on the morning. Lawn mowing is one of those bigger chores that take up more time and effort.

That’s why I’m personally thankful for riding lawn mowers. Not only do they make the work easier, but they also make it quicker. Lawn tractors can get the job done in half the time that regular lawn mowers would take.

In this past-paced world, efficiency is important. Riding lawn mowers is an efficient use of your time, and they can make your gardening chores much more doable, and – dare I say – enjoyable.

Let’s look at the different types of riding mowers.

3 Different Types Of Riding Mowers

Riding lawn mowers come in different shapes, sizes, and types. There is often confusion about the terms and what they mean. In this section, I’ll help you understand them better.

Riding mowers can be divided into 3 different types. Here is an overview of the three types:

1. Basic Riding Lawn Mower (Small)

This is essentially a small and basic type of riding mower. The one you see on the right is the Troy-Bilt riding lawn mower with an engine size of 382 cc.

This equipment is best suited for cutting small to mid-sized gardens. It will have an engine on either the front or the back. The larger lawn tractors usually have a front engine.

A basic riding lawn mower will have a range of cutting decks, and come in a range of prices. They are somewhat limited in their functionality. This means that besides cutting grass, they don’t perform a lot of functions. They also don’t have a lot of flexibility for attachments.

These mowers are perfect for beginners. People that have never used one before and/or have a small lawn to take care of, tend to buy these mowers.

2. Garden Tractor (Large)

Lawn tractors, or garden tractors, are larger as the name suggests. But the difference is not just on size. They can also perform more functions.

These are gardening powerhouses that have stronger engines and longer running times. But most importantly, they have room for attachments. These attachments can include a snow blower, utility cart, hitch, plow, and more.

They’re basically smaller versions of actual tractors. They have large wheels and they’re meant to perform many of the functions of tractors. You can remove snow, dig in the ground, tend soil, and haul firewood using these machines. Just get the right attachments and you’re ready to go. At the end of this post, I’ll give you a list of attachments you can add to your lawn tractor.

These mowers are larger and a bit expensive. But you can usually find budget versions of any model, so don’t worry about draining your wallet. Make sure that you have a shed (if you want) that’s large enough to store the tractor. You can also just leave it out on the lawn, only covering it with a cloth.

3. Zero Turn Riding Lawn Mower

This type of lawn mower is unique; it looks and works quite differently from the first two. It always has a rear engine configuration. But the main difference is in the name: it has a zero turning radius. Meaning it doesn’t have a turning radius.

It has front wheels that will usually sharply turn. You can control it using a joystick or some kind of lever. It doesn’t have a steering wheel like other riding lawn mowers. This puts less fatigue on your hands; it’s easier to operate.

There are advantages and disadvantages. On the plus side, these mowers are faster than conventional riding mowers. They can achieve higher forward speeds, and this lets the user mow the lawn faster. It also allows them to cut a larger area with more ease. They have huge decks. They can also pivot at sharp angles. People with large lawns, and professional mowing companies, have a preference for these.

On the downside, these mowers are more expensive. They’re also less versatile; you can’t put as many attachments on them as you can on a garden tractor.

Why You Should Get A Riding Lawn Mower

I always use a riding lawn mower for all my gardening chores. The first one I got was a cheap one from a local supply store. It wasn’t the best, but it got the job done.

Over time, I upgraded and got a better model with more functions and a smarter mechanism. I’ve found that it trims my lawn grass very evenly, almost to a perfect level. I didn’t get the same results from a hand-operated lawn mower.

That’s why I’m writing this post. I know how useful ride-on lawn mowers are. They’re one of the best tools you can get for your home.

Here’s a comparison of how my lawn looks when I use a riding mower vs. when I use a regular lawn mower:

When I Use A Regular Lawn Mower

When I Use A Riding Lawn Mower

As you can see, the grass on the right looks healthier and fuller. It doesn’t expose patches of dirt below it. It’s also way more evenly cut than the grass on the left. This isn’t a coincidence – the riding lawn mower uses technology that makes the grass look much healthier than a regular lawn mower. I used average value brands for both cuts.

I’m going to review the best riding lawn mowers that are available to buy online. You can buy them at a store too, but nationwide shipping is convenient and reaches more people.

The Top 10 Best Lawn Tractors/Riding Mowers (Reviews)

1. Troy-Bilt 382 cc Lawn Mower

Troy-Bilt 382cc - The best riding lawn mower

The Troy-Bilt is the best small and compact riding lawn mower that I have found. If you have a small or mid-sized lawn, then this should be your number one choice. It has 5 settings, with quality features and plenty of comfort.

It’s the most affordable lawn mower (under $2000) that works perfectly and gets the job done. You’ll be saving money and breezing through your chores in half the time.

You’ll notice that this is one of the smaller mowers on this list. If you would like to get a larger one (such as a lawn tractor), then look at the next one on this list.

Key Features:

  • 382 cc engine
  • 1.3 gallon gas tank
  • 30-inch cutting deck size
  • Maximum forward speed of 4.25 mph (with 6-speed transmission)
  • 18-inch turning radius
  • Manual power take-off
  • 2 year limited warranty

2. Cub Cadet XT1

Cub Cadet XT1 - The best garden tractor

The Cub Cadet riding mower comes in a variety of sizes. You can go to its product page on Amazon to see the different versions of this series that you can buy. This one, which has a 24 horsepower, is my favorite pick. It has the right features, power, and price; it’s ideal for small, mid-sized, and even larger lawns.

This one is more of a lawn tractor, and it’s one of the bigger and costlier mowers on this list. Some people are not satisfied with a small mower. The look of a lawn tractor is appealing to some people. It can cover a much larger area at once; it has a big cutting deck. And it’s more fun to ride.

Key Features:

  • 24 hp engine
  • 3 gallon tank
  • 50-inch cutting deck size
  • 16-inch turning radius
  • LED headlights
  • 12 cutting heights
  • Push-button cruise control

3. Poulan Pro P46ZX

This is a zero-turn riding lawn mower. It’s one of the best-sellers on Amazon, because people love to use it for mowing their lawns and gardens. It’s large, powerful,and comfortable to use. Let’s look at its main features, along with pros and cons.

Now that you know about the different types of riding lawn mowers, you can differentiate between them and decide which one is better for you. Recall that zero turn mowers are faster and better for covering large areas. But they’re also less flexible than ride-able lawn tractors.

Key Features:

  • 22 hp engine
  • 3.5 gallon gas tank
  • 46-inch deck
  • 6 mph maximum forward speed
  • 6 cutting height positions
  • Electric clutch
  • 3 year limited warranty

4. Poulan Pro 960420181

This is a powerful and affordable riding lawn mower by Poulan Pro. It has a large cutting deck with a size of 42 inches, which lets you use it on mid-size or even large lawns. The horsepower is decent; it’s not the most powerful machine in the market, but it gets the job done.

One of the cool things about it is that it uses a vented deck. This means that it allows air to flow more freely through the deck, and subsequently the whole lawn mower. A lot of lawn tractors have an air problem, where there’s not enough circulation. A vented deck helps solve that problem.

Key Features:

  • 15.5 hp engine
  • Oscillating front axle
  • 42-inch deck
  • 6 speed transmission
  • 6 cutting height positions
  • 2 year limited warranty
  • Weighs 452 pounds

5. Troy-Bilt 540 cc Lawn Mower

This is a larger version of the Troy Bilt 382 cc lawn mower. It’s one of my favorites because the brand name alone is very reliable and trustworthy. I’ve found Troy Bilt lawn mowers to work great and have very few technical difficulties. And which it’s not as popular as the smaller one, it’s a good alternative. Some people might not want to use a small riding lawn mower, so they would opt for a larger one like this. And the best thing is that it’s not all that more expensive. You just have to spend a little more money to get a powerful mower with this capacity.

Key Features:

  • 540 cc engine
  • 19 hp
  • Foot to pedal automatic transmission
  • Soft touch steering
  • 46-inch deck
  • 2 year limited warranty

6. Husqvarna 967271501

This is the second zero turn riding lawn mower on this list, so far. It has all the characteristics that you’d expect from a zero turn mower. It’s main advantage is how durable it is. The cutting deck is reinforced with flat-stock heavy steel that protects the structure and keeps it from rusting easily. Strength is very important in a lawn tractor. The chassis and casters are also enforced with metal, to make them more durable.

While this mower is a little on the expensive side, it’s worth it because of its strength and the smart technology it uses for mowing.

Key Features:

  • 20 hp engine
  • Zero turning radius
  • Air induction mowing technology
  • Reinforced steel deck
  • Durable frame
  • Deck lift
  • Weighs 690 pounds

7. Husqvarna 967324101

This is a large and high-end lawn mower, with a massive cutting deck size of 54 inches. At this size, you can mow large amounts of grass in a short period of time. This is also one of the most expensive riding lawn mowers in the online market. But it’s actually slightly under-priced, in my opinion.

Besides the size, strength, and durability, it also has cool extra features. For example, it has a very easy user interface, with an electric clutch and EZT transmission. It also uses high-quality air filtration.

Key Features:

  • 724 cc engine
  • 24 hp V-twin
  • 54-inch cutting deck
  • Electric clutch
  • Air filtration
  • Reinforced deck
  • Dual EZT transmission
  • 4 anti-scalp rollers

8. Husqvarna LTA18538

Husqvarna is one of the best brands that makes riding lawn mowers and garden tractors. This is one of the best because of its design, simplicity, and ease of use.

It has a decent-sized cutting deck, which is perfect for most household lawns that are mid-size. The gas tank and the engine capacity also won’t require too much maintenance. This is a pedal-operated lawn tractor with a CVT auto transmission. It’s also lightweight for its size and design.

Key Features:

  • 18.5 hp
  • 540 cc engine
  • 38-inch cutting deck
  • Air induction mowing technology
  • 2 steel blades mower
  • Pedal-operated CVT automatic transmission
  • Weighs 390 pounds

9. Husqvarna YTA24V48

This lawn mower uses air induction mowing technology, which is unique to Husqvarna. This is a smart and effective mechanism for cutting grass evenly. This leads to a better-looking lawn, while also reinforcing the durability of the mower. This is perhaps my top pick for mowing technique, because of the great results that I’ve seen with it. Lawns that use air induction mowing technology have very even grass. This, among with many other factors, makes this a great lawn tractor to get.

Key Features:

  • Auto transmission
  • Air induction mowing technology
  • 48-inch cutting deck
  • 24 V Briggs Stratton motor
  • 3 year limited warranty
  • 5 year warranty on front axle and frame/chassis
  • 10 year consumer deck warranty

10. Poulan Pro 960420182

This is a great budget lawn tractor for anyone to get. While it has a slightly low horsepower, it offers great flexibility and performance. It’s also pretty simple to use, with 6 available cutting positions. The front axle (oscillating) and the hydrostatic transmission help this mower run smoothly.

It’s very easy to use attachments on this tractor, especially a mulch or bag. Attachments are what really make these lawn tractors versatile.

Key Features:

  • 15.5 hp
  • Reinforced deck
  • 42-inch cutting deck
  • Auto Hydrostatic Transmission
  • 6 cutting positions
  • 6-inch turning radius
  • Oscillating front axle
  • 10 year limited warranty

What To Look For When Buying A Riding Lawn Mower

There are plenty of things to consider, before making that buying decision. Some things are not important at all, while other things are very important.

Here are some features that you should know about. They’ll help you in getting the lawn mower that’s perfect for you:

  • Deck size: Deck size is one of the most important features. The larger the deck, the more area it will cover and the faster it will mow. For small lawns, a 30-inch deck is good enough. But for most mid or large lawns, I recommend a size of around 40-inch or more.
  • Brand: The top brands that make garden tractors include Troy-Bilt, John Deere, Cub Cadet, Husqvarna, Poulan Pro, and Yard Machines.
  • Engine: The important things to look for are the engine displacement (measured in cc), and the brand of the engine (Kohler, Briggs, Stratton, Honda, etc).
  • Fuel tank capacity: This tells you how much fuel the tank can hold. It depends on the size of the lower. It can be between 1 gallons and 5 gallons.
  • Horsepower: Horsepower is important, as it tells you the overall strength of the machine. A horsepower between 20 and 25 hp is good.
  • Cutting height positions: This refers to the number of cutting height positions that you can use on the equipment. The more, the better, because it gives you more versatility.
  • Reverse mowing: This is a useful feature to have in a riding lawn mower. If you miss an area, you can just reverse mow it.
  • Price: This is one of the most popular questions asked by people who want to buy a riding mower. It depends on your budget and your needs. You can get a decent mower under $2000. But if you spend more, you can get an advanced one.
  • Warranty: Look for a warranty of at least 1 year from the manufacturer. It ensures better quality and trust in the product.

Top Garden Tractor Attachments

If you want to turn your riding lawn mower into a powerhouse garden tractor, then you need to add attachments. They’ll let you perform a host of different tasks. Here are some popular ones to use:

  • Dump cart
  • Bagger
  • Hitch
  • Blade
  • Front scoop
  • Front mount dethatcher
  • Brush guard
  • Front bumper kit
  • Plow
  • Snow blade
  • Electric lift
  • Lawn roller
  • Tiller

This is a guest post written by Jay Peters.