Best riding lawn mower
The best riding lawn mowers will let you sit back, relax, and have fun when looking after your lawn.
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Mowing the lawn is tough work. Depending on the size of your yard, it can take hours to complete. And no matter how great the self-propelling system is on a push-behind lawn mower, it still requires a lot of energy that's best used elsewhere. This is why the best riding lawn mowers are the answer to yard work.
EGO Power+ ZT4204L (opens in new tab)
The creative minds at EGO Power+ have designed a battery-powered lawn mower that works great on yards that are less than two acres.
- Customize blade control, speed, and cut
- USB port, Bluetooth capability
- Only comes with four batteries but holds six
- Single charge won't last over two acres
The EGO Power+ 22-HP Brushless Motor Direct Drive 42-in Zero-turn Lawn Mower comes with four batteries but it can hold six. To achieve max power, you’ll want to buy two more batteries. According to users, six fully-charged batteries can cut two acres. Better yet, when the battery is low, the cutting capability of the 42-inch deck doesn't lessen. The batteries remain in the mower when they need to be charged.
This zero-turn lawn mower is decked out in techy features like a USB port to charge your phone and lights that make mowing in low-light settings possible. Bluetooth capability and an app let you start the mower and customize the cut, blade speed, travel speed, etc. from your phone. There are three driving modes: Control, Standard, and Sport. Where 'Control' helps users maneuver around items like trees, 'Standard' is great for clear and open yards.
Although the lawn mower averages 3–7 mph, it can reach speeds up to 8 mph. Reviewers noted that the mower does well on slopes and is considerably quiet.
Home Depot 48 Volt RYOBI (opens in new tab)
Easy to maneuver
The traditional steering wheel controls are easy to move this electric lawn mower around smaller yards.
- Adjustable cutting height
- Low maintenance
- Only cuts about an acre on a full charge
- Hard to get replacement parts
This ride-on lawn mower is compact enough to fit through a standard gate and handles turns around the yard easily. Because it is battery-powered, there aren't any fumes, and it runs a bit quieter than a gas-powered machine. The Home Depot lawn mower doesn't have belts, spark plugs, or filters, so maintaining it is simpler. However, some parts, like the battery, are hard to find with waiting lists of up to 3 months for some.
The battery comes with this riding lawn mower, and charges with a standard 120-Volt outlet. On a full charge, this mower will last for an hour, with enough time to tackle about an acre. This means the How Depot 48 Volt RYOBI isn't the best choice for large lawns.
Ariens Edge Zero 915254 (opens in new tab)
Excellent for big jobs
The Ariens riding lawn mower has a zero-turn radius that makes it easy to get around turns and right up along edges.
- No need to stop and charge
- Includes an hour meter
- Zero-turn maneuverability
- Gets stuck in sandy soil
Because this lawn mower is gas-powered, it is made to handle challenging terrain and cut several acres before refueling. And filling it up with gas is a lot faster than waiting for a battery to charge. But it does make it louder when running.
The zero-turn feature means you don't have to make wide turns when you've reached the edge of your lawn, and the dual handles make it easier to control such a large and powerful machine. It includes a built-in hour meter, which is handy for both maintenance and keeping track of time worked.
How to choose the best riding lawn mowers
Why you can trust Gardeningetc Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.
Purchasing the right riding lawn mower can be an intimidating task. No one wants to buy a riding lawn mower and set it up, only to discover they don’t like how it works and then struggle to keep their lawn ideas in the best possible shape.
We’ve gathered all the pertinent information you need to consider when choosing the best riding lawn mowers for your home. Keep this in mind when narrowing down your choices.
Size of the yard
The bigger the yard, the wider the cutting width you’ll need. Riding lawn mowers typically have cutting widths that are between 38–85 inches. Check out our cheat sheet below:
The layout of your backyard is just as important as the size. Those with uneven terrain, slopes, or lots of trees/objects will need to find riding lawn mowers specifically designed to handle those types of yards.
Typically, zero-turn riding lawn mowers are more equipped to work on yards with lots of trees, however, they aren’t known for doing well on slopes or uneven terrain. Of course, that’s not always the case; the Cub Cadet featured above is designed specifically to handle slopes. And depending on the grade of the slope, some riding lawn mowers will work fine with the right kind of mowing technique (up and down versus side to side).
If your yard has uneven terrain, look for a riding lawn mower with seats and steering wheels designed to handle the jostling and reduce vibration.
Turn radius is a very important feature to take into account when considering how to mow a lawn with a riding mower. Zero-turn lawn mowers can turn at zero degrees, kind of like a tank turning in place. These types of mowers have long been used by professionals because they are faster and have better maneuverability.
If you prefer a riding lawn mower with a steering wheel, just know that it may not do well on lawns with tight spaces or lots of trees. You’ll need to buy a turn radius on the lower end (less than seven inches) to help ensure that you can cut tight corners around trees or maneuver out of awkward spaces.
There are two types of handle designs on riding lawn mowers. Most people are drawn to riding lawn mowers with steering wheel designs because it feels similar to driving a car.
Zero-turn riding lawn mowers usually (but not always) have lap bar handles that you push back and forth to make turns. Although they look intimidating, lap bars are easier to use than you think. You will need to practice using them because if you turn too quickly, the back wheels can damage your yard.
Riding lawn mowers can reach speeds between 1–10 mph, however, most average 4–8.5 mph. To reduce the amount of mowing time, look for a lawn mower that can reach speeds up to 7–8 mph.
For the longest time, gas was the only way to power a riding lawn mower. We included a battery-powered riding lawn mower on this list because the reviews of the product are pretty outstanding. It can mow up to two acres on a single charge, so if you have a large yard, you’ll want to steer clear of battery-powered riding lawn mowers.
Keep in mind that battery-powered lawn mowers won’t be the fastest (but they’re also not necessarily the slowest). That said, they’re much quieter, are better for the environment, and don’t require gas and oil maintenance.
Riding lawn mowers can cost as low as $1,100 and as high as $15,000. Most residential riding lawn mowers fall within the $2,000–$6,000 range. While they’re pretty pricey, they are a great investment and with routine maintenance, can last many years.
Storage and maintenance
Don't forget that you will need a garage or large shed to store your riding mower. It will need to be protected from the elements and dirt while not in use. Yearly servicing is necessary – just as you would a car. It will need oil changes and checks to make sure all the mechanisms are moving safely and freely.
Why trust us?
At GardeningEtc, we recommend the best products to enhance your life. As experts, we handpick products based on quality and usefulness to positively impact your life. We take our responsibility seriously — testing products, reading reviews, and sourcing knowledgeable outlets to ensure our selections are worthy of your time and money. Our detailed product overviews balance objective information with subjective opinions, so making the best choice for your home and lifestyle is easy.
Alex Temblador is a Dallas-based award-winning author and freelance writer that has covered home, design, architecture, and art in publications like Real Homes, Gardeningetc, Home & Gardens, Dwell, Architectural Digest, Artsy, Neighborhoods.com, Culture Trip.
- Nikki JohnstonSpecial Project Writer
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