Looking for the best Riding Lawn Mower? Read our in-depth push lawn mower reviews, comparison charts and top picks for 2018 to help you make the right buying decision.
Whether it’s neighbors driving by your home every day, or extended family pulling up for a visit, there’s always one thing that instantly gives them a positive or negative impression of your home: the yard. The state of your lawn is going to be one of the first indicators to outsiders as to whether you take pride in your home or not.
Before they look at the windows, the siding, the type of front door, they’re going to quickly see whether your lawn is green, or whether it’s brown- whether it’s mostly weeds, or healthy grass- whether it’s neatly mowed, or whether it’s a near reenactment of “Field of Dreams” ( a must watch) just to get to your doorstep.
Your lawn is like putting your best foot forward in your neighborhood, but the truth is, it’s also one of the most time-consuming things to manage, especially if you have more than just a small front patch of grass to maintain. Anything more than that is going to make it a nightmare every other weekend as you haul out a hand-pushed mower to walk around for hours in the blazing sun.
Luckily, there’s a wonderful alternative to this scenario: the riding lawn mower. Your least favorite chore just became a relaxing getaway from being cooped up indoors. Grab your favorite playlist or audiobook, start up the engine, and ride around in the cool breeze as you let the cares of your week blow away with the freshly cut grass.
Riding lawn mowers can range anywhere from 1,200 to 3,000, but many who have gone before you will claim it’s a very worthwhile investment. Maintaining your yard in this relaxing, enjoyable way often cuts weekly stress in half by turning a weekend duty into a favorite pastime.
If you’ve been saving for just such an investment, here are the 7 Best Riding Lawn Mowers of 2017 to get you started in your search and in case you haven’t yet saved up check out our push lawn mower reviews for few cheaper alternatives.
Best Riding Lawn Mower Reviews 2018
#1 Pick: Husqvarna 967324101 Zero Turn Riding Lawn Mower
Husqvarna has been furnishing homeowners with the tools to keep their yards in tip-top shape for over 325 years. That’s a pretty far-reaching legacy. Whether it’s a chainsaw, a leaf blower or a hedge-trimmer, Husqvarna has got you covered. They’ve even considered upcoming generations by offering a toy lawn mower for the little ones that want to emulate their beloved parents in their yard work.
Kids from 2-5 can push around their little mower at a safe distance from their parents to feel like they too are lending to the betterment of the yard and household. But we’re not here to talk about toys. Husqvarna is at the top of our list for good reason, with their Husqvarna 967324101 V-Twin 724 cc Zero Turn Mower.
Top Notch Features
The best feature of the Husqvarna V-Twin 724 cc Zero Turn Mower is right there in the name: the Zero Turn. Mowers with the zero turn design, turn on their own access, making the precision of the lawn cut even more perfect. Often with other model design, you can miss certain parts of the lawn in those moments when you have to make a turn and go another direction.
But with the zero turn ability, you can be sure that no part of your lawn will go untrimmed, or need any other tool to be pulled out of your garage just to “touch-up” the parts of your lawn you didn’t quite reach. Nothing is more frustrating than getting done with a long mowing job just to discover there were places that a lawn mower didn’t reach, and you now need to do extra work.
Another great thing about the Husqvarna V-Twin 724 cc Zero Turn Mower is how easy it is to get on and off. Other models stand far off the ground and you have to maneuver your body past a steering wheel every time you need to get off the mower.
We all know there are going to be plenty of moments when you need to step off for a moment or two: you’ll need to move a branch that’s in the way, or pick up a toy your child left in the yard, or enjoy that lemonade your wife brought out to you. Whatever it is, it can get frustrating if getting on and off your mower is tricky or time-consuming.
But the design of the Husqvarna V-Twin 724 cc Zero Turn Mower perfectly avoids this problem. The moment you see the obstruction in your way, you simply move apart the two steering bars and step forward off the front of the mower. The mower automatically has set its parking brake, and in an instant, you’re off and back on, with no worries about slipping on the anti-slip foot pad.
With 24 hp you’ll be whizzing around the yard for a quick and efficient job, and a whopping 54 inches of cutting width will make the job go by even faster! Husqvarna has truly thought of everything from power, to precision, to ease of use in this design, and many happy customers agree.
#2 Pick: Husqvarna 967271501 Zero Turn Riding Lawn Mower
We just had to come back for another Husqvarna zero turn model. There was no avoiding it. This design is quickly becoming a favorite and it was worth pointing out another contender in the zero turn category.
This option has many of the wonderful features that its brother at the top of the list has, but it’s just a little more economical. Budgets are a real thing, and it’s not going to help your stress level to make mowing the yard easier only by breaking your bank. So if you’re looking for a little bit of a price tag break, check this one out.
Expensive but worth every penny
The Husqvarna 967271501 46″ 20HP Briggs and Stratton Zero Turn is available for about $500 less than the Husqvarna 967324101 V-Twin 724 cc Zero Turn Mower. But what are the differences that bring about this price decrease? Well first of all instead of 24 hp, it simply has 20 hp. Really, not that much of a difference, and still more than other models on this list.
The Husqvarna 967271501 46″ 20HP Briggs and Stratton Zero Turn also only has 42 inches of cutting width, while it’s elite brother has a whole 12 inches more at 54 inches. Still, while there are clear differences, not everyone needs the extra horsepower or cutting width. In fact, those with slightly smaller yards may even appreciate having less bulk to move around as they mow!
Durability is another great factor in this design. The cutting deck itself is reinforced with heavy flat-stock steel, ensuring that it will hold fast despite any bumps or debris you may accidentally roll over. For those with yards that tend to have a lot of fallen limbs and other harder things, they may run over from time to time, knowing that your mower is built to last will truly take a load off of your mind.
Whether your investment is 1,500 or 3,000, it’s still an investment, and you don’t want one penny of it to go to waste. If you buy a mower that you can tell is made out of flimsy materials, then you’re going to be worrying about every little bump you run over in your yard. And most yards aren’t perfectly smooth and debris-free, so that may happen a lot.
Budget Pick: Troy-Bilt 382cc Premium Neighborhood Riding Mower
Troy-Bilt is the brand next on our list, and they proudly boast of manufacturing locations in several different states across the US, including Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi. They were the first to introduce a residential rototiller in 1973, and have been plowing forward in serving American homes ever since.
On their website, you can even go and watch videos on how detailed they are with the construction and testing of their products, but that wouldn’t mean much unless they were backed by happy customers- which they are. Out of all the mowers on this list, this model has the most reviewers and has still come out with a 4.1 star out of 5 stars rating.
Best Features of the Troy-Bilt 382cc
For those who are dying to lighten the load of their weekend chores but are currently glancing back and forth between the screen and their bank balance, this is going to be a happy moment. While most of these other options are closer to 2,000 or 3,000 dollars, the Troy-Bilt 382cc Powermore OHV 30-Inch Premium can be found for around $1,300! Now you can breathe easy on the weekends too! It has 30 inches of cutting width, making it perfect for a medium sized landscape that needs a good shave.
For those who are more comfortable with the name of John Deere when it comes to lawn equipment, you may be surprised to know that even Deere fans have switched over to this wonderful Troy-Bilt. One happy customer used to actually work at a Deere Dealership, and after discovering his favorite rear-engine 30” Deere mower was only sold in Europe, he buckled down and did his research.
His results proved that this model was made of the more durable materials than many of the others he studied, had the best price, and was even comfortable for hefty men to ride. As long as you’re prepared to put in 45 minutes of assembly time when the Troy-Bilt 382cc Powermore OHV 30-Inch Premium arrives at your door, you’re going to be more than pleased with this purchase.
#4 Pick: Husqvarna 960430211 YTA18542 Riding Lawn Mower
Husqvarna places again with their Husqvarna 960430211 YTA18542 Fast Continuously Variable Transmission Pedal Tractor Mower. This model has the design of the more traditional riding lawn mower, with the round steering wheel placed directly in front of the rider, unlike the zero turn model with the steering bars that we addressed at the top of this list. However, the design of the body doesn’t change the expertise of the grass cutting that this model accomplishes.
A Great Buy
With their ClearCut cutting deck ready to go at the bottom of the mower, you’ll be sure for a great cut every single time. But that’s not even the best part. What’s one of the factors that will most often creep up to make your mowing efforts less and less effective? A dull blade. Just like in shaving, if you don’t have a sharp blade you’re not going to get a very precise cut. But replacing a lawn mower blade already sounds like a long and arduous process.
You’ll need to get under the mower, and then you’ll need a new blade, and all the tools necessary to replace it. Or will you? With the Husqvarna Fast Continuously Variable Transmission Pedal Tractor Mower, you’ll soon discover the wonders of its Rapid Replace blade system. This system helps you easily replace the blade whenever you notice it getting dull, and it doesn’t even require tools!
Another thing you’ll want to know about the Husqvarna Fast Continuously Variable Transmission Pedal Tractor Mower is that it is around half the price of the Husqvarna V-Twin 724 cc Zero Turn Mower.
Husqvarna builds their equipment to last and offers a variety of warranty options, so the price certainly doesn’t reflect the durability of the mower. And even at around $1,500, you’ll get 42 inches of cutting width and 18.5 hp. For a well-maintained yard, an easy chore, and half the price tag, this is a great option for anyone with a large lawn to maintain.
#5 Pick: Cub Cadet Xt1 Enduro Series Hydrostatic Gas Riding Mower
And last but not least, we have to throw in a Cub Cadet! They are another company that believes strongly in feeding into the American workforce by offering them jobs in their own factories. Cub Cadet has been built in America since 1961 and they do so proudly. This brand also has to be one of the most versatile options out there.
They understand that if you’re putting down the money to invest in a riding lawn mower, you might as well get a few other features out of it as well. There are plenty of things to do around the yard, not just mowing, and having a riding mower is a huge asset, especially if it can take on other responsibilities.
Why we recommend it
First of all, it can be a hassle to clean up all of the chopped grass once it’s been mowed. If you leave it in lines in the yard it can dry up and look bad, or even cause some of the grass beneath it to become unhealthy. But it’s also going to be a hassle to get off the mower and clean it all up once you’re done mowing.
The Cub Cadet Xt1 Enduro Series Lt 42 In. 18 Hp Kohler Hydrostatic Gas Front-engine has a bagger attachment that you can buy separately that will store the cut grass as you mow, and that can easily be detached to dispose of at the end of the day.
The bagger attachment still has to do with mowing, and we spoke of real versatility. You can turn your trusty yellow Cub Cadent into a multi-purpose lawn tool with other attachments that are available as well. If you live in climates prone to heavy snowfalls, you’ll love the snow thrower attachment.
Easily clear the snow blocking your street so you can still get your car out and about. They also have a snow blade if you just need to clear your driveway or smaller areas of snow. Either way, your riding lawn mower has just become a vital tool when those winter drifts threaten to block you in.
If you have the opposite problem, and you live in a climate where the sun is nearly unbearable, there is something for you as well. Cub Cadet has a sunshade accessory that attaches to the top of your tractor. This acts as a roof and barricades you from the harsh and bright sun rays that beat down on you as you mow.
If this is going to go from difficult chore to relaxing past time, you don’t want to be sweating and burning up while you do it. This great front-engine mower can be found for around $1,700 and has endless potential for upgrades and add-ons to make yard work a breeze.
#6 Pick: Troy-Bilt TB42 Auto Drive Riding Lawn Tractor
If you liked the sound of the previous Troy-Bilt option but were hoping for a riding mower with an engine in front, this might just be your winner. It also has a larger cutting deck than the previously mentioned model, with 42 inches of grass cutting width for you to utilize.
What’s to like
The 2-year warranty offered by Troy-Bilt will also help ease your mind as you make this investment for your household. The bright red color and slick sculpted exterior will only make your neighbors envious as you ride by them leisurely, while they toil away with their heavy push-mower for another two hours.
Besides the great ratings that the Troy-Bilt TB42 42-inch 420cc Auto Drive 7-Speed Side Discharge has from previous purchasers, they are also their claims that Troy-Bilt has some of the best customer services. This can actually end up being one of the best features any mower would have to offer.
Any riding lawn mower is going to be a large investment, and making that investment without knowing there’s going to be someone on the other side to ensure your purchase works well and for a good long time would be a nerve-racking thing to do. In one instance a customer found the steering wheel was a bit damaged from the delivery, but one call to Troy-Bilt was all it took for a fresh wheel to be sent right over.
Another great feature that the Troy-Bilt TB42 42-inch 420cc Auto Drive 7-Speed Side Discharge has that not every mower on this list does, is its bright headlights. The last thing you want after faithfully taking the time to mow your yard is to have the sunset catch you by surprise and keep you from finishing.
There is nothing more frustrating than having to leave your yard half-mowed. However, if you’re equipped with the Troy-Bilt TB42 42-inch 420cc Auto Drive you’ll be able to knock out those few final sections of grass in the dusk before the sun has fully set.
This model also comes with many wonderful attachments or accessories. Whether you want to add them to your mower purchase, or save up and buy them later on, these are great options to make your yard work even more streamlined and stress less. Get some mulch going in your yard with the mulching kit, or gather all the grass as it’s being cut with a bagger add-on.
You can even buy a cover for your mower. This can come in handy if you park your mower in an open shed and don’t want dirt or rain to get to it, or even if you park it in a closed garage and don’t want cats or mice leaving their marks on your prized tool.