Adam holds a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in Linguistics, and creative writing has always been his greatest passion. For more than 25 years he's been working for several well-known automobile and travel magazines as an editor and expert consultant, but when Adam started his writing path here, at WisePick, it turned out that he's capable of writing practically anything about everything.
Initially being an engineering specialist, Tom has never stopped learning and acquiring other knowledge and skills. Now he’s involved in technical support for a well-known household appliances manufacturer, so no wonder he knows everything about almost everything you buy for your home.
Last updated: July 11, 2021
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For people that are neatness enthusiasts, it doesn’t matter if it’s their lawn or sitting room – everywhere in the house must be regularly kept tidy. However, while maintaining your bedroom or sitting room may be a straightforward chore, doing the same thing to the lawn may be rather difficult, especially if you have a large-sized property. With the best riding lawn mower, you’ll be expending less energy and time on maintaining your lawn, while still getting that highly sought after professional look.
With everything you have read up till here, you’re probably considering getting a riding lawn mower of your own now, right? We thought as much as well. However, even though it might appear very simple to a rookie, it’s actually never easy to buy the right riding lawn mower for your needs. Just as we’ve done for this guide, there’re many elements and specifications you need to take into consideration, such as the engine power, fuel tank capacity, cutting width and height, and warranty.
We have spent tens of hours compiling this guide, and with everything included therein, we’re completely confident that you will find the right product for your specific needs. Our handy table compares the selected products in a very neat and brief manner, while we have also reviewed the products extensively right after the it. The next section is a buying guide, in which you will find numerous tips designed to enhance your shopping experience.
While this riding lawn mower is more expensive than some of the products we have listed here, we assure you that it’s definitely going to give you your money’s worth. Durable and high-performing, this is undoubtedly one of the best ride-on lawn mowers on the market, and it’s sure to serve you for many years to come. Featuring a 4.5-inch mowing deck that made of 10-inch gauge steel it is engineered for grass of practically any height. The machine also offers thirteen different cutting height settings, from 1.5 to 4.5 inches, which offers you a lot of flexibility.
Moving on, the machine is equipped by a 23 HP engine, which is sufficient to power through anything thrown at it. Being suitable for home and commercial use, this machine produces maximum airflow and perfectly works in the most difficult of situations. Besides, the mower supports tons of loads with incredible stability and is also very resistant to stress, which is no doubt due to its tubular frame. This model comes with a four-point hanging deck that enables you to evenly cut on surfaces that aren’t even. And being a zero-turn model, you only need to move your hands in order to make sharp turns.
It’s also equipped with a large 52-inch mowing deck, which would save you about 35 percent more time than a model that has a deck of 42 inches. This machine easily handles moderate slopes and is built with a heavy-duty tubular frame. Apart from that, it also covered by a three-year warranty, which assures buyers about the purchase they are making. The downside is that the machine doesn’t boast a high capacity fuel tank and, according to some buyers, is not able to turn that quickly when used on wet grass.
If a mower that can handle long working hours is what you are after, you wouldn’t be wrong to pick the Husqvarna MZ61. It is a machine that is engineered to last and endure rugged conditions. It’s also an excellent option if you do lots of professional landscaping. Apart from sporting one of the best designs we have ever seen in a lawn mower, it also performs exceptionally when it comes to guaranteeing the comfort of its users at all times.
The Husqvarna MZ61 offers a 61-inch mowing path, which is one of its most significant features. If you often work on large-sized properties that require several hours to complete with regular riding mowers, the MZ61 from Husqvarna can cut your working time down considerably. If you use it for commercial purpose, you will be able to reduce the number of hours spent on each yard, while at the same time making an increase in the number of clients you’re able to take on daily.
In addition, the machine is powered by a 27 HP Briggs and Stratton engine, which is one of the most reliable engines existing on the market. Consequently, the machine is able to produce enough power to work wherever you want including on hills while being fuel economical. Lest we forget, it comes with a five-gallon fuel capacity, which means you can operate continuously for long hours without needing to refuel.
Moreover, the Husqvarna comes with different features aimed at ensuring the comfort of landscapers during long work hours. The armrest it comes with will offer you extra convenience, and the seat belt included will provide additional safety in case you choose to use the mower in an incline or a hill. These features will increase your efficiency while ensuring you are optimally comfortable. However, despite all the features built into this machine, a lot of users still deem it overpriced.
With the Snapper 360Z Zero Turn Mower, you can carry tools, haul dirt, and cut the grass, of course. With the inclusion of commercially-inspired features like a fully-welded steel frame, easy access maintenance points, durable steel mower deck, and thick-walled front axle, there is no doubt that this machine is designed for powerful performance in rugged conditions. Everything has been perfectly tailored to ensure that you get an excellent cut, every time you use it. For optimum versatility, it has an integrated rear cargo bed which offers a high level of convenience as well.
Moving on, the Snapper 360Z is equipped with a powerful 25 HP Briggs and Stratton engine, which packs enough power to help keep your yard tidy for many years. These engines have an easy-start feature that renders the standard mower engines completely obsolete. Just like your car, your ride-on mower also has a key-start ignition, which injects more excitement into mowing as it gives you a feeling similar to driving a car. Moreover, the machine has a large 52-inch mowing deck, which means you can cut a wide area of land in a single pass. This is especially useful if you’re working on a large-sized property and you want to save your time and finish as quick as possible.
For maximum durability, the machine also has a fully-welded steel frame, thick-walled front axle, and ball bearings in the caster spindles. Apart from that, this commercial-style machine has a foot-operated deck lift that effortlessly adjusts the deck between thirteen different heights, from 1.5 to 4.5 inches. However, for all the brilliance of this model, a lot of users have complained about its blades being not that sturdy made.
The Husqvarna Z254 is a lawnmower that can be ridden and used simultaneously. It can work at a maximum speed of 6.5 miles per hour. The very first thing to mention about this great machine from Husqvarna is that it is a zero-turn mower. What does this mean exactly? Well when you are done with a strip of mowing, it is possible to turn and come back again. It is also excellent for cutting around barriers like flower beds.
This includes a very efficient 26HP engine from Kohler. It is durable and fast too. It can handle up to 2.8 acres per hour, at a rate of around 6.5 mph. If you are looking for a mower to quickly work on a huge area, this is a great option. Its surprisingly low noise is also a real bonus. We liked the hydrostatic transmission. Each drive wheel has its wheel motor and fan-cooled 10cc pumps. The result is a smooth stride and bags of torque that can handle hills and rough terrain with ease.
The mower deck is high at 137 cm and can also be placed in one of six places. Both blades are made with 12 gauge stamped steel and no washout hole for easy cleaning. Particularly wonderful features would be the four wheels. They are designed to avoid messing up your turf on uneven ground.
What stands out?
The zero-turn mower for easy maneuvering
Powerful 26 HP motor will cut about 2.8 acres per hour
This TS 354XD ride-on mower from Husqvarna is suitable for long gardens that are difficult to cut with a conventional mower. Thanks to the efficiency of this mower and the different blades it integrates, it can easily cut a garden with a lawn of around 90 cm in size. It works with gasoline and its 4-gallon tank allows you to work for a long time with the machine without refueling it.
This model works like a small car and has a very comfortable seat that will be able to perfectly fit the size of all users. The wheels are strong, sturdy, and reliable for using the device for a long. Unlike the Husqvarna Z254, this has a 24 horsepower 726 cc Kawasaki engine that ensures the lawn tractor can run up to 6.5 miles per hour. What many users like about this machine is that it has a patent-pending brake system for parking the lawnmower. To start it, all you need to do is turn the key.
On the other hand, the machine comes almost fully installed. it is delivered almost preassembled in cardboard and must still be assembled. The seat and a few other components are not preassembled and all you need to do to install them is a little DIY know-how and following the instructions on the manual.
If you are looking for a pro lawn tractor, you cannot do without the Swisher Z3166CPKA. With this 31 horsepower engine-powered machine, you can say goodbye to the tall grass in your garden. This tractor has all the necessary elements: large cutting width, side discharge, etc.
It is an all-in-one device for the most demanding applications. With this mower, you will have a powerful engine that is much better than ones found in Husqvarna riding mowers. In addition, this device is super robust. To have a good mowing, the lawn tractor has a powerful engine – a 31 horsepower engine from Kawaski.
This tractor mower from Swisher is a well-equipped machine. With many options and its powerful engine, this little car will allow you to have a more professional mowing. The engine can provide a high speed of up to 10 miles per hour.
For mowing your lawn, you will have a cutting width of 66 inches. You can therefore mow your 6000m2 land perfectly and it will only take you a few minutes for the lawn to be the same height.
The housing of this tractor is wider than the frame. So it could protect you from the blades. On the lateral side, there is an outlet for the mulching function. For easier mowing, you can control the cutting height with the foot lift.
If you’re a homesteader who hasn’t used a riding lawn mower before, the Troy-Bilt Ride-on Lawn Mower is definitely the perfect option for you. Despite being quite compact, the mower is also durable, and its 30-inch deck allows the mower to easily pass through narrow gate openings. While this model is a small-sized mower with a peak speed of 4.25 MPH, its six-speed transmission and powerful 382cc Single Troy-Bilt engine make it effortless to handle. Its 18-inch turning radius allows it to maneuver quickly and do sharp turns.
Furthermore, the mower’s manual transmission enables you to have more control over the machine’s speed and provides you with a quicker take-off. The blade also has five different height positions so that it can be easily adjusted to fit the level or type of grass you’ll be cutting. Apart from that, the machine also has a fuel capacity of 1.3 gallons, and the tank has a sight window that allows you to monitor the fuel levels. For the comfort of the operator, the seat is adjustable, and it can be elevated to mid-back position in order to accommodate individuals that have longer legs.
Also, the steering wheel is a soft grip wheel, and you can adjust the steering column to the height you prefer. While there is no need for you to have a huge lawn to appreciate the greatness of this machine, its size is an incredible advantage for average-sized to large-sized lawns. Although, it is not without its shortcomings, despite having so many upsides. First of all, it has a slippery footrest, which may be very frustrating. Secondly, its seat comes with one spring only, which is quite flimsy.
What do we love it for?
Perfect for small-sized properties
Easy to assemble
Manual power offers the operator more control
Good turning radius and cutting ability
What were we disappointed with?
The footrest is slippery
The seat has one flimsy spring only
Things to Consider
If you are a little confused with all the various features we mentioned in the reviews, we are here to help bring you out of your confusion with our buying guide. We will take you through several sections to arm you with enough information that will help you make the best decision possible.
Why it’s a wise investment to make
Minimal physical effort
This is undoubtedly the biggest advantage that comes with buying a ride-on lawn mower. Regardless of how big the area is, you will complete the task very quickly with minimal effort. While most electric mowers are usually easy to maneuver and lightweight, they’re recommended only for even terrain. Pushing electric mowers on inclines and slopes can be a little challenging, even with the fact that they are lightweight, so owning a riding lawn mower is a must if your terrain is uneven. Besides, using a ride-on machine will provide lots of fun as it will make you feel like you are driving a car.
Easy to find replacement parts
If you carry out some research, you’ll find out that finding replacement parts for electric/push mowers on the market is very difficult. What this means is that if such a machine breaks down, you’ll need to purchase a new one, and subsequently lose a lot of money. The replacement parts of ride-on lawn mowers, on the other hand, are very easy to find, and this is a huge advantage without a doubt.
Perfect for large lawns
If you read reviews of electric mowers enough, you’ll find out that they are usually recommended for small-sized yards only, whereas a gas-powered ride-on mower is perfect for large-sized lawns. Cutting a large lawn with a traditional mower can take up to a couple of days, and you surely don’t like losing that much time. So, you need to consider buying a larger machine that will help achieve the result desired in the shortest possible time.
Saves you time
Another huge advantage that a ride-on mower has over a stand-behind model is the speed at which it operates. Regardless of whether the stand-behind mower is a push or a self-propelled model, it can never match the speed of a riding lawn mower. When working on large-sized properties, this can save you a lot of time.
Key start ignition
While most stand-behind mowers don’t usually come with key-start ignition, most ride-on mowers currently on the market, like the Snapper 360Z are engineered with this extraordinary feature. It enables you to ignite the machine without any physical effort. It’s perfect especially for individuals with weak upper bodies or those with physical injuries.
How to start your riding lawn mower
It is actually effortless to start a ride-on mower. Due to their powerful engines, sleek automatic transmissions, and electronic systems, most of the riding models currently on the market can be easily started in just a few seconds. In order to start your mowing machine, it’s only required for you to adjust your deck’s cutting height to the setting you desire. Most models even include fender-mounted levers nowadays, which enable you to adjust this setting easily.
Afterward, climb into your rider’s seat, depending on your own model, either turn the on/off knob or press the push button. Ride-on mowers don’t need you to operate a clutch or shift gears when switching to reverse or changing speeds, thanks to the automatic transmission they come with. Rather than that, you will just have to utilize a foot pedal to decrease and increase your speed. Plus, since most models now offer cruise control, the task has been made even easier than ever.
Features to consider when choosing a riding lawn mower
Ride-on mowers offer the best way of easily tackling large-sized yards, delivering professional results while needing just a little effort. However, before you proceed to buy one, there are numerous factors you need to consider. By taking a look at each of those important factors, you will be able to locate the right model for your needs and the kind of ride-on lawn mower that fits you best.
Engine HP, or horsepower, is the term used to describe the power output of an engine. The output means what is available for sharing between the different parts of a mower like the cutting blades and the drive transmission. Therefore, the higher the horsepower provided by an engine, the more power the machine will be able to distribute between different tasks like moving the mower up hills or across the lawn, whilst at the same time delivering the cutting power required to completely mow heavy or tall grass.
Because of the sufficient power required to perform both tasks simultaneously, we recommend you to buy a ride-on mower with an output of about 20 horsepower or even more like the Husqvarna MZ61 as that’s what large-sized properties demand.
There’re three transmission types for ride-on mowers – automatic, manual, and hydrostatic transmission. With an automatic transmission, the speed of the mower is decided by how much fuel is sent through the accelerator, while a manual transmission offers a set of speeds which you need to shift between with the aid of a clutch. A hydrostatic transmission operates in the same way as an automatic transmission but uses fluid pressure instead of belts.
When you are considering buying a new ride-on mower, you need to keep a couple of notes in mind – manual transmissions are suitable for making a lot of turns and maneuvering around obstacles and terrain changes, automatic transmissions are suitable for straight and long stretches, and hydrostatic transmissions are the best, and operate in the same way as automatic transmissions, while offering the smoothest ride possible and require the least amount of maintenance.
Fuel tank capacity
A ride-on mower’s fuel capacity determines the quantity of gas it can hold. Generally, this correlates with the model’s size. The primary concern you need to keep in mind is buying a model with a small fuel capacity that won’t be sufficient to handle your lawn as you don’t want to keep stopping while mowing just to refuel. Therefore, models with a larger fuel capacity like the Husqvarna MZ61 are more ideal for large-sized properties, while those with a smaller capacity like the Snapper 360Z are better suited for medium-sized properties.
A ride-on mower’s cutting width determines the wideness of the area the blade can cut in a single pass. Small models like the Troy-Bilt TB30 Neighborhood Riding Lawn Mower can feature a cutting width of 30 inches while larger models can have a cutting width of up to 50 inches or even more. The primary thing you need to take into consideration is your yard’s size.
If your yard is small and has hard-to-reach spots and hurdles such as trees that you will have to maneuver around, you can make do with a smaller cutting width. However, if your property is large and has a fairly open layout, you should go for a larger model that will enable you to handle the task easily and in a timely manner.
Adjustable cutting height
Basic models provide no or little cutting height adjustment, which can prove to be a problem in finer lawn manicuring. It is crucial to find a ride-on machine like the Ariens 915223 IKON-X with a variety of cutting heights, and the capability to switch between them easily. Find models whose height adjustment controls are located either beside the floor pedals or beside the seat to help reduce strain.
If it’s zero turn
Zero-turn mowers like the Husqvarna Z254 and the Husqvarna MZ61 usually have exceptionally tight turning radius, thereby allowing them to have incredible maneuverability and an excellent ability to get around shrubs, lawn statues, and trees. They, however, have some issues when maneuvering on hills as they tend to turn excessively sharply on vertical terrain.
Ride-on mowers are usually made in different sizes and shapes. The cutting decks of some mowers are as low as 30 inches (like the one in the Troy-Bilt TB30 Neighborhood Riding Lawn Mower) while some models can have cutting decks of up to 50 inches or higher (like the Husqvarna TS 354XD with a 52-inch deck). Like we already mentioned, a larger model is most ideal for a large-sized property without many obstacles, or it may take a longer time for you to complete mowing the whole lawn. Contrarily, smaller models are perfect for smaller lawns or even larger lawns with many obstacles like slopes and trees.
When you are purchasing something as costly as a riding lawn mower, you need to give the warranty a lot of priority. Should anything go wrong with your lawnmower early in its lifetime, the warranty will save you a lot of money on buying replacement parts or even the entire unit. From our experience, the length of the warranty period usually determines how long you can expect your product to last.
Safety tips to follow while using a riding lawn mower
There are many dangers related to riding lawn mowers, which include falling under the mower and getting run over. The machine might also tip over, which may cause injuries. In order to prevent accidents, we advise you to adhere to the following tips before, during, and after utilizing the machine to lessen the presence of dangers.
Before you mow the yard, first of all, make sure that there are no kids or pets in the yard as they are more susceptible to danger.
The lawn you’re about to mow has to be free of toys, wires, and rocks which can damage the blade.
When turning, you need to slow down first in order to prevent the machine from tipping over.
It’s important to make sure the machine isn’t left unattended while still running.
You must understand the essential parts of the mower: read the manual properly before using the machine.
Know how to quickly stop the engine of the machine in case of an emergency.
Always make sure you stop the machine when someone comes into the yard in order to lessen the odds of hurting the onlookers or causing an accident.
Check to make sure that the operator-presence control system of the mower is functional as it helps shut off the blade in the event that the operator gets down from the machine.
Make sure that there is no debris in the blade’s drive belt and it is at the appropriate tension.
You’re advised to put on the right attire for the task which includes close-fitting clothes, safety boots, and long pants. You also need to wear heavy work gloves properly in order to guard the hands against the blades and other sharp items.
Avoid mowing uphill when mowing on a slope if the grade is higher than ten degrees.
How to maintain your riding lawn mower
Do you have a sloppy yard with a lot of landscaping features such as flowerbeds and trees? Ride-on lawn mowers are designed to make mowing such a yard easy with intuitive design, easy maneuverability, and three-in-one convertibility from bagging to side discharge to mulching. Make sure you regularly maintain and tune-up your mower to keep it in tip-top condition. Here are some tips you could find useful for its maintenance.
Replace worn drive belts
Follow the user’s manual to take out and change a worn-out drive belt. Also, this may involve taking out the mower’s deck. In general, deck belts are relatively easy to replace. Be extra careful to change and properly position any brackets or belt guides moved in the course of the procedure.
As recommended, change the oil when the engine of the machine is warm. Many ride-on mowers are outfitted with a plastic hose and a push-pull drain plug. In the event that the engine is equipped with an oil filter, make sure you put some oil on the rubber-sealed gasket before you install.
Use an oil spout or funnel when you change the oil, and ensure you don’t overfill. Periodically check the gauge as you fill. If there is an oil filter in the engine and it was replaced, you need to re-check the level of the oil after the engine is run, and the oil filter will hold some oil.
If there are removable caps on the battery, periodically check the water level, and add purified water as required. Use a wire brush to clean rust battery terminals so as to guarantee maximum starting power and appropriate running of the charging system of the engine. To avert accidental shorts, we recommend you to cut off the negative cable and re-join it firstly.
Check air filter
Frequently check air filters, particularly when using the machine in dusty environments or if the machine is ejecting lots of dry chaff. To get rid of loose debris, tap the air filter on a solid surface and change it when it’s no more effective.
Don’t use stale gas
Don’t utilize stale gas or gas that has spent more than three weeks. Drain the old gas into a can and pour it into the gas tank of your car to dispose of it safely. The little amount won’t cause any harm to your car, so don’t worry about that.
If you have a really small backyard, find a model with a cutting width of 42 or 46 inches. However, for areas of up to 0.5 acres in size, consider getting a small push mower as it will save you lots of money while also performing effectively.
Depending on the brand and the model, you might have to assemble the machine on your own. While most of them usually come assembled, like the Husqvarna MZ61, there are still a few models whose assembly will have to be done by the owner after being delivered.
Ride-on mowers usually feature an opening in the housing’s rear or side where the grass cut is expelled. Some models have a grass catcher at the opening to collect the grass pieces.
Far gone are the days when traditional stand-behind mowers were the only solution for people looking to keep their lawns clean. Ride-on lawn mowers are the trend nowadays, and with the amount of convenience they offer, you won’t likely be seeing dirty lawns these days. With that said, our pick for the best riding lawn mower is the Ariens 915223 IKON-X. Featuring all the essential features in appropriate proportions, this model takes the crown because of its almost perfect engineering.
Coming second is the Husqvarna MZ61, and looking at all the features it packs, one might wonder why it’s not our first pick. It’s that good! Featuring a 27 HP engine and a 61-inch cutting deck, this might be the perfect option for anyone looking for a mowing solution for their large property or commercial purposes.
The Snapper 360Z take the third spot, and when you consider its powerful engine, heavy-duty design, and key-start ignition, you will definitely agree with its inclusion. If you are looking for something powerful to effectively tackle your heavy-duty mowing tasks, this is undoubtedly the perfect machine to call upon.