The 8 Best Riding Lawn Mowers

Updated May 18, 2018 by Daniel Imperiale

8 Best Riding Lawn Mowers
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We spent 42 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. If you've got to mow the grass, you might as well do it the easy way. Check out these riding lawn mowers and cruise along your green highway in style. Although none of them can be called cheap, they are a lot less expensive than paying someone else to do the work every week, and they let you finish the job quickly, so you can get back to enjoying your landscape. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best riding lawn mower on Amazon.

8. Yard Machines 420cc Powermore

Good for medium-sized lawns and even hilly areas, the Yard Machines 420cc Powermore comes in bright red with a 7-speed gear shift for delivering just the right amount of power needed to accommodate a wide variety of landscapes.
  • 42-inch-long blade
  • 2-year limited warranty
  • blade nuts may arrive overtightened
Brand Yard Machines
Model 13B2775S000
Weight 492 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

7. Snapper SPX2246 22 HP

The Snapper SPX2246 22 HP features a Briggs and Stratton pro series V-twin motor combined with a Hydro-Gear T2 hydrostatic transmission to provide you with years of smooth operation. Its blade boasts seven heights for maximum precision.
  • pedal-operated forward and reverse
  • 14-inch turning radius
  • seat mount wears out over time
Brand Snapper
Model SPX 22/46
Weight 615.5 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

6. Husqvarna GTH52XLS Hydro Tractor

The powerful Husqvarna GTH52XLS Hydro Tractor boasts a 24 HP Endurance V-twin engine that gets you mowing at speeds of up to 7.8 mph. Its automatic-locking rear differential increases traction on wet ground and sloping hills.
  • ergonomically-designed control panel
  • adjustable 15-inch seat
  • not the most durable option
Brand Husqvarna
Model 960450057
Weight 818 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

5. Troy-Bilt 30-Inch Premium

The Troy-Bilt 30-Inch Premium has a top forward speed of 4.25 mph. Its 5-height blade with manual power take-off functionality allows for nuanced engagement, and its 18-inch turning radius provides excellent articulation in tight areas.
  • steering column is adjustable
  • wheels are sturdy and built to last
  • not designed for hilly lawns
Brand Troy-Bilt
Model -P
Weight 336 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

4. Troy-Bilt TB42

It may not be the largest or the fastest option on the market, but the Troy-Bilt TB42 includes a 5-position deck height adjustment and a continuously variable 7-speed transmission, which combine to provide you with enough control to cut your grass to your liking.
  • 420cc autodrive motor
  • 8-inch-thick rear wheels
  • doesn't include a mulching kit
Brand Troy-Bilt
Model 13B277KS066
Weight 521 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

3. Poulan Pro P46ZX

The Poulan Pro P46ZX is the slightly smaller version of its 56-inch-deck counterpart, built more diminutive for somewhat less expansive plots of land. That makes for tighter turns, so you can maneuver around a variety of obstacles.
  • ezt hydrogear transmission
  • reaches up to six mph
  • fuel tank holds over three gallons
Brand Poulan Pro
Model 967330901
Weight 760.1 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

2. Poulan Pro Automatic

If you need to cut through some exceptionally thick green, you'll appreciate the vented deck on top of the Poulan Pro Automatic that combines with the unit's 22 horsepower Briggs And Stratton engine to give you enough airflow and power to get the job done.
  • tight turning radius
  • six different cutting positions
  • cast-iron front axle
Brand Poulan Pro
Model 960420182
Weight 465 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro Series

The Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro Series provides a fully-optimized, comfort-grip steering system for extremely responsive handling. Its built-in LED headlights enhance your visibility when the sun gets low or weather conditions aren't optimal.
  • 16-inch turning radius
  • seat is easy to adjust
  • made in the usa
Model LT42
Weight pending
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

A Brief History Of The Lawn Mower

Lawns — or a reasonable facsimile thereof — have served a valuable purpose throughout much of human history. Keeping grass at a manageable level meant you could see danger approaching, whether in the form of a vicious predator or an approaching army. As a result, most stationary civilizations placed a premium on lawn management.

For the most part, this meant planting low-lying vegetation, so that it wouldn't grow to a height where it would obstruct viewpoints. Any plants that grew too tall were cut down with hand scythes, or kept at a manageable height through the use of grazing animals.

Around the 12th or 13th century, European nobility began to enjoy outdoor sports such as croquet and lawn bowling. This required the installation and upkeep of turf grasses, which were kept clipped so that they wouldn't interfere with the paths of the balls. Having a lawn of grass became a sign of wealth, as poorer subjects used their grass as common areas to feed livestock.

In 1830, however, an Englishman named Edwin Budding invented the first mechanical lawn mower. Made of wrought iron, it worked by transmitting energy from the motion of its wheels to a cutting cylinder, which would lop off the top of the grass and deposit it into a box at the front of the mower. The skeleton of Budding's invention can still be seen in modern push-mowers, as the basic design hasn't changed much in 200 years.

Budding couldn't have anticipated his new invention's impact. Suddenly, it was possible to play a great many more sports, as it became feasible to keep larger areas well-manicured. Public parks also benefited from the mower, and as a result less affluent people had the opportunity to enjoyed mowed grass.

In the subsequent decades, several different improvements and advancements were made, including animal- and steam-powered models. After the turn of the 20th century, gasoline-powered mowers became available, and the first riding option was released just after WWI.

The first commercially-successful rotary mower was released in 1952. By this time, in the post-WWII economic boom, the American Dream meant owning your own home, complete with yard. Accordingly, having a mower became expected, as well, and the technology had advanced to the point where they had become reliable and affordable.

The riding mower began to grow in popularity around this same time, as fuel prices were low enough to make running larger gas engines cost-effective. This made it easier than ever to maintain large swaths of grass, from stadiums and parks to expansive lawns.

It's remarkable to think just how much our daily lives have been shaped by the ability to quickly and easily trim grass. Without the mower, we wouldn't have many sports, well-managed public spaces, or the ability to quickly spot our deadbeat neighbors.

Benefits Of A Riding Lawn Mower

The convenience of the riding mower is obvious — you can let the machine do all the work, instead of slaving away in the hot sun. This is especially important if you suffer from any health-related issues that could make manual labor dangerous, or if you're hoping to avoid heatstroke in the scorching summer heat.

However, it's not just about taking a load off. A riding mower can also drastically boost your productivity, allowing you to knock out a chore in a fraction of the time. This translates directly into more opportunities to do the things you'd really rather be doing, like working on hobbies or, as a last resort, spending time with your family.

Similarly, if you own a landscaping or maintenance company, giving your employees riding mowers will help them knock out more work in much less time. This means that you'll have to spend less in wages, or you'll be able to fulfill more orders in a regular workweek. Your workers will no doubt be happier, as well.

Riding mowers are also more versatile than their push counterparts. If you want a machine that's capable of doing more than just slicing up grass, riding mower attachments can help you spread seed, de-thatch, and even move snow.

Not everyone needs to have one, of course, but if you have a lot of lawn to cover, a riding mower can be worth every penny. And hey, it may even pay for itself if you win first prize at the lawn mower racing world championships.

How To Choose The Right Mower For You

Buying a riding mower can be intimidating. It's a considerable expense, and there are so many options that it can be hard to decide which one's best for you.

The first thing to look at is your lawn itself. If you'll need to work well in cramped spaces, or if you need to navigate around trees and other obstacles, you might want to consider a zero-turn-radius model. These often have independent levers that give you total control over your steering, and you'll be amazed at how easily you can pilot these machines through tight quarters.

Extremely dense lawns, or those with steep hills, will require mowers with more horsepower than flat, sparse yards. You'll also need to decide if you want a manual or automatic transmission; manual gives you more control, while automatic is more convenient, especially if you need to shift gears often.

Finally, think about what attachments you might need. Do you want to collect the clippings, leave them on the lawn, or mulch them? You can also add on baggers, carts, tillers, bumpers, and more. This is completely dependent on your personal situation, but think about what you really need before going overboard.

Ultimately, getting a riding mower should relieve stress, not add to it, so don't fret about the decision too much. Just about any option you choose will be better than slaving over a push mower, and you'll have more time to enjoy your lush, beautiful lawn.

More importantly, though, they'll give you a backup plan for getting to work if your car ever breaks down.

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Last updated on May 18, 2018 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel is a writer, actor, and director living in Los Angeles, CA. He spent a large portion of his 20s roaming the country in search of new experiences, taking on odd jobs in the strangest places, studying at incredible schools, and making art with empathy and curiosity.

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