What is the Best Rear Engine Riding Mower? Your Top Picks in 2023

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Are rear engine riding mowers all they are cracked up to be or are they just the more expensive versions of regular mowers? To make sure you won’t invest in a product that does an inferior job, our team has endeavored to review the best rear engine riding mowers to make sure you get the most out of your yard equipment.  
Best Overall
Husqvarna Z254 54 in. 26 HP Kohler Hydrostatic Zero Turn Riding Mower
Husqvarna Z254 No Background
The Husqvarna Z254 riding mower features a 26 HP Kohler motor and hydrostatic transmission for maximum efficiency. The Z254 is also a zero-turn riding mower for more control and faster maneuvering. The park brake system will also activate and deactivate appropriately.
Best Overall
Husqvarna Z254 54 in. 26 HP Kohler Hydrostatic Zero Turn Riding Mower
Husqvarna Z254 No Background
The Husqvarna Z254 riding mower features a 26 HP Kohler motor and hydrostatic transmission for maximum efficiency. The Z254 is also a zero-turn riding mower for more control and faster maneuvering. The park brake system will also activate and deactivate appropriately.

Reviews of the Best Rear Engine Riding Mowers

1. Husqvarna Z254 54 in. 26 HP Kohler 0-Turn Riding Mower

The Husqvarna Z254 has a 26 HP Kohler engine allows the riding lawn mower to reach speeds of up to 6.5 mph. Aside from a reliable startup, the Z254 also gives dependable brakes with the patent-pending park brake system.

The braking system on this 0-turn mower will activate and deactivate depending on the steering levers. The Z254 incorporates air induction technology for grass clipping that draws air from both the top and the bottom of the deck. Measuring at 54 inches, it gives efficiency and a cleaner cut job.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

2. Husqvarna MZ61 61 in. 27 HP Briggs & Stratton Zero-Turn Mower

The Husqvarna MZ61 is a very large rear motor riding mower with a 61” deck and 27 HP motor that delivers commercial-grade power. The larger deck offers a 54” cut capacity with deck lifts that adjusts to the comfortable chair setting.

Similar to the Z254, the MZ61 lawn mowers can bag, mulch, or discharge the grass clippings. Our experts really enjoyed the back seat on the riding mower and the width it provides with armrests.

The 0-turn tractor mower has comfortable steering and has a meter that clearly displays when your riding mower needs to be serviced.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

3. Ariens IKON XD-52 (52") 24HP Kohler Zero Turn Lawn Mower

Last on our list of best rear engine mowers is the Ariens IKON XD-52. If you want a balance between size and power, the 24HP Kohler engine riding mowers is the one for you. It features a 52” deck and a relatively high back seat that will keep you comfortable while working.

The width of the deck can reduce mow time and is still small enough for a medium-sized yard. As a gas-powered riding mower, the IKON XD-52 provides drive and speed the way an electric rear engine riding mower cannot.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

4. Troy-Bilt 382cc 30-Inch Premium Neighborhood Riding Lawn Mower

Our team’s budget choice is the Troy-Bilt 30” riding lawn mower that’s perfect for neighborhood mow jobs. The gas-powered mower has a 382cc gas tank and an auto-choke OHV engine that allows it to reach a maximum speed of 4.25 mph.

The smaller deck has 5 different settings and an 18” turn radius. To make sure you’re comfortable, Troy-Bilt features a medium-back seat on their rear engine riding lawn mowers and durable wheels to keep you stable.

Moreover, you can go where larger mowers can’t with the smaller profile of the Troy-Bilt rear engine riding lawnmower.

(If you are working for a 1-acre job, here are the top 1-acre zero turn mowers we reviewed)

What We Like

What We Don't Like

Rear Engine Riding Mowers Buyer’s Guide

Cutting Performance

The cutting performance is the first consideration when buying the best rear engine riding mower. Our team likes lawn mowers that have different settings for width and grass length so you can have more control over the aesthetics of your lawn.

(If you are looking for mowers good for jobsite cutting, here are the best commercial riding mowers that we reviewed)

Turning Radius

Our experts included many 0-turn rear engine riding lawn mower models, and one that has an 18-inch one. The radius dictates the control you have over the machine and how efficient it is during turns. The 0-turn is our team’s recommendation for maneuverability.

Power Transmission

Power transmission refers to the transference of power from the engine to the wheels. There are three main choices for transmission – manual, automatic, and hydrostatic.

Our team suggests hydrostatics for forward and reverse control. Automatic transmissions are great for even terrain but the manual option will give you more power.

What types of riding mower options are you looking at?

There are electric riding lawn mowers and gas options. An electricity-powered mowing model, such as the ones from Ryobi lawn mowers, will require a large ah battery to operate smoothly. In this case, you will need to check how fast the battery charges and the battery life, as well.

Seat and Steering Wheel

Our experts say the chair of the mowing machine will affect how long you can mow. You want the chair to be adequately padded with a comfortable back to ensure a smooth ride.

As for the steering wheel, make sure it is also padded or has an over-mold grip to give your hands a secure grasp that won’t produce callouses.

Mower Deck

The mower deck is the part of the best riding mowing tool that tells you how fast and how much you can cut at a time. Our team suggests larger sizes for larger acres of land and smaller ones if you have tight corners or narrow spaces.

Ease of Use

The key to a successful mowing job is to have a lawn mower that isn’t difficult to operate. You want the interface to be straightforward and easy to understand. Make sure the controls are clearly labeled and easily accessible.

(For mowers that are easy to use and maintain, you can also check reliable zero turn mowers for hills here)

Price and Warranty

Any large yard machine such as these mowers can cost quite a bit. However, you can choose from ones that are closer to 1k rather than models that range up to 5K. The difference is, of course, the operation and the features, so our team recommends checking over what you need for your yard work before you decide on a model.

For something this pricey, our team also suggests making sure your product is covered extensively by a warranty. So, in case you encounter a riding mower having difficulty to forward or reverse, you have a warranty to use. 


What is the best rear engine riding mower?

The best rear engine riding mower is the Husqvarna Z254. This mower can mow lawns at speeds up to 6.5 mph powered by a 26 HP [1] engine. The machine also features a patent parking brake and air induction mowing technology for the cleanest cut job.

Are rear engine mowers any good?

Yes, rear-engine mowers are good for homeowners who have larger land but not enough space or budget for a full-sized option. Rear engine mowers can still have a lot of mowing capacity and there are electric options such as models from Ryobi that can cut down the noise.

Our Top Pick For a Rear Engine Riding Mower: Husqvarna Z254

Our team’s top choice for the best rear engine riding mower goes to the Z254 from Husqvarna. It features a 0-turning radius, a powerful engine, and advanced air-induction technology to promise a clean mow job. The deck measures at 54-inches and is a great choice for medium to large lawns.

Having riding mower problems? Then, here’s how you can fix a riding mower with blade unable to engage when powered on. Read next! 

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson
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