What is the Best Riding Lawn Mower?
Maintain Your Lawn With Top-Notch Models (2023)

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Choosing a good riding lawn mower for your needs is no easy task. While there are several models to choose from out there, you don’t want to settle for a slow, rickety or uncomfortable one.

In my extensive experience, I’ve personally identified and reviewed the nine top riding mower models available. Let me guide you through the crucial factors to consider when selecting the right one for your needs.

Best Overall
Husqvarna Z254 54-inch Kohler Zero-turn Mower
Best Zero Turn Mower
Ariens 915223 IKON-X Zero Turn Mower
Husqvarna Z254 54-inch Kohler Zero-turn Mower
Ariens 915223 IKON-X Zero Turn Mower
This model makes mowing much easier. With a 24HP engine, two-cylinder transmission, and effective deck lift, the Husqvarna Z254 offers a fast run time and high-performance cutting.
This high-end mower is powerful and allows you to move any way you want. It sports a manual transmission system and can clock 7 mph while cutting.
Best Overall
Husqvarna Z254 54-inch Kohler Zero-turn Mower
Husqvarna Z254 54-inch Kohler Zero-turn Mower
This model makes mowing much easier. With a 24HP engine, two-cylinder transmission, and effective deck lift, the Husqvarna Z254 offers a fast run time and high-performance cutting.
Best Zero Turn Mower
Ariens 915223 IKON-X Zero Turn Mower
Ariens 915223 IKON-X Zero Turn Mower
This high-end mower is powerful and allows you to move any way you want. It sports a manual transmission system and can clock 7 mph while cutting.

Reviews of the Best Riding Lawn Mowers

1. Husqvarna Z254 54-inch Kohler Zero-turn Mower

If you’re looking for a lawn tractors or riding lawn mower that’s easy to maneuver, check out zero-turn riding mower units like this model. This riding lawn mower has lap-bar controls, two swivel casters, and large/big rear wheel.

The Husqvarna Z254 54-inch Kohler Zero-turn Mower lawn tractors feature a 54-inch cutting deck. Its 24-HP ohv engine is the Endurance V-Twin, and you can move it at 6.5 mph transmission power. There’s also an automatic choke system to make starting easier plus, an Air Induction Mowing deck technology.

From my time with the Husqvarna lawn tractor, I can attest to its high-performance cutting blades and the efficiency of its maintenance-free hydrostatic transmission. I particularly appreciated its automatic park brake system, perfect for extensive mowing tasks. Given its design, it handles uneven terrains quite well, and those rubber bellows? They’re a great touch, ensuring debris stays clear of the control system.

What I Like

What I Don't Like

2. Husqvarna MZ61 Kawaski Mower

Husqvarna is a reliable manufacturer of outdoor power products, and this mower deck is one of the top ones in its line and suitable for larger lawns.

When it comes to the 30 inch cutting deck, only a few competitors can match the 61 inches cutting width that this model offers. It’s made from 11-gauge steel, and you can adjust it to 12 height adjustment with a pedal under the adjustable seat.  Additionally, the mower has a 30-second oil change system.

The 27-HP Endurance engine powers this mower. Just outside it, there’s a medium sized and oversized chassis for superior strength. Husqvarna’s MZ61 model moves on durable front casters and two large rear wheels. While operating it, you get to stay on a high-back seat with armrests for comfort. 

The powerful Husqvarna MZ61 Kawaski Mower comes with an intuitive control panel and can move at 8 mph. Husqvarna’s Air Induction mowing deck technology is integrated into it.

(For a detailed review of this model, you can also check my full review of Husqvarna MZ61 here)

What I Like

What I Don't Like

3. Ryobi 38 inches Electric Rear Engine Riding Mower RY48111

One advantage  best riding lawn mowers have over walk-behind models is that they’re easier to maneuver. This walk behind cordless electric mower unit from Ryobi is one of such cruise models.

Equipped with a 38-inch deck, the RY48111 mower offers superior mower riding performance. This clean-tech runs up to two hours to 2.5 hours per charge when fully charged, and each charge can get you past 2.5 acres and best for large lawn. All you have to do is plug it in a 120-volt outlet.

The Ryobi 38 inches Electric Rear Engine Riding Mower RY48111 allows you to change the deck adjustments through 12 positions manually. Due to its compact size there is no problem because it require less on storage space, this one fits sheds and garages and can mulch, side-discharge, and bag grass and flower beds clippings.

What I Like

What I Don't Like

4. RYOBI RY48ZTR100 42-inch Electric Riding Mower

The RYOBI RY48ZTR100 42-inch Electric Riding Mower is a cordless electric riding lawn mower unit with led headlights. With its 42″ deck, this lawn tractor has the rear-wheel unit operates smoothly, and you can adjust it to heights between 1.5-inch to 4.5-inch. Due to its 16 to 18-inch turning radius, you can also maneuver around obstacles easily. 

This electric mowers model are built for power and comfort. There are four back seat positions and a spacious foot-resting area. Ryobi states this riding lawn mower is designed for clearing up 3-acre terrains. 

In my experience, the RY48ZTR100 features a 42-inch fabricated blade deck with 12 cutting height positions to suit your needs. It’s equipped with four powerful brushless motors for continuous and efficient blade cutting.

What I Like

What I Don't Like

5. Ryobi 38-inch Electric Riding Mower RY48110

Designed for different lawn sizes, the Ryobi RY48110 machine is a powerful electric lawn mower with an Ah battery to match it. This model has a 16-inch turning radius and a 75 Ah battery, which also sports a 38-inch cutting width.

The RY48110 tractors can deliver 2 hours of runtime when mowing a 2-acre lawn. Unlike garden lawn tractor, the rear engine riding lawn mower offers quiet operation. There are user-friendly controls around the mower, and it is foot-pedal controlled. 

Ryobi machine allows you to change the cutting height from 1.5 to 4.5 inches. That way, you can mow/cut grass and clean up high-grass terrains with this riding lawn mower. The RY4811 tractors has 12 adjustable positions, and it can mulch, side-discharge, and bag your grass. Once you get going, the RY4811 can max out at 8 mph.

What I Like

What I Don't Like

6. Husqvarna YTH18542 42-inch Riding Mower

If you value the convenience and safety of a riding lawn mower, I recommend the powerful Husqvarna YTH18542 42-inch Riding Mower  model. This unit that is powered by gas has an 18.5-HP power engine and a 2.5-gallon fuel tank or gas tank.

In my assessment, the gas-powered Husqvarna YTH18542 impressed me with its practical features. It offers an adjustable sliding seat with cup holders that adapt to your height as you move, ensuring comfort during operation. Additionally, this model comes with a step-through design for easy mounting and an ergonomic steering wheel featuring a soft-touch feature, making it a reliable choice for a job well done.

Its manufacturers put a powder-coated 48-inch deck in it, and there’s also a foot pedal-operated speed transmission. With the powerful YTH18542, you can mow on different terrains moving forward or in reverse of up to 2.5 mph.

This riding lawn mower’s blade engages transmission manually, and there’s a Reverse Operating System (ROS).

(If you are looking for higher gallon capacity model, I also have the Husqvarna Z254 with 3.5 gallon fuel tank here)

What I Like

What I Don't Like

7. Ariens 915223 IKON-X Zero Turn Mower

Whether you have a large or wide-area lawn or a small terrain, commercial-style units like this Ariens model could be the best riding lawn mower for you. Ariens 915223 IKON-X Zero Turn Mower comes with a 23-hp Kawasaki FR V-twin engine and a 52-inch steel cutting deck that is best for your large lawn care.

Like other powerful mowers or lawn tractors, the IKON-X has a dual-arm deck hanging system, and you can adjust the deck lift lever. There’s also a tabular steel frame in this riding lawn mower or lawn tractor. 

The IKON-X comes with its manufacturer’s Dual Hydro-Gear drive system. This allows you to mow without shifting. Still, the model has a padded high-back seat with adjustable armrests.

This zero-turn mower delivers high torque at low speed automatic transmission. It’s designed to cut and mow grass chippings in rough terrain and comes with a metal chopper screen.

What I Like

What I Don't Like

8. Craftsman Z525 Zero-turn Lawn Mower

If you want one of the best riding lawn mowers available to mow your lawn, the Craftsman Z525 Zero Turn Mower should be among your top choices for mow needs. It is a unit powered by gas with a 3.5-gallon fuel tank.

This best lawn tractor comes with an MTD twin-cylinder engine fuel tank and works on a key-starting system. When you power it up, the engine can produce a 20-hp power output, and it has auto-choke capabilities.

The Craftsman Z525 zero-turn mower features a 46-inch steel deck for wide mow and cuts just like the Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro series which has a 46-inch deck with 12 cutting height. 

With its dual-hydrostatic transmission, you get to control the mower and increase the traction while you mow or cut grass. There’s a new frame design and a high-back seat in this model. 

Plus, the mower allows you to change its direction through 360 degrees like the Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro series.  Both Cub Cadet XT1 and Troy Bilt H42 hydrostatic lawn mower has several types of transmissions.

Additionally, you can mow in reverse and around trees with the Craftsman Z525 Zero-turn mower.

What I Like

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9. Ariens Zoom 42 Lawn Mower

If you’re looking for a top mower, consider the Zoom 42. This mower can reach a speed of 6 mph and works on a 4-point deck system.

The Ariens Zoom 42 Lawn Mower is powered by a 19 HP Kohler 6600 engine. There are seven cutting positions to choose from, and the mowing deck lift is foot-operated. As a zero-turn mower, it can turn within its footprint to cut grass efficiently.

The Zoom 42 is impressively constructed with quality steel and a compact design. This construction allows it to navigate around obstacles and withstand knocks effectively. Additionally, it’s equipped with anti-scalping wheels designed to handle uneven terrains with ease.

You can adjust the Zoom 42’s sliding seat, and there’re standard armrests on this model.

What I Like

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Riding Lawn Mowers Buyer's Guide

Build and Size

Riding mowers come in different dimensions, and one of the first decisions you have to make is the perfect size for your needs. 

While a large lawn tractor can efficiently tackle your lawn, storing it in a shed or garage may pose a challenge due to its size. Conversely, a small lawn tractor can maneuver into tight corners and fit in compact spaces, but it may slightly extend the mowing time for your lawn.

On a mower’s build, I recommend checking out units or machine made from heavy-duty commercial grade steel. They won’t tip over during storms and can withstand head-on collisions with obstacles like around trees. Moreover, this machine are durable and made of heavy duty commercial grade steel.

Also, consider the tires of the riding lawn mower you’re interested in getting. Those with anti-rubber scalp wheels won’t ruin your lawn.


The cruise control and turn radius of a riding lawn mower machine are the top factors that affect its maneuverability. This 18 inch turning radius refers to the path your lawn mower cuts for itself, and there are different options available. For example, a John Deere E180 25-hp V-twin lawn tractor could have a 4 to a 28-inch radius. The John Deere E180 25-hp V-Twin Lawn Tractor has adjustable high back seat.

If you want a machine with an 18 inch turning radius model that’s super-easy to maneuver, I suggest checking out zero-turn mowers. This machine allows you to move through 360 degrees in one turn.

Next, I’d recommend considering your preference between a steering wheel or lap bar. In my experience, mowers with lap bars typically lack control systems for their front casters but tend to move smoothly on flat terrains. On the other hand, a riding lawn tractor equipped with a steering wheel can handle hills more effectively, as the steering wheel can control the front tires for better maneuverability on slopes.

Cutting Deck Size

A lawn mower’s deck size determines the path it can cut in one pass. For example, a single-cylinder engine John Deere lawn mower with a 45-inch deck can make a wider path than a twin-cylinder lawn tractor with a 25-inch deck. However, I say that there’s no golden rule with both twin and single cylinder.

You can use any lawn mower with a 30 inches to 60-inch deck size for most lawns, and those with 42-inches are good fits for small lawns. A bigger deck help you mow your lawn better with some obstacles and tight turns.

You’ll find the deck size of a mower and its specifications in the owner’s manual or specification sheet.

Engine Power

The engine power refers to a mower’s output, and it’s measured in horsepower. With more power, a mower can move up steep slopes and cover more acres. This factor is typically between 14 HP and 30 HP. Here are a few guidelines from me to help you decide on the engine power[1] your lawn mower should have:

  • Flat, one-acre terrains: 10 to 20 HP
  • 15-degree sloped, one-acre terrain: 20 to 25 HP
  • Two acres or more: 25 HP or more.

The same brand doesn’t make the engines of lawn mowers. For example, Briggs & Stratton have powerful intek engine collections that they outsource to brands. However, you’ll find the engine power specifications in the user manual.


If you want to mow or cut grass in your lawn quickly, you should think about getting a speedy model. As with other automobiles, the speed of a lawn mower is measured in miles per hour (mph), and it depends on the type of lawn you have.

You’ll find lawn mowers that move at 2.5 mph to 10 mph per hour. Too much speed can make you lose control of your mower and affect its maneuverability. Hence riding lawn mowers with automatic and hydrostatic transmission just like Troy Bilt H42 hydrostatic lawn mower are popular because they can help you control the speed.

Comfort and Safety

No matter the size or operational features of a lawn mower, having a comfortable and safe one is essential for extended mowing sessions. One important aspect to consider is the type of seat it comes with. Typically, mowers offer a choice between high-back seats with lumbar support, mid-back seats, or bucket seats. From what I’ve found, opting for a mid-back seat is a safe and comfortable choice.

While some have safety harnesses, others adjust their height to suit your position. Test the seat before you commit to any lawn mower to make sure it’s comfortable.  Mid-back sit is a safe bet for you.

Another feature is an automatic shut-off. This prevents you from leaving your mower on while you’re away. I deem it important to check out models that have this feature.

Also, consider the foot area. Having one that’s spacious makes lowing convenient. If it’s important to you, also check out a riding lawn mower with an anti-slip foot area.

Price and Warranty

Depending on their manufacturer and features, the best riding lawn tractor can go for different prices. However, the best ones are reasonably priced. 

When getting a riding mower, make sure the price tag matches its value and features. Even if the riding lawn mower is less than $800, it should have the functionality you require. Also, consider getting models that have warranties.

Brands that make gas-powered mowers offer a 1-year to a 4-year warranty on selected parts of their mowers. On the other hand, manufacturers of electric-powered units such as Kohler and Kawasaki provide separate warranties for the battery and mower.

Types of Riding Lawn Mowers

Riding mowers have three main types based on how they work:

Rear-Engine Lawn Mower

These are riding lawn mowers where the operator’s seat, engine, and fuel or gas tank are concentrated at the mower’s back. Rear-engine lawn mowers typically have small engines and mowing swaths. They are suitable for clearing up a half-acre terrain or less like smaller yards.

Rearengine lawn mowers move and cut best on flat surfaces, and ascending a hill with one can make the front wheels lose their grip. There are electric rear-engine riding mowers and gas-powered units.

Front-Engine Lawn Mowers

This is the common type of lawn mower for cleaning up a 42 to 55-inch swatch. Due to the distribution of the weight of these riding lawn mowers and their powerful engines, you can use them on uneven terrain or a hill. Some electric riding lawn mowers have their engines at the front and are eco friendly too.

Zero-Turn Lawn Mowers

Also referred to as ZTRs, zero-turn mowers have their engine in the back and come with levers to control the rear wheels. Hence, a zero-turn riding mower is easy to use.

Most riding lawn mowers that fall into this category cut a 42 to 50-inch swatch that is suitable for a large yard. Zero-turn radial lawn mowers could be residential or commercial with an automatic or a hydrostatic transmission just like Troy Bilt hydrostatic lawn mower. There will be minimal issues when using a Troy Bilt zero turn mower even in commercial spaces. 

My Top Pick For a Riding Lawn Mower:
Husqvarna Z254

Among the models researched, I consider Husqvarna Z254 54-Inch Mower as my top pick for a riding lawn mower. For starters, its 24HP engine is powerful enough for uneven terrain or a flat lawn. And you don’t need to connect it to a 120-volt outlet for it to work.

It has a 54-inch deck for grass-cutting and there are safety features like the anti-slip foot area around it. The rugged casters and frame are reinforced with steel for one of the best durability. Finally, when I considered its 3-year warranty and zero turn-radius, I’m convinced the Husqvarna Z254 was the best one available.

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Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You've probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.
Robert Johnson

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