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 this article, our experts have identified and reviewed the nine best models available as well the important factors to consider when choosing a riding mower.
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.
With this Husqvarna lawn tractor, you get high-performance cutting blades, a maintenance-free hydrostatic transmission, and an automatic park brake system which is suitable for your large mowing requirements. It’s designed for uneven terrain, and there’re rubber bellows to prevent debris from getting to the control system.
2. 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.
3. Husqvarna YTH18542 42-inch Riding Mower
If you value the convenience and safety of a riding lawn mower, our experts 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.
The gas-powered Husqvarna YTH18542 has an easily adjustable sliding seat with cup holders. As you move, its height will change to suit your new position. Still, this model comes with a mounting step-through and an ergonomic steering wheel with a soft touch feature for a job done perfectly.
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, we also have the Husqvarna Z254 with 3.5 gallon fuel tank here)
4. 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 our full review of Husqvarna MZ61 here)
5. 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.
The 42-inch blade deck is fabricated, and there are 12 cutting heights positions to choose from. For unrelenting blade cutting, the RY48ZTR100 comes with four brushless powerful motor.
6. 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.
7. 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 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.
You can mow in reverse and around trees with the Craftsman Z525 Zero-turn mower.
8. 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.
On its construction, the Zoom 42 is made from quality steel and compactly designed. Hence, it can cut around obstacles and take knocks. There’re anti-scalping wheels in this one, and they are designed for uneven terrains.
You can adjust the Zoom 42’s sliding seat, and there’re standard armrests on this model.
9. 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.
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 massive best lawn tractor can quickly clean up your lawn, it is often challenging to keep it in a shed or garage. On the other hand, a small lawn tractor can get to tight corners and fit compact spaces, but they could make mowing your lawn take a little longer.
On a mower’s build, our experts recommend check 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, our team suggests checking out zero-turn mowers. This machine allows you to move through 360 degrees in one turn.
Next, pick between a steering wheel or lap bar. Mowers with lap bars usually don’t have control systems for their front casters. However, they move smoothly on flat terrains. On the other hand, a riding lawn tractor with a steering wheel can go up a heel since the steering wheel can control the front tires.
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, our experts 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.
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 our team to help you decide on the engine power 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
Regardless of its size and operational features, a comfortable and safe lawn mower makes mowing for hours possible. One common feature to look out for is the seat. Generally, mowers come with high-back with lumbar support, mid-back, or bucket seats. Your safe bet is to go for a mid-back seat.
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. Our experts 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. 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 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.
Rear–engine 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 their weight distribution, and powerful engines, you can use this type of riding lawn mowers 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. They could be commercial or residential with an automatic or a hydrostatic transmission just like Troy Bilt hydrostatic lawn mower.
Which riding lawn mowers are the best?
The best riding lawn mowers are those with top operating features and build quality for an affordable price. They could be electric riding models with automatic transmission systems, gas-powered lawn tractors with manual transmission, or other types.
Our Top Pick For a Riding Lawn Mower: Husqvarna Z254
Among the models researched, our experts consider Husqvarna Z254 54-Inch Mower as our 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 our team considered its 3-year warranty and zero turn-radius, we were convinced the Husqvarna Z254 was the best one available.