What is the Best Riding Lawn Mower Under $1500? Cheap Prices, Great Quality (2024)

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Garden tractors are considered essential lawn equipment, but buying one can cost an arm and leg. Homeowners and pros have searched for the best riding lawn mowers under $1500, but unfortunately, no units fall under this price bracket.

But if you’re still looking for budget mowers that are close to 1,500 bucks, I’ve got you covered! These are the top-performing units I’ve tested: 

Premium Option
Husqvarna YTH18542
Editor’s Choice
Troy-Bilt 30-inch
Budget Option
Craftsman T135
Husqvarna YTH18542
Troy-Bilt 30-inch
Craftsman T135
• 42-inch cutting width
• Hydro transmission
• Briggs & Stratton
• 18.5 Horsepower
• Powerful engine
• 30-inch cutting width
• Adjustable settings
• 18-in. Turning radius
• 46-inch cutting width
• CVT transmission
• Durable wheels
• Mow-in-reverse
Premium Option
Husqvarna YTH18542
Husqvarna YTH18542
• 42-inch cutting width
• Hydro transmission
• Briggs & Stratton
• 18.5 Horsepower
Editor’s Choice
Troy-Bilt 30-inch
Troy-Bilt 30-inch
• Powerful engine
• 30-inch cutting width
• Adjustable settings
• 18-in. Turning radius
Budget Option
Craftsman T135
Craftsman T135
• 46-inch cutting width
• CVT transmission
• Durable wheels
• Mow-in-reverse

Reviews of the Top Riding Lawn Mowers Under $1500

1. Troy-Bilt 30-Inch Neighborhood Riding Lawn Mower

Troy Bilt 30-inch Neighborhood Lawn Mower

When it comes to powerful riding lawnmowers, a Troy-Bilt is a great option due to its 382cc OHV engine with an automatic throttle. It is both low-priced and low-maintenance.

What caught my eye initially was its striking color scheme, which adds a touch of style to your outdoor tools. On a more practical note, it offers six different speeds. This lets you get just the right cut, whether you’re dealing with thin or thick grass.

This riding lawn mower’s cutting width measures 30 inches, which makes quick work of larger areas. You’ll never want to use a manual mower again once you’ve experienced this one. It is a high-quality riding mower that will last for many years.

What I Like

What I Don't Like

2. Husqvarna YTH18542 18.5 HP Hydro Transmission

Husqvarna YTH18542

Husqvarna YTH18542’s simple yet smart design prioritizes the operator’s comfort with features like ergonomic anti-scalp wheels, an adjustable seat and straightforward controls within arm’s reach. 

The tractor’s cutting power comes from a dependable Briggs & Stratton engine that produces 18.5 horsepower. The mower’s hydrostatic lever-controlled gearbox allows for simple gear changes and comfortable, stress-free travel in either direction.

Husqvarna’s riding mowers typically have Air Induction Mowing Technology, which improves airflow inside the deck to prevent wet grass from accumulating. I’ve navigated this riding mower through medium-sized lawns and found the controls to be incredibly intuitive. Honestly, it took me only minutes to get the hang of it.

Interesting Read: Top-Rated Husqvarna Zero-Turn Mowers

What I Like

What I Don't Like

3. Craftsman T135 18.5 HP Briggs & Stratton

Craftsman T135

If you’re looking for the best riding lawn mower under $1500, the excellent power and cutting capability make the Craftsman T135 a good budget alternative. 

Its 46-inch cutting deck ensures that grass gets trimmed, mowed, and clipped efficiently. And let’s not forget the deck wash feature, which has made cleaning the underside of this machine manageable for me.

You can even reverse the direction of the cut, which means you can access those previously inaccessible nooks and crannies. Comfort is also a priority with this mower; the seat design gives excellent back support for those longer mowing sessions. Lastly, I’ve found the 20-inch rear and 15-inch front wheels to provide a stable, comfortable ride, along with precise steering.

What I Like

What I Don't Like

4. John Deere S100

John Deere S100

When it comes to tackling gardens up to an acre, the John Deere S100 has proven to be a compact yet reliable workhorse in my experience. Its 2.4-gallon fuel tank lets me cover that kind of space without frequent refueling stops, and the hydrostatic transmission is super handy, allowing smooth, easy steering in both forward and reverse.

With a cutting width of 30 inches and a turning radius of only 18 inches, the discharge mowing deck makes short work of grass and makes it simple to navigate tight spaces.

Furthermore, the John Deere S100’s large rear and small front wheels are an effective design that lets it do intensive mowing on difficult and mountainous terrains.

(For more information, check this John Deere S100 review!)

What I Like

What I Don't Like

5. Troy-Bilt Pony 42X Riding Lawn Mower

Troy-Bilt Pony 42X Riding Lawn Mower with 42-Inch Deck and 547cc Engine Tractor

For those willing to stretch their budget just a tad over $1500, I highly recommend taking a closer look at the Troy-Bilt Pony 42.

It is equipped with a massive 42-inch broad-cutting deck. You’ll be able to cut corners in comfort, and the big wheel in the center of the steering column will make it simple to make directional changes.

Let me just say, this mower is a fantastic bang for your buck. It’s driven by a Briggs & Stratton 15.5 HP engine, which, in my opinion, is one of the best small engines you can find on the market right now. To top it off, its 7-speed Shift-on-the-Go transmission streamlines gear shifts, making the whole mowing experience quick and effortless.

(Want more options from this brand? Check out high-quality Troy-Bilt riding lawn mowers here.)

What I Like

What I Don't Like

6. Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro Series

The XT1 Enduro Series lawnmower from Cub Cadet is a dependable machine in terms of durability, adaptability, and convenience of its 42-inch deck. The 18 HP Kohler OHV engine powering this mower doesn’t mess around when it comes to performance.

It also allows for a hydrostatic transmission, eliminating the need for gear shifting and providing a more streamlined driving experience. As a result, all you need to do is put your foot down and go! 

This fantastic Cub Cadet XT1 mower features a robust motor, making short work of anything in its path. Combine that with the large cutting surface, and you’re looking at significantly faster mowing times.

What I Like

What I Don't Like

7. Snapper 2911525BVE Classic RER 28 inch 11.5 HP

The Snapper 2911525BVE Mower is a reliable and proven lawn tractor that can easily and efficiently cut thin or thick grass of any type.

If you need a cheap option for working on rough terrain up to 2 acres in size, Snapper is your best bet. Its pneumatic tires and powerful 11.5 HP rear-mounted engine ensure it can handle any turf.

But what really sold me was the built-in anti-vibration feature. It keeps the ride incredibly stable, even when the terrain gets rough. I’d say the Snapper 2911525BVE Classic Rear Engine Riding Mower is a durable option that’s built to last for years to come.

What I Like

What I Don't Like

Riding Lawn Mower Under $1500 Buyer’s Guide

Riding Mower Type

Zero-Turn Mower

ZTR or Zero-turn mowers can turn with a tighter radius and travel faster because of their rear-mounted engines. These mowers normally don’t come with a steering wheel but rather a pair of levers that can steer in whichever direction is desired.

Front-engine Mower

A front-engine riding mower feature more powerful engines (between 18 and 26 horsepower) to accommodate the larger decks and increased workload; they need engines with additional power to pull extra weight, such as a dump cart or a spreader.

Rear-engine Mower

Mowers with a rear engine place the power plant behind the rider, usually just below the seat. They’re cheaper and easier to store than any other types and take up less space.

John Deere S100

However, they don’t usually cut as effectively or rapidly as other riding mowers, and their mowing decks are often smaller.

Horsepower

The heart of any machine is its engine and horsepower. A larger horsepower is preferable if you need to mow tall grasses on your lawn.

Newer models may have anywhere from 12 to 24 HP, which should be sufficient for most users’ needs [1]. However, you should know that more powerful devices can come with a hefty price tag because of the impressive results they can deliver.

Fuel Capacity

Fuel capacity is one of those things you don’t think about until you’re in the middle of mowing and realize you’re running low. Been there, done that. If you have a large property and you find yourself mowing quite frequently, you’ll appreciate a mower with a more generous fuel tank. But if your yard is on the smaller side, you don’t need a gas guzzler.

stepping on Cub Cadet XT1 brake

Two gallons of gas is often the maximum capacity for a riding lawn mower of a moderate size. It is common for larger mowers to have a fuel capacity of 3 to 4 gallons.

Durable Design

The best riding lawn mower under $1500 should still have a durable construction. Some are constructed with a steel mower deck that can last for years of constant use—all premade decks with a limited lifetime warranty.

Industrial versions inspired this lawnmower’s design; therefore, it features a welded steel frame, an extra-thick-walled front axle, and an aircraft-grade aluminum spindle.

Easy to Use and Maneuver

I’ve had my share of near misses and awkward halts while trying to navigate around garden beds or trees. So, let me tell you, maneuverability isn’t just a nice-to-have; it’s a must-have.

The mower’s maneuverability is significantly affected by its turnaround radius. When mowing grass, it’s helpful to have riding lawn mowers that can easily go around obstacles.

Snapper 2911525BVE

And while smaller mowers with shorter decks may be easier to handle, they’ll likely require a bit more time to complete the job. It’s all about finding that sweet spot that combines ease of use with efficiency, especially if you’re going to spend a lot of time behind the wheel.

Comfortable Ride

Trimming and cutting the lawn require lengthy periods of sitting. I’ve spent more hours on a lawnmower than I care to admit, and let me tell you, a good seat makes all the difference. 

Try sitting on the chair when you can see if it suits your needs. I personally find mid-back seats offer the right amount of support without feeling like I’m sitting on a wooden plank.

Deck Size

Lawnmowers with larger cutting decks leave a broader swath of grass behind after each pass. In my experience, larger decks, which can range from 30 to 60 inches, are great for lawns without a lot of obstacles.

On the flip side, if your lawn is more like an obstacle course with trees and flower beds, you might be better off with a smaller deck.

Cutting Height and Positions

A ride-on mower and tractor, like a push mower or walk-behind lawn mower, have many cutting heights. These range from 1-3 inches on compact ride-on mowers to 0.5-4 inches on huge, heavy-duty machines with ten cutting height settings.

Deck Settings for Slopes

A slope is among the most challenging hurdles you might face when mowing your lawn. Getting a riding lawn mower up a hill is just as demanding as getting it down, and it’s not easy to do either. 

 If your yard has a steep grade, you’ll want a mower that’s up to the challenge. One technique I’ve found effective for tackling hills is to perform a three-point turn to transition between passes.

Going downhill can be a slippery situation—literally. I’ve found it’s much safer to do a three-point turn at the top of the hill and then backtrack. That way, I’m not playing a game of “will it slide” on the way down.

FAQ

What is the best month to buy a riding lawn mower?

The best month to buy a riding lawn mower is in September and throughout the holiday season when the biggest discounts are offered. The end of the busy mowing season is typically when residential and commercial mowers will be at their cheapest.

Which is the best method of cutting grass on a riding mower?

The optimal technique for using a riding lawn mower to cut grass varies from lawn to lawn. Some people like to do it in rows, while others choose a spiral pattern. 

Several variables, including area and accessibility, should be considered while deciding on the most appropriate method. Additionally, it is crucial to adjust the cutting height of the mower to an appropriate level for the grass type and desired length. 

My Top Pick For a Riding Lawn Mower Under $1500:
Troy-Bilt 30-Inch Neighborhood Riding Lawn Mower

Troy Bilt 30-inch Neighborhood Lawn Mower

When it comes to finding the best riding lawn mower under $1500, the Troy-Bilt 30-inch lawn mower is a real contender. It combines budget-friendliness with ample power, making it a solid choice for tackling inclines and challenging terrains.

What really seals the deal for me is its compact form. It not only fits the budget but also saves on storage space, making it the top pick in my book.

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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.

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