Let’s face it, no one likes to mow the lawn it’s likely why you are looking to buy the best riding lawn mower you can afford, right? Why not make mowing the lawn less of a chore and maybe even a little fun! Some of us though have a tougher task than others with massive gardens or large shared gardens. You can always hire a local company or a friend to take care of it or you can make the most of a bad chore and buy a riding lawn mower. At the end of the day, it’s a lot easier and a lot more fun to rid a go-kart that mows than it is to push a normal one around for hours on end. For me, it’s more to do with my comfort as I always end up with a sore back for a week after mowing the lawn with a normal one. Below we have ride-on mowers which fall into various categories for example under $2000 and under $1000 – both of which many of you have asked for.
I have been looking for and researching the best riding lawn mower for months in the hope that I would find one that I can reliably call the best model available on the market today. After hours of reading through reviews by actual owners, watching many official reviews videos and even speaking to a few owners of the better models it is easy to see the Troy-Bilt 30-Inch (Find on Amazon) is the best ride on mower. The Husqvarna GTH52XLS would be a better fit for those with a large lawn to mow with its larger Steel Stamped Deck. If on the other hand, you are looking for a ride on mower that will suit your medium to large lawn then the Troy-Bilt 30-Inch is actually a better fit. Something to note is the prices do vary daily so it is worthwhile checking the price of both models.
The 5 Best Riding Lawn Mowers in 2018
|Troy-Bilt 382cc 30-Inch|
Most popular by far and my Top Pick
Overall a great option for most people looking to maintain a medium to large lawn up to around 2 acres. Slightly smaller cutting deck but generally reflected in the significantly lower price.
|Cub Cadet Xt1 Enduro Series Lt 18 Hp|
I recommend this for a medium sized garden but most owners comment that the Cub Cadet Xt1 is a joy to drive and use, so those with a larger garden can still at this to the shortlist. Can be a little more expensive than similarly sized riding lawn mowers but this does boast a superior twin-cylinder engine from Kohler and more enjoyable riding experience.
|Husqvarna GTH52XLS 24V Hydro|
In our opinion the go to purchase for a reliable, well built riding lawn mower but only if you're looking to mow a large lawn or want to double up as a snow thrower.
Great all rounder at a great price. I would estimate that most gardeners would be covered by both the features and technical specification of this. Not to mention great value for money.
|Raven MPV7100 Hybrid Power Generator|
Unfortunately I am unable to recommend this as an option anymore.
How To Choose A Riding Lawn Mower For Your Garden
Buying a riding lawnmower isn’t exactly an everyday purchase, it is likely something that will happen once every few years and only when you really need a new one. With that in mind, we have put together this guide to ensure you get the best value for money when buying your next ride on mower.
Choosing The Correct Size of ride-on Mower
If you have a smaller garden, say around half an acre or less then you may be better suited by our guide covering what to look for in a normal lawn mower that is self-propelled or pushed. With that in mind though there are some smaller and cheaper ride-on mowers that would be suitable for smaller gardens, although they are generally double if not triple of the cost of a normal mower.
A common question we get is “what does the size mean?”. In most cases, people are referring to the size in the model name, for example, the Husqvarna YTA18542 42″. This is the size of the cutting deck. Meaning our example has a 42-inch cutting deck. The real question most actually mean but don’t ask is “what size do I need?”. As with everything it really does depend on the exact requirements and dimensions of the garden especially if the garden has odd angles, shapes and has hard to mow areas. Generally speaking, though there is a rule of thumb:
- A 30 Inch cutting deck is considered small and is ideal for a small to medium size garden. These sizes are also very common and useful for properties where they are unable to get anything larger than a 30 Inch deck past a gate or fence opening.
- The 42 Inch cutting deck is one of the most common that we tend to see simply because it gives a good balance between size and price. Also, most people looking to buy have a relatively large lawn that they need to mow meaning the larger size is perfect. The 42″ is also small enough to be easier to drive and operate around some tighter corners of your garden. In generally properties up to and around 2 acres would fall into this category.
- 46 Inches and above are generally for larger gardens that need the extra cutting deck to finish the job in a timely manner. Some of these models can be a little harder to operate if you caught in a tighter spot but they will allow for quicker mowing of a large property. Our experience tells us that anything above 2 acres would fall into the 46+ Inches cutting deck, but if your approaching the 3 or 4 acres something around 50 Inches might even better return on your money.
Collect, Mulch or Side
All the ride on mowers we recommend fall into one or all of the Collection, Mulching or side discharging categories. Before you buy though you need to decide what it is you want or prefer in terms of grass clippings.
- The collection is as simple as it sounds and is often referred to as bagging. This is also one of the most common methods that gardeners use to dispose of grass clippings. A ride on will have a bad attached to the machine which will collect all the grass clippings for disposal after the job is done. With this method, it helps keep the area clean of clippings, weed seeds and helps cut down the effect on those with allergies.
- The side is exactly what you expect. The mower will discharge any clipping to the side of the machine. This is great when you have an area that is bigger and narrower than normal lawn.
- Mulching is for those gardeners that are looking for healthy and beautiful lawns. Mulching cuts clippings into a very fine mulch that is spread across the lawn to fertilize the ground. This helps the lawn grow healthier over time.
Do You Want Some Addons?
Many models come with a few add-ons as standard, like a side bag or even a front bumper bar. Other models have optional extras that can turn your riding lawn mower into a small garden sized tractor and snowplough. Often we hear of people making the most of a new purchase by turning it into an all year piece of equipment.
Husqvarna YTA18542 42″ Review
The Husqvarna YTA18542 riding lawn mower is one of if not the best on the market, we ourselves consider it to be the best riding lawn mower for the money. As of right now, Amazon US have it as their “Best Selling” in the riding lawn mower category, so it must be good! This is a prime example of a riding lawn mower for under $2000. Riding a Husqvarna YTA18542 couldn’t be easier with its variable transmission and smooth as butter forward and reverse acceleration. It also boasts a more than ample 42-inch cutting width giving you enough cutting to ensure your not there all day.
The mower will also arrive pre-built and ready to mow, all you have to do add gas and get on with garden – oh, and of course read the manual and safety notices! We don’t want you hurting yourself after all. Additional to all of that the Husqvarna YTA18542 also has accessories to make your gardening even easier for example grass catcher which is SUPER handy. We have researched this model specifically as it seems like most people love it and the only real grip has been regarding it “only” having a 42-inch cutting deck. This model has by far the best feedback we have found across the internet having heard people from YouTube, Facebook and we even had a look at other reviews.
Mowing the lawn is never going to be an effortless task but with the best ride on mower, it can be made a lot easier, and even enjoyable – just imagine sitting back in comfort while mowing the lawn instead of struggling with a normal lawn mower. Paying someone else to do this job for you can also be seen as a waste of money and an inconvenience with organizing a suitable time and day. There are also small riding mowers which might be able to get the job done but generally, they’re not much cheaper and result in a problematic experience, to say the least. The best advice I can give you is to look at the Husqvarna YTA18542 reviews and compare the pros and cons of other reviews. We already have and it’s the reason the Husqvarna YTA18542 is our #1 recommended riding lawn mower for 2018.
- Step through mounting meaning you can mount the mower from the left or right.
- Adjustable Seat with a unique system which will optimise your seating position depending on your position.
- Cup holder, for those hot days!
- Air induction mowing technology which will ensure your cut is both clean and consistent across your lawn.
If your looking for the best riding mower then, in our opinion, this should be at the top of your list. Not only is easy to drive, get set up and maintain but it comes in at a budget that means your not having to spend over the odds. This is a little more expensive than other options, but comparing the reviews, features and warranty of each then the Husqvarna YTA18542 always comes out on top, especially for the under $2000 bracket.
Based on all of that we can’t help but give the Husqvarna YTA18542 a score of 9.5 out of 10. The sheer value for money here is astounding!
Troy-Bilt 420cc 30″ Review
So, let’s be honest with a 30″ cutting deck this is a small riding lawn mower but does pack a lot of power and durability under the hood. This mower is suitable for those small to medium sized lawns. The 420cc engine can push up to 15 horsepower (hp) while maintaining a reasonable good efficiency and fuel consumption. There is a reason the Troy-Bilt 420cc is one of the best-selling models and that’s down to its affordability and its size, coming in at 340 pounds and only 65″ x 34″ x25″. With those dimensions, it is one of the most compact and smallest riding lawn mowers available, or at least with the features and reviews. With the small size, the price also is a little cheaper with this ride-on mower being found in the under $1500 category.
Overall the average lawn owner will do nicely with this but if your lawn is larger then you would be more suited to something like the Husqvarna YTA18542 or one of the options below. The machine itself is very nice with a red/black colour scheme and comfortable seat. Although this isn’t going to be considered the best it certainly does offer value for money as it is the cheapest ride on lawn mower on this page – depending on where and when you buy of course.
- 30-inch cutting deck
- Powerful engine to get you around the yard in no time
- Fast and easy to maintain
I have to be honest and say, personally I would opt for the Husqvarna YTA18542 over the Troy-Bilt 420cc. For us, there are far too many cons; Only 30-inch cutting deck, compact riding mower, suitable for only small to medium lawns. The main issue we have come across is customer reviews of the Troy-Bilt 420cc, for example, there have been reviews stating they have had issues with the warranty, quality and faults with the Troy-Bilt 420cc. Now, these reviews are the minority but it is worthwhile keeping in mind, especially when you’re spending this amount of money. The Troy-Bilt 420cc is one of the best selling models on Amazon US so it likely that some people will run into these minor issues. That being said for those of you who are looking for the best riding lawn mower for the money and also for a small garden then the Troy-Bilt 420cc might be the best choice available.
Based on all of the features, reviews and costs we have rated the Troy-Bilt 420cc 7 out of 10.
Cub Cadet Xt1 Enduro Series
The brightly colored Cub Cadet is considered one of the best riding lawn mowers from a value for money point of view and out top pick for smaller gardens. The Enduro Series is exactly what it sounds like, it’s got the slick name of a fast mover and meaning of something that has the power and endurance to get the job done. You won’t be the only person to think this model feels like a tractor but acts and costs the same as a ride on mower.
It comes packed with 18Hp (horsepower) from a Kohler® Courage OHV engine and also comes loaded with the hydrostatic transmission which will come as a blessing for many of you! Simply put, you don’t have to worry about shifting gears – foot down and away you go. The Xt1 Enduro also comes with a 5 and 3-year warranty (see below) which is a little longer than some competing mower which is cheaper so do bear that in mind when you decide to buy.
How does it handle and move? Almost perfectly. It has a 16! turning radius with edgy steering for those hard to reach spots (as I type this I know I sound like I’m selling a toothbrush!). The cutting deck is 42″ on this exact model but you can buy as large as 56 inches which also comes with some very nice upgrades – but you are paying for them! This 42-inch cutting deck will ensure you get a good mowing, even though some of the thickest of grass. You will also have the ability to adjust the height to ensure you get the exact length you require for the garden.
As discussed below, the Xt1 is a model that can be used all year round with the ability to purchase aftermarket attachments for other tasks around the garden. This is another reason many consider the Xt1 to be value for money as it can double up as a small tractor, snowplough and even mulch your clippings. You will also notice the mower has LED headlights which are handy for winter and late night mowing – if your that type of gardener!
I do have some issues with the Xt1 though, mostly around the seat actually. It’s not as comfortable as other mowers and it can be a little slippy when wet, especially when driving down a small slope. Another small issue is assembly, there will be a small bit assembly required when you receive it. Neither of these issues is likely to deal breakers for anyone but I did want to make everyone aware.
- Winner of the Value for money – but only if you’re going to make use in the winter months
- 18Hp engine for fast mowing
- 42+ inch cutting deck
- 5-year warranty on the chassis and front axle – best to double check at the time of buying
- 3-year warranty on the mower – again, check before purchasing
- Great build quality from a well-known brand
If you’re looking to buy a riding lawnmower that can double for winter use then you have found what you need, don’t look any further. If on the other hand your not sure then you might want to consider one of the other options based on your requirements. The Xt1 Enduro no matter what takes the value for money but it is a little bit more expensive when compared to similarly comparable models. I personally wouldn’t use it for winter use which is the ONLY reason it has a slightly lower chance of me buying it.
Buying The Best Riding Lawn Mower – What You Need to Know
As if mowing the grass wasn’t difficult enough but there are some key pieces of information you need to take into consideration when you’re looking for the best riding lawn mower. Lots of homeowners and businesses invest in a riding mower but the decision can often take a while to finalise, with our help though we will be able to direct you to the best ride along lawn mower for your needs within a few minutes.
Comfort & Durability
Making sure you have a durable and comfortable grass cutter should be VERY important to you. Firstly, you want to be comfortable while riding along cutting the grass. Secondly, a durable sit down mower will last longer, do a better job and importantly be built using high-quality materials.
If you have a look at some of the products we have reviewed you will notice that some come with bucket seats, some have high back seats and some even come with “ergonomic” seats. Also, you might even find some that come with radios, cup holders and even larger seats for a more comfortable experience.
They are expensive, so always make sure you have a lengthy warranty. We have seen some people get stung by a short warranty or even a warranty that excludes certain uses etc. Always ensure you read the warranty before buying (or at least before you use it) to make sure you agree with everything. In general, 3 to 5 years are average warranty periods.
With the “better” brands you will often have a longer and more inclusive warranty, but again always read it to ensure its cover what you need. Also, something else to bear in mind is you should always be looking for at least a 3-year warranty. Some of those cheap mowers can come with a 12-month warranty, which isn’t worth the paper they’re written on in most cases.
Yes, these have a transmission. Just like a car, you get automatic and manual transmissions but you will also find some ride along lawn mowers come with what is called a hydrostatic transmission. Manual and automatic are just like they are with a car, with some minor differences. So if you know how to drive a car you’re covered.
Hydrostatic is basically like an automatic transmission but it uses fluid to change gears instead of other methods. At the end of the day, it’s personal preference. Usually, I would say an automatic is the easiest riding mower to drive, but again some actually prefer manual cars so would prefer a manual transmission.
Do you live in California? Then you MUST READ THIS!
If you live in California then by law you are required to make sure it is California compliant. When buying a riding mower it should be stated on the listing if the mower is compliant so there shouldn’t be anything you need to do, other than double check before clicking to purchase. The California compliance is down to the strict rules and laws around anti-pollution which means a riding mower must meet specific levels of fuel and exhaust.
If you don’t live in California then you don’t have to worry about this too much but generally, models which are California compliant are built to a very high standard and are well worth the money!
Types of Riding Mowers for Sale
Much like when you’re buying the best chainsaw you have many choices, riding mowers are much the same with various types and minor differences between each model. Most people when they think if a sit-on-mower they think of the generic type, like the large image we have at the top of this page. You need to keep in mind your needs though as there are different types of blades, sizes, styles based on home use and industrial. Not to mention the different brands, models and extras.
Normal Sit Down Lawn Mower
Exactly as it says on the tin. This is your basic driven mower which comes with everything you could expect from a normal lawn mower, with the added bonus of being able to sit on it and drive around your garden.
Zero Turning Mowers
If you have a garden that has some tight corners then this might be what you need. Especially if you have lots of trees to manoeuvre around or corners. A zero turn mower is exactly the same but turns on the spot.
Ride Along with a Tractor
Much like a normal and zero turns mower these models tend to be a little larger and comes with the ability to add attachments. Just think of a farm tractor and think smaller and designed for your garden and not a farm! Then you will have a rough idea of what it might be able to offer you.
Can I buy accessories for my Riding lawn mower?
You absolutely can. It is always best to find out if your specific lawn mower has accessories before buying as well as if there are any available. This will make your purchasing decision easier as not all manufacturers and models will support the same accessories. In most cases, you will likely want to know if your mowers have one of the following accessories available.
Snow Thrower and/or Snow Blades – Many riding lawn mowers these days are suitable to be used during the winter which means these accessories can be very useful when your town or city is hit by snow. You might end up being Mr Plowfor the day.
Sun Cab or Sun Shades – Riding around doing the lawn can take hours so this detachable cabin can protect you from the elements. Snow, rain or shine you can be sure you’re not going to be stopped!
Detachable Tow carts – This is either something you will require and use every time or it’s something you will never need. These carts attach to the mower and can carry loads up to 1000lbs depending on the model, make and type of cart.
Sprayers and Spreaders – If your buying a riding mower for your small farm then the ability to attach a spreader/sprayer will likely already be at the top of your list.
Grass Bag / Tray – One of the most common accessories in my opinion. As expected these will collect the lawn clippings into a tray which can then be disposed of in whichever way you require. It can save you the hassle of having to collect the clippings yourself.
If you liked this buying guide then be sure to check out our great guides below: