Riding Lawn Mower Buying Guide

Finding the Right Riding Lawn Mower for all your Needs

Riding lawn mowers come in three different categories. Each category of mower has various levels of functionality, maneuverability, not to mention brands and price tag.

If you have never purchased a riding mower before or you’re just not sure what type of riding mower best fits your needs, I have created this buying guide to help you make an informed buying decision. Here’s a great video that goes over the three different types of mowers and functionality.

Rear Engine Riding Mowers

rear engine riding lawn mowerThe first type of mower, and what could be classified as an entry-level mower, are rear engine riding mowers.

Rear engine riding mowers are designed specifically to cut grass. They are typically not powerful enough to handle other jobs and most do not have heavy-duty attachments.

Rear engine riding mowers do not put out a lot of HP, they don’t go that fast, but they’re great for the weekend warrior. They are capable of mowing on level ground as well as moderate slopes.

Rear engine riding mowers are the least expensive type of riding mowers and are recommended for someone who has less than 3 acres of lawn to maintain. Rear engine riding mowers are able to maneuver quite well, but if you have many obstacles or lots of trees for example, you may want to consider a zero-turn mower (keep in mind however, zero-turn mowers do not handle well on slopes).

Lawn & Garden Tractors

lawn and garden tractorLawn and garden tractors are what you might refer to as an all around property management tool. Lawn and garden tractors have powerful motors compared to rear engine riding mowers. Also, lawn and garden tractors can handle numerous jobs besides mowing. With available attachments, lawn and garden tractors can work as a snowplow, lawn fertilizer and aerator, and serve many other functions.

Because of their more powerful motor and more advanced features, lawn and garden tractors are generally more expensive than your standard rear engine riding lawn mower.

Lawn and garden tractors work great on large properties and are powerful enough to handle various landscapes including slopes. However, most lawn and garden tractors do not turn extremely sharp (depending on cutting deck width) so if you have a ton of obstacles on your property, a typical lawn and garden tractor may not produce the results you are looking for as far as mowing yet are great for various property management tasks.

Lawn tractors are a great choice for most property owners including property management and small to midsize landscaping businesses.  Most lawn tractors are designed with comfort in mind which is an important feature for business owners or those who plan to spend a significant amount of time on the mower.

Zero Turn Riding Mowers

zero turn mowerZero turn mowers are often used by landscaping professionals because they operate at roughly 8 mph, and they can turn on a dime. Zero turn mowers may also be used as an all around property management tool as many have available attachments.

Zero turn mowers do not perform well on slopes yet are perfect for properties with many obstacles or trees. Zero turn mowers can easily navigate obstacles and the fact that they can move at 8 mph can greatly reduce time spent mowing.

Zero  turn mowers are comfortable to operate providing optimal leg room. Zero turn mowers a also a great choice for property owners however they can get quite expensive. Even a low end zero turn mower will cost over $2000 new.

Final thoughts on Riding Lawn Mowers

Some important factors to consider for purchasing a riding mower begin with property assessment. How much property do you need to maintain and what type of property is it?

If you have multiple acres of land to maintain, a lawn tractor is generally the best choice. Most do not have the best turning radius but they are versatile and can tackle numerous jobs. They also work well on various terrain and are fairly priced. You can pick up a nice tractor for less than $2000.

If you have lots of  acreage of land that is flat and basically just grass I highly recommend a zero turn mower. They are fast and highly efficient. They may cost a bit more than other mowers but they will greatly reduce the time it takes you to mow big properties.

If you’re just looking for something to piddle around with on the the  weekend, a rear engine riding mower should do the trick. However, once you get a taste for using a riding mower I can almost guarantee you will want to try a step up model from a rear engine riding mower. I really think a lawn tractor is the way to go that way no need to upgrade down the road and that not much more expensive than a rear engine riding mower.

That’s a basic overview of riding lawn mowers. Be sure to browse through the riding lawn mower reviews and if you have any questions regarding mowers, don’t hesitate to contact me through the contact page.

I hope you have found this riding lawn mower buying guide beneficial and informative. Thanks for stopping by Riding Lawn Mowers HQ.

May 2, 2013