11 Best Riding Lawn Mowers – Get the Best in Both Functionality and Value

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Last updatedLast updated: March 03, 2021
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If you want your home looking pristine even on the outside, you have to take care of your lawn. This means watering and trimming it so that it is even and has a pleasant outlook. The trimming part is harder if you have a large compound since it will take quite long with regular lawnmowers. This is why you should invest in one of the best riding lawn mowers in the market. You may also want one for commercial mowing purposes.

There are, of course, numerous options, and we can tell you this since we already reviewed 30 different riding lawn mowers. A top contender for the best is the Ariens Apex 60” Kawasaki. Most people will be glad to have the wide cutting area, zero-turn wheels, powerful engine, and other excellent attributes that this tool has to offer. However, some may opt for other high-quality machines to feature on the below table as well. After all, preferences differ for most individuals.

The list below takes into account cutting widths, cutting heights, transmission, engines, warranties, and other features while ranking the products in the table. This information comes from the manufacturer and vendor sites, as well as customer reviews. Finding the data was by no means easy, but we spent a great deal of time at it and got the results. The mentioned features are important because they give an overview of the capabilities of each device. Also, this article is divided into three sections. The table part has already been mentioned. There are as well detailed reviews of the 11 products that made it onto our list and a buying guide to make acquiring the best riding lawn mower a breeze for you.

Top 11 Riding Lawn Mowers Review 2021


Ariens Apex 60” KawasakiEditor’s Choice

  • Engine: 24 HP/726 cc Kawasaki FR V-Twin
  • Cutting width: 60”
  • Cutting height: 1.5” – 5”
  • Warranty: 4 year (machine), 5 year (deck & frame)
  • Dimensions: 74.5” x 62.8” x 42”

Other features: zero-turn, 8 MPH / 4 MPH (fwd/rev), fully tubular steel frame, self-adjusting belt technology, foot-operated deck lift

If you want a riding lawn mower from a reputable manufacturer, the Ariens Apex 60” Kawasaki is just as good as any. However, this is not the only good thing this machine has going for it.

The fact that you are looking for a riding lawn mower like this one means that your property is vast. If that is not the case, you are using this for commercial purposes. Either way, you want a tool that can easily cover large patches of grass. For that reason, you have a 60” cutting width, as mentioned in the name of the device.

You may notice that not many machines can top that cutting width even on this list. A Kawasaki engine is responsible for powering the blade that makes slight work of your grass. It also powers the wheels of the device. Worth noting is the fact that it can handle both the weight of the mower and the weight of the driver quite easily. It seems that it is also powerful enough to go up relatively steep lawns.

Also, you get control over the height of the grass that is left. You have several options that range from 1.5”-5”. If you do use this for commercial purposes, this will help you easily fulfill the needs of your different customers.

Additionally, the invention will allow you to pull off sharp turns. If you can do this successfully, you will avoid leaving patches of uncut grass as you mow. This, of course, makes the whole process of mowing more efficient.

There is also the matter of speed where the device offers 8 MPH going forward and 4 MPH going backward. Not many other options can provide higher speeds.

Another area where you get a lot of value is in the accessories available. They include a mulch kit, chute baffle, lawn striping kit, and more. You can even get headlights to allow you to keep mowing after sunset. Admittedly these extra accessories will require a lot of your money, but the functionality may be worth it.

The manufacturer as well adds value to this purchase by giving a four-year warranty for the machine components. This is topped by the frame and deck warranty that covers the first buyer for five years.

What we liked:

  • Comes with a comprehensive machine and body warranty
  • You have your pick of cutting heights
  • Wide cutting area
  • Zero-turn wheel design
  • Multiple accessories are available
  • Durable body
  • Powerful Kawasaki engine

What could be better:

  • The cost of the device can get significantly higher if you choose to acquire the accessories
  • This machine can also be quite noisy

Swisher Z3166CPKAPremium Pick

  • Engine: 31 HP (999cc) Kawasaki
  • Cutting width: 66”
  • Cutting height: 1.25″-5″
  • Warranty: n/a
  • Dimensions: 113.5” x 83” x 68”

Other features: 10 MPH, Hydro-Gear 3400 transmissions, 8-gallon fuel capacity, 23” chevron tread drive tires, L.E.D. headlights

Those with almost limitless financial capabilities can look towards the Swisher Z3166CPKA as a potential purchase. This tool is one of the best that money can buy even besting the Ariens Apex 60” Kawasaki in a couple of areas. However, as mentioned, this tool doesn’t come cheap.

The engine is the first thing on the features list above is worth noting. As you can see, it is a 999cc Kawasaki option. This translates to about 31HP making it one of the most powerful engines available for a lawnmower. Also, a hydro gear with about 3400 transmissions ensures this power is used where it is needed.

Additionally, this tool comes with a 66” cutting width. As such, you can cut down on the number of runs you need to make to trim the whole lawn. It even spots an eight-gallon fuel tank just in case you need to cut the grass the entire day. Additionally, the tank is there as support since the engine is likely to need more fuel than other options.

It would also be a waste to purchase an expensive mower that can’t handle rough terrain. This is not a problem you will have to worry about with this product. One reason is, of course, the powerful engine, while the other is the inclusion of chevron tread drive tires.

Also, where high-quality elements are mentioned, the body of this machine cannot be left behind. The heavy-duty, commercial-grade steel body is more than capable of holding its own against anything that might damage the mower. It will also easily handle the weight of the person on top of it.

As if that is not enough, the engine is wrapped in a protective covering and is, therefore, quite hard to damage. Nonetheless, this engine is not entirely inaccessible. You can use a button and flip up the deck electronically if you need to handle any maintenance issues.

You also have electric height adjustment with options ranging from 1.25″ to 5″. The impressive attributes don’t stop there. L.E.D lights are present as well as a very comfortable and adjustable seat.

Most of these attributes are well worth the money you spend. However, a warranty is absent, taking away from the perfect score that this product should have.

What we liked:

  • Durable body
  • Protected engine
  • Comfortable seat
  • L.E.D headlights are present
  • Powerful engine
  • Fast mowing speed
  • Large cutting diameter

What could be better:

  • The machine is quite expensive
  • It lacks a warranty

Husqvarna MZ61Best Zero Turn Riding Lawn Mower

  • Engine: 24 HP Kawasaki
  • Cutting width: 61”
  • Cutting height: 1.5” – 4.5”
  • Warranty: 4 years
  • Dimensions: 75” x 42” x 62.3”

Other features: zero-turn, 8 MPH, roll-over protection system, 11-gauge steel cutting deck, 9-bushel triple bag collection system, hydrostatic transmission

The Husqvarna MZ61 as well cements its position among the top few picks in our lineup. If you cannot tell from the image we have provided above, this is a Zero-turn model capable of maneuvering some tight spots. However, it is still meant to handle large lawns owing to the cutting width and the engine.

The engine’s power is even the same as that of the Ariens Apex 60” Kawasaki reviewed above. Also, both these engines are outsourced from the same company. This should mean relatively similar levels of performance.

This whole machine is covered by a 4-year warranty. That being said, it is unlikely that the deck will get damaged enough within four years that you will have to claim the warranty. As it stands, it features an 11-gauge steel cutting deck, which of course, is quite impressive.

Also, this tool has been designed for maximum mowing capability. This is why it has a 61-inch cutting width. If you add this to the 8 MPH speed, you will realize that this invention will run circles around most of the other options that we feature on this list. As such, if you have a lawn that is vast or wide, this is one of the tools you can use to make your work a lot easier.

Additionally, there are mostly good things to hear about hydrostatic transmission. If you are worried that your lawn has a few inclines that will be difficult for riding lawn mowers to handle, don’t be.

Also, your comfort is of importance to the manufacturer as well. For this reason, you get a high back seat. While this is impressive on its own, there is also the factor of the vibration dampeners included in addition to foam-padded hand grips.

Another highlight of this riding lawn mower is the 9-bushel triple bag collection system. However, you will still have to purchase the bagger attachment separately as well as the mulching kit.

What we liked:

  • 4-year warranty
  • Zero-turn design
  • Comfortable seat with vibration dampeners
  • Durable body
  • Powerful engine and excellent transmission
  • Wide cutting area
  • Fast cutting speeds

What could be better:

  • Relatively expensive
  • Extra accessories as well can be expensive

Ariens 915223 IKON-X 52Best Riding Lawn Mower for Rough Terrain

  • Engine: 23 HP/726 cc Kawasaki FR V-Twin
  • Cutting width: 52”
  • Cutting height: 1.5” – 4.5”
  • Warranty: 3 years (machine), 5 years (deck&frame)
  • Dimensions: 77.5” x 63.4” x 40.9”

Other features: 7 MPH, 2.8-gallon capacity, high-back padded seat with armrests, 11-gauge steel deck

Adding to the ranks of Zero turn options on our list is the Ariens 915223 IKON-X 52. It deserves its place quite high on this list due to a couple of high-end features that will no doubt be useful for a lot of mowing scenarios.

To add to that, this device features a cutting diameter that is superior to most of the other options listed. Another feature that is among the best on the list is the 23 HP/726 cc Kawasaki FR V-Twin. This combines well with the wheels and the cutting components to ensure that not a blade is left out of place.

The tool features a warranty that is available for a lot of other Ariens riding lawn mowers. It involves different coverage terms for various components. The machine components, for instance, get a three-year warranty, which is inferior to that of the deck warranty. This is because the latter’s warranty coverage is five years.

People who like high-back seats will not be disappointed with this product as well. It is also a speedy piece of equipment when going forward.

What we liked:

  • High mowing speed
  • 3-year warranty for machine parts and 5-year guarantee for the deck
  • Comfortable, high-back seat
  • Wide cutting diameter

What could be better:

  • Since this is essentially a big machine, it may not be as maneuverable as smaller options

Husqvarna TS354XDBest Commercial Riding Lawn Mower

  • Engine: 24HP/726cc Kawasaki FR Series V-Twin OHV
  • Cutting width: 54”
  • Cutting height: 1.5”- 4”
  • Warranty: 3 years limited
  • Dimensions: n/a

Other features: 10-gauge steel deck, commercial-grade hydrostat transmission, high-back seat with armrests, LED headlights

Husqvarna is quite reputable as a lawnmower manufacturer. Also, one of their top offerings is the Husqvarna TS354XD. As it stands, this is also one of the more expensive models in the manufacturer’s lineup. This being the case, you should expect a lot of great things from the device.

If you prioritize the design of the seat in your riding lawn mower, you can’t go wrong with this purchase. It offers a high-back seat and hence gives the most support. Also, it comes with armrests for a more comfortable experience.

With the editor’s choice mentioned above, headlights are optional and will come at a cost. With this mower, they come inbuilt, allowing you to continue working no matter the lighting situation.

There is also the element of the 24 HP V-Twin engine. This is not the most powerful option on the list. However, it does hold its own where tough terrain is the order of the day.

Another feature that is right on the money with this device is the body of the machine. First, it features 10-gauge steel construction, which is impressive in and of its own. Also, the fact that it is welded together may add a bit of durability to it as well.

One can also not fail to mention the hydrostat transmission in a review of this product. It is pedal operated and one of the reasons why you will be able to take on inclines and if need be wet conditions.

This product offers a 54” cutting width, so it performs well here as well. Also, like any other high-quality mower, you have your range of cutting height options. A bonus is, of course, the 3-year warranty.

What we liked:

  • Relatively wide cutting area
  • 3-year warranty
  • Durable body
  • Relatively powerful engine
  • Comfortable high-back seat
  • Added traction

What could be better:

  • Most users give nothing but positive reviews on this machine. However, should things change we will be sure to let you know

Ariens IKON XD 42Best 42-Inch Riding Lawn Mower

  • Engine: 18 HP/603 cc Kawasaki FR600
  • Cutting width: 42”
  • Cutting height: 1.5” – 4.5”
  • Warranty: 3 years or 300 hours
  • Dimensions: 77.5″ x 54.2″ x 40″

Other features: 6 MPH / 3 MPH (fwd/rev), foot-operated deck lift, high-back padded seat, deck wash-out port, 4-point deck hanging system

If what you have in mind is a mid-range device, you should consider purchasing the Ariens IKON XD 42. Most Ariens products tend to give away their cutting widths in the name. As such, it is quite easy to deduce the fact that this product has a 42” cutting width. You can probably find this priced between $3500 and $4000 depending on the vendor.

The high-back padded seat is one of the highlights of the product. The lever present also helps you adjust the seat for more comfort. In addition to that, there is the 18 HP/603 cc Kawasaki FR600 engine. Consequently, this is a machine that will be able to hold its own against a variety of terrains and conditions.

Also, this piece of equipment has two cutting speeds. There is a forward cutting speed of 7 MPH. If you choose to reverse the 42-inch riding lawn mower, you can only go at a maximum speed of 3 MPH. Additionally, seven cutting positions are availed to you with heights ranging from 1.5” to 4.5”.

You as well have 12-gauge steel as the raw material used to build the deck of the invention. That being said, it will easily handle the weight of anybody who chooses this as their primary mower. Also, this deck gets warranty coverage of up to five years along with the frame.

The machine is warrantied for three years, which is still quite reasonable. The last thing to note is the foot-operated deck lift, which makes the operation of the device easier for most people.

What we liked:

  • Warranty coverage of five years for the body and three years for the machine parts
  • Durable deck
  • Seven cutting positions are available to users
  • Relatively affordable

What could be better:

  • Relatively small cutting width
  • Doesn’t offer the best traction on wet grounds

Troy-bilt Horse 42Best Value

  • Engine: 547cc Troy-Bilt
  • Cutting width: 42”
  • Cutting height: 1.25” – 3.75”
  • Warranty: 2 years, limited
  • Dimensions: 70” x 47” x 35.5”

Other features: foot-controlled hydrostatic transmission, integrated deck wash system, 15″x6″ front, and 20″ x 8″ rear Turfsaver tires

Our pick for best value goes to the most affordable piece of equipment on our list. Of course, this option is one of the best riding lawn mowers under 2000.

Nevertheless, the engine is not something you would expect a machine at that price point to have.

It also spots some very high-quality wheels both on the front and back of the mower. For more traction, the back wheels are a lot bigger than their front counterparts.

Back support is also provided by the high-back seat. Users are likely to appreciate this since they can spend long periods mowing. Also, the controls are easy and intuitive. You have the steering wheel in the front and foot-controlled transmission.

Over time you should get used to these controls, at which point maneuvering around obstacles will be a piece of cake. A 42-inch cutting deck will as well play its part in adding value to this purchase. That being said, this size is average in comparison to the rest of the list.

For those of us who consider the warranty a vital component of any purchase, you will be glad to know that the Troy-bilt Horse 42 comes with two-year coverage.

What we liked:

  • Affordable
  • Easy to use
  • High-quality components are used in construction
  • High maneuverability

What could be better:

  • It can take quite long to cover large lawns due to the small cutting deck
  • Big enough to take up a lot of storage space in your garage or shed

Troy-Bilt Mustang Fit 34Best Residential Riding Lawn Mower

  • Engine: 452cc* Troy-Bilt
  • Cutting width: 34”
  • Cutting height: n/a
  • Warranty: 2 years, limited
  • Dimensions: 34.75” x 45” x 76.5”

Other features: dual EZT hydrostatic transmission, high-back seat with dual suspension springs, mow-in-reverse capability, 7 MPH

Another option for purchase is the Troy-Bilt Mustang Fit 34. Troy-Bilt as well is like the Husqvarna manufacturer, where they give out details about the product in the name. In this case, it is the cutting width. One example is seen where the cutting width of the Troy-Bilt 30-inch Lawn Mower is 30 inches. You can as well deduce that the product on review here has a 34” cutting diameter.

Since you can mow in reverse, you will easily smooth out some areas that you are not too sure about. Also, this machine has a top mowing speed of 7 MPH. Nevertheless, when moving in reverse, this speed is cut down to 2.5 MPH.

Additionally, you may be looking for the most comfortable seat you can find in a residential riding lawnmower. This is one of the top options since it spots a high-back seat that comes with dual suspension rings.

The 452cc engine as well is dependable even where a bit of sticky terrain is to be expected. As compared to options like the Swisher Z3166CPKA, this option will need you to pay a much lower price as well. If that helps you decide on whether or not to purchase the product, then all the better.

What we liked:

  • Relatively inexpensive
  • High mowing speed
  • Relatively powerful engine
  • The high back seat is comfortable for most users
  • You have the option of mowing in reverse

What could be better:

  • Doesn’t feature a wide cutting diameter meaning it will take longer to mow and maintain large lawns

Husqvarna Z254Best Grass-Cutting Technology

  • Engine: 26 HP Kohler
  • Cutting width: 54”
  • Cutting height: 5” – 4”
  • Warranty:3 years
  • Dimensions: 75” x 40” x 67”

Other features: max speed 6.5 MPH, 2.8 acres/hr, 6 cutting height steps, 3 blades, collect/mulch/side discharge cutting methods, 3.5 gal fuel tank capacity, air induction mowing technology, automatic choke system

This riding lawnmower has the perfect combination of performance and style. It has an innovative design and features that make it the best option among many. It has a 26 hp Kohler engine that provides a powerful and reliable start and can reach a top speed of 6.5 MPH.

Other features of the lawnmower are a parking brake system that turns on or off automatically when the steering levers are moved outward or inward. There’s also a specially built-in air-intake mower technology that draws air in from above and below to cut the grass quickly for a superior cut.

The lawnmower is made from heavy-duty flat steel for ultimate durability. Clippings can be unloaded, mulched, or packed. With an innovative and maintenance-free transmission, you can use this lawnmower year after year without any problems. It’s a zero-turn mower that is incredibly easy to use, with lots of power and speed.

What we liked:

  • Zero-turn transmission
  • Incredibly powerful and reliable engine for any task
  • For smooth, maintenance-free operation.
  • 26 HP motor power
  • Wide cut of up to 137 cm

What could be better:

  • Mower doesn't come with a headlight as advertised

Troy-Bilt 30-inch Lawn MowerBest 30-Inch Riding Lawn Mower

  • Engine: 382cc OHV
  • Cutting width: 30”
  • Cutting height: up to 10”
  • Warranty: 2 years limited
  • Dimensions: 62” x 34” x 26”

Other features: 4.25 MPH, 6-speed transmission,18-inch turning radius, 13×5-inch front wheels, 16×6.5-inch rear wheels

Per your needs, you may be looking for a device with a relatively small cutting width. If this is the case, the Troy-Bilt 30-inch Lawn Mower is a top contender. The engine and body as well will match this set of needs.

If you paid attention to the overview of features displayed above, you would realize the Troy-Bilt 30-inch Lawn Mower comes with a 382cc OHV engine. This engine is still strong enough to fit the needs of any medium-size lawn. Also, we would advise against using this in uneven and challenging terrain. This will strain the engine, and as a result, it may not last very long.

Due to the small cutting width, you can assume that this tool also has a similarly sized cutting deck. However, this can be seen as a massive benefit to anyone who has obstacles in their lawn. Of course, due to the size of the deck, it will be much easier to navigate around these obstacles without damaging them.

The 4.25 MPH speed seems a little slow. However, for maneuverability purposes, this speed could be ideal. To support the device’s movement, there are 16×6.5-inch rear wheels, which are complemented by smaller front wheels.

Comfort as well, is not something you need to worry about. The manufacturer realizes that you might have to spend long periods on top of your mower. As such, the mid-back seat serves the purpose of keeping you comfortable as you trim your lawn.

Additionally, this tool is started manually. For some people, this may be a turn off from purchasing the mower. For others, they appreciate the fact that this machine will start every time they need it. Also, this gasoline-powered motor requires very little fuel to operate and is backed by a 2-year limited warranty.

What we liked:

  • Comes with a 2-year warranty
  • Durable wheels are included
  • Offers a comfortable mid-back chair
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Relatively easy to assemble

What could be better:

  • The machine is not ideal for difficult terrain
  • It also cannot handle large lawns
  • Due to the small cutting width, it takes longer to mow

Snapper 2911525BVE ClassicBest Small Riding Lawn Mower

  • Engine: 5 HP 344cc Briggs & Stratton
  • Cutting width: 28”
  • Cutting height: 1.5” – 4”
  • Warranty: 3 years, limited
  • Dimensions: 66” x 32” x 43”

Other features: rear engine mower,
Disc Drive transmission, key start, 4.5 MPH, 5 cutting positions

Getting a mower in the $2000 to $3000 range is also possible if that is your budget. The Snapper 2911525BVE Classic is one key example. It provides a 11.5 HP or 344 cc engine in your mower.

Also, the device comes with the same cutting height range as the Husqvarna TS354XD.  Additionally, the warranty terms seem to be the same for both these products. However, the similarities seem to stop there. You have a maximum of five cutting height options. If you are only using this on your lawn, it should be easy to figure out what height to stick to after a few tries.

Also, there is the fact of the 4.5MPH cutting speed. As compared to the other options listed, it isn’t precisely mind-blowing in its speed. Nonetheless, it is reliable and will get the job done even if it takes longer than other residential riding mowers.

The cutting width is even less than half that of the Husqvarna MZ61. This being the case, we would advise that you only take this out on medium and relatively small lawns. Nevertheless, if you have the time and patience, it will still get the job done on much larger properties.

What we liked:

  • 3-year warranty
  • Easy to start
  • Due to its size, it’s easier to maneuver around obstacles

What could be better:

  • Small cutting width
  • The machine is not the most ideal for steep inclines due to less power in the engine

Things to Consider

The above list should show you that there are a lot of different options available in the market. Capabilities will as well vary from product to product. Also, it should be clear that a lawn tractor that works for you may not work for somebody else. As such, a smart purchase decision will make sure you get the best in both functionality and value. If you want to make such an intelligent buying decision, you may have to take what is in the buying guide below under serious consideration.

How do riding lawn mowers work?

Riding lawn mowers have several key components, including the engine, wheels, deck, and blades. The engine powers all functions, including the movement of the wheels and the rotation of the blades. However, it is often possible to turn off the blade while the tractor is still moving.

The rotation of the blades cuts the grass as you go along. Debris is also often present on the grass. If left unchecked, it will fly out due to the impact with the blades. This can lead to lots of damage to your property. To prevent this from happening, manufacturers include protective housing in the form of decks.

Additionally, the deck makes sure grass clippings are deposited to the side of the machine as it moves along. Also, levers and maybe a steering wheel are provided to control the device.

Of course, if you are choosing a riding lawn mower, it is because they are quick and often have more extensive decks and cutting blades. This allows them to make light work of even the most extensive lawns. The best part of this arrangement is that the user doesn’t have to do much of the work other than to control the machine.

Benefits of riding lawn mowers

11 Best Riding Lawn Mowers - Get the Best in Both Functionality and Value

If you are looking for reasons to buy a riding lawn mower, there are quite a few. For one, wider decks are ideal for large properties. Wider decks also imply wider cutting diameters.

Of course, with a wide cutting surface, you will need to make fewer runs to cut all the grass on your property. This even applies to a commercial setting where you are hired for the same. You thus end up saving a lot of time.

You also don’t have to get tired. With most other mowers, you will have to either walk behind, push, or pull them. You expend a lot of energy moving up and down the property. With the riding lawn mower, you just sit on the device and maneuver it to where you want it to go.

Features to consider when buying a riding lawn mower

We have already established that there are lots of different models of riding lawnmowers. What makes up these differences are the features. You find varying engines, cutting diameters, controls, and much more. Consequently, these are things you have to be aware of before going shopping. Otherwise, the information given to you by vendors may overwhelm you leading to a bad purchase decision.

All the said mower features are discussed below. Yours is to take all that data in and find a way to make use of it as you select your mower of choice.

Type of mower

Some people have described rear engine mowers as entry-level riding mowers. This is true in the sense that they don’t have the largest cutting decks. Additionally, they are not often as powerful as some of their counterparts. Also, they take up the least storage space out of all riding mower options.

The above features make them ideal for relatively tight spaces such as a fenced yard. They also shouldn’t be used to tackle monstrous terrains. The Troy-Bilt 30-inch Lawn Mower is an example of a rear-engine mower. Also, you can deduce from the name that the engines are placed on the backs of the machines.

Lawn/garden tractors are superior in a lot of aspects, among them size, engines, and power. They will take up a lot of storage space since they have bulky bodies. These bodies as well are quite solid and are meant to rank highly on the durability meter.

Additionally, they spot the most powerful engines where riding lawn mowers are concerned. Couple these with high-quality wheels, and these options can go anywhere. They are also quite fast, making these the go-to options for vast lawns or commercial purposes. After all, with one of these, you are likely to finish up mowing projects rather quickly.

Another category to consider is that of the mulching mowers. These have extra blades as part of their makeup. The main blades do the work of cutting grass where it grows. Secondary blades take on grass clippings to slice them into the smallest clippings possible.

The idea behind this is that smaller clippings dry up quicker. Finally, you have zero-turn mowers. Examples of the same include the Ariens 915223 IKON-X 52 and Ariens IKON XD 42. Their main benefit is that they offer superior levels of maneuverability to their tractor counterparts. This is because they can take advantage of the individually movable back wheels to make sharp turns.


11 Best Riding Lawn Mowers - Get the Best in Both Functionality and Value

You can also not discount the value of an engine to your mowing needs. Before you can decide, you need to check on two main factors. The first is the size of the lawns that you plan to use the machine on. Second is the terrain to expect.

If the lawn in question is relatively small and features even terrain, there is no need to purchase a powerful engine. It would be overkill, and its capabilities would be wasted on such a property. Noteworthy is the fact that you will have spent a lot more money to get this engine.

In contrast, you may have a huge lawn waiting for you with steep inclines. This is where you need to check for some of the best and most powerful engines money can buy. The HP (999cc) Kawasaki from the Swisher Z3166CPKA is a prime example.

Engines like this will effortlessly tackle small hills, large lawns, and they also guarantee you top mowing speeds.


Obstacles are also a common feature in most lawns. As such, you may need to find a way around them as you are mowing. This may prove difficult since some mowers don’t have much maneuverability. Zero-turn options do not have that problem. Other options as well allow you to turn, move forward, and move backward quite easily. A smaller deck is also an asset where maneuverability is concerned.


All zero turn models have two swiveling tires at the front while those at the back are drive tires. You can see that in the design of the Ariens IKON XD 42. Also, the back wheels can be operated independently of each other. They can even rotate in different directions. This, of course, makes it so much easier to turn, and high levels of maneuverability come by as a result. Unfortunately, this also makes zero turn models more expensive than standard lawn tractors.

Cutting width and height

Cutting widths on our list range from 28” on the Snapper 2911525BVE Classic to 66” on the Swisher Z3166CPKA. Before purchase, you should know that the cutting diameter is constant on any riding mower. Consequently, you will be stuck with whichever option you pick for a long time to come.

The 28” option being the smaller one of the two examples given above is better for getting through tight spaces. As such, if you have a lot of fixtures in your yard apart from grass, this is the smart option to invest in.

Also, some people have miles of grass in their home compounds. The mowers available won’t be able to clear the grass on these types of properties in one fell swoop. A couple of runs will be needed. The number of runs is greatly reduced if you have a 66” cutting width as opposed to a 28” option.

You, therefore, have to gauge which of these two extremes best suits your property and needs. There as well isn’t anything wrong with choosing an option in the middle.

With cutting heights, you get more fluid options. Most of the devices mentioned above offer a range of sizes to choose from. All you would need to do is adjust it according to the needs of the day. Of course, higher-end models come with wider ranges and more cutting height options.

The Ariens Apex 60” Kawasaki is a prime example of a high-end model with cutting height options of between 1.5” and 5”. In contrast, the Troy-bilt Horse 42 costs a fraction of the price and has a range of between 1.25” and 3.75”. As such, you have to decide which of these two ranges appeals most to you. This may be tied to the vision you have for your lawn.

Cutting deck material

The deck can be considered a safety feature in most lawnmowers. If it wasn’t there, you would have to contend with pebbles, rocks, pieces of wood, and more being launched from under the mower. These things are likely to damage fixtures in your compound or, worse, gravely injure someone.

This being the case, the deck acts as a shield and prevents such a scenario. Nevertheless, you can’t argue with the fact that these materials are launched by the blades at very high speeds. Thus the deck needs to be able to take the force of the launched object.

Consequently, you will find a recurring theme in the products mentioned above, where manufacturers try to outdo each other in durability. This implies that the more durable and sturdy a deck is, the better. Add this to your riding mower checklist before deciding the product to buy.


11 Best Riding Lawn Mowers - Get the Best in Both Functionality and Value

A powerful engine is useless if the power is not transmitted to the wheels and blades. As such high-quality transmission is also a requirement in any high-end machine as well.

Fuel capacity

You should also check on the fuel capacity in relation to the consumption of the engine. As a general guideline, the machine in question should be able to hold enough fuel for at least a day of mowing. Of course, bigger, more powerful machines will need larger fuel tanks because they consume more. This is why the Swisher Z3166CPKA has an 8-gallon fuel tank.


A mulch kit, lawn striping kit, and more are optional attachments that add functionality to a residential or commercial riding lawnmower. Some of these attachments come with the initial purchase, while others don’t. Also, you need to know whether your mower supports their addition to the setup. One way of doing this is to log on to the manufacturer’s website and check the accessories that each model is compatible with. This should also give you a ballpark figure of how much you need to spend to unlock the full functionality of the mower.


Almost all products mentioned above come with warranties. This is because manufacturers know that customers like guarantees with their purchase. However, the terms provided will likely differ from manufacturer to manufacturer. Terms can also change from model to model.

You should, therefore, take it upon yourself not to assume but rather to seek out all information about the guarantee for the mower you are eyeing.

This way, you know how long your purchase is covered and what elements in the machine can be fixed at no extra cost. Some options offer a single warranty for the whole device. The Husqvarna MZ61 is an example with its four years of coverage for the entire purchase.

Others offer different warranty terms for their products. The Ariens IKON XD 42 shows this with its 3-year or 300-hour warranty for the machine.

Other features

Having headlights is not a common theme since most people don’t mow in low visibility settings. However, it may just be because most lawn mowers don’t offer headlights, and thus mowing can get tricky in relatively dark scenarios. As such, a product with headlights will likely have the edge over counterparts since it opens up more possibilities.

This is only one example of what extra features can do for you. It also makes it worth looking into any other features that a potential purchase may have. This way, you know just how much extra functionality to expect.


Starting a riding lawnmower doesn’t just involve turning a key. Various steps may need to be followed depending on the model. Below is a general guideline that covers just about all significant points.

First, you ensure you are seated on the machine and can easily access all controls. This is not a car, so it most likely doesn’t have a seat belt. As such, you move on to the next step, which is to locate and press the brakes. Depending on the model, this may be a pedal or lever.

Some options also have a parking brake that you can engage using a dedicated knob. As you engage this knob, release the brake pedal slowly. This allows you to take the next step, which is to shift the mower’s gear to neutral. Naturally, the indicator for neutral is “N.”

After that, the throttle on your machine needs to be pulled into the choke position. Choke position also differs from model to model, so you need to be careful. It might be between the slow and fast modes on your throttle or above the fast mode in some riding mowers.

The next two steps are quite simple and include inserting the key into the ignition and turning it to the right. Also, the last step involves the throttle again, where you need to push it back to the fast position.

How long your riding lawn mower lasts is mostly up to you. If you take care of the invention, it can last up to 20 years. This also involves winterizing it if you plan to keep it in storage for long periods.

When winter comes knocking, you don’t just drive your mower into the garage and wait for the next season. This is a recipe for disaster where the machine may give you problems when next you need to start it. Instead, follow the instructions below, and you should have no problems the next time you need the riding lawnmower.

Disconnect spark plugs, so you are assured the device won’t start accidentally. You likely have fuel left in the tank at this time. It does have a high chance of going stale, and this risk can be offset by adding a fuel preserver. You should endeavor to top off the tank. This reduces the chances of water contamination since the tank will not be sweating.

After this, run the engine for ten minutes or more. This will ensure that the treated engine fuel reaches the carburetor. When you do eventually shut it down, make sure to change the oil on the device. This includes changing the oil filter as well. Do not forget to oil the new filter.

Old spark plugs will also do more damage than good at this stage and hence need to be replaced with new ones. After this, you can reconnect the spark plugs and restart the lawn tractor. If no leaks are evident when you do this, you should be good to go.

Remove the battery, clean it, and store it in a cool, dry place. Terminal protectors should also help if applied to the respective terminals. The rest of the machine also needs to be cleaned. Ensure no debris or grass clippings are left behind. As a final tip, you can cover the whole device up.

You may not want to spend hours on end mowing your lawn. If so, there are a few hacks that can help you along. You should start with the hardest parts of your yard, and that includes steep inclines and areas with obstructions. If you can get through that, the rest of it is smooth sailing.

If you have a wide cutting blade, it means you can get done with the job much quicker. This, however, may not always be an option for all individuals. When you are left with flat grassy areas, you can try different starting positions. However, ensure that you don’t leave any patches of grass in the middle. Otherwise, you will waste time, in the end, trying to get to them. Be sure to experiment as you try to find the most efficient mowing routine that you can then stick to.

Our Verdict

After getting through a review of about ten high-ranking options, you have to select a few favorites. For us, it is hard to beat the Swisher Z3166CPKA. Other than the price being a little high, everything else about this product would be an asset while mowing. We would recommend this option for any professional who caters to large lawns on a day to day basis. The cutting diameter and speed allow them to finish a day’s work a little early and start resting.

If the price of the Z3166CPKA is too much, consider the Ariens Apex 60” Kawasaki. Your money will not go to waste here. There is a wide cutting area, relatively high maneuverability, speed that almost matches the Swisher, and many other positives. It is even hard to pick out any negatives associated with this product.

Also, it gets stiff competition from the Husqvarna MZ61, where the statistics are quite similar. With an unlimited budget, these three would be our go-to options. However, life is rarely that simple. Needs also determine the type of device you go for. As such, we understand that your top three selection may be entirely different from ours. Remember to use the buying guide above to make sure you made the right call before checking out your order on Amazon.

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