Is your lawn over ½-acre? It’s time to upgrade to a riding lawn mower or a lawn tractor. Drive one of these to cut your grass faster and with a lot less effort. Plus, many riding mowers and lawn tractors can haul, plow, and shovel. They make your springtime gardening, summer mowing, fall raking, and winter plowing that much easier.
With a wide selection of riding mowers on the market, it can be difficult to choose the model that meets your needs without emptying your wallet. Let’s look at the top riding lawn mowers for the money to see which one is the best for you.
Troy-Bilt TB30R 420cc OHV 30-Inch Premium Neighborhood Riding Lawn Mower
You may have seen our previous review of the popular Troy-Bilt 30-inch riding lawn mower. It’s the best mower for the money when you have a lawn that measures ½ to 1 acre in size. It handles uneven terrain well with its 420cc OHV engine with speeds up to 4.25mph. That’s faster than the average person can walk.
The OHV means that it’s efficient with fuel so the 1.3-gallon gas tank lasts you longer. The 30-inch cutting width covers the lawn much quicker than a push mower. The 18-inch turning radius helps you get in close to trees and flower beds.
Troy-Bilt didn’t just focus on power and speed, they made this a comfortable mower that’s easy to use. It has a soft-grip steering wheel and an adjustable seat. When you’re all done working, the mower is small enough to store neatly in the garage or a shed. Troy-Bilt offers a 2-year warranty to protect your purchase.
For more in-depth details, check out our review of the Troy-Bilt Premium Neighborhood Riding Lawn Mower.
Husqvarna YTH24V48 24 HP Yard Tractor, 48-Inch
Now we’ll move up in size with the Husqvarna YTH24V48 Yard Tractor. Why would you want a yard tractor instead of the riding lawn mower? For one, with the 48-inch mowing deck, you can cut a larger area more quickly. Go ahead, test this one on 2 to 3 acres. It can handle large grassy areas and uneven terrain like hills, no problem.
But don’t think just because it’s a beast out in the field that it will leave your front lawn looking ragged. The three blades are adjustable up, or down, to just the height you need for your grass.
This Husqvarna lawn tractor has plenty of power with its 24Hp Briggs & Stratton engine.
It can mow, mulch, push a snowplow, and pull a variety of attachments like a cart, spreader, and de-thatcher. Just like the Troy-Bilt, it’s not hard to drive, but there are some differences on how you’ll operate it.
This Husqvarna tractor turns on with the twist of a key thanks to its keyless start. Engage (or disengage) the blades with the pull of a lever. The transmission is where things are different.
The YTH24V48 has a pedal-operated hydrostatic transmission. You’ll change speed and direction with your feet and still steer with your hands. Yes, if you have no experience driving this, it may take a few minutes to get the hang of it. On the upside, you can literally turn this mower on a dime.
Also on the upside, you can mow both forwards and backwards. If you just drove over yard-high grass on the back forty and you’re not happy with the way it looks, back over it and cut it again.
Husqvarna included headlights in case you’re up early or out late working. The seat has spring suspension and is adjustable to various heights for the comfort of multiple users. The armrests lift up out of the way. Our only complaint is that the steering wheel is a bit small. Other than that all the controls are within easy reach.
If you want to see the Husqvarna YTH24V48 in action, check out this brief video filmed by an owner of this lawn tractor.
Now that we’ve shared our top picks for riding lawn mowers with you, here are a few other accessories and related items that can make your mowing easier.
Our first pick is a Weed Eater riding lawn mower. If the Troy-Bilt and Husqvarna are too large for your yard, take a look at this 26-inch model.
Weed Eater WE-ONE 26-Inch 190cc Briggs & Stratton 875 Series Gas Powered Riding Lawn Mower with Electric Start
The Weed Eater WE-ONE is just 3 feet wide so it fits in smaller spaces than other riding mowers. The blade height adjusts from 1.5 to 4 inches to handle all kinds of warm and cool weather grasses. Driving it is simpler than operating many other kinds of lawn mowers as it has only three forward gears and one reverse. If you’re not ready for a lawn tractor but you still want to mow in comfort, this may be just right for you.
3M WorkTunes Wireless Hearing Protector with Bluetooth
Listen to the radio or music from your phone while you mow with these wireless Bluetooth headphones made by 3M. They reduce noise by 24 decibels to keep your hearing intact.
Husqvarna H34648SL 3-Bin Bagger
Pick up this three bin bagger for your new Husqvarna lawn tractor. It holds up to 9 bushels of clippings. The full bag indicator warns when the bin is getting full.
MTD Genuine Parts Mini Rider Bagger
This mini bagger fits the Troy-Bilt 30-inch riding lawn mower. It holds up to 3.5 bushels of clippings and comes highly recommended by many users.
Aluminum Lawnmower ATV Loading Ramps
Do you need to take your mower in for a tune-up? Or maybe the mother-in-law wants her lawn mowed, too. No problem—these lightweight but incredibly strong folding ramps will let you load up the lawn tractor right in the back of the truck.
Things break down. Square Trade covers you after the manufacturer warranty ends. If you sell your riding mower in a few years so you can upgrade to another, the Square Trade Warranty transfers to the next owner.
FAQs about riding mowers
Q: What kind of maintenance will I need to do with my new riding mower or lawn tractor?
A: Gas-powered engines on mowers need tune-ups each year. You’ll be changing the oil, checking the battery, cleaning and replacing filters, checking the air in the tires, and replacing spark plugs. You’ll also need to sharpen the blade(s). There are many mechanics and shops that will take care of this for you, or you can save money by doing it yourself. Check out the accessories section above for folding ramps that will help you transport your mower.
Q: Is it really necessary to wear hearing protection while mowing?
A: Gas motors on mowers, even OHV engines, make enough noise that hearing protection is highly recommended. Lawn mowers easily top 100dB, and listening to that for over an hour will put your ears at risk of permanent damage. Even just 20dB reduction in sound will keep you safe for the time it takes to mow. We have one popular set of wireless headphones that protect up to 24dB in our accessory section above.
Q: Is there a best way to mow with a lawn tractor?
A: Check out this mowing pattern below suggested by Husqvarna.
Image courtesy of Husqvarna
Q: What is Husqvarna?
A: The Husqvarna Group is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden. They started manufacturing lawn mowers in 1919. Their first powered lawn mower roared to life in 1947. They have plenty of experience making their orange mowing machines.
Q: What is Troy-Bilt?
A: Troy-Bilt started in the 1930s in America, and started making lawn tractors in the late 1950s. It’s now a part of MTD Products which owns other lawn mower brands like Cub Cadet.
Q: I see my neighbor riding his mower to the store. Is that legal?
A: Probably not. If you’re curious, check with the local police.
Q: Is lawn mower racing a real sport?
A: Yes, it is. But, for safety, please take your blades off first.
Have a healthy lawn with less work
We offer you the best buyer’s guides on lawn care products. Not sure if you’re ready for a lawn tractor? Check out our reviews of the best electric lawn mowers.