Buying Guide: The Best Riding Lawn Mowers in 2021
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Buying Guide: The Best Riding Lawn Mowers in 2021

Mowing your lawn doesn’t need to be a chore. When you choose the right riding lawn mower, you might find that you enjoy taking care of your yard. You’ll also find it easier than ever to keep a well-manicured yard. All it takes is the right equipment, so check out our guide to the best riding lawn mowers in 2021 and buy one that will work the best for your property.

Backyard Boss Top 5 Riding Lawn Mowers for 2021

PRODUCT FEATURES
Husqvarna Z254 - Buying Guide: The Best Riding Lawn Mowers in 2021Husqvarna Z254
  • One year warranty
  • Zero turn radius
  • Speed of 6.5 mph
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Troy-Bilt Neighborhood Riding Lawn Mower - Buying Guide: The Best Riding Lawn Mowers in 2021Troy-Bilt Neighborhood Riding Lawn Mower
  • Two year limited warranty
  • Easy storage
  • Adjustable cutting height
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Husqvarna YTH18542 - Buying Guide: The Best Riding Lawn Mowers in 2021Husqvarna YTH18542
  • Two year warranty
  • Smooth movement
  • Engineered for comfort
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Troy-Bilt Pony 42 Inch Riding Lawn Mower - Buying Guide: The Best Riding Lawn Mowers in 2021Troy-Bilt Pony 42 Inch Riding Lawn Mower
  • Two year warranty
  • 500cc 15.5 HP engine
  • 42-Inch deck
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Husqvarna YTH24V48 - Buying Guide: The Best Riding Lawn Mowers in 2021Husqvarna YTH24V48
  • Three year warranty
  • 24 HP engine
  • Foot pedal transmission
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Why You Can Trust Us

The Backyard Boss team knows what it’s like to shop around for the best products, including riding lawn mowers. We own properties, we love our tools, and we’re regulars at our local hardware stores. While we can’t test each and every product, we do have hands-on experience with lawn mowers and know what to look for beyond the plain specs. We know which brands we can trust and we’ve combed through product reviews to exclude products with hidden faults. What we offer you is a convenient overview of the best products currently on the market and the confidence that all of them are reliable and worth their price.

Best Riding Mower for Low Maintenance

Husqvarna Z254
    This ZTR mower cuts grass quickly and efficiently. It's also extremely comfortable.

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In the world of lawn care, Husqvarna reigns supreme. They have several excellent models of riding mowers, but the 26 HP hydrostatic ZTR mower is one of the more popular options.

Why We Like It: It features a 26 horsepower engine that gets you going as fast as 6.5 miles per hour. It also comes with a park brake system that allows you to stop with ease as the steering levers move. Furthermore, the 54-inch cutting deck covers some serious ground. It’s made with reinforced steel, which makes it one of the more durable mowers on the market. You have the option to discharge, bag, or mulch your grass clippings.

Who Should Get It: This model is the right pick for you if you have a large yard but little skill or patience for maintenance. It has a maintenance-free transmission that allows you to focus more on your yard and less on keeping your equipment in working order. If you have a large yard, this model has everything you need to speed up mowing in comfort.

Best for Smaller Properties

Troy-Bilt Neighborhood Riding Lawn Mower
    An easy-to-store mower, this simple riding mower travels up to 4.5 mph.

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Smaller properties don’t require a powerful riding mower, but they do require one that works well. While the Troy-Bily neighborhood riding mower isn’t nearly as powerful as some of the other top choices for mowers, it has everything you need to get the job done.

Why We Like It: This mower is equipped with a 382cc OHV engine. At top speed, it travels as fast as 4.25 mph. It has a six-speed transmission and a 30-inch cutting deck. If you’re interested in customizing your grass cutting experience, you can adjust the cutting deck to one of five settings. The seat is comfortable and the steering wheel has soft grips on it.

Who Should Get It: If you need a mower that can make tight turns, fits through narrow spaces, and takes up little storage space, look no further. Although this isn’t a zero-turn radius mower, it does have a small turning radius of 18 inches. The front and back wheels are sized in a way to make maneuvering easy. If you don’t have an exceptionally large property and have even terrain, the Troy-Bilt Neighborhood Riding Mower is a good option.

Best for Comfort

Husqvarna YTH18542 Hydrostatic Riding Mower
    This high-quality riding mower is as smooth as it gets and engineered for comfort.

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Husqvarna makes a hydrostatic mower that has powerful performance and a small turning radius. With its 18.5 horsepower motor, this mower has enough power to get through long grass and a large yard.

Why We Like It: The transmission is operated with foot pedals, giving you the ability to keep your hands on the steering wheel as you change speed. When you turn, you have an impressive 16-inch turning radius. Tight spaces and tricky obstacles are no match for this mower. With a 42-inch cutting deck, the mower covers a significant amount of ground in a short time.

As far as comfort goes, this model has what you need. The mid-back seat is adjustable and the steering wheel has an ergonomic design. When you combine this with the smooth movement of the hydrostatic transmission, you get a comfortable ride.

Who Should Get It: For those who want a comfortable yet powerful riding mower, the Husqvarna Briggs & Stratton Hydrostatic Riding Mower should be a top pick.

Best Budget Riding Mower for Large Properties

Troy-Bilt Pony 42X Riding Lawn Mower
    With a seven-speed transmission, this riding mower has enough power to take on your yard. It's also durable and made to last.

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Another top pick for a riding mower is the Troy-Bilt Pony Tractor. With a 547cc engine, this model means business.

Why We Like It: It has a seven-speed transmission and a 42-inch deck, making it large and powerful enough to cut yards of most sizes and inclines. You can shift while the mower is running, and the shifters are easy to use. Additionally, you can mow while you go in reverse. This product has the option for either mulching or side discharge. The clipping bag is located on the back of the mower to ensure you have good visibility. However, the bag is sold separately.

Because it has two anti-scalp deck wheels, the mower has built-in protection from turf damage. It has a steel crankshaft that makes the product extremely durable. The mid-back seat is comfortable and the step-through design allows you to easily get on and off the mower.

Who Should Get It: If you want a simple riding mower that can handle a large property, this model is a serious contender.

Best for Ease of Use

 Husqvarna YTH24V48
    This product stands out for its ease of use and comfort.

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Once again, Husqvarna makes an appearance on this list of top riding mowers. Similar to the YTH18542 model, the YTH24V48 has a strong 24 horsepower engine. With its Briggs and Stratton Intek V-Twin engine, this model is one of the more powerful lawn tractors on the market.

Why We Like It: Easy to use, this riding mower starts up quickly and has a foot pedal transmission. To change speed and direction, simply push on the foot pedal. Your hands can remain on the steering wheel for the duration of your mowing. Adding to the ease of use is the cruise control. Even when the terrain gets rough, the lawn mower will remain at the same speed.

If you want to turn the mower, all you need to do is pull a switch on the control panel. The mower has a 16-inch turn radius and a 48-inch triple blade. It’s also outfitted with four anti-scalp wheels.

Who Should Get It: If ease of use is your primary concern, the Husqvarna YTH24V48 is worth checking out.

How to Find the Best Riding Mower for Your Needs

Man riding a Husqvarna YTH18542 riding lawn mower across his property.

There’s an overwhelming selection of riding mowers available, and each product has its own merits. Although you might be eager to make your purchase, you should take the time to do some research.

The first thing you should do is understand the types of riding mowers. If you’re looking for a high-performance mower, you need a zero turn radius, or ZTR mower. This type of mower is as efficient as it gets because it cuts grass quickly. Equipped with caster wheels on the front, this mower is capable of making a 180-degree turn. You don’t need to go out of your way to turn the mower.

Of course, this efficiency does come at a cost. ZTR mowers tend to be costly and they have an unusual control mechanism. Instead of using a steering wheel, you need to use two joysticks. As this technology becomes more common, some brands are starting to simplify the controls.

Another popular type of mower is the lawn tractor. In addition to cutting your grass, the tractor can also tow a garden cart. They have smooth transmissions and work well on sloped terrain. If you have a large property but don’t want to spend the money on a ZTR, you may want to look into a tractor.

Choosing Your Features

Riding mowers come with very different features. Before you start shopping, you need to know about those features and decide what matters to you. The more features a mower has, the more expensive it will be. But sometimes, the added cost is worth having a better lawn.

When you spend a little more on a mower, you usually get a large cutting deck and gauge wheels. This prevents the machinery from scraping the ground in the low spots. The mower might also come with the following features:

  • Power deck lift
  • Power steering
  • Tilt-wheel
  • Comfortable seats
  • Large gas tanks

If you are sensitive to jerky movements, you should look for a model that has good pedal control. The manufacturer may advertise this by calling the product input sensitive. When a mower has this feature, it can go at low speeds without making erratic movements.

The engine size is another crucial feature. For those who use riding mowers frequently or have a large area to mow, a product with a powerful V-twin engine would work best. It can give you more torque with fewer RPMs, noise, and vibrations.

Your Budget

As with every purchase, budget matters. You shouldn’t make the cost the driving force behind your decision, but you need to consider your price range.

If you want a cheap riding lawn mower, there’s only one option – a rear engine lawn mower. They tend to cost less than all other types of riding mowers and come with some other advantages. For instance, they give you better visibility. There’s no engine around to block your view. This type of mower is also smaller in size, which makes it easier to store and maneuver through small gates.

The next level up would be a lawn tractor. Despite being more expensive than a rear-engine mower, the tractor is also more useful. It can be used to haul small carts and is more efficient than rear-engine models.

If the cost isn’t an issue, you should consider a ZTR mower. Now that ZTRs are more popular among homeowners, they have become somewhat more affordable. Crunch the numbers and find out which mowers are in your price range.

Storage

You can’t leave your riding lawn mower out in the elements. Therefore, it’s crucial that you think about riding lawn mower storage. You need to determine how much storage space you have and whether or not your mower would fit in that space.

You shouldn’t only consider the size of your storage space. Rather, you should also think about the size of the entryway. Will your mower fit through the door? There’s nothing worse than buying a mower, only to find out that it won’t fit in your shed or garage.

The Accessories

Some riding mowers come with accessories or at least have the option to buy accessories. Meanwhile, others limit you to what comes with the product. As you look for a mower, think about which accessories you want your equipment to have.

Some options include grass catchers, vacuum systems, and carts. If you live in a cold climate, you may want to buy a plow blade for your mower. Getting the right mower with the desired attachments can save you from having to buy a whole new piece of equipment.

How We Picked

We looked at the current models of the top riding lawn mower brands and picked the best ones based on sale volume, specs, and user reviews. We’ve tried to find a product for every possible need, but we’ve excluded products with obvious faults. Products that made the cut had desirable features, favorable reviews, and a fair price. They’re all from respectable brands and you’ll get a suitable warranty with your purchase.

Which Mower Should You Get?

If you’re familiar with the Husqvarna name, it should come as no surprise that the Husqvarna YTH24V48 is our choice for the top riding mower. In addition to having a small turn radius, it is a very comfortable piece of equipment. No matter how long you need to sit on it, you’re likely to be satisfied with your experience.

This mower checks all the boxes. It’s small enough to fit in most storage areas and is easy to maneuver. Additionally, it’s a durable mower that can withstand years of use. Regardless of the size of your yard, this model will meet and surpass your mowing needs.

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