Tips

Best Riding Lawn Mowers of 2017

By · April 14, 2017

Switching from a push mower to a riding lawn mower can help save time and effort.  Especially if you have a large or hilly yard. Whether you live on a large or small property you’ll certainly be able to find a riding mower that will suite your needs.

Overview

The following table features the best riding lawn mowers of 2017.  Within the chart they are organized by type with features listed to help you compare.

Lawn Mower
Editor’s Score
Lawn Mower
Craftsman 42” 22 HP V-Twin Kohler
  • Hydrostatic transmission
  • 42″ blade
  • 22HP V-twin
Editor’s Score
Lawn Mower
John Deere D125 42 in. 20 HP V-Twin
  • Hydrostatic transmission
  • 42″ blade
  • 20HP V-twin
Editor’s Score
Lawn Mower
Husqvarna YTA18542
  • Automatic transmission
  • 42″ blade
  • 18.5 HP single cyliner
Editor’s Score

amazon

Lawn Mower
Murray 38″ 11.5 HP Riding Mower
  • Manaul transmission
  • 35″ blade
  • 11.5 HP single cylinder
Editor’s Score
Lawn Mower
Snapper SPX 22/46 46-Inch 22 HP
  • Hydrostatic transmission
  • 46″ blade
  • 22HP V-twin
Editor’s Score

amazon

Lawn Mower
Troy-Bilt 382cc Powermore OHV 30-Inch
  • Manual transmission
  • 30″ blade
  • 10.5 HP OHV
Editor’s Score

amazon

Lawn Mower
Ariens Zoom 34
  • Hydrostatic transmission
  • 34″ blade
  • 19HP v-twin
Editor’s Score

amazon

Lawn Mower
Ryobi RM480e 38 in. Battery Electric
  • Automatic transmission
  • 38″ blade
  • 48-volt battery
Editor’s Score

Selection Guide: What to look for in a riding lawn mower

Not all riding mowers are the same.  Each type is suited for a different task and after you’ve know what kind of work each machine can do you’ll be able to make a sound decision.

Garden and Lawn Tractors

Lawn tractors have the traditional design of a riding mower and operate with a steering wheel.  They don’t have many options for attachments and work best for yards that are ½ to 2 acres in size.  Garden tractors have the same design as a lawn tractor, but are more heavy-duty.  They offer more horsepower and larger cutting decks, often with multiple blades.  The wheels and axles are stronger and the transmission was built for hauling heavy equipment.  They can handle mowing up to 5 acres as well as a variety of other jobs such as grading and snow removal.  They are not the most agile so if your yard has a lot of obstacles this is not the best option for you.

Zero Turn Mowers

Zero Turn Mowers are speedy and can turn quickly allowing you to turn 360 degreed easily.  They can reach speeds up to 8 mph which along with their maneuverability makes them the biggest time-savers.  Movers with lap bar controls don’t do well on slopes because their front wheels don’t provide enough traction and most of the weight is in the back.  If you have a lot of hills to mow look for a zero turn mower with a steering wheel which will offer the most stability on a slope.

Features and Options

Cutting Width

The cutting width describes how wide an area of grass can be cut by one pass.  This is related to the blade number.  Smaller mowers only have one blade, but two or three blades is typical for tractors and zero turn mowers.  When considering how wide you want to go be sure to measure tight spots in your yard to be sure it will fit.

Transmission

There are three options when it comes to the transmission of a mower.  A manual transmission will have set speeds that you can choose from.  If the mower you are considering is manual be sure it allows you to shift up or down without stopping or using a clutch.  Automatic transmission allows you to control the speed with a gas pedal, just as your car does.  This allows you to easily change speed such as when you need to slow down to avoid an obstacle.  A hydrostatic transmission works similarly to an automatic transmission in that the speed is variable and controlled by a pedal.  However, the transmission uses fluid rather than belts which requires less maintenance and can last longer.

Turning Radius

The turning radius describes how tightly the mower can be turned.  A mower with a smaller radius can make sharper turns than mowers with a larger radius.

Engine Placement and Engine Type

Where the engine is on a mower determines its power.  Mowers with rear engines are smaller and have less power.  Zero-turn mowers usually have a rear mower.  Front-engine mowers have more space for a larger engine and as a result more power and cutting ability.  A v-twin engine will be more powerful than a single cylinder.  It will also reduce vibration which means less wear on the mower, a quieter operation, and more comfortable ride.  A v-twin engine will also run cooler and burn the fuel cleaner which will extend the engine life.

Speed

Speed is important because the faster the mower drives, the quicker you’ll get your yard mowed.

Top Riding Lawn Mowers of 2017

The following list includes the best mowers of 2017.  The riding lawn mower reviews include a short description as well as the pros and cons.

Craftsman Riding Lawn Mower

The Craftsman Zero Turn Steering Riding Mower will make landscaping a snap with its wide 42 inch blade and adjustable cutting height.  It has zero turn technology allowing you to make sharp turns which is ideal for a yard with a lot of trees.  There are 8 options of blade heights which allows you to get the perfect cut every time.  This speedy mower can reach up to 7 mph and starts with a simple push button.  It is capable of light hauling.  The drive system contains a hydrostatic automatic transmission allowing you to adjust your speed with the pedal.  Not only is it quick, but it is comfortable.  It features a high seat and extended legroom and even has cruise control.  The Kohler 22 HP V-Twin motor is gas powered and holds 3 gallons of fuel.  A limited warranty is offered for up to 2 years, and your mower will last longer with proper maintenance.  It is easy to find the Craftsman riding lawn mower parts you’ll need for maintenance and repairs, if needed.  This mower works well in a yard with obstacles.

  • Blade Width: 42”
  • Speed: Variable, up to 7 mph
  • Transmission type: Hydrostatic automatic
  • Engine Type: Rear-engine, 22HP V-Twin
  • Pro: Zero turn technology

John Deere Riding Lawn Mower

The John Deere D125 Riding lawn mower features a 20 HP V-Twin, John Deere-branded engine which offers more power and a smooth ride.  The transmission is hydrostatic automatic which provides a reliable and quick start.  The mower is controlled by two foot pedals to move forward and in reverse.  The high-back seat is adjustable to help operators of different heights.  Cruise control is included to help maintain a constant speed on large areas.  Included with the mower is a 42 inch blade to cover a wide area with an 18-inch turning radius.  The blade can be adjusted to cut grass as low as one inch or as high as 4 inches with ¼ inch increments in between.  Attachments sold separately to help with bagging, aerating or snow removal.  A manufacturer warranty is offered for the first 2 years or 120 operational hours, whichever comes first.  This is an excellent mower to use in a yard that has many obstacles and may be sloped.

  • Blade Width: 42”
  • Speed: Variable, up to 5.5 mph
  • Transmission type: Hydrostatic automatic
  • Engine Type: Rear-engine, 20 HP V-Twin
  • Pro: Large range of cutting heights

Husqvarna Riding Lawn Mower

The Husqvarna riding lawn mower features a fast continuously variable transmission for an easy operation.  The engine starts with a key and speed is controlled by a foot pedal.  The cutting blade is 42” wide and the mower features air induction technology to keep the cut length consistent.  The 16-inch turning radius allows easy maneuverability.  The blade height can be manually adjusted from 1.5 inches up to 4 inches.  The engine is an 18.5 HP 540cc Brigs & Stratton single cylinder engine.  It is powerful enough to cut on uneven terrain up to 15 degrees.  A limited 3-year manufacturer warranty is included.  This mower is good for yards up to 2 acres that may be flat or uneven.

  • Blade Width: 42”
  • Speed: Variable, up to 5.5 mph
  • Transmission type: Automatic
  • Engine Type: front-engine, 18.5 HP single cylinder
  • Pros: Good on slopes

Murray Riding Lawn Mower

The Murray Riding Lawn Mower features a high-performance 11.5 HP Briggs & Stratton gas-powered engine with a simple on-off switch for easy operation.  The manual transmission includes 6 speeds that can be shifted without stopping and with the 18-inch turning radius you’ll be able to easily maneuver it around your yard.  This convenient feature allows you to choose the pace as you work.   The large wheels provide plenty of traction for slopes.  This affordable machine is perfect for flat or hilly yards up to 2 acres in size.  Attachments for mulching and bagging are sold separately.  A limited warranty is offered for the first 2 years.

  • Blade Width: 35”
  • Speed: 6 speeds
  • Transmission type: Manual, shift-on-the-go
  • Engine Type: front-engine, 11.5 HP single cylinder
  • Pros: Mulching option

Snapper Riding Lawn Mower

The Snapper Riding Lawn Mower’s engine is a 22HP V-Twin Briggs & Stratton that will run for years without any problems.  The mower features 2 blades that are 46” wide and offer 7 cutting positions for a cut of 1.5 inches to 4 inches.  The hydrostatic transmission is operated with a foot pedal and can move forward or reverse.  It has a tight 14-inch turning radius which allows you to easily maneuver around trees and other obstacles.

  • Blade Width: 46”
  • Speed: Variable
  • Transmission type: Hydrostatic transmission
  • Engine Type: front-engine, 22 HP V-twin
  • Pros: Tight turning radius

Troy Bilt Riding Lawn Mower

If you need a small riding lawn mower the Troy Bilt mower is for you.  It is powered by a 10.5 HP Powermore OHV engine.  The cutting blade is 30”, about the same width as a push mower.  It is perfect for suburban or urban yards and the small size makes it easy to store in a shed or garage.  It works best on even terrain.  The mower has an 18-inch turn radius to help navigate the yard.  The cutting blade can be adjusted to 5 heights to get the perfect cut.  The manual transmission allows for 6 speeds that can be shifted while moving.  A limited 2-year manufacturer’s warranty is included with purchase.

  • Blade Width: 30”
  • Speed: 6 speeds
  • Transmission type: Maunal, shift-on-the-go
  • Engine Type: rear-engine, 10.5 HP OHV
  • Pros: Good for small yards

Ariens Riding Lawn Mower

The Ariens riding mower is a compact design with premium performance.  It is powered by a 19 HP Kohler V-twin engine and comes with a 3 year consumer warranty.  The engine is stared with a key.  The cutting blade is 34 inches long and offers 7 cutting heights ranging from 1.5 to 4 inches.  The cutting height is adjustable by a foot operated deck.  The zero-turn radius allows you to zip through the yard with no problems.  The transmission is hydrostatic and the mower can reach up to 6 mph.

  • Blade Width: 34”
  • Speed: Variable, 6 mph
  • Transmission type: Hydrostatic automatic
  • Engine Type: rear-engine, 19 HP v-twin
  • Pros: Good for small yards, with zero-turn

Ryobi Electric Riding Lawn Mower

The Ryobi riding lawn mower is unique in that it doesn’t run on gasoline, but instead is powered by battery.  This mower is a wonderful green alternative to a gas-powered mower as you will not need to worry about gas fumes or emissions.  It is also much quieter.  The powerful 48-volt battery will allow you to cut up to 2 hours or 2 acres at one time before it needs to be charged again.  Conveniently, the riding lawn mower battery can be charged through a standard 120-volt outlet.  The mower is equipped with two 38-inch blades that can be adjusted to 12 positions.  It features automatic transmission and can reach a speed of 8 mph.  This mower is best for yards up to 2 acres and works well on steep hills.  A limited 3-year warranty is offered by the manufacturer.

  • Blade Width: 38”
  • Speed: Variable, 8 mph
  • Transmission type: Automatic
  • Engine Type: 48-volt battery
  • Pros: Good on steep hills, no emissions

Frequently Asked Questions

What do I need to do to maintain my riding lawn mower?

Keeping your lawn mower properly maintained will increase the life of your machine.  Before every inspection disconnect spark plugs or battery.  Reconnect when finished with inspection.

Every time you mow

  • Tighten any loose fasteners.
  • Ensure all shields and deflectors are in place and undamaged
  • Check the tires to make sure they are properly inflated
  • Clean dirt and debris from fuel-fill and oil-fill areas
  • Check oil and fuel levels
  • Brush off mower engine and deck

Twice during mowing season

  • Lubricate spindles and pivot points
  • Inspect the air filter and clean or replace
  • Inspect blades and sharpen or replace if needed

End of mowing season

  • Brush debris off engine and cooling fans
  • Check the muffler and spark arrestor. Replace or repair if rusted or loose.
  • Replace spark plugs

What if my mower won’t start?

The most likely chance your mower won’t start is the gas tank is empty.  Make that the first thing you check if you come across this problem.  If you have last season’s gas in your tank, drain it and refill with fresh gas.  If this doesn’t work clean the spark plugs, and replace or clean the air filter.

Why did I lose power in the middle of mowing?

The engine stopping in the middle of a job can be frustrating.  Its cause may be a dirty air filter (clean or replace), too tall grass (adjust your blade height), dirty spark plug (clean or replace), or a build-up of clippings (clean the underside of the mower).

Why is my mower not cutting evenly?

If the grass looks slanted like stair steps check your tires.  Make sure they are evenly inflated.  If you notice streaks, you are moving too quickly.  If slowing down doesn’t help then sharpen or replace the blade.  If the grass cuts look tattered instead of a clean cut, your blade is dull and needs to be replaced or sharpened.

You Might Also Like

No Comments

Leave a Reply

Backyardville.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com