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Best Riding Lawn Mowers 2019

A large lawn can be a nightmare to keep in good shape, but it doesn’t have to be if you have a good riding lawn mower.

With the right one you can have your lawn cut to laser like precision in no time.

So without further ado lets take a look at the best riding lawn mowers of 2019.

>>> I already know all about riding lawn mowers, jump me straight to the reviews <<<

Best Riding Lawn Mowers 2019 – At A Glance List

Below is a quick view of my favorite riding lawn mowers of 2019. To find out more about them click on the link to take you to the full review.

Best Large Riding Mowers

Name

Cut Width

Best For

Rating

#1 – Ariens ZTR (Read Review)

60″

♦ Best Buy ♦

  • Your Title Goes Here 91% 91%

#2 – Husqvarna MZ61 (Read Review)

61″

Flat Lawns

  • Your Title Goes Here 89% 89%

Best Medium Riding Mowers

Name

Cut Width

Best For

Rating

#1 – Poulan Pro P46ZX (Read Review)

46″

♦ Best Buy ♦

  • Your Title Goes Here 93% 93%

#2 – Poulan Pro PP155H42 (Read Review)

42″

Slopes

  • Your Title Goes Here 91% 91%

#3 – Snapper ST1946 (Read Review)

46″

Comfort

  • Your Title Goes Here 90% 90%

#4 – Poulan Pro PP20VA46 (Read Review)

46″

Long Grass

  • Your Title Goes Here 89% 89%

#5 – Troy-Bilt TB42 (Read Review)

42″

First Timers

  • Your Title Goes Here 89% 89%

Best Small Riding Mowers

Name

Cut Width

Best For

Rating

#1 – Troy-Bilt Premium Neighborhood (Read Review)

30″

♦ Best Buy ♦

  • Your Title Goes Here 94% 94%

#2 – Murray 13BC76LF058 (Read Review)

38″

Size

  • Your Title Goes Here 93% 93%

#3 – Murray M875-24 (Read Review)

24″

Older People

  • Your Title Goes Here 90% 90%

How To Choose A Riding Mower

If you have decided you want a riding lawn mower then you have already done a lot of the hard work in ruling out a standard push lawn mower or a mower powered by gas, electricity or batteries.

However there are still things you need to consider as outlined below.

The Size Of Your Yard

Generally, as a rule of thumb, if your yard is under half an acre in size you won’t want or need a riding lawn mower, in fact a standard push mower would probably be as quick or quicker than trying to navigate a riding mower around a small lawn.

Theoretically…

The larger your lawn the larger cutting width you want to look for in a riding mower. A rough estimate with regards to cutting width is below:

  • For yards up to 1 acre – Cutting width of 42 inches max
  • For yards between 1 acre and 2 acres – Cutting width of 42 to 50 inches
  • For yards over 2 acres – Cutting width of 50 inches and above

The Terrain

Consider how flat your lawn is. Whereas most riding mowers should perform really well on flat terrain, some struggle more on slopes. So if your lawn has lots of ups and downs you may want to be extra careful in the choice you make.

The bottom line:

If your lawn is quite steep look for a riding mower that has a strong engine, is well balanced and has a low centre of gravity.

What Obstacles Might You Encounter

Do you have a lawn with a pond in the middle? A fountain? A vegetable garden?

Most of us have areas in and around our lawn we need to be careful around, you don’t want your riding mower to start chopping through those prize winning flowers in your carefully manicured flower bed do you?

You are dead right!

If you do have obstacles on your lawn then make sure you look at the turning radius of riding mowers. At the top of the list are zero-turn mowers, which have a turning radius that is zero (surprisingly!).

They pivot around the rear wheels and are designed to cut so closely around obstacles you don’t need to go back and trim.

Mower Transmission

There are three times of transmission riding mowers use.

Hydrostatic transmission is the easiest to operate as it means you can shift gears whilst you are driving in the same way you would in a car. Generally it ensures a smoother ride and less maintenance.

With a manual transmission you have often have to stop the mower every time you change gears. You might want to check this for a mower you are intending buying as it makes things a bit of a pain.

An automatic transmission works in much the same way as a hydrostatic transmission, except it uses belts to transfer power from the engine to the wheels, whereas a hydrostatic transmission uses fluid.

You control the speed with a pedal and it is useful when you encounter areas where you need to slow down to take care.

Other Features

There are many other things you will want to consider, including:

  • Engine Horsepower – the higher the horsepower the easier it will be to deal with tall, dense grass for instance.
  • Wheel Size – Larger wheels will usually increase traction, but can also make marks on your grass.
  • Speed – Most mowers offer speeds of up to 6 mph
  • Cutting Heights – check the number of different cutting heights a mower offers and also the minimum and maximum heights it cuts at.
  • Comfort features – you might end up spending a fair bit of time in your new mower so look at the seat and how comfortable it is, the leg room available and little extras like armrests and a cup holder.
  • Accessories – Lots of mowers allow accessories to be added so you can mulch grass, attach a trailer, fit a snow plower or even add on a spreader. These are worth considering as well.

The video below gives you a bit more guidance on what to consider when choosing a mower:

Editor’s Note

Editor's note photoIn the interests of being completely open and honest with my readers please note this page contains several CHECK EXACT PRICE buttons. Clicking on these buttons takes you to the cheapest online price I have found for that particular item (to be honest usually it is at Amazon, but sometimes it is Walmart or Home Depot). If, after following my link, you then decide to buy the product I make a very small commission.

Clicking on my CHECK EXACT PRICE button DOES NOT affect the price you pay for the item and it takes you to exactly the same page you would get to if you had gone to the Amazon/Walmart/Home Depot website yourself and typed in the product name. The only difference is a tiny percentage of the sale (typically around 4%).

At the end of the day the most important thing to me is you get the best possible item for your needs at the best price – so I hope you do!

The Best Large Riding Mowers 2019

#1 Ariens 25HP ZTR Tractor, 60-Inch

Price Guide: $$$

BEST FOR…
Those who want the best all round riding lawn mower for large yards.

Best Riding Lawn Mowers - Ariens ZTRIn terms of all round performance, power and longevity this Ariens is the best large riding lawn mower on the market.

Let’s get started:

It has a 60 inch triple cutting blade, a heavy gauge welded reinforced deck and a welded steel frame. There are nine cutting heights and it has a top speed of 8 mph. It is stabilised by six deck wheels and has a six gallon fuel capacity.

It uses a 25 HP Kohler 7000 series pro V-Twin engine, with a 725 cc Hydro-Gear ZT 3100 transaxle transmission. It has a three year consumer warranty and a one year commercial warranty.

So what is the magic formula?

Well the 25 HP Kohler engine runs like a dream and cuts through the toughest and tallest of grass, over huge yards, with ease and without bogging down. Essentially it is as heavily built as a full contractor grade mower and it leaves your lawn with a beautiful finish.

It gives a lovely even cut on any of the nine cutting heights – someone likened the finished appearance to a golf course and that is correct. Not only that the engine has so much power it actually blows the clippings across the lawn so they don’t pile up.

The key is:

A huge amount of care and attention has gone into putting this thing together. The deck is solidly constructed – heavy gauge and welded – and a step above all other residential riding mowers.

It has a really strong frame and I love the reinforced mowing blade casing, which gives it so much protection if you have stone walls or the like on your property that you might accidentally knock against. Take care of this thing and it will last you a long time.

That isn’t all:

The build quality goes further than the durability of the Ariens mower though. It is so incredibly comfortable to ride too.

The seat is high so you get a good view as you use it and the design of the seat, which incorporates armrests mean you probably won’t want to get out when you have finished!

It is zero turn, which saves you mowing time, the oil is easy to change and it is really economic on gas. After around 50 hours of cutting time only half a tank of gas had been used!

You should know:

A couple of little improvements would maybe be for the front tires to be foam filled.

This would help with two things – one issues with tire pressure and secondly it would give it a little more traction, as when there is moisture on the grass the weight of the strong mower gas makes it a little more difficult to turn.

In short:

I you have a large lawn and want a powerful, rugged and incredibly well built riding lawn mower then this is the best mower on the market. It should last a long time too!

Weight: 1076 lbs Size (l x w x h inches) – 74.5 x 63 x 42 Engine – 25 HP Kohler 7000 series pro V-Twin Cutting Width – 60 inches Deck Wheels – 6 Front Wheel – 13 inches Rear Wheel – 20 inches Cutting Heights – 9 Forward Speed – 0 to 8 MPH Reverse Speed – 0 to 4 MPH Three Year Consumer Warranty, One Year Commercial Warranty
  • My Rating 91% 91%

Pros

Loads of power

Incredibly well build

Great cut quality

Very comfortable

Economic on gas

Cons

Tires could be foam filled

Slight issue with traction on moist ground

#2 Husqvarna MZ61 27HP, 61-Inch

Price Guide: $$$

BEST FOR…
Those who want a brilliant durable mower for largely flat lawns.

Husqvarna are a very trusted name in the yard care industry. A colleague of mine who works at a lawn care company says that Husqvarna products are very rarely returned as they generally are so reliable and this riding mower embodies that quality.

It is an extremely solid and thoroughly reliable riding mower.

Ok let’s get this show on the road:

The MZ61 is powered by a 27 HP Briggs and Stratton Endurance V-Twin engine and has a hydrostatic gear transmission. There are 12 cutting heights ranging from 1.5 inches to 4.5 inches in quarter of an inch increments and it is zero turn.

It has a 61 inch fully fabricated, 11 gauge, steel deck – the biggest deck Husqvarna offer on a consumer mower. It has a hardback seat with armrests.

The control panel is directly to your right with a key switch, choke control, throttle control and PTO switch and on the back is a hitch kit.

There is no doubt about it:

The build quality on this is top notch – the deck is really sturdy and very well built, the deck release likewise and it can take a lot of abuse. Everything has been reinforced to give extra protection and the frame is thick and strong.

The six inch wide front caster wheels and the 12 inch wide back wheels really give this a sense of stability and control, keeping the mower well balanced. The caster is durable and like everything else on the mower it seems like it will last a long time.

In fact the whole design is spot on. The control panel is easily accessible, the deck height is controlled through a foot pedal and is easy to use and works well and it has a chokeless start that doesn’t fail, so getting this thing going is never an issue.

Be warned:

This has fantastic traction on a level surface and uphills, but it is not so good going downhill. The weight shifts a little and you lose directional control.

Also even though the blades are adjustable up to 4.5 inches they still could be better on really tall grass as it usually takes a couple of cuts to get a nice clean finish.

In all:

But all in all you get a hugely impressive piece of machinery if you get this Husqvarna. It is so well made and so durable and sturdy that you can’t fail to be impressed and it would be perfect for largely flat lawns.

Weight – 770 lbs Size (l x w x h inches) – 75.5 x 76 x 42 Engine – 27 HP Briggs and Stratton Endurance V-Twin Cutting Blade Diameter – 61 inches Fuel Tank Volume – 5 gallons Front Wheel Diameter – 13 inch Front Wheel Width – 6.5 inch Cutting Heights – 12 Max Forward Speed – 8.5 mph Four Year (or 400 hour) Homeowner and Commercial Warranty
  • My Rating 89% 89%

Pros

Lovely build quality

Fantastically durable and solid deck

Really comfortable

Brilliant traction on level ground and uphill

Starts really easily everytime

Cons

Traction downhill could be better

Takes a couple of cuts for a clean finish on tall grass

The Best Medium Riding Mowers 2019

#1 Poulan Pro P46ZX 22HP, 46-Inch

Price Guide: $$$

BEST FOR…
Those who want great value for money and one of the smoothest rides on the market.

The great thing about this particular riding mower is that whilst it is branded as Poulan Pro it is actually made by Husqvarna and to be honest you can’t tell it apart from a Husqvarna riding mower.

So you get a similar performance to Husqvarna at a much lower price!

So let’s get down to it:

The P46ZX is powered by a 22 HP Briggs & Stratton Engine and has a two bladed 46 inch steel deck. It has five cutting height adjustments that vary from 1.5 inches to 4 inches, increasing in half inch increments.

It can reach a top speed of 6 MPH and combined with the 3.5 gallon capacity fuel tank it can cut up to 2.4 acres per hour. It is zero turn and has a dual wheel hydro transmission, which essentially gives the driver control of each wheel independently.

As mentioned at the start you really get a lot for the price with the Poulan P46ZX, whilst the deck is smaller than the Husqvarna MZ61 essentially the performance and build quality is similar and you will struggle to get a better deal for the price.

That is the truth.

It is a big reason why this was one of two riding lawn mowers I picked in a look at the top lawn mowers of the year.

Another reason why it features in the list is it does what it is supposed to do – it gives a really nice cut. The 46 inch steel deck with two cutting blades, aided by three anti-scalp deck wheels, glides over lawns to give a perfect brushed finished.

It is also Zero Turn and highly maneuverable and easy to handle so will save you cutting time.

It doesn’t end there.

It is ultra nice to use – the 15 inch mid back seat gives a good balance of support and comfort and is nice and high so you can see what is going on easily. Little extras like a water hose connector, cup holder and optional headlights are nice.

The controls are sturdy and it doesn’t need a choke, so it starts without a hitch and it is a very smooth ride indeed.

The 22 HP engine kicks out a lot of power and is less noisy than you would expect, the fuel tank is large and you can easily see how much fuel you have left and I love the electric blade engagement.

Warning:

There isn’t too much to dislike about this, but pneumatic wheels might be a better option as the wheels are pretty hard and leave tracks in your ground when it is a bit soft.

The seat is great and I feel bad about moaning about this, but at 15 inches it might be too high as sometimes when you need to turn around and look behind you it obscures the view. But these are really minor quibbles.

All in all:

This is a great mower for the price, it is one of the smoothest rides on the market, it has power and it cuts well. What is not to like!

Cutting Width: 46 inches Cutting Methods: Collect, mulch and side discharge Cutting Height Adjustments: 5 Cutting Heights: From 1.5 inches to 4 inches Weight: 430 lbs Engine: 22HP Briggs & Stratton Turning Radius: 0 inches Speed Range: 0 to 6 MPH Fuel Tank Capacity: 3.5 gallons Two Year Limited Warranty
  • My Rating 93% 93%

Pros

Great value for money

Really comfortable ride

Great cut

Lots of power

Zero turn

Cons

Wheels are a little heavy

High seat sometimes obscures view

#2 Poulan Pro PP155H42 15.5HP, 42-Inch

Price Guide: $$$

BEST FOR…
Those looking for a mower that is good on slopes.

The Poulan Pro 42 inch 15.5HP is an absolute gem of a riding lawn mower if you are looking for something that deals with hills well.

A big part of this is due to the Briggs & Stratton Engine and the automatic hydrostatic transmission which gives the mower a lot of torque.

Let’s get down to it:

It has a 42 inch cutting diameter and a 6 inch turning radius. You don’t have to stop to change direction or speed and you can mow in reverse.

It has a spring assisted deck lift and six cutting heights ranging from 1.5 inches to 4 inches. It can reach a top speed of 6.2 mph going forward and has a 1.5 gallon gas tank.

I really love how this works on hills, it handles them without a problem and, despite the fact it can reach a reasonable speed, it is lovely and stable.

What is the magic formula?

Well it is mainly down to the automatic hydrostatic transmission – you don’t have to keep the pedal pushed down, which is great and it has a tonne of torque and really delivers this to the rear wheels making it very powerful.

It is lovely and simple to put it in gear and have both your legs free – something not many brands offer.

The transmission and engine give this mower a lot of power. It is loud, but it doesn’t bog down and deals with mostly anything.

It really hits the sweet spot in that respect.

It is well built, with a thicker neck around the deck and heavy gauge metal throughout, so it feels nice and sturdy. It has thick wheels, which only add to the solid feel.

This Poulan Pro is also really maneuverable, aided by the transmission mentioned above. It has a tight 6 inch turning radius and can get around obstacles, trees, obstructions very well.

Even better:

The steering is some of the best I have experienced – it feels like power steering and is super easy to use.

You can engage the blades in reverse – great if you have some nooks and crannies in your yard and you can also adjust the cutting height on the go, and it is easy to do so.

Mowing really is a pleasurable experience with this mower. It is also nice and roomie and great for taller guys (or girls!).

Let’s not forget:

One downside with this is that it doesn’t come with deck wheels, you either have to go up to the next model or install them separately. Without them you can sometimes inadvertently scalp your lawn!

I also noticed that the clutch grabs a little and doesn’t not always engage smoothly – which can be a bit of an annoyance.

In truth:

This comes at a pretty good price – has lots of power, works on slopes really well, is well built and comfortable to use. For the average homeowner it is a good choice!

Model – PP155H42 Engine – Briggs & Stratton Power built Cutting Width – 42 inches Fuel tank volume – 1.5 gallons Power output – 15.5 hp Cutting Heights – Six Cutting Height Range – 1.5 inch to 4 inch Top Speed Forward – 6.2 mph Top Speed Reverse – 3 mph Size in inches (l x w x h) – 68 x 50 x 42 Front tire diameter – 15 inches Rear tire diameter – 20 inches Turning Radius – 6 inches Weight – 411lbs Two Year Warranty
  • My Rating 91% 91%

Pros

Great on hills

Perfect transmission

Easy to maneuver

Comfy

Good price

Cons

No deck wheels

Clutch can grab a little

#3 Snapper PP155H42 20HP, 46-Inch

Price Guide: $$$

BEST FOR…
Those looking for a comfortable and roomy mower.

This is another Husqvarna built riding mower under a different brand name. It is a really good all rounder, with lots of nice features and a great price tag.

Let’s dive in:

It has a Briggs & Stratton 20 HP Intek-V engine, with two-step debris management that is designed to protect the engine. The cutting width is 46 inches and it has a 16 inch turning radius.

It has a hydrostatic transmission (operated by a foot pedal), a three litre gas tank, four anti-scalp deck wheels and six cutting heights from an inch to four inches.

This surprised me:

For a cheap riding mower there is a surprising amount of attention to detail with this Snapper model. It is one of the only riding mowers I know that has an hour meter so you know exactly how long you have used it for.

It also has cruise control, a solid cast iron front suspension and bull bar and a nice and solid metal hood with good squeeze pads that hold the hood down night and tight.

Beyond that:

It has a nice big gas tank in the rear of the mower, which is quite unusual but actually helps it feel more stable and gives more traction, the gas pedal is low and comfortable and the PTO engagement is a lever at hand level – it is easy to move and softly engage.

It also has a nice, big and sculpted seat that is comfy and has plenty of legroom – even if you are on the tall side.

Looking after this mower is particularly easy as changing the oil and filling the gas tank is a breeze, you don’t even need a wrench to open the oil reservoir, you can snap open the top and top it up.

It really is that easy.

Try and use non-ethanol fuel to really look after the engine. It has good fuel consumption too.

The reliable Briggs & Stratton intek-V twin cylinder engine has enough power to tackle even really overgrown grass and it can mow in reverse. The adjustable deck cuts well at any height and you get a great cut, nice and even.

I should also add it is a really smooth mower to use with very low vibration levels.

It isn’t perfect:

I have couple of minor grumbles. This comes with headlights, but it comes with halogen headlights, not LED headlights and they are pretty dim at best. You can replace them with LED bulbs of course.

Also it has a fuel gauge, which at first you think it is great, but soon you realise it is actually misleading as the window is too small so once it is above three quarter full or below one quarter full you can tell how much gas is left in the tank!

In essence:

This is a really nice little riding mower. Good power, smooth ride, good cut, comfortable and solid – it feels like you are riding a higher priced mower.

Model – PP155H42 Engine – Briggs & Stratton Intek™ V-Twin Horsepower – 19 Fuel Tank Capacity – 3 gallons Forward Speed – 0 to 5.6 mph Reverse Speed – 0 to 3.5 mph Front Tires – 15 x 6 inches Rear Tires – 20 x 8 inches Turning Radius – 16 inches Cutting Width – 46 inches Cutting Heights – 6 Cutting Height Range – 1 inch to 4 inches Size in inches (l x w x h) – 69 x 50 x 42 Weight – 433lbs Three Year Residential Warranty
  • My Rating 90% 90%

Pros

Great attention to detail

Fuel tank stabilises mower

Comfortable and roomy seat

Powerful engine

Good cut

Cons

Headlights are very dim

Fuel gauge is almost pointless

#4 Poulan Pro PP20VA46 20HP, 46-Inch

Price Guide: $$$

BEST FOR…
Those looking for a cheaper option to deal with long grass.

Poulan, with their Husqvarna parts, are building up a fantastic reputation for their low price but well made riding mowers.

This is just another in that long line. What I love about this is it is particularly great on long grass.

Ok let’s get things underway:

It has a high torque 20 HP V-Twin Briggs & Stratton engine and that starts with no choke or priming needed.

It is pedal operated, so there is not clutch and it can reach a top speed of 6.2mpn.

It has six cutting heights, ranging from 1 inch to 4.5 inches and will mow in reverse. It has a six inch turning radius, a reinforced steel deck, headlights, a spring assisted deck lift and a two year warranty.

This is HUGE:

As I mentioned what is most striking about this mower is it mows long grass, say up to 18 inches high better than pretty much most other riding mowers I have tried out.

A big part of this is down to the excellent Briggs & Stratton Engine, always reliable its twin cylinders really put out a lot of power to cut grass quickly and easily.

I really love the vented cutting deck, this means air enters the deck from the top and keeps the air flowing under the deck, priming the grass so it is easier for the twin blades to cut through.

It’ll blow your mind.

The mowing deck is also operated by a lever placed right next to you left arm.This means it is really simple to quickly adjust the deck to get the perfect cutting height.

Combined this all with some highly efficient anti-scalp deck wheels and you get a beautiful cut every time.

Let me just explain:

It isn’t a zero turn radius, for the price you won’t find many mowers that are, but the 6 inch turning radius is pretty damn close to it!

The pedal control transmission is simple – there is no need to stop or use the clutch to change speed or direction – so it is really easy to maneuver.

Getting to the gas and oil is as simple as can be, it mows in reverse, has great traction thanks to its large rear tires and is a great price.

A minor grumble:

There is one slight piece of poor engineering re the pedals though and that is that the gas pedal is too high and uncomfortable to use (unless you are particularly short)!

Also the transmission housings are made of plastic, they could do with being made of something more sturdy.

Let’s recap:

Bear in mind if you are going to spend a while using this then you might find the gas pedal uncomfortable, but if your cutting sessions are going to be under an hour on average this is a good budget price option.

It has a great engine, works well on tall grass, is easy to control the speed and gives a really nice finish.

Dimensions in inches (d x w x h) – 71 x 56.5 x 42.25 Cutting Width – 46 inches Front Tire Diameter – 15 inches Rear Tire Diameter – 20 inches Turning Radius – 6 inches Engine Make – Briggs and Stratton Intek V-Twin Fuel Tank Capacity – 2.5 gallons Horsepower – 20 Cutting Heights – 6  Cutting Height – 1 inch to 4.5 inches Maximum Forward Speed – 6.2 mph Maximum Reverse Speed – 2.1 mph Product Weight – 438 lb Two Year Limited Warranty
  • My Rating 89% 89%

Pros

Great on tall grass

Fantastic Briggs & Stratton Engine

Lovely even cut

Simple pedal transmission

Easy to maneuver

Cons

Gas pedal too high

Plastic housing around transmissions

#5 Troy-Bilt TB42 420cc Auto Drive

Price Guide: $$$

BEST FOR…
Those looking at buying their first riding mower.

Best Riding Mowers - Troy Bilt TB42Due to its intelligent build and functionality the Troy Bilt TB42 makes fast work of a decent sized yard and is a great choice if you are looking to get a ride on mower for the first time.

Alright let’s get busy:

It has a 420cc Single Troy-Bilt engine and utilises a 13-gauge step-thru frame to make it easy to get on and off the mower.

The deck height can be adjusted to any one of five settings up to 4 inches high.

It has manual transmission and can reach a top speed of 5.2 miles an hour. It has 1.36 gallon fuel tank and a 42 width cutting diameter with a 18 inch turning radius. It has a two year warranty.

Here’s the deal:

The Troy-Bilt TB42 certainly looks the part. Your first impressions will most probably be the large tires and nice and solid deck.

The deck height adjustment and the blade engagement levers sit comfortably on the right hand side and on the left is the gear shift and you will also be changing speeds with your left hand as well. There are six speeds and the parking brake. All in all it is nicely designed.

This is great:

The console area is walk through. You don’t have to throw your leg over to the other side of the mower, simply step in and sit down. As well as making it easier to get in, this also gives you more leg room at the front.

It is fairly light and as a result really easily maneuverable – it makes really fast work of a decent size yard. You can adjust it to anyone of six speeds and the slower speeds are perfect for working around tight areas or flower beds, etc.

And you know what else?

I like the anti-scalping wheels on the leading edge of the mower deck. They seem to work really well in ensuring you don’t accidentally gouge out a piece of your lawn.

It also has a nice floating deck. Floating decks are connected to the frame through a suspension system, whereas fixed decks are built as one piece into the overall frame of the mower.

That means:

The deck on this mower responds really well to bumps or uneven terrain which is a big plus.

The 420cc Troy-Bilt engine is strong and reliable and the seven speed transmission works flawlessly. The blades, which unusually engage via a manual PTO, whip through pretty much anything to give a good cut.

Just a little moan:

This is slightly top heavy, so if you have a lawn with a particularly steep incline/decline it might not be for you as it doesn’t feel totally stable, especially when you are moving fast!

Also you cannot mow in reverse, which you can do with many other riding mowers – this may well be an inconvenience to some as turning it around takes a bit of time.

Let’s rewind and:

All in all this is a really good mower for someone who might be investing in a ride on mower for the first time.

It is easy to put together, easy to use, nice and comfortable, cuts quickly and will do a great job on the average lawn as long as it isn’t on a big slope! Top marks.

Model – 13B277KS066 Engine – 420cc Single Troy Bilt Fuel Tank Capacity – 1.36 gallon Forward Speed – 5.2mph max Front Tires – 15 x 6 inch Rear Tires – 20 x 8 inch Turning Radius – 18 inches Cutting Width – 42 inches Cutting Heights – 5 Cutting Height Range – 1 inch to 4 inches Size in inches (l x w x h) – 36 x 70 x 48 Weight – 520lbs Two Year Warranty
  • My Rating 89% 89%

Pros

Looks great

Comfortable to use

Light and maneuverable

Quick

Nice floating deck

Cons

Struggles on steep slopes

Can’t mow in reverse

The Best Small Riding Mowers 2019

#1 Troy-Bilt 382cc Premium Neighborhood, 30-Inch

Price Guide: $$$

BEST FOR…
Those with a flat lawn, looking for something light, powerful and great fun to use!

Best Riding Mower - Troy Bilt 382ccHave a relatively flat lawn and want something light but very powerful, choose this Troy-Bilt riding mower and you definitely won’t be disappointed!

Let’s take a closer look:

It has a 30 inch cutting deck and a 382cc OV Briggs & Stratton engine, with a 1.3 gallon capacity fuel tank.

There are five cutting heights from 1.5 inches to 4 inches and it has an 18 inch turning radius.

It has six speed transmission, weighs 340lbs and comes with a two year limited warranty.

Fact:

As I mention this is really light for a riding mower, which is a big plus. It means it is so easy to maneuver around your lawn, avoid those prized flower beds, etc.

It has an 18 inch turning radius, but due to it being so light – it turns on a dime, making dealing with those tight corners a cinch.

A lot of this is down to the fact that its intelligent design means it has a really low center of gravity, somewhat akin to a little go-cart!

Just imagine that!

For a small riding mower you have no need to worry about power – it handles long wet grass even at a lower speed – the engine is estimated at 10.5HP – easily enough considering its size.

It is especially good on nice, straight, flat runs and gives a really good cut.

The build is economic but good. Everything that needs to be made out of steel is, everything else is made out of durable plastic.

Beyond that:

The crankshaft is made out of forged steel which is a big plus and gives you the sense that the mower will stand the test of time.

It has a nice adjustable seat, a good fuel shut off solenoid that activates as soon as you turn off the engine, you can mow in reverse by disconnecting a safety switch under the seat compartment, it uses very little gas and is great fun to use!

What could be better:

Going from forward to reverse is more difficult than it needs to be. The shift lever is an an awkward position under the seat, rather than to the side (which seems a more logical place for it!) and you have to stop the cutting blade before you go into reverse.

Because this is so light and quite quick, with the bulk of the weight in the rear, it isn’t so good going up hills. It isn’t impossible, but it just takes a bit more caution and time.

To sum up:

Overall it is well priced, powerful, maneuverable, great fun to drive and for flat landscapes it is absolutely perfect!

Model – CR12 Cutting Width – 30 inch Fuel tank volume – 1.3 gallons Engine – Briggs & Stratton 382cc OHV Power output – 10.5HP Transmission – Six speed Cutting Width – 30 inches Cutting Range – 1.5 inch to 4 inches Speed Range – 0 to 4.25mph Turning Radius – 18 inch Cutting Heights – 5 Front Wheels – 13 x 5 inches Rear Wheels – 16 x 6.5 inches Weight – 340lbs Size in inches (l x w x h) – 62 x 34 x 26 Two Year Limited Warranty.
  • My Rating 94% 94%

Pros

Really light

Really powerful

Great fun to drive

Easy to maneuver

Good price

Cons

Moving from forward to reverse is a bit of a pain

Struggles more on hills

#2 Murray 13BC76LF058 11.5 HP, 38-Inch

Price Guide: $$$

BEST FOR…
Those looking for a mower that strikes a perfect balance sizewise.

Best Riding Mower - Murray 13BC76LF058I’d say dollar for dollar this is the best buy on this list – not only that it is large enough to mow a pretty big yard, but small enough for anyone to use. It really strikes a great balance.

Let’s take a closer look:

It has a 344cc Briggs & Stratton Power Built Engine, which produce 11.5 HP.

It starts with a simple on and off switch and has a 6-speed shift-on-the-go transmission and an 18 inch turning radius.

The cutting width is 38 inches and it has an adjustable cutting height from 1.5 inches to 4 inches and front tires that are 15 inches in diameter and 20 inches diameter rear tires.

So:

As mentioned this treads the perfect line sizewise. If you have a large yard the 38 inch cutting width means you can get through overgrown grass pretty quickly, but it isn’t so large that it is too big for smaller yards.

Even though the turning radius is 18 inches, because it is smaller it is easier to maneuver and easier to turn as well.

There is no doubt about it:

The Briggs & Stratton engine is, as usual, fantastic and gives lots of power and is very economical. It helps give a really smooth and even cut – and it deals with long grass and tall weeds very well indeed, it looks so neat when you are done it is hard to believe.

It does well on hills as well, and as the seat is so high you get a great view across your lawn making it easier to get a good cut.

To top it all off:

This feels really solid to use. It has a durable steel front axle, a nice steel deck that doesn’t accumulate lots of grass and is easy to wash, a reliable and easy to engage parking brake and a nicely designed and cushioned seat that is comfortable.

Murray have a good reputation of building durable and long last mowers and this is no different.

Finally it is a fantastic price.

A word of caution:

This cannot mow in reverse though, so remember that. Essentially if you put it in reverse gear with the blade engaged it kills the engine.

It means if you want to back up to get a better angle at a patch of grass, you have to disengage the mowing blades, put it in reverse, back up, put it in forward, then engage the blades. It is all a bit of a palava!

Also the oil drain plug is in the most awkward place, it is partially obscured by the frame and gravity prevents the oil draining out – you cannot change the oil without making a real mess.

So what does this all mean?

But as long as you can put up with this little problems this is a fantastic unit, both in terms of price and performance.

It is ideal for all yard sizes, is easy to handle and built to the highest quality. I love it!

Model – 13BC76LF058 Engine – Briggs & Stratton Power Built™ OHV Fuel tank volume – 1.5 gallons Power output – 11.5hp Cutting Width – 38 inches Cutting Height Range – 1.5 inch to 4 inch Size in inches (l x w x h) – 70 x 47 x 35 Weight – 390lbs Front tire diameter – 15 inches Rear tire diameter – 20 inches Turning Radius – 18 inches Two Year Warranty
  • My Rating 93% 93%

Pros

Perfect model for all lawn sizes

Great price

Beautiful cut

Solid build

Easy to maneuver

Cons

Can’t mow in reverse

Changing oil is a nightmare

#3 Murray M875-24 6.75 HP, 24-Inch

Price Guide: $$$

BEST FOR…
Those who are older and have a smaller, flat yard.

Best Riding Mower - Murray 24 Inch Rear EngineThis is the smallest riding mower on the list and it goes without saying that this is where it excels – in tight spaces and those yards that could be done with a normal mower, but which might be a bit of a struggle.

So here we go:

It is powered by a 190cc Briggs & Stratton Professional Series Engine and has a 6-speed shift-on-the-go transmission. The cutting width is 24 inches and it has an 18 inch turning radius.

The seat has five adjustable locations and the cutting blades have five adjustable heights, from 1 inch to 5 inches. It has a fuel capacity of 0.3 gallons and weighs 340 lbs.

First off:

This thing is really small. The cutting width of 24 inches is akin to large walk behind mower. This obviously gives it a huge advantage in narrow spaces, awkward areas, tight corners, etc, etc.

It is a dream to use on smaller lawns as it can weave in and out of anywhere. It has a great turning radius too, as someone said when I was researching this, it turns on a dime and gives you a nickle change!

You may think:

That such a small mower might be a bit labored but the Briggs & Stratton 875 Professional Series OHV engine, which has 6-speed transmission, gives the equivalent of 6.75hp and way more power than you would expect for the size of the mower.

The 24-inch dual blade cutting deck is sturdy, sharp and cuts really well on even the longest of grass. The good thing is you can also shift-on-the-fly with the clutch pedal pushed halfway down. Because of its size it is also exceptionally economical on fuel as well.

Also:

The engine runs at a constant 3,200rpm until you start mowing and then it throttles up. It runs at full RPM all the time as there is no throttle control, but as the engine is so quiet this is not an issue.

It is the simplest riding mower I have seen to assemble, it is comfy and it has a gentle a blade engagement as any mower.

But by contrast:

Changing oil is an issue as it requires a small vacuum pump or oil siphon as otherwise you cannot reach the tank inlet. The other option is to get under the tractor and pull a plug and get messy.

Also due to its small size, this isn’t for you if you have any slopes on your yard as the weight will shift to the front and it will feel unstable.

In a nutshell:

If your yard is a half an acre to a couple of acres, or maybe even more, and is flat this is lovely! It gets into pretty much any space you need it to and it will save you expending time and energy using a push mower.

This would especially be good for any retired people out there who might find using a manual mower a bit too much – it could just change your life!

Model – M875-24 Cutting Width – 24 inches Engine – Briggs & Stratton Professional Series™ OHV Power Output – 6.75hp Cutting Positions – 5 Cutting Range – 1 inch to 5 inches Turning Radius – 18 inches Fuel capacity – 0.3gallon Front Tire Diameter – 13 inch Rear Tire Diameter – 16 inch Weight – 340lbs Two Year Warranty
  • My Rating 90% 90%

Pros

Small!

Gets into any space

Surprisingly powerful

So easy to use

Great for smaller lawns

Cons

A pain to change oil

Not great on slopes

In Summary

Best Riding Lawn Mower Under $1000

The Murray M875-24 is a real bargain. It has a surprising amount of power, is lovely to use and is small and really good in tight spaces

Best Riding Lawn Mower For The Money

There are a few contenders here but the Poulan Pro P46ZX just takes it. It is zero turn and thanks to its anti-scalp wheels and 46 inch steel deck it gives an insanely good cut.

Best Riding Lawn Mower For Hills

It has to be the Poulan Pro PP155H42. Thanks to its automatic hydrostatic transmission it has tonnes of torque and fantastic stability making it the perfect choice if you have a sloping yard.

Best Riding Lawn Mower For Small Yards

There are a couple of choices here, but I am going for the Murray 13BC76LF058. It is a smaller riding mower, with a miniscule turning radius. As a bonus it is good on hills and comes at a fantastic price.

Best Zero Turn Riding Mower

I love the Ariens ZTR. Not only is it zero turn it has a hugely powerful engine, gives a laser like cut and is tremendously well made.

I hope you have found this rundown of some of the best riding lawn mowers of use.

If you do have any questions or are uncertain about anything please feel free to drop me an email and I will do my best to help you.

Don’t forget you can also check out my Reviews Section for individual product reviews.

There are some fantastic lawn mowers out there, whether they are gas, electric, cordless or push mowers.

Don’t forget it is also important to keep your garden looking good and the lawn looking healthy before you start thinking about mowing it.

Enjoy!

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About The Author

Steve Mann

Steve is a one time gardening hater turned into gardening obsessive. This was all thanks to going to University where a two year stint spent transforming the previously horrific garden of the student house he lived in left him addicted to all things horticultural! Now with a new house in tow and due to some fortunate circumstances he is free to test out a whole host of gardening equipment. Find out more about Steve or drop him an email at steve@suaveyards.com.

4 Comments

  1. Daniella

    Hi Steve,

    Awesome review!

    My garden is quite small but the grass grows extremely fast, and since it is a hot country, there are a lot of snakes in the area. So when the summer comes up, it becomes hazardous to walk barefoot in the garden:) Anyway, my lawn mower is getting old, and it doesn’t work well anymore. So now I am looking for a new brain lawn mower. A small one will be perfect for me. The Troy-Bilt 382cc Premium Neighborhood is what I am looking for. What is the limit time of the warranty? And is the warranty cover the entire lawn mower or only the engine? I had a bad surprise with the guarantee of my lawnmower. I had to buy the pieces by myself, and the company covered just the motor.

    Thank you for this excellent post!

    Reply
    • Steve Mann

      Thanks Daniella! I am kind of envious of your situation, the hot weather sounds good, the snakes not so much!

      The warranty is a little complicated (as these things often are), if you are in the USA it includes the engine, if you are in Canada it does not! The full details of the warranty can be found on pages 35 to 37 here.

      Good luck with what you decide!

      Reply
  2. Janelle

    We are looking to replace a large zero-turn lawn mower that came with our property when we bought it. The part of our yard that we mow is about 3 1/2 acres with some sloped areas. So we want a new mower that is durable and can handle all types of terrain.

    We are interested in the Ariens mower since we love our Ariens snowblower, but know someone who has a Gravely and speaks highly of it. Do you have any information about a comparison between these two brands?

    Reply
    • Steve Mann

      Thanks Janelle. I really like the Ariens mower (hence it is one of my top choices!). I know Gravely mowers are well regarded too, but I have not had a chance to properly test one as yet. I will see if I can get hold of one and review it, so keep your eyes peeled! Sorry I can’t be much more help right now.

      Reply

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