Buying a Riding Lawn Mower: All You Need to Know

Do you need a riding lawn mower? The best one is not necessarily the right one for you.

This is why it is important to determine what kind of mower you need before you actually buy one.

Check out this guide to find out all you need to know about buying a riding lawn mower


History


Not a lot of people know the history of the lawn mowers and many don’t really care. As long as the device can do the job…

But it’s always great to also understand where this device came from.

Let’s jump right in!

The first lawn mower was reportedly invented in England in 1830 by Edwin Budding, an engineer. The intention was to have a product that could cut the grass on sports grounds.

The device was found to be helpful in keeping large gardens neat as well.

Before that

A scythe was the popular tool to cut grass. The lawn mower was a convenient alternative.

The lawn mower was granted a British patent the same year it was invented.

The first mower

It was 19 inches wide and was made of wrought iron. It was pushed–just like a lot of current lawn mowers.

Then

The first American lawn mower was launched in 1868. The patent was under the name Amariah Hills.

It was also in America where the first riding lawn tractor was invented. It was known as the Triplex and was released in 1922.

Ryobi mower

Why Buy a Riding Lawn Mower?


Buying a riding lawn mower – is it worth it?

One of the reasons people are hesitant to buy a riding lawn mower is the price. It is understandably more expensive.

Why?

It is basically a vehicle, so of course it is going to be expensive. And just like any vehicle, it will run with gas or a battery set in the case of electric-run mowers.

If you have the budget for it, the riding lawn mower can really change your life.

Hear me out

Yes, it is more expensive. But you also have to think of the ease by which you can do the work.

Basically, while you are not saving on money, you are saving on time and effort. In the long run, time and effort have a higher value than the hundreds of dollars you are bound to save by not buying a riding lawn mower.

Look

If you have a small lawn, then by all means, buy a push mower. This will allow you to save money and get a free exercise in the process.

Wham!

Yes, you are going to get a lot of exercise considering the walking you have to do. A push mower requires you to walk behind the device and guide it around your lawn.

If you have a medium to large lawn, though, it is just not practical to have a push mower.

However

If you have really tight spaces, the push mower is actually quite practical. This is because you can guide the mower through it.  

If there is grass surrounding trees with large roots, the push mower is also quite adept at going through it–with your guidance of course.

View of man on back of riding mower

But

That is not to say that riding lawn mowers don’t have that capability. The right model can also help you maneuver through tight spaces. 

That is when the zero-turn mower comes in handy. But more on that later.  

Good investment

If you have a lawn that is about half an acre or more, the riding lawn mower would be a great investment for that. That is quite a large yard for a push mower.

You would get too tired and finishing it would take too much time. 

Also

The riding mower can easily go through thick grass and weedy patches.


What To Look for In a Riding Mower


As mentioned, buying a riding lawn mower is not always about the best brand or the best price. It is about the right one for your yard.

You have to consider the size of your lawn and the terrain. Also, you have to check your budget and consider how much you are willing to spend on a mower. 

Here are some of the basic specifications you need to know when buying a riding lawn mower:

Model

When you know the model number of your mower, it would be easier for you to research it online. You need to check how the particular product works.

More importantly, you need to read about reviews of the product based on people who have actually used it.

Power source

There are two kinds of power sources: gasoline and electric.

Gasoline-powered riding lawn mowers should be between 15 and 20 horsepower. You have to remember that the higher the horsepower, the more powerful it is.

That means the mower could easily go through bumpy lawns and rolling hills. High-powered mowers won’t easily bog down, too.

Higher power also means more gas and more carbon footprint.

Electric-powered riding lawn mowers are environmentally friendly. Again, the same rules follow: the higher the amp or voltage, the higher the power.

These lawn mowers are also quieter.

Just like any other electric-powered devices, this mower runs on a battery pack that needs to be charged.

It is always tempting to save money and choose a cheaper and low-powered model. However, you have to consider that going through thick grass and wet lawn requires a powerful engine.

Cutting width

This is self-explanatory. The wider the tool, the more it can cut in just one pass.

Generally, for small lawns, a cutting width of between 28 and 35 centimeters would suffice. Medium lawns would require between 35 and 40 centimeters and more for large fields.

This is why it is important to determine the size of your lawn before you decide on what kind of mower you should get.

Ryobi 38-Inch Electric Riding Lawn Mower

Deck cutting height

This refers to the length of the grass the mower is capable of cutting. The usual height is between an inch to four inches.

Obviously, you want a higher deck cutting height because people don’t always have the time to mow the lawn regularly. You want to have an easier go at the grass even if it’s already quite long. 

Fuel tank capacity

For gasoline-run mowers, you want to make sure that the fuel tank can carry enough volume for at least more than one run of the entire field.

Engine

There are single-cylinder, two-cylinder and four-cylinder engines. Again, the rule of thumb is that a single one is less powerful than the dual one.

If you have a small lawn that is just flat, then a single one should be fine. But to be on the safe side, a two-cylinder riding lawn mower seems a more practical buy.

Speed

There are two speeds you have to consider: forward and reverse. The latter is usually slower than the former.

Logically, the faster the speed, the faster you can do your job. Go figure!

Tire size

Wheels with a bigger diameter are great for navigating a ground with grooves and depressions or a rolling terrain. If you have a muddy ground following a downpour, the larger tires are best suited for mowing through it.

Turning radius

This refers to the smallest circular turn that the mower is capable of making. Normally, turning radius ranges from four to 28 inches.

The smaller the turning radius, the better it is for tight spaces. That is why the zero-turn riding mowers have become very popular recently.

The zero-turn radius is also helpful if there are a lot of obstacles on the ground.

Warranty

Most devices have a warranty. Just in case you meet a brand that doesn’t offer a warranty, definitely don’t go for it!

Cheaper mowers go for two-year warranty but a three-year limited warranty is more common for riding lawn mowers.

Ease of use

Find a riding lawn mower that is easy to use. If you have a complicated mower and you are the only one who truly understands how it works, then good luck!

Chances are you wouldn’t be able to ask someone else to mow your lawn for you.

John Deere riding mower

Added Comfort


When buying a riding lawn mower, it is not just about the technical aspect. There are also other things to consider including comfort.

Seat

You definitely need to test-drive the riding lawn more before you buy it. Other than the technical aspects like speed, engine power and turning radius, you also have to consider how comfortable the seat is.

If you have a large lawn, you need to be on that seat for quite some time. So make sure the cushion is quite cozy on your behind.

If you have a back problem, then consider a riding lawn mower that has a backrest. Padded armrests add comfort, too.

USB port

Wouldn’t it be fun to mow with music in the background? You can sing while doing the rounds on your lawn.

You can do just that if your riding lawn mower has a USB port.

Or you can take a portable fan with you. This way, you won’t feel too hot while mowing under direct sunlight.

Cup holder

Mowing under direct sunlight is going to make you thirsty. Having a cup holder means you can drink your water anytime.

Or maybe mowing is the very first thing you do in the morning and you are not truly awake yet. So you take your mug of coffee with you while you mow.

This way, you don’t have to fear spilling hot coffee on yourself.

Even better! Since it’s really hot, a bottle of beer might quench your thirst while mowing.

Best Riding Mower - Murray 13BC76LF058

Accessories


What accessories should you consider purchasing with your riding lawn mower?

  • Mower cover
  • Bagger
  • Towing cart
  • Lawn roller
  • Snow thrower

Summary


If you have a lawn that is around half an acre, buying a riding lawn mower is the most practical thing to do. Yes, it’s going to cost more because there are also more benefits.

First, you will have an easier time mowing your lawn. No fatigue whatsoever and you don’t have to waste more time and your energy.

Also, if you belong in the older generation, the riding mower would be easier for your body.

Since there are so many kinds of riding lawn mowers out there, you have to know what you need in order to find the best mower for your lawn.

It’s not about the most expensive or the most posh riding lawn mower, it’s about what is right for the kind of lawn that you have.


You Might Also Like


Now that you know what to look for in riding lawn mowers, you might want to check our list of the best riding lawn mowers of the year.

For maximum work in a massive yard, you should check out the Toro TimeCutter Riding Mower. It has a 60-inch cutting width.

Or maybe you just want something compact for a lawn that is just around half an acre. Then the Cub Cadet 30-Inch Riding Mower will be perfect for you!


Useful Resources


  • The 12 Best Riding Lawn Mowers – Improb
  • Picking the Right Lawn Mower: What to Consider – Herald Tribune
  • Best Lawn Mowers and Tractors of 2020 – Yahoo! News
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