How Many Hours On A Riding Lawn Mower Is A Lot? (Discussed)

Riding Mower on lawn

Buying a riding lawn mower is a big investment no doubt about it.

That is why you want to know how long you can expect it to last when you buy one.

After all, you don’t want to pay thousands of dollars for something that will need replacing within a couple of years.

So how many hours on a riding lawn mower is a lot?

Let’s take a closer look.

How Many Hours On A Riding Lawn Mower Is A Lot?

If you buy a higher price riding mower, from a dependable brand and look after it well, you could get over 2,000 hours of usage out of it. But a smaller, cheaper mower might only last you 500 hours. There are many variables that affect how many hours you will get out of your mower, with a proper maintenance schedule being the most important.

The Tale of Bob and Keith

Riding Mower Deck with feet of men visible

Two men are born on the same day, in the same town.

Bob is extremely health conscious. He eats a healthy diet, lots of fish and meat, plenty of fruit and vegetables, doesn’t smoke or do drugs, and rarely drinks.

He keeps himself fit and plays a lot of sport and is regularly going out for runs and bike rides.

He never needs to go to his doctor and lives a happy and healthy life, until…

He dies unexpectedly of a heart attack at the age of 49.

Keith on the other hand is the opposite. 

He loves a few beers and smokes like a chimney. When he was a younger man he dabbled several times in certain illegal substances.

He has never worried about keeping himself fit and his diet consists mainly of greasy, fried foods.

He lives a long life and dies at the age of 94.

You might wonder what this story has to do with how long a riding mower will last?

Well simply sometimes a lot of it is down to the luck of the draw.

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You could buy a riding mower off of the assembly line that starts giving you major problems from very early on.

By the time it gets to 500 hours you are ready to write it off completely.

Your friend might buy the exact same mower off of the exact same production line the next day and it might last them 2,000 hours without any real problems whatsoever.

Sometimes there are things we can’t control and can’t predict.

Asking how many hours a riding mower will last is like trying to predict how long someone will live.

We can make an educated guess based on a number of factors, but we can never truly be sure if we will be right.

But, I know that probably isn’t what you want to hear!


There are undoubtedly some factors that do affect how many hours you can expect to get out of your riding lawn mower on average.

So, let’s look at them.

Riding Mowers By Hours

I know most of you will have come here to get an idea of how many hours you can reasonably expect to get out of a riding mower.

For that reason, I’ve put together the table below.

However please remember that these figures are very general and are dependent upon so many factors which we go into in the next section.

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Up to 250 hoursA smaller riding mower should be relatively trouble-free for this long, even if it is at the cheaper end of the scale.
250 to 500 hoursYou might start to experience issues with a smaller, lower-end model, which tend to have an engine life of around 500 hours.
500 to 1000 hoursWith proper care and maintenance, most riding lawn mowers should last around 500 to 1000 hours.
1000 to 2000 hoursHigher ticket riding mowers made for larger areas should last around 1000 to 2000 hours if well cared for.
2000 hours plusWith a little bit of luck, a lot of care and attention and a dependable model, larger riding mowers can last upwards of 2000 hours.

What Can Affect the Number of Hours You Get from Your Riding Mower

So as we have touched on there are so many variables that can affect how many hours you can get out of your riding lawn mower.

That said, there are definitely certain factors that play a bigger role in prolonging the life of any riding mower.


If you really want to get the most out of your riding mower, then you need to make sure you maintain it appropriately.

If you neglect this side of things, your mower might only last a few seasons.

Get into a proper maintenance routine which should include:

  • Checking the oil and changing it each year.
  • Cleaning and washing the air and fuel filters at the very least once a year.
  • Keeping the cooling fins clear.
  • Lubing the compression filters.
  • Checking and adjusting the belt as necessary.
  • Checking the tire pressure.
  • Checking and replacing mower deck spindles as necessary.
  • Adjusting the valves.
  • At the end of the season remove the battery and store it on a maintenance charger.
  • At the end of the season either drain any fuel or ensure it is stored in the tank with stabilizer.

The big ticket repairs are the engines and the hydrostatic transmission.

When you store it make sure it is not exposed to the elements, and if you don’t have a shed to put it in then at the very least get a good waterproof tarp.

By properly maintaining your riding mower you are increasing its lifespan, so don’t neglect it!


Some brands definitely have better reputations than others.

And whilst you can still pick up a ‘bad’ mower from a good brand and good mower from a ‘bad’ brand, you can generally expect to get more hours from mowers made by certain manufacturers.

John Deere generally tends to make sturdier mowers. Their older, higher-end mowers are designed for a very long lifetime, in excess of 2,000 hours being common.

Many of them actually end up being passed from generation to generation!

Husqvarna is another brand with a reputation for quality and good value for money. For instance the Husqvarna YT42DXLS has a fabricated Clearcut deck, quality K66 transmission and a wonderful Kohler 700 series engine.

They tend to make riding mowers for smaller yards, but they are sturdy and dependable beyond expectations.

For reliability, consistency and durability Briggs & Stratton mowers are hard to fault. Some say the engine design is outdated, but I only have had good experiences with them.

I’ve always liked Cub Cadet mowers too. Like Husqvarna you get a lot of bang for your buck, their mowers are practical and built to last rather than being unnecessarily fancy.

These are just a few brands, there are many more out there. Make sure you thoroughly research reputation, warranties and aftercare before making a purchase.

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The old adage ‘you get what you pay for’ is true for the most part.

The cheaper a riding mower the lower the quality and the fewer hours you will get out of it.

The metal will be thinner, and the finish will be less durable. A dry and dusty mowing season could strip it completely.

The mechanics will not be of the same quality and you are more likely to encounter issues with parts such as the axles which can really cause issues.

The more money you spend, the larger and more dependable the engine will be. 

The better and more costly mowers will have twin-cylinder engines, which split the workload and give you a longer run time.


Like anything, age is a factor. This is especially applicable if you are buying a riding mower secondhand.

Let’s use a car as an example. If you have two cars that have both done 100,000 miles, but one is two years old and one is 15 years old, it is more likely that the two-year-old car will still have some life in it whilst the 15-year-old car might be approaching the end of its useful life.

The same goes for riding mowers.

Final Thoughts

How Many Hours On a Riding Lawn Mower Is a Lot infographic

Saying how many hours of use you will get out of a riding mower is very difficult, although we have tried to give some kind of indication on the infographic above.

But it depends on maintenance, price, brand, etc, etc.

So how many hours is a lot for a riding mower? Probably in excess of 2,000 hours.

Will yours last that long? Who knows!

But if buy a brand noted for being dependable, if you spend a bit of money buying a good mower and if you give it plenty of TLC, then you are giving yourself the best chance of prolonging its life.

When you buy a riding mower it is reasonable to say the engine manufacturer has 50% culpability for how long it will last and you as the owner have the other 50% responsibility.

All you can do is fulfill your side of the bargain.

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2 thoughts on “How Many Hours On A Riding Lawn Mower Is A Lot? (Discussed)”

  1. I bought a Craftsman 54″ mower 14 years ago. Has the Kohler V engine. It has over 5800 hours on it. It by no means has been well maintained. I mean I changed the oil and air filters regularly, but only greased the blade towers once. Never winterized it, or did anything special just parked it inside.

    I’ve replace the battery, starter, both belts once, the wheels a couple times, and the metal strips that line the bottom of the deck, and finally welded a bracket on the deck because I crashed it (not the machines fault), and oh yeah the steering wheel bushing and bracket (same crash). The headlight switch has failed but it is still going strong.


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