Commercial and Residential Zero Turn Lawn Mowers. Compact riding lawn mower

The Best Riding Lawn Mowers Make Maintaining Giant Properties a Breeze

Take one of these lawn mowers for a spin to keep your grass looking sharp and even.

If your property has a yard that spans more than half an acre, then you know a walk-behind lawn mower simply isn’t big enough to keep your grass trim all spring and summer. Unless you want to spend a few hours out of every weekend mowing your acre-sized lawn, you should invest in a riding lawn mower that could cut your grass-trimming time in half.

Riding lawn mowers vary quite a bit from model to model: From small rear-engine mowers for one-acre yards, to lawn tractors for larger lawns, and zero-turn lawn mowers for NFL-length fields to mow.

Any model, regardless of your needs, is an expensive piece of heavy machinery. You don’t want to rush into a purchase without figuring out if you’ll get exactly what you need. Luckily, we’ve put in our fair share of miles on these large yard machines and can help you find the best riding mower for your lawn.

Best Riding Lawn Mowers

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Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro LT46

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Troy-Bilt 30 in. 10.5 HP Briggs and Stratton Engine 6-Speed Manual Drive Gas Rear Engine Riding Mower with Mulch Kit Included

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Craftsman T2200 Hydrostatic Turntight Riding Lawn Mower

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Ryobi Brushless 30 in. Electric Rear Engine Riding Mower

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Toro 42-inch TimeCutter

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John Deere S100 Lawn Tractor

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Cub Cadet Ultima Z1 50 in. 23 HP Zero Turn Riding Lawn Mower

The Expert: I’m a freelance writer who has written about landscaping, home improvement, gardening, and home security for publications like Popular Mechanics, Bob Vila, Angi, U.S. News and World Report, Switchful, and Futurism. In addition to writing numerous articles about lawn care equipment, I’ve also had to manage several large lawns of my own, so I’ve logged many miles on riding lawn mowers.

What to Consider When Picking a Riding Lawn Mower

There are three types of riding lawn mowers to choose from–rear engine, tractor, and zero-turn. Picking the right one for you largely depends on the size of your green space and your budget, but there are important technical distinctions among them and it pays to know one from another.

Lawn tractors have an engine mounted on the front of the mower, with a driver’s seat and steering wheel, giving them a tractor-like look. (That’s where the name comes from!) With wide mowing decks averaging around 45 inches wide, they can tackle lawns that are several acres large.

In addition to cutting grass, the tractor design is also great for towing other large yard equipment, such as an extra-large fertilizer spreader, lawn aerator, or pull cart.

Lawn tractors are ideal for cutting large lawns and towing yard equipment, but they have a wider turning radius than other mower types and the engine placement limits your visibility from the driver’s seat, which combine to make them fairly hard to drive precisely. If you have a lot of trees, gardens, and landscaping beds, you may want to go with a rear-engine or zero-turn model.

Rear engine mowers are the smallest type of riding lawn mower, with a chassis small enough to make tighter turns than a full-size lawn tractor. Since the engine sits behind the driver’s seat, there’s nothing to block your view as you’re mowing, making it easier to navigate around landscaping beds and trees.

Of course, they mow a smaller strip of grass–around 30 inches wide– which makes them a good fit for yards up to an acre in size. Since they’re smaller, rear engine mowers also tend to be the cheapest of the three core designs, so they’re ideal for budget-conscious buyers.

Zero-turn mowers combine huge mowing decks with unparalleled maneuverability. Instead of driving with a steering wheel, you control it with a pair levers that allow you to turn the mower on a dime. Since there’s nothing sitting in front of the driver’s seat, you get a wide open view as you’re mowing.

Zero-turn mowers are big and fast. They move faster than lawn tractors, and cut grass with wider decks–up to 6 feet!–making them ideal for mowing massive yards. Plus, since they have a low center of gravity, they can also mow on steeper grades than lawn tractors or rear engine mowers without the risk of flipping over.

The downside, unsurprisingly, is the price tag. Even the most affordable zero-turn mowers cost several thousand dollars.

Deck Width

Riding lawn mowers have a steel frame called a mower deck, that sits between the axles near the ground and holds the mower blades. The width of the deck determines how wide a swath of grass the mower cuts with each pass.

Ideally, you want to look for a riding mower that allows you to cut your grass in about an hour to an hour and half. A deck width of around 30 inches will allow you to cover about an acre in that time. Move up to a larger mower with a 42-inch deck for yards up to 1.5 acres. Finally, upgrade to deck size of 50 inches or more for any property larger than 2 acres.


A riding lawn mower is a piece of heavy machinery, which means it is only as good as the engine that drives it. A riding lawn mower engine powers both the blades in the mowing deck and the wheels that propel the mower forward. A mower with a powerful engine will cut a crisp lawn quick and clean. An underpowered one will drive slowly and require more passes to get your grass sharp and even.

When looking at a riding lawn mower, pay attention to the engine’s horsepower. An 11- to 15-horsepower engine can adequately power a mower with a 30-inch deck. For mowers with decks between 41-46 inches, you should look for no less than 16 horsepower. For the largest mowers, with decks between 52-60 inches, you want an engine capable of producing 22-24 horsepower.

Commercial and Residential Zero Turn Lawn Mowers

MOW WITH AN ATTITUDE. It’s our legacy. The driving force behind every mower we build. It’s a promise to every owner that we’ll continue to lead the industry in delivering innovation and powerful mowing performance across our entire mower lineup. And we do it all for mowing pros and demanding homeowners — just like you.

It takes brains and brawn to build a mower as ruggedly simple to operate, easy to maintain and provide the best value — over years of use — as a Bad Boy Mower. Over-built and over-horsepowered since the very beginning, our mowers represent the very best in delivering classic, American muscle. We continue to improve the process of building and innovating our mowers so that every single one is delivered for you to ready to MOW WITH AN ATTITUDE.

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Introducing the 2023 Bad Boy Mowers Zero Turn Riding Lawn Mower Lineup

From concept to creation, we’ve set out — as we always do — to build the very best zero-turn mower available. We’re confident commercial zero turn mower models will exceed your every expectation.

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Lawn Mower versus Compact Tractor: How to Choose

If you’ve got lots of lawn to mow, you might be wondering whether you should get a new riding mower or upgrade to a compact tractor. Both machines are very useful for the right circumstances, and they each have their strengths and weaknesses. Here’s a quick comparison of the two vehicles and their fundamental differences, from your friends at Rivera’s Machinery, Inc. in Donna, Texas. We’ve got a great inventory of both, and we serve our neighbors in Harlingen, San Benito, and surrounding areas.

When a property is smaller than about three acres and the grass in question can be described as a traditional lawn, a riding mower is an excellent choice. These machines are good for grass that gets cut regularly on a smooth landscape. They work on both flat and hilly terrain. Zero-turn mowers are an excellent type of riding mower for properties with more obstacles to maneuver around, and they are also more stable on slopes.

Compact Tractors for Challenging Terrain

When your mowing terrain is not established, groomed lawns, you want a compact tractor. They are well suited to mowing uneven surfaces such as pastures, open fields, and other rough ground.

Because they can mow both agricultural style and turf-style, they are more versatile. To mow a groomed lawn, attach a mid-mount mower deck implement. For agricultural mowing on open pasture, attach a rotary cutter to the back.

Once you’ve got a compact tractor, a whole world of attachments opens up to you. In addition to the mowing devices, you can get a front loader or a blade to move gravel, dirt, manure or snow. You can put up fences with a post hole digger. You can break up soil with a rotary tiller, or spread amendments with a spreader. The list goes on!

Comparing Your Options

Riding mowers can also operate some attachments, but the selection is smaller and the machines are less powerful.

It’s also important to consider storage space. A compact tractor, or even a sub-compact tractor, will require a bigger parking spot than a riding mower. Every attachment you add also translates to more storage required. Whichever machine you choose, storing it indoors is highly recommended to ensure it lasts a long time and runs its best.

Consider maintenance and repair costs and effort as well. As a more expensive and complex machine, a compact tractor requires more specialized mechanical attention. While both machines are made to last, a compact tractor is the more heavy-duty vehicle of the two.

Compact riding lawn mower

Craftsman toll-free at 866-864-2949 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET on Saturdays, or online at or and click the “Support” tab at the top of the homepage and then scroll down to “Safety Recalls.”

Troy-Bilt toll-free at 888-848-6038 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays, or online at or and click on the “Product Recalls” link at the bottom of the page for more information.


With roots dating back to 1914, Toro was built on a tradition of quality, long lasting products and customer relationships. We take the same technologies that professional contractors rely on and design them into every product we build. From power-packed beasts that take on untamed acreage to space-saving sizes that tuck neatly into your garage, Toro zero turn mowers feature the ultimate in comfort making your mowing experience enjoyable and give you a beautiful lawn in less time.

MyRIDE Comfort System

Toro’s got your back. Literally. Our patented MyRIDE Suspension System features a suspended, fully-floating rear and front shock adjustable operator platform that takes the bumps so your body doesn’t. With MyRIDE, the best seat in the house is actually in the yard. (Select models only)


IronForged Decks

Built to Last. Get years of reliability and top performance with the IronForged Deck, a 10-gauge High Strength fabricated steel deck shell, reinforced leading-edge across the entire deck, huge 6 inch spindles and belts reinforced with bulletproof material. (Select models only)

Built With ProDNA

The same, commercial-grade DNA that pros rely on, courses through the veins of every mower we build. giving you lawn-dominating power, durability, and precision to get the job done quicker and right the first time.

Need more help finding the right zero turn mower for you? Read this article that walks you through a wide variety of options to think about.


Choose a deck that fits your needs, from the 32″ to get into tight spaces, to our 60″ time saver. No matter the size, our decks are built to last, and will let you cut like the Pros.

Property Size

What’s the size of your property? From suburban lawns to large properties, cut your mowing time with zero-turn steering. Giving you a gorgeous lawn and more time to enjoy it.

Terrain Type

What type of terrain are you cutting? Whether it’s a finished manicured lawn with obstacles or a rough pasture, we have a mower for you.

Creature Comforts

From our Handcrafted seats to the MyRIDE suspension system, you’ll enjoy a more comfortable ride, keeping you productive and feeling fresh.


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How To Choose the Best Riding Lawn Mower

Toro riding mowers are built to last longer and perform better than any others you can find, but for many people, it’s hard to narrow down your choices to find what’s right for your lawn. The lineup of Toro riding mowers is solely zero-turn mowers because we believe they offer the most comfort, durability, and capability compared to others such as lawn and garden tractors, and allow a better mowing experience for our customers.

Because of their maneuverability and comfort, zero turn riding mowers are ideal for lawns with many obstacles including garden features, trees and landscaping. Consider the acreage of your lawn that needs to be cut, and the versatility you need, such as if you need to tow anything or mow different types of brush or grass. To start with, consider the size and grade of your lawn.

Now that you know the benefits of buying a zero-turn mower, here are the 8 key things to consider when buying a riding lawn mower.

  • Durability – look for designs that are inspired by commercial machines
  • Deck Construction – a heavier deck doesn’t mean a better quality of cut. Be sure to research those that leave a good after cut appearance.
  • Engine Design – single-cylinder and twin-cylinder options are available, with twin-cylinder being the choice of professionals
  • Cutting Height – look for easy adjustability without intricate parts which could break over time
  • Wide Tires – wide tires offer the most traction and weight distribution for better stability
  • Comfort – seat construction, suspension, and accessories (such as a sun shade) make all the difference
  • Speed and steering control – adjustable speeds, smooth operator controls, and zero-turn steering give the operator full control
  • Price – a key consideration for most customers, zero-turn mowers start around 6500,500 and go up depending on need for features, range, and comfort

There can be a lot to consider when making this choice, and Toro has a fantastic selection of products above. For more information about these 8 steps to choosing the right riding mower for you, read more at


Property Size

What’s the size of your property? From suburban lawns to large properties, cut your mowing time with zero-turn steering. Giving you a gorgeous lawn and more time to enjoy it.

Mowing Deck

Choose a deck that fits your needs, from the 32″ to get into tight spaces, to our 60″ time saver. No matter the size, our decks are built to last, and will let you cut like the Pros.

Terrain Type

What type of terrain are you cutting? Whether it’s a finished manicured lawn with obstacles or a rough pasture, we have a mower for you.

Creature Comforts

From our Handcrafted seats to the MyRide suspension system, you’ll enjoy a more comfortable ride, keeping you productive and feeling fresh.

Types of Riding Mowers

It’s imperative to know that there are two additional types of riding mowers: lawn tractors and zero-turn mowers. Lawn tractors are traditional tractor-style mowers with regular car steering. You can use them with many attachments, making them a machine suitable for all seasons.

On the other hand, a zero-turn mower is a mower that can perform a zero-degree turn on its radius. This machine offers you more maneuverability because of its zero-turn feature. Rather than use a steering wheel, you use two levers to control it.

Things to Consider When Buying a Riding Mower

Deck Size

Cutting deck size is one of the primary features you should observe when buying a lawnmower. It’s what you’ll use to determine the amount of your grass that the mower will cut in one pass. Therefore, the larger the deck, the better. Deck sizes in residential riding mowers can range from 30-52 inches.


You’ll need to store your mower when you’re not using it in the off-season, so the size is another aspect you should consider. If you’re using it for your residential property, you should use powerful small machines to save on storage space.


You should also consider the lawn mower’s price before you buy it. Typically, the higher the price, the better the lawnmower should be.

There are many brands selling mowers at different prices. Compare and contrast mower from these manufacturers. However, understand that an expensive machine that’ll last is better than a substandard cheap one.


The warranty is another factor that you should consider. Most riding mowers will have a 2-3 year limited warranty upon purchase. Anything less than that is a red flag, and you should avoid such brands.

What Are The Smallest Riding Mowers?

A small mower doesn’t mean it’ll be substandard. There are small riding mowers that perform excellently well and will work better than some bigger ones out there. Most people go for small mowers because they have a small yard and won’t need a large machine.

Additionally, maintaining a small mower is simple than a bigger one. The mowers are fuel efficient and emit lesser pollutants than their bigger counterparts.

This section will list some of the smallest riding mowers, their features, and whether or not they’re worth your money.

Snapper 2911525 BVE Riding Mower

Snapper is renowned for making small mowers, but the Snapper 2911525 is its smallest. Also, it’s the smallest riding lawn mower in the market currently. Despite its size, the machine has impressive features.

It comes with a 14.5 HP Briggs and Stratton Power Built 4-Cycle engine. The engine has 11.5hp and 344cc, capable of cutting your grasses faster and perfectly. It has a 28-inch cutting deck to ensure your yard gets the cut it deserves.

The mower’s seat and steering positioning makes it incredibly easy to drive. It has a 28-inches turning radius and enables you to navigate obstacles better than a regular lawn tractor. The machine has a 1.35 gal fuel tank capacity.

The mower is one of the best machines you can find for small yards. However, its engine quality, cutting deck size, and fuel tank capacity all signal that it’s not best suited for large lawns. It costs around 6500,199 and comes with a two-year consumer warranty.

Husqvarna Z242F Zero Turn Mower

Some premium names exist among small riding mowers, but Husqvarna Z242F is one of a kind. It has all you need to work on medium size and massive lawns.

The machine comes with a 42 inches Clear Cut fabricated cutting deck. It has a 21.5hp Kawasaki FR V-Twin engine. The mower can reach a speed of 6.5mph and a fuel tank capacity of 3.5 gallons.

Its adjustable seat design also lets you change sitting conditions when you’re uncomfortable. Husqvarna also equips the mower with other top technologies like the rear engine guard, ergonomic control panel, automatic park brake, and numerous others.

The only significant downsides to this machine are its price and weight. Since you’ll be driving around and not a push mower, the weight wouldn’t be much threat. The mower is good for its 3,000 price, especially compared to Snapper 2911525 BVE. It comes with a 3-year bumper-to-bumper warranty.

Husqvarna Z254 Zero Turn Mower

Husqvarna has a thing with producing compact riding lawnmowers, and the Z254 is another machine that proves just that. With a 52 inches cutting deck, it’s the smallest lawnmower with that large deck. It has a 25hp Kohler engine capable of reaching a top speed of 6.5mph.

It’s an elite mower without a shadow of a doubt. If you want to work on large yards with a small mower, it’ll serve you just fine. You can also buy it for your small yards if it’s within your budget.

The advantage is that it’ll mow your small yards quicker than usual because of its large deck size. It costs around 3,399 and has a 3-year consumer warranty.

Ryobi RY48111 38” Electric Riding Lawn Mower

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If gasoline-powered lawnmowers aren’t your thing, there are small electric mowers that’ll work perfectly for our yard. Electric riding mowers let you save more on maintenance because it doesn’t have spark plugs, fibers, belts, or any other accessories.

It’s environmentally friendly and doesn’t exhume any gas or fumes. It requires you to charge the battery, and you can use it for around 2.5 hours. This 2.5 hours of usage can last you for 2 acres or more.

The mower has a 38 inches mowing deck, more than enough for small yards. Another notable feature is that it emits just 70 dB of noise. You won’t need to worry about waking up the neighbors when you mow early morning anymore.

It costs around 5,500 to buy the Ryobi RY48111 electric riding mower, and has a 3-year limited warranty. The price is high because electric mowers are generally more expensive than gasoline-powered ones. If you consider that you’ll spend less on maintenance, the mower is a good buy for the long term.

Ariens Zoom 915213 Small Zero Turn Mower

Ariens Zoom 915213 is another zero-turn mower with premium features. It has a 42 inches deck, designed compactly to ensure you get a precise cut anytime you want to mow. It has a 19 HP professional-grade Kohler 600 V-Twin Engine.

The mower can reach speeds of 6 mph and has a 2-gallon fuel tank capacity. It has high-padded seats designed to give you peak comfort while operating it. You also get the foot-operated deck lift which enables you to regulate your cutting height.

The mower is zero-turn, allowing you to mow the tightest spaces in your yard. It’s comparatively easy to use thanks to its features, and you’d barely regret getting it for your yard.

The only disadvantage of the mower is that you may experience traction issues on wet terrain. It’s best to skip if you’re not used to operating a zero-turn in wet conditions. Additionally, the exhaust can get hot after some use.

Expect to spend around 3,785 on this mower. While it’s on the expensive side, it’s worth it. However, you can stick to the lesser expensive ones mentioned earlier if you’ll use them strictly for a small yard. It has a 3-year limited consumer warranty.

Troy-Bilt 452CC Mustang FIT

The Troy-Bilt Mustang FT 34 is one of the smallest lawnmowers in the market. It has a 452 Troy-Bilt Dual EZT engine and a ground speed of 7 meters, faster than all the others on this list. The mower has dual suspension springs, making it better equipped to absorb impacts and bumps.

The mower’s size doesn’t reduce its cutting capabilities, thanks to its 34 inches deck. Its deck uses a side discharge cutting mode for a more precise cut and an Integrated Premium Deck Wash for better cleaning. It costs around 6500,399 to buy the Troy-Bilt 452CC Mustang FIT, and the product comes with a 3-year limited residential warranty.


These are some of the smallest riding lawnmowers you can buy for your small yards. Mowers like the Troy-Bilt 452CC Mustang FIT and the Snapper 2911525 BVE are best suited for small yards. Others, like the Husqvarna Z242F and Husqvarna Z254, can work on small and big yards.

If a small machine that won’t take a toll on your strength is what you need, you can consider purchasing auto mowers. Many brands now have auto mowers that can cut your grasses unprompted.

You only need to set them up and watch your grasses look beautiful daily. However, you should note that auto mowers are regularly expensive.


Here’s the bottom line on the best riding mower for small yard:

  • The Troy Bilt and Husqvarna lawnmowers have ample power and long run-times from their gas-driven engines, and they are more suited for maintaining large lawns, yards, and fields and steeper, uneven terrain than the other models.
  • The electric-powered Craftsman and Ryobi mowers are excellent for small yards without many slopes, and they have the advantage of being fume-free, quiet, low-maintenance, and simple to operate.
  • For people with more physical strength and endurance, the gas-powered Snapper is fun-to-use and takes up minimal storage space, but be prepared for a bigger work-out operating this machine than when using the other mowers in this review.

At the end, the choice on the best riding mower for small yard depends on you and what you need.