Four Wheel Riding Mower Suggestions. Four wheel drive lawn mower

Fulfilling a need for hillside safety

Dixie Chopper has developed a four-wheel drive zero-turn mower to make hillside mowing safer.

Anyone who has mowed a lawn knows even the slightest incline or hill can make the task more difficult and dangerous. To help make hillside mowing more manageable, Dixie Chopper has developed the XCALIBER 4X4, a four-wheel drive (4WD) zero-turn lawnmower.

The combination of 4WD and zero-turn enables the XCALIBER 4X4 to safely and accurately mow any slope less than 30 degrees.

Initial Development

The idea for the lawnmower came from one of Dixie Chopper’s end users, Michael Hecht, who was concerned about the safety of his wife who tends lawns for several historical estates in Maryland. After several incidents of rolling mowers, Hecht took it upon himself to begin designing a safer lawnmower that could better handle the hilly Maryland terrain.

In 2008, Hecht began building a prototype 4WD Dixie Chopper. By March 2009 he had developed a lawnmower that could safely stay upright on a hillside, and brought his design to Dixie Chopper. The company liked what it saw and began developing the XCALIBER 4X4, with Hecht receiving credit as inventor of the mower’s hinge mechanism on the patent.

Four-wheel drive?

Beau Battin, Marketing Assistant at Dixie Chopper, says the company chose 4WD because it “offers additional traction for [hillside] safety, productivity and functionality.” When driving downhill the 4WD helps to counteract the effects of gravity which causes weight to be shifted to the front of the mower, pulling it faster down a hill than the operator would like. Since all of the braking power is in the rear wheels of the mower, when gravity is pulling the mower, it can be more difficult to slow down or stop, says Battin.

Battin also notes that normally zero-turn mowers with caster wheels in the front will turn while going down a hill, again because of gravity, causing an operator “to constantly ‘push’ the front end up the hill by giving slightly more power on the downhill side.” Doing this creates “crabbing” or moving the mower at an angle across the hill.

An engine oil accumulator on the lawnmower also helps with hillside mowing. When driving on an angle, oil pressure can drop, says Battin. However, the mower’s engine oil accumulator maintains oil pressure when necessary. If the oil pressure drops the accumulator maintains oil pressure throughout the engine as needed; once oil pressure is normal, the oil then recharges the accumulator until needed again.

For extra stability insurance, a dual wheel kit can be added to the XCALIBER 4X4 to help lower ground pressure and increase traction on soft terrain.

Zero-turn capabilities

Lawnmowers with zero-turn capabilities allow tight, zero radius turning for quick maneuvering and cutting accuracy. A caster wheel mechanism on the front end of the XCALIBER 4X4 provides its zero-turn functionality.

Battin says the caster wheels have the ability to be lowered with downward pressure, raising the front drive wheels off the ground just enough to give the mower the zero-turn capability that every customer wants. Without the caster wheel mechanism, the mower would tear up lawns while steering.

than just a lawnmower

Another feature of the XCALIBER 4X4 is its ability to have attachments added to the front end of the mower. Attaching a snow blade, blower, brush or bucket enables users to utilize the machine year-round, giving customers more for their investment.

According to Battin, the lawnmower has uses in many applications. “We have had success with municipalities using the mower to maintain their reservoir dams, contractors who are maintaining areas that might have been too steep for other mowers, and farmers who are using it to maintain their irrigation ditches.”

Four Wheel Drive Riding Mower Suggestions?

Do you know of any that are still made? I saw some from Husqvarna and Ariens, but they seem to be discontinued. John Deere has a couple, but they’re way out of my price range. Anything for around 3,000 or less would be great. Doesn’t have to be zero turn.

3k, 4wd, and used, it’s probably going to be pretty old and/or needs a bunch of work.


Welcome to MTF. Good to have you here. If you let us know why you need 4WD we may be able to help you set up a 2WD machine that will do what you need to do.

OK. A proper garden(not lawn) tractor with the right tires and weight can probably do this. Differential lock is a plus but not 100% necessary. My property is hilly everywhere and I pull a 500lb brushhog all over it.

This is one of my Cub 3000 series. They are 2WD shaft driven, weigh 800lbs without the deck, and this one has diff lock. I put ATV tires on all my GTs and they don’t have trouble doing what I need them to.


BTW that Husqvarna is a great mower. I bought a used one for 6500k 4 years ago. I got a 2 stage snowblower and have both the combi mulching deck (42”) and the side discharge deck (48”). My lawn is very hilly and sections can only be done going straight up or down to keep from rolling. They come up on Craig’s List etc. occasionally with low hours. Mine had 75 and was 4 years old. I used to skid down the steep parts with my RWD lawn mower.

Yes those Husqvarna’s are great machines. I had the privilege of owning a RWD model for about 4 years and just loved it. One of my customers made me an offer I could not refuse and I let it go. I thought I would upgrade to the 4WD model but low and behold 3 years later I have yet to find one. I’m only looking for local used not new and I have maybe seen 2 for sale in the last 3 years. Very hard to find and I’m not the only one looking for one.


OK. A proper garden(not lawn) tractor with the right tires and weight can probably do this. Differential lock is a plus but not 100% necessary. My property is hilly everywhere and I pull a 500lb brushhog all over it.

This is one of my Cub 3000 series. They are 2WD shaft driven, weigh 800lbs without the deck, and this one has diff lock. I put ATV tires on all my GTs and they don’t have trouble doing what I need them to.

Steve Urquell

This was a pic I took because we were talking about how much angle a GT could climb. I will say that was all I wanted with it.

I’m going to suggest something that’s not ‘fun’ in terms of talking about tractors on a tractor forum, but depending on how challenging that terrain is you might be better off with an ATV and a pull-behind mower for it, or a totally normal and cheap riding mower for your mowing.

I have a Kubota B7100 4wd with either a 48″ rear finish mower or 54″ mid mount mower i would sell in the 3’s and have huge growth potential to do other things with it, but yeah brand new you can’t get brand new ANYTHING 4wd for 3k unless it’s a cheap quad, possibly a Chinese one? I don’t know the ATV market very well at all.

But you definitely can do a lot with 2wd with the right tires and some weight on them! My main advice to you would be don’t limit yourself to new, the world is full of interesting used machines of all kinds for under 3k, and anything 4wd you could get new for 3k would probably force you to be working on it in no time anyway.

The 8 Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

Michelle Ullman is a home decor expert and product reviewer for home and garden products. She has been writing about home decor for over 10 years for publications like and Better Homes Gardens, among others.

Barbara Gillette is a Master Gardener, herbalist, beekeeper, and journalist. She has 30 years of experience propagating and growing fruits, vegetables, herbs, and ornamentals.

Emily Estep is a plant biologist and journalist who has worked for a variety of online news and media outlets, writing about and editing topics including environmental science and houseplants.

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If you dream of a lush, green lawn, but dread the maintenance involved in keeping it that way, then a self-propelled lawn mower can make your life easier. These mowers not only power the blades but also power the wheels to make your pushing requirements little more than guiding the machine across the grass.

Brock Ingham, gardener, landscaper, and founder of the website Bigger Garden, says, “The main advantage of a self-propelled mower is that it requires less effort to operate than a push mower. This can be beneficial for people with large lawns or those who have difficulty pushing a mower due to physical limitations. Self-propelled mowers can also provide a more consistent cut, since the speed is controlled by the mower rather than the operator. Overall, a self-propelled lawn mower can make mowing easier and more efficient.”

Henry Bravo, founder and editor-in-chief of, adds, “Self-propelled lawnmowers are much easier to maneuver around obstacles, and they can handle uneven terrain without a problem. Plus, I can adjust the speed so I can mow quickly or at a slower, more leisurely pace. And I love that I can easily switch between mulching, side discharge, and bagging capabilities.”

We bought and tested several self-propelled mowers, both gas and electric, and evaluated many others based on their power, the size of lawn they can handle, their options for handling grass clippings, their range of cutting heights, the easiness of using the mower, and their overall value.

Best Overall

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Earning the top spot in our tests is a battery lawn mower that rivals the power of a gas mower but without the smelly fumes, the oil changes, or the frustrating pull cord. Instead, this self-propelled mower from EGO has a 56-volt, 7.5-Ah battery that provides up to 60 minutes of runtime on a single charge; that’s enough to mow most lawns up to a 0.5 acre and more than enough for our small yard. We put the mower to the test in early spring, mowing a lawn just out of winter dormancy that was patchy, wet, and ferny.

Other than attaching the bag, assembling the mower was easy. And a mere press of the button brought it roaring to life. This mower has a 21-inch cutting deck and a one-hand lever that adjusts the cutting heights through six different settings for grass heights of 1.5 to 4 inches. We found it very easy to adjust.

The lawn mower easily handles all common types of lawn grass, including tougher warm-season varieties like Bermudagrass, zoysia, and St. Augustine. A few buyers have complained that it struggles to lift overly tall grass high enough for an even cut. However, we found that it struggled a bit in the wet grass as well, becoming stuck at one point in a ferny patch. Aside from that, it delivers a precise and crisp cut that is sure to impress.

The speed of the mower is variable, so you can set it to match your stride from a leisurely 0.9 mph up to a brisk 3.1 mph. As this was our first time using a self-propelled mower, there was a bit of a learning curve. At first, it felt like the mower was pulling us along. However, we soon got the hang of it and appreciated the ease of adjusting the mower’s speed. We also liked the adjustable handle, which made it more comfortable to mow.

We found that the mower was easy to maneuver, even around obstacles or sharp turns. As the self-propelled function does most of the heavy work, this is also a great mower for yards with slopes. At nine inches in diameter, the mower’s wheels are fairly large, and it is rear-wheel drive, which also helps when mowing over rough terrain or hilly areas. You can dispose of the grass clippings in the included 2-bushel bag, discharge them to the side, or mulch them into fine clippings to quickly decompose them into healthful lawn nutrients. This mower even has a LED headlight, so you can mow early in the morning or at dusk to take advantage of mild temperatures.

Most of the mower’s construction is heavy-duty plastic for weather and rust resistance, but that might not be as durable as steel, although we felt it seemed quite sturdy. Once you finish mowing, the handle folds all the way down for easy storage. We really appreciated this feature, as the mower doesn’t take up as much room in the garage. This mower comes with a 56-volt battery and a fast charger that has the battery ready to go in just an hour.

Price at time of publish: 549

Cutting Width: 21 inches | Power Source: Battery | Weight: 62.6 pounds | Grass Discard Options: Bag, mulch, side-discharge

Key Specs

Honda mowers enjoy a sterling reputation. Having tested their walk and self-propelled mowers for the last 30 years, we feel confident that Honda’s entry level mower is a great choice for homeowners looking for power and durability. The HRN features a GCV 170 gas engine that’s built to withstand long hours of operation.

If you do your own maintenance (and most owners who buy this class of product do), you’ll appreciate the easily accessible spark plug and the fuel shutoff valve that enables better winter storage. Close the fuel shutoff and run the mower until it sputters to a halt. This will clear the carburetor of any gasoline, which will prevent the ethanol in it from disintegrating and causing running issues later on. Open the shutoff valve in the spring, add some fresh gasoline, and the mower should start easily.

All this maintenance stuff is great, but we can also tell you that our past test findings on other Hondas prove that their cut quality is outstanding for cleanliness. Sharp blades deliver a velvet-like finish. And their bagging ability is also quite good, in the same league with other well-bagging mowers from Toro.

In all, if you take mowing seriously, you should enjoy this Honda. If you have a little wiggle room in your budget, consider the Honda HRX, which features a mower powerful engine and a composite deck that won’t rust and is renowned for its durability.

One note is that Honda has announced that it will cease selling lawn mowers in the United States after this year—so if you’re considering buying one, best do it sooner rather than later.

Key Specs

Toro mowers have garnered more recommendations from us than any other brand for two reasons: build quality and cut quality. These were amply demonstrated in our testing as the Recycler turned in the best ratio of cut area per amp-hour of battery in the self-propelled category, while at the same time not skimping on cutting, mulching, or bagging quality.

We attribute this outstanding mower performance to three features, all upgrades to the previous version of this machine. First, the air vent at the front of the mower deck seems to improve mulching and bagging performance. Toro calls it Vortex technology, a design that increases air flow under the deck. This helps to stand the grass for a cleaner cut, which improves mulching performance, and also allows better airflow into the bag when collecting the clippings.

Next, the company’s redesigned “Atomic” blade configuration appears to assist the air flow and clipping movement. Finally, the three-phase, 60-volt motor is exceptionally efficient, resulting in a large cut area for a single battery.

Toro has maintained features that make this mower work: rear wheel drive, a one-piece deck that’s all steel (no plastic nose), 11-inch wheels to help it roll over roots and crevices, and the same fold-forward handle that was an industry breakthrough when it was introduced some years ago.

Key Specs

This is one of Ryobi’s top-of-the-line mowers, and it’s American-made construction is something we wish we saw more of. It delivers a tremendous cut area with its two 6-Ah batteries providing a total of 12-Ah of capacity, and its X-shaped blade leaves a pristine surface in its wake.

Ryobi estimates the design should provide 70 minutes of run time; we didn’t time our cut, but it strikes as plausible. Its rear-wheel drive and reasonably aggressive tire tread pattern provide good hill climbing and sidehill cutting performance, and its bagging on all surfaces (level, sidehill, and uphill) is also commendable.

Toro TimeMaster 30 in. Briggs Stratton Personal Pace

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The Toro Timemaster 30-in. mower has been around for several years and has earned a reputation as a sturdy workhorse for homeowners who want to cut down on their mowing time. It’s also used by some professionals as well. A few years ago the Timemaster got a slightly more powerful Briggs and Stratton gas engine, so it should have no issues powering through most demanding mowing jobs.

The Timemaster is rear-wheel drive and features Toro’s Personal Pace drive system that’s used on many of its self-propelled mowers. This allows the mower to move at your speed by simply pushing down or releasing the handle, which is spring-tensioned.

With a 30-in. deck, Toro claims the Timemaster will help you reduce your mowing time by about 40% compared to using a standard-sized mower. You can mulch, back, or side discharge with the Timemaster, and the handlebar can be locked in a fully vertical position to reduce space consumption in storage.

If you have half an acre to a full acre of lawn to mow and prefer the experience of a walk-behind mower versus a tractor or zero-turn, the Timemaster is worth a look.

Craftsman mowers have been doing very well in our tests, so we can recommend this one because it’s so much like the many other of the brand’s models that we’ve tested. If you’re looking for a good blend of maneuverability and power, you’ll get it with this mower. Its front drive helps move it along and makes it easy to turn.

It’s important to note that front-drive mowers do lose some traction when running uphill, particularly with a full grass bag. But if your slope is less than 20 degrees, and you’re not bagging uphill, you’ll be fine. The side discharge will also help you handle tall grass. Adjust the two deck levers to bring the mower up to full height and have at the rough stuff.

The fact that this mower bags, mulches, and side discharges is a plus, enabling you to handle a wide range of mowing conditions, from early spring and late into the fall. Three-function mowers like this are our preference for that versatility.

What is a Self-Propelled Mower and How Does it Work?

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What is a self-propelled lawn mower, exactly? Is it a Roomba of the lawn mowing world? Can you just sit back and have a cold drink while it runs around your yard?

If you’ve been shopping for lawn mowers and had these questions, we’re here to help. A self-propelled lawn mower might not mow the lawn for you, but it can save you time and energy, making your weekly lawn care efforts more enjoyable and less physically taxing.

What is a self-propelled lawn mower?

Self-propelled lawn mowers make your mowing experience more like an afternoon drive through the country and less like Sisyphus straining to push a mower up a hill. (Note to Sisyphus: Pushing a mower up a hill is not recommended. Mowing across the face of the hill is the safe, successful way to go.)

In short, these mowers have a drive system (like a car) that, once engaged, pushes the mower forward. All you have to do is steer.

Note: Both battery-powered and gas mowers offer self-propelled models.

How does a self-propelled lawn mower work?

It works in much the same way any gas or battery-powered mower works. The difference is that the mower pushes itself forward instead of the operator (you) pushing from behind.

As with most gas-powered lawn mowers, hold down the handlebar and pull the cord. Then pull up on the drive lever to engage the drive system. For a battery-powered motor, push the start button and pull on the handle to start moving forward.

The drive system is similar to the one in your car: Once you engage the drive lever, the drive system engages the wheels, and the mower propels itself forward.

Safety Tip: If you ever need to stop the mower immediately, let go of both handles, and the mower and drive system will stop.

Like a car, self-propelled mowers come in all-wheel drive, front-wheel drive, and rear-wheel drive. Here’s a breakdown of each.

Type 1: All-Wheel Drive (AWD)

An all-wheel-drive mower doesn’t take a lot of guidance to get it going in the right direction. All-wheel drive mowers (AKA four-wheel-drive mowers) have excellent traction and balance across all four wheels.

As you need different drive systems, use the convenient handlebars to switch among the three drive types for optimal traction on hills and most any terrain. AWD can be more costly than the other drive types and is the rarest type among the three.

Type 2: Front-Wheel Drive (FWD)

FWD is generally less expensive than the other two types of drive systems and is ideal for flat lawns. Here’s why: Lawns that are uneven cause the front wheels to bounce. When this happens, you lose propulsion.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. It just means you’ll have to do a bit more physical work. When the front wheels come off the lawn (tall grass, an incline, or as you’re making a turn), you’ll have to supply the forward motion yourself.

Type 3: Rear-Wheel Drive (RWD)

RWD is the most popular of the three drive types. Do you have lots of trees to mow around? RWD helps you power through turns since the front wheels typically come off the ground as you start a new row or curve around trees. This drive type is ideal for large lawns or lawns that are uneven or sloping. RWD provides good traction and takes very little force to move across almost any terrain.

Mower speeds

Finally, as you’re shopping, notice whether the mower is a single speed or a variable speed. Single-speed machines work well for a standard walking pace. If you want more flexibility to vary your walking speed, or if you need to mow around curves, through dense grass, uneven terrain, or hills, variable speed may be a better choice.

Pros and cons of self-propelled mowers

If you are older or want to make your mow a little less exhausting, self-propelled mowers offer many benefits. You can choose from single- or variable-speed models and enjoy the benefits of side discharge, mulching, or bagging on most models.

So, is there a downside? Well, kind of. These mowers aren’t right for every yard. Consider three things as you’re doing your mower research: size of your yard, cost vs. time, and terrain.

Size of your yard: If your lawn is so small you could mow it with a weed eater, a self-propelled mower isn’t for you. Consumer Reports recommends a self-propelled mower for anyone with half an acre to an acre of lawn space. Other experts, however, recommend self-propelled mowers for lawns even as small as a quarter of an acre.

A little self-knowledge (and mowing experience) comes into play here. Are you exhausted after push mowing your quarter-acre lawn in the summer heat? If so, you might want to upgrade to a self-propelled mower.

On the other hand, if mowing your half-acre lawn is your only opportunity to get out and sweat all week, you may be perfectly happy sticking with a good old-fashioned push mower.

Finally, think of your lawn. A more pleasant mowing experience means you’ll mow more often, so you and your lawn will be healthier and happier throughout the mowing season.

Cost vs. time: Time is money, right? Self-propelled mowers cost more than their push mower counterparts, but they get the job done faster than a push mower. You also have a more even cut if you let the mower maintain a consistent speed as you mow. If your time is more valuable than a few extra dollars, it’s worth the investment.

Terrain: If you have a very small, flat lawn, a self-propelled lawn mower may not be worth the investment. If your lawn is on an incline or has uneven terrain, a self-propelled mower can get the job done with less effort from your human-powered drive system.

Another thing to consider is the density of your lawn. If you have dense grass that is a challenge to get through with a push mower, a self-propelled lawn mower will make the job much easier. Its drive system will supply all of the forward push to power through the lawn.

Curves also present a challenge. Do you have a lot of trees on your property? As you go around curves, the back wheels of a lawn mower stay on the ground, but the front wheels have to come off the ground. A rear-wheel-drive mower makes mowing on curves a whole lot easier.

FAQ about self-propelled lawn mowers

Who should buy a self-propelled lawn mower?

If any of the following applies to you, consider the benefits of a self-propelled mower:

—Large lawn : If you have a lawn that’s over a quarter of an acre, you may find that self-propelled lawn mowers are a labor- and time-saving tool.

—Uneven terrain/lots of curves: Large and small yards that have bumps, hills, and uneven terrain also may benefit from a drive system. Likewise, if you have borders around trees and beds, a rear-wheeldrive will help you power through those turns without as much muscle.

—Short on time: Self-propelled battery and gas mowers are fearless lawn explorers. They’ll keep a consistent speed throughout thick grass and hilly terrain. This helps you power through your lawn without slowing down due to fatigue.

—Low on energy: If you hate pushing your lawn mower and would rather let it do most of the work, self-propelled mowers will help you get the job done with less effort than a push lawn mower or reel mower (neither of which have a self-propelled option).

Do self-propelled mowers come with special features?

Self-propelled mowers are powerful and speedy, but those aren’t their only special talents. They have many other bells and whistles to choose from:

—Fold-and-store: Some of these mowers will fold up for easy storage. —Electric start: You’ll find electric or push-start options on some gas mowers and all battery-powered mowers. —Quiet operation: Self-propelled battery-powered mowers are quieter than gas models. —Three grass disposal options: Many self-propelled lawn mowers will offer all three options, so you can choose to bag, side discharge, or mulch your grass clippings. —Blade brake clutch: Allows you to shut off the blade but keep the mower running. This is a handy feature if you need to cross a gravel path, empty the bag, or pick up obstacles in the lawn. —Single-lever height adjustment: Adjust the height on all four wheels with a single lever.

Pro Tip: If you often load the lawnmower onto a trailer, the blade brake clutch is a handy feature to have. Leave the drive system engaged (without the blade running) to help you get the mower onto the trailer with less effort from you.

Which brands can I choose from?

A good many. Here are some popular brands that sell self-propelled mowers: — Craftsman — Cub Cadet — DeWALT — Ego — Greenworks — Honda — Kobalt — Makita — PowerSmart — Pulsar — Ryobi — Toro — Troy-Bilt

If this article hasn’t propelled you off the couch to mow your own lawn, contact one of our local lawn care experts. They’ve got the motivation and the commercial-grade, self-propelled gas lawn mowers that will take care of your lawn in a jiffy.

Where can I find riding mowers for hills around me?

At Koenig Equipment, our priority is making sure you have the right mower that works best for you and your terrain to ensure you can get the job done, all while being safe. Our trained sales staff will work with you to understand your needs and the terrain of your property to help you select the best mower for any slopes or hills you mow. Visit your local Koenig Equipment to learn more about the mowers we have to offer to help you mow your hills today!