Popular Lawn Mower Types
Lawn mowers have been used to maintain lawns for more than one hundred and fifty years. Over the years, the invention has seen numerous modifications that have made it much easier to use than the original version. In this article, we are going to help you understand the various lawn mower types to help you better select one that is best suited for your yard.
- Walk-Behind Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
- Gas-Powered Self-Propelled
- Battery-Powered Self-Propelled
- Gas-Powered Push Mower
- Battery-Powered Push Mower
- Corded Electric Push Mower
- Reel Lawn Mowers
- Hover Lawn Mowers
- Zero-Turn Lawn Mower
- Tractor Lawn Mower
- Articulating Lawn Mower
- Sickle Bar Mower
- Flail Mower
- Brush Hog Mower
- Robotic Lawn Mower
- Remote Control Mowers
- Tow-Behind Lawn Mowers
Finding it hard to choose a lawn mower? I totally understand! That’s why I have written a huge article on the best lawn mower for every purpose.
Walk-Behind Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
This type of lawn mower is one that will drive itself. The person mowing the lawn has to work to both guide and steer the mower but doesn’t have to push it. Thanks to a powerful motor built into the lawn mower, it will actually propel itself around the yard.
These mowers are often a little more expensive due to the heavy-duty motor and the mechanisms used to create them. They also tend to require more regular maintenance; however, for many people, they are the better option because they are significantly easier to use.
In general, walk-behind self-propelled lawn mowers are a great option for homeowners who have medium-size yards and who don’t have the strength to push the mower on their own as lawn mowers can tend to be very heavy. Because they propel themselves, they are great on both flat and hilly lawns.
Gas-powered self-propelled lawn mowers are some of the most popular ones on the market. They require the user to regularly fill the tank with gasoline or the lawn mower will not work correctly and may even stop working halfway through mowing the lawn. They generally have four-stroke engines in them that are very powerful and range from four to seven horsepower.
The engines often require a manual pull crank in order to start the lawn mower, although there are some that have an electric button to push start the mower instead. They usually have a throttle control that is located on the handlebar that allows the user to control the speed of the engine.
These self-propelled lawn mowers are a great option for homeowners who need more power cutting their lawns and who need to be able to easily go for longer distances. They do, however, require regular maintenance and tend to produce a lot of pollution.
These lawn mowers are not nearly as noisy as gas-powered self-propelled lawn mowers and are much lighter. They do require maintenance before each time they can be used as the battery has to be fully charged before the lawn mower will operate. While batteries vary, it’s very common for a battery to last for around an hour before needing to be charged again.
Proper battery maintenance will extend the life of the battery in a new electric mower and will prevent it from failing. Because of the shorter battery life on these lawn mowers as well as the fact that they will simply not have the same power as gas-powered self-propelled lawn mowers do, they are best suited to smaller yards that don’t have very thick or rough grass.
Walk-Behind Push Mower
This lawn mower type is the most popularly used by people since they are easily available across the globe. They come with either a rotary or a reel feature for the blades. They can also come with either gas or electric-powered motors. These machines are going to be the most cost efficient option you can buy. In addition to that they are very easy to handle.
Push mowers get their power primarily from the person using them. While they do have engines that vary in size and power, most of the power in a push mower is dedicated to mowing the grass. The person who is mowing the lawn needs to be strong enough to be able to move the mower around so that the lawn can be cut.
While they tend to vary in weight, between 60 and 70 pounds is fairly average for a walk-behind push mower. It’s a good idea to check a mower’s weight before purchasing it to make sure that you will be able to easily push the mower.
Due to how much more work you have to put into using this type of mower, they are a great option for stronger individuals who aren’t afraid of the workout. They are also generally only used on smaller lawns that don’t have a lot of hills as they can be difficult to push up a hill and also to control when coming back down.
They can be tiring to use on big lawns due to all the walking and pushing required. Most of them feature a rather narrow mowing deck which means you will have to do a lot of walking on big lawns.
Gas-Powered Push Mower
Gas powered push mowers offer a lot of power when mowing the lawn but can be very difficult to handle and to maneuver. This is because they are very heavy due to the engine. While some people can use them without a lot of problems, they are not the best option in yards that have many obstacles to move around.
These lawn mowers require the same maintenance and care as gas-powered self-propelled mowers do but can be harder to use due to the fact that they need to be pushed by the person mowing. For this reason, they are good for small yards that are flat without any inclines and are best used by a person who is very strong and will be able to handle moving the mower.
Battery-Powered Push Mower
While battery-powered push mowers are a little more difficult to use than self-propelled options, they are not nearly as heavy as gas-powered lawn mowers are, which makes them a better choice for people who don’t have the strength to handle a gas-powered lawn mower. They do require regular care and maintenance to keep the battery charged and in good condition.
One thing to consider when shopping for this type of lawn mower is how long the battery will last before needing to be replaced. All batteries will have to be replaced at some point but to avoid the extra associated costs of having this type of mower, it’s best to make sure that the battery is durable and designed to last for a very long time.
Because this lawn mower has to be pushed around the yard, it’s not an ideal option for homeowners who have very large yards or ones with lots of hills. While they are easy to use on flat surfaces, they can be very dangerous to use on hilly areas.
Corded Electric Push Mower
Corded mowers have to be plugged in while they are in use, which can add a certain difficulty to mowing the lawn as it’s important to not mow over the cord. One major advantage of this type of lawn mower is that it doesn’t require all the care and maintenance that gas-powered and battery-powered lawn mowers do.
Since these lawn mowers just need to be plugged in during use, there isn’t any worry about the battery not being fully charged or running out of gasoline while mowing. Of course, because they are attached at all times to a cord, users have to be creative in using them.
These mowers are a good option for homeowners who have very small yards to maintain as they will only be able to be used as far away from the home as the cord will stretch.
Reel Lawn Mowers
Also known as “cylinder lawn mowers”, reel lawn mowers are a very environmentally friendly option for mowing a lawn. Traditionally, they don’t have an engine and they don’t require gas, electricity, or oil, making them almost perfectly quiet. They run on the power of the person who is using them. However, there are some gas-powered options that are available as well.
One main benefit of this type of mower is that they do not rip the grass the way that other lawn mowers do; instead, they cut the blades, which results in a very healthy and neat appearance. Since they don’t generally cut as low as other types of lawn mowers and since the height on the mower isn’t always adjustable, they usually require homeowners to mow twice a week.
They are a wonderful, light option for homeowners who have smaller yards and don’t mind clippings being left on their lawns. Unlike other lawn mowers that can have bags, these will leave clippings behind them, which not everyone finds ideal.
Reel lawn mowers are not suitable for lawns with tall weeds.These type of mowers tend to roll over rather than cut the weeds. They are also not very well suited for use on uneven lawns.
Hover Lawn Mowers
These lawn mowers actually produce a cushion of air underneath them and then ride on top of that. They look as if they are defying gravity and are easily moved from side to side as well as forward and back. Thanks to how easily they can be moved, they are great in tight spots that could otherwise be difficult to mow.
They use an impeller that is located above the blades to push air down, which lifts up the mower. Since they need to be lifted up, they are significantly lighter than other mowers. They are a great option for homeowners who have steep slopes, high-weeded areas, and waterfront areas to be mowed.
However, they have their drawbacks as well. The main disadvantage of hover lawn mowers is their ineffectiveness when used on uneven lawns or those that feature rough terrain. The air cushion can push down grass, limiting the amount that is cut by the blades. The result can be an uneven lawn with some areas not being cut at all.
They are quite hard to use on edges, since the wide gaps may affect the air cushion created. Also keep in mind that they have no wheels, so you’ll have to drag or carry them from the shed to the lawn.
Riding Lawn Mowers
Riding lawn mowers take a lot of the hard work out of mowing a lawn and allow the person who is mowing to sit and relax during this chore. They are significantly bigger than other types of lawn mowers and generally cost more both to buy and to maintain.
Even though they are more expensive, riding lawn mowers are a great choice for many homeowners who are looking to decrease the amount of time they spend on yard work. They are a great option for homeowners who have very large lawns to cut and can decrease the amount of time spent mowing. However, not all riding lawn mowers are a great choice on hills and can actually be dangerous.
The ride-on lawn mower can be used on large lawns and is more effective in cutting tall weeds and grass than other types of lawn mowers. They do all this without the operator having to break a sweat, which makes for a much more enjoyable experience, every time.
Most of them run on gas-powered engines. Electric kinds are also available. However, they are costly and rather scarce in comparison to the gas powered models.
Zero-Turn Lawn Mower
This type of lawn mower is a little newer to some people but has a number of advantages over traditional tractor lawn mowers. They have very comfortable seats and the rider sits low to the ground. One of the main draws of this type of riding lawn mower is that they are engineered specifically to be easily maneuvered around tight turns and obstacles.
They do not have a steering wheel; rather, they have two bars that the person uses to control the mower. While it can take some time getting used to driving this type of lawn mower, they are one of the best options for quickly mowing a yard and getting close enough to the landscaping so that there aren’t large areas of uncut grass left behind.
Zero-turn lawn mowers are great for mowing in a hurry, getting close to obstacles, and taking care of a large yard in a short period of time. However, they don’t offer stability on hills and can be dangerous on slopes more than 15 degrees.
Tractor Lawn Mower
Tractor lawn mowers are probably the most popular type of riding lawn mowers and have been around for a very long time. They have steering wheels to make using the lawn mower as easy as possible for the rider and are designed with comfort and maneuverability in mind.
One thing to remember about tractor riding lawn mowers is that they do not offer the precision of other types of mowers. They do have a learn curve and take a little time to best learn how to control the mower so that you can keep the yard looking its best. However, they generally do a great job keeping the yard looking its best.
These mowers are ideal for someone who is unwilling or unable to use a walk-behind lawn mower and who has a larger yard. They can be dangerous to use on hills in the yard.
Articulating Lawn Mower
Articulating lawn mowers are a great option for homeowners who are interested in a zero-turn mower but have heard how using it incorrectly can easily tear up the lawn and want something that will be a little more gentle on the grass. These mowers have a front-mounted cutting deck that allows for complete mowing control.
It’s easy for the person mowing to see where he or she is going and, thanks to the large and flat deck in front, it’s possible to get under branches and other obstacles. They have the best maneuverability of any lawn mower on the market and have easy steering.
Much the same as zero turn mowers, articulating lawn mowers are great for use in large lawns and since they can be used with a number of different attachments, they can do more than mow your lawn. They are ideal for mowing large areas in a hurry and for flat lawns with little slope.
Equipped with a heavier blade that is very sturdy and designed to cut through dense material without slowing down, rough-cut mowers can even cut through small trees without problems. They are made from durable, strong materials and generally are very reinforced so that there aren’t problems with the chassis being damaged during use.
While these mowers do a great job removing a lot of thick and rough grass from large areas in a hurry, they are not going to provide the same polished look as other lawn mowers will. However, they are often the only option for people who have very thick brush that they need to cut through as they are the only option that is tough enough to handle the job.
While they are the best option for cutting through dense brush, they are not a good option for use on regular lawns. Due to their size, weight, and power, they will easily tear up normal grass.
Sickle Bar Mower
This type of mower has a long bar where there are mounted fingers and guard plates. Inside the bar, there is a channel with a reciprocating sickle that has very sharp triangular blades. The bar is pulled back and forth inside the channel at very high speeds. Any grass or plant matter that ends up between the finger plates and the sickles will be cut.
There is a bar that rides along the ground that can be tilted to ensure that the grass is cut at the right height. All cut grass is guided away from uncut grass and forms a swath in the grass where the mower will then travel on its next pass. These are best used in cutting tall grass or hay in large fields.
Flail mowers are a special type of rough-cut mower that are a great option for cutting through heavy scrub and brush that may ruin a regular lawn mower. While there are some smaller options that are self-powered, most attach to the back of tractors. When the flail on the mower hits an immovable object, it will simply bounce off of it while other mowers will throw the object.
They are the best option for cutting tall grass in areas where it comes in contact with a lot of loose debris, such as rocks along the sides of roads. Since these mowers won’t throw objects that they come in contact with, they are very safe to use. This ensures that small rocks and other items don’t become projectiles, which can be dangerous and cause personal harm.
Brush Hog Mower
This is a type of rotary mower that attaches via a three-point hitch to the back of a tractor. The blades are not rigid as are the blades on a traditional lawn mower but are hinged, which allows them to move if they hit stumps or rocks. While most lawn mowers have sharp blades, brush hog mowers have dull blades that will allow them to easily work through dense growth.
The blades can reach more than 150 miles per hour, which will allow them to easily cut through not only grass and weeds but also small trees and saplings. These mowers are the best choice for people who need to clear large fields but who aren’t worried about a nice, smooth cut as they would be if cutting grass on a lawn.
Other Types Of Lawn Mowers
Robotic Lawn Mower
Robotic mowers aren’t as popular as other types of lawn mowers but are becoming a more common sight, thanks to how easy they make maintaining your lawn. Instead of sweating it out while mowing the grass at your home, you can relax and watch as a small robot does the work for you.
These lawn mowers do take a little more setup time than traditional types of mowers do. In order for them to work correctly, the owner has to take time to install a boundary wire which will then provide the mower with an area that it can run and cut grass. While installing the wire and programming the motor can be tricky, the payoff may be worth it.
Robotic lawn mowers do not require any supervision to operate. You only have to switch it on and leave it to cut your grass. In fact, you don’t even have to switch it on yourself in most cases. The machine operates on a schedule which you program beforehand, so that it will mow the lawn automatically for you a few times per week or however often you prefer.
Because robot mowers are very quiet, they can be used at night without bothering the neighbors. They are a wonderful option for people who aren’t interested in mowing their lawns themselves and feel confident that they could set up the boundary wires without issues.
Remote Control Mowers
This type of lawn mower attaches to the back of a tractor or an ATV. They generally have a very large deck, which makes them great for mowing large areas of grass all at once. Since they are attached to tractors or ATVs, they can be used at high or low speeds without any problems.
Tow-behind lawn mowers tend to be much more durable and able to cut through rough grass and weeds than traditional self-propelled or walk-behind lawn mowers, which means that they are great for use in large and overgrown fields. However, users do have to have a tractor or ATV in order to use this type of lawn mower and it requires the same regular maintenance as other types.
Best Riding Lawn Mower Reviews 2023
Tired of spending the best part of your Saturday walking behind a lawn mower? You’re not alone and our team has pulled together our recommendations for the best riding lawn mower in 2023. Whether you’re a homeowner or commercial Pro, or you’re on the hunt for a lawn tractor or zero-turn mower, we have you covered. Thinking about making the switch to battery power? We have thoughts on electric riding lawnmowers as well.
Considering walk-behind mowers? Check out our Best Lawn Mower main page.
- Best Commercial Riding Mower (Find a Dealer)
- Best Residential Riding Lawn Mower (Buy at Tractor Supply)
- Best Zero-Turn Riding Lawn Mower (Buy at Acme Tools)
- Best Lawn Tractor (Buy at Tractor Supply)
- Best Consumer Electric Riding Lawn Mower (available at Lowes or Home Depot)
- Best Riding Lawn Mower For Small Lawns (Buy at Lowes)
- Best Riding Lawn Mower For Medium Lawns
- Best Riding Lawn Mower For Large Properties
- Best Riding Lawn Mower For Hills
- Best Riding Lawn Mower For The Money (Buy at Tractor Supply)
- What We Look For In The Best Riding Lawn Mower
- Why You Can Trust Pro Tool Reviews
Best Commercial Riding Lawn Mower
Hustler Hyperdrive Series Zero Turn Lawn Mowers
Professional lawn care crews who FOCUS on residential lawns (affectionately known aa “mow and blow” crews) have to hit a lot of lawns every day during the mowing season and they’re tough on their equipment. Exmark, Hustler, and Scag all come up frequently in conversations about the best commercial mower, and our top choice is the Hustler Hyperdrive series.
While the Super Z series is likely more popular, the Hyperdrive series adds additional durability to the transmission system, keeping your downtime to a minimum.
Deck sizes range from 60 to 72 inches and there are 35 to 40 HP engine options from Kawasaki and Vanguard. For those of you who like to mow at speed, you can run up to 16 MPH on this model. No matter what your mowing style is, Hustler has a 3,000-hour warranty on the hydraulic system and a 5-year/1200-hour warranty on the full mower.
Price: Contact your local dealer
Best Residential Riding Lawn Mower
Toro Timecutter Series Zero-Turn Lawn Mowers
For residential use, we recommend Toro’s TimeCutter as the best residential riding lawn mower for a variety of reasons. What it boils down to is that you get an excellent balance of performance, comfort, and reliability for the price.
The line currently includes 17 models (including CARB-friendly options). Deck sizes start at 34 inches for small lawns and run up to 60 inches for those of you with acreage to maintain. The base-level models are an excellent value for most people, but if comfort is a high priority, step up to the MyDrive models to get an upgraded suspension and easier ride.
Best Zero-Turn Riding Lawn Mower
Cub Cadet Ultima ZTX6 Series Zero-Turn Lawn Mower
While Toro earns our pick as the best overall riding mower for residential use, Cub Cadet’s Ultima ZTX6 series is the creme de la creme for those of you with a bigger budget. Earning our choice as the best residential zero-turn riding lawn mower, the ZTX6 is at the top of Cub Cadet’s residential-focuses Ultima line.
These mowers bridge the gap between residential and Pro needs, giving you a ride and performance that feels more professional while keeping the overall price down from premium professional mowers. The ZTX6 comes with a 25HP Kawasaki commercial-grade engine and either a 54 or 60-inch deck size. If you prefer a steering wheel over lap bars, there’s now a ZTXS6 option that has you covered.
Price: 8999.00 – 9299.00 (10299.00 for the 60-inch ZTXS6)
Best Lawn Tractor
Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro FAB Series Lawn Tractor
Cub Cadet lawn tractors are very popular and consistently earn high ratings from owners. If you’re looking for the best lawn tractor among them, we recommend the XT1 Enduro FAB series. They’re a bit more expensive than others in the XT1 line, but they upgrade from a 13-gauge stamped steel deck to an 11-gauge fabricated steel one, improving the long-term durability.
Available with a 50 or 54-inch deck, these mowers are suitable for covering larger lawns than lawn tractors in the 30 – 48-inch range. Thanks to a Kohler 24HP engine, they have better overall performance than most of its competition as well. While they don’t turn as tight as a zero-turn, they do have a 16-inch turning radius that gives them a tighter turn than others.
Best Electric Riding Lawn Mower
Try as we may, we couldn’t pick just one electric ride-on lawn mower as the best. However, we do have three that stand out from the rest.
Commercial: Greenworks Commercial 82V OptimusZ Series Zero-Turn Lawn Mowers
Greenworks was one of the first to push into the commercial electric zero-turn lawn mower market and they have learned a lot over the years. The culmination of that experience and the best of today’s technology come together in the Greenworks OptimusZ zero-turn and earns our recommendation as the best electric commercial riding lawn mower.
The line includes both ride-on and stand-on models, and we even got to see an operational prototype of a fully-autonomous version. Focusing on the ride-on models, there are 48 – 60-inch deck sizes with either 18KWh or 24KWh battery packages. On the 60-inch mower, the larger battery bank can run up to 8 hours on a charge.
The Best Type of Lawn Mower for Your Yard | Consumer Reports
The top speed is impressive, reaching up to 16 MPH with the blades on. Security is already onboard thanks to the combination of 4G and GPS connections. If all that sounds great, but you’re still not sure it can hold up, keep in mind that Greenworks backs these mowers with a 5-year/2,000-hour warranty.
Residential: EGO 56V E-Steer Zero-Turn Lawn Mower
EGO is making it easier to transition from gas to battery power and into the zero-turn market with the 56V E-Steer riding lawn mower. It takes the lap bars and exchanges them for a steering wheel, making for a much more approachable mower if you’re not used to traditional ZT steering. Beyond that, the design team shifted the controls/info screen onto the steering wheel where they’re easy to keep an eye on while you’re mowing.
The mower sports a 42-inch deck with cutting speeds between 4 and 8 MPH and matches the power of a 22HP gas engine. For the power source, EGO uses the same 556V batteries that power its other mowers and handheld tools. With a full load of six 12.0Ah batteries, expect to cut nearly four acres on a charge. With the four batteries that come with the mower, there’s enough juice to cover 2.5 acres.
Price: 5999.00 with four 12.0Ah batteries and onboard charger (scheduled for May 2023 launch)
Residential: Ryobi 80V iDrive Series Zero Turn Lawn Mowers
Ryobi’s iDrive zero-turn lawn mowers break the mold of lap bars, but not with a steering wheel. It uses joystick controls, making you feel a bit more like a lawn-cutting fighter pilot (without the missiles, of course). While it certainly breaks the norm, our crew was able to adjust to the steering quickly.
Top 5 Best Self Propelled Lawn Mowers in 2023 (Buying Guide) | Review Maniac
There are three deck sizes covering 30 to 54 inches and they primarily use 80V suitcase-style batteries for power. These mowers also have slots to use Ryobi’s 40V batteries if you need to extend your runtime beyond what the 80V packs offer.
The power ranges from a 28HP – 42HP gas equivalent with runtime covering 1 – 4 acres, depending on which model you go with. Plus, this mower uses the CrossCut stacked blade system to give you better cut quality than you’d get with single blades.
Price: 5999.00 – 7999.00 ready to mow
Take a look through our full list of Best Electric Lawn Mower recommendations!
Best Riding Lawn Mower For Small Lawns
John Deere S130 Lawn Tractor
Lawn tractors are great for small to medium-sized lawns and the John Deere S130 lawn tractor is our choice as the best riding lawn mower for small lawns. The S100 comes in at a lower price, but moving up to the S130 is worth it in our opinion.
Both feature a 42-inch mowing deck, but the S130 has a significantly stronger 22HP V-twin engine and it has John Deere’s super-easy 30-Second Oil Change system. The S130 also upgrades with cruise control and an electronic PTO system. Overall, it balances ease of ownership and performance well while keeping a safe distance away from the price of zero-turn mowers.
Best Riding Lawn Mower For Medium Lawns 1 Acre to 5 Acres
Husqvarna Xcite Zero-Turn Lawn Mowers
The best riding lawn mower for medium-sized lawns is the Husqvarna Xcite. There are two models available featuring a 54-inch 10-gauge deck that’s a great size for those 1 – 5–acre properties.
What’s exciting about the Xcite is a combination of innovative features and a design that feels more Pro even though these target residential users. Starting from the top, your start/stop and blade engagement controls are on the lap bar ends where you can easily reach them with your thumbs. Then there’s the suspension system. 4 bar links and 10 adjustment settings let you customize the setup based on your size, weight, and preferences to dial in a comfortable ride.
Depending on the model, you get either a 24HP or 26HP Kohler engine with a top speed of either 7 or 9 MPH. On the business end, Husqvarna puts stock blades that can go up to 5 years without needing to be sharpened. Husqvarna targeted a Pro feel with the convenience and ease of ownership homeowners crave with the Xcite and they nailed it.
Best Riding Lawn Mower For Large Properties
Exmark Lazer Z Series Deisel Zero Turn Lawn Mowers
When it comes to maintaining large areas where you need a cleaner cut than a bush hog leaves behind, there are a few large-deck options. Leading the pack in size and with a robust professional resume’, the Exmark Lazer Z Deisel is our choice as the best riding lawn mower for large properties.
When we say large, we mean it. The Lazer Z diesel line includes 60, 72, and 96-inch options along with a monstrous 144-inch model. Ang get this—Exmark rates the largest mower’s cutting rate at up to 11.5 acres per hour! In terms of productivity, that’s going to be tough to beat.
These mowers aren’t cheap, though. They start at just over 27,000 and the 144-inch model is over 35,000.
Price: Starting at 27,099.00
Best Riding Lawn Mower For Hills
Cub Cadet Pro Z 972 Zero-Turn Lawn Mower
If you have hills, you need both power and traction to mow effectively. In our team’s opinion, the best riding lawn mower for hills is the Cub Cadet Pro Z 972 series SD/SDL models. What sets these mowers apart is a combination of their dually rear wheel and steering wheel designs.
Four rear wheels help prevent the back end from slipping, even in wet conditions. The steering wheel makes it easier to manage on slopes and there’s an option for a pivoting seat that keeps you more upright on those hills. As part of Cub Cadet’s commercial mower lineup, you can expect a commercial-level build and high-end comfort features as part of the package.
Best Riding Lawn Mower For The Money
Toro Timecutter 42-Inch Zero-Turn Lawn Mower
What’s the best riding lawn mower for the money? For that, we return to the Toro TimeCutter series. Specifically, it’s the 42-inch 75746. This isn’t the least expensive 42-inch in the line, and it’s not the most expensive, either. By upgrading from the entry-level version (3299), you’re moving from a 15.5 HP Briggs Stratton engine to a much stronger 22HP Kohler engine. up to a more durable 10-gauge fabricated steel deck.
If your lawn is 2 acres or less, this model offers the best balance of performance, durability, comfort, and price. But what if you have more then 2 acres? Stick with the Toro TimeCutter and move up in deck size to match your lawn.
What We Look For In The Best Riding Lawn Mower
Lawn Tractor or Zero Turn?
When you’re choosing the best riding lawn mower for your lawn, the first thing to decide is which style you want.
Lawn tractors have several advantages. They tend to be a smaller overall size, are less expensive, and are easy to use with their steering wheel/pedal control systems. The downsides are that they tend to be slower and don’t reach larger deck sizes. They also aren’t as efficient in your mowing pattern because they require a larger turning radius.
Zero-turn lawn mowers make it easier to efficiently mow straight lines. While they’re more expensive, larger, and can take some time to get used to lap bar controls, you can get larger deck sizes, they have higher speeds, and they’re better for large properties. If comfort is a high priority for you, you’ll find better options with ZTs and lawn tractors.
Gas or Battery?
Now that battery-powered riding lawn mowers are at a point where they really can replace gas, the conversation is shifting away from just power and runtime.
Gas mowers tend to be less expensive and you can usually find someone to service/repair them within a reasonable drive of your home. The trade-off is the noise, emissions, managing fuel and oil, and more required maintenance.
Battery-powered mowers have a push-button start system that’s ready when you are, assuming you charged the batteries. They’re remarkably quiet compared to gas, have no emissions, and your HOA isn’t going to suddenly rewrite the rules to eliminate them. Maintenance primarily boils down to blowing off the deck and maybe rinsing under the deck. The primary downsides at this stage are that you don’t have as wide of a selection as gas, they’re more expensive, the batteries need replacing every 3 – 5 years, and there aren’t nearly as many service centers close by.
Durability and Reliability
As you go up in price from entry-level riding lawn mowers to mid-range and high-end models, there are significant changes. A more powerful engine is only part of it. The design of the engine and its quality typically improves as you move up the line, giving you a more reliable engine to go along with the higher performance of more horsepower.
You also see the strength of the build improve. Some of it is the thickness of the metal or moving from stamped steel to fabricated steel on the deck. Other components come into play as well, with higher quality transmissions and electronics packages improving.
Generally speaking, if you’re looking at an entry-level model, see if your budget has room to move up into the middle or even high end of the line. The durability and reliability you gain are worth it in the long run.
The deck size you need depends on the property you’re mowing. 42-inch riding lawn mowers are a good starting point for lawns up to an acre or where you need to squeeze through a narrow gate. If you have more than an acre, go ahead and look at models up to 60 inches.
Realistically, it’s a matter of finding the right balance between how much lawn you have to cut, how much storage space you have available, and what your budget is.
Speed is primarily a concern for professional lawn crews who need to move from one property to the next quickly or on campuses with significant travel distance between the shop and where they’re mowing. They usually want a mower with a top speed over 10 MPH.
Even homeowners can make their mowing chores more efficient with some decent top-end speed, though. 7 MPH or more is a good benchmark for those models. If you tend to take your mowing more casually, 5 – 6 MPH is just fine.
The larger your lawn, the more time you need to spend in the driver’s seat of your riding lawn mower, and the more comfort comes into play. Entry-level mowers are going to bounce you around more than mid-range and high-end models. Look for a seat with plenty of cushioning, an adjustable tension knob, and enough travel for you to sit without having to scrunch up.
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The Best Zero-Turn Mowers of 2023
These achieve the rare feat of making lawn mowing fun.
By Roy Berendsohn Published: Mar 1, 2023
When it comes to yard work, zero turn mowers do the impossible. They make lawn mowing fun. They accomplish this by putting unprecedented speed, control and maneuverability at the disposal of the person mowing the lawn. The so-called “zero turn” feature of these mowers converts a grass cutting machine into something akin to an amusement park ride. You steer the machine with two levers—the left lever controls the left wheel, the right lever the right wheel. With that steering setup, you can zoom over the landscape cutting straight lines, curves, or pivot the mower into and out of a corner. What’s not to like?
Read on to understand how these agile grass cutters work, how we go about testing them, and see some candidates that we’ve recently tested as well as some that we haven’t but that we think look particularly promising.
How Zero-Turn Mowers Work
A zero-turn riding mower consists of an operator platform, a frame and wheels, an engine (or battery bank), transmissions (or motors), and a pair of control levers commonly known as lap bars. In gas mowers, the engine powers a pulley system. One group of pulleys drives the blades, another group powers a pair of transmissions–one at each rear wheel. When you move the lap bar forward or back, you are directing the transmission to go faster, slower, or even turn the opposite way. When one drive wheel turns clockwise and the other counter clockwise, the mower pivots. When the wheels rotate at different rates, the mower turns in an arc-shaped path. When the lap bars are in the neutral position, the mower stops. Aside from a parking brake, there’s no other braking mechanism. Battery-powered zero-turn mowers work the same way, but have separate motors to drive the rear wheels and one for each blade inside the mower deck.
When it comes to transmission, most mowers have a Hydrogear EZT—a well-known and cost-effective residential-grade transaxle with a reputation for durability.
Some mowers use a deck stamped from one piece of steel, others use a deck fabricated from multiple pieces and welded together. A fabricated deck can be built from thicker steel at a lower cost than it would be able to be built otherwise. Once you’re talking about stamping metal as thick as 10 gauge (about 1⁄8 inch thick), the cost of stamping such a deck would push up the mower’s price beyond what most people are willing to pay. The decks in the mowers below range from 42 to 52 inches, a typical size in this class of product. When powered by these engines and the Hydrogear, these mowers will deliver a decent cut quality at their rated top speed of 7 mph. Note, however, that cut quality declines steeply if you maintain that speed in very thick grass or on uneven terrain.
As to the electric mowers, they represent the leading edge of the technology in this category. These are remarkable and expensive mowers powered by large-voltage lithium-ion batteries. If you’re interested in reducing mowing noise and simplifying your maintenance routine by eliminating gas and oil, they’re worth a look.
Selecting a Zero-Turn Mower
Everyone would like to select the biggest possible zero-turn mower with the hope of whittling a big grass cutting job down to size as quickly as possible. Reality usually intercedes because these machines are expensive and the wide range of options available today quickly drive up the cost. Roughly speaking, you start somewhere in the range of a mower with a 42-inch deck costing in the vicinity of 3200 to 3500 and move up in increments of 1000 to 1500 until you reach entry-level commercial-grade equipment that costs 7000 to 8000.
Again, speaking in terms of approximation, a mower with a 42-inch deck will cut a two-acre lot (that takes into account that the house, driveway, outbuildings and various landscape features are taking up some of that space). Use a mower with a larger deck to cut anything over two acres. But here’s the caveat. That entry-level ZTR mower (3200, say) with a 42-inch deck will wear out faster and need more maintenance than a mower with a 50-inch deck, a heavier frame, larger engine and higher quality transmissions, and thicker deck with more robust blade spindles, costing 4500.
In the simplest possible terms, you can cut a smaller area with a larger mower and expect more longevity out of the machine (not to mention a nicer mowing experience) or you can cut a larger area with a smaller machine and encounter more maintenance and a mowing experience that will be, we might say, a bit more rugged.
But there are still other factors to consider, in selecting a mower other than deck size and your budget. Larger mowers take more space in a garage or outbuilding. And a mower with a 50-inch or even 60-inch deck, as useful as it might be in getting the job done more quickly, may not fit through a fence’s gate, and it might be more difficult to maneuver in tight spots without creating scalp marks on the lawn from a lot of close-quarter pivoting.
Carefully consider all these factors when shopping for a mower: your budget, maintenance and whether you will perform that work yourself, mowing speed and time, maneuverability and trimming in tight areas, the importance that you place on your comfort while mowing, cut quality, longevity, storage, and access to the landscape.
How We Select and Test
There’s only one way to test a mower, and that’s to cut grass with it. But we also do more than mow.
We raise and lower the deck and adjust the seat. We look at service point access (the air filter, the spark plug, and the oil filter) and how easy it is to remove the deck. We mow approximately an acre with each mower, considering cut and mulching quality while running uphill, downhill, across washboard, and along sidehills. (On sidehills, we’ll mow surfaces pitched up to approximately 20 degrees; manufacturers generally recommend not going steeper than 10 degrees, but we like to be thorough.) We evaluate power and speed relative to cut quality—we investigate whether the mower delivers a decent cut mowing at full speed. When mowing in damp conditions, we look at whether the mower’s tires accumulate grass and how effectively it discharges moist clippings. Finally, we test maneuverability (these machines are, generally, very nimble) and how readily they come to a stop when you back off the lap bar control levers.
The Ultimate Guide for Lawn Mower Types – Explained Clearly!
Lawn mowers are the perfect equipment to maintain your yards, gardens or landscapes in good condition without straining yourself.
They are available in different types to satisfy a wide range of requirements and budgets.
It is essential to know the difference between these types to make the right investment. If not, you may end up either investing more or having a wrong product that doesn’t satisfy your requirements.
To help you have clear understanding, we have come up with a detail explanation of lawn mower types in this article.
If you are thinking to invest in a lawn mower, then read through the information clearly to make an informed choice.
Different Types of Lawn Mowers
Since there are several types of lawn mowers, we have categorized them based on its moving style, power type, driver type and others.
Detail Review of Each Lawn Mower Type
This lawn mower is perfect for people who have large landscapes to maintain regularly. They make easy job of cutting lawns, significantly reducing the time needed to trim your grass. Mostly, it creates a simpler and enjoyable the experience. When it comes to effectiveness of these mowers are better than walk-along lawn mowers, however they do come with higher expense.
These lawn mowers are further categorized into four types. They are:
Zero Turn Lawn Mowers
These mowers have evolved into premium section of lawn mowing category. The working mechanism of these mowers is quite simple – the lap bars located near the front seat control the two hydrostatic transmissions located at both rear wheels.
They can take sharp turns, pivot, and provide the best cutting performance. They are able to get closer to obstructions compared to others. They are capable of cutting with precision against the edges of landscapes that will produce an improved appearance on the majority of lawns.
Their ability to steer makes a competent mowing experience, particularly for lawns with irregular shape. They are capable of cutting large amount of grass in the shortest amount of time.
Zero-turn mowers come with deck widths typically ranging between 32 and 60 inches. They are estimated to have a horsepower of around 12-25 with engine sizes that range from 452 and 700 cc. The price of these lawn mowers varies based on its model and specifications, with the price ranging from 1000 to 6000.
Rear Engine Lawn Mower
These riding mowers are an ideal option for lawns with moderate size which are small for the use of a lawn mower, but too large to use the walk mower. They have the engine in back of the mower beneath the seat of the driver while the deck sits beneath the driver’s seating.
They’re typically operated with the lever that operates the continuous transmission. It comes with single-cylinder engines that range between 344 cc to 38 cc.
The horsepower is measured between 10 and 11. The deck dimensions of these mowers can vary between 30 inches and 33 inches, which makes them ideal for lawns that have fewer than 2.5 an acre in all.
A lawn this large will cause quite a bit of wear on the mower, so a thorough maintenance program is crucial and the riding mower with a rear engine is able to deal with the task.
Lawn tractors are common to the majority of people and these front-mounted machines are what most of us envision when we think of riding mowers. They’re an excellent option for big lawns, with deck widths that typically range between 42 to 54 inches.
An effective method to figure out the size of lawn mower you require is to split the deck’s width by 12, and the result is the amount of grass it can manage. For instance, a 42-inch deck width would be ideal for lawns up to 4 acres.
In terms of the size of engines, lawn mowers are available between 18 and 25 horsepower starting with only one cylinder, with more expensive models featuring twin cylinders.
The basic lawn mowers will come with gears operated by levers, whereas higher-end models can have a continuously variable transmission. This is a pulley-driven automated transmission controlled with a shift-on-the go hand lever.
They’re excellent all-rounders to manage large lawns however, their biggest disadvantage is their restricted manoeuvrability.
If you’re looking to exceed your budgetary limits it is possible to purchase one that has a pedal-driven hydrostatic transmission. Lawn tractors typically ranging from 1000 to 3000, which makes them affordable when compared to other varieties of riding mowers.
Articulating Lawn Mowers
They are like zero-turn radius mowers. However, their blade decks are located at the forward of the lawnmowers. The seat behind the deck seats the user so that they can look directly down to the point at which the deck is guided.
Behind the riding position is the engine which allows you to easily reduce edges and climb into corners and under other obstacles.
They are generally longer mowers to provide the rider with this view point. It has all the advantages of a zero-turn mower with regards to precision (but not with zero-turn capability). It’s a simpler control than the other lawn mowers with similar functions.
With the cutting deck that is mounted on the front and the articulated steering, it’s tough to find areas that the Husqvarna Rider won’t be able to reach.
The combination of comfort, control and performance will not just simplify your work but also make you feel more comfortable during the journey.
Walk with Mowers
The walk-along lawn mower is one of the mowers that require driving, however they are operated by the person who is who is walking behind them.
Because of the work these mowers demand they should be reserved for lawns of not more than half of an acre and for owners who aren’t averse to the effort involved.
Walk-along mowers are versatile and have more options than ride-on mowers. They also come with features and qualities to suit any budget.
Cylinder mowers have circular blades that turn in a vertical direction (anywhere between 3 and 12 blades) cutting with a blade fixed in rear of the mower.
The blades entrap grass between them and cut them up like how cutting tools work. They are suitable for flat lawns. They can make the terrain difficult to manoeuvre.
Cylinder mowers offer clean cuts, and specialize in creating distinct stripes. They’re the most efficient when you use soft grasses that are short and soft.
This means it isn’t a good idea to let your grass get too long because your mower isn’t able to cope with it. Therefore, you will need to trim your lawn regularly (at minimum, every other week or once).
In addition to their flaws These mowers are often high maintenance and require regular servicing and are not as adjustable than other mowers. It can be difficult to locate replacement parts because of their rarity. But their cost and effectiveness cannot be questioned.
Most likely to be the most well-known walk-along mowers. They come with single blades that turn horizontally at high speeds, similar to how blenders function.
Rotary Lawn Mowers
Rotary mowers are ideal for lawns that have medium or long grass. It’s fine to go two weeks without mow. These are various kinds of lawn mowers, which appeal to those who do not need to worry about gas and engines, and all the other demands.
They aren’t as precise as bowers on cylinders which results in less precise or uneven cutting. But this inaccuracy and unevenness is only evident to the experienced eye, in particular in the typical uneven lawn, with its bumps and slopes.
Self-Propelled Lawn Mower
This type of lawn mowers moves forward by a motor which means that, unlike the push mower it doesn’t require pushing it, but instead steer it. Self-propelled lawn mowers are usually easy to operate and can allow quick mowing of the lawn, no matter how small or large.
The primary reason to buy them is that they do not require any the use of a person to push them forward, as well as being more consistent and steadier in their speed. But they require regular maintenance and come with the price.
Push mowers require that you manually push them from behind. There’s no other method to get the wheels moving.
These lawn mowers are extremely well-loved however, helped by their low cost and light and easy-to-use design that allows for easy maneuverability to move around obstacles and corners, or even reverse.
Naturally, these mowers demand physical effort, so invest in them only if are a fan of your morning exercise or don’t have any health concerns. They’re also ideal for lawns that are small and level. You do not want to push them down the hill or force them up an uphill.
In addition, since the mowers don’t emit emissions and operate using manually-generated power, they’re incredibly green; they’re non-noise-pollution, unlike motorized lawnmowers.
Hover Lawn Mower
Hover mowers hover above ground because of the air cushion that helps keep them suspended. They are extremely easy to steer around due to the decreased interaction with ground, and the resultant lower friction.
They can be easily moved all directions, sideways as well, making them ideal for large, unevenly-shaped lawns. These are the most unique models that are lawn mowers.
Hover mowers, aside from being easy to handle and maintain, are also very affordable. But since they are typically powered by electricity they do not have the power that other mowers have and are therefore not suitable for large lawns.
The kind of source of power that is most suitable for your lawn mower will be determined by how big your yard is, the power, and other requirements. The choices available in terms of lawnmowers power sources include:
Manual Lawn Mower
This type of mowers is basically push mowers. Although they might come with an engine, it only controls the blades but doesn’t generate any motion.
Users are the sole source of motion using their muscles unlike the other options. the energy is provided through the engine while the user provides only directional direction. They are quietest and most eco-friendly, and most affordable.
They’re also among the most difficult to operate, and require an adequate strength and endurance to run. They’re ideal for smaller lawns.
Electric Powered Lawn Mower
Mowers are also distinguished by the power they draw from. Like the name implies electric mowers operate on electricity, not batteries or gas. They’re typically corded and are the most popular and most common types of lawn mowers suitable for medium and small-sized yards.
Electric mowers are generally light, simple to operate and easily maneuverable. Also, they are compact compared to gas-powered mowers which makes them easy to store.
They’re also very economical. The only disadvantage is that they’re tied to a wire so the amount of freedom you can move is limited by the length of the wire.
Batteries powering mowers are powered by lithium-ion batteries which are light and last for long. These mowers offer the power of electric mowers, but without the cables-length limitation. This means you can maneuver better as well as more comfort and is suitable to lawns of all sizes.
However, they are expensive, ranging from 500 for an excellent model. Another issue is the limited time of operation, usually lasting one hour before needing to be charged.
It is also important to keep a watch for the batteries and change them whenever it is needed (generally every couple of years).
Gas-powered lawn mowers operate on petrol and can therefore be able to reach places that corded mowers aren’t able to reach. They also have more power and cut grass more quickly and generally do the job faster.
They’re in a position to cut through long or thick grass. They are also simple to maneuver, even though they are massive and heavy.
However, these machines are very polluting and require regular maintenance and service. They’re also polluting and one of the priciest walk-mowers available, with ranging between 200-800.
The driving system of your mower is a significant factor which can affect the performance dependent on the terrain you are in. We have mentioned them clearly below for your reference.
They are driven forward by the movement of the wheels present at the back. They are great for large-open areas, but they are difficult to move around which is why you might have trouble in smaller or oddly-shaped landscapes. They aren’t easy to turn around for changing the direction, and in particular difficult to reverse. But they’re great for uneven or unstable terrain because they are capable of advancing over any steeps or bumps.
Front wheel lawn mowers are driven using front wheels using their rotating motion. They work best with lawns that do not have any hills or steeps because they do not do well on slopes or inclines. The front-wheel driven mowers are simple to move, and are able to maneuver well through any obstacles or odd-shaped lawns.
These lawn mower types come with four wheels which are connected to the power source. When turned on, all the wheels are equally propelled parallelly to move in unity. The main advantage of using all wheel driver lawn mower is the speed. However, it lacks mobility that comes with front-wheel drive lawn mowers.
Robotic Lawn Mower
Similar to the one mentioned above, but they don’t require you to drive to use them. Similar to Roomba vacuum cleaners that recognize the form of your flooring and effectively vacuum it, these machines do similar things with lawns.
It is necessary to establish an area for them to walk around Sometimes, it’s simply a wire, or train them using GPS coordinates. Beyond that, they’ll run around the yard by themselves and can tell if they’ve cut lawns in this region in the first place, then then continue moving until they’ve completed.
These lawn mowers are yet another useless invention so far. They have some way to go before it’s worth the effort.
They can be thought of as industrial lawn mowers. They have very strong powerful blades that reduce brush, as well as small trees. They’re designed to let you continue to move with no anxiety about what’s going on in front of you.
These are called rough-cut mowers since they’re not made to make beautiful clean lawns. They’re designed to get lots of work done quickly.
Flail Lawn Mowers
Flail mowers are made to cut brush that does not have a lot of branches or trunks. They can be attached to the rear of a tractor although there are walk-behind alternatives too.
One reason why they’re referred to as “flail” mowers, is that they don’t throw objects which they aren’t able to cut. They simply bounce off them and continue to move. This is why it’s safe to cut through thick brush you cannot be able to see through.
Bush hogs, also known as a brush hog is a rotary mower usually driven behind a tractor due to their weight due to their large size. They are engineered to cut through even the densest branches and trunks made of heavy brush.
Small saplings, trees broken branches on the ground grass, brush and… Nothing can stand up to the strength of these. Their length helps you get big jobs accomplished much faster as you will require less runs across the field.