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    Tractor Supply Company

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    Best Riding Lawn Mowers: A Guide

    A riding lawn mower, unlike other lawn mowers, has a seat, steering wheel, and controls for easy navigation across larger yards. 

    The main benefit of riding lawn mowers is that they save time while also reducing the amount of physical labor needed, thanks to their powerful engines and wide cutting decks. 

    This guide explores the best riding lawn mowers available and looks at factors such as types of engines and additional features to help you make an informed purchase.

    When to choose a riding lawn mower

    The main thing to consider when choosing a riding lawn mower is the size of your yard. Typically, yards larger than half an acre are prime candidates for riding mowers, as they efficiently cover more ground. 

    While flat terrain is ideal for smooth operation, modern riding mowers can handle gentle slopes. Steep or uneven terrains, however, might pose challenges.

    If you do have a smaller, hilly, or obstacle-filled yard, consider alternatives like push mowers or specialized equipment.

    Benefits of riding lawn mowers

    Riding lawn mowers make the task of mowing the lawn an efficient, and sometimes even an enjoyable experience.

    Here are some key benefits:

    • Cutting Deck: Riding mowers often feature larger cutting decks than push mowers, allowing for wider coverage with each pass.
    • Speed Adjustments: Adjustable speed settings let users adjust according to different sections of their lawn for best results.
    • Attachments: Riding mower attachments can be used for tasks such as towing, mulching, and aerating, giving you a multi-purpose tool.
    • Mulching: These mowers can simultaneously clean up mulch while mowing the grass, saving time on the dual tasks.
    • Labor-Reducing: Riding models cover more ground effortlessly, meaning less labor and effort is needed to operate them.
    • Seats: Equipped with adjustable seats, riding mowers make lawn moving a more comfortable experience, as it minimizes strain during prolonged use.

    Investing in a riding lawn mower not only streamlines lawn maintenance but also offers added convenience and versatility for a well-manicured lawn with less time and effort needed.

    Riding Lawn Mower Types

    Garden Tractors


    • Robust engines with higher horsepower.
    • Front-mounted cutting decks.
    • Versatility with attachment options.
    • Heavy-duty frames and axles.


    • Suitable for yards that are one acre or more
    • Tow additional equipment like carts, spreaders, or aerators.
    • Comfortable with a more ergonomic design
    • Front-mounted decks


    • Larger turning radius compared to zero-turn mowers.
    • May be overkill for small yards, leading to higher costs.

    Best Suited for:

    • Customers with large, flat lawns.
    • Those who require additional gardening tasks beyond mowing
    • Users who want a comfortable, powerful, and versatile machine.

    Zero Turn Radius Riding Mowers


    • Independent wheel motors for precise control.
    • Rear-mounted cutting decks.
    • Quick and responsive steering with zero-turn technology.
    • Wide cutting decks.


    • Able to maneuver tight turns and navigate obstacles easily.
    • Efficient and quick mowing.


    • Not as comfortable as garden tractors
    • Can be difficult for beginners to master the zero-turn controls.

    Best Suited for:

    • Customers with medium to large-sized lawns of ½ acre or more.
    • Those who prefer efficient mowing and maneuverability over additional attachments.

    Rear Engine Riding Mowers


    • Compact design with a smaller cutting deck.
    • Rear-mounted engine and cutting deck.
    • Simple controls


    • Easy to maneuver and store in smaller spaces.
    • More affordable 
    • Simpler to use for those new to riding mowers.


    • Limited attachment options
    • Not as powerful as garden tractors or zero-turn mowers.

    Best Suited for:

    • Customers with small to medium-sized lawns of ½ acre or less.
    • Individuals on a budget or those new to riding mowers.
    • Those with limited storage space

    Riding lawn mower engine options

    Choosing the right engine type for your riding lawn mower is crucial, as it directly impacts performance, power, and overall efficiency. Different engine options cater to varying lawn sizes, terrains, and user preferences. Below are key engine types to consider:

    Twin Cylinder Engines: These have two cylinders for increased horsepower and smoother operation that is suitable for larger yards. It has better torque to handle tougher or thicker terrain and reduced vibrations for comfort while using. 

    Single Cylinder Engines: These have a simple design with one cylinder for basic functionality. Single cylinder engines are more fuel-efficient, compact, and lightweight and they can be maintained more easily. Suitable for smaller lawns with less demanding mowing needs.

    Electric Engines: This option is powered by electricity, eliminating the need for gasoline, making it environmentally friendly and quieter than traditional engines. These engines are best for smaller lawns with easy access to power outlets or those living in noise-sensitive neighborhoods.

    Consider your lawn size, terrain, and personal preferences when selecting the engine type, ensuring optimal performance for your specific needs.

    Riding lawn mower safety considerations

    When operating a lawn mower, there are many safety considerations to bear in mind. When choosing a mower, look for the following safety features:

    • Automatic Safety Stopping Mechanism: Stops the blades when the mower is in reverse or when the operator gets off the mower.
    • Reversing Safeguards: A mower with sensors or mechanisms that stops the blades when the mower is in reverse.
    • Seat Switches: Stops the blades if the rider gets off the mower.
    • Emergency Shut-off: Easily accessible shut-off switch for quick engine shutdown in emergencies.
    • Clear Visibility: Make sure to choose a mower that has clear visibility of the cutting deck to avoid obstacles.

    In addition to mower features, always practice personal safety by wearing the appropriate gear, including goggles to protect eyes from debris and ear protection due to the machine's noise. Most importantly, read and follow the manufacturer's safety guidelines.

    Best riding lawn mower attachments

    Attachments can enhance the versatility of your mower, turning it into a multi-use piece of equipment. The most popular riding lawn mower attachments include:

    • Snow Plows: With this attachment you can use your mower to clear snow during the winter months 
    • Trailers and Carts: Assist in hauling materials like mulch, soil, or gardening tools
    • Lawn Aerators: This attachment perforates the soil, promoting better air and water circulation.
    • Baggers and Mulching Kits: Collect grass clippings with baggers or mulch them back into the lawn for added nutrients.
    • Front Bumper Kits: Attach this to protect your mower
    • Sprayers: Used to easily spray fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides.

    Make sure that any attachment you want to buy is compatible with your particular riding mower model. Explore the range at Tractor Supply to find the attachments that best suit your gardening requirements.


    When deciding what riding mower is best for you, consider factors like yard size, terrain, and personal preferences. Garden tractors are versatile for large lawns, while zero-turn mowers offer efficient maneuverability and rear engine mowers suit smaller budgets and yards. Engine types, such as twin or single cylinders, cater to varying power needs and safety features, like automatic stopping and seat switches, prioritize user protection. Enhance your mower's functionality with attachments like snow plows and trailers. Whether mowing, towing, or aerating, selecting the right combination of features and attachments ensures a solution for everyone’s unique lawn care needs.