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    Riding Lawn Mower Horsepower: What to Look For

    riding lawn mower is more powerful and efficient than a traditional push mower, thanks in part to its greater engine horsepower (HP). Different riding mowers have varying horsepower depending on the type of engine and mower. Tractor Supply, America’s largest rural lifestyle retailer, offers a wide selection of riding lawn mowers with different horsepower levels to suit your needs. Here, we discuss mower horsepower and how to determine which HP is best for your lawn.

    What Is Horsepower?

    Horsepower is a measure of the power output or work done by a machine. This measurement dates to the 18thcentury when it referred to the actual power of draft horses. Nowadays, it is mostly used to refer to the power of an engine or motor. 

    When it comes to lawn mower horsepower, this measurement tells you how powerful the mower will be. Mowers with higher horsepower have more power than those with lower horsepower. They will also be more expensive because they can handle tougher terrains and grass types. Typically, the average horsepower for a riding lawn mower ranges between 10 to 40 HP. 

    Choosing a Riding Mower Horsepower

    Now that you know what mower horsepower means, how do you know which level is best for your needs? To determine your mower’s ideal horsepower, consider these factors:

     The Size of Your Lawn

    One of the most important things to consider is the size of your lawn. Most people know that riding mowers make lawn maintenance easier for larger properties because they cover more ground in less time. They have wider mowing decks, which reduce the number of passes needed, and more powerful engines, which help them get work done in tougher circumstances like thick grass or uneven terrain. The larger your lawn is, the more horsepower your riding mower will require to do the job properly.

    The guidelines are generally as follows:

    • For a yard measuring a 1/2 acre to 1 acre, you’ll need a riding lawn mower with a 14 HP engine.
    • For a yard measuring 1 to 2 acres, an engine with 14 to 16 HP is best for your riding mower.
    • For a yard that’s 3 acres or larger, you’ll need a riding mower with an 18 to 24 HP engine.

    At Tractor Supply, we offer a variety of riding mower horsepower options so you can find one that’s ideal for your yard size.

     If You Plan to Use Mower Attachments

    Another factor to consider when contemplating what mower horsepower you need is whether or not you plan to use attachments on your mower. Mower attachments are tools you can connect to a riding mower to perform other lawn maintenance and yard work. Some common examples include:

    • Dump carts for carrying debris, landscaping materials and more
    • Snow plows and snow blowers, which clear snow from driveways and walkways easily
    • Bagging kits to manage clippings and leaves while you mow
    • Mulching kits that turn your mower into a mulching tool

    If you plan to use mower attachments on your riding mower, you should choose a model with more power (greater HP). 

     Your Budget

    As mentioned above, riding mowers with higher horsepower are more expensive than lower horsepower models. If you have a strict budget and a smaller yard, you can opt for a model with a lower horsepower. On the other hand, if you have a large property and the price isn’t an issue, choosing a high-horsepower riding mower is often the best choice.

    Decide which horsepower output is right for you by considering your yard size, terrain type and any challenge areas in your lawn. 

    Frequently Asked Questions About Riding Lawn Mowers

    What type of mower engine provides more power?

    Riding mower engines are generally either a V-twin engine or a single-cylinder engine. A V-twin engine provides more horsepower than a single-cylinder engine. Therefore, if you have a need for higher horsepower (have thick grass, use mower attachments, have a large yard, etc.), a V-twin engine is recommended. At Tractor Supply, we carry mower engines with varying horsepower from top brands like Cub CadetGreenworksKawasaki and Kohler.

    Does terrain type impact what horsepower mower I should get?

    The type of terrain your property has (flatunevensloped) will play a role in the mower horsepower you choose. Typically, if you have a property with more difficult terrain, you should get a mower with more HP. If your property is fairly flat, you can opt for one with lower HP.

    Do zero-turn riding lawn mowers have more horsepower than traditional riding mowers?

    Zero-turn riding lawn mowers have front caster wheels that allow them to pivot 180 degrees around obstacles and handle thicker grass. This is different than traditional riding mowers that are harder to maneuver around landscaping and are better for thinner grass. To be able to handle tougher conditions, zero-turn mowers generally have a higher horsepower than traditional riding mowers.

    Which other factors should I consider when purchasing a riding mower? 

    Along with considering the horsepower of the riding mower, you’ll also want to consider factors like the type of power (either gas or electric), the deck size, the brand, the drive type and more.

    Get Your New Riding Lawn Mower at Tractor Supply

    Make lawn maintenance easier by getting a riding lawn mower with a suitable horsepower for your yard. Tractor Supply has a wide variety of riding mower options with different horsepower, along with other lawn and garden tools. For assistance finding the right HP riding mower for your needs, head to your local Tractor Supply store to speak with a trusted team member or explore our options online.