How to Pick the Right Riding Mower or Lawn Tractor
Riding Mower vs Lawn Tractor
Since its invention, the riding mower has saved homeowners thousands of hours of labor in time spent on yard care. Whether you have a smaller suburban yard or a larger property, there's a ride-on machine that's right for the job you need to tackle. Knowing which type of machine to purchase, however, is another matter. Each one is best suited to specific tasks, but once you know the kind of work each machine can handle, you'll be able to make the right buying decision.
Rear-Engine Riding Mowers
These riding mowers are built for a sole purpose—cutting grass—and they do it well. Their smaller cutting deck and smaller overall size make them ideal for suburban use and for yards smaller than an acre. These machines (starting at around $800) are very easy to operate, but while you might be able to tow a very small garden wagon with a rear-engine riding mower, you won't have the ability to hook up any other implements to it. So if your primary need is grass cutting and your yard is less than an acre, then this is probably the perfect choice for you.
Front-Engine Lawn Tractors
When most people think of a riding mower, this is what they think of. With larger cutting decks than rear-engine models, lawn tractors (which start around $1,200) can handle larger yards of more than an acre. But while they can tow light yard trailers and accept some small implements, their light-duty frames and axles still mean their primary role is for cutting grass. If your yard is larger than an acre and you want more versatility out of your ride-on machine without breaking the bank, then a lawn tractor should be right for you.
Garden tractors (starting around $2,000 and going up to $7,000) are built on heavier-duty frames and usually have more horsepower than their lawn tractor cousins. They have larger cutting decks, often outfitted with multiple blades. Their wheels are larger, they have stouter axles, and their transmissions are built for heavy-duty work. While garden tractors can easily handle mowing up to 5 acres, these machines can also accept a wide variety of add-on implements and can be used for other projects such as grading, blading and snow removal. If you need a real workhorse and have a lot of different jobs to tackle, then a garden tractor is worth the extra investment.
No matter the size of your yard, there's a riding mower that can help you significantly decrease the amount of time it takes for you to mow the lawn.