Welcome to our page about the best riding lawn mowers available for purchase. We take a look at the best garden tractors, lawn tractors, and even some zero-turn-radius riding mower options. Garden tractors, also known as lawn tractors, are the workhorses of the yard work realm. The more property you maintain the greater the benefit of a riding lawn mower. But even if you have a small property that is all grass for example, a lawn tractor is excellent for their durability, convenience, and getting the job done quickly.

On this page of SmartHome.guide, our readers will find a thorough discussion of the benefits of garden tractors, lawn tractors, and ZTR mowers. We’ll go over some of the common trailer attachments (there’s seriously an attachment for just about any task) as well as the things to look for before buying this type of power equipment. We’ve got a selection guide too so you can be confident in your purchase. In our reviews section, we check out the most popular and best riding lawn mowers from leading brands like John Deere and Craftsman. We’ll also look at some lesser known brands and see how they measure up to the big dogs.

Overview of the Best Riding Lawn Mowers

We’ve found the most popular and top rated riding lawn mowers and organized them in this comparison chart.

ImageMowerTypeHP / MPHCutting DeckPrice
Troy-Bilt 420cc OHV Premium Neighborhood Riding Lawn MowerLawn Tractor15 HP / 4.25 MPH30 inches
Yard Machines Riding Lawn MowerLawn Tractor15.5 HP / 5 MPH42 inches
Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro Series Riding MowerLawn Tractor18 HP / 5.5 MPH42 inches
Husqvarna YTA18542 Yard Tractor MowerLawn Tractor18.5 HP / 7.5 MPH42 inches
Poulan Pro P46ZX Briggs V-Twin Pro ZTR MowerZero-Turn-Radius22 HP / 6 MPH46 inches
Husqvarna LGT2654 26 HP Hydro Light Garden TractorGarden Tractor26 HP / 7.75 MPH48 inches
Snapper SPX 25/48 Light Garden TractorGarden Tractor25 HP / 5.6 MPH48 inches
Poulan Pro 24HP PB24VA54 Light Garden TractorGarden Tractor24 HP / 7.75 MPH54 inches
Raven MPV7100 Hybrid Riding Lawnmower & Utility VehicleHybrid15 HP / 17 MPH46 inches
Husqvarna Z254 V-Twin 724 cc Zero Turn MowerZero-Turn-Radius24 HP / 6.5 MPH54 inches
Cub Cadet 25HP XT1 Enduro Series GT Garden TractorGarden Tractor25 HP / 5.5 MPH50 inches

3 Common Types of Riding Power Equipment

What are differences in a riding lawn mower that costs $5000 and one that cost $1000 exactly? The categories of riding lawn mowers (aka lawn tractors), zero-turn-radius mowers (ZTR), and garden tractors very often get mixed up. In the outdoor power business each category has its own nuances. Readers will find this section dispels all the confusion and gets to the bottom of what’s what.

#1 Riding Lawn Mowers (Lawn Tractors)

Lawn Tractor Example

Lawn Tractor Example

When most folks think of a riding mower, this is usually what they think of. If you live in suburbia, chances are one or many of your neighbors ride around on one of these guys regularly. Riding lawn tractors are great for lawn maintenance. They significantly reduce the time it takes to cut grass and do other basic yard tasks. Grass is pretty good at growing so regular cutting is required to avoid the stink eye of scrupulous neighbors.

Most riding lawn mowers have a front engine configuration but some have rear engines. There’s a wide range of cutting deck lengths in this category of mowing equipment. Of course, a larger cutting deck means a longer width, in turn reducing the amount of laps you need to make around your lawn. Some models in this category will accept implements and light yard trailers such as small garden wagons. Nevertheless, lawn tractors have light duty frames and axles so their primary purpose is still cutting grass.

These are a little more expensive than riding lawn mowers and start around $1200. These type of riding lawn mowers can handle yards of about 1/2 acre to 2 acres. If you’ve got 2 acres of grass nobody wants to be out there with a push mower or you’re in for a week long battle of huffing and puffing. That’s where these mean green grass cutting machines are worth their weight in gold. They are very easy to operate and you’ve got to try pretty hard to do any real damage with them.

#2 Zero-Turn-Radius Mowers (ZTR)

Riding Lawn Mower

Zero-Turn-Radius Mower Example

Zero-Turn-Radius mowers are designed for grass cutting pure and simple. These mowers are built with a rear-engine configuration. Oftentimes you will see these in commercial landscaping applications. While Zero-turn-radius riding mowers are great at cutting grass, the downside to these is that they are not as versatile as say a garden tractor. They can’t handle the variety of tasks because you aren’t able to hook up and tow implements.

These machines generally start out at about $2800. ZTR mowers are characterized by massive 60 inch cutting decks and their ability to navigate a variety of obstacles. Grass cutting is their sole purpose and they accomplish it well. Professional landscaping companies prefer these for their superior maneuverability and high forward speeds. These mowers are designed with front caster wheels that allow them to pivot at sharper angles than lawn tractors and garden tractors. Essentially this means the operator can get into tight spaces easier and mow a tight line around bushes and the like.

Typically a ZTR mower is controlled with levers and bars rather than a traditional steering wheel. As such, they have a little learning curve. You’re unlikely to do any serious damage but losing a bush or two here and there the first couple times you take this puppy out is not out of the realm of possibility.

#3 Garden Tractors

Example of a Garden Tractor

Garden Tractor Example

Basic riding lawn tractors are fine if you are cutting grass in suburbia, but for big jobs you want real muscle. Enter the garden tractor (also known as compact utility tractor). The garden tractor is the boss of the yard work business. They have powerful engines, are comfortable to drive, and can handle a variety of tasks especially when you get a model that is compatible with a bunch of attachments. The quintessential green John Deere riding tractor is an example of a garden tractor. Garden tractors have more horsepower than the other categories and are built on heavy duty frames.

The key difference to recognize is that garden tractors are technically ‘tractors’.  That means they have larger rear wheels and the capability of pulling trailers or implements. While you’re not going to be hauling a triple trailer down the highway with a garden tractor, you are going to be able to tow light loads and special implements that manufacturers put forth. That capability is great for getting landscaping tasks and yard duties done quick.

Better transmissions, heavy duty frames, larger wheels and sturdier axles make these a force to be reckoned with when it comes to all manner of yard duties. Perhaps the best thing about garden tractors is the number of implements available making it a versatile, multi-purpose machine. These go beyond cutting grass. Snow removal, grading, preparing soil, hauling firewood, and renovating a lawn are just a handful of the many tasks garden tractors can accomplish. As far as grass maintenance goes, garden tractors can easily handle 5 or more acres of mowing.

Most garden tractors will start around $3000 and range much higher. If you’ve got a large property of several acres or more and have a number of ongoing yard/land projects a garden tractor may be well worth the investment.

Best Garden TractorsSummary of Options:

  • Lawn tractors are good for smaller size properties (2 acres or less) & neighborhood yards, some models accept optional attachments, and are offered in a wide range of prices and capabilities
  • Zero-turn-radius mowers are great grass cutters, have smaller wheels increasing their maneuverability, rear engine configuration, and wide cutting decks
  • Garden tractors can handle several acres or more, have more rugged transmissions, greater horsepower, weigh more, do better on hilly terrain, and always have a hitch for implements

7 Best Lawn Tractors and Zero-Turn-Radius Mowers of 2017

Welcome to the best lawn tractors review section. These beasts make short work of the most burdensome tasks property owners must face.

1. Troy-Bilt 420cc Premium Neighborhood Riding Lawn Mower

Troy-Bilt 420cc OHV 30-Inch Premium Neighborhood Riding Lawn Mower

The Troy-Bilt OHV Lawn Tractor is the quintessential neighborhood riding lawn mower. This is an ideal mowing solution for home owners with small to medium sized yards with even terrain. The cutting deck is 30 inches, smaller than other options on this list but nothing to scoff at. Fitted with a mid-back seat and 13-inch soft grip wheel, this is perfect for an afternoon mow puttering around the yard with beer in hand.

  • Engine Manufacturer: Troy-Bilt
  • Engine Horsepower: 15
  • Transmission: Manual
  • Deck Length: 30 inches
  • Tractor Weight: 340 pounds
  • Reverse Mow: No
  • Top Speed: 4.25 MPH
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Tank Capacity: 1.3 gallons

2. Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro Series

Cub Cadet Xt1 Enduro Series Lt 42 In. 18 Hp Kohler Hydrostatic Gas Front-engine Riding Mower

If you’re looking for a step up from the Troy-Bilt, the Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro series riding lawn mower is another well priced lawn tractor. This one has a little more getty-up though. Compared to other models, you’re arguably getting the most mower for the money with this one. Sure the downside is that you only get an 18 HP Kohler Courage single cylinder engine, but this is a dependable engine that is more than sufficient for most applications. The upside? It’s not going to cost you an arm and a leg and you’ll be able to get yard work and mowing done quickly even on multi-acre properties.

  • Engine Manufacturer: Kohler
  • Engine Horsepower: 18
  • Transmission: Hydrostatic
  • Deck Length: 42 inches
  • Tractor Weight: 580 pounds
  • Reverse Mow: Yes
  • Top Speed: 5.5 MPH
  • Warranty: 3 years
  • Tank Capacity: 3 gallons

3. Husqvarna YTA18542 Yard Tractor Mower

Husqvarna YTA18542 Yard Tractor Mower

The Husqvarna YTA18542 is arguably the best yard tractor on the market. Compact yet powerful, this yard tractor is capable of mowing about 2.5 acres of grass per hour. You get the performance and quality of Husqvarna, automatic transmission, 18.5 horsepower, and perhaps best of all it gets delivered in a crate fully assembled.

  • Engine Manufacturer: Briggs & Stratton
  • Engine Horsepower: 18.5
  • Transmission: Automatic Fast CVT
  • Deck Length: 42 inches
  • Tractor Weight: 420 pounds
  • Reverse Mow: Yes
  • Top Speed: 7.5 MPH
  • Warranty: 3 years
  • Tank Capacity: 2.5 gallons

4. Yard Machines Riding Lawn Mower

Yard Machines 420cc 42-Inch Riding Lawn Mower

The Yard Machines manual transmission riding lawn mower is very much like the Troy-Bilt riding lawn mower in this list. The big advantage over the Troy-Bilt is that the Yard Machines unit has a 42 inch cutting deck (much larger than the 30 inches of the Troy-Bilt). At the end of the day, this is a well built machine and is spoken highly of by owners.

  • Engine Manufacturer: Powermore
  • Engine Horsepower: 15.5
  • Transmission: Manual
  • Deck Length: 42 inches
  • Tractor Weight: 490 pounds
  • Reverse Mow: No
  • Top Speed: 5 MPH
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Tank Capacity: 1.5 gallons

 5. Raven MPV7100 Hybrid Riding Lawnmower Power Generator and Utility Vehicle

Raven MPV7100 Hybrid Riding Lawnmower

The Raven Riding Lawnmower is the new kid on the block so to speak. This is a hybrid utilizing gas/electric technology. It is marketed as part lawn mower, part utility vehicle, and part generator. This is powered by a 420 cc (~15 HP) gasoline engine combined with the power of a 7100 watt generator. It gets about 17 MPG and sports a respectable 550 pound towing capacity.

  • Engine Manufacturer: Raven
  • Engine Horsepower: 15
  • Transmission: Automatic
  • Deck Length: 46 inches
  • Wheelbase: 20 inches
  • Tractor Weight: 870 pounds
  • Reverse Mow: Yes
  • Top Speed: 17 MPH
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Tank Capacity: 5 gallons

6. Poulan Pro P46ZX ZTR Riding Mower

Poulan Pro P46ZX Briggs V-Twin Pro 22 HP Cutting Deck Zero Turn Radius Riding Mower

Poulan Pro has been in power equipment business since 1994. They do lawn mowers, tillers, blowers, chain saws, trimmers, and a number of other product lines. Poulan Pro says their P46ZX zero-turn-radius mower will cut your mowing time in half. The combination of speed, a wide cutting deck, and excellent maneuverability with the P46ZX makes this claim hard to refute.

The 46 inch cutting deck on this unit is backed by a 10 year warranty. The Poulan Pro P46ZX also features a high back seat, 18 inch rear wheels / 11 inch front wheels, and an electric clutch.

  • Engine Manufacturer: Briggs & Stratton
  • Engine Horsepower: 22
  • Transmission: Hydrostatic EZT
  • Deck Length: 46 inches
  • Wheelbase: 40 inches
  • Tractor Weight: 430 pounds
  • Reverse Mow: Yes
  • Top Speed: 6 MPH
  • Warranty: 3 years
  • Tank Capacity: 3.5 gallons

7. Husqvarna Z254 V-Twin 724 cc Zero Turn Mower

Husqvarna 967324101 V-Twin 724 cc Zero Turn Mower

Husqvarna makes exceptional power equipment and their new z200 series zero turn mowers are no exception. This Husqvarna machine is very comparable to the Poulan Pro ZTR mower featured above. But for a little more, you’re getting a couple more horsepower, a slightly higher top speed, and a larger cutting deck at 54 inches.

  • Engine Manufacturer: Briggs & Stratton
  • Engine Horsepower: 24
  • Transmission: Hydrostatic EZT
  • Deck Length: 54 inches
  • Tractor Weight: 598 pounds
  • Reverse Mow: No
  • Top Speed: 6.5 MPH
  • Warranty: 3 years
  • Tank Capacity: 3.5 gallons

7 Best Garden Tractors of 2017

Welcome to our garden tractor reviews section. Here we check out the best garden tractors currently available. Our pages are updated regularly so you’re always viewing the freshest information and latest product selections.

Garden tractors are miles ahead of their smaller siblings commonly known as lawn tractors. They are a much beefier version of your run of the mill riding lawn mower. The best garden tractors can do a whole lot more than just cut grass. They can haul supplies or firewood, grade a driveway, and even dethatch and aerate a lawn with the right trailer equipment.

1. Husqvarna LGT2654 26 HP Hydro Light Garden Tractor

Husqvarna LGT2654 26 HP Hydro Light Garden Tractor, 54-Inch

The Husqvarna Garden Tractor (Model LGT2654) is another yard workhouse worth every dollar. The 26 horsepower Kohler V-twin engine gets the dirty work done. This model is veryt comparable to the Craftsman, with an almost identical price tag. Purchasing the LGT2654 buys you into the Husqvarna ‘ecosystem’ which means you can find just about any implement for any job.

A massive 54 inch cutting width, cruise control, hydrostatic transmission, and electric blade engagement have made this one of the most popular garden tractors on the market. This is right on garden tractor weights about 550 pounds. This model falls into the small/light garden tractors category. It is not going to be as durable as a heavier garden tractor, but if you’ve got a pretty flat property under 5 acres this hydrostatic transmission tractor will serve you well.

  • Engine Manufacturer: Kohler
  • Engine Horsepower: 26
  • Transmission: Hydrostatic
  • Deck Length: 48 inches
  • Wheelbase: 48 inches
  • Tractor Weight: 490 pounds
  • Uncut Circle Diameter: 55 inches
  • Reverse Mow: Yes
  • Top Speed: 7.75 MPH
  • Warranty: 3 years

2. Poulan Pro 24HP PB24VA54 Garden Tractor

Poulan Pro Garden Tractor

The Poulan Pro Garden Tractor (Model PB24VA54) is a relatively inexpensive, quality garden tractor. The 54-inch reinforced cutting deck with a 10 year warranty is one of the best values we’ve seen at this price. It may be a couple horsepower less and have a slightly smaller fuel tank than other more expensive garden tractors but the compromise might be ideal for some prospective owners.

This tractor still weighs a whopping 598 pounds. No doubt, this is an aggressively priced garden tractor and measures up well to competitors. A 24 hp Kohler engine, headlights, and 16 inch turn radius delivers what people are looking for in a well muscled tractor.

  • Engine Manufacturer: Kohler
  • Engine Horsepower: 24
  • Transmission: Hydrostatic
  • Deck Length: 54 inches
  • Wheelbase: 48 inches
  • Tractor Weight: 598 pounds
  • Uncut Circle Diameter: 51 inches
  • Reverse Mow: Yes
  • Top Speed: 7.75 MPH
  • Warranty: 10 years

3. Cub Cadet 25HP XT1 Enduro Series GT Garden Tractor

Cub Cadet Garden Tractor XT1 Enduro Series GT

The Cub Cadet Garden Tractor (Model XT1 Enduro Series GT) is the most expensive garden tractor to make our list. For a cool few thousand dollars you’re getting a monster 700 pound tractor loaded with a 25 HP Kohler V-twin engine. On top of that, you get all the amenities. A sloped, adjustable seat with ergonomic padded steering wheel, hydrostatic transmission, and electric PTO to engage the blades keeps you on point.

This machine is compatible with smart phones too. Connect with their maintenance mobile app to view maintenance reminders, track hours, and more. There’s a number of Cub Cadet attachments that are compatible with this model such as a snow thrower, sun shade cab, mulch kit,m and twin bagger. Power-wise its going to be about the same as other garden tractors but feature wise you’re getting the loaded package with the Cub Cadet Garden Tractor XT1 Enduro Series GT.

  • Engine Manufacturer: Kohler
  • Engine Horsepower: 25
  • Transmission: Hydrostatic
  • Deck Length: 50 inches
  • Wheelbase: 48 inches
  • Tractor Weight: 660 pounds
  • Uncut Circle Diameter: 55 inches
  • Reverse Mow: Yes
  • Top Speed: 5.5 MPH
  • Warranty: 5 years

4. Snapper SPX2242 Light Garden Tractor
Snapper SPX2246 46-Inch Variable Speed Rear Wheel Riding Lawn Tractor

Snapper may not be as well known as say the likes of John Deere or Husqvarna, but they put together a pretty good package with the SPX2246. It has a respectable 22 HP (Pro Series V-Twin) engine letting it squeak into the light garden tractor category. Ultimately, you don’t want to pull too much behind this, it is essentially a very powerful lawn mower. The 42-Inch cutting deck is nothing to scoff at either making short work of long grass.

One of the best features on Snappers SPX2242 is the price, coming it at under $2000. For a 22HP engine, that’s about as good as it gets.

  • Engine Manufacturer: Pro Series
  • Engine Horsepower: 22
  • Transmission:  Hydrostatic
  • Deck Length: 42 inches
  • Turning Radius: 14 inches
  • Top Speed: 5.6 MPH
  • Warranty: 2 years

5. Kubota Garden TractorsKubota Garden Tractors GR2100

The Kubota Garden Tractor (Model GR2100) is a beast. Say hello to the big boy of our list. Nearly 1000 pound machine, it comes in at 969 pounds. This astronomically priced garden tractor is the only diesel engine we found that seems worthwhile. The Kubota GR2100’s 3 cylinder, liquid cooled 21 horsepower diesel will run forever and provides plenty of torque. You probably won’t need to replace any parts for a long time.

Even though its almost 1000 pounds it stays extremely fuel efficient. It is estimated that it uses 30 percent less fuel than a comparable gas powered engine. The weight difference is mostly thanks to the 3/16in thick steel frame whereas most tractors have a 3/32 inch thick frame. Sure you have to pay an arm and a leg for it, but the GR2100 is nearly perfect. You get a comfortable, powerful tractor that is built to last decades.

  • Engine Manufacturer: Briggs & Stratton
  • Engine Horsepower: 21 diesel
  • Transmission: Hydrostatic
  • Deck Length: 54 inches
  • Wheelbase: 50.4 inches
  • Tractor Weight: 969 pounds
  • Uncut Circle Diameter: 34 inches
  • Reverse Mow: Yes
  • Top Speed: 7.75 MPH
  • Warranty: 3 years

6. John Deere Garden TractorsJohn Deere Garden Tractor X530

The John Deere Garden Tractor (Model X530) is another first class tractor that rivals the Kubota GR2100 for the best of the best award. At 801 pounds it is nearly as heavy as the GR2100. You really don’t have to worry about what type of terrain you’re mowing when riding this boss. Till a garden, level a driveway, this multi terrain tractor handles such tasks with ease. The fully welded heavy duty frame works well with all ground engaging implements.

It has a massive 54 inch cutting deck. Of course you get the emblematic green and yellow style complemented by the John Deere deer logo on the grill. Of course, when you get a John Deere you become part of their family, and receive award winning service and assistance with any problems you run into as well as purchasing any implements you may need.

  • Engine Manufacturer: Kawasaki 2 cylinder gasoline
  • Engine Horsepower: 24
  • Transmission: Automatic with differential lock
  • Deck Length: 54 inches
  • Wheelbase: 51.2 inches
  • Tractor Weight: 801 pounds
  • Uncut Circle Diameter: 34 inches
  • Reverse Mow: Yes
  • Top Speed: 7.75 MPH
  • Warranty: 4 years

7. Craftsman Garden TractorsCraftsman Garden Tractor Model 917.276380

The Craftsman Garden Tractor (Model 917.276380) is the best garden tractor for the money. Power to price ratio on this one is arguably unmatched but anything else out there. Much of this is thanks to its powerful 26-hp V -twin Kohler Pro engine. This engine will pull attachments without the smallest hint of strain and plows through super tall grass easily.

The most common complaint with this garden tractor is that the engine is louder than most other machines. This garden tractor doesn’t have power steering either. But for a fair price you’re getting a powerful machine that cuts smoothly as well as reverse mow. Plus, Craftsman offers a front-end load scoop that has a 200 pound capacity and a massive disc harrow if you’re looking for a little something extra to help with projects.

  • Engine Manufacturer: Kohler
  • Engine Horsepower: 26
  • Transmission: Hydrostatic
  • Deck Length: 54 inches
  • Wheelbase: 48 inches
  • Tractor Weight: 720 pounds
  • Uncut Circle Diameter: 55 inches
  • Reverse Mow: Yes

What to Know Before Buying a Riding Lawn Mower

Here are some of the specifications to keep an eye on before making the plunge and dropping cash on a riding lawn mower or garden tractor. The best riding lawn mower will depend on what your purposes and requirements are, there is no one size fits all.

What is a Garden Tractor

  • Tractor Brand: Toro, John Deere, Craftsman, Husqvarna, Massey Furguson, Cub Cadet, or other
  • Deck Size: The larger the deck size the shorter your total amount of mowing time will be. A mowing deck size of 38 inches or over is ideal
  • Transmission Type: Hydrostatic, Gear, or Belt
  • Engine Brand: Kohler, Briggs and Stratton, Honda, Tecumseh, or other
  • Horsepower: Garden tractors usually a minimum of 15 hp and on average are 20-25 hp
  • Price: Garden tractors start at about $2000 and can go up to $8000 or more
  • Reverse Mow: A very helpful feature if you miss a spot and/or are working with a tricky landscape
  • Wheelbase: The distance between the front and rear axles of the garden tractor
  • Weight: Most garden tractors weigh around 600-800 pounds
  • Uncut Circle Diameter: This is the circle of grass that is left uncut after a sharp left turn
  • Fuel Tank Size: 3, 4, 5+ gallon size
  • Traction Control & Differential Lock: Helps prevent slippage on upward climbs and manage slopes greater than 15 percent
  • Warranty: As a general rule of thumb a longer warranty means greater manufacturer confidence in the machine

Top Garden Tractor Attachments

These garden tractor implements are the most popular attachments used to get heavy duty work done efficiently.

  • Garden tractor hitch
  • Garden tractor plow
  • Garden tractor tiller
  • Garden tractor snowblower
  • Garden tractor twin bagger
  • Garden tractor utility cart
  • Garden tractor lawn sweeper

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