Mowing was among the most avoided chores until I can no longer ignore the nagging voice at the back of my head reminding me to get the job done. That was until I got myself a ride-on mower.
Cutting a one-acre lawn with a walk-behind mower requires lots of time and can get you flat-out exhausted. But if you can find the best riding lawn mowers for 1 acre it will enhance your mowing experience and leave an immaculate finish.
In this article, I am going to share my finding after I took a deep dive searching for my own riding mower. Hopefully, this information will leave you feeling informed and ready to go big on your lawn.
- Best Riding Lawn Mowers for 1 Acre
- Why a Riding Mower for a Smaller Lawn
- Selecting the Best Riding Mower for 1 Acre
- Best Riding Lawn Mowers for 1 Acre Reviews
- Other Feature Considerations
- Verdict: Best Riding Lawn Mower for 1 Acre
Best Riding Lawn Mowers for 1 Acre
There’s a lot to take in once you get under the skin of what makes a good riding mower. If you’re short on time and just want the low down on my top recommendations then check this out. Here are the best riding lawn mowers for 1 acre.
Why a Riding Mower for a Smaller Lawn
It’s easy to overlook the need for a riding lawn mower if you have a smaller lawn. These large-scale machines are more expensive than their walk-behind counterpart. But a ride-on lawnmower is an excellent addition to my outdoor power equipment and it’s made my life much easier.
Comfort and Speed
These are among the most outstanding benefits of a riding mower, even for a smaller lawn. While seated on the comfortable, cushioned seats, I can clear more ground without feeling fatigued. Chin up, facing forwards and smiling as I ride along….king of my lawn.
The best riding mowers are relatively fast by comparison to what you can achieve with a walk-behind push mower. Ride-on mowers can hit top speeds of 8mph moving forwards and around 3.5mph in reverse. Compare that to your walking speed of around 3mph.
Add into the equation that most push mowers have a 21” cutting deck. Whereas the ride-on mowers on my list below have cutting decks of around twice that size, 42” or more. So let’s recap, you can go more than twice a fast, and your cutting path is twice as wide when using a ride-on mower. So it takes roughly a quarter of the time to a lawn…right.
What Size Lawn Needs a Sit on Mower?
Mowing with a push mower involves a lot of walking and as you work you get fatigued…we all know that feeling. So what size lawn merits an upgrade to a riding mower?
I’ll consider a half-acre of mowing area as my walk mower threshold. This space may not require a riding mower, but the machine will save you time. Rear Engine sit-on mowers are ideal for half an acre or so, but large spaces of 2 acres or more might need a zero-turn mower or riding tractor.
Remember what I said earlier…a standard 21-inch push mower will take over an hour to mow half an acre, provided the lawn is reasonably flat and obstruction-free. But even a small riding mower with a 36-inch deck will take less than half the time considering you can drive the mower faster than you can walk.
Selecting the Best Riding Mower for 1 Acre
Maybe you need a cheaper, gas-powered mower or are looking for eco-friendly alternatives. Regardless of your reasons for considering a riding mower, you want a machine that can get the job done.
Take the following into account to make an informed decision:
Riding Lawn Mower Options
Your choice of riding lawn mower is open to the following three options of ride on mower:
Zero-Turn Mower (ZTR)
This is a standard sit-on mower with a zero-turning radius when two drive wheels rotate in opposite directions. I like to compare it with a turning tank, that can literarily rotate on the spot.
It looks fairly similar to a ride-on mower, but instead of a steering wheel, you control the vehicle using a zero-turn comprising a pair of levers for enhanced maneuverability. ZTRs don’t leave behind uncut patches of grass when turning but are generally more expensive than regular lawn tractors.
Garden or Lawn Tractor
Great little machines that hare a kind of hybrid lawnmower come tractor. They offer excellent versatility and handle hills and slopes. A lawn tractor comes with height adjustment and cruise control options for clear-cut mowing. Furthermore, some garden tractor models use hydrostatic transmission systems.
Garden tractors have massive cutting decks ranging from 42 to 50 inches. Their size and power mean they can cut through tall and thick grass and troublesome weeds, and they also feature comfortable, high-backed seats that prevent back strains after long mowing sessions. You can even use them as a utility vehicle for two lawn sweepers, trailers, or fertilizer drop spreaders.
Rear Engine Riding Mower
Think of this as a mix between lawn tractors and walk-behind mowers. This ride offers the benefits and comforts and simplicity. It’s relatively lightweight and compact, hence easy to store and move. It steers with a conventional steering wheel and is an excellent option for residential lawns. But its efficiency or power can’t match the lawn tractor and it is not as dexterous as the Zero Turn Mower.
Engine Power: Gas or Battery
While most mowers for one acre are gas-powered, advancements in battery technology have facilitated the manufacture of comparable electricity-powered riding lawn mowers. But how do the two compare? I’ll take you through the main differences and advantages of each.
Battery-Powered Riding Mowers
Initially, battery-powered mowers were inefficient and weak, but this is no longer the case. Today’s electric riding mowers are surprisingly quiet, competent, and capable. They are also compact, lightweight, easy to charge, convenient, and produce no emissions.
However, they exhibit shorter runtimes than their gas-powered counterparts and are relatively costlier.
- Ultra Quiet
- Zero Emissions
- Single Charge run time for up to 2 acres
- No engine servicing or maintenance required
Gas-Powered Riding Mowers
High-speed, efficient, and powerful gas-powered mowers are more common than battery-powered varies. They require regular fueling and maintenance but are better in terms of runtime.
Their expansive cutting decks enable them to fix tough weeds and thick or long grass within a shorter timeframe. These mowers are also less expensive than their electric counterparts, but they tend to be noisy, produce emissions, and have numerous maintenance requirements.
- Cheaper to purchase than electric mowers
- Large capacity engines have a power advantage required for large scale mowing over 2 acres
Run Time: Fuel or Battery Cell Capacity
Different factors determine a riding lawn mower’s runtime, whether it’s a battery-powered machine or it uses fuel. These include the mower’s weight and age, the lawn’s terrain, and how you ride it. Either way, you want a machine that can clear your one-acre yard without a fuel refill or charging.
Generally, battery-powered riding mowers have a lower runtime than gas-powered machines. On average, a single charge can last between 30 minutes to an hour. On the other hand, fuel mowers aren’t limited in their runtime; hence, they can cover more ground in a single session.
Amp Hours (Ah) Explained
An Amp-hour is the battery charge that can allow one ampere of current to flow in a battery-powered mower unceasingly for a full hour. The typical riding lawn mower exhibits between 75 to 100 Ah. A 1-acre lawn can be comfortably covered with a single charge of a 40Ah battery.
A mowing deck houses the blades and prevents debris from flying during operations. You can’t afford to overlook it because it determines your cutting width and overall mowing duration.
Consider the following to get the correct cutting deck for your lawn size:
Stamped Vs. Fabricated Deck
When shopping for the best riding mower to cut your one-acre lawn, it’s crucial to consider the design of the housing covering its cutting blade. This is because it contributes to the mower’s cut width and overall quality.
You have two options:
- Stamped – The manufacturer “stamps out” the deck from one piece of steel to create this deck. It’s more affordable, lighter, gentler on grass, and has better maneuverability and airflow. But it’s less durable, and the steel is thinner.
- Fabricated – Manufacturers create these decks by welding high-quality, heavy steel plates. The plate is thicker and can last longer without warping or cracking.
I prefer a stamped deck for constantly maintained turfs requiring relatively less cutting, while the fabricated one is perfect if you are going to ride your mower on uneven ground or where there is a high risk of hitting rocks, obstacles or if you transport your mowing and could damage it loading and unloading from a trailer.
Deck Width for 1 Acre
A more extended cutting deck means a bigger cutting blade that cuts more grass. But getting the largest cutting deck could be ineffectual as it can hinder navigation around obstacles. You’re better off with a smaller deck width if your lawn has any items that can hamper movement. Generally, a deck width of about 30 to 42 inches is perfectly sufficient for an acre.
Deck Cutting Heights
Your riding mower should adjust its deck height seamlessly to help you avoid obstacles. The best varieties have hand and foot levels for this, but for others, you’ll have to stop and get off to raise or lower the deck by hand. Such mowers have optional attachment kits for lifting the deck quickly.
Most mowers offer you cutting height between 1-5-inches, anything from 1.5”-4.0” should be plenty for most residential users.
Best Riding Lawn Mowers for 1 Acre Reviews
Narrowing your options can help you find the right lawnmower for your one-acre lawn. Fortunately, I’ve researched deeply and sought expert insights to compile a list of the best options you can trust for your mowing needs.
Here’s my take on the best riding mowers for one-acre lawns:
Best Lawn Tractor
- Type: Lawn Tractor
- Engine: Briggs & Stratton 540cc
- Fuel Tank: >2 acres
- Cutting Path: 42-Inch
- Max Cut Height: 1.5--4.0-Inch
- Transmission: Hydrostatic
- Top Speed: 5.5mph
- Price Range: $2,100
- A fantastic riding mower for 1-2 acres of residential lawn
- Built around the exceptional Briggs & Stratton 540cc V-Twin engine
- 20” wheel with good tread for firm traction and stability
- Excellent versatility as a utility vehicle to tow lawn sweepers or fertilizer drop spreaders
- Not the fastest mower but excels in all other aspects
Mowing is primarily a daytime thing, but when you must do the work late in the evening, you’ll need a powerful mower with reliable lighting, like this Husqvarna mower.
The Husqvarna 100 series sit-on mowers offer excellent comfort and cutting performance features. Husqvarna has a reliable 540cc V-Twin Briggs & Stratton engine that delivers 18.5 horsepower and a steady pace of 5.5 MPH. Its cruise control function maintains constant speed on large, flat lawns.
The mower also has foot-controlled motion gears, so my hands are always on the soft-touch steering wheel. Its stamped, 42-inch deck features a reinforced frame for a quality build, and the controls and comfortable seats are top-shelf.
This Husky 100 series grass-cutter is a perfect choice if you’re looking for a premium piece of mowing equipment for up to two acres.
Best Small Riding Mower
- Type: Riding Mower
- Motor: Greenworks 60V (24hp)
- Battery: 48Ah (2.5 acres)
- Cutting Path: 42-Inch
- Max Cut Height: 1.5--4.5-Inch
- Transmission: Hydrostatic
- Top Speed: 8mph
- Price Range: $3,999
- Its 60-volt motor generates about 24 horsepower
- Electric take-off for non-powered and powered attachments
- Can handle a 15-degree slope
- Stamped steel deck (12-gauge)
- Relatively shorter battery run time
For good value, residential, battery-powered riding mower for up to two acres, the Greenworks Pro fits the bill.
First, its 12-gauge, 42-inch-wide stamped cutting deck is one of the strongest of all the machines in this review. It also has 16 height settings ranging from 1.5 to 4.5 inches; so it can cope with the transition on a hill gradient of 15 degrees.
This mower has three 1.2-kilowatt brushless blades that deliver reliable and excellent cutting power. It includes six 60-volt 8-Ah battery packs that can cut up to an acre per charge. I was surprised by the well-set-out cockpit’s comfort, two hours of charging time, and remarkable performance.
Seriously, I was never too confident with rear engine electric ride on mowers prior to testing this machine. They are usually low-powered by comparison to the ZTR or Tractor design. But after testing the Greenworks CrossoverT, I think I’ve finally found a Rear Engine electric mower that I am truly impressed with.
If you’re looking for a mower for residential use that’s easy to control, and relatively quiet then this mower will be a great option for you.
Best Zero Turn Mower
- Cutting Deck: 42 Inches
- Deck Type: Stamped 10-gauge
- Cutting Height: 1.5-4.5”
- Power (V): 56V
- Run Time: 2 acres
- Battery Power: 40-60 Ah (up to 2hrs)
- Speed: 3-8 mph
- Price Range: $5,500
- Quiet 56V motor powered zero turns with Zero-emissions
- A single battery charge will power this mower for up to two acres
- This mower has 6 battery slots and 4 x 10Ah batteries included
- Outstanding onboard LCD onboard control panel
- None when used for residential use up to 2 acres
Excellent runtime, a comfortable seat, and an incredibly fast charging time of just 2 hours are the leading priorities for those looking for electric riding lawn mowers. Fortunately, you’ll find all these features, and many more, on the EGO Power+ Z6 ZT4204L.
The versatile EGO Power runs on four 10-Ah batteries and has slots for an additional two. Its two-hour charging time and two-acre mowing capacity stand out from the crowd.
Its three driving modes let you control your mower’s turning and acceleration intensity, and its four brushless motors deliver a power equivalent of 22 horsepower. I like the standard model as it helps me maneuver out of the three options: Sport, Standard, and Control.
The three modes and six-speed settings let you hit top mowing speeds of 3–7 MPH and can clock 8 MPH while on transit.
If you’re comfortable diving into the realm of zero-turn mowers then the Ego Power+ is my No.1 recommendation right now. It’s a brilliant, power for residential settings. The only downside is the price as this model will set you back around $5,500.
- Cutting Deck: 42 Inches
- Engine: Briggs & Stratton 500cc 15.5hp
- Run Time: >2 acres
- Deck Type: Stamped
- Cutting Height: 1.5-4.0”
- Gas Tank: 1.36-Gallons
- Speed: 5.5 mph
- Price Range: $1,949
- A good price lawn tractor with the excellent 500cc Briggs & Stratton Engine 15.5hp
- Side-discharge with mulch kit and rear bagger
- The seat only has a 10-inch back height, which is a touch low for some
Mowing your yard shouldn’t feel like a chore, and the reliable Troy-Bilt Pony ensures intuitive driving and smooth direction and speed adjustment.
The manufacturer fitted the machine’s step-through frame with a rugged 42-inch steel deck to create more space for on and off access. This deck has five cutting positions, so every pass cuts a good amount of grass.
The mower’s solid engine delivers 17.5 horsepower, but you must be conversant with the manual transmission system and learn its seven speeds. Due to its 18-inch turning radius and reverse mowing capability, there’s minimal re-mowing. Moreover, it has additional features like a cup holder, a comfortable low-back chair, mulching and bagging kits, and automatic headlights.
- Type: Lawn Tractor
- Engine: John Deere 724cc
- Fuel Tank: >2 acres
- Cutting Path: 42-Inch
- Max Cut Height: 1.5—4.0-Inch
- Transmission: Hydrostatic
- Top Speed: 5.5mph
- Price Range: $2,300
- A smooth V-twin engine is ideal for clearing one acre
- Comfy, adjustable high-back seat
- A smaller fuel tank
Regular maintenance can be challenging for some riding mower units, but this isn’t the case with John Deere’s S120. This lawn tractor has a 30-second oil change system comprising an all-in-one filter and oil canister. You can install and remove this without any tool.
It also has a smooth V-twin engine design that delivers 22 horsepower and a robust 300 CCA battery that can store charge for extended durations. At 2.4 gallons, the tank is relatively small, but the dashboard has an easy-to-read fuel gauge for monitoring fuel levels and planning a refill.
The deck’s profound design lifts the grasp to achieve a superior, even cut, and the smooth surface below keeps mud and grass from sticking. With the in-built lift lever, I can lower or raise the deck on a range of one to four inches and leverage the 13 customized leveling positions. The fact that I can adjust the seat to ten different positions for additional comfort is also a plus.
John Deere’s machines are reputable for their robustness, and S120’s durable design lives up to this expectation.
Smallest Riding Mower
- Type: Rear Engine Mower
- Motor: Ryobi 48V
- Battery: 50Ah (1 acre)
- Cutting Path: 30-Inch
- Max Cut Height: 1.5—4.5-Inch
- Transmission: Hydrostatic
- Top Speed: 5mph
- Price Range: $2,699
- The narrow 30-inch deck will mow 1 acre of lawn on a single charge. It will even fit straight through a standard 42” wide gate with ease.
- Manual deck adjustment with cutting height range of 1.5-4.5 inches
- It’s not as comfortable as some mowers on my list
Ryobi’s 48-volt electric rear engine riding mower is ideal if you have a decent-sized one-acre lot to maintain and want a low-noise, zero-emission, and low-maintenance machine.
This unbelievably powerful, quiet, and clean riding mower runs on 50Ah lead-acid batteries that power three brushless motors. I can cover an acre of lawn area within an hour with just a single charge.
The machine has a pair of steel blades enclosed in a durable 30-inch cutting deck that can easily fit fenced areas. Its seven-position manual deck adjustment allows a height range of between 1.5 to 4.5 inches, enabling a level, clean cut.
This machine is not as sophisticated as some, but its beauty is in its pure simplicity. If you need a good ride-on mower that is simple to use and very easy to drive, then do not overlook this Ryobi 30-inch mower.
Other Feature Considerations
Here are other critical features to check out when shopping for the best riding lawn mower for your one-acre lawn:
Not every riding lawn mower can navigate rough terrain easily. Your machine’s ability to turn without struggling can make your mowing unimaginably simpler. An irregular riding mower with a high turning radius can’t seamlessly navigate patchy hills and narrow fields. If dexterity is an important feature that your mower needs to navigate your terrain and the obstacle on it, then consider a zero-turn mower.
Comfort & Controls
You’ll sit for a long while mowing, so get yourself a comfortable machine that you can use for an extended duration. Consider an ergonomic lawnmower with features like a cushioned armrest, adjustable seat, and padded cushion, which reduce fatigue.
You also want a riding mower that you can control with precision, so its maneuvering capabilities matter. The levers and tires should provide sufficient control without sticking. It’s also a great idea to go for cruise control.
Now, to be fair, all riding mowers on this list have excellent controls and are sufficiently comfortable. Otherwise, I’d be crazy, right?
A transmission system transfers power from a riding mower’s engine to the wheels, giving the landscaper control. The machine can’t move backward or forward without it. Here are the three main transmission types:
While you must disengage this transmission with a clutch, most manual transmission mowers are cheaper. Furthermore, they offer more straightforward controls, especially when maneuvering obstacles.
This transmission lets you propel the riding mower using an accelerator pedal like a car. The mowers have easy-to-start and stop capabilities but are costlier than their manual counterparts.
Unlike the automatic transmission system that uses oiled belts, these mowers deliver power via fluid systems. As a result, they’re easy to drive and maintain.
Gradient of Hilly Terrain or Slopes
Gently rolling slopes and hills can make attractive lawns, but it’s pretty hard to mow the space if you don’t have the right machine. Mowing hilly terrain can also be dangerous due to the risk of toppling over, so make sure you choose the right equipment for the job.
Here are the ideal machines for the different slope gradients:
- A slope of 0° – 15° – Tractor mowers and riding mowers are ideal for these areas
- A slope of 15° to 22° – Only tractor mowers can mow these areas
- A slope of 22° and over – These require specialized riding mowers for use on slopes
Always ride the mower steadily and consistently. Abrupt adjustments and turns increase the chances of a rollover.
Rollover Protection (ROPS)
Steep lawns come with the risk of a rollover. To prevent this likelihood, manufacturers are now fitting rollover protection systems on riding mowers, the steel tube frame attached to the machine structure underneath the machine’s seating position.
These structures prevent the mower from turning beyond 90 degrees and create sufficient space to protect the user from being pinned in case of a full rollover. OSHA regulations require landscapers to install the structures to their equipment or risk injury and fines.
Your choice of rollover structure will depend on your unit’s size and the environment in which you intend to use it. A foldable, two-post design is ideal for low-clearance lawns, while a four-post system can better protect heavier garden tractors.
Garden Layout and Obstacles
A large riding mower with an expansive cutting deck is ideal for obstacle-less and ample lawns. But if yours has steep terrain with obstacles like ornaments, trees, or flower beds, you’ll need something to maneuver the obstacles, like the remarkably agile ZTR.
Verdict: Best Riding Lawn Mower for 1 Acre
Riding lawn mowers add comfort, convenience, and speed to your lawn maintenance exercise, and you have various options. I consider the 46-inch Husqvarna TS146X 22HP the best lawn tractor for a one-acre space. But if you’re looking for the best small riding mower, then the Greenworks 60-volt CrossoverT will serve you right.
Moreover, all the other models on my list can leave a perfect finish on a one-acre lawn, so evaluate your needs before picking a suitable machine.