8 Best Riding Mowers and Lawn Tractors 2023

If you are tired of pushing a mower every time your yard needs a trim, it may be time to consider purchasing a riding lawn mower. I know from experience that lawnmowers and tractors can quickly become expensive, and it is difficult for inexperienced purchasers to know what to look for.

I have tested most models available in today’s market as well as a bunch of their predecessors. So I can confidently show you the best riding mowers around right now, and tell you what you should keep an eye out for when considering an upgrade.

Best Riding Lawn Mowers and Tractors

If you are in a hurry, here are my top picks of the models I tested. They include the best electric riding mower, the best out-and-out lawn tractor, as well as a budget riding mover for under $2,000.

Greenworks 60V CrossoverT 42" Riding Mower

Best Lawn Tractor

Greenworks 60V CrossoverT 42″ Riding Mower

A comfortable traditional riding mower with an electric motor, offering the best value for your money. Solid battery life and excellent 60-volt power.

Husqvarna Riding Lawn Mower 24HP 54”

Best Lawn Tractor

Husqvarna Riding Lawn Mower 24HP 54”

Powered by a Kawasaki FR Series 24hp engine and is capable of a speed of 8mph. Featuring locking differential and hill-conquering capabilities.

Craftsman 17.5hp Gear Gas Riding Mower 42”

Best Lawn Tractor Under $2,000

Craftsman 17.5hp Gear Gas Riding Mower 42”

If you’re looking for an inexpensive mower, the Craftsman a utility machine with a 17.5 hp engine. A comfortable ride, so worth a look.

Choosing a Riding Lawn Mower

It is rare to find a riding lawn mower that stands head and shoulders above all others. Making it important to find the machine that best fits your needs and preferences. I will break down some of the most notable features that you should keep in mind when selecting your mower, allowing you to tailor your selection and cover all bases. 

Riding Lawn Mower Options

Your first decision will be to decide between a zero-turn mower or a rear-engine model. In addition, you’re going to have to choose whether you want a garden or a lawn tractor. There is no single right answer here as to which product is best, it primarily hinges on your preferences. So let me explain each option in more detail. 

Rear-Engine Riding Mower

A rear engine mower is a traditional design that you probably picture in your head. You can tell rear-engine riding mowers by their trademark steering wheel; driving one of these is similar to a car or perhaps a golf buggy is a better comparison.

While you do not have as much maneuverability or precision on a rear-engine riding mower as some other mower designs, they are cheaper and easier to control. They’re ideal for anyone looking for a ride-on lawnmower that’s easy to steer and control, whilst achieving a great cut on medium-sized lawns. 

Garden or Lawn Tractor

Lawn Tractors are the standard front-engine lawnmower you may see at stores, resembling a mini tractor. Again they have a steering wheel control and are relatively simple to drive, however, they do tend to have lezz specific mowing deck controls than other ride-on mowers. Think of this tool as a utility product – a jack of all trades. 

Garden tractors are rugged machines that often support rear-mounted accessories. If you need to do some towing or want to plow snow or sweep your lawn, these machines will come in handy.

Zero-Turn Mower

Zero-turn mowers can rotate 360 degrees on the spot. That incredible level of control allows you to easily and efficiently cut the grass without leaving uncut sections as your turn the vehicle 180 degrees on the return cut. Unlike a rear-engine model, zero-turn mowers use two handles to control movement, which can take a little bit of getting used to at first.

I enjoy using zero-turn mowers, as I think they make cutting the grass a breeze compared to their rear-engine counterparts. However, zero-turn mowers are typically more expensive machines. If you have large lawns with tight turn-around obstacles, then the zero-turn mower would be the professional choice every time.

Engine or Motor Power

Knowing the horsepower and cc of a gas lawnmower or the voltage of an electric mower will give you an idea of how capable it is at handling demanding situations. Like mowing up hilly terrain, powering through long or wet grass, or towing accessories for example. 

The power is not necessarily directly correlated to the mower’s speed or fuel efficiency.

Gas Engine Cc and HP Explained

Cubic centimeters is the full name for cc. It refers to the engine displacement. The higher the cc, the larger your mowers engine will be and in theory, it should be able to generate more power. However, power is measured in HP or horsepower. 

Horsepower measures how much power the engine can generate and consequently how much work it can do. When I mentioned powering up a hill or mowing through thick grass, the engine hp will play a large part in how much ‘real world’ power is generated.

Battery-Powered Motor V Explained

Voltage in an electric riding lawnmower refers to the power of the electric motor, which is the equivalent of the lawnmower’s engine. Unfortunately, manufacturers rarely publish horsepower or the equivalent power output of electric motors so it can be extremely difficult to compare electric to gas on a level comparison.

Run Time: Battery Cell Capacity

If you’re like me, you always want to be able to finish yard work in one fell swoop. To help you determine if an electric mower can accomplish all your yard work without a recharge, you should examine the battery cells’ storage capacity, which is represented in amperage hours Ah.

Amp Hours (Ah) Explained

Ah is a number representing how many amps the battery exerts in one hour of work. In layman’s terms, a battery pack with a higher Ah rating will store more power and therefore run for longer. 

Mowers dram amps from the battery at different rates and depending on how hard the machine is being worked at any one time. So again, it is not as simple as saying this mower will run for longer as it has a higher Amp Hour rating, as the mower may be less efficient by design, and simply draw more power to run for one hour straight.

Cutting Deck

Perhaps the most vital piece of a lawn mower is the cutting deck, but these are not always the same. You’ll want to look for one that fits your budget, and yard size, and of course is built to withstand your terrain.

Stamped Vs. Fabricated Deck

Stamped decks are the most common models for consumer mowers and are less expensive to purchase. Manufacturers make these decks by taking a single piece of steel and pressing it into the mower deck. The pressing process results in a cost-effective component, but the trade-off is that the deck will be less durable than a fabricated deck.

When a manufacturer creates a fabricated deck, they make it with multiple pieces of steel that they weld together. While this increases the price and leaves it with slightly less suction, it makes for a stronger and more durable product. Ideal for taking regular bumps and knocks from stones or other obstacles.

In my opinion, stamped decks are the best option for most people purchasing a new riding lawn mower. They are cheaper, and you are unlikely to need the benefits of a fabricated deck when cutting residential lawns. 

Deck Width

If you have a wide-open lawn you mow of 2 or more acres, you should try to find a model with a large cutting deck of around 46-inches or above to reduce mowing time. However, bigger is not always better when it comes to deck size. 

In particular, if you have a yard stocked with tight corridors and obstacles, you should opt for a smaller mower deck of 42-inches or less. The smaller deck will save you money and ensure you can work more efficiently by being agile with a smaller mower. 

Deck Cutting Heights

A typical lawn mower will have a variable cutting height set to your desired preference. In general, most mowers allow you to adjust between 1.0-inches and 2.0-inches, with several steps in between. Having a larger range of cutting heights is almost always a better option, so aim for at least 5 height settings.

Best Riding Mowers and Lawn Tractors Reviews

Now that you know what makes for the best riding lawnmowers, we will look at some of my favorite models. Each of these machines has stood the test of being run across lawns that exceed the manufacturer’s recommended size. 

My criteria for selection are based on cutting performance and quality, comfort, and run time. Finally, I have made a view based on value, meaning is the machine worth the price tag?

1. Greenworks 60V CrossoverT 42″ Riding Mower

Best Electric Riding Lawn Mower

Greenworks 60V CrossoverT 42" Riding Mower
  • Type: Lawn (Rear Engine)
  • Cutting Deck: 42 inches
  • Cutting Height: 1.5 to 4.5 inches
  • Deck Type: Stamped
  • Motor: 60V (24hp)
  • Run Time: 1 hour
  • Battery Power: 8.0 Ah x 6 (48Ah)
  • Speed: 8 MPH
  • Warranty: 4-year limited

Pros

  • Excellent control and a top speed of 8mph
  • Reinforced 12-gauge cutting deck and an integrated cargo bed for hauling up to 200lbs
  • Best electric rear engine mower on the market

Cons

  • Not a lot to complain about with this mower, solid, fast, and easy to control

Electric mowers don’t get any better than this model from Greenworks. Its 42-inch deck puts it in the middle of consumer sizes, making it an ideal middle ground for lawn care. The crossover is also one of the fastest electric models I have tried, with a blazing fast top speed of eight miles per hour.

The battery life was pretty impressive. 6 x 8.0 battery cells provide 48Ah of storage. Whilst this isn’t exceptional it was still good enough for me to get through 2 acres of lawn. The manufacturer claims 2.5 acres but I would suggest caution for anything more than 2 acres. The battery will fully charge in just over 90 minutes which is pretty good stuff.

If you are ready to jump into the world of electric mowers with their quiet performance and environmentally-friendly designs, this is the model I recommend to you. 

2. Husqvarna TS354XD Riding Lawn Mower 24HP 54”
  • Type: Lawn (Lawn Tractor)
  • Cutting Deck: 54 inches
  • Cutting Height: 1.5 to 4 inches
  • Deck Type: Stamped
  • Engine: Kawasaki FR Series 726cc 24hp
  • Run Time: 2-3 acres
  • Battery Power: N/A
  • Speed: 5.5 mph
  • Warranty: 3-year

Pros

  • Excellent 24hp Kawasaki FR series engine 
  • Versatile front engine mower, featuring locking differential to reduce wheel spin
  • Massive deck 54-inch deck and comfortably handled hills and steep slopes

Cons

  • Slow compared to most mowers

If you want the most powerful model you will likely need for lawn care, look no further than this mower from Husqvarna. This machine has a massive 54-inch mower deck, and you can even hook up a mulching kit to it if necessary. 

While the top speed of 5.5 miles per hour is not likely to blow anybody away, the Kawasaki 24hp 726cc engine is one of the best on my list. I found the whole machine to be well-made and durable. A massive bonus is the inclusion of a locking differential system offering a higher level of control. Mowing around utility poles in a high-sloped ditch equals ‘ spin-free’ traction with the differential lock engaged

Not only does it feel good to drive but sitting in the mower is a refreshing experience. The seat is quite comfortable and adjustable to your needs. Ordinarily, I feel a bit sore after sitting on a mower for too long, but not on this model.

3. EGO Power+ Z6 42” 56V Zero-Turn Mower
  • Type: Lawn (Zero-Turn)
  • Cutting Deck: 42 inches
  • Cutting Height: 1.5 to 4.5 inches
  • Deck Type: Stamped 10-gauge
  • Motor: 56V (22hp)
  • Run Time: 1.5 hours
  • Battery Power: 4×10 Ah (40Ah)
  • Speed: 7 MPH
  • Warranty: 5-year limited

Pros      

  • Powerful 56V motor equivalent to a 22hp gas engine
  • Capable mowing 2 acres on a single charge, with an extra 2 battery slots for upgrade
  • Charges batteries in two hours

Cons

  • You can’t change speeds or modes while in motion

EGO has made a name for itself with high-quality electric outdoor equipment, and the Power+ Z6 zero-turn mower is a crowning jewel of the company’s product range. Not only is it the best electric zero-turn mower I tried, but it might just be the best zero-turn mower on the market.

The run time of 90 minutes is impressive compared to electric mowers. Its speed is not blazing but will serve most users well. You will also make up time when using it thanks to the zero-turn design that makes corners a simple obstacle.

This fast charging time suits me and the 2-acre mowing capacity is enough for my needs. There is also a 52-inch model that can offer 4+ acre coverage with a total of 72 Ah of battery capacity.

Toro TimeCutter 708cc Zero Turn Mower 42
  • Type: Lawn (Zero-Turn)
  • Cutting Deck: 42 inches
  • Cutting Height: 1.5 to 4.5 inches
  • Deck Type: Stamped
  • Engine: Toro Commercial V-Twin 708Cc
  • Run Time: 3-gallon fuel capacity
  • Battery Power: N/A
  • Speed: 7 mph
  • Warranty: 3-year residential warranty

Pros

  • You get a lot of zero turn mower for under $3,500
  • Powerful 22.5 hp V-Twin engine delivered good ground speed for efficient mowing

Cons

  • Lacking some top-end features, but all the essentials are there and very well put together

Zero-turn mowers are more expensive than rear-engine models in most instances. However, this 42-inch mower from Toro is a nice gateway machine into the world of zero-turn convenience.

The price is not the only thing to enjoy about this model, as it has everything you need in a sought-after lawnmower. Its speed is above average at seven miles per hour, and the 708cc engine offers plenty of power for tough terrain.

The three-gallon fuel capacity allows you to comfortably finish your yard work without worrying about running out of gas.

While it is not the fanciest model, the TimeCutter is perfect for those on a budget seeking a zero-turn mower with precision, quality, and reliability.

5. RYOBI 48V Electric Rear Engine Mower 30”
  • Type: Lawn (Rear Engine)
  • Cutting Deck: 30 inches
  • Cutting Height: 1.5 to 4.5 inches
  • Deck Type: Stamped
  • Motor/Engine: 48 V
  • Run Time: 1 hour
  • Battery Power: 50 Ah
  • Speed: 5 MPH
  • Warranty: 3-year mower, 1-year battery

Pros

  • Perfect for smaller yards or for those looking for a compact easy to handle a riding mower
  • Good battery performance

Cons

Head to head the Greenworks 60V CrossoverT wins hands down

Do you have a small yard with little storage space? If that sounds like you, I recommend this 30-inch mower from RYOBI. While it is not as large or powerful as other machines on my list, this RYOBI model will handle lawn care for those who don’t need a beefy machine.

If you have a bigger yard, the small deck, coupled with its low velocity, this model is best avoided. 

The battery in this product is quite strong, with 48 volts and 50 amperage hours. I like the LED headlights RYOBI included in this model, as it gave me better visibility when the day was closing. 

Push come to shove, would I buy this machine? Well to be honest the Greenworks 60V CrossoverT is so much better that I would raise my bet and go all in and buy the Greenworks mower.

6. Craftsman 17.5hp Gear Gas Riding Mower 42”

Best Lawn Tractor Under $2,000

6. Craftsman 17.5hp Gear Gas Riding Mower 42”
  • Type: Lawn (Lawn Tractor)
  • Cutting Deck: 42 inches
  • Cutting Height: 1 to 4 inches
  • Deck Type: Stamped
  • Motor/Engine: 17.5 hp Briggs & Stratton
  • Run Time: 2 acres
  • Battery Power: N/A
  • Speed: 5.5 MPH
  • Warranty: 2-year

Pros

  • A good quality 17.5 hp Briggs & Stratton engine is a steal at this price
  • Maneuverable, easy to control, and overall a comfortable ride

Cons

  • Not as reliable as a number of the top brands featured

For those on a budget, check out this ride-on mower from Craftsman. The company has long been a trusted source of outdoor power equipment, and its mower lineup is no exception. While this machine may not have every bell and whistle of the premium branded options on the market, it will serve most users well without breaking the bank.

With a range of 2 acres and a top speed of 5.5 miles per hour, this mower didn’t deliver the fastest cut during my tests. Still, it wasn’t slow by any means, but you won’t set any speed records on this mower.

The turning radius of 18 inches was a pleasant sight; it made getting around obstacles quite simple. Overall, this is a solid machine available at a decent price.

troy bilt pony.
  • Type: Lawn (Lawn Tractor)
  • Cutting Deck: 42 inches
  • Cutting Height: 1.25 to 3.75 inches
  • Deck Type: Stamped
  • Motor/Engine: 500cc
  • Run Time: 2 acres
  • Battery Power: N/A
  • Speed: 5.5 mph
  • Warranty: 2-year limited warranty

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Solid specifications all around

Cons

  • Not fast enough
  • Low engine Cc

The Pony from Troy-Bilt is another excellent choice for those who don’t want to spend a fortune on a lawnmower. While this model may lack the power some of the other products on my list have, it is an affordable option and will still provide a clean cut of your lawn.

With a run time of around two acres, you won’t need to worry about one tank of gas not finishing the job, as that is more than enough distance for most users. The speed is somewhat lacking at just over five miles per hour, and the engine Cc of 500 is lower than I would prefer. My other main complaint is the lack of cutting height options.

If you need a dependable ride-on mower at a reasonable price, I recommend checking this model from Troy-Bilt.

8. John Deere S120 42” Lawn Tractor
  • Type: Lawn (Lawn Tractor)
  • Cutting Deck: 42 inches
  • Cutting Height: 1 to 4 inches
  • Deck Type: Stamped
  • Motor/Engine: 724Cc
  • Run Time: 2 acres
  • Battery Power: N/A
  • Speed: 5.5 mph
  • Warranty: 2-year or 120-hour warranty

Pros

  • Oil change system
  • Excellent engine Cc

Cons

  • Limited warranty
  • Slow speed

Last but certainly not least is another affordable machine, this time from the classic brand John Deere. The specifications won’t blow anybody away, but with a solid Cc on the engine and the ability to cut two acres on one tank of gas, this is a solid lawn care solution.

Outside of the raw statistics, I appreciated the oil change system. The system is John Deere’s newest design, and I was able to perform an oil change in a few minutes. While I don’t change the oil in lawnmowers often, it is still a handy feature to have.

I wasn’t impressed by the warranty on this model, though your mileage may vary. Still, 120 hours over two years is not much mowing, but it may be enough for those with smaller yards and faster cutting times.

Other Riding Mower Considerations

Before you go, I’m going to give you a few more pieces of advice for shopping for the best riding lawn mower.

Comfort & Controls

You might want to try sitting in the lawn mower first before buying it. Knowing if the seat and controls are set up for you comfortably is important.

Transmission Type

Mower transmissions come in automatic and standard. While shifting gears is easier on a lawnmower than on a car, you should avoid standard transmissions if you aren’t comfortable manually shifting.

Ability to Handle Hilly Terrain

Zero-turn mowers don’t handle hills and slopes gracefully and are prone to flipping over or getting poor cuts. For those of you who live in hilly areas, consider getting a rear-engine model.

Accessories

You will typically find a handful of accessories on riding mowers, such as cup holders and USB chargers. Some machines even ship with grass bags!

Verdict: Best Riding Lawn Mower

Whether you are looking for an electric mower, a zero-turn mower, or something in between, I hope you found something that spoke to you on my list of the best riding lawn mowers. Riding mowers are not one-size-fits-all, and the best riding lawn mower is the one that suits all of your lawn care needs.

Greenworks 60V CrossoverT 42" Riding Mower

Best Lawn Tractor

Greenworks 60V CrossoverT 42″ Riding Mower

A comfortable traditional riding mower with an electric motor, offering the best value for your money. Solid battery life and excellent 60-volt power.

Husqvarna Riding Lawn Mower 24HP 54”

Best Lawn Tractor

Husqvarna Riding Lawn Mower 24HP 54”

Powered by a Kawasaki FR Series 24hp engine and is capable of a speed of 8mph. Featuring locking differential and hill-conquering capabilities.

Craftsman 17.5hp Gear Gas Riding Mower 42”

Best Lawn Tractor Under $2,000

Craftsman 17.5hp Gear Gas Riding Mower 42”

If you’re looking for an inexpensive mower, the Craftsman a utility machine with a 17.5 hp engine. A comfortable ride, so worth a look.

If any of these machines sound interesting, I encourage you to follow the links and do some more research. Who knows, you may find the mower of your dreams.

FAQ Lawn Tractors and Riding Mowers

Before I leave you, here is one of the most common questions I get about riding mowers.