Home Depot / Business Insider
- Durable, full of features to make mowing easier, and up to the task of cutting a few acres, a riding lawn mower can save you time and energy on lawn care.
- Our top pick, the Cub Cadet XT1 18 HP Kohler Hydrostatic Riding Lawn Tractor, combines great value, ease, and features that ensure a clean, accurate cut.
If you find yourself dreading mowing the lawn because of the physical effort and time it takes to cover the area with a push mower, then it might be time to upgrade to a riding lawn mower (also called a ride-on mower), especially if you have acres of grass to cut. Riding mowers take much of the physical effort out of mowing, and because they have larger mowing decks than push mowers, they can cover a larger area in less time.
But finding the right riding mower for your needs takes some time and research; riding mowers are expensive investments. It’s a significant purchase, so you want to make sure that you don’t overlook anything. Some lower-end mowers are rickety and uncomfortable to use, and some mowers don’t have the power necessary to mow inclines or tall grass. And, you want to make sure you have the room to park the thing.
We’ve researched and identified the best riding mowers of 2019. We’ve assessed these mowers on a number of factors, including engine power, overall performance, deck size, and ease of use. Many of these mowers include features that make for easier and more comfortable operation, from ergonomic seats and controls to hydrostatic engines that require no shifting.
The mowers in this list are all intended for residential use. Some are suitable for up to an acre or two, and some have the power to mow up to four acres. If you have significant acreage, then you should look at commercial-grade riding mowers that are better designed for large areas. For homes with yards too big to handle with a push mower but not large enough to warrant a commercial riding mower, these models will suit your needs without breaking the bank.
Here are our top picks for the best riding mowers of 2019:
- Best overall: Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro Series LT 42-in. 18-hp Kohler Hydrostatic Gas Front-Engine Riding Lawn Tractor
- Best budget riding mower: Troy-Bilt Pony 42-in. 17.5-hp Manual Drive Briggs and Stratton Gas Lawn Tractor Riding Mower
- Best zero-turn riding mower: Cub Cadet Ultima ZT1 50-in. 23-hp Kawasaki Zero Turn Mower
- Best for smaller acreage: Troy-Bilt 382cc 30-Inch Premium Neighborhood Riding Lawn Mower
- Best premium riding mower: John Deere E180 25 HP V-Twin Lawn Tractor
Keep scrolling to read more about our top picks.
The best overall
Plenty of perks, including 12 cutting height positions and a tight 16-inch turning radius make the Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro Series LT 42-in. 18-hp Kohler Hydrostatic Gas Front-Engine Riding Lawn Tractor our top pick.
The Cub Cadet XT1 has everything you want in terms of specs and performance, plus it’s outfitted with extra features while still coming in at an affordable price point. In terms of overall power, the 18-horsepower engine is plenty powerful for residential use, and the hydrostatic (auto) transmission means you don’t have to worry about shifting, making your job easier and more enjoyable. The push-button cruise control will also maintain your speed for you.
With a 16-inch turning radius, this mower is much more agile than most others, making it ideal for tight turns and smaller spaces. At the same time, the 42-inch cutting deck allows this mower to cover a large area, quickly. Choose from 12 cutting heights to find that perfect cut, and mow even when it’s getting dark, thanks to the bright LED headlights. The 3-gallon gas tank is generously sized so that you don’t have to cut your mowing short before filling up again.
Whereas the seats on many mowers are significantly lacking in comfort, this mower has a high-back seat with an oversized base and elevated back support to help maximize your comfort, even when you use the mower for multiple hours at a time. The seat is also adjustable, and the steering wheel is equipped with a comfort-grip cushion to help relieve hand fatigue.
The Cub Cadet XT1 has a 4.4 out of 5-star rating on The Home Depot, based on more than 1,700 reviews. One customer wrote: "Access to gas tank and oil check are easy. The seat is comfortable and controls fairly well laid out. It cuts thick grass with ease and seems to blow out the clippings well with little to no clumping. Turn radius is very tight for a tractor and it starts easily every time. I love that I can set the key to the reverse position and press the button once when I first start mowing and it will let me go forward or reverse with the blade engaged during my whole mowing session. Other mowers require it each time you back up."
You can see this lawn tractor in action in this video.
Pros: 12 cutting heights for precise cuts, tight 16-inch turning radius, highly comfortable seat and steering wheel, cruise control option, hydrostatic transmission eliminates the need to shift
Cons: Some assembly required
Buy the Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro Series LT 42-in. 18-hp Kohler Hydrostatic Gas Front-Engine Riding Lawn Tractor at the Home Depot for $1,599
The best budget riding mower
The Troy-Bilt Pony 42-in. 17.5-hp Manual Drive Briggs and Stratton Gas Lawn Tractor Riding Mower has all the power and features you could want, for under $2,000.
If you’re looking for an affordable mower that’s capable of efficiently cutting a couple of acres, the Troy-Bilt Pony 42 in. Riding Mower is the ideal solution. This mower has the power and efficiency to make short work of smaller yards, but it also has many extra features you’ll appreciate, all at a highly affordable price.
This mower has the power you need for your typical mowing jobs, and the Briggs and Stratton motor is a reliable, quality engine. This mower has a seven-speed manual transmission, and while the brake-clutch combination takes a bit of getting used to, you’ll easily pick it up if you’ve ever driven a car with a manual transmission. With a five-position deck height adjustment and an 18-inch turning radius, this mower can quickly cover a larger area, saving you time in mowing your lawn. The ability to mow in reverse is a big plus that many other mowers do not offer.
Not lacking in features, you’ll appreciate the mower’s low-back seat, automatic headlights, and cup holder. It’s compatible with a bagging and mulching kits, as well as carts and other accessories, making it a versatile lawn-care tool.
The Troy-Bilt Pony 42-inch Riding Mower has a 4.4 out of 5-star rating from the Home Depot, based on more than 500 reviews. One customer wrote: "All the horsepower you will need! I have approximately a half-acre worth of grass to be cut and this lawn mower cuts it like a pro. As I do with most Home Depot purchases I did my research on all the tractors available for sale at Home Depot. I could not be any happier with my decision. It was very reasonably priced and the cutting deck (42 inches) is plenty for my yard."
Pros: Seven-speed transmission, five-point deck height adjustment, 18-inch turning radius, compatible with bagging attachment and mulching kit
Cons: Some assembly required, manual transmission
Buy the Troy-Bilt Pony 42-in. 17.5-hp Manual Drive Briggs and Stratton Gas Lawn Tractor Riding Mower at the Home Depot for $1,299
The best zero-turn riding mower
With precise maneuverability, the Cub Cadet Ultima ZT1 50-in. 23-hp Kawasaki Zero Turn Mower gives you ultimate control over your mowing.
When it comes to zero turn mowers for residential use, the Ultima ZT1 50 -in. 23-hp Kawasaki Zero Turn Mower from Cub Cadet is one of the best that you’ll find. This mower offers superior durability thanks to its tubular steel frame and triple-guard corrosion defense system. The 23-horsepower twin-cylinder motor is commercial-grade and offers top performance with more than enough power for any residential use. A 7.5-mile-per-hour forward speed and 3.5-mph backup speed allow you to make quick work of large jobs. This mower is backed by a three-year unlimited-hour warranty, and the frame and fabricated deck shell come with a limited lifetime warranty.
This mower is built to make your job easy and precise. Adjust the deck height from 1 inch to 4.5 inches using 15 quarter-inch increments for an even cut. The smooth-tread front wheels pivot 180 degrees for maximum versatility without damaging turf, and the premium rear tires maximize traction for a smoother, more controlled ride. The mower is equipped with a SmartJet deck-washing system that cleans debris from underneath the deck with high-pressure water.
You’ll also appreciate the ergonomic design. The lap bar is adjustable for just the right fit, and the high-back seat is also fully adjustable to keep you comfortable on longer jobs. You can engage the blade with the touch of a finger thanks to the electronic blade engagement, and the ergonomic hand grips help to reduce hand fatigue. This mower is well-equipped for slight rolling hills and areas up to 4 acres.
The Ultima ZT1 50 -in. 23-hp Kawasaki Zero Turn Mower has a 4.7 out of 5-star rating from the Home Depot, based on more than 200 reviews. One customer wrote: "This is a solid piece of equipment designed for cutting grass. Not a lot of plastic parts to break. Easy access to everything including a removable floor plate which will make belt maintenance and debris removal a breeze."
Another wrote: "I have a large hilly yard and have always had traction and turning issues with standard mowers, but this Cub Cadet has no problems getting everywhere I need it to."
Pros: Powerful commercial-grade motor, durable frame with triple-guard corrosion defense system, hydrostatic transmission, generously sized 50-inch deck, foot-operated deck lift, impressive warranty
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