Everything You Need to Know Before Buying a Riding Lawn Mower

Oftentimes, choosing the best lawn mower in the market can be very challenging. Most great-performing lawn mowers cost around hundreds or thousands of dollars, but purchasing an expensive mower doesn’t usually mean you’re getting a good deal out of it.

So to make the most out of your money, we have provided you reviews and tips about what to consider before making a purchase.

Factors to Consider Before Buying a Lawn Mower

  • Lawn Size

One of the most important things to consider is the size of your lawn. Generally, lawns that are half an acre in size or less only require a standard push mower; anything bigger than that can be straining to mow even with a best self propelled lawn mower.

Ideally, bigger lawns would need bigger mowers. If you have a pretty big lawn area, consider buying a riding lawn mower for easier mowing and navigating.

  • Terrain

Lawn terrains differ in a lot of ways. Some lawns have stones, trees, fountains, flowerbeds, and lawn decorations that will need to be navigated around. There are also terrains that are uphill in nature. In relatively flat and clear terrains, a manual-reel lawn mower is enough.

On the other hand, slightly uphill terrains will prove to be much easier to mow with a self-propelled or a ride-on mower.

But if you want to effectively navigate around obstacles and reach hard to get areas by normal mowers, choose a zero-turn-radius mower instead of a standard one.

  • Power Supply

There are 2 types of lawn mowers: Gas-powered mowers and electrically charged mowers. However, both types have their pros and cons. In general, gas mowers have more power and can provide longer run time compared to charged mowers. These types require a more complicated maintenance though.

Meanwhile, cordless electric mowers are quieter and easier to start. The downside is that they only have limited run time per charge. Corded electric mowers can provide unlimited run time, but covers less area in mowing due to its limited cord length; plus, most people find it inconvenient to have a cord trailing their equipment as they mow.     

  • Attachments

Choosing a lawn mower that is compatible with various attachments can upgrade your mower in many ways. For starters, tidying up grass clippings can be easier with attachments available to your mower. Some popular attachments you can use are damp carts, fertilizer spreaders, and lawn rollers.


Types of Lawn Mower

Manual-Reel Mower

This standard push mower only needs manual effort; it’s an old-school mower that requires you to manually push to enable the blades to turn.

Pros: Manual-reel mowers are relatively easy to use. This type of mower is also environment-friendly and will not need complicated care and maintenance. You pretty much only need to clean debris and grass build-up, lubricate joints, and sharpen the blades to maximize its life span. It’s also the most affordable out of the entire bunch with a price range of $100 to $400.

Cons: This mower considerably is strenuous to use in large areas for it requires manual operating. It’s not advisable to purchase this if you have a rather large area you need to mow.


Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers

In a quick glance, it looks similar to a manual-reel mower but it actually requires less effort. It’s also a standard push mower, but the difference is that an engine mechanically turns the blades. Instead of pushing to mow, you literally just have to push this equipment to guide it throughout your lawn.

Pros: For starters, self-propelled mowers require less effort and can handle thick trimmings. They are also extremely effective in mowing sloped lawns. It also has a fairly reasonable price ranging from $300 to $900, depending on the brand.

Cons: Self-propelled lawn mowers are divided into two types: Electric and gas mowers. Gas mowers produce emissions and loud noises. It also needs attentive maintenance. You’d have to do tune-ups and oil changes aside from the regular cleaning and maintenance.

Electric mowers, on the other hand, do not need that much maintaining. They don’t produce emissions and is relatively quiet. However, this type of mower has a limited run time, especially since starting the engine alone uses up 20% of its charge.

Riding Lawn Mowers

Riding or ride-on lawn mowers can mow 2 or 3 times faster than push mowers, and is ideal for bigger yards.

Pros: It definitely has more power compared to other types of mowers. It can efficiently mow faster and wider than push mowers. It requires less effort from the operator and is easily controlled by a steering wheel. It also features comfortable sitting for the operator. Lastly, it is compatible with various attachments that can considerably make mowing a lot easier.

Cons: Riding lawn mowers have slower speed and can be difficult to navigate around obstacles on your lawn because of its wider turning radius. Like self-propelled gas mowers, it needs tune-ups and oil changes, and, of course, regular maintenance such as cleaning and sharpening of blades. It’s also really expensive costing around $1000 to $3000.


Zero-Turn-Radius Mowers

Zero-Turn-Radius mowers, also known as ZTR mowers, are a type of advanced riding lawn mowers.

Pros: It’s pretty much as powerful as a standard ride-on mower. However, this type of mower is definitely faster than normal riding ones. It has a pivoting front caster wheels that can make sharp turns; this makes navigating around your lawn a breeze.

Cons: Aside from a more complicated maintenance procedure like standard ride-on mowers, it’s the most expensive type of lawn mower in the market. The price starts at $2000.


If you want to save money, purchase mowers at the end of mowing season. September is a good month to buy one. Stores usually don’t have enough space to store lawn mowers, so they end up selling them in discounted prices.

You can also opt to purchase a second hand lawn mower, but make sure to inspect it carefully before buying it.

Frequently Asked Questions about Riding Lawn Mowers

Q: Does riding lawn mower have a reverse gear?

A: Yes, riding mowers have a reverse gear. However, the mowing blades disengage in reverse gear so it can’t be used for mowing. But if you want to mow in reverse, there’s an override on the ignition key that will allow you to do that.

Q: When buying a riding lawn mower, do I still have to assemble it at home?

A: The seat, steering wheel, and other small parts may have to be assembled. You will also have to connect the battery cables. But, fret not! They usually come with a guide and assembling it is very easy.

Q: Are riding lawn mowers easy to start?

A: Riding lawn mowers have a user-friendly key start ignition.

Q: Why are zero turn radius mowers more expensive?

A: A zero turn radius mower has two hydrostatic transmissions, unlike normal riding mower that only have one. Zero turn mowers also have larger engines and decks causing it to be more expensive than the rest.

Q: What attachments fit my riding lawn mower?

A: Lawn mower manufacturers usually include a fit-up chart for attachments. You can use this to determine which attachments are a match for your lawn mower.

Q: What is the difference between an electric riding mower and a gas riding mower?

A: Mainly, the difference in power source can affect the performance of your riding lawn mower. Both types have their ups and downs. But mainly, gas riding mowers harbor more power and provide longer running time compared to its electric counterparts. For more read electric mower versus gas mowers.

Q: Can riding lawn mowers be used to mow wet grass?

A: It really is not ideal to mow wet grass even if you are using a riding mower.

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