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Riding Mower Buyer's Guide

How to Pick the Perfect Riding Lawn Mower

Lawn Mower Product Expert

Most people ditch their walk-behind mower because they are physically unable or unwilling to push it anymore.

Riding lawn mowers come in three styles: rear engine riding mowers, lawn & garden tractors, and zero turning radius (ZTR) lawn mowers.

They all have different attributes, so pick the one that works best for your lawn.

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Rear Engine Riding Mowers
Pick the Perfect Rear Engine Riding MowerIf you want a relaxing, easy, comfortable mowing experience, then consider a rear engine rider.

Due to their smaller cutting decks, rear riders are ideal for yards with narrow passes like fence gates. They're a more affordable alternative to tractors and zero-turn mowers, and they take up less space in your garage or shed.

However, rear engine riders aren't designed to pull heavy attachments, and they won't break any land-speed records at 5 mph.

Lawn & Garden Tractors
Lawn TractorsIf you want more than just mowing, then lawn tractors and garden tractors are for you.

These tractors are built to be work-horses all over your property and haul heavy attachments. Equipped with powerful engines, they have the muscle to accomplish big jobs.

These are like linemen on a football team: big and strong, but not the fastest, most agile players. If you're looking for high-speeds or your yard has lots of obstacles, tractors aren't your best bet.

Zero Turn Mowers
Zero Turn MowersIf tractors are linemen, then zero turn mowers are the running backs and receivers on the team. These high-performance mowers zip around your lawn at speeds up to 8 mph and can turn on a dime.

Their steering system allows you to make nimble 360 degree turns with ease. Because of their faster speed and improved maneuverability, zero turn mowers will save you the most time while mowing.

ZTR mowers with lap bar controls do not handle well on slopes because the front swivel wheels don't provide adequate traction, and the majority of the weight from the engine and the driver rests in the back. Zero turn mowers with steering wheels are more effective for handling sloped surfaces because their front wheels are controlled by the steering wheel, which will offer greater stability on hills and uneven terrain.

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