I Want A Riding Mower/Zero Turn But I Don’t Know Where To Start!

This website is about reviews of lawn tractors and zero turns but I have noticed that many of you are looking for your very first riding lawn mower. You really don’t know what size, what brand or what type you really need. Here is a list of articles that I have written on the different features of lawn tractors. These articles will help you decide what type to buy and the features that will make your lawn mowing the best experience for you.

From someone who was helped here: I’ve never done this, but I just want to give you a quick thank you for your website. I’ve never owned a lawn tractor and I’m in the process of buying one. It is super daunting, there are just way too many options. I found your reviews incredibly helpful! I try to be an informed consumer and utilize the internet as best I can. I gotta say, I trust your opinion more than anything else I have found on the internet! I spent quite a bit of time reading your reviews and they were all super helpful. Thank you! Amon 

My Basic Philosophy About Finding The Right Mower For You

It may seem arrogant for me to say, “perhaps this isn’t for you.”

My goal here is to find the right mower for you. Unlike the small dealer who has 2 brands and 14 mowers on his sales floor I have access to all the mowers on the market and I really don’t care which one you buy, as long as it is the one that is right for you. I treat each one of you differently. Understand that I am working to delight you, not sell you what I have.

Is that arrogant?

Not to me. I know that the best or even the cheapest is not always the best for you.

What is arrogant is when I drive across town or take time off of work to visit a dealership and that dealership assumes that you have come to buy one of the mowers they have in stock. Is it the best for you? Maybe, but there may be a better one for you sitting in a nearby warehouse.

It is arrogant that I will tell you anything including berate my competition just to get you to buy what I have to sell.

Adapted From: The humility of the artist by Seth Godin

 

Right Click on the links to open them in a new window.

I am going to start you out with a list of all the different types of riding mowers. Zero-turns are getting a lot of publicity lately and this article will help you decide if you need one:  Lawn Tractor/Zero-Turn Types

Next I suggest you read about the different types and sizes of decks: What is the best deck for my yard

How Much Time Do You Have? Here is a chart that tells you how long it will take to mow your lawn: Acreage Chart

Transmissions: What is the difference between an automatic, hydrostatic or manual transmission? This article explains them: Lawn Tractor Transmission Types

Engines: Not all engines are built the same. There are different quality engines for different applications. Some brands use cheaper motors to keep the cost down. There are different grade engines for “WalMart Specials,” economy, homeowner, professional, and commercial applications. In addition the rating game for engines has changed: 2014 Tractor Engine Rating Standards

Zero Turns: You hear that a zero turn will save you time. It’s the latest fad. Do you really want one? 16 reasons why you may not want a zero turn mower

Did you know that only four manufactures make all of the lawn tractors for sale in the U.S? Here is a complete list who makes what: Who Makes What?

How To Get The Best Deals. Today buying a mower at a retail store or website is more than just going in and dropping your credit card on the counter.  Most of the major retailers have loyalty programs that give you a better deal if you give them your email. In fact, many of the best deals by these retailers will be online through their websites. Here is an explanation of how a typical rewards program works: How To Get The Best Deals At Sears

Price:

Once you have figured out what is the best size and type of mower then determine how much you want to spend. There is a wide price range of mowers in every size. Here are 4 lists to help you get started

2015 Lawn Tractors under $1500
2015 Lawn Tractors over $1500
2015 Residential Zero Turn Mowers (R-ZTR)
2015 Landowner Zero Turn Mowers (L-ZTR)

Beware of Too Many Reviews

When you are out on the web reading reviews of mowers beware that usually only one person out of a thousand will write a review. Also be aware that a larger percentage of reviews will be from people who had issues with the mower. Many more people write reviews when they are upset than when they are happy with an item.  My point is be wary of a seller that has hundreds of glowing reviews for a given mower. They may be giving people an incentive to write glowing reviews, may be using employees to write glowing reviews or they are taking old reviews and rewriting them for the new item.  Also be aware that many of the negative reviews are operator error. (It won’t start because I left un-stabilized fuel in it all winter or I ran over a stick and it got stuck in the belts and they destroyed themselves) Please read the reviews on the sellers website with a grain of salt.

Beware of Negative Reviews, Negative Dealers, and Negative Neighbors:

It doesn’t do a lot of good to read the negative reviews and assume that a lawn tractor or zero-turn is bad. Why? Because there are millions of these items sold every year and usually thousands of each particular model. So if there are 2 or 10 or even 50 bad reviews that doesn’t mean that the product is inherently bad. Instead look at the percentage of bad verses good reviews. If there are 50 good reviews and 5 bad ones there is a better than good chance that the product is just fine. In addition, many of the negative reviews are from owners who are inexperienced, owners who had problems with an older model or customers that have “bone to pick” with the retailer or brand. I spend a lot of time reviewing reviews and if there is a product that has issues, a retailer or dealer that is not holding up their end of the customer service agreement – I’ll let you know. (Feel free to ask anytime about a certain brand or product)

OK! You are finally ready to read a review. I put together one comprehensive review that goes into every detail of a lawn tractor. If you read this review you will be able to use the information you learn to clearly decide which riding mower, lawn tractor or zero-turn is best for you: Yard Tractor Review

104
Leave a Reply

avatar
36 Comment threads
69 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
35 Comment authors
Plenty Mowers Service MelbourneNat ReevesNatalieCarl in VermontJim, Forest VA Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Plenty Mowers Service Melbourne
Guest

Thanks for sharing the information. We also offer a huge variety of lawn mowers to choose among. you can visit Plenty Mowers Service Melbourne for buying or repairing your gardening tools.

Nat Reeves
Guest

Thank You so very Much Paul, It is critical to get the right equipment for the job to be done. Too big can be just as big a problem as too small. This will make it easier to get it right.

Natalie
Guest
Natalie

Thank you so much for all of your wonderful reviews. My husband and I are about to purchase a 5 acre property in PG county, MD. about 3.5-4 of the 5 acres are fenced for horses with a pretty mild slope. The rest is fairly flat lawn. We are looking to purchase something that will allow us to mow both the yard as well as the pasture, but also to be able to do other small tasks as well- move snow, possibly drag the pasture, etc. Do you have any suggestions for us? Or would we be better suited to… Read more »

Jim, Forest VA
Guest
Jim, Forest VA

Hi Paul, thanks for such a great service you are providing with your website and question/answer forum. Rather than a specific make/model, I’m just looking for advice on what type of machine you would steer me towards. I am considering buying a home with a .6 acre lawn and my only concern is the slope. It’s a measured 25 degrees / 47% at its steepest, and this portion runs about 200 ft wide by about 30 ft deep. Big picture: should I steer toward a lawn tractor, a ZTR, a walk-behind wide-area machine, or buy a different home? Thanks!

tracy
Guest
tracy

Thanks for all the great info on this site. I’m from Walpole Mass and have 1/2 acre land that has an uneven surface with slight sloping (less than 15%) over 25% of land, other is relatively flat. There aren’t many obstacles, couple of trees with mulch around and a small flower bed. I will not need for snow plowing because already have separate snow ploy. I want to spend less then $1500. From what I read I should go no larger than 42-46. I want a rider because of less physical then self propelled and quicker, however if there aren’t… Read more »

Pat
Guest
Pat

HI Paul, Awesome site. I live in Twin Cities area of MN and we are buying a new house in Ramsey, MN with approx. 1 acre of grass with probably 30 trees mostly oaks. I also have a 120 ft drive way. The current owner has a Husky 2748GLS. Still not sure if he is willing to sell it with the property. If not I am wondering what would be good my yard. I don’t necessarily need snow removal ability as I have a Ariens 30″ Platinum snow blower, but I may be adding a new garage with additional parking… Read more »

John Barclay Photography
Guest

An amazing resource! WOW! I am in the market for a replacement mower that will handle snow removal from a flat small driveway as well as a small yard. Driveway is 80 feet by 25 feet. I’ve had a sears 42 inch 17HP tractor which has worked just fine. I’m struggling to understand what I need to handle the snow. I see your comments about 8mph drive. Can you help direct me. I think its an over $1,500 and maybe in the $2,500 range but its not clear which will accept a plow attachment. Or do I want a blower… Read more »

Claire
Guest
Claire

This site is amazing Paul, thank you. Unfortunately for my inexperienced self, after reading every page, I’m still completely overwhelmed. We’re new homeowners on a 4-acre lot in Northborough, MA, of which probably about 2 is grass. The whole yard is a very slight slope (probably <10%) with only small areas that slope a bit more. Most of the grassy area is unimpeded, with the exception of a split rail fence surrounding about an acre (with a large gate). We need something that can mow pretty efficiently and be able to do some minor/moderate hauling and snow plowing, as we're… Read more »

Thomas Ryan
Guest
Thomas Ryan

Thanks, Paul for such an informative site. I have 3/4 acre with some slopes which has been managed for years with an old Ariens 8hp 30″ rear-engine rider, which is now beyond repair, and with few rear-engine riders currently offered, I have begun to look at tractors. However, having never used a tractor with the engine in the front, I am concerned about the noise and exhaust fumes that I may be subjected to. Are there any brands that may address this better than some others? And, regarding rear-engine riders, do you have any opinion on the Snapper RE-210 mower?… Read more »

Matt
Guest
Matt

First, I wanted to thank you for the thorough and well-crafted website and reviews. There is a lot of information on mowers out there and your site seems to be one of the best. I’ve just moved to a new house in Eastern Massachusetts (near Boston) and have gone from 1/3 acre of mostly trees to a full acre of mostly grass. The new lot has a gentle slope (about six feet from front to back) with some mulched tree beds in the front and a wide open back yard. I’ve been mowing with my reliable 21″ push mower so… Read more »

Steve Truesdale
Guest
Steve Truesdale

Wow. You have a gargantuan amount of great info on this site, and it is obvious you’ve put a lot of time into analyzing what is out there and matching it to what people need. We are in Round Hill, VA and have about 1.5-2 acres of yard to mow, about half of it on moderate slopes and a grove of trees to mow around. I mostly do mowing, with only occasional hauling of things around the yard. I’ve been making do with a series of used Garden Tractors (a CC 1450 and now a 3225). Because of the slopes… Read more »

jd
Guest

This site is ridiculous! I can’t believe the amount of information and how helpful it is. It’s been a great resource so far, but I feel like now I have information overload. Talk about the paradox of choice. I thought I knew what I wanted but now have some serious doubts. I’m purchasing my first law tractor (probably in about a week). I’m moving from a house with a yard I literally use a weed wacker on to about 1.4 acres at the southern edge of Berks County PA near the border of Lancaster County. It is mostly flat, but… Read more »

Brent
Guest
Brent

Paul, I read an answer you gave that the 2015 Pro-Series riding mowers do not have the easy change blades. 1. My town only has a Hometown Sears. The Pro-Series they carry have the easy change blades, does this mean they are 2014 models? 2. Lower pricing for the mower can be got by purchasing online. Will the Pro-Series purchased online be a 2015 model? 3. If purchased online, will I have to do any assembly when it arrives? I seem to get different answers when I ask the online folks this question. 4. Who delivers the online purchase and… Read more »

rich
Guest
rich

Paul quick question. Looking at the craftsman professional line of tractors. Can’t seem to find the new 2015 version for California. Sears website is no help either. Do they make a California model yet? Thanks in advance.

Alex
Guest
Alex

I’ve got a large area to mow (10 acres now, but less once the house/barn/ garden etc go in), more field than lawn at the moment, but would like to keep it under control for aesthetic and fire reasons… It’s about 1/3 flat and 2/3 slope (1/4 of which is more than the 15%). I was searching for something that could deal with taller grass and be able to haul or drag up and down the hill. Speed is not a concern, I can do it over a few days, deck size as well- considering getting a trail mower as… Read more »

Mike
Guest
Mike

Hi Paul, lots of great info on this site & I’ve been reading all of it over the last few days. Just bought my first home which has a flat 7 acre field up against a river. Previous owner mowed about 3 of those acres & the rest is brush or some sections he brush-hogged twice a year (early summer & fall). I’m in Barre, VT, so it’s a colder climate with a relatively short mowing season. I’m trying to figure what machine will work best for me. I’ll plan on continuing to mow the 3 acres, with the possibility… Read more »

Lou Hatter
Guest
Lou Hatter

We had a Husky GT160, 16 HP B&S Vanguard engine, 42-inch deck, that finally gave up the ghost after 20 years. (And we bought it used!) We mow about 2 acres of rolling lawn on a farm and occasionally mow the stubble in the hayfields (appx. 5 acres). We’re on a limited budget so as much as I’d like to get a top-shelf mower we’d like to keep it under $1,500. What would you recommend?
Thanks, Paul, for all the information. I’ve learned quite a lot reading your various articles.
Stanardsville, Virginia

Jensen
Guest
Jensen

Hi Paul. We just purchased a house on 1 acre. Mostly flat with some sloping areas towards a pond. What tractor would you recommend for our situation? There are very few obstacles, no fences and its 98% flat. I’d like something that can bag and mulch effectively. North Attleboro, Ma

Kathy S
Guest
Kathy S

Paul, so glad to find your web site, as I was or am considering purchasing a ZTR riding mower. We mow 1 1/2 acres of which the lot slopes from the front down a hill. Backyard is fenced in so there are fences and an in-ground pool to mow around. Not sure what the slope is. Mow it vertically, horizontally, and diagonally. Have been mowing with a JD LX280 for 5+ years in Cincinnati OH. Also mow the neighbors backyard part of the summer because her JD riding mower and her small 4’11” body are not heavy enough to get… Read more »

Chris
Guest
Chris

Paul I am thinking about getting the 25083 instead of the 25081. For $50 more it seems like a good deal. I’d like to get the gator blades and a side discharge plug. Do you have the right links for those?

Also I just want to double check with you to see if there are any other cheaper options (based on my original March 3, 2015 post). I was hoping to stay well under $1500 but it doesn’t seem like that is possible. Thanks again!

Chris
Guest
Chris

Hi Paul, First off great site, thanks for all the work you put in! I am going to purchase my first ride on mower this year as I just moved into a new house with a yard that is just under 1 acre. Its flat with a couple obstacles to mow around that probably won’t be much of an issue. I prefer to mulch or bag, I don’t like grass build up that side discharging usually creates. I think I settled on a 42-46″ deck with dual blades. I would like to stay in the under $1,500 category but I… Read more »

Mark
Guest
Mark

Paul, I have half an acre of lawn that I mow. It has two fairly steep slopes over 15 degrees. They cover maybe a fifth of the yard. The rest is fairly flat. I don’t have a lot of obstacles that I mow around. I want a twin cylinder engine and I will be mulching. Tractor or zero turn? And what tractor or zero turn would you recommend? I’m thinking that I want only two blades because that mulches and cuts better than three? I have a self-propelled mower that I will keep and can use on the slopes as… Read more »

Frank Kozak
Guest
Frank Kozak

Paul, thank you very much for the information. It is very helpful. I am looking into the Toro Timecutter SW series that will come out in January, while also keeping the Scag WIldcat as a possibility.

Frank Kozak
Guest
Frank Kozak

Paul, I just bought 1.3 acres of moderately to steep slopes and which has no trees. A nearby dealer is offering me a 2007 Scag Wildcat with 1400 hours on it for $4500 or a Simplicity Citation XT with 27 hp abd 52 inch deck for $6200. I am leery of the Wildcat with 1400 hours (and the price is more than I prefer to spend) and am thinking that the Simplicity is overkill for my acreage and more than I want to spend. I am having difficulty finding a residential ZTR that will do well on my slopes; a… Read more »

J Cloutier
Guest

What a comprehensive guide! Your personal philosophy on mower purchasing advice is refreshing.

Tom
Guest
Tom

Overland Park, KS. Trying to decide between craftsman 42″22hp Tight a Turn or the jD 125. 1/2 acre with trees to mow around and a few hills. Tom

Merc
Guest
Merc

Paul,

Checked out the dealers and the Cub Cadet dealer was the most knowledgeable and caring by far. If I had to pick a dealer it would be him. I’m torn because from my research it seems the Husqvarna has better reviews and less complaints. Do you know if the transmissions in these are the same Tuff Torq k46??? (I have seen complaints about them). I can get the Cub Cadet LTX 1042 KW for $1699 but cost aside which tractor do you feel is better, the YT 42LS or LTX 1042 KW ?

Thanks,
merc
Mechanicsville, MD

Merc
Guest
Merc

Paul,

Thanks for the quick response, I’ll be sure to check out the dealers and get back to you.

merc
Mechanicsville, MD

Merc
Guest
Merc

Paul,
I’m about to purchase my first lawn tractor and have it narrowed down to the following 3. Hoping that you can give me your take, and wich one you would choose. 3/4 acre of grass, few obstacles, 16% slope in the back.

Craftsman 42″ T3000 20390
Husqvarna 42″ YT42LS
Cub Cadet 42″ 1042 KW

thanks
merc
Mechanicsville, MD

Bruce Hermes
Guest
Bruce Hermes

Trying to get some help with an old murray 12hp 38″ riding mower. The blade belt will not stay on the idler pulley? I replaced the belt and same issue. Wants to stay on at higher cut levels but for sure not on at lower levels (4 or below). Any thoughts. Not sure if this is where I should be posting but thought I might get some help. Thanks in advance.

Shane
Guest
Shane

Hi Paul,

I just bought the craftsman 20390 model t3000 and was hoping it was the right choice. This is my first rider and currently bought a house with half an acre with about 18% grade and quite a few stumps int the yard. Can you give me any insight on what you think?

Thanks

Ron Maixner
Guest
Ron Maixner

We have a rougher two+ acre lawn to mow and want a mower that could push or blow snowfalls of maybe 6-8 inches in the winter. Can this be had for around the $2000 mark? What do you recommend. Ron

Jack
Guest
Jack

42″ is what I have decided on in any make. I was at the local Sears and looked at two mowers, the model 20390 that seems to be a favorite of yours, and a local dealer special, the 98461, 7000 elete. Reg price $2799, special at $1999. Any thoughts on the 98461? It has the same trans as the 20390 but a Kohler engine. The frame and deck seem a bit beefiyer also. At a JD dealer I found a 2010 X300, 69 hours with a brand new 2014 deck. Price was mid-$2000’s Clean. No warranty though. Loading...

Jim schulz
Guest
Jim schulz

Hay Paul after looking around I found 2004 736 with 375 hrs for 3500 or a 2009 J d 465 for around 3650 which do you recomend

Chuck
Guest
Chuck

I am looking to buy a reiable zero turn mower with a mower deck 60″around that is rated to mow a steep hilly lawn safely. My budget is $4000.00
If $ 4000.00 is not a real number for what I am requesting, please tell me the realistic price for what Iam looking for.
Thank you, Chuck

trackback

[…] If you don’t know what you want at all here is an article to get you started: I Want A Riding Mower But I Don’t Know Where To Start […]

Get more stuff like this from
TodaysMower.com

Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

%d bloggers like this: