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10 Easy Pieces: Riding Lawn Mowers

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10 Easy Pieces: Riding Lawn Mowers

May 2, 2017

Lawn mowers come into their own in late spring. For the next few months, a lawn mower may be your most-used garden tool And while you are more likely to find a scythe or a genteel reel mower in our garden shed than a fuel-powered riding mower that boasts zero turn radius (ZTR to aficionados), if we had a bigger lawn we’d be on board.

But for a large expanse of turf—say a half acre or more—a riding lawn mower is the most practical choice. It’s also a substantial investment, with prices for riding lawn mowers ranging from $1,000 to $10,000. How to choose? “Buying a riding mower can be more confusing that buying a car!” notes Top 9 Rated, which compares models based on such features as “deck and engine size, transmission type, turning radius, power” and more.

How to choose? We started by reading Top 9 Rated, Popular Mechanics, and the Consumer Reports comprehensive Riding Mower Guide to find out about different models’ features and reliability ratings.

Here are 10 riding lawn mowers to consider, including some that earned top marks from reviewers:

Cub Cadet&#8\2\17;s XT\1 LT4\2 model earned top ratings from Consumer Reports. The riding lawn mower has automatic transmission &#8\2\20;just push a pedal and go,&#8\2\2\1; says the manufacturer) and is \$\1,499.
Above: Cub Cadet’s XT1 LT42 model earned top ratings from Consumer Reports. The riding lawn mower has automatic transmission “just push a pedal and go,” says the manufacturer) and is $1,499.
For UK readers, a Snapper REX300 Ride-On Mower is £\2,599 from Mow Direct.
Above: For UK readers, a Snapper REX300 Ride-On Mower is £2,599 from Mow Direct.
From John Deere, an X350 Tractor with a 4\2-inch deck has a powerful \2-cylinder engine; \$\2,999.
Above: From John Deere, an X350 Tractor with a 42-inch deck has a powerful 2-cylinder engine; $2,999.
With a smartphone app to help you keep track of its maintenance schedule, the Craftsman Pro Series 46-Inch Turn Tight Lawn Mower boasts Smart Lawn bluetooth technology; it is \$\1,999.99 from Sear&#8\2\17;s.
Above: With a smartphone app to help you keep track of its maintenance schedule, the Craftsman Pro Series 46-Inch Turn Tight Lawn Mower boasts Smart Lawn bluetooth technology; it is $1,999.99 from Sear’s.
Husqvarna Hydro Transmission Riding Lawn Mower has two cutting blades and an \18.5-horsepower Briggs & Stratton Intek engine. It is \$3,349 via third party sellers on Amazon.
Above: Husqvarna Hydro Transmission Riding Lawn Mower has two cutting blades and an 18.5-horsepower Briggs & Stratton Intek engine. It is $3,349 via third party sellers on Amazon.
With a 4\2-inch deck and six speed transmission, Poulan Pro&#8\2\17;s Riding Tractor Mower (model no. 9604\20\18\1) is \$\1,904.36 via Amazon.
Above: With a 42-inch deck and six speed transmission, Poulan Pro’s Riding Tractor Mower (model no. 960420181) is $1,904.36 via Amazon.
A Stiga Combi 307\2 H Ride-On Mower has seven settings for cutting height; £\1,849 from Mow Direct.
Above: A Stiga Combi 3072 H Ride-On Mower has seven settings for cutting height; £1,849 from Mow Direct.
 

From Toro, a 48-inch Timecutter Zero Turn Mower 75\20\1 is \$5,099.
Above: From Toro, a 48-inch Timecutter Zero Turn Mower 75201 is $5,099.

A Troy-Bilt XP Mustang Zero-Turn Lawn Mower is designed to make tight turns in small spaces (but has a 54-inch deck for efficient mowing); it is \$5,093.95 from Lowe&#8\2\17;s.
Above: A Troy-Bilt XP Mustang Zero-Turn Lawn Mower is designed to make tight turns in small spaces (but has a 54-inch deck for efficient mowing); it is $5,093.95 from Lowe’s.
Raven&#8\2\17;s Hybrid Riding Lawnmower &#8\2\20;switches from motor to generator to multi-purpose vehicle in minutes,&#8\2\2\1; according to the manufacturer; \$3,\200 from Orchard Depot.
Above: Raven’s Hybrid Riding Lawnmower “switches from motor to generator to multi-purpose vehicle in minutes,” according to the manufacturer; $3,200 from Orchard Depot.
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