Lawn tractors are a type of riding lawn mower, most suited for mowing medium to large-sized lawns as well as taking care of other yard and garden work.
In order to help you choose the best mower for you, we’ve narrowed down the list to the top 6 models in 2023. We did this by looking at the most important aspects of these lawn tractors including general reliability, price and value, mower deck size (how wide it can cut in one pass), speed, horsepower, turning radius, and more.
We’ve also tested and used most of these mowers ourselves, and our hands-on experience at Igra World is better than what many other website’s can claim.
Best Lawn Tractors and Ride-On Mowers
Here are some of the best lawn tractor models in our opinion and based off our testing as well as third party user consensus:
#1. Husqvarna YTH1942 – Best All Around
The Husqvarna YTH18542 is a compact but powerful tractor that sports a very reliable 19 horsepower EXi engine from the trusted Briggs and Stratton. Comfort is at the forefront of this model’s features, with a comfy seat and cruise control for smoother control. The pedal-operated hydrostatic transmission is smooth and can handle lots of torque over years of abuse. Its 42-inch cutting width is excellent for such a small tractor. For 1-3 acres, we can’t think of a better lawn tractor for your money. One of its most exciting features is the air induction system that uses airflow through its deck to enhance better, cleaner grass cuts. The Hi- Lift blades ensure clean cuts as well in our experience. The 16 inch turning radius means you don’t really need a zero-turn mower.
#2. Husqvarna TS 348XD – Best Commercial-Grade Lawn Tractor
Husqvarna TS 348XD sports a powerful 24 HP Kawasaki engine capable of handling most any homeowner’s lawns as well as commercial mowing jobs. Its electronic locking differential coupled with an engaging ground transmission works well in slopes and slippery conditions. This transmission is noted to be very reliable .This model is part of the Husqvarna 300 series, which is designed for utmost comfort with a high backrest with armrest and deluxe steering wheel. 5.5 MPH top speed is great.
Husqvarna TS 348XD is a 2 cylinder gasoline-powered engine with 48 inches cutting width. Its heavy-duty frame and steel goods provide protection and solidity. It also uses anti-scalp tires that increase the durability of the wheels. It’s not the cheapest, and not everyone needs it, but you get what you pay for and this is a step or two up up from the Husqvarna YTH1942.
#3. John Deere E180 – Most Versatile
John Deere E180 is a member of the 100 series. It’s US-made and a very versatile lawn tractor that has many attachments available for purchase and is great for cutting large swaths of lawn quickly and easily. It has a powerful 25 horsepower V-twin engine that features the choke-free Ready Start® John Deere Branded ELS (Extended Life Series). Its cutting width stands at an insane 54 inches, making it extremely valuable if you have an expansive lawn or yard to mow. Travel speeds are good at 5.5 MPH regulated. It sports an improved deck lift lever, a wide and spacious operator area, and a full-length welded steel for added durability. You can’t go wrong with this model of lawn tractor if you have a lot of odd jobs and rugged terrain you need to work on.
#4. John Deere E120 – Easiest to Use
The John Deere E120 lawn tractor is probably the easiest to use and operate (as well as maintain) on this list, yet it is no slouch and offers impressive performance! This model sports a 20 horsepower engine and cruise control for effortless mowing. There are also side cool air openings to reduce engine noise and enhance smooth usage. This mower can do more than just mowing, including hauling heavy equipment, pushing snow, among other things. It has a 2-year warranty and several deck height adjustable settings.
#5. Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro Series LT – Best Value
The cub cadet tractor brand was launched in 1960 and had not stopped producing a wide range like the XT1 Enduro Series LT with an 18 horsepower Kohler OHV engine. For under $2000 this is the best value for those that don’t need a massive high-power lawn or garden tractor. The XT1 model sports 12 mower deck adjustment heights, an exceptional 16″ turning radius for smooth movement around small spaces, and a corrosion-resistant deck. The forward speed is a standard 5.5 MPH. It features a series of warranties for the different parts from 2 years to up to 5 years.
#6. Troy-Bilt Pony 42 – Lowest Price
For us, the Troy-Bilt Pony 42 tractor makes this list of best lawn tractors is because of its price. It is a really affordable tractor with amazing features, including a 42″ cutting width, 18 horsepower single Troy-Bilt OHV engine, and its 7-speed transmission dash panel. That’s not even all, it sports an 18″ turning radius so you can navigate tight corners in your lawn. There are also 5 height adjustment levels to cut your grass. It’s also quite tough, and we’ve ran int into the side of a house once accidentally at full speed and the front bumper didn’t even budge.
Top Lawn Tractor Brands Available Today to Buy
Some popular and quality brands to we like and are familiar with include John Deere, Toro, Cub Cadet, and Troy-Bilt.
My favorite would have to be John Deere based off of the past 20 years or so. It’s a very reputable and reliable brand. Some popular John Deere lawn tractor series are the 100 Series, 200 Series, X300 Select Series, X500 Select Series, and X700 Signature Series12. Each series has its own unique features and capabilities. For example, the 100 Series is designed for first-time homebuyers and prioritizes ergonomics and modernized styling. The 200 Series offers upgraded cyclonic engines and top-of-the-line Accel Deep cutting decks. The X300, X500, and X700 series offer even more advanced features and capabilities. See our list of all John Deere Lawn Tractor Models
Another reputable and long-standing brand.Husqvarna showcases an array of lawn tractor series, such as the YTH Series, TC200 Series, and TS 300 Series. The YTH Series boasts Hydrostatic transmission systems and reinforced cutting decks – designed with comfort in mind. The TC200 Series is distinguished by a more powerful engine and advanced cutting capability, perfect for larger landscapes. The TS 300 Series offers powerful Kawasaki engines, as well as electric clutch engagement for easier usage. See our list of all Husqvarna Lawn Tractor Models
Cub Cadet offers robust versatility with their XT1, XT2, and XT3 Enduro Series, and Pro Z Series. This is a strong brand and company as well. The XT1 series is ideal for homeowners looking for high performance, comfort, and ease of use, while the XT2 offers improved durability and added comfort features. The XT3 Enduro Series, the most powerful residential mower, comes equipped with a stronger transmission and ground-engaging capabilities. Their Pro Z Series is tailored for professionals, with unbeatable strength and commercial-grade power. See our list of all Cub Cadet Lawn Tractor Models
Toro’s selection includes the TimeCutter, Titan, and Z Master Series. The TimeCutter Series, perfect for homeowners, boasts fantastic maneuverability and efficient mowing performance. This is a well-liked brand by many users, and is available in most home improvement stores. The Titan Series steps up in terms of power and durability, engineered with professional-grade features for more challenging terrains. The Z Master Series, explicitly designed for commercial users, offers advanced suspension systems for a smoother ride and a Turbo Force cutting deck for superior cutting performance.
Craftsman has a wide variety of lawn tractor series like their T100, T200, and Z600 series. The T100 series is perfect for first-timers – offering excellent maneuverability and power for smaller yards. The T200 Series steps up with added features like a hydrostatic transmission. Lastly, the Z600 Series offers zero-turn capabilities – enabling efficient mowing, even on uneven terrains. It’s designed with convenience, comfort, and performance in mind, especially for large yards and landscapes. Link to website
Kubota, Bad Boy, Troy Bilt are some other notable brands that make quite good lawn tractors. However they’re not as established in the US and for now we’d recommend most consumers stick with the major brands. Point of purchase, repair, warranty and other aspects will result in the most favorable ownership when sticking with the big brands.
Should I Buy a Riding Mower?
You should buy a riding mower if you have a large lawn or yard to mow and are tired of doing it via push mower. Additionally, you may want to buy a riding lower if the below things resonate with you:
- How big is my yard? If your yard is larger than ¼ acre, a lawn tractor can save you a lot of time and effort.
- Do I have any hills or uneven terrain? If you do, a lawn tractor can be a better choice than a walk-behind mower.
- Do I plan on using my lawn tractor for other tasks? If so, a lawn tractor is a good investment.
- What is my budget? Lawn tractors can be more expensive than walk-behind mowers, but they can also be more versatile.
- What are my personal preferences? Some people prefer the convenience of a lawn tractor, while others prefer the exercise of walking behind a walk-behind mower.
If you answered yes to most of these questions above, then a lawn tractor may be a good choice for you. If not, or if you don’t mind the exercise, a walk-behind mower can be a good option too.
How to Choose a Riding Lawn Mower to Buy (Things to Consider)
When shopping for a lawn tractor, it’s important to consider the size of your property, the terrain, and your budget.
If you have a smaller property or don’t need the additional features of a larger garden tractor, you might also consider a basic lawn tractor (also know as a ride on mower) or a zero-turn mower. These machines are smaller and more maneuverable than larger garden tractors, making them a good choice for properties with tight spaces or lots of obstacles.
When choosing a lawn tractor, it’s important to consider the cutting deck size and horsepower of the engine. A larger cutting deck will allow you to mow more grass in less time, while a more powerful engine will provide better performance on hilly terrain or when using attachments. Other aspects to consider before purchasing is the transmission type, the availability of attachments such as baggers, mulching kits, or snow blowers. Of course the availability of specific lawn tractor brands in your area and reliability and warranty considerations is also importa
As someone who has mowed a lot of lawns, I understand the challenge of choosing the perfect machine for your lawn and garden needs. It’s about finding the right balance of power, performance, price and convenience.
Let’s take a look at how you an make a lawn tractor shine for your particular use case:
Lawn Size Considerations:
- For 3/4 to 1-acre lawns, a mower with a 30-in to 42-in cut width is recommended.
Terrain and Obstacle Considerations:
- The obstacles you have in your area will affect the type of tractor you can buy. Areas with lots of trees, rocks, or other things impeding movement will need a different kind of tractor from a clear area with minimal obstacles to maneuver
- If your yard has a lot of obstacles, it’ll be best if you got a compact tractor that is smaller, with better handling, and can move around tight spaces better. On the other hand, I’d your land is most clear of obstacles, you may not need a smaller tractor, and a larger tractor will make your work easier and faster.
- Uneven terrain is best handled by a mower with a steering wheel.
- Lawns with many obstacles benefit from a zero-turn-radius (ZTR) mower or a lawn tractor with an automatic or hydrostatic transmission.
Mower Type Considerations:
- Standard riding mowers and garden tractors are suitable for lawns from 3/4 acres to 2 acres or more.
- Garden tractors offer more power and ground-engaging attachments.
- Zero-turn mowers are great for navigating obstacles and can cut closely around landscaping.
Transmission Type Considerations:
- Hydrostatic transmissions offer a smoother ride and require less maintenance compared to manual and automatic transmissions.
Engine Power and Type
When selecting a lawn tractor, the potency of the engine is critical. Most lawn tractors offer a horsepower range from 13 to 30—the greater the horsepower, the superior the performance, particularly when dealing with expansive lawns or challenging or steep terrains.
When it comes to engine choice, you can decide between gasoline and diesel engines. Gasoline engines are often seen as more powerful, while diesel engines are recognized for their durability, fuel efficiency, and substantial torque output. Although diesel engines might produce a bit more noise, their performance characteristics often outweigh this factor, especially for demanding tasks.
Fuel Efficiency & Tank Capacity
Don’t overlook fuel efficiency. The fuel tank size is equally pivotal—most lawn tractors have tanks that can store 3-8 gallons, affecting trip frequency to the gas station. Tractors with high efficiency can significantly reduce running costs, and their carbon footprints are smaller if you’re into that.
Deck size directly relates to mowing efficiency—typical deck size ranges are between 30 to 54 inches, with larger decks covering more ground quickly. Cutting height adjustability, usually varying between 1-4 inches, provides mowing versatility. Lawn tractors can utilize various cutting methods like mulching, side-discharging, or bagging—the right method depends on your lawn type. More blades (commonly one to three blades) mean finer cuts.
Transmission, Speed & Maneuverability
Transmission type is an important consideration. Manual transmissions may not suit complete beginners, whereas automatic and hydrostatic versions offer easier operation. Most lawn tractors are automatic transmission, at least models from the past decade. Speed range is also crucial—most lawn tractors have speeds ranging from 1.5 to 8 mph. Compact tractors with a small turning radius (typically 14 to 28 inches) and reverse mowing capability make handling easier.
Comfort and Noise Level
Examine comfort features. Seats with great padding, back support, and adjustability, coupled with subdued operating noise (below 85 decibels), ensure you can mow for extended periods with ease. Vibration damping features also enhance comfort, reducing operator fatigue.
Safety Features & Lighting
Check for safety features. Automatic shut-off when the operator leaves the seat is a common, worthwhile feature. Also, for low light conditions, check whether the model includes headlights (LED lights tend to provide the best visibility).
Attachments, Storage, & Weight
Assess attachments—the hitch type can dictate possible uses even beyond mowing, like trailer towing. Also, does your lawn tractor allow additional attachments like snow blowers or aerators? These extras can transform your lawn tractor into a year-round machine. Check if the tractor has storage space or if it’s capable of supporting more weight (average lawn tractors range between 400 to 800 pounds).
Problems, Maintenance & Assembly
Remember to consider the tractor’s known problems, durability and ease of assembly and maintenance. Materials such as steel strengthen durability. Also, general maintenance or easy assembly (due to pre-assembled parts) can save you time and energy.
See our article here on riding mower and lawn tractor problems with links to over 100 individual models where we provide detailed troubleshooting and problem solution guides.
Investigate the replacement parts—different models will have varying availability and costs for spares. Are the blades, tires, or belts for your lawn tractor easily accessible and affordable? This can affect your mower’s lifespan and its maintenance costs. While some parts may be universal, others could be model-specific (a John Deere D105 belt won’t fit into a Cub Cadet XT1). Additionally, consider if your chosen brand has a reliable supply chain—this will ensure you can keep your lawn tractor in top condition whenever repair is needed.
How Much does a Lawn Tractor or Ride on Mower Cost?
The initial purchase prices/costs for lawn tractors range from $1,000 to over $5,000, based on the brand, size, and features
Pricing for lawn tractors can vary significantly depending on the model and its associated features. Below is the pricing for typical middle-of-the road models:
For a broad range, here is an example of 2023 pricing of various popular lawn tractors
|Cub Cadet 42″ 19HP Hydro Riding Lawn Tractor||$2399.99|
|John Deere Z530M 54-in 24-HP V-twin Zero-turn Lawn Mower Rubber||$5799.00|
|Greenworks Commercial CRT428 82V 42″ CrossoverT Residential Lawn Tractor||$3999.95|
|Husqvarna TS 354XD 54″ Garden Tractor 24HP Kawasaki||$4899.00|
|CRAFTSMAN T2200 Turn Tight 42-in 19.5-HP Riding Lawn Mower||$2499.00|
|Craftsman 42″ 17.5 HP Gear Drive Riding Mower||$1999.99|
|Husqvarna YTH18542 Lawn Tractor Mower 42″ – 18.5hp Briggs Engine||$2399.99|
|Yard Force 38″ 48V Battery-Powered Riding Lawn Mower||$3599.99|
|Husqvarna Outdoor Power Equipment Husqvarna Ts354Xd Riding Lawn Mower 24Hp 54″ Deck Differential Lock||$5299.00|
- Price ranges by type and class: Mid-range riding lawn mowers with cutting decks in the 38- to 48-inch range are common, and good ones vary in price from $1,500 to $2,500. ZTR models tend to cost even more; expect to shell out a few hundred dollars beyond the cost of an equivalent “ordinary” ride-on.
- Initial costs: The initial cost of a lawn tractor includes the purchase price of the machine itself.
- Running costs: Running costs for a lawn tractor include expenses such as fuel, maintenance, and repairs. So this depends on how much you use it basically. The cost to run a tractor depends on several factors, including the tractor’s capital cost, labor cost, fuel cost, repair cost, and insurance cost.
- Resale values: Resale values for lawn tractors vary depending on factors such as age, condition, and brand. After 7 years, the riding mower is considered fully depreciated (for tax purposes) and its value for resale purposes is defined by consumer demand and condition. Items generally aren’t depreciated more than 90%, so 10% of original MSRP may be a good starting point for garden tractors that are more than 7 years old.
Lawn Tractors vs Garden Tractors
The key difference between lawn tractors and garden tractors lies in their size and horsepower and the functionality and the implements they offer. Garden tractors offer ground-engaging implements such as tillers, plows, and cultivators for gardening tasks. Lawn tractors, while not equipped with these features, are suited for common yard work.
Technical differences can also be determined by examining the wheel attachment. Garden tractors typically use a lug nut to attach the wheel to the axle due to their capability to perform heavier duty tasks. Lawn tractors, on the other hand, use a cap and clip system (easiest way to tell IMO).
The video above is a great illustration of lawn vs garden tractors.
Lawn Tractors vs Other Riding Lawn Mowers
Let’s quickly explore what the difference is between these different types of lawn mowers, including the key characteristics and attributes.
Lawn tractors are small to mid-range ride-on lawn mowers designed for residential lands, yards, ranches and small estates. They are mainly used for cutting grass but can also handle light yard and garden tasks with attachments. They are typically in the 10-20 hp range.
Garden tractors are typically larger and more powerful than lawn tractors, making them ideal for heavy duty tasks. They range from 20-27hp typically. They can handle a range of attachments and are a perfect fit for large gardens and estates. They can be overkill though for many homeowners who have smaller yards.
Zero Turn Mowers
Zero-turn mowers have a ‘zero’ turning radius, meaning they can turn in their own footprint, so they can maneuver in less space than a lawn tractor. This feature, paired with their typically high speed, makes them ideal for landscaping professionals or homeowners with large yards. They have their own downsides as well, mainly higher cost.
Electric/Battery Powered Ride-On Mowers
Electric or battery-powered ride-on mowers are a modern, eco-friendly alternative to traditional fuel-powered lawn tractors. They’re ideal for small to medium-sized lawns and make almost no noise. However they need to be recharged unlike gasoline-powered lawn tractors.
Benefits of Lawn Tractors
- Efficiency: Lawn tractors cover up to a 48-inch cutting width in one pass, while push mowers typically cut a 21-inch swath.
- Time-Saving: Due to their efficiency, lawn tractors save significant time when cutting large areas.
- Comfort: The riding design of lawn tractors reduces physical strain, making them an ideal choice for elderly or disabled users.
- Easy Operation: Lawn tractors often feature hydrostatic transmissions and power steering for effortless maneuvering.
- Versatility: bMany lawn tractor models can tow attachments for other tasks, including spreading fertilizer, hauling debris, or aerating soil. More info on all the different things we like to do with lawn tractors
Drawbacks of Lawn Tractors
- Price: Lawn tractors tend to be more expensive. Prices can range from $1,500 to over $5,000 as compared to push mowers which typically start around $150.
- Storage: These large machines require sufficient space for storage, which can be a problem for those with limited shed or garage capacity.
- Maintenance: Lawn tractors need more regular maintenance, including oil changes, filter replacements, and belt adjustments, which can add to the overall cost.
- Limited Maneuverability: While they are excellent for large open spaces, lawn tractors can struggle with tight corners or narrow passages.
- Fuel Consumption: Lawn tractors use more fuel than push mowers, leading to higher operational costs. Not as big a deal in Texas or other states where gas is cheap, but in California it would add up if it were my wallet.
Who is a Lawn Tractor Best for?
Lawn tractors cut grass and are primarily used for mowing lawns or weeds over large areas. Unlike manual push mowers, a lawn tractor cuts grass much faster and with less physical effort, thanks to the built-in seats for the operator. In addition, lawn tractors can be outfitted with attachments like snow blades, aerators, or spreaders, enhancing their versatility beyond mere lawn mowing.
Lawn tractors deliver more power and coverage than a push mower, but are less powerful and versatile than a utility tractor. This makes lawn tractors perfect for homeowners with medium to large lawns that require regular maintenance, but don’t need the full capabilities that a utility tractor offers.
Attachments for Your Lawn Tractor
Here are the attachments that are available for lawn tractors and ride on mowers and what they do–note that not all attachments are available for all makes and models–you will need to spend more money and get a higher-model lawn tractor for some of these attachments, especially the PTO driven ones.
- Bagger: This attachment, often requiring a PTO (Power Take Off) for operation, efficiently collects grass clippings and leaf debris, reducing thatch buildup and helping to maintain a clean lawn.
- Mulching Kit: Employed while mowing, this PTO-activated kit chops clippings into finer pieces for even dispersal, serving as a natural fertilizer to enrich lawn health.
- Snow Plow Blade: This front-mounted attachment doesn’t need a PTO. It effectively clears snow, converting your lawn tractor into a practical winter tool.
- Snowblower Attachment: This PTO-driven attachment effectively transforms your lawn tractor into a snow removal machine. It rapidly blows away snow from your driveways or walkways, perfect for heavy snowfall regions. The attachment typically includes a chute to direct the snow away from your path, making winter maintenance quicker and easier.
- Tow-Behind Spreader: Non-PTO dependent, this attachment conveniently spreads fertilizer, grass seed, or pesticides over your lawn, ensuring uniform application.
- Lawn Roller: This attachment, not requiring a PTO to function, enhances lawn aesthetics by leveling the ground, ideal for seeding new lawns or removing mole hills.
- Dethatcher: Attached to the PTO, this tool eliminates harmful thatch layer from your lawn, improving aeration and promoting healthier grass growth.
- Front-End Loader/Bucket: This heavy-duty attachment, drived by the lawn tractor’s hydraulic system rather than a PTO, is ideal for moving bulk materials like soil or gravel across your property.
- Tow-Behind Sprayer: Non-PTO dependent, it facilitates spraying water or other liquid treatments across large lawns, ensuring even nutrient or herbicide application.
- Utility Cart: This PTO-independent attachment acts as a mobile storage unit for transporting tools, landscaping materials, or plants around your yard.
- Aerator: While some aerators are PTO-dependent, others are not. Either way, they offer vital soil relief to maximize water, oxygen, and nutrient penetration to the grass roots.
Besides cutting grass, I love lawn tractors and recommend them even for those with smaller yards because they can do so many more things with attachments!
Ans. The horsepower a tractor needs to perform depends on some factors like the type of tractor, the yard area, among others. However, all things being equal, the required horsepower per area is as follows:
One acre ——- 15-20 hp
One to three acres ——- 21-27 hp
Three to five acres ——- 28-36 hp
Ans. The price of a new lawn tractor varies depending on the model, brand, and features. Generally, a new lawn tractor will cost from around $1,000 to up to $5,000.
Ans. You’ll need a tractor with a horsepower of around 28-36 to work efficiently on a 5-acre field.
Ans. For a 2-acre field, you need a garden tractor with horsepower between 21-27.
The main difference lies in their application—yard tractors are built for larger tasks such as mowing bigger areas, and like garden tractors, for towing heavy equipment. Lawn tractors focus on mowing typically. This disparity is due to differences in their power capacities and the type of attachments they can support.
Depending on its power and the terrain, a robust tractor can mow between 2 to 3 acres per hour. This makes it an efficient choice for larger lawns and commercial properties.
For a premium lawn mower, one can expect to pay between $2,500 and $5,000. Factors like brand, specifications, and additional features typically influence the price point and can increase it to $5,000 or more. But most homeowners don’t need one this expensive.
Lawn tractors and ride-on mowers help homeowners with large lawns and yard/ranchs mow their lawns and keep their fields and yards in good shape. The extent to which these pieces of equipment help varies considerably and will guide your buying decision. We hope this article was helpful! If you have any questions or additional things to add , please email us or comment below!
This article is also available in Hungarian: A legjobb fűnyíró traktor: Teljes vásárlási útmutatóval!