Tired of walking around behind the lawn mower most of your Saturday? You're not alone, our team has put together our recommendations for the best riding lawn mowers of 2023. Whether you're a homeowner or a business professional, or you're looking for a lawn tractor or zero-steer mower, we have you covered? Considering switching to battery power? We also have ideas for electric lawn mowers.
Considering a walk behind lawn mower? Check out our Best Lawn Mowers home page.
Table of contents
- Best Commercial Riding Lawn Mowers
- Best Residential Riding Lawn Mowers
- Best Zero-Turn Riding Lawn Mowers
- best lawn tractor
- best electric lawn mower
- Best riding lawn mowers for small lawns
- Best riding lawn mowers for medium-sized lawns
- Best riding lawn mowers for large properties
- Best Riding Lawn Mowers for the Mountains
- Best value for money Rising lawn mower
- What we look for in the best riding lawn mower
- Why You Can Trust Pro Tool Reviews
Best Commercial Riding Lawn Mowers
Hustler Hyperdrive Series Zero Turn Mowers
Professional lawn caregivers (affectionately known as "mow and blow" folks) who specialize in residential lawns have to mow a lot of lawns every day during mowing season, and their equipment is demanding. Exmark, Hustler, and Scag all feature frequently in discussions of the best commercial lawn mowers, and our top pick is the Hustler Hyperdrive series.
While the Super Z series may be more popular, the Hyperdrive series adds extra durability to the drivetrain, keeping your downtime to a minimum.
Deck sizes range from 60 to 72 inches, and Kawasaki and Vanguard offer engine options from 35 to 40 horsepower. For those who like to mow quickly, you can run at speeds up to 16 MPH on this model. Whatever your mowing style, Hustler offers a 3,000-hour warranty on the hydraulic system and a 5-year/1200-hour warranty on the full mower.
Price: Contact your local dealer
Best Residential Riding Lawn Mowers
Toro Timecutter Series Zero Turn Mowers
For residential use, we recommend Toro's TimeCutter as the best residential ride-on lawn mower for a variety of reasons. At the end of the day, you can get an excellent balance of performance, comfort, and reliability, all at an affordable price.
The line currently includes 17 models (including CARB friendly options). Deck sizes start at 34 inches for small lawns and go up to 60 inches for those requiring maintenance area. The base model is a great value for most, but if comfort is a top priority, upgrade to the MyDrive model for an upgraded suspension and a more relaxed ride.
Price: $3299.00 – $5699.00
Best Zero-Turn Riding Lawn Mowers
Cub Cadet Ultima ZTX6 Series Zero Turn Mowers
While the Toro earned our pick as the best overall ride-on mower for residential use, Cub Cadet's Ultima ZTX6 series is the best option for those on a higher budget. The top of Cub Cadet's residential-focused Ultima line, the ZTX6 earns our choice as the best residential zero-steer ride-on mower.
These mowers bridge the gap between residential and professional needs, giving you a more professional ride and performance while keeping the overall price lower than premium professional mowers. The ZTX6 comes with a 25HP Kawasaki commercial grade engine and a deck size of 54 or 60 inches. If you prefer a steering wheel to lap handles, there's now a ZTXS6 option to fit your needs.
Price: $8999.00 – $9299.00 ($10299.00 for 60-inch ZTXS6)
best lawn tractor
Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro FAB Series Lawn Tractors
Cub Cadet lawn tractors are very popular and consistently earn high ratings from owners. If you're looking for the best lawn tractor out there, we recommend the XT1 Enduro FAB Series. They're a little more expensive than others in the XT1 line, but they're upgraded from 13-gauge stamped steel to 11-gauge fabricated steel for increased long-term durability.
Available with 50 or 54 inch decks, these mowers are suitable for covering larger lawns than lawn tractors in the 30 – 48 inch range. They also outperform most of their competition overall, thanks to the Kohler 24HP engine. While they don't turn as tight as the Zero, they do have a 16-inch turning radius, making them tighter than the others.
Price: $2899.99 – $3399.99
best electric lawn mower
Try as we might, we couldn't just pick one electric riding lawn mower as the best. However, we do have three that stand out.
Commercial: Greenworks Commercial 82V OptimusZ Series Zero-Turn Mowers
Greenworks was one of the first companies to enter the commercial electric zero turn lawn mower market, and they have learned a lot over the years. The Greenworks OptimusZ Zero-Turn combines that experience with the best technology available today and earns our recommendation for Best Electric Commercial Ride-On Mower.
The range includes ride-on and stand-up models, and we've even seen an operating prototype of the fully automatic version. Focused on ride-on models, available in deck sizes from 48 to 60 inches, with 18KWh or 24KWh battery packs. On the 60-inch mower, the larger battery pack can run for up to 8 hours on a single charge.
The top speed is impressive, reaching up to 16 MPH with the blade turned on. Security is already there thanks to the combination of 4G and GPS connectivity. If this all sounds good, but you're still not sure it'll hold up, remember that Greenworks backs these mowers with a 5-year/2,000-hour warranty.
Price: $22,999.00 – $26,999.00
Residential: EGO 56V E-Steer Zero Turn Lawn Mower
EGO makes the transition from gasoline power to battery power easier and enters the zero-steer market with the 56V E-Steer riding lawn mower. It takes the lap bars and swaps them for a steering wheel, making it a more accessible mower if you're not used to traditional ZT steering. Beyond that, the design team moved the control/information screens to the steering wheel, where they can be easily seen while you're mowing.
The mower features a 42-inch deck with a cutting speed between 4 and 8 MPH, matched to the power of the 22HP gas engine. For power, EGO uses the same 556V batteries that power its other lawn mowers and hand tools. Fully loaded with six 12.0Ah batteries, it can cut nearly four acres of land on a single charge. It has enough juice to cover 2.5 acres using the four batteries included with the mower.
Price: $5999.00 with four 12.0Ah batteries and car charger (scheduled for launch in May 2023)
Residential: Ryobi 80V iDrive Series Zero-Turn Mowers
Ryobi's iDrive zero-turn lawn mower breaks out of the knee lever model, but doesn't come with a steering wheel. It's controlled using a joystick, making you feel more like a lawnmower pilot (without the missiles, of course). While it did break the mold, our crew was able to quickly adapt to the steering.
There are three deck sizes covering 30 to 54 inches and they run primarily on 80V suitcase style batteries. These mowers also have slots for Ryobi's 40V batteries should you need to extend run time beyond what the 80V battery pack can provide.
Power ranges from 28HP – 42HP gas equivalent and run times cover 1 – 4 acres, depending on the model you use. Plus, this mower uses the CrossCut stacked blade system, which gives you better cut quality than a single blade.
Price: $5999.00 – $7999.00 Ready to Mow
Browse our full list of the best electric lawn mowers we recommend!
Best riding lawn mowers for small lawns
John Deere S130 Lawn Tractor
Lawn tractors are great for small to medium-sized lawns, and we choose the John Deere S130 Lawn Tractor as the best riding lawn mower for small lawns. The S100 is less expensive, but we think it's worth the upgrade to the S130.
Both have a 42-inch mower, but the S130 has a significantly more powerful 22HP V-twin engine with John Deere's super-easy 30-second oil change system. The S130 also has an upgraded cruise control system and an electronic PTO system. Overall, it's a good balance of ease of use and performance, while staying a safe distance away from zero-steer mowers for the price.
Did you know that John Deere now has a battery-operated zero-turn lawn mower?
Best riding lawn mowers for medium-sized lawns from 1 to 5 acres
Husqvarna Xcite Zero Turn Mower
The best riding lawn mower for medium-sized lawns is the Husqvarna Xcite. Available in two models with a 54" 10 gauge deck, ideal for properties ranging from 1-5 acres.
What's exciting about Xcite is its combination of innovative features and a design that feels more professional, even though these products are aimed at residential users. Starting at the top, your start/stop and blade engagement controls are located at the end of the lap bar, where you can easily reach them with your thumb. Then there's the suspension system. 4 linkages and 10 adjustment settings allow you to customize the settings to your size, weight and preferences for a comfortable ride.
Depending on the model, you can get a 24HP or 26HP Kohler engine with a top speed of 7 or 9 MPH. On the business side, Husqvarna has spare blades that last up to 5 years without sharpening. Husqvarna targeted the convenience and ease of ownership that homeowners craved in an Xcite, and they succeeded.
Price: $5499.00 – $6999.00
Best riding lawn mowers for large properties
Exmark Lazer Z-Series Deisel Zero Turn Mowers
When it comes to maintaining large areas that require a cleaner cut than bush hogs leave behind, there are some large deck options. Leading in size and with a strong professional track record, the Exmark Lazer Z Deisel is our pick for the best riding lawn mower for large properties.
When we say big, we mean it. The Lazer Z Diesel range includes 60, 72 and 96 inch options as well as a massive 144 inch model. Ang get this—Exmark rates the largest mower at a rate of 11.5 acres per hour! As far as productivity goes, this will be hard to beat.
These mowers don't come cheap, though. They start at just over $27,000, and over $35,000 for the 144-inch model.
Price: Starting at $27,099.00
Best Riding Lawn Mowers for the Mountains
Cub Cadet Pro Z 972 Zero Turn Mower
If you have hills, you need power and traction to mow effectively. In our team's opinion, the best mountain ride mower is the Cub Cadet Pro Z 972 Series SD/SDL model. What sets these mowers apart is the combination of their dual rear wheels and steering wheel design.
Four rear wheels help keep the rear end from slipping, even in wet conditions. The steering wheel makes maneuvering on the slopes easier, and the optional swivel seat keeps you more upright on those hills. As part of the Cub Cadet line of commercial lawn mowers, you can expect commercial-grade construction and high-end comfort features as part of the package.
Price: $22,753.89 – $28,192.89
The best riding lawn mower for the money
Toro Timecutter 42" Zero Turn Lawn Mower
What Is The Best Riding Lawn Mower For The Money? For that, we return to the Toro TimeCutter line. Specifically, it's the 42-inch 75746. It's not the cheapest 42-incher in the lineup, nor is it the most expensive. By stepping up from the entry-level version ($3299), you'll be upgrading from a 15.5 HP Briggs & Stratton engine to a more powerful 22HP Kohler engine. Until the more durable 10 gauge assembled steel deck.
If your lawn is 2 acres or less, this model offers the best balance of performance, durability, comfort and price. But what if you have more than 2 acres? Stick with the Toro TimeCutter and increase the deck size to match your lawn.
What we look for in the best riding lawn mower
Lawn Tractor or Zero Steer?
When you're choosing the best riding lawn mower for your lawn, the first thing to decide is which style you want.
Lawn tractors have several advantages. They are smaller overall, less expensive, and easy to use with steering wheel/pedal controls. The downside is that they tend to be slower and don't scale to larger deck sizes. They're also not as effective in your mowing patterns because they require a larger turning radius.
Zero-turn lawn mowers make it easier to mow straight lines efficiently. While they're more expensive, larger, and may take some getting used to the lap bar controls, you get larger deck sizes, they have higher speeds, and they're better suited for larger properties. If comfort is your top priority, you'll find the ZT and lawn tractors are better choices.
Gasoline or battery?
Now that battery-powered riding lawn mowers have reached the point where they can truly replace gasoline, the conversation is moving away from power and run time.
Gas lawn mowers tend to be cheaper, and you can usually find someone within a reasonable driving distance of your home to service/repair them. The tradeoffs are noise, emissions, managing fuel and oil, and more maintenance required.
Battery-operated lawn mowers have a push-button start system that keeps them ready to go whenever you charge the battery. They're very quiet, have no emissions compared to natural gas, and your HOA won't suddenly rewrite the rules to eliminate them. Maintenance mostly boils down to blowing off the deck and possibly flushing under the deck. The main downsides at this stage are that you don't have as wide a choice as gasoline, they're more expensive, the batteries need to be replaced every 3 to 5 years, and there aren't that many service centers nearby.
Durability and Reliability
Significant changes occur as prices rise from entry-level riding lawn mowers to mid-range and high-end models. A more powerful engine is only part of the equation. The design of the engine and its quality usually improves as the line is upgraded, giving you a more reliable engine with more horsepower for higher performance.
You'll also see an increase in build strength. Some of this is the thickness of the metal or the fabricated steel transferred from the stamped steel to the deck. Other components came into play as higher quality transmissions and electronic components improved.
In general, if you're looking for an entry-level model, see if your budget has room to move up to the midrange or even the high-end line. The durability and reliability you get is worth it in the long run.
The deck size you need depends on the property you are trimming. The 42-inch riding lawn mower is the ideal starting point for tackling lawns up to an acre or where you need to squeeze through a narrow gate. If you have more than an acre, go ahead and check out models up to 60 inches.
It's really all about finding the right balance between how much lawn you need to mow, how much storage space you have available, and your budget.
Speed is a major concern for professional lawn crews who need to move quickly from one property to the next, or on campus where there are long travel distances between the shop and where they mow. They usually want a mower with a top speed of over 10 MPH.
Still, even homeowners can make their mowing work more efficient with some nice high-end speeds. 7 MPH or higher is a good benchmark for these models. If you tend to mow more casually, 5 – 6 MPH should be fine.
The larger your lawn, the more time you spend in the driver's seat of your ride-on mower, and the more important your comfort is. Entry-level lawn mowers give you more perk than mid-range and high-end models. Find a seat with plenty of cushioning, an adjustable tension knob, and enough travel to allow you to sit without curling up.
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