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The 5 best riding lawn mowers in 2024

The 5 best riding lawn mowers in 2024
Troy-Bilt, John Deere

One of the biggest responsibilities of living with a lawn is keeping it looking lush. And if your property is a decent size, a traditional push mower just won't cut it (pun intended). That's where a riding lawn mower (also called garden tractors) comes in handy. These mowers are ideal for typical home lawns from .75 acres and up.

Based on the make and model riding mower you choose, most offer optional attachments, such as a mulching kit, bagger option for capturing clippings and leaves, the ability to easily spread seed and aerate your lawn, or a detachable snow plow (or snow blower) which make your investment something you'll use year-round. 

What is the best riding mower in 2024?

Our team of lawn and garden experts has curated this roundup of some of the best riding mowers available. How much horsepower and what cut width you'll need will depend on your landscape. For a 0.75-acre to one-acre lawn, a riding mower with a 30- to 42-inch cutting deck should be fine. For larger lawns, you'll want a wider cutting deck.

Best riding mower overall for most yards: John Deere S170 lawn tractor (48-inch deck)

John Deere S170

Category: Lawn tractor | Cutting deck: 48 inches | Cutting height range: 1 to 4 inches | Power: Gas | Fuel tank capacity: 2.4 gallons | Horsepower: 24HP | Transmission: Hydrostatic | Forward speed: 5.5 MPH | Mulch kit: Optional | Model number: S170 | Popular accessories: Toe-behind cart, tow-behind spreader, snowblower, snow plow, wheel chains, bagging solution

Ideal for lawns up to two acres, the John Deere S170 is an affordable ride-on lawn tractor that relies on three steel blades. And it offers convenient features, like cruise control. The tractor runs using a 24 horsepower engine with a hydrostatic transmission. This allows the driver to change speeds and direction without lifting a foot off the platform.

For comfort, the tractor has an adjustable, 15-inch seat with lumbar adjustment and a 14-inch steering wheel. For increased traction and easier handling, there are two larger-size rear tires. Plus, you don't need to worry about running out of gas, thanks to the digital fuel gauge. There's even a small storage compartment and a beverage holder.

Optional accessories include a complete bagger that attaches to the tractor. There's also a mulch cover that eliminates the need for bagging, raking or disposing of grass clippings. To expand the tractor's functions, an optional eight-cubic-foot toe-behind cart, 130 pound tow behind spreader, a 44-inch snowblower, and a 46-inch front snow plow are each sold separately. 

Best electric riding mower for most yards: Greenworks Crossover Z (42-inch deck)

Greenworks Crossover Z

Category: Zero turn mower | Cutting deck: 42 inches | Cutting height range: 1.5 to 4.5 inches | Power: 60V Electric (Battery Powered) | Fuel tank capacity: Electric (Uses 4 8Ah batteries) | Horsepower: 24HP Equivalent | Forward speed: 8 MPH | Model number: 7409302 

A zero-turn riding lawn mower, like this one, is a standard riding mower that uses two steering levers, instead of a steering wheel. It provides a turning radius that's basically zero, since the two drive wheels can rotate in opposite directions.

Suitable for lawns up to 1.5 acres, the Greenworks Crossover Z uses four 8Ah batteries to power the mower in a way that's 4x quieter than a gas mower. There's an adjustable seat for comfort, along with 11-inch front wheels and 20-inch rear wheels that provide a smooth ride and traction on hills (with up to a 15-degree slope). Optional accessories can be attached to the front or rear of the mower. To adjust mowing height, there's a single, seven-position lever. 

Although this is a battery-powered mower, it offers the equivalent of 24 horsepower and can haul up to 200 pounds -- all without using any gas or oil. In other words, it creates zero emissions or exhaust smells. 

The mower comes with four 8Ah batteries and two dual port 10-amp chargers. These can recharge the batteries in about 90 minutes. On a set of fully charged batteries, you can cut up to 1.5 acres while traveling at up to 8 mph. Another benefit of a battery-powered mower is that in this case, you'll save more than $4,600 over its life, since there's no gas or oil to purchase.

Best riding mower for less than one acre: Toro TimeCutter zero turn mower (42-inch deck)

Toro TimeCutter 42-in 15.5-HP Gas Zero-turn Riding Lawn Mower

Category: Zero turn mower | Cutting deck: 42 inches | Cutting height range: 1.5 to 4.5 inches | Power: Gas | Fuel tank capacity: 3 gallons | Horsepower: 15.5HP | Cylinders: Single | Forward speed: Up to 7MPH | Mulch kit: Optional | Model number: 75748 | Popular accessories: Mulch kit and bagger

This gas powered, zero-turn, rear-wheel drive riding mower is ideally suited or lawns between one and two acres. For a smooth ride with plenty of traction, it uses two 11-inch front wheels and a pair of 18-inch rear wheels. It lacks cruise control, but offers a nice selection of optional accessories, including a leaf bag and mulching kit.

The mower uses hand-lever steering and comes with a low-back seat. While it's easy to avoid obstacles, Toro recommends using this mower primarily on flat surfaces. It offers three main speeds -- for mowing, towing or trimming. For an engine, the mower uses a Briggs & Stratton 15.5 HP 500 cc v-twin engine. This model comes with a three-year unlimited-hour residential warranty.

Best riding mower for two to four acres: Cub Cadet XT1 LT50 (50-inch deck)

Cub Cadet Enduro Series XT1 LT50
Cub Cadet

Category: Riding mower | Cutting deck: 50 inches | Cutting height range: 1 inch and up | Power: Gas | Fuel tank capacity: 3 gallons | Horsepower: 24HP | Transmission: Hydrostatic | Forward speed: Up to 5.5MPH | Mulch kit: Optional | Model number: 13AQA1TLA10 | Popular accessories: Bagger, plow, mulching kit, snow blower, cargo carrier, sun shade, hauler, leaf collection system, sprayer

Designed for residential lawns between two and four acres, this ride-on lawn mower offers power, a wide (50-inch) cutting deck and uses three 17.9-inch steel blades to keep your grass at the ideal height. In fact, you can choose between 12 cutting-height positions using an electric PTO (power take off).

Driving the XT1 LT50 is easy using the standard steering wheel and push-button cruise control feature. You get a highly responsive steering system that delivers a 16-inch turning radius. The mower offers 24HP via a 725cc twin-cylinder Kohler CARB engine that uses a hydrostatic transmission, so it requires no gear shifting. Simply step on the gas pedal and you're off.

The mower is equipped with an adjustable and padded, high back design, 15-inch seat. What's most desirable about this mower is its expandability and versatility when you add any of the many optional accessories -- ranging from a mulching kit and bagger to a snow blower and leaf collection system.

Best riding mower for up to 3 acres: Troy-Bilt Super Bronco 54K XP riding lawn mower (54-inch deck)

Tory-Bilt Super Bronco 54K XP Riding Lawn Mower

Category: Riding mower | Cutting deck: 54 inches | Cutting height range: 1.5 to 3.75 inches | Power: Gas | Fuel tank capacity: 3 gallons | Horsepower: 24HP | Transmission: Hydrostatic | Forward speed: 5.5MPH | Mulch kit: Optional | Model number: KT735 | Popular accessories: Mulch kit, snow plow, wheel chains, snow blower, rear bagger, tow behind cart

Powered by a twin cylinder, 24-horsepower engine, this riding mower uses a hydrostatic drive system and offers a large, 54-inch cutting deck. This makes it ideal for lawns up to three acres. It's also particularly good at chopping down grass and weeds that are up to 3.75 inches tall. The mower offers a 16-inch turn radius, which makes it easy to maneuver, especially around obstacles.  

One great feature is the mower's built-in rear tow hitch, which allows you to attach a variety of optional accessories, including a tow-behind cart with a 10-cubic-foot (800-pound) load capacity. Other built-in features include cruise control, a comfortable (and adjustable) high-back seat, headlights and a cup holder. Another handy feature is the deck wash. Simply connect a standard garden hose to quickly clean the underside of the mower to prevent the buildup of clippings and dirt.

CBS Essentials offers a vast library of articles covering all things related to lawns and outdoor living -- including a roundup of the five best propane grills in 2024the five best wood pellet grills in 2024, the five best charcoal grills in 2024, the six best smart grills in 2024 and best ideas for a spring patio makeover.

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