When it comes to your garden, one of the biggest challenges is cutting the grass in the quickest possible time and getting the best results, i.e. your lawns look nice and it has not taken you all day!
However, your new home probably has more grass than you are used to or have had to mow previously.
Not only that, but the job of taking care of it is all yours and your old walk behind mower that used to do a fine job in your smaller garden is just not going to cut it.
In searching for a solution to this challenge, a growing number of homeowners have turned to a tool that lawn maintenance professionals have used for years: the highly manoeuvrable, highly productive ride on lawn mower.
Best Ride On Mower Reviews 2018
In this guide you will find reviews of ride on lawn mowers and information to help you choose the best ride on mower for you and your garden.
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How to Buy a Quality Ride on Lawn Mower
Before you start looking for the perfect ride on lawn mower for you, you need to decide if you really need one. If you have a lawn that is more than half an acre, or you have a busy schedule and don’t have any time to lose, you probably need a ride on lawn mower, as it is far more efficient than regular walk-behind mowers.
Before you do any shopping, make sure you are aware of all the possible models and their price range. It is a good idea to visit a local dealer if possible, as you will get a good feel for what is on offer, and then shop online to find the best prices.
Some helpful comparisons of the different types of lawn tractors which might help you choose the right model for your garden and needs courtesy of BBC Gardeners World.
These days, a ride on lawn mower tractor can accomplish many chores in addition to just cutting the grass. You will need to choose the best ride on lawn mower for your needs, so take a look at these attachments and their uses before you make a decision.
Check if any accessories are included in the price, you can get a real bargain for some models. Some even include a free test period, so if you aren’t satisfied, you can return them at no cost.
- Baggers – They will automatically suck up your lawn clippings for you to put them where you wan them.
- Aerators – Many people rent one of these, but you can get one for around $100 that you can just pull behind your lawn mower. Lawn aeration works well in areas with dense soil. Getting an aerator attachment for your mower will let more more water and nutrients reach the grass roots.
- Carts – Attach a cart to the back of your lawn tractor and you can use it for hauling heavy things around.
- Lawn Sweepers — An alternative to a bagger, you pull one of these behind your lawn mower, and it automatically sweeps up grass clippings and leaves and puts them in a holding area. If you have a large yard, getting a lawn sweeper will save a lot of raking and bagging time.
- Snow Throwers and Blades — Lets face it, shoveling the snow off your driveway is a major chore in the winter. Why not put your ride on lawn mower to use in the off season by putting a snow thrower on it? If you live in a place that snows a lot , you will probably use it more in the winter than the summer!
- Tillers and Cultivators — If you want to have a garden, a tiller or cultivator attachment can easily be hooked up and pulled by your ride on mower. Although the tiller attachment costs about as much as a walk-behind tiller, it is a lot easier, since you only need to tow it.
- Spreaders – Hook up a spreader to your ride on lawn mower, and you will be able to plant new grass seed, fertilize your lawn, and spread sand or ice melting agents in the winter. Tow-behind spreaders mean you don’t have to push a hundred pounds of seed or fertilizer around your yard anymore.
When choosing a ride on lawn mower, keep in mind which, if any attachments you would like to add, even if you won’t be buying them for years. Planning ahead this way will save you money in the long run.
If you simply need to cut your grass without any attachments, then buy a basic lawn mower with an engine right for your needs. If you won’t be needing the accessories in the off season, garden sheds or garage ceiling storage are good places to put them.
You can find these and other accessories either online or at most large stores that sell garden landscape supplies. Choices and prices will vary from store to store, so you might want to check a few places before making a decision.
Zero Turn (ZTR) Ride On Lawn Mower
Make sure you have enough money if searching for a commercial model. If you have, consider buying a Zero Turn Radius model. They are far more manoeuvrable then the normal models, but are more expensive. Their main advantage is that they don’t leave a trail of uncut grass as you turn, unlike other models. They also have a higher speed, which is great if you have a large backyard.
Finally, if you need to mow large acreage, such as a national park you should probably buy an industrial ride on lawn mower. These models are the best you can find, with very high speed, large cutting surface, adjustable height, and high manoeuvrability. They have no problem working for as much as 24 hours non-stop, as they are extremely durable. However, don’t buy if you don’t plan to use its full capabilities, since it will be useless in a small backyard.
So, take into consideration every possible type of a ride on mower, and try to find the one that will suit your needs and your pocket.
Ride on Mowers = Small Tractors
If you need a small tractor for different kinds of work for less than 2 acres, then a ride on lawn mower is the best choice for you. You can greatly reduce your manual labor, due to the many attachments that are available for ride on mowers. You will find that this can help you keep your garden in tip-top condition in much less time. In most cases, a ride-on mower up to a maximum of 7-10 HP will also have a ZTR (zero turning radius) feature to help you when working in a smaller field or very large garden.
Ride on Mower Covers
You are unlikely to use your ride on mower all year round, so you will want to store it, and a cover keeps it free from dirt in the winter months. There are a few to choose from but we quite like the cover from Bosmere Products as it fits a great range of lawn tractors and mowers and is heavy duty.
Or alternatively, the cover by Elem Technic is slightly fancier but a lot thinner so we would worry about rips over time.
The Versatility of Lawn Tractors
Versatility is a major benefit of ride on mowers. Some of the jobs that can be completed by these garden vehicles include hole digging, lawn rolling, tilling, mowing, and many other jobs. The power take off spindle makes these jobs easily possible. That is why ride on lawn mowers are a gardener’s best friend.
Purchasing A Lawn Tractor
Choosing and purchasing a ride on mower is much like buying any other vehicle. The optional accessories increase the prices of both a car and a ride-on lawn mower. That is why you want to choose your model and accessories wisely to ensure that you will use the ones that you are purchasing. You also want to ensure that you can try the model in the showroom to ensure that you can attach and remove the accessories with very little effort. Test-drive the ride on mower to make sure you can get in and out of it easily as well.
Price of Lawn Tractors
There is a large price range when it comes to ride on lawn mowers. A smaller lawn mover can start at £1400 and go up to £5000. The Castelgarden XE 866 B is a basic model and it is available for just under £1400, while the McCulloch lawn tractor M15597TC is approximately £4775. A MTD Ride-On Lawnmower / ride Smart RG 145 is about £1849. These costs are for the ride on mower/tractor without any accessories. Accessories can make the cost greatly increase. A canopy starts at £110 and a collection bag for grass is around £300. A cart can run you anywhere from £110 to £220, depending upon the size. Now you see how the costs can quickly add up. If you are planning to use the vehicle for mowing 1/2 to 1 acre, then you may want to choose a stand behind lawnmower for around £350, instead of a bigger ride-on mower.
How to Take Care of and Maintain your Ride On Mower
Your lawnmower and gardening equipment will last longer, and perform better if they are kept in good working order. Taking your machinery to your local dealer for a service and check over annually is recommended.
Developing a regular maintenance schedule yourself (particularly for machines with petrol engines) will make the machine run ‘sweeter’, and will cut down on exhaust emissions and reduce noise. Always check your operator’s manual for specific recommendations for maintenance.
- Change the engine and transmission oil seasonally (and recycle the old oil).
- Replace the spark plug and air filter, and check for proper carburetor adjustment – a properly tuned engine helps to burn fuel more efficiently and reduce engine transmission.
- Be sure to use replacement parts recommended by the manufacturer.
- Avoid petrol spillage when refilling the tank – and keep fuel tanks and containers sealed tight, leaving room for expansion e.g. fill to three quarters full.
- Tighten loose nuts, bolts and belts to ensure the machine runs at its quietest.
- For mowers, sharpen cutter blades and keep the underside of the cutter deck cleared of grass to ensure peak performance.
Consider changing older equipment as newer machines are fitted with low-emission engines that run up to 70% cleaner than many models produced during the 1980’s and 1990’s.
Safety tips for riding and using ride on lawn mowers and tractors
Ride on lawn mower and tractors are probably the most powerful tool you might use in any garden. They are the best solution for people who don’t have much time to take care of their large lawns. Among many other features, they are reliable, efficient, extremely fast as well as really easy to drive and a lot of fun whilst doing the grass. Nevertheless, they can be a double edge sword for those who do not respect the safety requirements. A ride on mower is a dangerous piece of equipment, so use it sensibly, following the operating guidelines found in the manual.
Statistics show that year after year, many people experience accidents due to either incorrect or unsafe use of their mowers, so to get you off to the best possible start we have put together some important points to keep in mind when driving a your lawn mower/tractor:
- Clear the mowing area from objects. This is a very important and something that a lot of people forget. If you run over a small piece of metal or hardwood, it could fly out of the blade cutting area and injure anyone within hundred feet around the operator.
- Always wear safety gear when operating power tools. Steel toecap boots can save your feet, if they get close to the lawn mowers sharp blades, wearing goggles or protective glasses will save your eyes from flying insects and other direct impacts or ear plugs or protectors will help if you are using the vehicle for extended periods of time.
No matter what anyone says, you must keep the vehicles safety guards in place. You never know when they may be required!
The ride on mower driving experience
You, as an experienced driver might be thinking that your years of experience mean that you will have no problem driving any of the above models. However, mistakes can be made and there are a few things you need to think about which is different to driving your car on a road.
What are the most typical mistakes when operating a ride on lawn mower?
Please, be as careful as you can, especially when riding on an incline. It might tip over and therefore create the chance of the blades rolling over you. The good news is that most ride on mowers and tractors are designed with a low centre of gravity and that is why there is very little possibility of the vehicle tipping over.
In our experience, the cheaper the model, the higher the chance of it tipping over as the higher centre of gravity it has and the more costly the ride on mower, the lower the centre of gravity.
It is important to use the following safety precautions, regardless of the small possibility of the vehicle turning over.
- It is important that you watch your speed, especially when you are on an incline. A small rock can cause your lawn mower or tractor to have problems and possibly injure you.
- While getting off of the lawn mower or tractor, ensure that it is turned off and all attachments touch the ground, if at all possible.
Lastly, one thing we want all gardeners’ to remember:
The more prepared you are for any kind of circumstance concerning accidents and safety, the better off you will be.
Just remember to wear safety equipment, including goggles, ear protectors, thick shoes and gloves if necessary. Gardening injuries are as typical as any other and ride on mowers and lawn tractors are not a child’s toy.
This is what can happen if you do not take care, be warned! It is quite funny though 🙂
How to Take Care of your Lawn with Lawn Maintenance Tips
- Like every living thing, grass needs air and water to grow and thrive. Simple lawn maintenance can make all the difference.
- During the summer months in particular, lawns suffer from continual use – be that children, sports, or BBQs – these all combine to cause surface compaction. Lawn maintenance is crucial to prevent damage.
- This compaction impedes drainage and it is harder for air, water and fertiliser to penetrate into the roots.
- As such, lawn aeration during the Spring and Autumn, helps allow the soil temperature to rise more quickly and the surface to literally ‘breathe’.
- Good lawn maintenance requires very simple aeration by driving a fork into the lawn at regular intervals. For a small lawn this can be done simply by hand, or there are many implements for sale in garden centres that can do the job for you on larger areas.
- Sounds obvious, but lawns really do need watering, particularly during the dry summer months. Prolonged dry spells will slow up grass growth if the lawn maintenance programme does not include proper watering. Deeper-rooted weeds will survive and outgrow grass struggling in drought conditions.
- The new SO-GREEN lawn seed will remain green even during drought – a valuable asset when all around is fading! However, it will still need watering to keep the grass healthy. Try the ‘footprint test’. If the grass fails to spring back after standing on it, you should water it.
Controlling Worm Casts
- Worm casts on the lawn smother fine leafed grasses and produce ideal conditions in which weed seeds can grow.
- Dormant weed seeds buried deep in the soil are brought to the surface in these tiny mounds of soil which need sorting as soon as they are detected.
- When they appear scatter them with a brush before mowing and remove the clippings by using a grass box.
- If necessary, your lawn maintenance programme should include the use of a worm killer. Apply this in a warm, showery period in autumn, just after the lawn has been cut.
￼Trimming the Edges
- As far as possible, make sure your mower can reach right to the edges so that manual trimming is a quick and final task.
- Investing in a good sharp pair of long-handled edge trimmers will make light work of the task.
- Trimming round the edges of your lawn after mowing is the final flourish and will give you a neat, attractive finish.
￼Scarification or Raking
- Scarification removes thatch, the accumulation of dead and decaying organic matter at the base of the living roots and leaves.
- Scarifying or raking in your lawn maintenance programme should be done in Spring and has several benefits – preventing the build up of thatch and getting rid of surface debris.
- A second rake in Autumn is essential to remove all the fallen leaves, ageing grass plants and debris. The lawn is then ready for re-seeding.
- This lawn maintenance technique is really for the perfectionist gardener, top dressing is usually the preserve of the professional greenkeeper.
- Top dressing is the application of a mixture made up of peat, loam and sand that literally fills in all the minor hollows that develop on lawns naturally.
- Top dressing is best applied in early autumn and results in denser grass growth, a flatter surface and improved drainage.