Maintaining a garden is just as exhausting as it is fun. Your garden constantly needs your attention and hard work. Doing that with a walk-behind lawn mower is a nightmare.
Lawn and garden tractors are the best solutions for us, idlers, everywhere. It’s working on your lawn with the side benefit of chilling on your tractor with a drink.
Now the next big question is how to shop for one. Having just went through this process, I’ve decided to address this question. Here are my two cents on the best lawn and garden tractors.
Top Four Lawn and Garden Tractors
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Picking one of the hundreds of lawn tractors online is almost impossible. Every company promotes its product as something that you need.
In this section, I’ll list some of my favorite options of lawn and garden tractors on the market. I promise you’ll find something here tailored to both your preferences and budget.
Husqvarna YTH18542– Best Overall
Husqvarna YTH18542 is a jack of all trades. It’s powerful with a Briggs and Stratton engine with a power of 18.5 HP. Its cut-width is 42 inches, meaning it can take less than an hour to mow three acres. This works perfectly for all kinds of gardens.
It operates on hydrostatic transmission, which offers a smooth drive and requires less maintenance. It’s also capable of a tight 16-inch turning radius. This is highly functional for mowing in tight spaces or around trees or bushes.
Moreover, Husqvarna YTH18542 has a reverse operating system, which means you can mow backward just by flipping a switch.
Furthermore, it has excellent durability owing to the fact that it’s made of steel. And to top it off, the company offers a 3-year unlimited warranty. What more can you ask for!
On the downside, the engine is a single-cylinder one that’s efficient in small and medium-sized gardens, but not as much in large ones. Also, it has a mid-back seat, which is comfortable, but not as much as a high-back seat.
- Large cut width
- Tight turn
- Reverse operating system
- The single-cylinder engine isn’t suitable for large gardens
Troy-Bilt 382cc 30-Inch Premium Neighborhood Riding Lawn Mower– Best on Budget
Troy-Bilt’s lawn tractor is said to be the best gateway into lawn tractors. It’s got all of the others’ advantages to a great extent, and at such a low price. It’s practically a steal!
First, its engine is strong with a power of 11.75 HP, not as powerful as Husqvarna’s, but powerful enough for most small and medium-sized lawns. The engine is a single-cylinder engine, also one that’s more appropriate for smaller lawns.
Second, the cutting width is 30 inches, which is ideal for 1-acre or 2-acre gardens and the turning radius is 18 inches. This allows for a tight turn around most obstacles.
Last but foremost, Troy-Bilt offers great customer service with a two-year warranty and maintenance.
- Very Affordable
- Good transition from walk-behind lawn mowers
- Great for small gardens
- It doesn’t work for big lawns
Ariens 915223 IKON-X 52″ Zero Turn Mower 23hp Kawasaki FR691 Series– Best Premium Option
To call Ariens 915223 Mower sturdy or robust would be an understatement. Berendsohn calls it the perfect combination of power, productivity, and durability. It’s certainly one tough guy!
Its Kawasaki engine has a power of 23 HP, one of the strongest on the market. It also has a fuel capacity of 2.8 gallons, much bigger than both Troy-Bilt’s and Husqvarna’s.
Furthermore, it’s quite expensive. However, you can’t possibly find a zero-turn-mower with a 52-inch cut-width for that price.
If you have a large garden that’s challenging to mow, Ariens’ Mower is quite a catch. Even at that price, its durability and versatility put it at a great value.
In contrast, if you like Ariens’ rugged built and engine power but think 52-inch cut width would be too much, consider Ariens’ 42-inch model.
- Robust and sturdy
- Very large cut width
- Powerful engine
- Works for very big gardens
Ryobi 38 inches 100 Ah Battery Electric Rear Engine Riding Lawn Mower RY48111: Best Electric Lawn Tractor
This one is for my friends who want to go green. Literally and metaphorically. Ryobi’s Lawn Mower offers a lot of the benefits of other brands, along with all the benefits of electric vehicles.
First, it’s tough and requires little maintenance as it has no belts, plugs or filters. Being battery-operated means there’s no gas or fumes, making mowing your lawn a more peaceful and safe experience for you and your family.
Second, you can mow up to 2.5 acres per charge, which is still on-par with most of the other models. Not to mention, it’s zero-turn, making it fit with all sizes and designs of gardens. Many users also found it to have superior cut quality.
Finally, it’s one of the most expensive models on the market. But besides all the aforementioned advantages, it’s also faster and lighter than other lawn tractors. And don’t forget, you’re doing the planet a huge favor!
- Environmentally friendly
- Light and fast
- Not noisy
- Needs electrical power to charge
What to Consider Before Buying?
There are a few things you have to think about before choosing a lawn tractor. This is a very personalized choice that depends on many factors. Here are some of them.
Lawn mower’s engine horsepower determines the power output directed towards drive transmission and cutting blades.
Lawn tractors’ engine’s power ranges between 13 and 30 HP. If you have a large garden, one with slopes, or one with heavy grass conditions, you should consider going for tractors with higher engine power.
There are also two types of engines in lawnmowers; single-cylinder, and double cylinder. The latter offers more strength, better balance, and longer lifetime. However, single-cylinder engines work perfectly for smaller gardens.
There are three types of transmission; manual, automatic, and hydrostatic. Manual transmission lets you choose your speed. The most functional ones are those that let you shift up and down without stopping or using a clutch.
Automatic transmission lets you control the speed with a gas pedal, much like a car. It’s a better option if you’ve got a lot of obstacles in your garden.
Similarly, hydrostatic transmission works in the same fashion, but instead of belts, it uses fluid. It’s more durable and requires less maintenance. It’s also a lot smoother to drive.
Contrary to popular belief, size does matter. Cut-width is how wide a lawn tractor can cut in one pass. To save time, go for bigger if you have a large garden area.
If your lawn area is 1- 2 acres, you should consider mowers with 42 inches to 52 inches in cut-width. However, if it’s 5 acres or larger, go for a cut-width of 60 inches and higher.
Your garden size and design is everything. Not only does your landscape determine your mower’s engine and cut-width, it decides for you a lot more.
If your landscape has a large area or has many trees, bushes or rocks, you might need a lot of tight turns. You should then consider going for a zero-turn- radius model, or a four-wheel-steering tractor.
While two-wheel-steering tractors can do the job, it wouldn’t provide you with turns as tight as the previous options.
Moreover, fuel capacity is also related to your landscape size. Don’t buy a small fuel capacity mower if you have a large garden. You don’t want to stop midway having to refuel.
You must admit many of us are into lawn tractors for the luxury and the comfort. None of us want our gardening hobby to turn into a chore, now do we?
To further boost your comfort, look for lawn tractors with high-back seat, so you don’t end up with low back pain. There are also newer models with cupholders for that drink you’ve been waiting for all day.
Gardening is an immersive hobby, one that costs you money, time and attention. However, it’s remarkably rewarding. Lawn and garden tractors are some of the equipment that can easily help you tend better to your garden.
My favorite has got to be Husqvarna YTH18542. It does well in every category and still offers a cost-effective price. The cost combined with a strong engine and a cut-width of 42 inches, I think it’s ideal for me.
It also goes the extra mile and offers a reverse operating system, something I use quite often and usually goes unnoticed by other brands.
If you’re looking for something more affordable, I recommend Troy-Bilt’s Lawn Tractor. Its specs along with its cost are unparalleled.
Besides, it’s a great transition from walk-behind lawn mowers to riding mowers, as it’s easy to start. Maybe you can put it in your consideration if it’s your first.
I hope this article has helped you get a grasp into the world of lawn and garden tractors. Come along, you’re going to love it.