There are so many great riding lawn mowers, but so little time to try them all. However, the best and most sought after ones come from Craftsman, Husqvarna, Ryobi, John Deere and Cub Cadet. All of these offer various features that are ideal for a range of uses, yard sizes and types of terrain.
When considering the ones given here, think about whether you want the zero-turn style or one with a turning radius. As a general rule, turning radius riding mowers are great for lawns with lots of narrow spaces, trees, boulders and other large obstructions to get around as well as hills. Zero-turns are good for flat and mostly even surfaces but sometimes hills too.
- Best Riding Lawn Mower Overall: Craftsman T225
- Best Zero-Turn Riding Lawn Mower: Husqvarna Z254
- Best Compact Riding Lawn Mower: Ryobi RY48110
- Best Riding Lawn Mower for the Money: John Deere E120
- Best Luxury Riding Lawn Mower: Cub Cadet ZTX4 54
1. Best Riding Lawn Mower Overall: Craftsman T225
This 46 inch riding lawn mower by Craftsman is a good overall choice. The T225 comes with a Briggs & Stratton engine that has 19 horsepower and 540cc. It even comes with a built in power wash to help keep the equipment clean and free of debris buildup. It trims grass like a dream without leaving dreadful cut lines.
There’s also a hydrostatic transmission that’s operated via pedals with responsive handling. The cutting height is adjustable and it’s easy to start with the pushbutton. You can mow in forward and reverse directions, which is very useful for wet turf.
|Forward and reverse cutting directions||Pricier than similar models from other brands|
|Good for demanding conditions and wet grass||Difficult to locate an available model|
|Easy to handle and operate|
2. Best Zero-Turn Riding Lawn Mower: Husqvarna Z254
The Z254 by Husqvarna has a 54 inch cutting deck and a Kohler engine with 26 horsepower. This makes it one of the best zero-turn riding mowers on the market. It’s easy to use and offers a smooth operation experience. This mower includes air conditioning and an ergonomic control panel.
It comes with a Kohler 7000 series engine that’s 747cc with a hydrostatic transmission. The Z254 offers a precise cut with a comfortable ride. The cutting height is adjustable and works well on almost any kind of terrain or situation.
|Smooth feel and easy to operate||Expensive for a zero-turn|
|Strong, durable and reliable engine||Belts tend to fly off during use|
|Powerful and versatile for any type of terrain|
3. Best Compact Riding Lawn Mower: Ryobi RY48110
This electric riding lawn mower by Ryobi is the best compact one on the market. The RY48110 offers an eco-friendly way to cut your yard. The 48 volt battery has a two-hour runtime and there are no filters, belts or spark plugs to mess around with. This is most ideal for those who are mechanically challenged.
It has a cutting deck width of 38 inches with 12 adjustment settings. However, you can only adjust the deck height manually, there aren’t automatic controls for it. This is a rear engine mower, so it’s easy to maneuver and store because of its small size. It’s pretty fast for a riding mower, going as fast as eight miles per hour (mph).
|No maintenance and low emissions||Reports the mower quits within two seasons|
|Eco-friendly option||Smoking and shorting after extended periods of use|
|No extra costs or expenses with fuel or oil||Manual deck height adjustment|
4. Best Riding Lawn Mower for the Money: John Deere E120
This riding mower by John Deere comes with a 42 inch wide cutting deck. It has a V-Twin engine with 20 horsepower and 656cc. It’s an excellent mower for large, flat swaths of land to maintain. It has a turn radius of 18 inches which allows for optimal maneuvering around large obstructions such as boulders and tree trunks.
It has an adjustable cutting height, allowing you to choose between one and four inches. Plus, the E120 comes with cruise control. All of these features make this a trusted and reliable mower for the money. It’s easy to use and well designed, providing all the bells and whistles one would want in a quality riding mower.
|Effective and precise cut||Fuel gauge is confusing to decipher|
|Nice and easy turning radius||Can be expensive to fix and repair|
5. Best Luxury Riding Lawn Mower: Cub Cadet ZTX4 54
For a top of the line type of luxury riding mower, the ZTX4 54 by Cub Cadet gives a homeowner everything they would want and more. Its commercial grade engineering offers speed, power and comfort while also giving a posh and plush ride as you cut your lawn.
The Kohler 7000 Series engine is 725cc and 24 horsepower with a smooth hydrostatic transmission. It comes with a 54 inch wide cutting deck and you can also adjust the cutting height. The seat is soft while also offering convenient storage compartments and easy to use lap bars for simple operation.
|Easy to use, maneuver and operate||The price tag is quite high for its class|
|All the conveniences of a quality mower||There is no cruise control or other automatic features|
|Super powerful engine and smooth transmission|
Comparing the Different Riding Mowers
The comparison table displayed below will give you a visual representation of the models mentioned above. It provides a visual of all the necessary features so you can make a sound and informed decision.
|Craftsman||Husqvarna||Ryobi||John Deere||Cub Cadet|
|Engine Type||Briggs & Stratton||Kohler 7000 Series||46V Battery||John Deere V-Twin||Kohler 7000 Series|
|Horsepower||19||26||n/a but fast||20||24|
|Cutting Deck||46 inches||54 inches||38 inches||42 inches||54 inches|
|Adjustable Cutting Height||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Hi, I’m John Stephens, chief editor and writer for Totalgardener.com. I’ve been gardening and raising animals for over 15 years starting with a small backyard plot in Northern Virginia where I grew corn, potatoes, squash, and using a high mulch technique called the Ruth Stout Method. I also raised ducks and small mammals for meat and eggs in a movable pen similar to the ones used by Joel Salatin. I later moved to Colorado where I experimented with growing greens using aquaponics inside. I eventually added a microgreens setup and home sprouting operation. I’m excited to share everything I’ve learned plus more from the other local gardening and animal raising experts I know.