Lawn care definitely requires some hard work. You might be looking to buy a garden tractor to make it easier but is it really worth it?
Logically, only if it saves you time, money or makes the process of mowing your lawn significantly easier and maybe even enjoyable. For that you’ll not only have to see if your mower can cater to your lawn’s needs and be inexpensive in the long run, but also if there is a push mower that can satisfy you instead.
Why invest in a good lawn mower?
Having an unkempt lawn brings its own disadvantages. It lessens your curb appeal, making the exterior of your house look quite messy and uninviting. Not only that but it can also lessen your property’s value.
If you’ve got kids in the house, your neglect can turn your lawn into a safety hazard. Overgrown grass is an open invitation to various rodents and snakes.
Know your lawn
Riding mowers are usually heavy duty, they’re able to mow a larger area in a shorter period of time because of their powerful engines. While looking for lawn mowers you need to know your lawn first. What’s the acreage? How’s the terrain? Do you have a lot of flowerbeds? What about weeds?
These are important questions that will help you decide if you even need a riding mower.
Types of lawn mowers
Here we’ll focus and compare ride on mowers and push mowers, to see if the extra cost of ride on mowers is justified. Push mowers are either petrol powered, manual or electric, each having their own significant characteristics. Whereas in ride on mowers we have lawn and garden tractors, as well as zero turn mowers.
How large is your lawn?
It’s not advised to buy a ride on mower for lawns that are a quarter to half an acre big. Small, simple lawns don’t take that much time to maintain and also don’t require a large cutting width provided by ride on mowers. A cutting width of 35 inches or less would suffice for such a lawn.
Riding mowers are recommended for larger lawns. Lawns around one acre require a cutting width of 30-42 inches, whereas something as big as five acres would require a cutting width of 52 inches, both available in ride on mowers.
Track your terrain
The lawn mower you need will vary with the terrain. For hilly terrains lawn and garden tractors are an ideal choice. Most have locking differentials that provide extra traction and contribute to its amazing hill mowing capabilities.
You can also opt for self-propelled electric and petrol push mowers in this case. The self-propelled feature helps drive the mower forward, hence requiring less energy to navigate. However electric mowers are not suited for hilly terrains and are best used for lawns 50ft wide or less.
Are flowers in season?
If you’ve got flower beds, orchids or trees then things become a little complicated. You would require a mower with a tight turning radius, for this lawn and garden tractors would not be an option since they are hard to navigate in tricky spots.
Hence, if you have a lawn with multiple obstacles a zero turn mower would be perfect for you. They’re operated by levers, making them a little hard to get used to but have a turning radius of 0 inches, making them perfect for those difficult spots.
Are weeds and puddles a problem?
Dealing with weeds and hardwood saplings can be quite problematic, and regular push mowers aren’t always cut out for those, unless you’ve got field and bush mowers or even trimmer mowers. However, if you deal with these nuisances often then a ride on mower is a better choice.
Ride on mowers are powerful and have a variety of attachments that can even take down harder matter. Although, if you’re working with wet lawns ride on mowers can prove to be quite damaging due to their heavy weight.
How much time does it take to mow your lawn?
Everybody’s busy, and if mowing you lawn takes better part of the day then maybe it isn’t the right fit for you or your lawn. Riding mowers are faster than push mowers because they can cover a larger area within a lesser time period, and can even go up to 13km/h.
Rule of thumb is, if mowing your lawn takes more than 2 hours, get a ride on.
Is mowing your lawn exhausting?
Lawn maintenance can definitely be a tedious task, but looking at how often we need to do it, it shouldn’t be exhausting. Riding mowers are perfect if your top priority is comfort. Senior citizens and people with back problems or other disabilities are sure to opt for ride on mowers as they’ll be easier to use in the long run.
Ride on mowers even come with various features such as arm rests, cup holders, high-back seats and lumber support.
Ride on mowers come with multiple useful attachments and features. You can even attach dump carts to carry debris as you mow the lawn. Other attachments include chipper, tiller and earth-moving blades. Making them better equipped to mow down whatever’s in your way.
Both types of mowers have a lifespan of around 10 years, but riding mowers do need servicing and care more often than push mowers. This can increase your bill if you do not know how to maintain it yourself. If you are used to maintaining push mowers then doing the same for riding mowers shouldn’t be too hard for you.
Riding mowers are definitely more expensive than your regular push mowers. This is also why most people are hesitant to invest in them at first. Push mowers can cost anywhere between $57-$2000, depending on the type and features of the mower. Whereas a ride on mowers can cost somewhere between $3000-$6000.
Although for riding mowers, companies like John Deere often offer financial incentives to draw in customers. Also, if all loans are paid within the promotional period, interest charges do not apply.
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.