Maintaining a big property is not easy. Without the proper equipment, it is nearly impossible to keep up with the mowing and sweeping, on top of other daily chores.
If you too can’t catch a break, I think it is time you splurge on the best garden tractor there is.
With the help of my garden tractor reviews, you will easily find your new best buddy. One that stands out, in particular, is the Ryobi RY48111 . It is electrical and equipped with powerful 100Ah lead-acid batteries that give you 2.5 hours of uninterrupted run time.
Keep on reading to find out what my other top picks are!
- 1 In A Rush? Check My Comparison Table
- 2 5 Of The Best Garden Tractor Reviews
- 2.1 Ryobi RY48111 38 Inches Battery Riding Lawn Mower – Requires Least Maintenance
- 2.2 Husqvarna Ts354Xd Riding Lawn Mower: Best Heavy-Duty Mower
- 2.3 Ariens IKON XD 42 Inch Zero Turn Mower 915268 – Most Maneuverable
- 2.4 Husqvarna Z254 Riding Lawn Mower: Best Zero-Turn Mower – Best Overall
- 2.5 EGO POWER+ ZT5207L Riding Lawn Mower – Best Battery-Operated Mower
- 3 Comparison Table
- 4 Buyer’s Guide: How To Buy The Best Garden Tractor
- 5 Best Yard Tractors – Advantages
- 6 Answers To Your Questions
- 7 Garden Tractor Reviews: The Best Of The Best
- 8 About The Authors
In A Rush? Check My Comparison Table
Let’s take a quick glance at the products I have tested for this post.
5 Of The Best Garden Tractor Reviews
Ryobi RY48111 38 Inches Battery Riding Lawn Mower – Requires Least Maintenance
- Requires little maintenance.
- Powered by capable 100Ah lead-acid batteries.
- Features a 38-inch mowing deck.
- Up to 2.5 hours of runtime on one charge.
Are gas fumes slowly getting to you? It looks like you are ready for a change! The Ryobi RY48111 is a green alternative to traditional gas-riding lawn mowers. It doesn’t need sticky and smelly gasoline, and it requires little to no maintenance, as well! It’s not so common to find quality and durable electric garden tractors, but this one exceeded all my expectations.
The Ryobi RY48111 runs on 100Ah lead-acid batteries that will give you up to 2.5 hours of runtime. You can mow 2.5 acres of lawn on a single charge. Charging batteries is as easy as it gets. You simply plug them into a 120-Volt outlet.
The Ryobi RY48111 cuts grass quickly and efficiently, thanks to the 38-inch cutting deck equipped with two sharp blades. The cruise control lets you adjust the cutting deck in 12 positions, from 1.5 to 4.5 inches, to get a clean and level cut every time.
I should say that if you’re after a heavy duty garden tractor that will deal nicely with taller grass that has been left untouched for some time, this tractor might not be the best choice. It worked seamlessly in my garden, where I mow the lawn once a week, but I tested it on my friend’s lawn, on the grass that was much higher (about 5 inches), and it struggled to give us optimal results in the first run.
I also was not entirely satisfied with how this mower dealt with the dump grass as well. As far as wet grass goes, I know it’s not an easy challenge for most lawn mowers, and hopefully, it’s not a common practice in your garden, but for the sake of tests, I tried to cut damp grass with this tractor, and I was not able to get a clean cut.
However, like I said, cutting damp grass is no easy feat and should generally be avoided, so I’m not holding this against the Ryobi RY48111.
What I appreciate about this tractor is its speed. It will work perfectly for you if you want a mower for regular lawn maintenance and need something to quickly work around your garden. The Ryobi RY48111 is also very quiet, which is a considerable advantage for me (I don’t like to work in high loudness conditions, as many other people I’m sure), so if you pay attention to these sorts of things, you’ll be happy with this garden tractor.
What I Like
- Needs little to no maintenance
- Operates quietly
- 38-inch mowing deck
- 100Ah lead-acid batteries
- 2.5 hours of run time
- Easy to charge
- Cruise control with USB charger
- LED headlights
What I Don’t Like
- Batteries may degrade over time
My rating: 5/5
Husqvarna Ts354Xd Riding Lawn Mower: Best Heavy-Duty Mower
Image credit: husqvarna.com
- Ultra-durable steel frame
- Powerful Kawasaki engine with heavy-duty components
- Ideal for hilly or bumpy terrain
- Easy steering
If your lawn is not flat but rather bumpy and rough, you need a garden tractor that can handle it. You’re in luck! The Husqvarna Ts354Xd riding lawn mower is built for such a task. I have tried it on my parent’s farm, and I can tell you it is easy to operate and highly effective. Their lawn was looking its best in no time at all, even though it was rather hilly and I didn’t even break a sweat.
You do not have to have any special skills to operate this versatile lawn tractor. Thanks to a short turn radius, you can turn in a moment and maneuver this mower as you like. My hubby was quite impressed with how I handled it, even though I am not very experienced with this kind of machinery. So, you should not feel intimidated by the robust looks of a Husqvarna Ts354Xd either.
This gas mower has a powerful, pressure-lubricated, 24 hp V-twin Kawasaki engine that guarantees a smooth ride and quiet operation, no matter the terrain. It is backed up by a hydrostatic foot pedal-operated transmission, allowing you to alter your speed or direction while holding both hands on the steering wheel. This provides a great sense of control and safety. According to G. Genta, an associate professor at Dipartimento di Meccanica, Politecnico di Torino, hydrostatic transmissions are highly effective and compact.
Trying to find out what helps this garden tractor go over bumps and holes so smoothly, I discovered that it features an electric, dash-operated differential lock that locks the large and wide rear tires, increasing the traction.
If you are worried that the wheels on this powerful machine will dig into your lawn and ruin it, don’t be – they are anti-scalp wheels designed to reduce the risk of any damage to your precious grass.
What I Like
- Anti-scalp wheels preserve the grass on uneven lawns
- Dash-operated differential lock facilitates tough usage and excellent traction without the risk of overheating
- Tight turn radius allows for easy maneuvering
- Ergonomic design provides a comfortable driving experience
What I Don’t Like
- Overly sensitive safety sensor below driver seat
- No included instructions (you have to find them and download them yourself)
- Slightly complicated assembly (some hardware was missing in my package too, but I do not know if that is always the case)
My rating: 4.7/5
Ariens IKON XD 42 Inch Zero Turn Mower 915268 – Most Maneuverable
- Makes tight turns with a zero-degree turn radius.
- Powered by a premium 18-horsepower Kawasaki engine.
- Features a 42-inch cutting deck.
- Has 13 height adjustment positions.
Have lots of tight corners and obstacles in your yard? The Ariens IKON KD has the flexibility to get into all the nooks and crannies of your lawn.
The Ariens IKON ID is a zero-turn riding lawnmower that makes tight turns around trees, fences, and other obstacles. It has better maneuverability than any other mower on my review list.
The 42-inch cutting deck made of 11-gauge steel will make your landscaping chores quick and easy. With a turn of a dial, you can adjust the deck in 13 different height positions, ranging from 1.5 to 4.5 inches. This feature ensures you get a clean and even cut on your lawn.
With the premium 18 HP 603cc Kawasaki engine under the hood, you will stay on top of your mowing game. It is strong, reliable, and, most importantly, it brings power. All you can do is sit on the plush high-back seat with padded armrests and let the engine do the rest.
I really had some fun with this lawn mower, going into all the difficult-to-access parts of my garden and the way this tractor performed almost blew me away! I had never worked on such a precise and easy-to-maneuver garden tractor, and once I tried the Ariens IKON ID, it was hard for me to go back to something else.The lawn mower was very easy to ride, providing great stability and traction even on slightly uneven terrain. It’s a solid heavy duty garden tractor, although, again, it comes with a hefty price tag.
What I Like
- Highly maneuverable
- Ideal for oddly shaded lawns
- Strong 18 HP Kawasaki engine
- Quick electric start
- 42-inch cutting deck
- Triple-blade cutting deck
- 13 deck height positions
- Adjustable seat
- Good traction and stability
- 2.7 gallons of fuel capacity
What I Don’t Like
My rating: 4.5/5
Husqvarna Z254 Riding Lawn Mower: Best Zero-Turn Mower – Best Overall
- ClearCut™ fabricated deck enables excellent cutting performance
- High-end 24-horsepower Briggs and Stratton engine
- LED highlights for extra visibility in nighttime conditions
- Automatic park brake system
In my humble opinion, zero-turn mowers are the best riding lawn mowers you can get if you have a large yard. They will get the job done much more efficiently than bulky garden tractors or tiresome push mowers. The Husqvarna Z254 is a great representative of its kind. It is highly effective, user-friendly, and comfortable to ride – all thanks to its well-cushioned, ventilated seat.
I was wowed by the cutting performance of this mower. The blades are of top quality and cut the grass quickly and efficiently. I used it after overseeding my lawn, and I was very pleased with how this mower handled my new grass. If you want to use your riding lawn mower for the same purpose, take the great advice I found in a Homes & Garden magazine article written by Jill Morgan, and wait until 70-80 percent of the new grass gets about 3 inches tall.
I would also like to stress how easy it is to access the cutting deck when you want to clean it. All you need to do is remove the footplate (it’s a bit heavy, though). I also liked the anti-slip foot area that never felt perilous, unlike those made from smooth steel found on most other riding lawnmowers. The rubber bellows that protect the moving joints on the steering levers are a nice touch too.
The Husqvarna Z254T features a 24-horsepower Briggs and Stratton beast of an engine and a low-maintenance hydrostatic transmission system. This combo delivers a high-end performance. I found it super-easy to operate, thanks to the ergonomic control panel that holds the ignition, hour meter, and speed control in one convenient place.
Finally, if you are anything like my husband and you often work late and mow your lawn even later, you’ll appreciate the extra-bright LED lights on this garden tractor. They can illuminate an area 50 percent larger than traditional incandescent lights on most other garden tractors and riding lawnmowers. As well, as confirmed by the U.S. Department of Energy, LED bulbs can last 30 times longer, so you’ll rarely have to go through all the trouble replacing them.
What I Like
- Fairly large riding lawn mower with a 54-inch mowing deck
- Air induction technology sucks the grass up as it cuts it
- Anti-slip foot area for extra safety
- Constructed with thick steel
- 3-year warranty on all components
What I Don’t Like
- Overkill for yards smaller than 1 acre
- Back tires are small, making the ride a bit bumpy, especially on a rough terrain
My rating: 5/5
EGO POWER+ ZT5207L Riding Lawn Mower – Best Battery-Operated Mower
- 52-inch steel deck
- Control, Standard, and Sport drive modes
- Powered by 56V ArcLithium batteries (25 HP gas engine equivalent)
- LED lights for enhanced visibility
The futuristic-looking EGO POWER+ ZT5207L mower won me over right from the start. Not only is it a zero-turn mower that I can maneuver easily, but it is also battery-powered, eliminating the need for smelly and environmentally-unfriendly gasoline. The batteries are the same in all EGO’s tools and garden equipment, so you can use the ones you already have to prolong your mower’s runtime. Charging is fast and simple too! It takes around three hours to recharge all six batteries to their maximum capacity.
Unfortunately, this riding mower is quite pricey. But I’m not saying that it’s not worth every penny, quite the opposite. The powerful cutting performance of the EGO POWER+ ZT5207L matches most gas-powered residential garden tractors and riding lawnmowers, so you can easily mow at least an acre on a single charge.
While cutting, you can set up your speed from 3 to 7 MPH. The top riding speed is 8 MPH, but be careful, going too fast might compromise the cutting quality, as explained by Lauren Heartsill Dowdle from the Total Landscape Care magazine.
Some thoughtful design features will make your life easier. For example, there is convenient storage for your phone and other belongings, as well as a cup holder you can use to hold a cold drink when mowing your lawn on a hot summer day. Interior USB charging is a practical addition, too.
I felt very comfortable riding this mower. The seat is well-cushioned and has pivoting armrests. The control system might be the most advanced I have seen so far, and it even allows you to connect to the mower via Bluetooth and check remaining run time, charge level, driving (mph) and blade rotation speed (RPM), or customize some of the functions you cannot access via physical buttons and LCD screen (you can learn more about this by reading the comprehensive manual provided by the manufacturer). The EGO Power+ app can also be used as a remote key instead of the physical safety key.
What I Like
- Fast charging system
- Handy storage area with magnetic closure
- Automatic LED lights on front of mower and set of warning LEDs on the rear
- Comfy, adjustable seat
- Practical deck wash hose connection for easy clean-up
- 10 level height adjustment
- 5-year warranty on mower, charger, and batteries after you register
What I Don’t Like
- It is quite a challenge to cut grass around objects or trees
- Hefty price tag
My rating: 4.5/5
|Ryobi RY4811||Husqvarna Ts354Xd||Ariens 915268||Husqvarna Z254||EGO POWER+ ZT5207L|
|Deck size||52 inches||54 inches||42 inches||54 inches||52 inches|
|Engine power||Battery- operated||24 HP||18 HP||24 HP||Battery- operated|
|Fuel tank capacity||48V 100Ah battery||4.0 Gal||2.7 Gal||3.5 Gal||2.5Ah 56V ARC Lithium battery|
|Max speed||7 mph||5.5 mph||7 mph||6.5 mph||8 mph|
|Price||Check here||Check here||Check here||Check here||Check here|
Buyer’s Guide: How To Buy The Best Garden Tractor
It is safe to say that there are lots of different garden tractors you can pick from. However, not every model will be compatible with your yard.
So, what is the best garden tractor for your property?
The answer to this question depends on several factors:
- How big is your property?
- Is the terrain level or ridged?
- Will you use it just for mowing?
- What are your design preferences?
I know that the process of buying a good garden tractor can be overwhelming.
For that reason, I have put together a detailed buyer’s guide, so you can shop with confidence.
What To Look For In A Garden Tractor
Horsepower (HP) is a measurement used to describe an engine’s power output. The more power a garden tractor’s engine generates, the more it can be shared amongst its different running parts, like its blades, transmission, wheels, and headlights.
I recommend buying a garden tractor with an output of about 20 HP, give or take.
The Husqvarna Z254 has an impressive 26 HP Kohler engine, which is ideal for mowing up to 3 acres of land, if not more. Pick a tractor that’s closer to 30 HP if you intend to also use it for heavy-duty work, like tilling and pulling heavy loads.
Lawn tractors have two different speed options: single and multi-speed.
Models with a single-speed system mow at a fixed pace. They are great for landscaping lawns with an open layout and few obstacles. They are also cheaper than multi-speed units.
Multi-speed tractors, on the other hand, can have two to seven different speed settings. Tractors with more speed settings are best for mowing around trees on flat or ridged terrain.
Cutting width tells you how wide of a path the blade cuts in one pass. The width of cutting decks can range anywhere from 36 to 72 inches for commercial use.
Consider the size of your property before making a decision. If you have a small lawn with lots of obstacles, you may want to buy a unit with a smaller cutting range. This will help you get into the nooks and crannies of your yard.
It is more labor-efficient to buy a riding mower with a larger cutting deck for bigger properties. Some riding Mowers cut an area 48-inches wide, so you will be done with your mowing much quicker.
A transmission lets you convert an engine’s power into movement, so you can go forward and in reverse. You can pick between these transmission types:
Manual transmission is found in older tractors. It requires the use of a lever and a clutch. Some models even need to be stopped before changing gear, which is not practical at all. On the upside, these tractors are more fuel-efficient than those with automatic transmission.
Automatic transmission lets you control the speed of the tractor with two levers. One is for forward and reverse, and the other controls the speed.
A hydrostatic system uses fluid to switch gears automatically. These models may be more expensive, but they also ensure a smoother ride and are very easy to use.
You change the speed and direction with either a fender lever or foot pedal, depending on the design. This transmission style is ideal for heavy-duty work, so it’s something to think about when choosing your best yard tractor.
Fuel capacity lets you know how much gas a garden tractor holds in its tank. A general rule is that bigger tractors have a bigger reservoir and vice versa.
Purchase a tractor with a fuel tank large enough for your property. Otherwise, you will have to stop working to refuel the tractor, which is pretty inconvenient.
I recommend buying an Ariens IKON XD 42 Inch Zero Turn Mower for a bigger yard since it has a 2.7-gallon fuel capacity.
These features will make tractor handling and riding much smoother for you:
1. Turning radius
This tells you the diameter of the smallest U-turn the tractor can make. For garden tractors, it typically ranges from 4 to 28 inches. The tighter it is, the easier you will maneuver around the obstacles in your yard.
2. Anti-scalp tires
Look for tires with solid traction, so you can easily drive on wet grass and go up hills. Anti-scalp tires will also prevent the blade from slicing through the dirt when going over a high spot.
Suspension in a tractor is composed of tires, springs, and other connective parts between the wheels and the body. A good suspension system supports riding on diverse terrain while absorbing shock and vibrations. The Ryobi RY48111 rides smoothly, based on reviews.
Every tractor looks sturdy at first glance. But don’t let their appearance fool you.
It is in your best interest to find a unit made of high-quality parts that can withstand rough terrain and occasional bumps and jumps.
Find a garden tractor with a cutting deck made of at least 11-gauge steel, just like the Ariens IKON XD tractor.
Another part you should pay close attention to is the front axle. Hitting a ditch at high speed can be detrimental to an axle not thicker than half an inch.
Cast iron axles are stronger than carbon steel ones. They are less susceptible to trauma and can better muffle the vibrations and defy heat and corrosion.
Image credit: flickr.com
I definitely don’t recommend leaving your garden tractor out in the open is not recommended, especially if you live in a diverse climate. You can reduce wear and tear on your machine with proper storage.
Look at the dimensions of the unit and double-check if it will fit through the door of your shed… or maybe even next to your garbage cans! Our garbage can storage ideas for outdoor you can check out here, if you need some inspiration for non-traditional solutions.
Take into account that any additional accessories, like a bag, trailer, and snow blade, will take up more space in your garage.
A garden tractor can do more than just mow the grass (for example, towing away big rocks from your yard), but only if you have the right attachments.
However, the more accessories a unit can use, the more expensive it will be.
For instance, a tractor with a power-take-off (PTO) hitch will certainly cost you more than one that does not have it.
Why? Well, a PTO tractor can host heavy-duty attachments, like an auger, tiller, and snowblower, that feed off the engine’s power.
All of the garden tractors on my list are non-PTO, but they can accommodate accessories like:
- Carts and trailers for carrying tools (check out this list of the best tools for gardening)
- Bin bagger for collecting grass clippings
- Mulching kit for finely cutting the grass that can also shred leaves
- Lawn sweeper for cleaning up the leaves and debris (check out this guide)
- Snow blade for removing snow
- Aerator for introducing oxygen to the soil
- And more
An amazing warranty will give you peace of mind. It also tells you how confident the manufacturer is in their product. From my experience, I can say that the best yard tractor will come with a minimum of 2 years warranty.
Different parts are usually covered by different warranties. Some Husqvarna models are covered by a 3-year limited bumper-to-bumper warranty. On top of that, they may have a 5-year guarantee on the frame, front axle, and chassis, and a 10-year consumer coverage plan for the deck.
Just keep in mind that you may have difficulty claiming a warranty with some of the companies.
Technically, tractors may have titles, the same way cars do. However, it is not obligatory for you to obtain this document. If you want to know more details, read our post about whether tractors have titles.
Best Yard Tractors – Advantages
Why is it worth it to invest in a lawn mower on wheels? If you’ve read my garden tractor reviews, you may already know that these bad boys can do your job of maintaining a beautiful and healthy lawn much easier and more time-efficiently.
The most considerable advantages of owning the best yard tractor are:
- Time efficiency – you can cut the grass on your lawn so much faster, getting clear cut with very small effort.
- Easy lawn maintenance on larger parcels – if you have a large garden, you know exactly how hard it is to lawn it using a regular lawn mower. Having a tractor lets you cover more ground in less time.
- Can handle rougher terrain – due to their built and capabilities, tractor lawn mowers are better equipped to handle more difficult terrain.
- Their construction is more robust – this means they are more durable and need repairs less often.
How To Care For Your Garden Tractor Or Lawnmower
As with any power tool in your shed, a garden tractor one requires maintenance as well. With the proper care, it can last you for years. Take a look at these maintenance tips.
Before and after each use:
- Check if the tires are fully inflated
- Test the brakes
- Check the oil level
- Brush the grass clippings off the deck and engine
Twice a year:
- Lubricate the spindles and pivot points
- Replace the air filter if it is filthy and damaged
- Replace bent and broken blades
- Change the oil and replace the oil filter
Check out this YouTube video for more tips on how to winterize your garden tractor:
Answers To Your Questions
Who Makes The Best Garden Tractor?
A lot of people will agree that the best garden tractor is made by John Deere. But I can’t go without mentioning the Cub Cadet, Troy Bilt, and Craftsman, too. I recommend you check out the opinion of the fellow gardeners on Consumer Affairs.
Are Troy Bilt And Craftsman The Same?
Troy Bilt and Craftsman mowers are made by MTD Products Inc. MTD is an American manufacturer and worldwide leader of outdoor power equipment made for the mass market.
Over the years, they have acquired different brands and companies, including Troy Bilt and Craftsman.
Who Builds Troy Bilt Engines?
Troy Bilt collaborates with a major Asian manufacturer to produce engines under their exclusive brand name, Powermore. They say that their OHV engines can be compared to the Briggs & Stratton and Honda. For more info, check out their support website.
Garden Tractor Reviews: The Best Of The Best
As you can see, there is an array of top-quality garden tractors you can choose from according to your needs and preferences. If you ask me, I vote for the Husqvarna Z254 zero-turn mower . I generally prefer this type of riding mower as they are incredibly agile and easy to maneuver. Thanks to its ergonomic design, this model is also super comfy. What else could one wish for?
I must add that I am also inclined to go for battery-operated garden tractors, so my next best choice is the Ryobi RY48111 . If you are an environmentalist like me and want to contribute to preserving our beautiful planet, you should consider this mower too. It is as powerful as most gas-powered mowers, yet the easiest to maintain. Sounds great, doesn’t it?
No matter what choice you make, you won’t regret it. All the listed garden tractors are worth your money! Please share this article with others, and feel free to ask me anything!
Last update on 2023-12-03 at 14:50 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API