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 Craftsman T225 . It is equipped with a powerful Briggs and Stratton gas engine that handles large and uneven terrain with ease.
Keep on reading to find what my other top picks are!
In A Rush? Check Out Our Comparison Table
Let's take a quick glance at the products we will talk about here.
5 Of The Best Garden Tractor Reviews
Husqvarna YTA24V48 24HP Tractor Mower - Garden Tractor With Most Power
- Most powerful tractor in this roundup because of its 24 horsepower Briggs & Stratton engine.
- Pedal-operated automatic transmission for convenience.
- 4 anti-scalp wheels prevent the blade from damaging the lawn.
- Air induction ensures a clean and consistent cut.
The bigger the property, the more powerful tractor you will need. This one has an impressive 24 horsepower, 724 cc Briggs & Stratton V-Twin engine, ideal for landscaping up to 3 acres of land.
The engine starts with a simple turn of a key due to its ReadyStart feature. With the pedal-operated automatic transmission, your hands will be free to operate the control panel of the electric cutting blade. This design is as convenient as it gets.
This unit cuts a 48-inch wide area. The cutting deck is easily adjusted to your preferred height with a spring-assisted lever. With a 16-inch turning radius, you can quickly bypass obstacles and mow in narrow spaces.
The feature that you will appreciate the most is the adjustable high-back seat with armrests, which are rarely seen on garden tractors.
Craftsman T225 19 HP 46-Inch Riding Lawnmower - Best Overall Garden Tractor
- Best overall garden tractor with a wide variety of features.
- Powerful 19 horsepower engine starts with a simple turn of a key.
- 46-inch cutting deck quickly mows a lawn.
- High-back cushioned seat ensures comfort during work.
The Craftsman T225 is my best overall pick because it works like a dream. This energetic machine will definitely impress you.
It is equipped with a powerful 19 horsepower Briggs & Stratton gas engine that starts quickly and efficiently. The motor automatically shuts off when you get off the seat to ensure safety.
The foot hydrostatic transmission does not overrun the motor when it is working at maximum capacity.
Another great feature that this tractor has that not all tractors have is its reverse mowing capability. This allows you to tidy up a row without making a U-turn.
Most importantly, the tractor has 15-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels for better mobility and balance. The 46-inch cutting deck can cover an area up to 3 acres. The complimentary deck wash earns this product extra points, in my opinion.
Husqvarna YTH18542 18.5 HP Riding Mower - Best Designed Garden Tractor
- Best compact design with lots of premium features.
- 18.5 horsepower Briggs & Stratton Intek engine has amazing performance.
- Reinforced 42-inch cutting deck made of heavy flat-stock steel.
- Heavy front cast iron axle for superior balance on rough terrain.
The Husqvarna YTH18542 hides a variety of premium features in its well-formulated design.
Equipped with a powerful 18.5 horsepower Briggs & Stratton Intek engine, this machine is easy to maneuver and operate. The hydrostatic transmission is pedal-operated, so you can control the speed and direction with your feet.
This particular unit has a cutting width of 42 inches. It cuts the grass at least twice as efficiently as a large push mower. The cut is even and controlled because of the enhanced airflow in the deck, which lifts the grass before slicing it.
With a simple turn of a switch, you can mow in reverse, as well.
The adjustable mid-back seat will let you comfortably work. Under the seat is a safety switch that automatically shuts off the engine, if you were to fall off. This feature will give you peace of mind.
Troy-Bilt Pony 17.5 HP Riding Lawn Mower - Best Garden Tractor for Uneven Terrain
- Performs well on uneven train with 15-inch front and 20-inch rear tires.
- Capable 17.5 horsepower Troy Built OHV engine.
- 7-speed transmission operated by dash panel control.
- Sturdy 42-inch cutting deck made of 13-gauge steel.
Not every garden tractor can go up hills. This Troy-Built Pony riding lawnmower can!
The 17.5 horsepower engine, combined with heavy-duty wheels, gives it enough momentum to go up and down a small hill. The 7-speed transmission allows you to safely reach a maximum speed of 5.5 mph.
The tractor delivers a clean and even cut with each use. Its 42-inch cutting deck can be adjusted to five positions. The grass clippings are discharged to the side, but you can always upgrade your unit with the bagger, sold separately.
The tractor has an exceptional 18-inch turning radius that will help you make a quick U-turn out of tight trouble spots. The lower the radius, the better.
The tractor has more legroom than models with a pedal-operated transmission. This means you can easily get on and off the comfy low-back seat.
Yard Machines 420cc 42-Inch Riding Lawn Tractor - Best Budget-Friendly Garden Tractor
- Best budget-friendly garden tractor with lots of practical features.
- 420cc OHV engine has an electric start for reliability.
- 42-inch cutting width with 1 to 4-inch cutting height.
- Pneumatic wheels prevent scalping of uneven terrain.
Just because you are on a budget doesn’t mean you should miss out on the benefits of having a garden tractor. This Yard Machines 42-inch lawn tractor offers amazing features for the price.
The tractor is equipped with a 420cc overhead valve engine, which betters the performance and fuel consumption. It should give you enough power to go up hills and ridges. Simply turn the start key and off you go.
The tractor moves at seven different speeds, which are controlled by a lever. Its maximum forward speed is 5 mph and it can go up to 2 mph in reverse.
You will most certainly appreciate the 42-inch blade that makes wide and controlled cuts. The blade does not scalp uneven terrain because of its two-deck gauge wheels. The 18-inch turning radius makes it easy to mow around house corners and trees.
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 YTA24V48 has an impressive 24 HP 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. The Troy-Bilt Pony 42X has a seven-speed transmission, giving you more control over the work tempo. Tractors like this 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. The Craftsman T225 cuts an area 46-inches wide, so you will be done with your mowing much quicker.
A transmission lets you covert an engine’s power into movement, so you can go forwards 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. Take a look at the Yard Machines 42-inch lawn tractor for reference. It is a dependable machine for working on level ground and hauling light loads.
A hydrostatic system uses fluid to switch gears automatically. The Husqvarna YTH18542 and other models like it 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.
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.
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 Husqvarna YTH18542 , for instance, has a 16-inch radius. 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, like that on the Husqvarna YTA24V48 , will also prevent the blade from slicing through the dirt when going over a high spot.
Suspension in a tractor is comprised 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 Craftsman T225 rides smoothly, based on reviews.
Every tractor looks sturdy on the 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 13-gauge steel, just like the Troy-Bilt Pony 42X .
Another part you should pay close attention to is the front axle. Hitting a ditch at a 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. The Husqvarna YTH18542 and Craftsman T225 both have strong cast-iron front axles that can withstand greater loads.
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 may inspire you for non-traditional solutions.
If you are concerned about storage, the Yard Machines 42-inch lawn tractor Lawn Tractor is the smallest tractor on my list. It measures only 70x47x38.5 inches.
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
- 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.
Different parts are usually covered by different warranties. For example, the Husqvarna YTA24V48 is covered by a 3-year limited bumper to bumper warranty. On top of that, it has 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.
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: My Top Pick
It is reassuring to know that there are many garden tractors to pick from. With the help of my detailed reviews, you should easily narrow down your selection to find the best garden tractor for your needs.
What is the best garden tractor, in my opinion?
My top pick is the Craftsman T225 because of its sturdy and powerful 19 HP Briggs & Stratton engine, sufficient for up to 3 acres, if not more.
It has a foot hydrostatic transmission, which is more practical to use than the hand-operated system on the Yard Machines 42-inch lawn tractor Lawn Tractor.
Its 46-inch cutting width is also superior to the 42-inch width of some of the other models on my list. The high back-seat also gives better support than the low-back of the Troy-Bilt Pony 42X .
The runner up worth mentioning is the Husqvarna YTH18542 . It has a slightly smaller deck and its engine is just as impressive, at 18.5 HP.
Featured image credit: flickr.com
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Last update on 2020-09-21 at 21:19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API