Rider, Lawn Tractor, Garden Tractor: What’s the Difference?

Updated: Nov. 30, 2022

Here's the info need to know about lawn tractors, rear-engine riding mowers and garden tractors.

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What’s the Difference between Lawn and Garden Tractors?

Some retailers use the terms “lawn tractor,” “riding lawn mower” and “garden tractor” interchangeably. But they’re not the same. Find out what their differences are below.

Rear-Engine Riding Mowers

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Rear-engine riding mowers do one thing: cut grass. Compared with lawn tractors, they’re less powerful, slower and cut a smaller swath (maximum width: 30 in.). At $800 to $1,400, they’re not always cheaper than a lawn tractor. The least expensive models are a good choice for smaller yards and limited storage space.

Lawn Tractors

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Riding lawn tractors have more power, cutting widths of up to 48 in., comfort features, faster-cutting speed and a higher price tag ($1,200 to $2,200). Riding lawn tractors can tow a cart or vacuum attachment, and most models have a detachable mower deck, allowing you to add winter accessories like a snow thrower.

Garden Tractors

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Garden tractors are the heavy-duty models. They start at about $2,200 and top out at about $8,000. They accept larger mowing decks (up to 72 in.!) and a wide range of implements such as tillers, seeders, snow throwers, front loaders and backhoes.