Choosing a Lawn Tractor
Lawn tractors come in a wide price range: $1,200 to $2,200. Even the lowest-priced models can cut your mowing time in half compared with a walk-behind mower. So how do you choose the best machine for your yard? Answer these 6 questions before you decide on the lawn tractor that’s right for you.
1. Is a lawn tractor right for you?
You’re a perfect candidate for a lawn tractor if your yard is larger than a half acre and you spend an hour or more cutting grass with a walk-behind mower. If your yard is slightly smaller but you want to reduce mowing time, a riding mower might be a better choice.
2. What size mower deck?
Obviously, the larger the mower deck, the faster you’ll finish. But keep in mind that a large mowing deck may not fit through your fence gate or between trees. Measure before you buy. As a general rule, choose a 42-in. deck for 1-acre lots, a 42-in. to 46-in. deck for 1- to 2-acre lots, and a 48-in. deck for larger yards.
3. Where will you park it?
Lawn tractors have a big footprint. You’ll need a large storage space— at least 70 in. long by 50 in. wide, with about 48 in. of free space above the unit (for a machine with a 42-in. deck).
4. Can you haul it?
When your tractor needs routine service or repairs, you can pay a pick-up and delivery fee or haul it yourself—if you have a trailer or a truck and ramps. Lawn tractors weigh about 400 lbs.
5. Will it climb up hills?
Lawn tractor engines are sized to climb the grade listed in the specs. If you have a hilly yard, check those specs.
6. Does the seat fit your seat?
You’ll be spending a lot of time on the machine and the ride can be rough, so you’ll want a comfortable seat. Manufacturers equip their machines with mid-back or high-back seats that vary in width and comfort. Conduct a butt test before you buy.
If you’ll be the only driver, you don’t need an adjustable seat. However, if you’re splitting mowing duties with others, choose a seat with a lever release to adjust the depth and height.
Is a lawn mower more your style? Check out our best riding lawn mower reviews. And be sure to check out our tips for winterizing your lawn tractor or lawn mower.