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7 Best Riding Lawn Mowers of 2021

Want to speed up your grass cutting, but unsure about which riding lawn mower to buy? Here are our top choices in seven categories.

Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links. Ratings and prices are accurate and items are in stock as of time of publication.

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Best Zero-Turn Riding Lawn Mower

If you want a mower that maximizes productivity and maneuverability, look no further than the Toro TimeCutter ($3,299). A zero-turn mower means it has a turn radius of zero degrees, because the rear-drive wheels can be controlled independently. It also features a robust 23-horsepower engine and a generous mower deck, either 50- or 60-inches wide.

This machine makes quick work of even large, estate-sized lawns. It’s easier to service than many other mowers. It also comes with a three-year limited warranty and plenty of handy features, such as an underseat storage cubby and independently controlled blade speed.

Reviewers on homedepot.com praise the machine’s sturdy deck design, smooth cutting action and ease of control. “I now can cut my lawn in a fraction of the time,” writes one reviewer. “I’ve noticed the anti-scalp rollers ensure a smooth consistent cut. The ride is smooth and learning to use the motion controlled levers was easy. Looking forward to years of dependability.”

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Best Battery-Powered Riding Lawn Mower

It wasn’t so long ago that the idea of a battery-operated riding lawn mower was laughable. That’s changed thanks to machines like Ryobi’s 48V brushless electric rear-engine mower ($2,999). Featuring three powerful brushless electric motors, this machine packs a surprising punch for a non-gas burning mower.

A full charge gives up to 2-1/2 hours of run time, or enough juice to mow the average 2-1/2 acre lawn. Enjoy cool features like cruise control, onboard phone charging and battery level monitoring while you mow. Reviewers on homedepot.com were pleasantly surprised by the unit’s battery life.

“I have owned the mower for more than two years and live on a hilly lot in the Connecticut River Valley,” writes one reviewer. “This thing has been a champ, and since I own four cars and a boat, not having to buy gas or maintain another gas engine is a godsend. The battery lasts as long as I am willing to cut, which I can do for two-plus hours at any one time.”

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Best Value Riding Lawn Mower

Riding lawn mowers are becoming more innovative every year, making it harder to find a good machine without breaking the bank. That’s where the Troy-Bilt Bronco 19-hp mower ($1,599) can help.

At a fraction of the cost of other mowers with similar power and features, this machine boasts a 19-hp Briggs and Stratton engine and 42-inch cutting deck. It resists vibration well, comes with a two-year limited warranty and even has a rear hitch for non-mowing implements.

“Well-built, effective and affordable,”  writes a reviewer on homedepot.com. “Added gas, jumped on and ready to cut! Very easy start up and easy to operate, cuts great. Super good machine. Highly recommend this tractor.”

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Best Mini Riding Lawn Mower

The trouble with the lawn mower market is the substantial gap between riding lawn mowers and walk-behind mowers. Not anymore. This Troy-Bilt rear-engine machine ($1,449) is the perfect stepping-stone from one type to the other.

With a small but peppy 382-cc engine and a 30-inch-wide mower deck, this machine is perfect for people with smaller yards who struggle with a walk-behind mower. The six-speed shift-on-the-go transmission makes changing speeds a cinch, and the two-year limited warranty means breakdowns can be dealt with quickly.

Former walk-behind mower owners praise the increased efficiency this machine provides. “For my relatively flat acre and a half it’s perfect” writes a reviewer on homedepot.com. “Rocks have been a problem in the past but where they are a problem I can raise the deck high enough to clear. This rider cuts my mowing time in half compared to the old self-propelled walk-behind I was using.”

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Best Medium-Sized Riding Lawn Mower

If a large zero-turn mower seems like too much machine, but you need something more robust than the mini machine above, the Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro ($2,099) may be the perfect mower for you.

With a hefty 22-hp engine and mower deck width options of 42, 46 and 50 inches, this machine is ideal for various lawn sizes and situations. The tight 16-inch turning radius makes it as reliable as a non-zero-turn unit gets, and the smooth blade action and 12 cutting heights make it easier to get your lawn looking exactly the way you want.

Reviewers appreciate the powerful engine and extra-tight turning radius. “We love our new Cub Cadet riding lawn mower,” writes a reviewer on homedepot.com. “Lots of power, great turning radius and simple to start. Overall a great machine.”

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Best Commercial-Size Riding Lawn Mower

Got a big lawn you want to mow as quickly as possible? The Z Beast 62-inch zero-turn mower ($5,799) can make that happen.

The massive five-foot-plus mower deck and hefty 25-hp engine make quick work of every lawn smaller than a nine-hole golf course. The cut is smoother than many competing mowers too, thanks to ultra-fast-spinning blades. The engine runs reliably, due in part to extra-beefy belts made from heat-resistant rubber.

Reviewers are delighted with the incredibly fast cutting times compared to other mowers. “Cuts my mowing time from three hours to one,” writes a reviewer on homedepot.com. “Well worth the investment! Can’t get this quality mower, at this price anywhere else!”

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Toughest Riding Lawn Mower

Mowing lawns is tough on any machine. If a robust build and rugged parts matter to you, check out Cub Cadet’s Ultima ZT1 ($3,299).

With zero-turn capabilities and a powerful, 23-hp Kawasaki engine, this mower cuts quickly and efficiently. But the thick, tubular 2×2-inch steel frame really makes it stand out. It withstands bumps and bangs better than most, and the 11-gauge steel deck helps resist shocks while providing a 42- or 50-inch-wide cutting swath.

“Overall the ZT1 50 [inch] seemed better built than the other mowers we looked at,” wrote one reviewer on homedepot.com. “Our lawn can be rough at times and the large caster wheels were a plus. It has a large square tube frame that looks substantial.”

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