Mowing a lawn is fun till your mower breaks down. Who would cut the vast lawn with a manual mower? At least not us. However, we won’t spend a thousand bucks on a useless piece of equipment either. Since walking mowers just don’t make the cut anymore, riding mowers make their way to the top with efficient and extensive cutting. With the variety of riding mowers in the market, it’s complicated to choose one that perfectly fulfills the requirements of your mowing job.
We pride in providing you a list of the best riding mowers for hills. Each product has undergone a thorough analysis and research process while we paid utmost importance to the customer’s reviews. As a result, we guarantee you that each riding mower fulfills the expectations of your cutting process while maximizing your satisfaction. Moreover, our buying guide is there to help you with the buying process. We know that it’s hard to choose a product, especially if it involves a deal of more than a hundred bucks. Therefore, the guide contains the necessary factors one must consider while choosing a mower for their area.
Best Riding Lawn Mower For Hills
Hill Lawn Mower Reviews
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Let’s face it- no one wants to spend extra bucks on a riding mower with features for large lawns. After purchasing the Husqvarna LTH1738, we were in complete awe of its features. The small size doesn’t comprise on performance but rather gives users outstanding control over this riding mower. What more do you want for a professional cutting finish?
Beginners search for products that won’t make their life complicated. The choke less start feature ensures a fast and easy start-up: just turn the key for the engine to start.
Riding mowers for small lawns come with basic features. Hence Husqvarna doesn’t make use of an automatic blade engagement. However, you don’t need to frown on it as it’s simple manual blade engagement works just by pulling the lever for blade engagement after the properly positioning the mower. Furthermore, it’s 16-inch turn radius boosts maneuverability by allowing it to turn easily around the obstacles.
We mentioned earlier that we are in love with its features. Each element makes your mowing experience more delightful by solving inconveniences that the other machines ignore. For people fond of cutting the grass late at night or before the sun rises, they don’t need to invest in lighting in their yard. It comes with built-in headlights, allowing you to see in low light situations. Apart from this, Husqvarna employs a reverse operating system that disengages the blades, once placed in a reverse motion: you can classify it as one of the safety features too.
Moving on, the steering wheel isn’t one of the ordinary. Its ergonomic design caters to users by allowing them to use it from their comfortable sitting position. As a result, you can use it for a longer duration. Furthermore, there is a Wash port on the deck. Thick grass clogs up the blade, resulting in poor performance. Therefore, the port allows you to hook up a hose directly to the deck for an easy cleaning process. Steep hills often have uneven, rough surfaces, but Husqvarnas anti-scalp, 20 inch rear wheels cause minimal wear and tear of the terrain.
As we always say, safety should be your first priority while using any machine. When it comes to machines with blades, the safety factors shouldn’t be compromised on. Husqvarna designed the cutting deck and engine in a way where it shuts off immediately after detecting a change in its weight. As a result, you don’t need to bother about the machine damaging anything in your absence.
What we like:
- Great for small yards
- Has a beginner-friendly interface
- Ergonomic design for better performance
- Several safety features
What we don’t:
- Not meant for large yards
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Even though we said that zero-turn mowers are not the ideal machines to cut grass on a steep hill, the Husqvarna Z254 54 inch mower is the optimum solution for your grass cutting needs. With a large range of exemplary features, you can easily mow large lawns. Moreover, the manufacturers designed the mower in such a way that each drawback of the zero-turn mower was minimized, boosting performance and productivity.
Most of our editors claim that the hardest part of using a machine is starting it. Manual systems are definitely the worst, and when it comes to beginners, the start-up process often ruins the whole mood. Therefore, Z254 comes with an automatic choke system: this simplified startup doesn’t require any user input and immediately starts if the initial conditions are met. Furthermore, it has a robust fan to improve performance; it draws air to the bottom of the deck for better grass movement and clean finish. Along with this, the modern air filtration system promotes airflow for a greater life expectancy. The 54-inch steel cutting deck is durable, allowing the blades to work better without any issues.
There’s no use of an ergonomically designed riding lower if it offers unsatisfactory performance. Husqvarna doesn’t disappoint us as it’s zero-turn radius capability boosts its efficiency. This easy maneuverability allows you to direct the mower away from any obstacles and provides clean cuts near edges. For people fond of clean and even lawns, this riding mower is the one to use.
Moving on to its motor, the 24HP Briggs & Stratton V-twin endurance engine is the best we could find: we can refer to it as the ”king of engines.” The engine manufacturer prides over the designs and outstanding power of its engines, and this remains true with Husqvarna too.
Every manufacturer claims a lot, but where’s the guarantee. Husqvarna offers it’s customers a limited yet lifetime warranty. Even though you need to file a warranty claim and follow a huge set of instructions to render it applicable, there’s no better way of ensuring maximum customer satisfaction. Apart from this, there are two unique features: rear engine guard and auto parking brake system. The former offers an extra layer of protection for enhanced durability, whereas the latter acts as a safety feature for areas with a lot of hills: it stops immediately after the foot comes off the pedal, minimizing incidents.
What we like:
- Automatic choke system for easy startup
- The powerful fan increases airflow and durability
- Reduces the cutting time with its zero-turn feature
What we don’t:
- You can’t make horizontal cuts on sharp slopes
- The cutting deck is prone to breakages
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While buying anything, especially a riding lawn mower for hills, you need to take several factors into account. As we mention later, there are separate riding mowers for large lawns and small lawns. Ariens 915223 IKON-X Zero Turn Mower is an optimum riding mower for those with several acres of land.
Ariens is meant for large lawns. Hence, it comes with a 52 inch large manufactured cutting platform. It cuts a width of 52 inches per drive, a great feature for lawns as big as 6 hectares. Moreover, you can select between 13 different cutting options for a professional finish of your choice. For people with a deep sense of visual appeal, this proves to be a lifesaver.
What drives a riding mower? It’s the engine. This 720cc and 23 HP Kawasaki engine deliver outstanding cutting performance while the powerful motor finishes the job within no time. The manufacturers assure you that this reliable and robust engine will fulfill the most complex cutting jobs without falling apart. Moving on to the transmission system, Ariens utilizes a hydraulic gear drive. Not only does it make the driving process easier, but it also minimizes the need for changing the speed manually. The ergonomic gearbox is meant for steep hills with several obstacles.
Beginners find this riding mower worth investing into. Wonder why? The longevity and ease of use make it a great tool for both professionals and amateurs. The two hydrostatic EZT transaxles increase the reaction time for a simple trimming process. Moreover, the twin arm lift has a commercial design with a 4 point suspension system for an even finish.
Talking about comfort it enhances productivity. An uncomfortable position may tire you soon while proper seating allows you to continue mowing for a long time. Keeping this in mind, this mower consists of a high back upholstered seat with comfortable armrests. As a result, you won’t get tired regardless of driving for hours, making this an efficient piece to invest in. Moreover, it comprises of adjustable wishbones in three different directions. It boosts your overall comfort while the dual flip levers make it easy for you to enter and exit the machine.
The fuel gauge isn’t present in a lot of mowers, regardless of its importance. I mean, what’s the harm in being aware of the fuel in your tank. The visual gauge makes you aware of the next refilling job and prevents it from stopping midway due to an empty tank.
What we like:
- A symbol of versatility with a variety of cutting options
- Great cutting speed and power
- A beginner-friendly user interface
What we don’t:
- It doesn’t come with a mulching set
- The wheels often slip on wet ground
- Not ideal for small yards
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If you haven’t heard of Troy Bilt, we assume that you are living under a rock. Famous for the premium quality lawn mowers, they strive to maximize customer satisfaction by offering them unparalleled lawn care equipment. They have a huge variety of riding lawn mowers, but we chose to review the Troy Bilt Horse Hydrostatic lawn mower for several reasons.
Comfort is the utmost priority while doing any job, especially when it’s tiring as mowing your yard. An uncomfortable seat with the steering wheel at an awkward position only leads to a decrease in productivity. However, Troy Bilt deluxe high back seat ensures a proper posture while the soft-touch steering wheel minimizes strain on your hand muscles.
The key rule of choosing a deck width is by observing the size of your lawn. A smaller deck size caters to small yards just like this 42-inch riding mower. Moving on to the wheels, the larger rear Turfsaver tires increase traction and control so you can remain stable on steep hills. In some cases, the rear wheels reduce traction, resulting in slippages.
One means of determining the overall performance of a riding mower is though it’s the engine. They have a partnership with Briggs and Stratton, a renowned engine manufacturing company. However, this particular mower has a 547cc Troy Bilt branded engine. Even though it’s not as famous, this engine is powerful enough to command your mower throughout the cutting process, while the hydrostatic transmission system enhances the performance.
The only way to prove how reliable a riding mower is by offering a warranty. Troy Bilt 2 year limited warranty assures customers that they can use the mower without any limitations. Maintenance, on the other hand, turns out to be a pretty easy task: the integrated deck wash system makes it easier to wash while the outside cover has ridges, allowing water runoff while preventing the grass from enclosing itself. Moreover, it consists of components that are extremely durable without needing constant maintenance, including electronic ignition and visual oil check area. However, if you’re extremely particular about cleanliness, investing in an extra twin bagger is recommended: the side-discharge system spits the grass sideways while the bags collect the clippings.
What we like:
- Has a twin bagger to store grass clippings
- Two years limited warranty
- Easy maintenance
What we don’t:
- Doesn’t have a Briggs and Stratton engine like it’s counterparts
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If you’re looking for a powerful yet durable riding mower, Craftsman T225 is an optimal choice. It caters extremely well to people with small to medium-sized yards while delivering exemplary maneuverability and strong control. This cheap, beginner-friendly model is there on our list for several reasons. Talking about the brand, Craftsman is famous for its powerful, versatile, and durable products.
The first thing you must focus on in a riding mower is its engine. Briggs and Stratton are famous for their premium quality, powerful engines. This 19 HP engine revs up immediately after a simple turn of the key: an easy solution for beginners and professionals alike. The wheels of the riding mower affect the overall performance. They maintain its stability and prevent the mower from toppling down the hill. As a result, the 20 inch rear wheels and 15-inch front wheels are small but wide enough for improved clearance. This was all for the features affecting the performance, but what is the overall experience actually like?
Ready start technology is a symbol for efficient, fast startups. Since manual startups are too complex for beginners, you don’t need to do much more than turning the key while the high backed seat keeps you comfortable. The reverse mowing feature enables you to continue the cutting process whilst to reverse, saving time, and stress.
Apart from the performance, it’s important to look at the ergonomic design of your riding mower. This 46-inch cutting deck is perfect for all small to medium-sized lawns while the easy maneuverability allows it to access the hidden edges and uneven terrain for a smooth, clean cutting finish. Moving on, there is a deck wash port for connecting a hose directly to the port to get rid of grass clippings and debris. Due to the fast cleaning process and minimal blockages, maintenance isn’t a huge issue. With its reverse mowing feature, maneuvering around the uneven, tight spots becomes much easier. As we always say, comfort should be a top priority for manufacturers. It boosts productivity and makes mowing a pleasurable experience. Craftsman comprises of a high back cushioned seat with an ergonomic design for increased comfort, support and cushioning.
What we like:
- Great for small to medium-sized yards
- It is affordable
- Has anti-skid tires to enhance safety
What we don’t:
- Not recommended for lawns over two acres
Buyers Guide: Things To Consider When Buying a Riding Lawn Mower For Hills
It’s not a mysterious fact that riding lawn mowers are expensive. Absolutely no one would want to spend hundreds of bucks on a product that won’t do its job properly.
To make this process easier for you, we compiled a list of the necessary factors to consider before buying a riding lawnmower.
Step 1: Do you want to walk or ride?
This is the first step to figure out before choosing a machine. To be very honest, the choice depends on your personal preference and the size of your lawn. For mowing a lawn as generous as 1.4 acres, only a fitness enthusiast may prefer to walk behind mower.
To make the right choice, take out an approximate area of your mowing surface, measure your stride (which comes up to 26-30 inches), and walk off large rectangles while counting your steps. Keep in mind that you don’t need precise calculations.
A surface that measures around 1/4 acres to 2 acres requires a rear engine riding mower because light-duty lawn tractors and residential zero-turn mowers work equally great. You need a commercial duty zero turn mower for surfaces bigger than this. However, if you feel there’s enough time on your hands to mow vast surfaces with a walking mower, it’s great.
Step 2: Select the features
After choosing between a riding or walking mower, you need to look at your budget and comfort. Even though we always say that price isn’t directly proportionate to quality, you need to pay more for a durable and versatile mower. Cheap mowers work great with small, simple yards since they don’t need technical features. However, it’s recommended to invest in a mower with a greater range of features for a relatively larger lawn i.e., riding mowers.
– Walk Mowers
To be very honest, they are one of the most versatile equipment in the market; the wide range of features may increase it’s price and complexity, however, you’re usually provided with an instructions manual. The overall concept of a walking mower is to either push it or buy one that pushes itself. Front-wheel drives are best for even surfaces that have obstacles; you only need to push the handle to lessen traction on the front wheels, allowing you to pivot into and out of corners. Moreover, self-propelled mowers are best for uphill cutting sessions: who would not appreciate minimal physical efforts? There are other options available such as the front-drive, all-wheel drive, and rear-drive mowers. The latter works well with uphill and sidehill mowing since the front tires do not lose traction while going up a hill.
All-wheel mowers, however, are amazing for amateur mowers who often work on sidehill and steep surfaces: they make the entire cutting process a lot easier, and there’s nothing more a beginner wants.
– Riding mowers
If you’re looking for unmatched speed and performance, there’s no better mower than a riding mower. Even though its relatively more expensive than it’s counterparts, the final result bears no comparison, especially if you have a large lawn. There are three types of riding mowers- lawn tractors, rear-engine riding mowers, and zero-turn mowers.
– Lawn Tractors
A great choice for beginners, they come with a steering wheel and front-mounted engine for a familiar vehicle look. With an engine side of 18-25 HP, some of them include a cylinder or engines with electronic fuel injections. Traditionally, cheaper models feature lever transmissions, whereas the expensive counterparts use the hydrostatic or pulley drive system. Lawn tractors have a deck width from 42 to 54 inches, enough for average-sized lawns.
– Rear engine Mowers
We assume that you opened the buying guide because you’re confused about making a proper decision. For someone with a lawn too big for walk mowers but too small for zero-turn mowers, this is the perfect option. This features a single-cylinder engine around 38 to 344 cc and 10-11 HP; most of them use the shift on the go hand lever with the CVT system. However, some of them may utilize the hydrostatic system too. With a deck size of 30-33 inches, you are getting the best of both worlds.
– Zero-turn mowers
Gaining popularity for the last two decades, they are a great source of cutting satisfaction for both beginners and professionals. The ergonomic design caters to great speed and steering through dual hydrostatic transmissions at the rear wheels. To be very honest, they are quite expensive, but with a deck size ranging from 32 to 60 inches with a 452 cc to 700 cc engine size, you know what you’re paying for. It is the symbol of efficient cutting, maximizing productivity, and ensuring a perfect finish.
Step 3: What are the functions and features?
If you are living under a rock, mowers mulch clippings while bagging or discharging them to the side. Two function mowers do the basic task pretty well; they mulch the clippings and bag them. The greatest benefit is that nitrogen-rich grass clippings return back to the ground (the environment will thank you); however, it isn’t the best tool for tall grass.
Three function mowers bag, mulch, and discharge the clippings to the side. If you work on an area with tall weeds and none-turf grass, the side-discharging feature turns out as a lifesaver as it allows you to cut the grass in stages.
After discussing the basic functions, let’s move on to the common features one must look for in a mower.
– Deck levers
They come in groupings of one, two, and even four. A single lever is extremely convenient. However, it adds additional weight due to extra linkages. You need to endure that it’s kept well lubricated for optimum performance. Moving on, two levers minimize the drawbacks of one and four levers- we like to call it a balance point. Even though they pack on additional linkages, it’s easier to adjust the perfect height, whereas four levers are a standard design.
– Speed control
A lot of people demand it, but some customers tend to shy away from it. What would work best for you? There’s no better way to figure that out other than trying the ground speed control yourself. Controls are often integral to the handle and increase the speed every time it’s pressed forward. In other mowers, the control comes in the form of levers and metal rods- the speed increases once you squeeze the lever.
According to our research, there are three types of transmissions used by self-propelled mowers. Our favorite is the hydrostatic transmission as it provides exemplary smoothness during the performance. However, it is expensive. Hydrostatic transmission works by driving the hydraulic fluid past the impeller to spin a shaft. As a result, you maintain steady control over your speed. On the other hand, you may find the belt and pulley arrangement on the most rear-drive mowers; they transmit power to a gearbox on the front or rear, directly from the engines output shaft. Most people prefer this particular feature due to it’s cheap and easy maintenance along with reasonable performance.
Since riding mowers are powered by gas, most engines feature a size of 140cc to 190cc. What is the difference? Smaller engines such as 140cc produce less torque, however, stall in tall grass during humid seasons. If you’re using the riding mower for steep uphill cutting, it’s better to invest in a larger engine since it’s more effective. Another thing you may have noticed while purchasing its engine is the varied price range. It’s usually due to ergonomic valve design and extra valves. As we mentioned earlier, most expensive products signify higher durability with minimal noise and oil consumption.
Walk mowers feature larger rear wheels compared to the diameter of the front wheels- the bigger wheels allow it to navigate rough terrains with ease. Moving on, you may choose from ball bearing wheels and bushing type wheels. The former is easier to push along, hence a great choice for vast mowing areas.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): About Riding Lawn Mower
Q: How do you mow a steep hill?
A: Mowing is easy until you come to an area with steep hills. No, it’s not impossible. However, you need to take some extra precautions by following the tips. First of all, you should not mow wet grass. The reason is that wet grass is harder to cut through since debris clogs up in your mower (read: long cleanup process). Moreover, damp yards cause the mower to slip. Therefore, it’s better to mark the sunny days for your best mowing job. The second point is to adjust the height of the mower to the maximum for minimal scalping of the yard.
In the case of long grass, move it down slightly for an even grass height. Moving on, it’s better to invest in a self-propelled mower since they are easier to handle on hills and prevent slippage. Side to side mowing is tonnes better than up and down mowing. The latter poses a huge risk to your safety as the mower may roll back due to the steep slope. Side to side mowing might have a risk of tipping, but it’s still better. However, in the case of riding mowers, it’s better to mow up and down the hill as the machine won’t flip.
Q: Are zero-turn mowers good on hills?
A: Such mowers utilize versatile caster wheels for easy maneuverability; they move quickly around obstacles and edges while the top speed increases productivity. However, they aren’t the best option for steep hills. Since they use the rear wheels for steering, poor control on your wheel might prove fatal on the hill. Moreover, they have minimal traction. Hence they turn faster on tighter turns. As a result, there’s no stability, and due to lack of tread, your mower might topple down the hill. However, wider rear wheels often solve this issue.
Q: What is hydrostatic riding mower?
A: As we mentioned earlier in the buying guide, the hydrostatic transmission system offers you a wide range of speeds compared to the preset gear speeds of normal mowers. This system combines a hydraulic pump and motor to power the machine; the pressurized oil moves pistons in the drive system, transferring power to the motors and engaging the wheels. As a result, you get more power and higher acceleration along with quick response time. Furthermore, modern machines come with a cruise control function that allows you to choose the mowing pace.
The drawbacks, according to us, are the expensive pricing and maintenance.
Q: Can you put too much oil in a lawnmower?
A: Ever heard of the phrase,” there’s too much of everything.” Even though oiling your mower is a must to prevent overheating and maximizing its life, it’s possible to go overboard with it. If you find your mower emitting a while fume while the oil leaks out of the muffler, know that you’ve over splurged, such an incident causes damage to the mower’s motor and results in leakages, ruining the other components of the motor. Moreover, you’ll find it hard to start your machine and leakages, as you know, result in fire.
Mowing is a tiring job, especially if you don’t have a good riding mower. It’s necessary for you to ensure that you choose a mower that fits your budget and your needs. Setting an extremely low budget might lead you to a machine that would break down with a couple of weeks while ruining the look of your yard. However, buying an expensive machine for your small yard is a waste of money since they don’t utilize the complex features. Make sure to spot the safety features since a bit of carelessness often leads to disasters. Every product on your list promises outstanding features: great quality at a great price. If you aren’t satisfied, scroll through our buying guide to choose your own product.