5 Tips for buying a riding mower

Now may be the perfect time of year to get that riding mower you’ve always wanted. I’ve seen some great deals on last year’s inventory as dealers make room for new models.

Lawn Tractor or Riding Mower Buying Guide

Here are some things to keep in mind if you are shopping for a new riding mower.

How to Buy the Right Riding Mower or Lawn Tractor for You

  • Buy the right riding mower for your yard. Make sure that the mower you purchase is able to drive around any trees, bushes or swing sets in your yard. Also take things like ponds, hills and fences into account. Riding mowers typically have front-drive, rear-drive or zero-turn mower handling.
  • Do you have the need for speed? If you have a yard with many obstructions, you may need to slow down to achieve the desired cut. If your yard is large and mostly clear, you may want to speed up to get the job done quickly. A multi-speed system gives you the best of both worlds.
  • It’s all in the engine. Engine power is important in buying a new mower, but it’s not the only thing that should be taken into account. Make sure the riding mower engine has a quality cooling system and an oil filtering system to extend the life of your engine.
  • Cutting path. Riding mowers and lawn tractors are available in a variety of widths – the size of the mower deck is the width that a mower will cut in a single pass. If you have a smaller yard, you can use a smaller deck. As a reference, here is a guide for what jobs need what cutting path:
    • 30-40 inch mowing deck for yards up to 1 ½ acres
    • 40-48 inch mowing deck for yards 1 ½ to 3 acres
    • 48-61 inch mowing deck for yards 3 acres or larger
  • Consider the maintenance schedule. While regular tune-ups and lawn mower maintenance are critical to your new mower’s health, consider factors that may also help protect your engine and reduce the need for repairs. For instance, dirt and debris can damage an engine. Briggs & Stratton’s Advanced Debris Management System, found on most of our 2013 riding mower engines, holds a significant amount of debris compared with other systems on the market. 32 percent more debris than Kawasaki FR and 195 percent more beyond what the Kohler Courage 36ci can hold.

Looking for more info on how to choose the right lawn mower for you and your lawn? Not sure if a riding mower is right for you? Check out the comprehensive how-to for Choosing a Lawn Mower or the Push Mower Buying Guide .

Have you recently bought a riding mower? What questions did you have? Any tips for those who are shopping now?