Getting a Riding Lawn Mower

By: Charles Kassotis

For many people, a mower that one stands behind to steer or push is sufficient. Most of our lawns just arenít that big. However, for people who have a larger amount of yard to mow, a riding lawn mower can be the answer. The general rule is that if you have at least half an acre to mow, a riding mower is a good way to get this done. Riding lawn mowers are also sometimes called lawn tractors.

There are a few considerations to keep in mind when purchasing a lawn tractor. First, you should assess your situation and determine whether you can afford a riding lawn mower. Then you need to determine whether or not you have enough storage space for a lawn tractor. You will not want to leave it outside, where the elements can ruin it. A small shed is often a good place to store a riding lawn mower.

After you have decided to buy the mower, it is off to the store to compare models. You can expect to pay anywhere between $800 and $3,000 for your riding lawn mower. There are many different models to choose from, and the features offered will help determine the price. For instance, if you want a lawn tractor with a hydrostatic drive (these are often easier to operate and smoother than other riding mowers), you can expect to add $200 to $500 to the price. It is important for you to decide what your needs are before you go into the store.

You should know what sort of obstacles are in your yard. Figure out how much space you have between rocks, trees, and other elements of your landscape. The deck of the mower is the size of the blade. You have a larger cutting swath when you have a bigger blade. Try to find a deck that is between 38 and 42 inches wide. Be careful, though! If you get a mower with too wide of a deck, you will have to go back and mow between all of those obstacles with a regular lawn mower.

Knowing what sort of mowing you normally do will also help. Many mowers come with the ability to switch between modes. You should know how difficult it is to switch between mulching, bagging, or sending the clippings out the side. If you plan to do a little of all three, a lawn tractor that switches easily between modes is a good idea. Also find out how convenient it is to adjust the cutting height of the blade.

Other bits of information you should get on the riding lawn mowers you are considering include engine placement (the more powerful are in the front, but this cuts down visibility), speed controls, foot controls, gear levers, and clutch-brake combos. You should also find out whether or not the lawn tractor is easy to brake and steer, and how wide of a turning radius it has. See if you can sit in the tractor to determine how comfortable it is.

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