How do you determine the best small yard riding lawnmower? Well, the choice is going to determine on your preference and how often you want to be mowing your lawn. What’s best for one person may not necessarily be best for someone else – however, there is a good way to figure it out.
Ask yourself some questions while you’re trying to determine which mower is best for your small yard, and answer them honestly. Also, don’t get wrapped up in brand names – have an open mind. Some of the best products come from companies who are willing to take a risk in innovative design and technology, rather than simply focusing on mass production for the consumer.
Riding Mower vs. Zero-Turn Riding Mower
The first consideration you’ll want to make is whether you are looking for a regular riding mower or a zero-turn riding mower. The conventional riders are great, but they might take 4-28 inches before you can turn 180 degrees – which isn’t a lot of wiggle room when you’re working with a smaller lawn.
A zero-turning-radius mower does just what it claims to do – you can move the machine around in its own track, ensuring that no movement is wasted. In a smaller yard, this is greatly beneficial – and even better, these machines tend to move up to twice as fast as conventional mowers.
The main difference in operating is the steering system. The conventional riding mowers have a steering wheel in the front that turns the mower using the front two wheels. The zero-turn machines have two handles for steering that can actually separately control the two wheels in the back. By moving one handle forward and the other one backward, you’re able to rotate the mower in its place.
Budgets and Things to Consider
The primary reason that people choose conventional riders over the zero-turns is that the conventional riders tend to cost somewhere between $1600 and $3000, while the zero-turns are far more expensive, coming in between $2600 and over $7000, in some cases. For only about an hour of use on a mower each week, the price can get fairly hefty.
However, the amount of conventional riders available is reducing, while zero-turns are flooding the market. Since competition is increasing, it is possible that the cost of zero-turn riders will come down in the near future – however, that could take any amount of time. The warranties aren’t a huge factor to think about either, as most riding mowers will have a two-year limited warranty, regardless of the type.
Choosing a Best Mower for Your Lawn
Seeing that the price factor is a bit of a deterrent for some people, you may also want to think about the benefits of a zero-turn versus a conventional mower. Ask yourself how quickly you want to get the job done – with a small yard, you may be fine with a mower that only travels 4 mph as opposed to 9 mph on a zero-turn (whereas if you had a large yard, a faster mower would almost always be the preferred route!).
However, that also would mean that your turning circle is much larger, and you may have trouble with corners. How important is that to you, and is it worth the extra cost?
When you have this figured out, it’s time to consider your maintenance costs, seat comfort, whether or not you want a grass collection function, or whether the mowing deck has rollers to minimize scalping on potentially uneven terrain.
These smaller things, even minor details like where the controls are placed, may make a difference in your personal riding lawnmower preference – it’s essentially like making a very small car purchase! If you can, get a 30-day trial period to ensure that you’ve selected the right mower for you – you won’t regret it.