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Is A Ride-on Lawn Mower Worth It

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  • Lawn Mowers, Purchasing a Lawn Mower, Lawn Mower Cost
  • Posted date:
  • 11-08-2022
Is A Ride-on Lawn Mower Worth It

Is a Ride-on lawn mower worth it? What are the different types and what do I need to consider when purchasing one? In this article we answer all of those questions and more.

Do I Need a Ride-on Lawn Mower?

When deciding whether you require a Ride-on Lawn Mower or not, consider two key factors; the size of the lawn and your budget. If your garden only stretches over half an acre or less, and you don't want to spend over £1,000, consider sticking to a traditional hand pull or push mower.

To upgrade from a standard pull/push electric mower, consider a petrol or cordless mower, as they offer increased power and moveability for a fraction of the price compared to a Riding Lawn Mower. Or maybe decide if it's worth a slightly more expensive Compact Ride-on mower or mini-rider to tackle lawns.   

Alternatively, a unique option became available in the late 1990s: The Robotic Lawn Mower. Robotic mowers can maintain the lawn by themselves, remaining within the created 'boundaries' using a straightforward mapping system and reel of low-voltage wire.

Its self-charging system knows when its batteries are low and puts itself on charge. Or, simply pay a neighbour, handyman or garden labourer to cut the lawn, removing the need for your mower altogether.

Different Types of Ride-On Lawn Mower

Do I Need a Ride-on Lawn Mower?

Various Riding Lawn Mowers are available on the market, ranging in price, make, size and features. The type of riding mower you choose will depend on factors like lawn size, budget, terrain type, gradients, guarantees and available accessories.

Types of mowers can be categorised by where the cutting decks are mounted, with both front-mounted and middle-mounted options available. Front-mounter ride-on lawn mowers are the more traditional options, whilst middle-mounted mowers are generally Garden Tractors.

The front-mounted mowers offer easy manoeuvres and a clear view whilst cutting, helping with corners and strangely shaped lawn patches. Although front-mounted mowers often are only designed to cut grass and offer limited flexibility for other garden jobs.

Contrarily Garden Tractors can be used for a wide selection of garden jobs, from towing attachments to clearing a driveway of snow and obviously mowing the grass. Although flexibility comes with a price, as the quality of the grass cut reduces and difficulty navigating increases owed to the deck mounting position. 

Numerous factors will determine the best riding lawn mower for you, so take the time or ask a professional before making a final decision.

If your lawn space is less than an acre, then a ride-on mower with a front-mounted cutting deck is the best option. Specifically, Compact Ride-on mowers can fit through any standard garden gate, making them perfect for smaller spaces.

Rear-engine riding lawn mowers are smaller and more manoeuvrable, allowing you to mow under trees and around flower beds or furniture. If you choose a standard riding lawn mower, then check for the following features;

  • Mulching Function: Mulching means the grass is cut into fine pieces and blown back onto the lawn. They cut grass roots down and provide minerals for the soil, meaning there are no grass clippings to dispose of after the task.
  • Twin Blades: Models with twin blades instead of single blades offer a slicker finish on wet or dry grass. The deck width portrays the potential cutting width.
  • Zero-Turn Lawn Mowers: Garden spaces with obscure shapes or obstacles will benefit from this type of mower. The 360° turn leaves no grass uncut and can work around your garden furniture.

Lawn Tractors are generally larger than standard ride-on lawn mowers. The engine is front-mounted and more powerful than those found in ride-on mowers, with a mid-mounted rotary cutting deck under the seat.

These mower features make Lawn Tractors perfect for large lawns with uneven ground, though they may struggle on sharp slopes. The price tag for Lawn Tractors is larger than standard Riding Lawn Mowers, yet the maintenance costs are relatively similar.

To maintain your Lawn Tractor keep an eye on tyre pressure and battery charge. Some key features to look out for when choosing a Lawn Tractor include;

  • Hydrostatic transmission: This allows automatic gear changes when required. All you control is the tractors' direction- forward or backwards. Alternatively, some options allow for hand-changed gears or level-operated hydrostatic transmission.
  • Four-Wheel-Drive: If your garden has uneven grounds, damp grass or muddy areas, then a Four-Wheel-Drive mower is recommended for greater control.
  • Deck Height: Ensure the deck height can be easily adjusted to suit the desired grass length and time of year, as weather can affect mowing when you have wet or dry grass.

Looking for a machine that can do more than just mowing the grass? Well, a Garden Tractor can handle well over five acres of land and is capable of completing various other garden tasks. A Garden Tractors' flexibility increases its value, with the machines often fitted with an integrated tow-bar and rear power source.

Different accessories can be attached to the rear of the tractor, from leaf blowers to chemical sprays, this allows the machine to be used all year round. If you're considering a Garden Tractor look out for the following elements;

  • Unnecessary extras: Many extras like aerators or lawn sweepers can be difficult to use unless your lawn is mostly flat.
  • Engine size: Owners of garden tractors suggest a powerful engine is worth the extra splurge. Engines of 500cc or above, with power-steering can make the machine much easier to use and manoeuvre.

Considerations When Purchasing a Ride-On Lawn Mower

Considerations When Purchasing a Ride-On Lawn Mower

Lawn space will determine the type of mower you choose. Smaller gardens may require a Compact Ride-On, whilst vast acres may demand a sturdier Lawn or Garden Tractor. Similarly, when covering larger spaces using a battery-operated sit-down mower, ensure the battery can hold enough charge to complete the job.

Petrol mowers are refuellable during a task, although this isn't ideal, so always check levels before starting a task. Another consideration is the total amount of lawn area trimmed in one fell swoop. Wide cutting decks can cover larger areas at once, increasing efficiency dramatically, especially for expansive property grounds.

Likewise, the speed of the machine can affect efficiency; research the mowers' top speed performance, ensuring it provides a high-quality mow even when moving at maximum speeds. Some riding mowers have cruise control, another efficient mower feature.

    Garden design can also affect which riding mower works best for you. Those with undulating land should consider a ride-on lawn mower that offers a springy cutting deck to absorb terrain changes. Likewise, if your lawn space has flowerbeds, overhanging trees, shrubs or other obstacles, consider purchasing a mower with greater manoeuvre abilities.

    There are specific ride-on mowers designed for uneven, sloped or embanked lawns. Front Rotary Mowers have a lower centre of gravity, allowing for greater handling, in addition to four-wheel-drive capabilities.

    The riding lawn mowers' turning circle can affect time spent on the job, so consider a 360° Zero-Turn Ride-on mower for expansive or strangely shaped fields.

    Trusted mower manufacturers create most of their Ride-On Lawn Mowers for the general market, although some are more geared toward commercial or industrial use.

    You should ensure the Ride-On Mower you choose will have spare parts easily available for the following ten years in case of damages. Always double-check the guarantee or insurance- how long does it last, and what elements does it cover?

    For Garden or Lawn Tractors, the accessories can increase year-round value, for instance, tows like a snowplough or trailer give usability during the winter and summer. Just ensure the accessories are designed for the model you have.

    How Much Does a Ride-on Lawn Mower Cost?

    The various Ride-On Lawn mowers can cost anywhere between £1,500 to several thousand pounds, depending on the mower size and features. A smaller and basic Compact Ride-on mower such as the Mountfield 1530M Ride On Mower with Rear Collector will be significantly cheaper than a bulkier Lawn Tractor, like the Mountfield MTF 84M Petrol Ride-on lawn tractor 352cc.

    The value of the ride-on mower can vary depending on lawn size, year-round usability, and the level of flexibility for other jobs, such as towing. A cheaper alternative would be a ride-on mini-mower, although these only reduce prices by a couple of hundred.

    Alternatively, if money is no object and you favour maximum efficiency, a clean cut, and an enjoyable experience, a front-mounted ride-on mower is the best option. Front-mounted ride-on mowers are more expensive than rear-mounted mowers, with one of the cheapest options costing more than £2,000.

    Always check what is included in the purchase package when comparing the prices of potential ride-on mowers. Some riding mowers may be sold without the cutting deck, so the replacement cost should be included in the purchase price.

    Similarly, consider the other jobs completable using the ride-on mower, for instance towing attachments, as this can increase the year-round value of the machine and save money elsewhere.

    Average Costs:

    • Ride-on mowers: around £1,200
    • Lawn tractors: around £1,500
    • Garden tractors: between £2,000 and £5,000+

    If you're lucky, you may find a cheap deal on a second-hand or resale website for less than £1,000, yet these will lack the security of a manufacturer or seller guarantee. It's best to purchase a ride-on mower from a trusted and reputable seller, like us at 'The Mower Shop'.

    So contact us today! Call our knowledgeable team on 01788 510453 or forward your enquiry using our contact form, and we will be in touch as soon as possible to discuss your requirements.

    Are you looking for garden machinery suppliers in Northampton? Get in touch today! We are the premium provider of lawnmowers and ride on mowers in Northamptonshire.