As the Mow Master, I hear it time and time again. “What is the difference between a riding mower and a lawn tractor?”This is an entirely valid question. Retailers often create more confusion for buyers by using these types of phrases to describe their mowing machines and small riding lawn mowers.
As your local expert on the art of mow, let me clear up the differences, once and for all.
What’s the Difference between Lawn Tractors and Riding Mowers?
Some retails will interchangeably use the terms “riding mower,” “lawn tractor,” and even “garden tractor.” (We’ll get to that one, too!)
But in fact, they are not exactly the same. Here are the key differences that you ought to know.
Rear Engine Riding Mowers
First, we have rear-engine riding mowers. These are the types of riding lawn mowers that are meant for smaller jobs.They serve one singular purpose, and that is to cut your grass! Compared to lawn tractors, they’re generally a bit weaker, slower, and cut a smaller width of your grass in one swoop (usually around 30in.).
They’re normally around $800 to $1,500 depending on what brand you go after. And they may make a great fit for your yard! And don’t forget about the lawn tractor battery.But they’re not always cheaper than a regular lawn tractor, which comes with a bit more power under the hood.If you have a small yard, these riding mowers may be the fit just for you. Just try to choose a moderately expensive model rather than the super cheap ones in order to avoid maintenance down the road… or should I say, LAWN?!
Riding Lawn Tractors
Now, the riding lawn tractors on the market come armed with more firepower, can cut swaths up to 48 inches, have advanced comfort features, and cut much faster! This all adds up to a more pleasant mowing experience, and gets you back to your other leisure activities faster.
But everything comes with a catch, doesn’t it? Expect to pay anywhere from around $1,200 to $2,200 for these types of mowers.
A riding lawn tractor is also a bit more versatile. Normally, they grant you the power to tow a cart or even a vacuum bag. Most models even come with a detachable mower deck, letting you trick it out for the winter with snow blowers and other neat accessories.
That often comes in handy for me, as my mow dojo gets a lot of snow, yo.
Garden Tractors over Lawn Tractors
Last but not least, we have garden tractors. Don’t let the name fool you, these aren’t garden tractors for Mr. McGregor (any Peter Rabbit fans out there?).
Garden tractors actually are the most suped-up versions of riding mowers, and they’re definitely not “garden variety.” HA. These heavy-duty beasts cost anywhere from $2,500 and top out around $8,000 or so. BUT they do accept larger mowing decks, up to 72 inches! That’s 6 feet of mowing capacity. Woah. Not to mention they also come packed with implementations and augmentations. Tillers, snow throwers, front loaders, seeders, backhoes… whatever kind of job you have, this can take it.
For the pseudo-farmers out there, this is one step away from a proper tractor. You might just like it even more than your car. And it’s easy to learn how to start a riding lawn mower.
Is a lawn tractor right for me?
How to Choose a
Ah, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, after all.
But my mow students and I have put together a guide on what we believe to be the best riding lawn mower for each type of yard.
I certainly hope that you find it useful! Go forth and mow!