Mowing the lawn can be one of the most mundane and tedious tasks out there, but it doesn’t have to be. With the advent of riding lawn mowers this arduous task has become fun and quick to say the least. But from all the options out there how do you choose which one is the best for you ? Well, after serious deliberation and thorough research, we bring to you the Riding Lawn Mower Buying Guide – A guide to help you make the right purchase to get the job done.
When buying a riding lawn mower you must take into consideration a number of points such as engine power and speed, transmission, attachments and accessories but most important thing to look out for is the size of both the lawn that you are going to groom and storage space that you have for the mower and of course your budget. Accordingly one must determine the size of the lawn mower. Lawn mowers with bigger cutting decks get the work done faster but if you have a small shed for storage or many tight spaces in your yard you might want a smaller option.
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Size: Riding lawn mower sizes range from 30 inches to 54 inches. Ideally for a lawn which is less than half an acre a riding lawn mower is not required, but for people with physical limitations or those who do not have enough time to spend on their yard it is a good option. Lawns that are half an acre to 1 acre will benefit from a riding mower with a 30 to 40-inch cutting deck. Lawns that are 1 to 2 acres require a cutting deck that ranges from 38 to 48 inches and for those large plots covering 2 acres or more mowers with decks that range from 46 to 54 inches would be most effective.
Once you have determined the size of your riding mower it is time to now compare the specifications of the options that you have shortlisted . So what features should you look out for?
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Engine Specs: Engine displacement (cc) and horsepower (bhp) are good indicators as to how powerful or capable your mower will be. The more powerful the engine the faster you get the work done. Engines that lack power also find it difficult to work on inclines and hilly terrains. Anything around 6 MPH top speed is great .
Transmission: Can be manual, CVT or Hydrostatic . For efficiency and convenience the preferred choice is either CVT or Hydrostatic. CVT is a belt driven system whereas hydrostatic uses fluid pressure to drive the wheels . Both the options can be hand lever or pedal oriented. Dual pedals, for forward and reverse, are the best option here as that leaves your hands free to concentrate on steering . Plus with the pedals you can control speed as well, the more you press the faster you go .
Turning Radius: An 18 inch turning radius is the basic standard which should be good enough for most lawns. However, a smaller turning radius will give you more maneuverability and if your yard has a lot of trees, rocks or other obstacles you might want to go for a mower with a zero turning radius. A zero turning radius mower is the best option for crowded yards but steering it does take some time to get used to as it does not use a traditional steering wheel and these variants are also on the pricier side.
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Comfort: Lawn mowing can take a few hours to complete. So you want to be as comfortable as you can while on the job so you can sustain for those long periods in the saddle. You would ideally want a comfortable mid back seat or if you have a huge lawn then a high back one would be better. Cast iron front axle, sound suspension calibration and big wheels for better handling and stability on all terrains. Twin cylinder engines are smoother and quieter than single cylinder ones. Cruise control is an added bonus for a smooth and hassle free ride. Ask the seller for a test ride like any other vehicle to see if the mower suits your comfort standards.
Attachments and Accessories: There are multiple accessories that a mower is compatible with which can make your job easier . You might need a canopy for those sunny days or cup holders for your cold beverage or maybe something a little more technical like a mulching kit , twin baggers, snow blowers and blades. All these accessories are sold separately and can be purchased from most dealers directly.
Safety Features: Whenever handling heavy machinery always remember safety first. An operator-presence control system that immediately shuts down the blades as soon as the operator rises from the seat or dismounts, an easy-to-engage emergency shutdown to instantly kill the engine, a properly installed rollover protective structure that shields the driver in the event the mower tilts over and properly adjusted blade-drive belt tension are some safety features you must look out for.
So to summarize make sure you identify the size of the mower you need and according to your budget shortlist a few options . Pick the one that best suits your needs after comparing the various specs and features . I do hope that this Riding Lawn Mower buying guide has cleared most of your doubts and given you the basic knowledge to find the one machine that best suits your needs .