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Ride On Lawnmowers Buyers Guide

Ride On Lawn Mowers

Ride On mowers (also known as sit on mowers) are designed primarily for fast cutting of large lawns and grass areas.

Due to their size and cost they are almost exclusively used by people with very large gardens, or for maintenance of public spaces such as parks or golf courses.

However some of the high end petrol mower manufacturers are producing attachments for their propelled models to turn them into ride on mowers - these are still expensive but much less so than the tractor types that you would normally associate with this kind of mower.

Ride On Lawnmower Suitability

Application Ride On Mower
Small Gardens No No
Medium Gardens No No
Large Gardens Yes Yes
Rough Terrain Yes Yes
Long Grass Yes Yes
Finest Cut No No

Ride On Lawnmower Types

There are 2 main types of ride on mowers available, but in general they are all petrol powered to give the required power and operating range you need for such a mower

Tractor Ride On Mowers

The Tractor type of ride on mower is exactly that - they resemble small tractor type vehicles with cutting blades underneath, and if supplied a collection box at the rear.

The user simply drives the mower over the area to be cut, and the blades underneath do the work. There will be a series of levers and controls to engage the cutting mechanism and to adjust the cutting height.

The mowers generally have wide pneumatic tyres so they can get over uneven terrain, even in wet conditions, without ripping up the lawn.

These mowers would usually cut in a rotary fashion, which gives a good but not extremely fine cut. They can handle long grass with ease due to the power of the engine.

Adapted Petrol Mowers

These are a fairly new introduction to the market, and consist of a larger higher end petrol mower, which can be connected to a seat / roller attachment.

The mowers can usually be bought as a push along model, but they have sufficient engine power, and also the self propulsion facility to allow then to be transformed into a ride on mower.

These type of mowers are currently more readily available as a cylinder type cut, which gives a very fine cut, but is not so suitable for long grass.

Which size to buy?

The tractor type mowers are normally sized by the width of their cutting decks, which will give you the width of the strip of grass that will be mowed at any one time.

It is best to balance speed of cut with manouverability, especially if you have fixed obstacles such as trees in your garden. Also storage of the machine will be an issue when it comes to overall size.

Engine Power

The engine power will usually be quoted in horse power (hp) and obviously the higher the figure the more powerful the engine. Consult the table below for a rough guide of which power to look for based on garden size :

Garden Size (area) Engine Horse Power
Up to 0.5 acre 6.5hp
Up to 0.75 acre 12.5hp
Up to 1.0 acre 13.5hp
Over 1 acre 15hp+

Maintaining a ride on lawn mower

As they are invariably petrol powered there will be a regular maintenance schedule to be followed. This will normally involve at the very least checking and changing the oil, and also spark plugs. Also due to the size and power of these machines there will be regular safety checks that will have to be carried out to ensure the "road worthiness" of the machine.


As with all mowers they should have any grass or debris that is stuck to the blades or underside of the chassis cleaned off after every cut, especially if the grass is damp or wet. Some of the tractor mowers even have a hose attachment on the cutting decks to allow the blades to be cleaned by spraying them as they rotate.

Winter Storage

Ride on mowers should be stored in as dry conditions as possible to avoid corrosion.