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A Beginner's Guide to Buying a Riding Mower or Tractor

While a large lawn can give your property a clean and spacious look, it can be very difficult to maintain. Instead of tiring yourself out with an old-fashioned push mower, consider buying a riding mower or lawn tractor to help cut down on time and energy. Choosing the right model typically depends upon the acreage of your land and the type of terrain you're mowing. To make sure you make the best selection, consider the specific features of each type of riding mower or tractor.

Types of Riding Mowers and Tractors

Lawn Tractors

A lawn tractor is lightweight and has small wheels, allowing you to easily maneuver around trees and other obstacles.


  • Cutting large lawns - If you live on a large property, cutting grass is hard to do with a push mower. A lawn tractor allows you to save time and energy maintaining your front and backyard.
  • Consumers on a tight budget - This model is typically a more affordable option than garden and zero-turn tractors.

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Garden Tractors

A garden tractor can make quick work out of mowing and mulching.


  • Tough terrain - A garden tractor is heavier and has larger wheels than other models of riding mower, making it ideal for handling terrain with steep areas and hills. This device is also able to handle different lengths and grades of grass.
  • Handling multiple gardening projects - This machine provides versatility to not only cut grass but also to till and mulch a garden.
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Zero-Turn Mowers

The zero-turn tractor operates with hand levers, allowing you to maneuver quickly around trees, flower beds and around tight spots.


  • Making precise cuts - The precise turn radius of a zero-turn tractor can make detailed cuts around various objects in your yard, including trees, flowerbeds and other landscaping.
  • Professional landscaping - If you cut grass on a daily basis, this type of riding mower creates accurate cuts to give your clients' lawns a pristine look.

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Features of Riding Mowers or Tractors

Essential Settings

  • Cutting deck - The  cutting deck is the key difference between a riding mower and lawn tractor. A riding mower's deck is mounted in the front, while a tractor has one mounted in the middle. If your machine has a wider the deck, it means you can cut more space in just one pass.
  • Transmission - While there are manual models available, many options are available in automatic transmission for easy operation.
  • Extra conveniences - Lawn tractors can come with various conveniences, including adjustable high-back seats, cushioned steering wheels and cup holders.
  • Multi-functionality - Most riding mowers have pushing and pulling capabilities, which allow you to mow, till, dethatch grass and plow snow.

Tractor Attachments

  • Baggers - If you don't want the mower to mulch on your yard, a lawn bagging attachment is perfect for collecting grass clippings and recycling them.
  • Carts - A tractor cart can easily haul garden and yard tools from one end your property to another.
  • Snow removal - During winter, use your tractor to clear snow quickly with a snow blade attachment.
  • Tillers - If you're an avid gardener, a tiller attachment will help you quickly work the soil with ease.