A Lawn Tractor That's Right for You
If your lawn is bigger than a 1/2 acre, you've probably learned the hard way that a push mower just won't do the trick for maintaining your property. You need the power and performance of a lawn tractor to cut your lawn quickly and efficiently without sacrificing quality or comfort.
Want to spend more time enjoying your lawn and less time grooming it? Read on.
Lawn Tractors: Planning Considerations
A lawn tractor is a major purchase, so it's important to know what choices are available. Start by asking some important questions:
Generally, the wider the deck size on your tractor, the faster you'll finish mowing. If your lawn is less than an acre, consider a tractor with a deck size up to 42". Otherwise look for one greater than 42".
If you want your lawn tractor to do most of the work, consider a lawn tractor with automatic transmission and cruise control. If you want more control over the tractor engine's range of power, choose a tractor with manual transmission.
Lawn tractors capable of pulling tow-behind carts and aerators will move debris around your yard, helping you make shorter work of tough projects.
If you're looking to save time and you have objects in your yard to work around, look no further than a zero-turn lawn mower. Zero-turn lawn mowers provide full 360-degree turning ability and optimum maneuvering, making them perfect for flat-terrain yards with lots of trees and shrubs. These mowers also have wide cutting decks – usually at or above 50" – so they work well if your grass grows fast and tall, and if you don't cut your grass regularly.
Depending on the size of your lawn, you'll want to choose your tractor's deck size accordingly. If your lawn is at or below an acre, then a lawn tractor with a smaller deck size (between 40" to 42") will be sufficient. For lawns that are greater than one acre, look for deck sizes ranging from 42" to 48". If you cut your lawn infrequently, then a tractor with more horsepower (anywhere from 19 to 23HP) will be able to power through taller grass more efficiently than a tractor with a weaker horsepower (ranging between 15 to 17HP).
If you're concerned about emissions, consider a tractor with an overhead valve (OHV) engine. These engines are among the lowest-polluting on the market but still offer maximum power and performance.
If you want to sit back and let your riding mower do most of the work, consider a lawn tractor with cruise control. Cruise control is a feature on select tractors that will automatically maintain the same speed of your lawn tractor over smooth or rolling terrain, which is advantageous if you plan on cutting your lawn for an extended period of time. This feature can also result in better overall fuel efficiency of your tractor.
Manual transmission requires the use of a clutch and gear shift to start, stop or change direction, which may slow mowing time, but gives you greater control over your tractor's transmission. Depending on make and model, tractors with manual transmission may involve a lower purchase cost, aid in fuel economy and allow you to take full advantage of your engine's range of power.
A 'Shift-On-The-Go' transmission involves no clutch, allowing you to change forward speeds effortlessly without stopping.
Once you've chosen a lawn tractor, consider buying extra parts and accessories like a tow-behind roller or trailer to suit your specific need.
Frequently Asked Questions
There's no clear answer but, generally speaking, if your lawn is bigger than a 1/2 acre, you should consider a lawn tractor. For lawns less than a 1/2 acre, a lawn mower can do the job – learn more in our Lawn Mowers Buying Guide. Your age, physical shape and the amount of time you want to spend cutting your lawn may also influence your decision.
Transmatic transmissions require the operator to use a clutch and change gears to modify the tractor's ground speed and direction. Tractors with hydrostatic transmissions only require the use of a gas or pedal and brake for forward and backward motion.
It's important to wash and towel dry your lawn tractor after each mowing to prevent rust and corrosion, as well as change all fluids and filters annually to maintain optimum performance. A cover will protect your tractor from the elements if stored outdoors.
It depends on the amount of horsepower your lawn tractor has and what work you intend to do. Tow-behind carts, aerators, twin baggers and other attachments are options, but using these will depend on the size of your property and what type of work you plan to undertake.