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:
Deck Sizes and Horsepower
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.
Lawn Tractor Transmissions and Cruise Control
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.