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How to Buy a Lawn Tractor

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:

How large of a cutting deck do I need?
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".
Do I want automatic or manual transmission?
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.
What special features would make my job easier?
Lawn tractors capable of pulling tow-behind carts and aerators will move debris around your yard, helping you make shorter work of tough projects.

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.

'Shift-On-The-Go' transmission involves no clutch, allowing you to change forward speeds effortlessly without stopping.

Safety First

Lawn tractors are powerful tools, so take the necessary precautions before operating to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you.

  • Be cautious and drive slowly when mowing uphill.
  • Avoid wearing loose clothing that may get tangled in moving parts.
  • Clear debris from your yard prior to mowing to avoid tractor damage.
  • Wear ear plugs to protect your hearing when mowing for long periods of time.
  • Look for lawn tractors that stop blades from spinning when you stand up.

Frequently Asked Questions

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