Buying a Lawn Tractor

Do You Need One? Don't buy a lawn tractor because you are simply tired of pushing the lawn mower. It's arguable whether spending more money on unnecessary power or features will make mowing the lawn any more efficient or convenient, but it really depends on your lawn and your wallet. They cost several times more than walk-behind mowers and take up much more room (they need a minimum storage space of 4'x6'), but more horsepower combined with a quality machine can make a cleaner cut and more efficient mow.

Tractor Factors

The best type of tractor for you depends considerably on the size of the lawn you need to mow. This chart compares different kinds of mowers by size of lawn. Just look for your acreage to determine which kind is best for your. If your property is on the borderline sizewise, you might want to consider the terrain as well flat lawns need less power than hilly, rocky, or otherwise difficult terrain.

Transmission Types

* '''
models use a lever instead of a foot pedal and require learning how to use it properly. * '''Number of Cylinders * '''Single''': Good for smaller lawns. ** Standard single cylinder reliable and less expensive, but not the cleanest choice. ** Overhead valve single cylinder runs cooler, cleaner and more powerfully. Also more compact. * '''Twin''': These have more than 16hp, which is good for larger lawns. Besides more power, they also run cooler, saving the engine and giving the tractor a longer life.

Cutting System

* More blades will give you a better cut. Mowers come in two and three-blade models. * Remember to keep your blades sharp! Dull blades can chop up your lawn instead of giving you a nice, even cut. * Reverse Operating System allows you to move the mower and blades in reverse. Some mowers can drive in reverse but don't cut the grass while they do. * '''Cutting Range''' is also important. Make sure your mower has a range of 1.5"-4". ** Mowing removes much of the food-providing blade from grass, which will help keep your lawn protected from animals. However, you don't want to cut it too short, because you risk harming your grass.

Discharge Types

* '''Side Discharge''' mowers dispense grass back onto the lawn. These are common for lawns with high grass or with few obstacles. * '''Mulching''' tractors cut grass into small pieces and recycles them back onto the lawn. The cuttings decompose and helps fertilize the soil and keeps your lawn healthy. These types can't handle a large amount of grass, however, so you'll have to mow more frequently. * Convertible '''Other Features * '''Attachments''' Some tractors can be used with attachments such as lawn sweepers or carts. If you plan to use any of these, make sure your tractor can handle the load and has the right kind of attachment. * '''Hydrostatic Self Makes steering smoother and driving in straight rows easier. * '''Foot Use your foot instead of a lever. * '''Cruise Control''' Just like in your car, it makes for easy riding at a set speed. It's a plus for big properties with few obstacles. * '''Reverse Mechanism''' shaped areas to mow or lots of obstacles to mow around. * '''Quick Mode Change''' This allows you to switch between modes, such as mulching or bagging, without changing the blade. * '''Fuel Gauge on the Dash Makes it easier to see when you are running low on fuel. * '''Vented Grass Bags''' These are better than sealed bins since they fit more in them. * '''Washout Port Makes cleaning easier. * '''Tilting Steering Wheel''' Enables a more comfortable ride for users of different sizes. * '''Comfortable Seat''' Riding a mower for long periods of time can get uncomfortable. Look for a seat with suspension, cushioning, a high back and adjustable settings. * '''Onboard Power Outlet''' volt outlet can power a cell phone, CD player or other small electronics. * '''Cup Holder This may seem frivolous, but for an hour of mowing you may want something to quench your thirst.

Major Manufacturers

Toro * Husqvarna * Kubota * Massey Fergusen * Craftsman

Related Products