3 Best garden tractors & riding lawn mowers

A garden tractor is a heavy machine designed to mow lawns and haul materials. They can also till gardens and plow snow. And then there are the many other tasks they can handle, too.

These machines usually have 20 to 30 horsepower. These are worthwhile investments at home, like an engine-driven welder and an extension cord. They’re up there with your leaf mulcher, too.


We tested various products and found that the best riding lawn riding mower was Husqvarna Z254. In turn, the best garden tractor was the Husqvarna TS 354XD. The most popular brands that produce lawn & garden tractors & riding mowers are Husqvarna, John Deere, Cub Cadet, & Craftsman.

Table of Contents

Why you can trust us & how we picked

We spend a lot of our spare time in the garden and have tried a piece of equipment or two. The reason you can trust us is that we tried out all the riding lawnmowers and garden tractors on this page. We also picked products at different price points so you can get your grass mowed easily regardless of your budget!

lawn mower

They do not always come cheap. This article will give you tips on deciding which is the best for you and some household brands that you could consider buying. We’ll make sure you get not just a top-rated one but the best lawn or garden tractor for your purpose!

Best garden tractors & riding lawnmowers

Here’s a list of the best garden tractors & riding lawnmowers that we recommend.

1. Husqvarna Z254

The Z254 is a serious machine to consider. Here are some of our thoughts about the machine.


  • The seat is very comfortable.
  • Easy to maneuver.
  • The assembly was easy.
  • We love the headlights it comes with.


  • It’s not a cheap machine.
  • It did not come with a headlight.
Husqvarna Z254
You'll love the Husqvarna.

2. Husqvarna Z242F

If you’re willing to spend the extra money, we’d definitely recommend the Z242F over the Z254. Here is some more information.


  • It arrives early.
  • It makes mowing fun.
  • It’s easy to use.
  • It feels very sturdy.
  • It’s a step up from the Z254.
  • Very smooth operations


  • It’s pretty pricey and even more expensive than the Z254.
  • We wish the instruction pamphlet was a bit better.

3. Husqvarna TS 354XD

If you need a garden tractor, the 354XD is a great option. It can do more than a lawnmower can, but it also comes at a cost.

NameTS 354XD
Cutting blade54″
Engine24 Hp


  • It’s the Lamborghini of mowing.
  • It is the best lawn tractor we have tried.
  • The 354XD is built very well.
  • It works on a hilly yard


  • The 354XD has a very steep price.
  • It might take a while to ship it.
  • Getting it off the skid it arrived on was hard.
Husqvarna TS 354XD
Here's one of the best garden tractors.

Which to avoid

Husqvarna TS 242XD

It’s not a bad option, but we don’t think it’s the best either. The 354XD makes this one feel like it belongs in the children’s league.

NameTS 242XD
Cutting blade42″


  • It has a better price than the 242XD.
  • It comes with a fabricated deck.
  • It has a good motor.


  • It has far fewer reviews than the 354XD.
  • The front axle broke.
  • The seat on the TS 242XD does not feel durable.
Husqvarna TS 242XD
Avoid this garden tractor.

Ryobi RY48111

While we were hoping the Ryobi would be a winner, it wasn’t. It doesn’t feel like electric powering and lawn mowers are really the ways to go yet.

Battery size100 aH
Cutting blade38 inches
Item Weight595 Pounds
Product Dimensions63″D x 38.5″W x 46″H


  • No oil to mess with


  • It was missing pieces as it arrived.
  • We were told replacement parts would take months.
  • Late delivery
  • It doesn’t have enough power for wet grass.
This Ryobi doesn't cut it.

Factors to consider

There are different factors to consider when buying a riding lawn mower or garden tractor, similar to searching for the best mini wood lathes. The equipment should not only meet your needs, but it must also have the functions that suit your property’s features. Here are five factors to think about before buying one.


The size of your property is a big factor in deciding which to buy. It comes in different sizes, specifically its deck like an amp wire. If your property spans less than an acre, one with a 42-inch to 48-inch mower deck should suffice.

A mower deck determines how wide the machine can cut. A small yard spanning less than half an acre can be enough for a tracker with a mower deck of 30-inch to 36-inch. But if your property is more than three acres, consider getting one with a 50-inch to 60-inch cut.


It is also important to consider the terrain of your property before buying. An option with automatic transmission and a deck height that can be adjusted is perfect for rough and uneven terrain. A zero-turn mower is perfect if your property has various obstacles and hilly areas. You also have to consider a tractor’s built-in stabilizing features if your property has banks.

powerful lawn mower


Do you intend to use it for basic tasks such as mowing the lawn? Or do you need to perform added work such as plowing and blowing snow? Determine how you plan to use it. Before purchasing, it is important as not all models are suited to a specific type of activity.


There are three types of transmission systems used:

  • manual
  • automatic
  • and hydrostatic.

Manual transmission requires you to alter the gears while operating the vehicle. This means you can control the speed and power more easily. However, maneuvering using this transmission can be more difficult than other types. If you have heavy-duty plowing or tilling requirements, one with manual transmission is recommended.

In an automatic transmission, the tractor shifts the gears through a belt. As a result, you can focus more on operating it. It’s great when avoiding obstacles and controlling the vehicle. Meanwhile, the hydrostatic transmission uses fluid to power the wheels. It is simple to operate and does not require you to depress any clutch. This type allows you to alter the speed using a lever and compact. It is perfect for landscape work.


4-cycle engine oil for lawnmowers

They are generally powered by either gasoline or diesel. Many of them are considered the best of all-time run on diesel for fuel-efficiency. This type also has more torque than its gas-powered counterpart. The main drawback of diesel engines is their tendency to get noisy during operation. You may want to check out our article on the pros and cons of gasless MIG welding. We also have articles on welding glasses or using an oxy-acetylene torch.

How much does a garden tractor cost?

Garden tractors differ from lawnmowers in that they can perform multiple tasks, while lawnmowers specialize in only lawn mowing. Due to this, a garden tractor has more horsepower, and this causes them to be more on the pricier side. The price depends on the size of the tractor. As we tested the various products, we found that garden tractors usually cost between $2,200 and $6,000. However, the larger tractors with 100 horsepower can range from $25000 to $50000.

How much does a riding lawn mower cost?

A good zero-turn riding lawn mower will cost $1,800 to $5,000. You can purchase something basic like a walk-behind mower which will cost you around $200. But the more features you’ll add to the list, the pricer the tractor gets. Some popular features include aluminum decks and roll ball-bearing wheels. A longer warranty also might add a couple of extra dollars to your budget.

What is the difference between the two?

man riding on a lawn mower

A garden and a lawn tractor share certain features that many people think both types of equipment are the same. However, a few key points differentiate one from the other. When it comes to size, a garden tractor tends to be larger than its lawn counterpart because it houses a bigger engine. The rear wheels of a garden tractor are also bigger than those of a lawn tractor to accommodate heavy attachments.

These two options also differ in terms of their respective functions. Garden ones are much more recommended for hauling tasks and tilling a garden. Thanks to their heavy design, you want one of those when moving snow. On the other hand, lawn options have limited capabilities. Garden tractors have higher horsepower, ranging between 20 and 30 hp. In comparison, the horsepower of lawn tractors ranges from 15 to 25 hp.

grass being cut

Can I drive it on the road?

You may be tempted to take it out of the farm and in public lanes for a quick drive. But do authorities allow them to be driven on the road? In the U.S., driving a garden tractor on the road is generally allowed but limited by certain regulations. It also depends on which state you are in. They need to have specific markings and warning lights before being driven on public roads. These rules also apply to other slow-moving vehicles, such as snowmobiles or ATVs. Thankfully, these protocols are more lenient with electric options than with construction tractors or trucks. Those often need additional registration and license requirements. They can also be taken in public lanes if they need to be transferred to another street to do farm work.

John Deere

When talking about these machines, one brand that easily comes to mind is John Deere. This American brand is known for its heavy-duty tractors with an automated drive system and powerful traction control. John Deere’s popular offerings include:

  • 100 Series
  • 200 Series
  • X300 Select Series
  • X500 Select Series
  • and X700 Signature Series.

One of its best-sellers is the X730 Signature Series, which features a two-function hydraulic lift equipped with a V-twin liquid-cooled engine. It adopts John Deere’s patented MulchControl and Power Flow systems for faster cleanup. You can connect it with an app to track your mow history and maintenance schedule. Another top-rated model from John Deere is the X738, a powerful model running on a 25.5-hp engine. It has a two-function hydraulic lift system and twin touch pedals, perfect for residential use.

Cub Cadet

SAE10W-30 4-cycle engine oil for lawnmowers

Cub Cadet is another brand that boasts quality models at different price ranges that suit your budget. One of its best-sellers is the XT1 Enduro series powered by a single or double Kohler engine. It is designed with Cub Cadet’s steering system that allows the user to maneuver smoothly. Models from the series typically retail from $1,699 and above. Another model from Cub Cadet is the XT2, an option that runs on a Kawasaki engine. This series is equipped with the company’s patented AeroForce deck for more evenness and finer clippings. The XT2 is powered by an AGM battery, which provides slower discharge. It’s done to prevent the battery from running out when it is not used for a certain period.

Running on a Kohler engine, the Cub Cadet 100 has specific features such as manual steering and an open-operator station. This model is perfect if you want basic tasks done at a reasonable price. You can also opt for a Cub Cadet from its 7000 series, released in the early 2000s. This variant uses a Mitsubishi diesel engine and a partially synchronized transmission type. Likewise, you can consider the Cub Cadet’s 1000 series. It features easy-to-operate driving controls and an adjustable seat. Enjoy the digital meter it comes equipped with. You may consider Cub Cadet’s 2000 series for commercial use, which can work about 50 hours a week.


lawn tractor

Another household name is Husqvarna, a Swedish company specializing in outdoor products for home improvement. Most of Husqvarna’s products are operated using pedals. You can steer the machine using both your hands, allowing for better control. Husqvarna’s options also employ the company’s steering technology. It allows you to maneuver easily and avoid obstacles effortlessly.

The company’s models come in 42-inch to 48-inch variants, referring to the width of the deck. A deck within this range can cover one-half up to two acres. If your area spans at least three acres, it is advisable to get one of at least 50 inches in width. Some of Husqvarna’s models that come in 42 inches include the YT42DXLS, which runs on a 25-hp Kohler engine. Models with a 48-inch deck include:

Husqvarna lawn mower
  • the GT48DXLS
  • GT48XLS
  • YTH24V48
  • YTA24V48
  • YTH2348.

Husqvarna also offers ones that can suit commercial use, namely the GT54LS and LGT2654 models. Both have a 54-inch deck.

These adopt a heavy-grade chassis and a washout port, enabling them to weather extensive use. Another variant is the GTH52XLS. It’s a great 52-inch, pedal-operated option. It runs on a 24-hp V-Twin engine and comes with a loader.

If you want a more affordable one for residential use, you can consider Husqvarna’s LTA18538. This model has a 38-inch deck and boasts a lube system for an extended lifespan.

Brands compared

nicely cut lawn

The top three brands are

  • Cub Cadet
  • John Deere
  • and Husqvarna

They are often matched against each other. Depending on the model, one brand holds an advantage against the other in terms of cutting capability and cost.

Cub Cadet’s XT1LT42 has a slight edge over John Deere’s D130 and Husqvarna’s YT42DXLS when it comes to mulching grass. All three models also offer a nice high-back seat to allow a comfortable ride.

They’re great if you plan long hours on the machine during peak season. They also boast many features, including an adjustable speed transmission and washout ports. However, the John Deere push lawn mower offers a gentler ride than its counterparts.

All brands offer entry-level through top-tier models in terms of cost and affordability. Deciding which one is the best brand and model for you largely depends on how you plan to use it.

This is the smackdown you’ve all been waiting for. We’ll compare some of the biggest names in the lawn and garden tractor space. When you want that riding lawn mower that cuts through all the tall grass, this is what you’ve waited for.

This Cub Cadet vs. John Deere vs. Husqvarna vs. Stihl vs. Kubota vs. Troy Bilt lawn mower comparison looks at products in all ranges. We’ll give you our recommendations based on the field testing we did. We’ll also give you our absolute top recommendations at different price points.


lawn mower 4-cycle engine oil

Kubota is another brand known for its 4×4 garden tractors, particularly its zero-turn mowers. This type has a turning radius of zero, which can rotate 360 degrees. The price of these Kubota options usually starts at about $4,000 and can go as high as $12,100.

One of its best-selling ones is the Z726XKW-3-60. It is designed with three blades and a cutting range of between an inch to five inches.

This 25.5-hp zero-turn powerhouse runs on a gas-powered, air-cooled V-twin engine. It has a high back seat with Kubota’s premium adjustable suspension feature.

Another entry-level option from this brand is the Z231BR-48, which boasts the company’s patented K-lift pedal system. It uses a Briggs and Stratton engine with 22 hp. Like the Z726XKW-3-60, this model adopts a gas-powered air-cooled V-twin engine. It comes with an adjustable seat.

Make sure also to check out our article on utility sinks. They can be incredibly helpful if you’re coming back into the house after a long day in the garden, enjoying your new toy!

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