The 8 Best Riding Lawn Mowers of 2020

Handle your weekend chores with ease with these top-picks

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: RYOBI Electric Riding Lawn Mower at Home Depot

"You’ll be amazed at the power and efficiency of this electric model."

Runner-Up, Best Overall: John Deere E160 Tractor at Home Depot

"Boasts a 24 HP V-twin engine for a whole lot of power."

Best for Large Yards: Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro Series at Home Depot

"A huge 54-inch deck and can cut wide paths with each pass."

Best for Hills: John Deere E120 Gas Lawn Tractor at Home Depot

"The engine can handle tough mowing conditions."

Best Under $1,500: Troy-Bilt Pony Manual Riding Mower at Home Depot

"A great value model that doesn't sacrifice important features."

Best Electric: Weibang E-Rider at Home Depot

"Reviewers say this machine is well-built and love that it’s so eco-friendly."

Best Zero-Turn Radius: Ariens IKON X Hydrostatic Mower at Home Depot

"Great for yards that have a lot of obstacles."

Best Small: CRAFTSMAN R110 Riding Mower at Lowe’s

"Packs an impressive amount of power into a small frame."

  • 01 of 08

    Best Overall: RYOBI 38 in. Electric Rear Engine Riding Lawn Mower

    Courtesy of Home Depot
    Very Good

    One of the best riding lawn mowers you can buy today is the RYOBI 38-inch Electric Riding Lawn Mower. It’s the perfect battery-powered machine to cut up to two full acres of grass, and you’ll be amazed at the power and efficiency of this electric model.

    This RYOBI lawn mower has a 38-inch deck with 12 deck positions that allow you to get the perfect cut every time. It’s powered by 75Ah batteries and can run for two hours per charge, cutting up to 2 acres. Because it’s battery-powered, this lawn mower is low maintenance—no need to change spark plugs or filters—and it’s also more eco-friendly, giving off no emissions. You charge it via a standard 120-volt outlet, and it typically takes 12 hours to recharge the battery.

    It's equipped with LED headlights, a USB phone charger, and cruise control to make mowing your lawn a more pleasurable experience. Reviewers say the mower is easy to handle and the battery lasts for longer than you’d expect. Plus, several note the machine’s mulching feature works wonderfully.

  • 02 of 08

    Runner-Up, Best Overall: John Deere E160 Gas Lawn Tractor

    Courtesy of Home Depot

    If you prefer a gas-powered lawn mower, you can’t go wrong with the John Deere E160 Gas Hydrostatic Lawn Tractor. This machine comes from one of the top lawn mower brands, and it boasts a 24 HP V-twin engine for a whole lot of power.

    This John Deere lawn mower has a 48-inch deck that features three blades to provide a superior cut. The redesigned mower deck lift lever allows you to raise or lower the blade height in 1- to 4-inch increments, and all you have to do is pull a knob to turn on the blades. The tractor can reach speeds up to 5.5 mph, and it has two-foot pedals that make it easy to drive. Plus, it features a high-back seat with lumbar support and 10 different positions so you can be comfortable as you mow the lawn.

    The John Deere E160 is ideal for lawns measuring 2 to 4 acres, and reviewers say it’s comfortable to drive, powerful and easy to steer. What more could you ask for from a riding lawn mower?

  • 03 of 08

    Best for Large Yards: Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro Series ST 54 in. Fabricated Deck 24 HP V-Twin Kohler Hydrostatic Gas Lawn Tractor

    Courtesy of Home Depot.
    Very Good

    Large yards will take too long to cut with a push lawn mower or even a riding mower with a small deck. Instead, you need a large and efficient riding mower like the Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro Series, which features a huge 54-inch deck and can cut wide paths with each pass, making quick work of even the largest lawns.

    This riding mower has a 24 HP V-twin engine with a hydrostatic transmission that eliminates the need for shifting. It boasts triple blades and 12 cutting heights, as well as an optimized steering system for more responsive handling. For your comfort, the Cub Cadet mower has a high-back seat and soft-touch steering wheel, and reviewers say it’s quite efficient and easy to maintain.

  • 04 of 08

    Best for Hills: John Deere E120 Gas Lawn Tractor

    Courtesy of Home Depot.

    Riding mowers aren’t typically the best option if you have a hilly yard, as it takes a lot of power for them to chug up steep terrain. If you want a riding lawn mower that can handle this type of task, one of your best choices is the John Deere E120 Gas Hydrostatic Lawn Tractor, which features a powerful 20 HP engine that can handle even the toughest mowing conditions.

    This mower has a 42-inch deck that can be adjusted to a number of different height increments, and it’s “built with rugged durability in mind,” with a solid cast iron front axle and a V-twin smooth-running engine. The high-back seat can be adjusted to 10 positions, and the mower also features cruise control, side-by-side foot pedals, and a 30-second oil change system. Reviewers say this powerful machine can tackle hills and delivers a neat, even cut every time.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Best Under $1,500: Troy-Bilt Pony 42 in. 17.5 hp Manual Drive Gas Riding Mower

    Courtesy of Home Depot.

    Many riding lawn mowers can be quite pricey, costing upward of $2,000. If you want the convenience of a riding mower without spending a premium, a good option to consider is the Troy-Bilt Pony Gas Lawn Tractor, which costs less than $1,500. It's a great value model that doesn't sacrifice important features.

    This mower has a 42-inch deck with five cutting heights and is powered by a 17.5 HP engine. It has a 7-speed shift-on-the-go transmission that allows you to change speeds smoothly, and the steel frame has a “StepThru” design that makes it easier to get on and off. Further, this lawn mower features a low-back seat, automatic headlights, and bagging capabilities. Reviewers call this mower a tough little workhorse, writing that it’s surprisingly powerful and a great value.

  • 06 of 08

    Best Electric: Weibang E-Rider 30 in. W 72-Volt Lithium-Ion Battery Powered Rear Engine Riding Mower

    Courtesy of Home Depot.

    For those with small yards, an electric riding lawn mower like the Weibang E-Rider might be a good option. This battery-powered model has a 30-inch deck and can tackle between ½ an acre and up to 2 acres with its two-hour runtime.

    This electric mower has a two-blade cutting system with 10 height positions. It features a user-friendly control panel with forward, neutral, and reverse settings, as well as LED lights and an adjustable seat. It’s powered by 72-volt lithium-ion batteries, which take about six hours to charge up. Overall, reviewers say this machine is well-built and love that it’s so eco-friendly.

  • 07 of 08

    Best Zero-Turn Radius: Ariens IKON X 52 in. 23 HP Kawasaki Gas Hydrostatic Zero-Turn Riding Mower

    Courtesy of Home Depot.

    If your yard has a lot of obstacles, you may want to consider a zero-turn radius lawn mower. This style of mower features two levers that control the steering, and they’re faster and nimbler than standard riding mowers, allowing you to quickly and easily cut around flower beds, trees, rocks and more.

    In this category, one of the best products available is the Ariens IKON X Hydrostatic Zero-Turn Riding Mower, which boasts a whopping 52-inch deck and 23 HP engine—it’s ideal for big lawns! The deck has three blades and 13 cutting height positions that you can adjust via the dial-operated selector. The lawn mower has a high-back seat and armrests for a more comfortable ride, and it can easily handle yards between 2 and 4 acres.

    While it’s a bit more expensive than standard riding mowers, reviewers say the Ariens IKON X is worth every penny, as it’s “built like a tank” and doesn’t leave a single blade of grass behind.

  • 08 of 08

    Best Small: CRAFTSMAN R110 10.5-HP Manual/Gear 30-in Riding Lawn Mower

    Courtesy of Lowe's.

    Some riding lawn mowers are quite large and require a lot of storage space. If you want a smaller model, you should consider the CRAFTSMAN R110 Riding Lawn Mower, which packs an impressive amount of power into a small frame. It features a 30-inch deck and a 10.5 HP engine, and the 6-speed transmission allows you to smoothly change speed and direction as you go.

    This mower’s small frame offers impressive maneuverability, and it includes several comfort features, including a mid-back seat and soft-touch steering. Plus, it even includes a mulching kit! Mulching actually takes less time than bagging, and over time it will improve the health of your lawn.

    Reviewers say this Craftsman riding mower is easy to operate and ideal for small lawns. "If you want to cut grass and you don't have too much property, this is a great choice," wrote one customer. "It doesn't take up that much room in the garage either."

Our Process

Our writers spent 25 hours researching and testing the most popular riding lawn mowers on the market. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.

What to Look for in a Riding Lawn Mower

Power source One of the first decisions you’ll need to make is whether to buy a gas- or electric-powered riding lawn mower. Gas mowers are generally more powerful, but they’re louder, less eco-friendly, and require more maintenance. Electric mowers, on the other hand, are typically less powerful with a shorter run time, but they’re quieter, easier to start, and better for the environment.

Deck size The deck size of a lawn mower dictates how wide a path it cuts—larger decks cut wider paths on each pass. A deck size of between 30 and 60 inches is recommended for most homeowners. Bigger decks are better for lawns with few obstacles and turns, while smaller decks will be helpful if you have to mow around trees or garden beds. 

Grass clipping Don’t forget to consider how the lawn mower handles grass clippings. Some machines simply spit clippings back out onto your lawn, while others have options to bag or mulch the cut grass. The best option for you simply depends on how you prefer to handle your clippings.