Lawn Mowers Reviews

Best Small Riding Lawn Mower Reviews: Complete Buyer’s Guide

Are you looking for the best small riding lawn mower for the money? Read on as we review all the top options with Pros & Cons.
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In this guide, you’ll find a collection of reviews of our top picks for the best riding lawn mowers. These reviews highlight the key features and pros and cons of each model. We’ve also including a handy buyer’s guide, which discusses the key factors that you should take into consideration when you’re shopping for a small riding lawn mower.

We wrap things up by providing answers to some of the most frequently asked questions that consumers have about this kind of landscaping equipment.

With the information presented in this guide, you should have no trouble finding the best small-sized riding lawn mower to suit your particular needs. So, without further ado, let’s dive in and check out our top picks.

Our Top Picks

If you don’t have a lot of time to invest in reading through long, in-depth reviews, yet you want to be sure that you find the best small riding lawn mower for your particular needs, this section is for you.

Best Pick:  Ryobi RY48110

Ryobi 38" Battery Electric Rear Engine Riding Lawn Mower RY48110
  • Battery Operated: fully electric and 0 emissions
  • 3 Brushless motors for superior power and performance
  • Up to 2 hours of runtime or 2 acres of mowing
  • Low maintenance: no belts, spark plugs, or filters
  • Battery Operated: fully electric and 0 emissions

Ryobi is one of the most trusted names in the landscape equipment industry, and their RY48110 riding lawn mower is a true testament of the manufacturer’s reputability. It’s a equipped with a 38 inch 2-blade deck and features a 12 position manual deck adjustment, allowing it to achieve a clean, level cut on your lawn. Powered by a 75 Ah batter that offers 2 hours of run-time, there’s no need to use gas, so it’s not only powerful, but it’s also a more environmentally friendly way to keep your lawn neat and trim. It’s outfitted with some of the most advanced features to make mowing your lawn as easy and enjoyable as possible, including LED headlights, a USB phone charger, and even cruise control! Because it doesn’t have any belts, spark plugs, or filters, it’s super easy to maintain, too. Oh, and the dual high powered brushless motor means that it generates less noise than a standard gas ride on lawn mower, too.

Premium Pick: Husqvarna New RedMat RZT

Husqvarna New RedMax RZT 48x 48 Deck Riding Zero-Turn Mower with 23Hp Kawasaki Engine
  • Bringing the commercial focus to the farm and large estate, the RZTx is ready to handle the largest landowners mowing requirements. Developed from the commercial CZT, the RZTx cuts the large weekend
  • Cutting Deck Specs: Cutting Width: 48 in, Cutting Deck Type: 10-gauge fabricated, Cutting Methods: Collect/Mulch/Side discharge, Cutting Deck Material: Steel, Blade Engagement: Electric clutch,
  • Engine Specs: Motor/Engine Manufacturer: Kawasaki, Engine Name: FR Series, Cylinder Displacement: 44.3 cu.inch, Cylinders: 2, Engine Cooling: Air, Power/Fuel Type: Gasoline, Engine Lubrication Type:
  • Drive System Specs: Transmission Manufacturer: Hydro-Gear, Transmission Model: ZT-3100
  • Dimensions: Base Machine Length: 76 in, Base Machine Height: 42 in, Weight: 740 lbs

If you’re on the market for a high-end ride on lawn mower and you have extra room in your budget to spare, consider the Husqvarna New RedMax RZT 48×48 Deck Riding Zero-Turn Mower with 23 Hp Kawasaki Engine; our top pick for the best premium small riding lawn mower. It’s designed to bring the power and performance of a commercial-powered riding lawn mower to your lawn. The cutting deck measures 48 inches wide, is 10 gauge fabricated, and boasts a variety of cutting methods, including collect, mulch, and side discharge. It’s powered by a Kawasaki FR series engine, which has a 44.3 cubic inch cylinder displacement. It runs on gasoline and has a hydro-gear transmission. Constructed of high-grade materials, extremely durable, highly efficient, easy to operate, and delivering exceptionally reliable results, it’s easy to see why we chose the Husqvarna New RedMax RZT 48×48 Deck Riding Zero-Turn Mower with 23 Hp Kawasaki Engine is our top pick for the best premium small riding lawn mower.

Budget Pick: Husqvarna YTH18542

Husqvarna YTH18542 42 in 18.5 HP Briggs & Stratton Hydrostatic Riding Mower
  • 18.5 hp Briggs and Stratton Intek engine offers powerful performance
  • Foot pedal-operated hydrostatic transmission allows you to change speed and direction, which lets you keep both hands on the steering wheel for optimum driving control
  • Tight 16 in. turning radius allows you to mow in tighter spaces and navigate around obstacles Adjustable 13 in. mid-back seat, ergonomic steering wheel and easy step-through design provide comfort and easy operation
  • 42 in. reinforced cutting deck with air induction mowing technology and dual anti-scalp wheels
  • Reverse operating system allows the operator to mow in reverse with a simple turn of a switch

For homeowners who are on the market for a powerful, effective, easy to use small ride on lawn mower that delivers a great performance, yet won’t break the bank, consider the YTH18542 from Husqvarna. It features an 18.5 Hp Briggs and Stratton Intek engine, which delivers a reliable, powerful performance. The foot pedal operated hydrostatic transmission makes it easy to adjust your speed and chance your direction, so you can keep both your hands on the steering wheel and remain in control. A tight 166 inch turning radios makes it easy to mow around tight space and move around any obstacles that may be in your path. An adjustable 13 inch mid-back seat, an ergonomically designed steering wheel, and an easy step-through design ensures comfort and allows for easy operation. It boasts a reverse operating system, too, so with just the turn of a switch, you can mow backwards! All of these benefits, and the YTH18542 42 Inch 18.5 Hp Briggs and Stratton Hydrostatic Riding Mower from Husqvarna is also affordably priced.

Riding Lawn Mower Reviews

Now that we’ve given you a brief overview of our top three picks for the best small ride on lawn powers, let’s dive in a little deeper and take a closer look. In this section of our guide, we offer a more robust look at each of the above-mentioned models, including the best overall, best premium, and best budget small ride on lawn mowers, as well as a few additional high-quality options. Each review discusses the key features and details at greater length, and also features a list of pros and cons so you can easily scan through the advantages and disadvantages to determine which one would suit your needs.

Ryobi RY48110

Our pick for the best overall small ride on lawn mower is the RY48110 from Ryobi, one of the most trusted manufactures in the landscaping equipment industry. Since it’s fully electric and is powered by a 75 Ah batter, it’s a green alternative to traditional gas-powered ride on lawn mowers, so you can keep your lawn neat and trim while also minimizing your carbon footprint.

The battery offers two hours of run time and can be used to cover up to 2 acres of mowing per charge. It boasts a 38 inch 2 blade deck and a 12 position manual deck adjustment to deliver a clean, level cut for your grass. With a dual, high-powered brushless motor, not only is it a greener way to mow your lawn, but it’s a quieter way to mow it, too. Since it’s battery powered, there aren’t any belts, spark plugs, or filters to deal with, which means that it’s a whole lot easier to maintain.

This ride on mower also boasts some of the most advanced features, including cruise control, a USB charging dock, and LED headlights, which means you don’t have to worry about keeping your foot on the gas, you can charge up your device and listen to tunes while you’re mowing, and you can even cut your lawn after the sun goes down or before it comes up.

With so many outstanding features, it’s so easy to see why we chose the Ryobi 38 Inch Battery Electric Rear Engine Riding Lawn Mower RY48110 as our best overall small ride on lawn mower.

What We Liked
  • Powered by a 75 Ah battery that offers two hours of run-time and can mow up to 2 acres per charge
  • Doesn’t generate any fumes or exhaust, making it a green choice for mowing your lawn
  • Outfitted with a 38 inch 2-blade deck and a 12 position manual deck adjustment
  • Easy to maintain, as there aren’t any belts, spark plugs, or filters to worry about changing or keeping up
  • Dual high-powered brushless motor allows for quite operation
  • Boasts high-end features, including LED headlights, cruise control, and a USB phone charger

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Husqvarna New RedMat RZT

With the Husqvarna New RedMaz RZT, you’ll have the power of a commercial-grade rising lawn mower, so your grass will look like it has been maintained by a professional. It features a 48 inch wide, 10-gauge fabricated steel cutting deck.

The methods of the cutting deck include collect, mulch, and side discharge. It’s powered by a Kawasaki FR series, 44.3 cubic inch, gas-powered engine that can hold up to 5 gallons of gasoline.

This ride on lawn mower is perfectly balanced to deliver superior traction and features standard roll-over protection, as well as a seat belt that will keep you safely secured, even when you come into contact with rough terrain.

Thanks to the robust engine, drivetrain, deck, blades, and other high-end components, this Husqvarna ride on lawn mower is an easy to operate, highly efficient ride on lawn mower that will keep your grass perfectly trimmed, beautiful, and healthy.

What We Liked
  • Powered by a 23 horsepower Kawasaki engine
  • 3 cubic inch cylinder displacement
  • Can hold five gallons of gasoline for long-lasting cutting power
  • Hydro-gear transmission
  • 48 inch cutting deck width made of 10 gauge fabricated steel
  • Cutting methods include collect, mulch, a side discharge
  • Perfectly balanced for superior traction
  • Features standard roll-over protection and seat belts to ensure safety
  • Individual, hydraulic wheel-drive delivers precise maneuvering and enables the mower to roate on its own axis

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Husqvarna YTH18542

If you’re looking for an affordably priced small ride on mower, but you don’t want to sacrifice quality for price, than the Husqvarna YTH18542 is definitely an option that we recommend.

As our top pick for the best budget small ride on mower, it’s cost-effective, yet because it’s made by one of the best names in the landscaping industry, it’s also very durably made, extremely reliable, and delivers outstanding performance. It’s powered by an 18.5 HP Briggs and Stratton Intek engine, which delivers a powerful performance.

With a foot petal-operated hydrostatic transmission, you can alter the speed and direction of the mower while keeping both hands on the wheel so that you can maintain optimal control.

The tight 16 inch turning radius allows you to easily mow in tighter locations, as well as navigate around any obstacles that may come your way. An adjustable 13 inch mid-back seat, combined with an ergonomic steering wheel and an easy step-through design ensures comfortable, easy operation. It features a 42 inch reinforced cutting deck with advanced air induction mowing technology and dual anti-scalp wheels.

With a reverse operating system, you can mow in reverse with just the simple flip of a switch. Comfortable and easy to operate, durably designed, featuring high-end technologies, robust performance, and affordably priced, it’s easy to see why we choice the YTH18542 42 Inch Husqvarna as our pick for the best budget ride on lawn mower.

What We Liked
  • Powered by an 18.5 horsepower Briggs and Stratton Intek engine that delivers a powerful performance
  • Foot pedal-operated hydrostatic transmission enables you to adjust your speed and direction while keeping both hands on the wheel
  • A tight 16 inch turning radius lets you mow in tighter spaces and navigate around all types of obstacles
  • An adjustable 13 inch mid-back seat, ergonomic steering wheel, and easy step-through design allows for easy and comfortable operation
  • Dual anti-scrap wheels and a 42 inch reinforced cutting deck with air induction mowing technology
  • Reverse operating system for reverse mowing
  • Affordably priced

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Ryobi Riding Lawn Mower RY48111

The Ryobi RY4811 is similar to its predecessor, the RY4810, which was our pick for the best overall small ride on lawn mower. It boasts many of the same features with a few upgrades.

It’s also powered by a battery, making it an eco-friendly way to mow your lawn; however, as opposed to the RY4810, this model features a 100Ah lead acid battery, so it can run for up to 2.5 hours, or give you enough power to mow up to 2.5 acres of land on a single charge. It’s equipped with a 38 inch 2-blade deck and a 12 position manual deck adjustment, you’ll be able to achieve a clean, level cut for your grass.

The mower cuts quietly, as it emits only 70 dB of noise, so you don’t have to worry about upsetting your family or your neighbors if you decide to mow early in the morning or late at night. Plus, because it features LED headlights, you’ll be able to clearly see your path if you’re mowing before the sun comes up or after it goes down.

Other features include a USB charger so you can keep your phone or any other device powered up and listen to music while you’re mowing, as well as cruise control, which makes mowing more comfortable and convenient. With 12 positions manual deck adjustments, you can cut the perfect length for your lawn with ease.

What We Liked
  • Powered by a 100Ah lead acid battery
  • Runs for up to 2.5 hours between charges, or can cover up to 2.5 acres of land
  • No gas means no emissions, making this a green cutting machine
  • Only emits 70 dB of noise
  • Features a 38 inch 2 blade deck and 12 position manual deck adjustments
  • Equipped with LED headlights, a USB charger, and cruise control to improve the comfort and convenience of mowing

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Snapper 460Z

Last, but certainly not least, on our list of the best small ride on lawn mower is the Snapper 460Z 48 Inch 25 HP Briggs and Stratton Commercial Engine Zero Turn Lawn Mower, 5901718.

The heavy duty, all steel construction frame and contour hugging cast iron front axle, as well as a reliable Briggs and Stratton Engine, this zero turn lawn mower is exceptionally durable an does an outstanding job. The high-grade, thoughtful, grass-friendly tires not only ensure reliable traction, but it also prevents turf damage and won’t tear up your lawn.

The cushioned seat features an 18 inch high back for proper support and superior comfort. A durable Hydro Gear ZT 3100 transaxles make mowing a low maintenance job.

The Briggs and Stratton Commercial Series Engine offers outstanding performance and is equipped with an advanced debris management system, as well as a beefed up cylinder block, you’ll be able to enjoy powerful, reliable, and comfortable mowing.

What We Liked
  • Powered by a 25 HP Briggs and Stratton commercial engine
  • Zero turn lawn mower allows it to turn on a dime for easy operation
  • Heavy duty, all steel construction frame and contour hugging cast iron axle ensures durability
  • Oversized tires offer reliable traction, yet won’t damage your lawn
  • Features a cushioned seat with an 18 inch high back for reliable comfort
  • Boasts durable Hydro Gear ZT 3100 transaxles for low-maintenance mowing
  • Delivers an outstanding performance

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Other Best Selling Options

Bestseller No. 1
Troy-Bilt 382cc 30-Inch Premium Neighborhood Riding Lawn Mower
  • Powered by a 382cc Auto Choke OHV engine with top forward speeds of 4.25 MPH and a 6-speed transmission
  • The 30-Inch cutting deck featuring 5 adjustable settings couples the benefits of a standard riding mower with the size of a wide cut walk behind mower
  • Designed with an 18-Inch turning radius with 13x5-inch front wheels and 16x6.5-inch rear wheels
  • Manual power take-off for fast and easy blade engagement
  • This neighborhood mower is ideal for standard land owners with a medium sized landscape and relatively even terrain
Bestseller No. 2
Husqvarna YTH18542 42 in 18.5 HP Briggs & Stratton Hydrostatic Riding Mower
  • 18.5 hp Briggs and Stratton Intek engine offers powerful performance
  • Foot pedal-operated hydrostatic transmission allows you to change speed and direction, which lets you keep both hands on the steering wheel for optimum driving control
  • Tight 16 in. turning radius allows you to mow in tighter spaces and navigate around obstacles Adjustable 13 in. mid-back seat, ergonomic steering wheel and easy step-through design provide comfort and easy operation
  • 42 in. reinforced cutting deck with air induction mowing technology and dual anti-scalp wheels
  • Reverse operating system allows the operator to mow in reverse with a simple turn of a switch
Bestseller No. 3
Husqvarna Z254 54 in. 26 HP Kohler Hydrostatic Zero Turn Riding Mower
  • 26 HP Kohler engine provides reliable startups and a max speed of 6.5 MPH
  • A patent-pending park brake system automatically activates or deactivates as the steering levers are moved outward or inward
  • Air induction mowing technology draws air from the top and bottom of the deck, improving grass and delivering a superior cut
  • Reinforced steel stamped cutting deck is made of heavy flat-stock steel for maximum durability
  • Clippings can be discharged, mulched or bagged (mulching kit and bagger attachment sold separately)
Bestseller No. 4
Craftsman Z525 Zero Turn Gas Powered Lawn Mower, Red
  • POWERFUL CRAFTSMAN GAS ENGINE WITH AUTOCHOKE Powerful 679cc twin engine suitable for larger yard jobs while its autochoke feature provides a quick, efficient start. Get to mowing in no time
  • 46-INCH CUTTING WIDTH WITH INCLUDED DECK WASH: Riding lawn mower comes equipped with wide 46-Inch deck for cutting, trimming, and clipping grass in one quick sweep. Included deck wash saves time when underside cleaning
  • MOW-IN-REVERSE: Mower can continue to cut when in reverse; no need to pause your yard work
  • 360 DEGREE TURNING RADIUS: Change direction in an instant for more efficiency
  • SUPPORTIVE HIGH-BACK SEAT: High-back cushioned seat provides optimum comfort

Small Riding Lawn Mowers Buyer’s Guide

A green, lush lawn is the goal of most homeowners. In order to achieve that goal, proper maintenance is crucial, and regular mowing is one of the most important parts of routine lawn maintenance. There’s just one problem, though: mowing your lawn can be a real drag.

There’s nothing fun about lugging out a heavy, bulking lawn mower, loading it up with gas, and pushing it up and down the grass. If your lawn is awkwardly shaped, has a lot of twists and turns, or there are obstructions in the way, mowing is even less fun.

Fortunately, there’s a way that you can avoid the aggravation, sweating, aches, pains, and other frustrations that are often associated with mowing your lawn the old fashioned way with a push mower.

What is it? Why, a riding mower, of course! With a riding mower, there’s no need to struggle with a heavy machine. Instead, you can just jump on the seat, turn the key, start up the motor, and drive your way to a perfectly manicured lawn. In other words, a riding mower can make mowing your lawn a stress-free, hassle-free, sweat-free experience.

While there’s no denying the benefits that a riding lawn mower can offer, you may be on the fence about getting one. That’s because a lot of riding mowers are pretty big and are designed to cover large spaces. They take up a lot of room, too. If you property isn’t that big and you’re short on storage space, you may be wondering if a riding mower makes sense and if it would be worth your investment.

While it may be true that at one time, most riding mowers were rather large, today, these lawn cutting machines come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Nowadays, there are small riding mowers, which are much more compact than their larger cousins, yet they offer the same benefits many of the same features.

If you have a small- to medium-sized property and you don’t have a lot of storage space to accommodate a full-sized riding mower, yet the idea of cutting your grass the old-fashioned way with a push mower, a small ride on would be the perfect solution for you.

Given the benefits they provide and how popular they have become, there are so many small-sized ride on lawn mowers on the market today. While having a lot of options to choose from can be a good thing, it can also make the process of purchasing one a big overwhelming. In order to simplify the experience, we’ve taken the liberty of doing the legwork for you.

After reading through both the brief reviews of our top three picks for the best small ride on mowers, as well as the lengthy reviews of those same three mowers and other additional high-quality, reliable models, you may still be wondering which one to pick.

You want to ensure that you choose the most reliable, highest quality mower that will make mowing your lawn a breeze. In order to do that, you’ll need to take some key factors into consideration.

In this part of our guide, we go over some of the most important factors that you’ll want to consider when you’re shopping. By doing so, you’ll be able to determine which small ride on mower will best fit your specific needs.

The Size of Your Lawn

First and foremost, you’re going to want to consider the size of your lawn. While you’re shopping for a smaller sized ride on mower, if you have a larger lawn, you don’t want to choose something that’s too small, otherwise it will take longer to get the job done. The general rule of thumb for choosing a ride on mower is as follows:

  • For lawns that are half an acre or smaller, a mower that’s 40 inches or smaller would be suitable
  • For lawns that are a half an acre to two acres in size, a mower with a cutting deck that measures between 42 inches and 48 inches should do the trick
  • If your lawn is 2 acres or larger, if you want to get the mowing down as quickly as possible, look for a mower that has a deck that measures 48 inches or more

Storage Space

In addition to the size of your lawn, you should also consider the size of your storage space when you’re shopping for a ride on lawn mower. While you want to be sure that you choose a mower that will allow you to get the job done as quickly as possible, you also want to be sure that you will be able to store it with ease.

If the mower is larger than the space that you have to store it, it isn’t going to do you much good. It’s a good idea to measure the space where you plan on storing your mower before you start shopping for one. If need be, you may have to purchase one that’s smaller than the size that’s recommended for the size of your lawn so that you can store it.

Operation

It’s also a good idea to consider the operation of the ride on lawn mower. As you can see from our list of options, there are two main options when in regard to operation: battery-powered and gas-powered.

The benefit of a gas-powered ride on lawn mower is that you don’t have to worry about refilling it with gas, it’s easier to maintain, as there aren’t any filters, plugs, or other components to keep up, and battery-powered ride on mowers are also more environmentally friendly, as they don’t put out any fumes and don’t require gas.

However, on the downside, with a battery-operated mower, you have to make sure that the batteries are charged up before you start mowing, and the battery runs out of power while you’re in the middle of mowing, you’ll need to stop, charge up, and finish the job later.

Gas-powered ride on mowers tend to offer more power. They’re also more reliable; while you do have to make sure that the tank is full, it only takes a few seconds to fill it up, which means that if you run out of gas in the middle of mowing, you’ll be able to get back to the job quickly, as you won’t have to wait a long time for the batteries to charge. On the downside, gas-powered ride on lawn mowers do require more maintenance and they generate emissions.

Features

As can be seen from our list of reviews, small ride on lawn mowers can be outfitted with a number of features. Examples of some different features that are available include:

  • LED headlights
  • Reverse operation
  • USB charging ports
  • Cruise control
  • Different cutting control options, such as mulching and side release

These are just a few of the features available. Consider which features would help to make mowing your lawn an easier task to determine which ones are worth your while.

The Cost

Lastly, you’re going to want to consider the cost of the small ride on lawn mower. The price tags vary widely and you don’t want to choose something only to find out that it’s more than you can afford. Therefore, it’s a good idea to determine how much you want to spend before you start shopping. Generally speaking, the larger and the more features a small ride on lawn mower offers, the more expensive it will be.

Riding Lawn Mower FAQs

Why should I buy a small ride on lawn mower?

Put simply, the benefit of using a small ride on lawn mower is that it makes the job of maintaining your grass a whole lot easier. It eliminates the need to push the mower, reduces physical strain, and just makes the process a lot more efficient and enjoyable.

What are the best features to look for?

Small ride on lawn mowers can be outfitted with a variety of features. The specific features that will work best for you depend on your particular situation; however, with that said, in our opinion, a powerful engine and durable blades are among the most important features to look for.

Summing It Up

A small ride on lawn mower will make the job of maintaining your grass a much easier task. With the information presented in this guide, you should have no trouble choosing a high-quality, reliable small-sized ride on lawn mower that will best suit your needs.

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Robin owns his own Landscape Gardening company based in the UK and has over 10 years professional experience working outdoors, creating beautiful landscapes for his clients in the UK. He is also a keen garden-grower and maintains his own fruit and vegetable gardens. He also has a level 3 Certificate in Practical Horticulture from The Royal Horticultural Society and is currently working on his first book about gardening. Contact him at Robin@gardenbeast.com

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