Selecting a Lawn Tractor

by April Reinhardt
(last updated October 5, 2016)

If you've more than half-an-acre of grass to mow, and if your ground is level, then you might consider saving time and effort by purchasing a lawn tractor to do the job. For years, we had a riding lawnmower, or lawn tractor, but had to sell it when we moved to home that has a hilly landscape. When I mow the grass using our self-propelled push mower, I yearn for the days when I could sit on the lawn tractor, listening to my iPod, having fun while doing my work.

Although most people, including myself, use the terms lawn tractor and riding lawnmower interchangeably, there are differences between the two machines; lawn tractors have cutting decks that are mounted amidships between the front and rear axels, most times resembling farm tractors with the engine in the front, whereas riding lawnmowers have the engine either in the front or back. Whichever machine you decide to buy, there are some things you need to consider before you make a hefty investment. Follow these guidelines when selecting a lawn tractor appropriate for your use:

  • Make sure that you have enough room to store a lawn tractor. While you can choose to store it outside, covered with a tarp, it is best to store a lawn tractor inside of a shed or garage.
  • The size of the cutting deck refers to the size of the lawnmower blade. Choose a cutting deck between 38 and 42 inches. The larger the deck, the wider swath of grass will be cut, lessening the amount of time the job takes.
  • Do you want the engine in the front or in the back? Typically, more powerful models have the engine up front, but rear engines afford more visibility while cutting.
  • Think about obstacles in your yard such as trees, swing sets, hammocks, decks, and pools. A wide deck on a lawn tractor will get the job done sooner, but has less flexibility around obstacles. You may need to have a push mower to get around tight corners if you have a wide-decked lawn tractor.
  • What do you want your lawn tractor to do? If you simply want to mow the grass, a basic model will do. Yet if you want to bag or mulch your clippings while you mow, you need to investigate different models with higher price tags, considering all of the other things the lawn tractor can do, and the accessories it needs to do it.

Make sure you discuss with the sales person everything about speed controls, including clutch control over hydrostatic drive systems. Hydrostatic drive systems typically cost $500 more than other models. Test the lawn tractor for comfort and legroom. After all, you may be sitting on the lawn tractor for an hour or more each time you use it. Above all, make sure that you get a good warranty for the model of lawn tractor you choose. Read the fine print carefully. You may decide to pay $200 more for a lawn tractor with a better warranty.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...

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