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3 Best Small Riding Lawn Mowers: Your Easy Buying Guide

Best Small Riding Lawn Mowers

123rf.com (Bogda Mircea Hoda)

Keeping your yard organized and trimmed is an ongoing battle. And if you have a decent-sized lawn, you know that using a walk-behind mower is a chore. 

Upgrading to a small riding mower takes the task and makes it much more manageable and fun. There is simply no comparison between your average walk-behind model and the vast improvement that a small riding lawn mower will bring to your weekend chore.

Small riding lawn mowers come with many updated features, drastically cut down on time, and take the effort out of mowing through thick grass. Small riding lawn mowers are a great investment that you’ll be happy with. Below, we’ve found these exceptional options that meet a variety of needs and budgets.

What Are the Best Small Riding Lawn Mowers in 2020?

Ryobi 38 inch 100 Ah Battery Electric Rear Engine Riding Lawn Mower Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Modern look
  • Clean sustainable power
  • Quiet operation
Price: $3,999.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Snapper 360z Zero Turn Riding Lawn Mower Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 23HP engine
  • Quick mow speed
  • Big fuel tank
Price: $2,799.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Simplicity Regent 42 Inch Riding Lawn Mower Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Easy start feature
  • Great motor
  • Quiet operation
Price: $2,599.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. Ryobi 38 inch 100 Ah Electric Rear Engine Riding Lawn Mower

    • 3 brushless electric motors
    • Charges using standard 120-volt outlet
    • Up to 2.5 hours of runtime
    • Bumpy ride
    • Awkward forward/reverse toggle switch
    • Expensive

    Sustainability is a real (and responsible) topic these days and Ryobi is one of the pack leaders with their line of rechargeable electric home and yard equipment. Powered by 100Ah Lead Acid Batteries 2.5 hours of run time, the Ryobi 38 inch 100 Ah Electric Rear Engine Riding Lawn Mower is a green alternative to traditional gas riding mowers. It comes equipped with 38 in. 2-Blade Deck and 12 Position Manual Deck Adjustment to get a clean, level cut on your lawn.

    What might be the best feature of the Ryobi small riding lawn more is the lack of noise it provides while cutting the grass. It emits only 70 dB during operation making it extremely quiet. Imagine mowing the lawn in the early morning without waking up the neighbors! The Ryobi 38 inch 100 Ah Battery Electric Rear Engine Riding Lawn Mower also comes equipped with LED headlights, USB phone charger, and cruise control.

    This is one small riding lawn more that makes mowing as efficient and convenient as possible. And it looks great while doing it, too.

  2. 2. Snapper 360z 42 Inch Zero Turn Riding Lawn Mower

    • 13 height adjustment levels
    • Quality steel construction
    • Great fuel economy
    • Too small for the price
    • Seat angle could be better for longer cutting sessions
    • Reports of bad solenoid issues

    The Snapper 360z 42 Inch Zero Turn Riding Lawn Mower is an enormous step up from your standard walk-behind lawn mower. This machine is commercially inspired but never feels like it during operation.

    The 12-gauge welded steel frame and thick-walled front axle provide a more even surface cut even when mowing over uneven terrain and tough landscapes. The cutting deck is strong, durable, and a decent size for maneuvering in and out of those tight-spaced areas in your yard. The deck floats with 2 anti-scalp wheels to prevent scalping over any high spots during mowing.

    This small riding lawn mower features a foot pedal operated commercial style deck lift system which you can use to simply adjust the height of the cutting deck through its 13 (!) different cut height positions from 1.5 to 4.5 inches. This model also has ball bearings in the caster spindles, reducing friction during extended periods of mowing over rougher terrain. The engine is quiet and provides good fuel efficiency with a large tank.

    The Snapper 360z 42 Inch Zero Turn Riding Lawn Mower has all the bells and whistles you need to make your lawn mowing fast and fun!

  3. 3. Simplicity Regent 42 Inch Riding Lawn Mower

    • Vibration free deck seat
    • LED headlights
    • Push button blade height adjustment
    • High fuel consumption
    • Not as durable as other riding lawn mowers
    • Needs more traction for hills

    Simplicity Manufacturing is a company that manufactures the Snapper brand of lawn equipment as well as their own name brand. After doing more research on this particular small riding lawn mower, I found more loyalty for Simplicity than any other brand I looked at. Owners of Simplicity lawn mowers have used them for several years or more and are fierce in their support for the brand.

    The Simplicity Regent 42 inch Riding Lawn Mower features a number of options that may explain the loyalty including a free-floating mower deck with full-width rear rollers. The manufacturer claims a “scalp-free” cut and the ability to “create ballpark lawn stripes”. As a baseball fan, I loved that bit of marketing! Briggs & Stratton provides the 724cc engine here however the speed tops out at 5.5 MPH, slower than other models at that size.

    The agenda of the Simplicity Regent is fairly simple: endurance, power, and comfort. LED headlights are a plus as is the push-button blade height adjustment on the console. The contoured seat is a bonus as well.

    This small riding lawn mower looks like what most people would expect of an average engine-front riding tractor. It’s not going to win any beauty contests but that’s not the point. This little lawn tractor will cut through the thickest vegetation without breaking a sweat.

    VideoVideo related to simplicity regent 42 inch riding lawn mower2020-05-04T17:31:52-04:00

Why Do I Need A Small Riding Lawn Mower?

There's a right tool for every job and that statement couldn't be more true when it comes to mowing the lawn. Don't ruin your brilliant summer day by using the wrong lawn mower!

If you have a medium yard or larger, push mowers may not be the best option. Your best answer for quick and easy lawn care is a small riding lawn mower.

If you have more than a 1/4-acre to take care of, there are many great benefits to owning a small riding lawn mower (also called lawn tractors) including efficiency, convenience, and time savings. You've got better things to do than mow the lawn, right?

What Kinds of Small Riding Lawn Mowers Are Available?

There are a wide variety of sizes and models when it comes to mowers: rear-engine riding mowers, zero-turn mowers, and light-duty lawn tractors. They typically begin at a 30-inch cutting width on the small end and top out at 48 inches. If you're taking care of more than two acres, you should look at a larger riding lawn mower than 48 inches.

What Should I Look for In A Small Riding Lawn Mower?

It really comes down to what type of yard you have to take care of. Size, terrain, elevation, and climate all have unique demands on your landscaping time. Make sure to choose a small riding lawn mower that makes sense for your property.

You probably don't need more than a 36-inch cutting width for your typical suburban yard but that's up to you. Any small riding mower will cut down on mowing time significantly.

Do you have hills to take care of? Make sure to look at the reviews posted here as well as those online. Some riding mowers tackle hilly terrain like billy goats. Others have some challenges with how steep the slope may be.

Zero-turn lawn mowers are great with obstacles and tight spaces but may not handle changing terrain well. Is your lawn smooth and even or are there bumps and divots? Look at the cutting decks of each unit to make sure the machine you're looking at can handle your particular yard type.

Of course, there's your budget to consider as well! Plan on spending at least $1,500 on the low end for a small riding lawn mower that meets your needs. Bargains can be had depending on the time of year and how many of the previous year's models are still available.

What if I Don't Need a Small Riding Lawn Mower?

The market for power tools to use in your yard is very, very vast. There are cordless, gas-powered, and manual units to meet the needs of any homeowner. 

We've got plenty of lists to look at depending on your preferences. Would you prefer a walk-behind cordless electric mower? No problem. Want to save some money on a lawn mower? No problem. 

Speaking of cordless electric tools, all sorts of implements like leaf blowers and string trimmers are going electric and cutting the cord at the same time.