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This Small Riding Lawn Mower Gives You Big Bang for Your Buck

You'll want to ride around all day.


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I don’t know anyone with a lawn who doesn’t wistfully desire to own a riding lawn mower. Those who do are passionate about having a perfectly-manicured yard, and tend to ride around even when it doesn’t look like there is much to mow. Meanwhile, the rest of us push-mowers find every excuse to avoid cutting the grass. There’s a dark cloud, it’s definitely going to rain, the ground will surely be drier tomorrow… Bottom line? Tomorrow is always a better day to cut the grass, unless you have a riding lawn mower.

The arguments against owning a riding mower are that 1. They can be pricey. 2. They tend to be enormous and if you don’t have an extra garage built especially for your lawn mower, you might as well not have one. Fortunately, we found a small riding lawn mower that is actually affordable — most start at $2,000 — and can be stored in even the smallest of spaces.

This little guy would make a perfect gift for a dad in your life, or for yourself. In addition to being compact, it has a mulching mode which shreds the trimmings and returns vital nutrients to the soil. An 18-inch turn radius makes it a cinch to maneuver around trees and other obstacles, and it’s narrow body allows it to fit through gates. Reviewers claim it’s quieter and emits less of a vibration than other pricier models, and is gentle on slopes and bumps for those with bad backs.

More features:

  • Ride in more comfort with reduced vibration with Soft Touch steering wheel
  • Enhanced line of sight and visibility with rear-mounted engine
  • Rear hitch makes it easy to pull garden carts, sprayers and spreaders (attachments sold separately)
  • Maintain control with easier navigation around landscape borders and obstacles with 18-in turn radius
  • 2-year limited warranty
  • Comes fully crated and requires some assembly upon arrival

Troy-Bilt 30 in. Riding Lawn Mower with Mulch Kit

the best small riding lawnmower
Small riding lawn mower

$1,199, Home Depot

  • 382cc single-cylinder OHV Troy-Bilt engine with autochoke
  • 6-speed Shift-on-the-Go transmission for easy speed adjustment
  • 30 in. cutting deck with mulch kit is compact for easier storage
  • Clean grass clippings from deck by attaching standard garden hose to the integrated deck wash port

Promising reviews:

“We love it! We’re seniors, and it makes mowing our half acre fun instead of back-breaking work.”

“Started immediately and is a strong runner. Plenty of power for my 2+ acres. Great tool for a great price. … I enjoyed stress free shopping from my comfy chair at home. Pleased with zero interest financing.”

“This mower is tough! It cut through my heavy lawn no problem.”

“This handles our large front and backyard really well. We cut our grass in more than half the time. We have a slope in our backyard and it handles it pretty well. It took a bit for my husband to get used to the controls, but after a few times (about three) it’s second nature to him now and he’s ready to start entering lawn mower races.”

“My first riding mower. I had to figure out the reverse switch. Once I figured it all out it is fun to mow my grass. I put my boonie hat on and shades then start mowing. Easy to start, engage the blade then start cutting that grass.”

“Picked it up today and got my one acre done in probably 1/3 of the time it used to without breaking a sweat. This is a compact model that fits easily into my shed and isn’t overkill for the size yard I have.”

“It cuts great and is small enough to navigate around all the trees and obstacles in my yard. A good buy for the money.”

“Now my husband doesn’t mind cutting the grass! This was a godsend!!”

“I replaced a comparable Craftsman mower and this is much quieter, maneuvers better, is much easier on my back when going over tree limbs. I am happy!”

“Up and running in 30 minutes. There was enough gas in it (from shipment) to give a test run and cut a couple strips of my backyard before I had to run to the gas station to fill up my empty gas can. I finished the mowing job and was very impressed with the maneuverability and tight turning radius. Starts right up, cuts well, and runs quieter than I expected. “

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