If your lawn resembles anything more than a nature strip, or you live on anything bigger than half an acre, no doubt you’ve considered purchasing a ride-on mower to help make tackling the lawn a bit easier. Ride-on lawn mowers may be the key weapon for surly groundskeepers and old fellas on an acreage, but if you live on anything sizeable, a ride-on mower can be time-saving and even a little fun. But venture into the ride-on market, and you’re sure to be met with plenty of options. So which one do you choose? Find out all you need to know about ride-on mowers, and which brands offer them, in this Canstar Blue guide.
Types of Ride-On Lawn Mowers
There are three main types of ride-on lawn mower at the hands of the mowing enthusiast – rear engine models, lawn & garden mowers, and ‘zero-turn’ ride-on mowers. If it’s a cheap lawn mower you want, you’ve come to the wrong page. Find out about ride-on mower types below.
Rear-Engine Ride-On Lawn Mowers
Rear-engine lawn mowers are about as basic as you can get in the ride-on mower space, and may also be cheaper. Rear-engine lawn mowers often feature power levels similar to that of higher-end push mowers, and offer the same versatility, except you sit on it. Rear engine mowers usually feature smaller chassis and cutting widths, making them ideal for smaller lawns and sneaking through tight spaces such as gates and fences. Rear-engine ride-ons often lack the grunt of other ride-on types. However, the convenience factor and small frame may make it worthwhile for lawns that aren’t so big.
Lawn & Garden Ride-On Lawn Mowers
These are probably what first come to mind when you think of ride-on lawn mowers. With an engine at the front, and grass dispersal often to the side, these ride-on mowers are a common staple of any property over one acre in Australia. Compared to rear-engine mowers, there is often more engine power, with much wider cutting widths of 70cm or more to make larger yards get a good chop.
- Lawn ride-on mowers are often the smaller of the two, while ‘Garden’ varieties are often bigger, featuring more power, bigger cutting widths and resembling more a ‘tractor’ than ‘mower’
Zero-Turn Lawn Mowers
Perhaps the most peculiar, zero-turn mowers feature super-tight turning circles, with the ability to make a 360° turn possible. Most feature large cutting widths of 100cm or more, making short work of most lawns. Zero-turn mowers also feature higher top speeds, with a lightweight frame and comparatively high power figures. Zero-turn mowers are somewhat of a premium compared to other types and are best suited to manicuring fussy lawns, fields and golf courses. But they do have solid options for those living on a big lot in rural areas, who take a lot of pride in their lawn. Suburban dwellers may not see much use in a zero-turn mower, however.
Features to look for in a ride-on lawn mower
If you know what type of mower you want to buy, you’ll probably want to consider some of the features that can either make or break your mowing experience. Areas to consider include:
- Cutting capabilities: In addition to the cutting width and height, does your mower have a catcher or mulching capabilities? Or does it simply chew up and spit out the clippings? Having a catcher or mulcher can help you spread the clippings as you see fit.
- Transmission: Some mowers come with manual transmission, while others are automatic, allowing you to simply focus on steering and cutting. As with cars, there’s generally a price difference between manual and auto transmissions, as well as how much work you have to do with each.
- Gradient capabilities and safety: Some ride-on mowers can tackle steeper hill gradients than others, with others also equipped with wider wheels and 4WD capabilities to help you stay safe while on the job. If you have a hilly terrain, think about opting for a model with a higher gradient capability, or additional safety features such as rollbars for peace of mind.
- Comfort: Can you adjust the seat? Does it have armrests and a cup holder? Mowing the lawn can take a long time, so you might as well be comfy while doing it. Opting for a model that has a high-back support seat can help you stay focussed on the job, with a cup holder or additional storage also allowing you to stay hydrated while out in the hot sun.
What size ride-on lawn mower do I need?
Ride-on lawn mowers come in plenty of shapes and sizes, with various cutting widths and engine capabilities. Keep in mind that many mowers still feature specifications in imperial measurements, as many brands cater towards the US market. Lawns half an acre or less may be more suited to a push mower.
|Size of Lawn||Mower Size & Type||Price Guide|
|Up to 1 Acre||· Lawn ride-on with a 30-42” cutting width
· Zero-turn with 42” cutting width
|Up to 2 Acres||· Lawn ride-on with a 46-48” cutting width
· Zero-turn with 46-48” cutting width
|More Than 2 Acres||· Ride-ons with 50” or bigger cutting width
· Zero-turn mowers with a 50-60” cutting width
Ride-On Lawn Mower Brands
In Australia, there are a number of ride-on mower brands available, each with a number of models available for purchase, from models suited to residential addresses that are just too big for a push mower, through to commercial grade mowers for those after that professional touch. Read on to find out what each brand has available.
John Deere Ride-On Lawn Mowers
Perhaps synonymous with rugged versatility and the vast American prairies, John Deere features a large range of mowing solutions, with its consumer ride-on catalogue featuring:
- 100 Series
- X300 Select Series
- X500 Select Series
- X700 Signature Series
- ZTrak Zero-Turn Series
As you’d expect, the 100 Series generally offers the most basic functionality, with power figures starting at around 13kW, with the base level S100 model featuring a 42inch cutting width, with the 100 series going up to a 48inch cutting width. The X700 Signature Series features models such as the X738, which includes 4WD for optimal traction, electronic fuel injection for easy starting, 25HP engine, iTorque power system, rubber engine mounts to reduce vibration, 19.7L fuel tank, 54inch cutting width, optional MulchControl attachment as well as six seating settings to ensure you’re comfortable while getting through the lawn.
John Deere also offer the ZTrak Zero-Turn ride-on range, which includes the Z300, Z500 and Z700 series, with engine power ranging from 20HP to 25HP, and cutting widths from 42inch to 60inches. Models also include a heavy-duty welded steel frame for those tough conditions, with large caster wheels able for better traction on slopes and uneven ground. You can also adjust the seat for additional comforts, with armrests and other comforts available on the majority of models.
Toro Ride-On Lawn Mowers
While also offering a number of commercial options, for the residential consumer, Toro specialises in zero-turn mowers, as well as offers a battery-powered option for those who don’t need the latest and greatest. Toro’s range of ride-on lawn mowers include:
- Toro e-Series Ride-On
- Toro TimeCutter SS
- Toro Timecutter MX
- Toro Titan
- Toro Z Master
The battery powered e-Series mower features a 30inch cutting width, 72V rechargeable battery that can power the brushless motor for up to two hours, with 10 cutting heights, mulching capabilities and side discharge, high back seat, LED front lights, cup holder and cruise control for equal parts comfort and hard yakka.
The zero-turn range is Toro’s bread and butter, with the bulk of its range here. Including the TimeCutter, Titan and Z Master series, each are built to help tackle larger areas and tougher terrains. The TimeCutter series ranges from 32inch to 50inch cutting widths, with the base-level 32inch model also including three speeds, a dual hydrostatic drive system for maximum torque and manoeuvrability, as well as an 11.4L fuel tank to ensure you get the job done.
The Toro Titan range includes model between 48 and 60inch cutting widths, with the larger mowers featuring the MYRIDE suspension system for additional comfort, protective tyre fenders, an 18.9L fuel tank, handcrafted high-back seat and armrests to help you on those long days on the tools. The top-of-the-line Z Master 2000 mower includes a 60inch cutting width, TURBO FORCE cutting deck to tackle the big jobs, USB port, cup holder and storage space to help stay comfy when you’re behind the wheel, as well as MYRIDE suspension, 58cm rear wheels to help with steep terrain and plenty of customisable options, including lights, mounts and bags to help get the job done.
Victa Ride-On Lawn Mowers
The name synonymous with mowing in Australia, Victa is an Aussie icon and produces a relatively large range of both lawn tractors and zero-turn mowers. They can generally be broken up into three series, including:
The entry-level VRX – the 155 – features a 38inch cutting width and 42cm turning radius, with dual wash ports, electric blade engagement, 6L fuel tank, seven cutting heights and headlights to help you see where you’re going. The VRX 175 includes a 210L catcher for when you want to keep on top of the clippings, as well as a 42cm turning radius.
The SPX range includes the 2342, which includes a two-cylinder 23HP engine, 13.3L fuel tank, 42inch cutting width, seven cutting heights, 35cm turning radius, headlights as well as cruise control to help when you’ve got plenty of yard to get through. And if you’re really looking to get that professional finish, the ZRX range may be the one for you, with this range featuring zero-turning radius capabilities. The entry-level 2246 model also includes a 46inch cutting width, armrests, 11.4L fuel tank, adjustable seat, 13 cutting heights and a 22HP engine for equal parts comfort and grunt.
Ryobi Ride-On Lawn Mowers
One of the most well-known power tool ranges thanks to its compatible battery pack, Ryobi also offers a range of mowers to choose from, with a number of ride-on models also available, including:
- Ryobi 48V Brushless Ride-On Mower
- Ryobi 48V Brushless Zero-Turn Ride-On Mower
Ryobi’s brushless ride-on mower comes in two models, one with a 30inch cutting width, while the other is equipped with a 38inch cutting width. The smaller model is designed to tackle one acre of mowing on a full battery charge, and includes seven height cutting settings, LED headlights, a USB charger and a cup holder, while the larger model aims to tackle up to two acres on a full charge, and comes equipped with 12 cutting heights.
The Ryobi Zero-Turn ride-on lawn mower features four 12V 100Ah batteries, with a run time of up to three hours, suitable for up to three acres of mowing. Including four brushless motors – two for driving and two to power the blades – the model also features an adjustable seat with spring shocks to counter any rough terrain, as well as LED headlights, a 42inch cutting width, 12 cutting heights, USB charger and cup holder for additional comfort.
Rover Ride-On Lawn Mowers
One of the stalwarts of the Aussie lawn mowing landscape, Rover offers a number of ride-on mowers, including:
- Toro Micro Rider Mower
- Toro Mini Rider
- Toro Raider Ride-On Mower
- Toro Rancher Ride-On Mower
- Toro Lawn King Ride-On Mower
- Toro Rover Zero-Turn Mower
The Toro micro ride-on mower is suitable for smaller areas or narrow access spots, with a 196cc engine and 6speed manual transmission, 24inch cutting width, 1.1L fuel tank and can be equipped with an optional mulching kit to help with garden maintenance. The next step up is the Toro mini rider, which features a 30inch cutting width, 382cc engine, telescopic steering, 4.9L fuel tank and an optional mulch kit and catcher.
The Toro Raider includes a 439cc engine with 6speed manual transmission, 38inch cutting width with side discharge, low back seat and a 5.7L fuel tank, with the Toro Rancher bumping up the cutting width to 42inches, suitable for larger areas. It also features a 547cc engine with hydro gear transmission, 5.7L fuel tank with a catcher and mulch kit as an optional extra.
The Rover Zero Turn range includes the RZ model, which includes a 42 to 46inch cutting width depending on the model, with the smaller model also featuring 679cc engine, 13.2L fuel tank, two-way adjustable steering, high back seat, hydrostatic transmission and optional catcher and mulching kit. The top-of-the-line Toro Zero-Turn model features a 46inch cutting width, 20HP engine, and can handle gradient inclines of up to 20-degrees, ideal for those tricky terrains.
Masport Ride-On Lawn Mowers
Masport offers a number of ride-on lawn mowers, with its range split into side discharge, rear catcher and speciality models, with its range including:
- Masport Mini Rider Ride-On Mower
- Masport 3000 Ride-On Mower
- Masport G3800 Ride-On Mower
- Masport S155 Ride-On Mower
- Masport ZVT Ride-On Mower
- Masport Crossjet Ride-On Mower
- Masport Goliath Ride-On Mower
The entry-level Mini Rider mower includes a 24inch cutting width, 6speed transmission, steel bumper, pivoting front axle for easier use, as well as a 1.1L fuel tank and 190cc engine. The Masport 3000 ride-on mower includes mulching capabilities, parking brake, 10.5HP engine, 5.7L fuel tank and a 30inch cutting width.
Masport’s S155 is a traditional lawn tractor model, featuring a 36inch cutting width, hydrogear transmission, mulching capabilities, headlights, parking brake, 7L fuel tank and 300L catcher to help with the lawn clippings. If you’re after a zero-turn mower, the ZVT may be for you, including a 48inch cutting width, 13 cutting heights, adjustable lap bars for additional comfort, a 24HP engine and 19L fuel tank, this might be worth looking into if you have plenty of lawn to cut.
Other mowers for big jobs include the Masport Crossjet mower, which is available as a 2WD or 4WD model. The 2WD Crossjet mower features mulching capabilities, headlights, rollbar, diff lock, a 20HP engine, 19L fuel tank, key start, dual cutting blades and an optional tow hitch. Masport’s other specialty model is the Goliath, which comes with 4WD and a 24HP V-Twin engine, in addition to a 36 or 42inch cutting widths.
Razorback Ride-On Lawn Mowers
Part of the family-owned business Specialised Mowing Equipment (SME Mowers), the Razorback is a ride-on mower only range, with models including:
- Razorback CM1401H
- Razorback CM1402H
- Razorback CMX1402H
- Razorback CMX1808
- Razorback CMX2106
- Razorback CMX2302
The CM1401H entry-level model from Razorback features a 2WD drivetrain, 12HP engine, max speed of 13km/h, hydrostatic transmission, low seat position for additional stability on hillside mowing, and is able to hand gradients up to 15 degrees. If you need something with a bit more to it, the majority of Razorback’s range includes 4WD models, with the CMX1402H the entry-level to the range. It features a telescopic steering wheel, adjustable suspension seat, diff lock and a max speed of 14km/h.
The top-of-the-line Razorback model is the CMX2302, and features a 20L fuel tank, removable oil filter, adjustable seat, 23HP V-Twin engine, diff lock for additional stability, 21 cutting heights and can tackle slopes of up to 25 degrees.
Husqvarna Ride-On Lawn Mowers
A popular option for those looking for garden tools, Husqvarna also offers a number of ride-on lawn mowers, with models including:
- 100 Series
- 200 Series
- 300 Series
The base level Husqvarna ride-on lawn mower is the TS142 lawn tractor, which features an 18HP engine, 42inch cutting width, adjustable sliding seat, oversized steering wheel for easier use, twin-blade system, six cutting heights, 5.7L fuel tank, headlights and a cup holder. The TC138 model features a 26HP engine, automatic transmission, mulching capabilities, electric blade engagement, 38inch cutting width, six cutting heights, 48inch wheel base adjustable high back and armrests for additional comfort.
The Husqvarna TC 242TX includes cruise control, Deluxe Comfort Seat, LED lights, a 42inch cutting width, anti-scalp wheels, automatic transmission, six cutting heights, front brush guard to counter any difficult terrains as well as a cup holder for your drink. The most expensive model is the sole entrant of the 300 series – the TS 354 tractor – which features an ergonomic steering wheel for additional comfort, LED headlights, hydrostatic transmission with diff lock, cruise control, 54inch cutting width, seven cutting heights, three cutting blades, 15.1L fuel tank and professional-grade tyres for additional grip and manoeuvrability.
How much do ride-on lawn mowers cost?
Ride-on lawn mowers can cost you anywhere between $2,500 to over $25,000 depending on the brand, model, features and retailer you purchase through. As some of the most expensive lawn mower types you can purchase, ride-on mowers often come with plenty of power and wider cutting widths in comparison to push mowers to warrant the larger price tag, but can be a serious investment for some.
Is a ride-on lawn mower worth buying?
Whether swapping out the push mower for a ride-on mower is dependent on a few factors, including how much money you have to spent, how much lawn you have to cut, and how much time and energy you may save yourself from making the swap. Ride-on mowers certainly make the job more convenient, as you can simply drive around, but you’re bank account may take a hit, as ride-on mowers don’t come cheap, with even the more basic models setting you back a few thousand dollars. If you’re on a bit of land though, a few thousand dollars is more than worth being able to have a bit of free time up your sleeve at the end of the mowing. But if you’re still not sure, be sure to look into all of your options beforehand, as you may a brand and model that includes additional features such as mulching capabilities (or even just a cup holder for that well-earned drink), and one that can make quick work of the yard.