The first riding mower was probably some contraption someone hooked up to their horse. Even if it managed to effectively cut grass, it would probably still never qualify as the best riding lawn mower for hills. It likely wasn’t safe or efficient, but it may have been the best around at the time.
Long before there were people mowing them, there were lawns. In Middle English, the word for it was “launde,” meaning a glade or opening in the woods. It’s unclear how long it was before people started to use scythes to manage their “laundes,” but it was the late 18th Century before people began maintaining them for beauty.
Once the wealthy started surrounded their large castles and estates with well-kept lawns, it must have taken a lot of men with scythes to tame them. Yet when Englishman Edwin Budding patented the first push lawn mower in 1830, apparently he was thinking of sports grounds.
How long do you think it took someone to consider the best riding lawn mower for hills? Was that earlier fellow on the horse already doing the job? It’s fun to think about, isn’t it?
Why Choose the Best Riding Lawn Mower for Hills?
If you have a tiny lawn and you’re very young, even with hills, you may not be considering the best riding lawn mower for hills at this stage of your life. And for the price, frankly, you probably shouldn’t.
On the other hand, if your lawn is a half acre or more and you plan on staying a while, pushing a mower up and down hilly terrain, especially if your plans include some beautiful landscaping, will grow old fast.
What Kind of Riding Lawn Mower is Best for Hills?
Yes, it is a different question than the one we’re addressing with the overall article. There are many different types of riding mowers, for those of you first-time buyers, and they break down into the following categories:
Rear-engine mowers are the smallest of the riding mowers. They have a smaller deck size (mowing circumference) ranging between 28 inches and 34 inches. Their engines are less powerful than those with front-engines and usually range between 11 inches and 15 horsepower. But they are lighter machines, making up the difference. They have easy maneuverability and a tight turn radius.
Lawn tractors are riding mowers with a cutting deck mounted in the middle of the vehicle. Their cutting width ranges from 38 inches to 54 inches, but it’s not as easy to cut around landscaping with a lawn tractor as it is a rear-engine mower. They come with a wide variety of features. Not only can you add on feature comforts, but you can attach baggers, mulchers, or a cart to tow around landscaping supplies and much more. With prices from $1100 to $5000, you can find something for in your range, but you also need the space to use and store it.
Garden tractors are similar to lawn tractors in build, but they are heavier and have larger wheels. They handle steep hills and rough terrain very well. If you also have different types of grasses throughout the property, a garden tractor will tackle it with ease. They have a cutting width of 48 inches to 54 inches. Their price tags range from about $2000 to $3000.
Zero-turn radius mowers
Zero-turn mowers are the masters of speed and maneuverability. They’re best for medium and large lawns, but there is usually a learning curve since they have a different type of steering on board. Still, since they can pivot 180 degrees cutting all of the grass beneath, you’re sure to get the mowing done in record time once driving gets mastered.
They are now available with a cutting width as low as 34 inches to as wide as 72 inches on the commercial side with prices starting at about $2300 up to $12,000 and above. Similar to the tractors, they come with accessories so you can bag and mulch as necessary with your more considerable property.
How Do I Choose What’s Best for My Property?
Every manufacturer and each model has something different to offer, and there are specific details you will want to be aware of when looking for the best riding lawn mower for hills on your property.
Take note of what you’ll be mowing. Understand the type of growth and its thickness, whether there is frequent debris such as twigs and nuts or if you’ll want to mulch or collect your output. Determine whether you’ll be driving around a lot of obstacles such as trees, bushes, or ornaments and if the grade of your hills is steep or the terrain uneven.
You’ll want to pay attention to the height of the vehicle, as a lower deck will be safer on steeper hills. The power of the engine will also be a consideration depending on how far your vehicle will have to climb and what type of grasses it will be mowing. If you expect to be mowing in the dark, look for headlights, and if your property is large, a comfortable seat might make all the difference in the world.
Or, you can take our word for it and start with our list of the best riding lawn mowers for hills.
How We Reviewed the Products
We did extensive research to pare down the models below. There were individual discussions with a lawn care service provider and a homeowner who tackle lawns with hills every time they sit on their riding mowers before compiling the best riding lawn mowers for hills. Additionally, we took into consideration a variety of factors including price, size of the product and properties, comfort levels, and of course, reviews of actual users across the internet.
Our list is in no particular order and provides you with options from several different manufacturers including its feature highlights, pros and cons, pricing, and where you can purchase the best riding lawn mower for hills should you be ready to do so after reading the article.
Cub Cadet XT1 LT 46″ Enduro Series Kohler Hydrostatic Gas Front-Engine Riding Mower
Comfortable and versatile with a tight turn radius and a 22 horsepower engine, the Cub Cadet works very well on hills and rough terrain. The high-back seat and padded steering wheel offer a comfortable ride, and the many optional attachments could have you in the yard for a long time. Among the attachments are carts, a mulch kit, a snow blade, and a snow thrower. There’s even a sun shield to keep you cool and a snow cab to keep you dry.
The Cub Cadet’s 46-inch cutting deck offers 12 height positions and includes a de4ck washing kit. With popular features like cruise control, reverse mowing, and hydrostatic transmission, this unit certainly qualifies as one of the best riding mowers for hills. It’s available at Home Depot for between $1700 and $1900. It has a 4.4 out of 5 stars from reviewers with more than 1300 votes cast. Cub Cadet backs their mower with a 3-year, unlimited hour warranty on the powertrain and 5-years unlimited on the chassis and front axle. Available at Home Depot.
POULAN PRO PP20VA46 Lawn Tractor
With a Briggs & Stratton 20 horsepower V-twin engine, the Poulan Pro does a fantastic job on hilly terrain, and with the automatic transmission, it drives like a car. Unlike a car, this lawn tractor doesn’t have cruise control, but it does have a 46-inch cutting deck and six cutting positions. It’s on the list for the best riding lawn mower for hills also because of its large rear wheels that won’t harm turf and maintain excellent traction, its 8-mile-per-hour speed, and near-zero turn radius.
The Poulan comes with a metal hood like some of the more expensive models adding additional safety for your mowing experience, and has a moderate price between $1400 and $1800. It receives 4.1 out of 5 stars from user reviews with 403 votes cast, with the most remarkable feature being its usability. Best of all, it comes with a 2-year limited warranty and a 10-year limited deck shell warranty. Available at Home Depot.
Troy-Bilt 30-Inch Neighborhood Riding Lawn Mower
Don’t let the looks of this one deceive you! It is one of the most consistently highly-rated small riders for uneven and hilly terrain. If money and space are considerations, this is the rider for you. Featuring either a Troy-Bilt or a Briggs and Stratton Engine, the size allows the engine to do magnificent work. With a 30-inch side-discharge mowing deck with five positions, it will easily tear through your smaller yard, and it isn’t much larger than a traditional lawn mower.
The Troy-Bilt lacks headlights to keep you from mowing after dark, but even at this price point keeps up with the big boys by offering a reverse mowing feature. You need a relatively large space for maneuvering the vehicle due to the placement of the mowing deck, but it will fit easily into your existing garage. The Troy-Bilt receives 4.0 stars out of 5 with 787 user votes cast and costs between $900 and $1100 — available only at Lowes — with a 2-year limited warranty.
Husqvarna Z254 (54″) 26HP Kohler Zero-Turn Lawn Mower
If you have a large property and a lot of rough terrains to cover, you will want a zero-turn mower. This Husqvarna has a reinforced steel deck and air-blowing technology improving lift for a superior cut. The 26-horsepower engine is one of the best on the market, and the Z254 hugs the ground for excellent safety on steep terrain. The 54-inch cutting deck with six positions ensures you’re cutting as much as possible with each pass.
The hydrostatic transmission is maintenance-free and comes with an electric clutch. Buying this particular best riding lawn mower for hills isn’t for the faint of heart. It doesn’t come with attachments. You can bag your cuttings, but you won’t be carting things around with it. It is a mower, nothing more. It also ranges in price from $2900 to $3200 and requires a lot of space to store and comes with a 3-year warranty. Available at Mowers Direct.
What is the Best Riding Lawn Mower for Hills?
You can’t go wrong buying one of the above mowers. All of the manufacturers have excellent reputations and other products available if you need to tweak your specs.
We have two favorites. For a house with a smaller, sloped yard without a lot of landscaping, you can’t lose with the Troy-Bilt. It gets rave reviews and would keep anyone from doing yard work after dark!
If you are going to replace a riding lawn mower for anything over half an acre, the Cub Cadet is number one on the list. It, too, is highly rated and appreciated by those who own it. User reviews are crucial when it comes to satisfaction.
Did your pick for the best riding lawn mower for hills make it to the article? We’d love to hear your opinion and why it’s on your list.