3 Best Deals on Riding Lawn Mowers, According to Consumer Reports

The are many excellent brands of lawn mowers out there, but as with most products, prices are rising fast. Consumer Reports have tested quite a few lawn mowers and found what they thought was the best for your budget, provided you move quickly in April, which they say is the right time to buy. Which three models do they recommend for the price and performance? Let’s find out what they thought were the top three to consider when purchasing lawn cutting equipment.

A front end of a John Deere Riding Lawnmower.
John Deere Riding Lawn mower | Getty Images

John Deere S120 lawn mowers

The S120 model works great for a side-discharging rider, offering all the performance you could need with a smaller price tag. You get a 42-inch deck, which is plenty for many acreages. Plus, you get a washout port, cruise control, and the ability to cut grass in reverse. 

Powering it up is a Briggs & Stratton two-cylinder motor producing 22 hp. Along with the engine, it also comes with a hydrostatic drive, which we know is usually easier to use than your typical belt-driven ones. 

According to Consumer Reports, this model gets an 85 out of 100 possible points for its excellent predicted reliability, owner satisfaction, and mulching capabilities. The only problem they came across was the noise levels, so they recommend having hearing protection handy. 

As far as price goes, you can expect to pay around $2,300, depending on where you purchase it. Some places could offer it for quite a bit more, so be sure to shop around. 

John Deere S140

The S140 performs well, much like the S120 mower. The main difference is that this model has a 48-inch deck vs. the 42 on the other one.

With this model, you can pay around $2,300, but you can shop around to see if you can get an even better deal. You get the same excellent predicted reliability, owner satisfaction, and powertrain the other model gives, but it tends to cut the grass more evenly than the other mower.

The drawbacks are few, but they might be deal breakers for some buyers. You won’t get cruise control with this model, and the noise level is high, so be sure to have protection for your ears when you operate it. 

John Deere Z335E-42 lawn mowers

The John Deere Z335E-42 is a zero-turn mower with a 42-inch deck. With this model, you have side-discharging and mulching capabilities that you can easily switch back and forth with a lever. Predicted reliability isn’t as good as the other two riders on this list, but a four out of five rating is still pretty decent. 

Overall, Consumer Reports gave this zero-turn mower an 82 rating from its excellent scores with owner satisfaction, side-discharging, mulching, handling, and evenness performances. The only issues they encountered were the noise levels and the recessed gas tank fill, which they felt would cause problems with those with a short-nozzle gas can.

Price-wise, the Z335E-42 offers excellent value for the $2,800 price tag, which is pretty good for a popular mower with a tight turning radius. With this model, you won’t get cruise control or power steering, but the 20 hp Briggs & Stratton motor makes up for it with its outstanding performance. 

Despite the high prices we’re seeing on the lawn mowing market, you can still find some great deals that won’t break the bank for you. John Deere offers those savings but still gives you an excellent performing machine in the long run. 

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