What Are Consumer Reports Top Picks for Riding Mower?

The warm weather brings rapidly growing grass and weeds, and nothing looks better than a freshly mowed lawn. To keep your lawn in order, you need a solid and reliable lawn mower. Without a good lawn mower and a regular lawn maintenance routine, you could incur the anger of neighbors who hope to keep the neighborhood in tiptop shape.

Investing in a reliable lawn mower

A John Deere lawn mower steering wheel, which John Deere was included in Consumer reports top pick for riding mower.
John Deere steering wheel | Getty Images

Some people don’t want to pay for a high-quality lawn mower, mow their lawn regularly, or worry about lawn mower maintenance. Instead, they shell out money for landscaping and mowing services each month to take care of their lawns. While this may seem like a good alternative, ultimately, it’s better to invest in a reliable lawn mower for several reasons.

Lawn mowing and landscaping services can be expensive. Even if you rely on the local kid down the block looking to make a few extra bucks, you’ll pay more money over time depending on a third party than swallowing the upfront cost of a good lawn mower investment.

Further, third parties aren’t always reliable. The kid down the block moves away, or the landscaping company goes under. Then, you spend more time on your phone trying to find a replacement than mowing the lawn itself.

In the long run, it’s much cheaper and easier to invest in a high-quality push or riding lawn mower. Riding mowers are more expensive but often offer superior performance and more convenient features. But if you opt for a cheap one or buy an unreliable one, you will spend more on repairs and maintenance. So it’s essential to do your due diligence before heading over to the local home improvement retail store.

Consumer Reports’ lawn mower recommendations

As you’re beginning to search for reliable lawn mower suggestions, start with Consumer Reports. The well-regarded consumer product review organization recently published their Best Lawn Mowers and Tractors of 2022 list with some great choices, one of which may suit your preferences and budget.

For example, if you’re looking for a gas-powered self-propelled lawn mower, Consumer Reports recommends the $4,400 John Deere X354 for its bagging, cutting, side-discharging, evenness, handling, and mulching capabilities. If you’d prefer a gas-powered zero-turn-radius mower, try the $5,300 Gravely ZT HD 48 991152, which also impressed reviewers in all of the above areas.

Perhaps you’re looking for a cheaper option. The $1,900 Cub Cadet CC30 H is on the list for compactness, handling, mulching, and side-discharging performance. And if you’re looking for a green option, the EGO ZT4204L is Consumer Reports’ pick. Starting at $5,499, it’s not cheap. But it charges completely in just 3 hours, is relatively quiet for a mower, and performs well at mulching, side-discharging, and handling.

How Consumer Reports makes its recommendations

Of course, these recommendations are just a starting point as you perform your research. However, it’s hard to go wrong with Consumer Reports as a starting point, given its reputation for comprehensive and consistent product evaluations. In fact, Consumer Reports goes to great lengths to replicate various real-world conditions before making their assessments.

To evaluate the products on their list, Consumer Reports planted nearly a ton of ryegrass in a field of varying terrain in Florida. Reviewers then mow 500,000 square feet of the dense grass, assessing each gas or battery-powered mower’s performance over slopes, level fields, and ditches.

They use that performance and assessments from their consumer surveys about previous generation models to help them determine each tractor’s overall score, as well as predicted reliability and owner satisfaction. They also assess and score each category in multiple categories, such as bagging, mulching, and side discharging.

Given their thorough process, Consumer Reports can provide in-depth and insightful evaluations of each they review. Their list, and other related resources on their site, should be one of your first stops before you invest in your first or next lawn mower.

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