9 Things You Need To Know In Using A Riding Lawn Mower: Ultimate Guide To Safety And Efficiency 2021


What is a Riding Lawn Mower and What is Its Sphere of Application?

A riding lawn mower is a grass-cutting machine empowered by an engine and equipped with an operator’s seat. In other words, instead of walking behind a mower, you ride on it. Modern riding mowers come packed with features and extra options, so choosing the best riding lawn mower for hills is quite a challenge. Keep on reading to know what type of a mower is right for you.
There are four main types of riding mowers. However, there is no single answer to the question “what is the best type of riding mower for hills?” Every type has its advantages and disadvantages, so it’s for you to decide what to choose.

  • Rear Engine Mowers

This is the cheapest option. They are small, lightweight, and have a bare minimum of features. They are created solely for grass cutting, and they do this job pretty well, though the speed of moving and cutting is on the low side. That said, they are compact and convenient for both storage and moving in narrow places.

  • Lawn Tractors

This is the most popular, medium-priced option. They are equipped with a relatively powerful engine and a wide deck (38 through 54 inches). Lawn tractors can come with a variety of accessories, and they are often compatible with trailers. Their speed of cutting is higher if compared to rear engine machines.

  • Garden Tractors

These are powerful and, therefore, expensive machines. Their deck width can reach 60 inches and they are compatible with multiple attachments, including cultivators, plows, tillers, etc. In addition, some models have a detachable engine that can be used separately as a generator.

  • Zero Turn Radius (ZTR) Mowers

ZTR mowers are professional machines with a unique capability of making 180-degree turns. They are the speediest and the most powerful. That said, a ZTR is not the best riding lawn mower for steep hills (over 15 degrees).

How To Choose A Riding Lawn Mower?

Riding mowers are expensive – their price starts at $1000 and can reach $4000. It means there is no room for mistakes – you need to weigh all pros and cons before making a choice. Keep in mind that using riding mower on hills has its specific features, and some otherwise good mowers will be not effective enough. When buying a riding mower for hills, consider the following crucial parameters.

  • Ease of Driving

Modern riding mowers are commonly very easy to use. They are equipped with convenient intuitive control panels that make driving a pleasure. Such smart features as cruise control are rather useful, especially for inexperienced operators.

  • Weight

The weight of the mower also matters, especially when you are mowing on hilly terrains. Heavy and bulky machines will move slower and consume more power. The best choice is a lightweight mower with a powerful engine.

  • Deck Size

A deck size determines a cutting width. Wider decks are better for open spaces – large, smooth lawns. On narrower paths and uneven terrains, a smaller deck will be more flexible and convenient. Thus, the best riding lawn mower for hills doesn’t need a wide deck.

  • Lawn Size

It seems obvious: larger lawns require powerful mowers with wider decks. We recommend considering the lawn shape and the terrain also. It makes sense to buy a mower with a 40-50 inches deck to handle the lawns no less than 3 acres. For a lawn of up to 2 acres in size, a 30-40-inches deck will do.

  • Engine Size

It is measured in cubic centimeters (cc) and shows how powerful the engine is. A higher engine size is associated with a higher motor power. The number of cylinders is also important: double-cylinder engines are more powerful than the single-cylinder ones.

Safety Tips When Using Riding Lawn Mower for Hills

Lawn mowers are known as high-injury garden equipment. It is crucial to understand how to make a riding lawn mower safer on hills and lawns. To avoid traumas and injuries follow basic safety tips.

  1. Don’t ignore the manual – it contains all the information about the mower’s characteristics and rules of operation.
  2. Put on protective clothes and glasses; otherwise, you can be hurt with small stones, debris, and thorns that are thrown from the wheels during mowing.
  3. Inspect the lawn for potentially dangerous objects and obstacles that can cause damage to you or to a mower.
  4. Try not to work at nighttime or in rainy weather. The risk of injury increases when the grass is wet and slippery and you can miss an obstacle or a danger in the darkness.
  5. Always turn off the mower when you need to go away for a while and never try to cross the road or stay in front of the working mower, even if it is not moving right now.
  6. Don’t allow anything to distract you from driving. Look at the road (lawn) ahead of you in order to see potential dangers in advance.
  7. Keep your pets and kids away from the working mower. Don’t let children play near the machine or climb on its seat or deck.
  8. Clean the mower regularly but don’t forget to turn it off before doing it.

We also recommend reading how to use a riding mower on steep hills correctly. Keep in mind that hills are a high-risk area, and never try to mow in the hilly terrains in the rainy weather or at night.

What Would Cause a Hydrostatic Riding Mower to Bog Down on Hills?

There are several reasons for it. The most common of them are a low gas or/and oil level, a dirty carburetor, a dirty air filter, muddy blades, fouled spark plugs, and a dirty muffler. The solution is simple: clean all the inner and outer components before going to hills and check fuel and oil.

How Powerful is a Mower for Leaf Cleanup (Including Acorns)?

Most mowers have some extra features and possibilities; one of the most useful of them is leaf mulching. It means you can use your riding mower to clean your yard or lawn from fallen leaves and acorns. There are three options available in popular mowers: mulching, side discharging, and bagging. Depending on the particular model of a machine, you can either mulch the leaves and discharge them back on the lawn, or mulch and collect them. In both cases, you’ll make your lawn cleaner and more pleasant to the eye.

How to Make a Riding Lawn Mower Safer on Hills?

Mowing on hills is more difficult and dangerous if compared to mowing on even lawns. To minimize the risks adhere to the following rules: 1) choose the right mower and 2) avoid unfavorable weather conditions (rain, mud, dew, fog. etc.)

What Size Riding Mower Do I Need for Hills?

It primarily depends on the size of your lawn. As a general rule of thumb, for bigger lawns, you need larger mowers. Also, keep in mind that a zero-turn vs riding mower on hills is less reliable because of its wheel construction. The trouble is that zero-turn machines use casters instead of front wheels. That is why they easier to slip down steep hills.

What Transmission is Best for Hills in a Riding Lawn Mower?

There are three types of transmission: manual, automatic and hydrostatic. For smoother movement and more precise control over speed, choose mowers with automatic or hydrostatic transmission. The cruise control feature adds convenience.

How Long is the Warranty from the Manufacturer?

All reliable and trusted lawn mower manufacturers provide a warranty on their products. The term of warranty commonly varies from two to five years.

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