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Best Riding Lawn Mower for Hills and Bumpy Terrains 

 June 25, 2021

By  Agriculturist Musa

Incorporating the best riding lawn mower for hills is a crucial part of making your life easier if you have a big lawn that has been untouched for one reason or another, and it looks like a mess. Riding lawn mowers are a perfect choice for getting your job done faster as the heavy and slow-moving gas-powered push mowers would be hectic and would cut the grass slower. With the right lawnmower, working on hilly terrains, undulating and sloppy landscapes is quite easy because ride-on mowers have key features that help them perform impressively in rugged terrains, and also some have zero-turn technology, a powerful engine, and an automatic transmission.

However, since gardens come in different shapes and sizes, finding the best lawn mower for your garden can be challenging. We have researched and have come up with a list of the best riding lawn mowers for hills with their pros and cons. We have also included a detailed buying guide to help you make an informed decision by understanding what factors are important to consider when making your purchase.

1. Husqvarna MZ61 Zero-Turn Riding Mower

Husqvarna MZ61 61 in. 27 HP Briggs & Stratton Hydrostatic Zero Turn Riding Mower
  • Husqvarna 61 in. zero-turn lawn mower from the MZ series delivers commercial-grade power and amazing...
  • 27 HP Briggs Endurance engine provides reliable startups and high ground speeds
  • Fabricated 11-gauge steel cutting deck offers an excellent 54 in. cut with an ergonomically designed...
  • Clippings can be discharged, mulched or bagged with a 9-bushel triple bag collection system...
  • High-back seat with armrests, foam-padded hand grips and vibration dampeners make mowing comfortable...

Husqvarna MZ61 is the best zero-turn mower, thanks to the precise zero-degree turn maneuvers. It features a three-blade cutting mechanism with a hydrostatic transmission and a 61 inches mower deck that allows a user to discharge clippings, bag, or mulch them in the 9-bushel triple bag collection. The model is popular for its speed, the additional comfort with vibration dampeners, a high-back seat with armrests and foam-padded grips, and a cup holder to store your water to ensure you stay hydrated.

Husqvarna Zero-Turn MZ61 qualifies as the best riding lawn mower for hills thanks to an adjustable deck lift you can use on the grass height you want and a 12-position cut height ranging from 1.5 inches to 4.5 inches. The zero-turn mowers also feature 6-inch wide unmarked front caster wheels that help to turn smoothly, and the back wheels are durable enough to keep your mower balanced.

Pros

  • Zero-turn lawn mowers offering precise radius movements
  • It features a fabricated 11-gauge steel cutting deck
  • 27 HP Briggs & Stratton engine
  • The mower is equipped with a service reminder
  • It comes with large rear and front tires
  • Offers maximum comfort with a high back seat and rubber isolators
  • It has a five-gallon fuel tank capacity

Cons

  • The mower may slide on downhill paths

2. Troy-Bilt 382cc Auto-Choke Engine 6-Speed

Troy-Bilt 382cc 30-Inch Premium Neighborhood Riding Lawn Mower
  • Powered by a 382cc Auto Choke OHV engine with top forward speeds of 4.25 MPH and a 6-speed...
  • The 30-Inch cutting deck featuring 5 adjustable settings couples the benefits of a standard riding...
  • Designed with an 18-Inch turning radius with 13x5-inch front wheels and 16x6.5-inch rear wheels
  • Manual power take-off for fast and easy blade engagement
  • This neighborhood mower is ideal for standard land owners with a medium sized landscape and...

Troy-Bilt 382 cc is the best riding mower for users looking for a budget-friendly and compact option as this is an entry-level lawn mower that is quite easy to store at an affordable price. These lawn mowers for hills can reach very tight spaces thanks to the 30-inch cutting deck, which can be compared to a sizable walk-behind mower and also has an adjustable 5-position blade that can be easily used with a lever.

Troy lawn mower for hills is controlled with a 13-inch soft steering wheel and six speeds, and for comfort, it comes with a mid-back padded seat and a cup holder to hold your drinks. It also comes with a deck wash port even though some users find it difficult to remove deposits and cuts, and with a speed of 4.25 mph, the small size works just fine. However, the single-cylinder gasoline engine mowers don't handle slopes very well, and they are more suitable for flat and even terrains.

Pros

  • Easy to operate and store
  • 6-speed transmission
  • Suitable for small yards
  • Compact compared to a lawn tractor
  • Comfortable back seat
  • Soft grip wheel for an easy steering
  • Enough fuel capacity
  • Adjustable blade to fit a convenient height

Cons

  • It is not the best for slopes

3. Husqvarna YTA24V48 24V Pedal Tractor Mower

Husqvarna YTA24V48 24V Fast Continuously Variable Transmission Pedal Tractor Mower, 48"/Twin
  • FAST auto transmission for a maintenance free operation
  • Features choke less start, charge port and electric clutch
  • Air Induction mowing technology improves airflow within the deck, ensuring a consistent cut every...
  • Convenient fender mounted deck lever is spring assisted for easy operation
  • 3 year limited, 5 year frame/chassis and front axle, 10 year cutting deck consumer warranty

Husqvarna YTA24V48 is an orange and black lawnmower with a structural design and a powerful engine with two filters, 12 V batteries, and a tank capacity of 3 gallons. The design is also very comfortable and has ergonomic seats that don't exert stress on your back, causing any back pain, and the height of the seat can also be adjusted according to your comfort level. The mower can achieve a maximum speed of 2.9mph in reverse with an amazing break cut, and with three blades provided, the cutting speed increases.

Husqvarna YTA24V48 mower features a smooth drive system with an electric clutch and an air induction mowing technology that boosts airflow in the deck, guaranteeing a consistent cut. It has easy-to-handle steering, a cup holder, a safety switch beneath the seat, LED headlights for safety tips, and you can mow both forward and reverse.

Pros

  • Air induction technology
  • An electric clutch, with a quick start and does not need a choke
  • Different height settings
  • Spring-assisted deck lever
  • It features an amazing break cut
  • The mower has a fast auto-transmission

Cons

  • Poor quality plastic clip
  • Difficult to access the filter and oil drain tube

4. Craftsman Z525 Zero Turn Gas Powered Lawn Mower

Craftsman 17ARFACT091 46-Inch Hydrostatic Gas Zero Turn Mower with 23HP Kohler Twin Cylinder Engine,...
  • POWERFUL ENGINE: Strong 23HP Kohler twin-cylinder engine with an easy and reliable starting system...
  • EXCEPTIONAL MANEUVERABILITY: Zero turn radius that allows quick and easy directional changes. The...
  • COMFORTABLE RIDE: Dual hydrostatic transmission paired with a high-back seat offers premium support...
  • DURABLE AND RELIABLE: Robust steel frame that is designed for an enhanced mowing experience.
  • ADJUSTABLE CUTTING HEIGHTS: Set the cutting height that works best for the task at hand. Maximum...

Craftsman Z525 is one of the best zero-turn mowers. It features an auto-choke mechanism that is reliable and integrated into the twin-engine, making it powerful enough for hilly terrains. With a 46-inch deck, the zero-turn mowers clear grass in a single motion and therefore decreasing your cutting time in half. It includes a deck wash that allows easy under cleaning to maximize the top-notch operational efficiency.

The Craftsman Z525 cutting deck has a wash which makes it easy to clean the tight spaces, and the gas lawn tractor can also mow in reverse. It also has a secure high back seat with a dual Hydro-Gear EZT with steering levers that give you additional control while mowing your yard, and the mower has a steel frame that guarantees durability.

Pros

  • Hydrostatic transmission
  • Very powerful 679cc dual engine
  • Mow-in reverse feature
  • 5-inch turning radius and a 46-inch cutting deck
  • Dual Hydro-Gear EZT
  • It has a deck wash

Cons

  • Suitable for large properties

5. Ariens 915223 IKON-X 52 Zero Turn Mower

Ariens IKON XD 52 inch 23 HP (Kawasaki) Zero Turn Mower 915267
  • 4” deep fully fabricated with advanced airflow for an exceptional cutting performance.
  • The plush, high back seat featuring padded arm rests is adjustable from the operator position...
  • Choose from 13 cutting positions, from 1½” to 4½”, in quarter-inch increments with just the...

Ariens 915223 zero-turn mowers usually boast a 52-inch cutting diameter and take the shortest time to get work done thanks to a 23-horsepower engine that can clip uphill easily without compromising cutting performance. It comes with a dual-engine for additional power and backup, and the power is adequate to mow even the toughest grass and flowers with a lot of ease.

The Ariens 915223 lawn tractors is a fuel-efficient machine that utilizes the fuel well to mow a large area in a short time, and with a seven mph/3mh speed, you are guaranteed a fast rate performance. Also, with air-filled rear tires that have grips, you are assured of stability, and it also has comfortable legroom with a traction pad that prevents slipping.

Pros

  • V-twin engine
  • Durable construction
  • Wide cutting diameter and wheelbase
  • Fuel efficient
  • 11-gauge steel deck
  • High-back padded seat with an armrest for maximum comfort.
  • Suitable for mowing large areas in minimum time
  • 8-gallon fuel capacity

Cons

  • Only ideal for the big lawns

Factors to Consider Before Purchasing the Best Riding Lawn Mowers for Hills

1. Gas Vs. Electric Riding Mowers

An electric riding lawn mower for hills is battery powered, making it easy to maintain, eco-friendly and quiet. In contrast, a gas-riding lawn mower is more powerful but very noisy to run, emits fumes, and runs as long as the fuel is there. One downside of an electric power source is that it needs to be recharged every 45 minutes and thus can be frustrating as you will have to take breaks and thus take longer to trim your lawn.

Gas-powered riding lawn mowers can cut through thick and overgrown bushes more efficiently and refuel faster. They are preferred by the people who have dense grass or large properties because of their large fuel tank capacity, power, and run time. Another notable point is that gas-powered riding mowers usually need more maintenance than electric models, but they are cheaper.

Some electric riding lawn mowers usually feature hydraulic motors that deliver extended power to the engine. A powerful engine is equal to fast grass-cutting action in gardens and hills.

2. Speed

Speed is among the first things you need to check before making your purchase, and this will be most important because when mowing your lawn, there will be times you will need to accelerate or slow down. Opt for a high-speed riding lawnmower if you will be working on a lawn with few obstacles, but if the lawn has plenty of obstacles, you should choose a riding mower that can go slowly because you need precision when mowing.

The manual push mowers are not suitable for steep hills or any uneven terrain and riding, and the best riding lawn mower for hills will get your job done faster. You need a maximum forward speed of 7-8 MPH and a maximum mow-in-reverse speed of 2.5-3 MPH.

3. Transmission

There are different types of transmissions available, and they include automatic, manual, and hydrostatic. The manual transmission features a selection of speed sets, and you should look for a riding mower for hills that will allow you to switch without necessarily stopping.

On the other hand, an automatic transmission is similar to an automatic car transmission where speed is controlled using a gas pedal. Finally, the hydrostatic transmission functions more like the automatic transmission and will use a liquid and not belts for the power transfer from the engine to the riding mower wheels.

4. Cutting Width and Turn Radius

The cutting width will tell you how wide the mower you are using will cut with one pass, and the wider the cut width capability, the more grass you can mow in one pass reducing your mowing time. On the other hand, the turning radius will tell you the space you will need to turn your mower, and if you are using a riding lawn mower with a wide radius, it will be difficult to turn in a small space.

Rear engine mowers usually have smaller cuts with a small exterior, and the lawn tractors are suitable for cutting medium to small lawns. On the other hand, the zero-turn riding mower delivers a wider cutting range and fast outcomes when compared to the small structures and engines.

5. Deck Size and Height

Deck size is an important consideration, and you should opt for a lawnmower with a large deck with a size ranging between 36 and 54 inches. The size of your deck is the width you will be able to cut as you are riding your mower and the size you should choose depends on the layout and size of your lawn. Large open lawns can comfortably use a 50 inches cutting deck, whereas small lawns with obstacles like gates, shrubs, or trees can use a riding mower in between 30-40 inches as it maneuvers easily. Notably, rear engine riding mowers usually have a smaller deck to balance their small structure.

6. The Lawn Terrain

Your type of lawn terrain will play a major role in determining the best riding lawn mower for hills and if your lawn is uneven, sloping, or hilly terrain, opt for riding lawn mowers for hills that feature a wide stance, good traction, low profile, and a low center of gravity. This will be the best riding lawn mower for hills because of its ability to handle uneven ground without tipping, sliding, or slipping.

7. High-Quality Engine

Purchasing the best lawn mowers go hand in hand with purchasing a high-quality engine from reliable manufacturers like Briggs & Stratton, 26 hp Kohler engine, or Kawasaki. These engines are durable and last even in the toughest conditions, and a good engine should offer you a horsepower of between 15-17, which will be enough for your job. Notably, a high-power engine doesn't mean your mowing will be faster, but they make a suitable choice for snow blading or hauling a cart.

8. Weight

The weight of the riding lawn mower is crucial because if the mower is too heavy, it will not be easy to go uphill, and if it's too lightweight, it will lack enough momentum to go up slopes.

The lightest mowers are the electric mowers because they lack heavy internal combustion, reducing their weight. On the other hand, zero-turn mowers are the heaviest type, with a lightweight one weight around 650 pounds and heavy models going up to 1000 pounds. The heavier mowers might be more powerful, but they can sink in soft swampy turfs and often experience reduced fuel efficiency.


Frequently Asked Questions on the Best Riding Lawn Mower for Hills

1. What is the steepest slope you can mow?

The rule of thumb says that you should never use your riding mower on a slope greater than 20 degrees, and you should reduce this angle to 10 degrees if you are using zero-turn mowers. These zero-turn mowers are more susceptible to tipping backward on steep hills.

2. Are all riding mowers considered tractors?

Not all riding lawn mowers are considered tractors because lawn tractors usually use a wide mid-mounted cutting deck instead of the front-mounted cutting deck. The main difference between garden tractors and lawn tractors is versatility, where a lawn tractor is more versatile. Lawn tractors are used for specifically cutting grass, whereas garden tractors can be used as tow equipment to plow snow and perform other lawn maintenance duties in your garden. 

Agriculturist Musa


Agriculturistmusa is a graduate student in agriculture. He is doing research on home improvement, indoor, and outdoor gardening! He loves to decorate the home, garden, and lawn care. Based on his experience about home, improvement, gardening, and lawn; he is sharing his thought and opinion, tips, and tools so that a beginner can get started right away. Find him on Twitter here. Happy reading!

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