There’s certainly a lot of choice out there when it comes to deciding which riding mower to buy. They are an excellent option if you’re going to be spending a significant time cutting the grass. Some people want a commercial mower to maximize mowing efficiency while others would prefer a residential mower to provide more comfort. No matter what your preferences are, one of the most important factors in deciding on which riding mower to buy is the cost.
Most riding lawn mowers cost between $1,000 and $20,000 depending on the style and features. A rear engine riding lawn mower with a 30-inch cutting deck size might cost $1,200, while a commercial zero turn riding mower with a 70-inch cutting deck may be well over $15,000.
As you can see, there is a large variation of the price depending on the type of mower you’re interested in. Once you work out which type of riding mower you want, you then need to consider the manufacturer and whether you want to buy the mower used or new. These things will all play a role in the final price you’ll pay.
To provide you with some insight what you can expect to pay, I’ve researched the prices of 18 different types of riding lawn mowers. Note that all of the prices listed below are new and from 2021, so be aware that used versions of the following mowers may cost quite a bit less.
I’ll also describe the the types of riding mowers so that you can make the best decision about which mower will best suits your needs.
Riding lawn mowers aren’t cheap so any buying decision should not be taken lightly. I’d highly recommend spending a lot of time and research in doing your due diligence before you buy anything. I’d also recommend that you test the product too. You need to make sure you’re comfortable on the mower and you’re happy with the controls.
18 Riding Mower Example Prices
30 inch – 40 inch cutting deck
- Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro LT 42 in. 18 HP Kohler 5400 Series Engine Hydrostatic Drive Gas Riding Lawn Mower: $1,699.00
- John Deere S120 42 in. 22 HP V-Twin Gas Hydrostatic Lawn Tractor: $1,999.00
- Troy-Bilt Bronco 42 in. 19 HP Briggs and Stratton Engine Automatic Drive Gas Riding Lawn Mower: $1,499.00
- Cub Cadet Ultima ZT1 42 in 22 HP V-Twin Kohler 7000 Series Engine Dual Hydrostatic Drive Gas Zero Turn Riding Lawn Mower: $2,699.00
- Toro42 in. 22.5 HP Time Cutter Commercial V-Twin Gas Dual Hydrostatic Zero-Turn Riding Mower with Smart Speed: $2599.00
- John Deere Z345M 42 in. 22 HP Gas Dual Hydrostatic Zero-Turn Riding Mower: $2799.00
- Troy-Bilt 30 in. 382 cc Auto-Choke Engine 6-Speed Manual Drive Gas Rear Engine Riding Lawn Mower with Mulch Kit: $1299.00
48 inch – 54 inch cutting deck
- John Deere S160 48 in. 24 HP V-Twin ELS Gas Hydrostatic Lawn Tractor: $2399.00
- Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro ST 54 in. Fabricated Deck 24 HP V-Twin Kohler 7000 Series Engine Hydrostatic Drive Gas Riding Lawn Mower: $2,849.00
- Troy-Bilt Super Bronco XP 54 in. 24 HP V-Twin Kohler 7000 Series EngineHydrostatic Drive Gas Riding Lawn Mower: $2,399.00
- Toro50 in. 23 HP Time Cutter Iron Forged Deck Kawasaki V-Twin Gas DualHydrostatic Zero Turn Riding Mower: $3,099.00
- DEWALTZ254 Commercial 54 in. 24 HP Kawasaki V-Twin FS730v Series Engine Dual Hydrostatic Gas Zero Turn Lawn Mower: $6,999.00
- Cub Cadet Ultima ZT2 50 in Fabricated Deck 23 HP V-Twin Kawasaki FR Series Engine Dual Hydro Drive Gas Zero Turn Riding Lawn Mower: $3,699.00
54+ inch cutting deck
- Toro Titan MAX 60 in. Iron Forged Deck 26 HP Commercial V-Twin Gas Dual Hydrostatic Zero Turn Riding Mower: $5,999.00
- Cub Cadet Ultima ZTX4 60 in. Fabricated Deck 24 HP V-Twin Kohler 7000 Pro Series Engine Zero Turn Mower with Roll Over Protection: $5,899.00
- John Deere Z515E 60 in. 24 HP V-Twin ELS Gas Dual Hydrostatic Zero-Turn Riding Mower – California Compliant: $4,378.58
- Ariens Zenith 23.5-HP V-Twin Dual Hydrostatic 60-in Zero-Turn Lawn Mower with Mulching Capability: $6,999.00
- Z970R Zero-Turn Mower by John Deere: $16,739.00
Why Does the Price Vary?
There were a few manufacturers lawn mower manufacturers listed in the price point list. You’re probably wondering why there are such large differences in the prices? Why does a Troy-Bilt 30 in Rear Engine Riding Lawn Mower cost $1,299 while a Z970R Zero-Turn Mower by John Deere with a 70 inch cutting deck costs well over $15,000?
Here are a several reasons this is the case:
This usually varies in the range of 34” to 66” although you can get some commercial grade models with 72 inch cutting decks.
I’ve separated the list above into three because the deck size is the most important factor in the price you’ll pay. In general, the bigger the deck, the higher the price.
How many passes you will need to mow a certain area will depend on the deck size so larger decks are more appropriate for larger lawns.
I’d recommend a 30″-46″ up to 2 acres, 48″-54″ for lawns between 2 and 4 acres and 54” for anything over 4 acres.
You also have to consider that larger decks may have trouble getting into tighter areas. If you’re getting a mower for commercial use, you would ideally survey the properties where you will be mowing to make sure you’re getting an appropriate size. The last thing you want is to arrive at a property and realize you can’t fit your mower through the gate!
Commercial vs Residential Mowers
he main difference between commercial and residential mowers seems to be durability.
A commercial mower is primarily designed for those running a lawn care business so the mower needs to be able to handle a lot of volume. The idea with a commercial mower is to maximize efficiency so you’ll often find the decks are better suited for higher speeds. The engines tend to be better made too and often have higher horsepower.
Age of the Lawn Mower
A brand new model from recent years is going to be the most expensive model. That’s just the way it works. If you decide to go for an earlier model, you can potentially save yourself $1000s.
I’d generally recommend getting a used mower rather than new. If you can check the hour meter, and you’re able to look at the condition of the mower, it’s often worth getting something that’s slightly used. You’ll save yourself a lot of money.
Availability of the Lawn Mower
How widely available the lawn mower is can play a big role in the price. If the mower is of a big brand name like John Deere you can expect to pay less for a mower that is not as widely available.
Some companies will allow you to customize a ZTR so meet your own requirements. Some of the options are grass catchers, mulch systems/plates and light kits.
You can expect to pay a little more for this type of purchase.
The Different Types of Riding Lawn Mowers, and Their Prices
Riding lawn mowers are generally suited for mowing over larger areas. If you’re mowing many acres, you’ll likely much prefer a riding mower than a walk-behind. The decks are much larger to so you can save yourself a lot of time and effort.
Riding mowers fall into three categories. These are:
- Rear-engine riding mowers
- Lawn tractors
- Zero turn mowers
Rear-Engine Riding Mowers
Rear-engine riding mowers are the smallest type of riding mower. The engines are in the rear so they almost look like a go cart. They are the least expensive too!
The cutting decks start at around 30” and rarely go above 40” so they’re only usually bit larger than a walk behind mower. These are often great value so if you’re on a tighter budget, I’d definitely recommend considering one of these.
They are also a great option if you’re limited on storage space, you have an area of one acre or less and you only want to use your mower to cut the grass.
If you have a much larger lawn, you could still use a rear-engine riding mower to mow your lawn but it could take you a very long time.
If you’ve got a slightly larger lawn, or you have some challenging terrain you might want to consider a lawn tractor.
These machines tend to have larger cuttings decks than rear engine riding mowers. Out of the three types of riding mowers mentioned in this article, these provide the most amount of comfort which is an important point if you’re going to be spending a lot of time sitting on your mower.
Whereas zero turn mowers are designed to work best on a flat surface, lawn tractors work great on hills. They’re usually pretty easy to use too; they have automatic transmission so you can control your speed with a gas pedal. The seats tend to be comfortable and can be adjusted to meet your needs.
One of the best things about lawn tractors is there versatility. You can get a ton of attachments for these mowers that allow you to use your lawn tractor for other tasks other than mowing. You can get snow blowers, rollers, aerating and dethatching attachments and much more! This allows you to get good use out of your lawn tractor all year long.
Zero-turn mowers are heavy duty machines mostly used commercially but they are sometimes purchased for residential use.
They are highly efficient machines that are able to turn on a dime thanks to dual transmission. This allows them to have excellent manoeuvrability for handling a variety of obstacles in a yard.
Zero-turn mowers are fast too so you can mow a lot of lawns in a short period of time. Another benefit is that you get a platform at allows easy access to the top of the mower deck which something you won’t find on a lawn tractor.
One of the downsides of these mowers is that they can take a bit of time getting used to. If you’ve used one before, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. They are operated with two levers which can seems a little unusual at first. They are really only designed to cut grass as efficiently as possible on a flat surface, hills are not their strong point. If that’s what you’re looking to do then I’d recommend a zero turn mower.
ZTR’s are not always more expensive than lawn tractors, in fact it’s just the opposite in many cases. For example, the John Deere X590Lawn Tractor with 54-in. deck costs over $8,000 while the John Deere Z540R 54 in. High Capacity Deck costs around $5,500.
Lawn tractors usually have bigger engines and robust frames making them last longer.
Price is something that’s very important when it comes to purchasing a riding lawn mower and it can vary a lot. If you’re thinking about buying one, it helps to know how much you can expect to pay. The key things to pay attention to are the cutting deck size, the age of the mower, the manufacturer and type of riding mower.
If you’re interest in financing a lawn mower, I’ve written about ways you can do that here!
The 18 riding mower prices provided here are a good baseline so you can use them to start budgeting for your own purchase.
Let me know which riding mower you decide to choose!