The Most Reliable Riding Lawn Mower Brands According to Consumer Reports

by Gabrielle DeSantis

Riding lawn mowers are expensive. In fact, according to Consumer Reports, a new riding lawn mower could have you spending anywhere between $1,300 to $5,500. For that amount of money, you’re going to want a riding lawn mower that’s built to last. The good news is that Consumer Reports has the inside track on the most reliable riding lawn mower brands.

John Deere riding lawn mowers. | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Choosing the best type of lawn mower for your yard

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There are several different types of lawn mowers out there. Among the most common types of lawn mowers are riding lawn mowers and zero-turn mowers. According to Consumer Reports, riding lawn mowers are best for big yards and can cut two to three times faster than many push mowers.

On the other hand, zero-turn mowers come equipped with a rear engine and a pair of levers for steering. This type of lawn mower is often used by landscapers and is easy to maneuver around obstacles. 

It’s worth keeping in mind, however, that zero-turn mowers are usually more expensive than riding lawn mowers and, according to Consumer Reports, don’t always cut as well as riding lawn mowers.

The most common lawn mower problems to know about

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Lawn mowers aren’t always problem-free, says Consumer Reports. As a matter of fact, nearly 30% of riding lawn mowers are likely to develop problems or break during the first five years of ownership. 

“The most commonly reported problem among riding mowers had to do with the mower belt, affecting 13 percent of riding mowers,” explained Martin Lachter, a senior research associate at Consumer Reports. Another common lawn mower problem owners often complain about is related to the lawn mower’s bag not filling or attaching to the mower correctly. 

Fortunately, Consumer Reports incorporates ratings for brand reliability into its Overall Scores for riding lawn mowers and zero-turn mowers. Not only does that make finding a reliable riding lawn mower easier, but it also makes shopping for the best lawn mower for your lawn care needs an even more manageable task.

These are the most reliable riding lawn mower brands

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When it comes to the most reliable riding lawn mower brands, Consumer Reports says the old adage is true: Nothing runs like a Deere. In fact, of the nine riding lawn mower brands it tested, John Deere was the only lawn mower brand that received an Excellent predicted reliability rating. 

Of course, John Deere isn’t the only reliable lawn mower brand. According to Consumer Reports, Husqvarna earned a Very Good predicted reliability rating. Meanwhile, Cub Cadet and Simplicity received Good ratings for predicted reliability. Snapper and Troy-Bilt, on the other hand, were given Good predicted reliability ratings.

The most reliable zero-turn lawn mower brands

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Perhaps you would prefer a zero-turn lawn mower. If that’s the case, Consumer Reports explains that there are several reliable lawn mower brands to choose from. Take, for example, lawn mower brands like Bad Boy and Gravely, both of which earned Excellent predicted reliability ratings.

Meanwhile, popular lawn mower brands like Craftsman, John Deere, and Toro were given Very Good reliability ratings by Consumer Reports. Further, well-known lawn mower brands like Ariens, Cub Cadet, Husqvarna, Poulan Pro, Simplicity, Snapper, and Troy-Bilt were all given Good ratings for reliability.

Buying the best lawn mower doesn’t have to be stressful

Reliability is key when it comes to shopping for a new lawn mower. With this data in hand, the good news is that choosing the best lawn mower for your hard doesn’t have to be stressful. In fact, start by checking out these brands, and chances are you’ll be the proud owner of a reliable new lawn mower.

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