Take a look at five different riding mowers for small yard maintenance to help you find the best riding mower for comfortable mowing and landscape maintenance of your small garden
We consulted expert mechanics to compare the specs, features, performance records, pros, and cons of each mower to help you make an informed purchase.
You will also find out about feedback from real people who bought and used this machine, including what they liked about it and the problems they had.
Top 5 Riding Mowers for Small Gardens
Here are the main specs on the five mowers we’ll consider in this post when figuring out what’s the best riding mower for small yard:
|Product||Power Source||Dimensions||Deck Size||Weight|
|Husqvarna YTA24V48||Briggs&Strattton gas 24 hp engine||73 x 53 x 48 inches||48-inches||670 pounds|
|Craftsman E225||56v lithium-ion battery||67.8 x 51.95 x 42.25 inches||42-inches||579 pounds|
|Troy Bilt Pony 42X||420cc Troy Bilt OHV gas engine||70 x 48 x 35.5 inches||42-inches||485 pounds|
|Roybi RY48111||100 Ah Electric Battery||63inx46inx38.5in||38-inches||595 pounds
|Snapper 2911525BVE||11.5 hp Briggs & Stratton gas engine||64 x32 x 43||28-inch||N/A|
Best Riding Mower for Small Yard and Garden Spaces: Top 5
Here is detailed information about the five best riding mower for small yard or lawn.
- Choke-free start-up
- Maintenance-free, automatic transmission
- 10-year consumer warranty on cutting deck
- Poor traction on steep hills
The Husqvarna YTA24V48 has plenty of power for mowing and maintaining an average to large-sized yard or lawn. The 24 hp Twin-V gas engine made by Briggs & Stratton has lots of muscle for cutting tall grass on flat ground and moderate slopes.
- Lots of power
- Simple to operate
- Foot-pedal control of transmission speed and travel direction
The 24 hp engine in this model is the largest of all the mowers we are reviewing here. 24 hp is a lot of power for a lawnmower, and it’s what you need if for mowing an area of 1 to 2 acres in size. This model is also especially easy to operate, and it has several features that make it suitable for anyone with limited experience operating a ride-on lawnmower.
The choke-free start-up is an advantage for anyone who doesn’t want to hassle with adjusting a choke to get the mower to start. All you need to do to start the engine is to turn the key, and the choke is self-adjusting, automatically setting the engine to the right speed.
The maintenance-free automatic transmission is also a plus for buyers who don’t want to spend a lot of time on their lawnmower’s upkeep. This transmission is also straightforward to operate with a foot-pedal that controls speed and changes gears automatically.
The designation of 24V on this lawnmower model relates to the lead-acid battery used for starting the gas engine. This lawnmower is not a battery-powered model, and the included battery is only used for starting, not running, the lawnmower.
Large Cutting Deck
The 48-inch cutting deck on this mower is exceptionally durable and is constructed from 13 gauge steel and comes with a 10-year warranty. The deck is easily raised and lowered with a spring-assisted lever located on the fender.
The chassis, front axle, and frame come with a 5-year warranty, and there is a 3-year limited warranty on the engine and other components.
This lawnmower has front and rear hitches for attachments and accessories such as a trailer, snow blade, grader, spreader, lawn de-thatcher, snow thrower, and dump cart.
This mower requires a bit of routine maintenance to stay running well. Owners must regularly check the engine oil level, clean and replace the air filter, maintain correct tire pressure, and lubricate fittings in the chassis and steering systems.
A majority of buyers were happy with how this ride-on mower performs, saying it easily mows up to 2 acres and does well on moderate slopes and working around trees.
However, some buyers noted problems with the transmission and getting warranty fulfillment when it needed repair. Other buyers said the mower did not have power for steep slopes or running a snow blower attachment for them.
The Husqvarna YTA24V48 is a sturdy, reliable, and easy-to-operate gas-powered lawnmower suitable for average residential mowing and yard care tasks.
The no-choke engine start-up and sealed automatic transmission make this machine easy to use for anyone buying a ride-on mower for the first time.
Most buyers report being satisfied with using this lawnmower, but a few were disappointed in its handling on steeper slopes. So, while it is one of the best riding mower for small yard, there is still room for improvement.
- Environmentally friendly, no-fumes operation
- Small, 5-inch turn radius
- Limited, 1-hour run time between charges
If you’re looking for a quiet, clean, low-maintenance ride-on mower, the battery-powered Craftsman E225 is worth considering. This mower is perfect for small, mostly flat gardens and yards up to about one half-acre in size.
- Easy to use
- No gas or oil needed
- Ergonomic features
Ease of Maintenance
One advantage of this battery-powered lawnmower over gas models is that battery-powered mowers like this do not require regular maintenance like gas-powered mowers need: no gas and oil to buy, store, or pour.
There’s no need to check the oil or do oil changes with this mower, no air filters to clean, and no gas to pour into the tank. However, a few maintenance tasks are necessary to keep the machine running correctly, but they are minimal compared to a gas mower.
The 56V, 2,250 watt-hours, 30Ah lithium-ion battery that powers this mower can be charged to any amount without the battery developing a ‘memory’ that reduces future charges. A fully charged battery gives you about one hour of cutting time on an average yard. For small yards, this is plenty of time to get the job done.
The batteries used in this Craftsman lawnmower model do not fade in power output as they reach the end of a charge. Power goes out abruptly when the battery is empty, but you don’t slowly lose power while you are cutting.
A battery charger comes with the unit, and batteries recharge fully in about four hours, or 25 percent for every hour on the charger. You can use the battery before it reaches full charge without any damage to the battery.
Ease of Use
This mower has a few appealing comforts for the operator that make mowing easier. For example, the high-backed seating relieves stress and strain while mowing, and the steering wheel has an easy-to-handle soft touch material, reducing strain on your hands.
It also has cruise control, a cup holder, and a small compartment for stashing miscellaneous items. Starting the mower is as simple as pushing a button and driving away.
Easy To Manoeuvre
The Craftsman E225 is a riding lawn mower with a small turning radius of only 5-inches, a feature that’s hard to beat for making 180-degree turnarounds and not leaving a missed strip of grass between passes.
Speed is controlled with a foot-operated pedal, and changing from forward to reverse motion is done using the same pedal. There is no need to take your hands off the steering wheel to shift gears or change direction.
The lawnmower has a headlight for increased visibility when mowing in low-light conditions. You can separately purchase several attachments for this mower, including a 42-inch wide snow blade for spreading material (Craftsman part number CMXGZBF7124441.)
Many buyers are delighted with this product, reporting it came fully assembled except for charging the battery and installing it. Satisfied buyers also said the low-maintenance and ease of operation are features they love.
We didn’t find negative reviews, but the short, hour-long run-time on this mower could be a problem for people with larger yards. So, consider the size of your garden carefully if you think this is going to be your choice for the best riding mower for small yard.
This compact, electric ride-on lawn mower is an excellent choice for anyone with a small yard or garden who does not want to deal with a gas-powered mower’s routine maintenance and fumes.
This lawnmower does deliver less overall power than a gas-driven machine, and it has a significantly lower run-time and long re-charge interval compared to a gas engine model.
This model’s buyers generally report being satisfied with its performance and say the machine was delivered fully assembled and ready to use after charging the battery.
- Powerful 547cc Troy Bilt engine
- Large capacity, 3-gallon gas tank
- Solid steel front axel
- Limited, 2-year warranty
This powerful 42-inch, gas-powered ride-on lawnmower, the Pony 42X is made by Troy Bilt, a company with a long history of manufacturing outdoor tools, equipment, and yardwork accessories.
- Allows reverse mowing
- Good performance on steep terrain
- Wide-cutting deck
This mower is powered by a 547cc OHV engine also manufactured by Troy Bilt. The engine drives the rear wheels and the 42-inch cutting width, dual blades under the solid steel deck. The throttle is controlled by a lever located next to the deck height adjustment lever on the right-hand fender.
The lawn tractor goes from forward to reverse or neutral using a hand-operated lever mounted on the right-hand fender. This model allows for mowing in reverse, which is a big advantage in many mowing situations.
The side-discharge chute that comes with the lawnmower sprays cuttings out of the way while you mow. You can also separately purchase a mulch kit, which includes special cutting blades, a mulch chute, and hardware for attaching them where the side-chute is located.
Feeding back finely chopped grass clippings to decompose in place on your lawn adds nutrients back into the soil. Using your grass clippings to mulch your lawn or yard is an option you have with this lawnmower.
Ideal on Rough Ground
The deck is equipped with two forward-mounted anti-scalp wheels to prevent the blades from contacting the ground when you go over a high spot.
Customers report that this machine does well tackling steep hills and rough ground, and the large engine gives it lots of power for mowing tall, tough weeds.
Because a gas engine powers this engine, you need to fill the tank with regular gasoline, regularly check and replenish the engine oil, clean the air filter, and perform other routine maintenance to keep the machine running in top condition.
It’s crucial to thoroughly read and follow the owner’s manual for the engine and lawnmower to understand what maintenance is needed and when to do it.
The Troy Bilt Pony 42X is a solid lawn mowing machine, and many buyers report being happy with how it works. However, a few customers complain of problems with the transmission and using reverse, and several noted it was a less than comfortable ride with a lot of vibration.
This mower is designed for larger yards and more heavy-duty mowing conditions than some other lawnmowers reviewed here, and the hand controls are harder to operate than other models.
Operators with more experience using a gas-powered mower might find this lawnmower easier to use than those new to the ride-on mower experience. If you are in this category, you are likely to find that this is the best riding mower for small yard.
This mower got more mixed reviews than other models with a split between those who love it and say it works great for mowing their yards and others who were not so satisfied with the performance.
The main complaints concerned the comfort of riding in the mower and difficulty reaching the controls while mowing.
- Long run-time up to 2.5 hours per battery charge
- 12-position deck height adjustment
- Clean, quiet operation
- Comes with light-duty cutting blades
The Ryobi RY48111 is a battery-powered riding lawnmower with a 100 ah battery that powers brushless motors for cutting and accelerating. The batteries are included with the unit.
- Compact size
- Good cutting deck width for small yards
- Convenient phone charger
The mower comes with a charger that plugs into a standard 120v home outlet, charging the four, 12 volts, 100 Ah, lead-acid batteries. This mower does not use lithium-ion rechargeable batteries.
This mower provides a long-running time for every battery charge, averaging at 2.5 hours, ample time to mow a large yard or field of over one to two acres.
The controls are easily accessible, located on the fenders next to the operator seat. The PTO turns on by pulling a large button upward and shuts off quickly when you press the switch back down.
This lawnmower is compact in size overall, with the smallest dimensions of all the mowers reviewed here. The tires are 16-inches in diameter in the rear and 15-inches in front with a width of 5.25 inches.
The deck is adjustable to 12 different height settings, giving you maximum control over the look of the newly cut lawn. The two blades under the deck cut a width of 38-inches, which makes it convenient for getting into narrow spaces next to buildings and pathways.
The mower has a rear hitch for attachments like a trailer or dumpcart, and it has the power to do light-duty hauling around a home site.
This mower has headlights, a USB phone charger, and cruise control for the ultimate in comfortable and safe operation. It is also especially quiet, emitting on 70 decibels of sound.
Some buyer reports indicate this mower is not great on really steep hills, and a 15-degree slope might be the maximum it can handle without slipping or stalling. Several buyers said the ride is a bit rough, especially on uneven ground and when going in reverse.
Many buyers reported they were happy with how this lawnmower works for them, saying it is easy to use, easy to store over winter compared to a gas mower, and especially quiet. Customers also appreciated the mulching kit feature.
The Ryobi RY48111 has an exceptionally extended run-time for a battery-powered mower, and it has the power to take on larger areas of mowing than the other electric model reviewed here.
Buyers appreciate the low noise output and maintenance requirements, but some buyers were not happy with the comfort of the ride or the power on steep slopes.
Overall, this machine is a reasonable choice for anyone with a larger, not too steep yard who doesn’t want the hassle and fumes of owning a gas-powered lawn tractor.
- Fuel-efficient 11.5 hp Briggs & Stratton Engine
- On-edge vertical storage capability
- Fun go-cart style design
- Wide turn-radius of 28-inches
- Cutting deck is narrower than wheel-base
The Snapper 291152BVE riding mower is a unique little mower that looks a lot like a go-cart. This mower is powered by an 11.5 hp, 344cc Briggs and Stratton engine that sits at the rear of the machine, powering the wheels and mower blades. Upfront, beyond the steering wheel, is a clear view of what’s ahead on the ground.
- Narrow cutting deck for small yards and gardens
- Low-maintenance disc drivetrain
- Operator can easily see in front of the mower
Size and Measurements
The mower has a cutting width of 28-inches, which is the narrowest of all the mowers reviewed here. A narrow mowing width is an advantage if your yard has lots of trees or narrow areas. However, the cutting deck is narrower than the wheelbase, making it impossible to cut right up to the edge of an object.
The cutting height is adjustable from 1.5-inches to 4-inches, and the mower has a by-pass switch that allows you to mow in reverse. The mower uses a vacuum design mower deck for efficiently pushing cut grass out of the side-chute and lifting them for a cleaner cut.
Disc-drive Power System
This mower uses a disc-drive power system rather than belts and pulleys to transfer power from the engine to the wheels and cutting blades. Transmission speeds are adjusted manually with a lever.
The disc-drive may not need as much maintenance as other power drives, but it also does not deliver as much power and can slip under heavy loads.
Still, this mower readily accelerates up to 4.5 mph in forward and 1.9 mph in reverse, which is plenty of speed for most mowing jobs and lawn cutting maneuvers.
The ignition is started either by turning a key or by pulling a starter rope. The key works as long as the lead-acid battery has a full charge. The pull-start comes in handy if the battery gets drained.
The unit does not come with any attachments or accessories, but you can separately purchase mulching blades and a bagging unit.
One of the unique features of this lawnmower is that you can store it on end, so it takes up only about one-third of the floor space as other mowers.
We couldn’t find any information on the overall weight of this machine. However, one customer noted it is not hard to lift the front end to put the machine into the vertical position for storage.
This machine’s weight is mostly at the rear where the engine is located, which helps make the front easy to lift for vertical storage. The only thing you need to do to store it this way is to disconnect the battery.
The controls for changing deck height, throttle adjustment, cutting deck activation, and changing speeds in the transmission are located below the seat and not on a dashboard in front of the operator.
You can adapt this lawnmower with mulching blades and a mulching chute, and a 6.5-bushel collection bag for catching grass clippings. When using a collector bag, you have to switch the mower’s blades and install special ‘bagging blades.’ The mower also has a rear hitch for towing a 10-cubic foot cart.
The turn-radius on this mower is 28-inches, and this is larger than any other mower reviewed here. A big turn-radius is not a problem when mowing on a large, open area, but it can be a disadvantage in tight spaces like a small yard.
The gas tank on the Snapper 291152BVE is only 1.5-gallons, and you might have to refuel more often than on other gas mowers. However, the small, 11.5 hp engine on this model is especially fuel-efficient, and how much fuel the engine uses depends on the conditions of the grass, ground, and slope of the terrain.
This lawnmower comes with a standard 3-year warranty.
Some buyers said that the controls are in hard-to-see locations and you have to shift in the seat and look away from the front to reach them.
There were also reports that the mower lacked rear traction on hills. However, many buyers love using this mower, so we had to include it as one of the best riding mower for small yard.
The Snapper’s unusual, rear-engine design gives it excellent visibility upfront, but it makes it harder to steer and gives it less power on steep hills.
Many buyers say it is fun to drive and does a good job mowing, but it might be hard to manage for some users, and it does not have enough power to pull heavy loads.
The on-end storage feature on this model is a big plus for anyone with limited storage space, but overall, this lawnmower is probably best for the more adventurous buyers due to its go-cart style.
Here’s the bottom line on the best riding mower for small yard:
- The Troy Bilt and Husqvarna lawnmowers have ample power and long run-times from their gas-driven engines, and they are more suited for maintaining large lawns, yards, and fields and steeper, uneven terrain than the other models.
- The electric-powered Craftsman and Ryobi mowers are excellent for small yards without many slopes, and they have the advantage of being fume-free, quiet, low-maintenance, and simple to operate.
- For people with more physical strength and endurance, the gas-powered Snapper is fun-to-use and takes up minimal storage space, but be prepared for a bigger work-out operating this machine than when using the other mowers in this review.
At the end, the choice on the best riding mower for small yard depends on you and what you need.
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