7 Best Garden Tractors in 2021

Best Garden Tractors
Image by Bogdan Hoda / Canva Photos

When it comes to you and your lawn, bigger means better. No regular ol’ lawnmower can tackle your back 40. You need the best garden tractor. That’s because when it comes to garden tractors, everything is bigger, including cutting decks, horsepower, attachments, and even the wheels.

Sure, you’ll pay more for the best garden tractor, but if you have a lot of land, or if your terrain is rough and hilly, it’s going to pay off. Up next are the 7 best garden tractors From the best Bluetooth garden tractor to keep you entertained while you tackle your Sunday chores, to the best garden tractor for hills- we’ve got great choices for you.

Our Top Picks: Best Garden Tractors

Here’s a quick look at what we liked about each garden tractor in our ranking:

Husqvarna TS 354XDBest Overall: Husqvarna TS354XD Lawn Tractor.
Sturdy and versatile, the TS354XD tackles big lawns and gardens while keeping you comfortable in a high-back seat.
RYOBI RY48111 Riding Lawn MowerGreen Pick: RYOBI RY48111 Riding Lawn Mower.
To cut down emissions, choose a battery-powered garden tractor like the RYOBI RY48111.
Cub Cadet CC30H Riding MowerBest Budget: Cub Cadet CC30H Riding Mower.
Save money on your garden tractor with the Cub Cadet CC30H — as tough as the big fellas at half the price.
Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro Series VBest Bluetooth: Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro Series V.
Keep your lawn mowed and catch up on your podcasts with the Bluetooth-enabled Cub Cadet XT1.
Toro TITAN IronForged Riding MowerBest High-End: Toro TITAN IronForged Riding Mower.
If money is not an option, choose the Toro TITAN IronForged riding mower.
Cub Cadet ZT 1 Ultima Series MowerBest for Hills: Cub Cadet Ultima ZT1 Mower.
Suppose every time you mow the lawn, you’d rather not feel like Steve McQueen in that car chase scene over the hills of San Francisco from the movie Bullet. In that case, your garden tractor is the Cub Cadet Ultima ZT1.
John Deere Z345M Riding MowerBest Zero-Turn: John Deere Z345M Riding Mower.
Zero-turn mowers cut mowing time in half, and the best zero-turn mower in our ranking is the John Deere Z345M.
 

1. Husqvarna TS354XD Lawn Tractor

The best garden tractor overall

Husqvarna TS 354XD

Manufacturer: Husqvarna / Engine: 24 HP Kawasaki FR Series V-Twin OHV / Transmission: Hydrostatic / Cutting Deck: 54″ / Price: 💰💰💰

Taking the top spot in our ranking of the best garden tractors is the Husqvarna TS354XD. This 24 horsepower lawn tractor has an impressive 54-inch, triple-blade, ClearCut fabricated cutting deck, and hydrostatic transmission.

Consumers say this mower offers enough power to handle a 15,000 square foot lawn with hills in less than an hour. Others comment on how easy it is to assemble.

Things we liked include the Kawasaki V-Twin engine, and the ability to keep better control of the mower with the foot pedal-operated hydrostatic transmission. The pedal helps you change direction and speed with both hands on the wheel.

It also handled 7 acres of hilly thick-weed terrain hit recently with wildfires. Some even attach a utility trailer to haul brush and logs!

Buy the TS354XD and get:

  • Adjustable extra-high 21-in high-back seat with armrests
  • Electric cutting deck engagement turned on with the flip of a switch
  • 4 anti-scalp wheels

Also not to be missed is the 18-inch turning radius for tight spots and obstacles, and the fender-mounted cutting height adjustment.

It’s all protected by a 3-year bumper-to-bumper warranty.

  • Cuts even
  • Runs quiet without much vibration
  • Electronic locking rear differential perfect for hills

  • Reverse too slow
  • Not for lawn-striping

2. RYOBI RY48111 Riding Lawn Mower

The best eco-friendly garden tractor

RYOBI RY48111 Riding Lawn Mower

Manufacturer: RYOBI / Engine: RYOBI Electric / Transmission: Direct Drive / Cutting Deck: 38″ / Price: 💰💰💰

To handle your tough lawn or garden without clogging up the air with gas emissions, choose a battery-powered riding lawnmower. Our Green Pick for best riding garden tractor is the RYOBI RY48111.

Powered by a 100 Ah battery, the RY48111 is a 48V, rear engine mower with a 38-inch cutting deck. (Convert volts to horsepower here). Some who’ve tried the tractor love how quiet it is at only 70 dB, and how cheap it is to run without gas.

Otherwise, it runs for about 2.5 hours on a single charge, with 12 manual deck adjustments on the 38-inch cutting deck, ranging from 1.5in to 4.5in. The cutting deck has 2 blades, and the motor is brushless.

Other features not to be missed include:

  • Cruise control
  • LED headlights
  • USB charger

There’s also a rear access charging port. And it’s all-powerful enough to tow a cart and can even be used to plow snow in the winter with an attachable snow blade, sold separately.

  • Blade edges last all season
  • Comfortable seat with cup holder
  • Hauls dirt in a trailer, and yard waste in a trash can attach to the home-built tailgate

  • Reverses too fast
  • Not great on wet grass

3. Cub Cadet CC30H Riding Mower

The best budget garden tractor

Cub Cadet CC30H Riding Mower

Manufacturer: Cub Cadet / Engine: 382 cc Cub Cadet OHV / Transmission: Hydrostatic / Cutting Deck: 30″ / Price: 💰

Are you looking for the best garden tractor under $3000? Our pick for the best garden tractor for the money is the Cub Cadet CC30H.

The CC30H boasts a 30-inch cutting deck and a 382 cc OHV engine with auto choke. For a rough estimate of what a 382 cc engine is in horsepower, think 1-horsepower per every 15 cc.

Those who’ve used the tractor love how easy it is to drive and the easy-to-use foot pedal-operated hydrostatic transmission. The adjustable 5-position cutting deck ranges in height from 1.5 to 4 inches.

Also, not to be missed about the Cub Cadet CC30H is the 30 inch. single blade side discharge mowing deck. And the mulch kit is included!

There’s also a 1.3-gallon fuel tank with fuel sight window, and an open high-back seat with oversized base and elevated back support.

Here are some other notable features about the CC30H:

  • 18-inch turning radius
  • Lever engaged manual PTO for blade engagement
  • Mow-in-reverse technology

Some have had good luck with the CC30H on big hills. Others, though, caution the CC30H is really more of a lawnmower that you ride than a true garden tractor, so adjust expectations accordingly.

Nevertheless, it’s all protected by a 3-year limited residential warranty.

  • Headlight in front for low-light mowing
  • Smart jet high-pressure deck washing system
  • Steering feels like power steering, turning radius excellent

  • Rattles while mowing
  • Water hose used to rinse mowing deck gets clogged with grass clippings

4. Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro Series

The best garden tractor with Bluetooth

Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro Series V
The best garden tractor with Bluetooth

Manufacturer: Cub Cadet / Engine: 22 HP V-Twin Kohler / Transmission: Hydrostatic / Cutting Deck: 46″ / Price: 💰💰

Looking for a garden tractor that will let you bump some tunes or catch up on podcasts while you tackle the high grass on your property? Coming complete with Cub Connect Bluetooth compatibility, that garden tractor is the Cub Cadet XT1.

In addition to being tech compatible, the XT1 has a 22 horsepower V-Twin Kohler engine, with a 46-inch cutting deck, a hydrostatic transmission, and a 16-inch turning radius.

Consumers call this tractor fast, strong, reliable, and easy to assemble, with an incredibly responsive steering system.

There’s also push-button cruise control, 12 easily-selectable cutting height positions, and a lever-engaged PTO.

Other notable things about the mower include:

  • LED Headlights
  • High-back seat
  • Quick connect deck wash system

Also setting this tractor apart are the optional multi-season attachments, like a twin bagger, snow blade, and mulch kit. These snow accessories are why many consumers enlist the XT1 for winter duty as well as reliable work during the summer months.

  • Comfortable seat and ride
  • Fuel tank under the hood rather than rear of tractor
  • Spring-loaded mechanism makes deck adjustment easy

  • Cumbersome in tight quarters
  • Choke kills the engine when parking brake not engaged

5. Toro TITAN IronForged Riding Mower

The best high-end garden tractor

Toro TITAN IronForged Riding Mower

Manufacturer: Toro / Engine: 21.5 HP Kawasaki / Transmission: Hydrostatic / Cutting Deck: 54″ / Price: 💰💰💰💰

For those to whom money is no issue, Titan IronForged riding mower is up next in our ranking. With a 21.5 horsepower commercial V-twin engine and a 54-inch cutting deck, this sucker is powerful. Best of all, it’s a zero-turn mower, meaning the running radius is effectively zilch — the right choice for tight quarters.

Fans of the mower say the engine never bogs down, and the deck never clumps grass, efficiently handling very high grass, steep hills, and bumps.

Also notable is the grade 50, 10-gauge high strength steel deck, and a step-through front end. There’s also a foot assist deck lift to make clearing unexpected obstacles easy and convenient, all without climbing on and off the mower.

Other things we loved about the TITAN IronForged are as follows:

  • Handcrafted high-back seat with armrests
  • Toolless oil and filter change
  • Tire fenders

Those who’ve used the mower call it “solid,” with a heavy steel carriage. It’s also easy to use, especially when changing the height of the cut. One consumer had good luck using this tractor on her 3-acre horse property. Another called it a “commercial mower at a residential price.”

  • Great warranty
  • Grass looks excellent after cutting
  • Good control, excellent speed, and good maneuverability

  • Cutting is loud
  • Too wide for some gates

6. Cub Cadet ZT 1 Ultima Series Mower

The best garden tractor for hills

Cub Cadet ZT 1 Ultima Series Mower The best garden tractor for hills

Manufacturer: Cub Cadet / Engine: 22 HP 725cc Kohler 7000 / Transmission: Hydrostatic / Cutting Deck: 42″ / Price: 💰💰💰

Got hilly terrain? Don’t tackle it with just any garden tractor. The Cub Cadet ZT 1, a zero-turn mower, earned best garden tractor for hills with its 22 HP Kohler KT7000 series V-Twin engine, 42-inch cutting deck, and hydrostatic transmission.

The mower is explicitly designed to handle inclines, and it’s capable of handling slight rolling hills with obstacles. That’s due to the precision trimming offset front casters that align with the blade edge, helping maintain balance.

There’s also a 2-Gauge steel cutting deck, electronic fingertip blade engagement, and a 3-way adjustable ergonomic lap bar. What also caught our attention about the ZT 1 was the integrated parking brake and the mow-in-reverse functionality.

Consumers call the ZT 1 easy to use, with impressive performance and comfort. It cut one satisfied user’s mowing time by 35%!

Buy the ZT 1, and you also get the following:

  • SmartJet deck wash system
  • 3.5-gallon fuel tank
  • Smooth tread front wheels with turf master rear tires

Otherwise, those who’ve tried the ZT 1 comment they’ll never go back to any other mower, calling it “easy to handle,” with easy to adjust blade height.

  • Comfortable ride
  • Stable deck, easy height adjustments
  • Air filter, engine, and oil easy to deal with

  • Optional striping kit only for short lawns
  • Learning curve with the deck wash system

7. John Deere Z345M Riding Mower

The best zero-turn mower

John Deere Z345M Riding Mower

Manufacturer: John Deere / Engine: 22 HP V-Twin John Deere / Transmission: Hydrostatic / Cutting Deck: 42″ / Price: 💰💰💰

If you have a lot of tight corners and odd angles in your yard, be sure to choose the swiveling front wheels of a zero-turn mower. Other garden tractors in our ranking are zero-turn, but our choice for the best zero-turn mower is the Z345M from John Deere.

With a 22 horsepower V-Twin John Deere-branded engine, a 42-inch cutting deck, and a hydrostatic transmission, the Z345M also boasts a choke-free Ready Start system, and large, 18-inch drive tires, as well as a strong and reliable welded steel frame.

Consumers call learning to use the mower a “breeze,” while also commenting on the mower’s maneuverability.

Choose the Z345M and get the following:

  • Dual EZT transmission
  • Foot platform flips up for easy mower deck maintenance
  • Multiple position motion control levers

Some who’ve used the mower comment that the mower cut what was once a 90-minute mow job down to 20 minutes, and many recommend picking up the optional mulching kit.

  • Strong motor
  • Very fast mower
  • Cut up to an acre on one tank

  • Height adjustments difficult
  • Zero-turn takes some getting used to

What to Look for in the Best Garden Tractors

What to Look for in the Best Garden Tractors
Image by Goceris / Canva Photos

Are you wondering why some garden tractors made the cut in our ranking, while others ended up in our mulch pile? Here’s what to look for in the best garden tractors.

1

Engine & Horsepower

How much horsepower do you really need in a garden or lawn tractor? A garden tractor will have at least 24 horsepower engines while a lawn tractor can range from 15-29 horsepower. Deciding which one is right for you has everything to do with the size of your lawn. Over 3 acres? Choose a garden tractor. Anything less, a lawn tractor will do just fine.

2

Transmission

Maybe you’re a grease-monkey, and you like to dig into the particulars of stuff like transmissions. If that’s you, find out more about the best transmissions here. For the rest of us — know a hydrostatic transmission (essentially an automatic transmission that uses hydraulic fluid to switch gears) is by far the most common transmission on the market. It’s the only type we included in our ranking.

3

Cutting Deck

The cutting deck also has a lot to do with the size of the area you need to mow, and how tall the grass tends to get. If your yard or lawn is under 2 acres, a 42 to 48-inch cutting deck should do just fine. If your lawn is bigger than that, steer toward a cutting deck of at least 50-inches. Big decks don’t always mean a faster mow, however. A large deck will only slow you down if you have lots of flower beds you need to navigate around, even if your yard covers a lot of acreage.

4

Price

We’ll put it to you gently: garden and lawn tractors ain’t cheap, with the vast majority costing over $3000. Some quality options are available for less, so if you’re on a budget, check our choice for the best budget garden tractor.

Our Process

For this guide on garden tractors, our team spent 5 hours researching the most popular options from over 30 brands and manufacturers big and small. We then read about one hundred user reviews (both positive and negative) to discover what shoppers thought about each tractor. After comparing this data, we narrowed our list down to the top 7 garden tractors on the market. You can count on this research to guide you to a mindful purchasing decision.

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