Do you have hills in your yard? Have you wondered whether you can safely use a riding lawn mower? If the answer is yes to either of those two questions, this article is for you. Keep reading to learn all about the best riding lawn mower for hills.
Lawn mowers for steep banks have the safety features required to keep you healthy. They also make the job of cutting your grass much easier. Throughout the rest of this article, we tell you how to find a great riding mower for hills. We also provide reviews of the seven top products on the market.
- What is a riding mower for hills?
- Features to look for when buying a riding mower for hills
- Top 7 Best Riding Lawn Mower for Hills – Comparison table
- Top 7 Best Riding Mower for Hills On The Market Reviews
- Tips and tricks for mowing a steep hill.
What is a riding mower for hills?
A riding mower for hills is a riding lawn mower. Riding mowers are pieces of equipment that cut your grass. They come in many shapes and sizes. Walk-behind mowers for hills are probably more common.
You can sit on a riding lawn mower. These are large mowers. In addition to the seat, they will likely have a large cutting deck. The deck is the part of the mower with the cutting blades. A large deck means your yard gets cut much faster.
The biggest aspect that sets a riding mower for hills apart from a walk behind mower is the safety features. Riding mowers need more safety features. They have to be sturdy and durable machine. You need to know that when you ride it on hills you will be safe. We go into specific safety features in the next section.
If you do not have time for the details, here are our top picks for riding mower for hills:
- Ariens 915223 IKON-X Mower FR691 Series
- Husqvarna Z254 Riding Mower
- Snapper 2911525BVE Classic RER Riding Mower
- Ariens Zoom Riding Mower
- Husqvarna Z242F Riding Mower
- Husqvarna Z248F Riding Mower
- Ariens 915213 Riding Mower
Features to look for when buying a riding mower for hills
When you look for a riding mower for hills, you need to consider the following features.
There are three different types of riding mowers. The three types are rear-engine, lawn/garden tractor, and zero-turn. Each of these three types come with their pros and cons. It is up to you to decide which works best for your yard.
Rear engine riding mowers are typically very small. The engine is in the rear of the mower. They work great in small to medium yards. You can also use them in yards with lots of tight spaces and turns. The smaller deck means they take longer to cut your grass. But, they are also much less expensive. They even store easier than the other riding mower types.
Lawn/garden tractors are large, powerful, and heavy. They are the least maneuverable of the bunch. If you have a large yard, then this type of mower is great. Lawn/garden tractors also typically come with spaces to put attachments like leaf blowers or tillers.
The zero-turn mower for hills is the fastest type. They are called zero turns because of their turning radius. They can almost turn 360-degrees. This makes them very maneuverable and efficient. You will spend a lot of money to purchase a zero turn mower for hills. They are often considered a commercial mower.
Heavier riding mowers will cut hills better. You may assume that you would want a light mower. You would be wrong. When they are heavier, the mower is more stable. You need stability when you cut grass on hills. This is one of the best safety features out there.
The larger the riding mower for hills, the heavier it will be. Large riding mowers also tend to be very expensive. Don’t worry if you want a riding mower for hills and don’t have a lot to spend. You can find relatively heavy mowers of any type of size.
The deck is probably the most important part of the riding mower for hills. It is the part of the mower that houses the blades. When looking for a good deck, there are several considerations.
The blades housed in the deck should be made of durable steel. Look for the best gauge steel you can afford. There may also be two or three blades in the deck. Larger decks will have more blades. The more blades you have, the faster your grass gets cut.
You will have to decide on deck size before you find your lawn mower for steep banks. Deck sizes come in a couple of different categories.
- Small: 28-39 inches
- Medium: 40-49 inches
- Large: 50 or more inches
Larger deck sizes are not necessarily better. Choose the deck size that best fits your yard. If you have a very small yard, a small deck will be fine. You may even get away with a walk behind mower for hills.
The amount of power a riding mower makes is important. It doesn’t matter where you plan on using the machine. You can tell how powerful an engine is by looking at the displacement number and horsepower.
Engine displacement measures the size of the engine’s cylinder. The engine displacement number is always measured in cubic centimeters (or cc). The larger the cc number, the more powerful the engine.
Horsepower is probably more familiar. This number describes the overall power of the engine. Horsepower is abbreviated HP. Again, a larger number means a stronger engine.
Safety is a very big deal when using a riding mower for hills. Steep banks and hills can be very dangerous. You need a mower that will be able to stand up to hills. It should also keep you safe.
Mowers with a lower center of gravity are less likely to flip over. Flipping is the most common cause of injury when mowing hills. These mowers will not come with a roll bar, like a car. Choose one, instead, that is sturdy enough to stay right-side up.
You may also consider a self-propelled lawn mower for hills. These or even robotic mowers may be the safest option. They are a little outside our topic today. But, if you do not have to force the machine down the hill, it will be safer.
There are a few different transmission types on a riding mower for hills. Two of the transmission types will be very familiar. They are called automatic and manual. These two transmissions as the same as in automobiles. In an automatic, the gears of the transmission are changed by the engine. In a manual transmission, you are responsible for changing the gears.
There is one more transmission type in riding mowers. This is the hydrostatic transmission. Hydrostatic transmissions are the most expensive. They use fluids to change the gears in the mower. This is a type of automatic transmission. It is more durable and creates a smoother ride.
The final feature to look for in your riding mower for hills is the max speed. Speed is important for safety and cutting efficiency. The type determines how fast a riding lawn mower will go. The fastest type of mower is zero-turn. Then the rear engine. The garden tractors bring up the rear. They are quite slow.
Those people not as familiar with riding mowers should not get a super-fast machine. This could create an unsafe situation. On hills, you don’t need to mow as fast anyway. If you are new to riding mowers, choose a slower type. Five to six MPH should be more than fast enough for most people. Some zero turn mowers will cut up to 8 MPH.
Top 7 Best Riding Lawn Mower for Hills – Comparison table
|Ariens 915223 IKON-X 52" Zero Turn Mower 23hp Kawasaki FR691 Series||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Husqvarna Z254 54 in. 26 HP Kohler Hydrostatic Zero Turn Riding Mower||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Snapper 2911525BVE Classic RER 28 inch 11.5 HP 344cc Rear Engine Riding Mower||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Ariens Zoom 34 - 19hp Kohler 6000 Series V-Twin 34" Zero Turn Lawn Mower||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Husqvarna Z242F 42 in. 18 HP Kawasaki Hydrostatic Zero Turn Riding Mower||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Husqvarna Z248F 48 in. 21.5 HP Kawasaki Hydrostatic Zero Turn Riding Mower||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Ariens 915213 Zero Turn Mower, 19 HP, 42 in. Cutting W||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
Top 7 Best Riding Mower for Hills On The Market Reviews
1. Ariens 915223 IKON-X Mower FR691 Series
The Ariens 915223 IKON-X Mower FR691 Series provides everything you need in a riding mower for hills. It has a large 52-inch cutting deck. The deck is made of 10-gauge steel for durability. The large deck means that the Ariens 915223 itself is very heavy. It will not tip over on hills.
You can find the Ariens 915223 IKON-X as both a new and refurbished product. The refurbished version allows you to purchase this machine at a lower rate. The 915223 is a zero turn mower. It is also very large and powerful. You will pay for this power. All of the features make the Ariens 915223 worth the price. You get a lot for your money with this mower for steep banks.
2. Husqvarna Z254 Riding Mower
Husqvarna is our choice for the top riding lawn mower brand. They would be our choice for the top home and garden tool brand. It is no surprise, then, that their Z254 Riding Mower is our second choice. It is a great riding mower for hills. Keep in mind that you will pay for the quality that comes with Husqvarna’s name.
The Z254 is a 26 HP riding mower. It has a 54-inch deck. The deck is made of flat-stock steel. This is a very durable and sturdy product. It will cut any grass anywhere.
The Z254 is a zero-turn riding mower. A mulching kit and bagger attachment can be purchased for this product. It also has a park brake system that ensures you stay safe. For the best Husqvarna has to offer, you need to check out the Z254.
3. Snapper 2911525BVE Classic RER Riding Mower
Snapper is known for its high-quality smaller riding lawn mowers. The 2911525BVE Classic RER Riding Mower illustrates why. This is a small rear engine riding mower. It has a 28-inch deck. It only takes 11.5 HP.
You may be wondering why we would include the 2911525BVE on this list. While it may seem strange, this is a great riding mower for hills. The rear engine keeps the center of gravity low. The 4-cycle OHV engine is powerful enough for small hills and yards.
You won’t cut all the grass on a farm well with this product. You will, however, be able to roll up and down hills with ease. That is exactly what you want in a riding mower for hills.
4. Ariens Zoom Riding Mower
Here we have another Ariens product. The Zoom Riding Mower is a small zero turn machine. It has a 34-inch deck and makes 19 HP. That is slightly more than the Snapper mower above.
Because it is a zero turn mower, the Zoom is quite fast. It has a powerful enough engine to cut hills of any size. You would be hard-pressed to find a more efficient mower for hills.
Small to medium yards could especially benefit from the Ariens Zoom Riding Mower. The seat is very comfortable. The lap bars are easy to use and control. there is a lot of legroom. Overall, the Zoom is a very comfortable and useable machine.
5. Husqvarna Z242F Riding Mower
Husqvarna is back with the Z242F Riding Mower. This is a hydrostatic zero turn mower for steep hills. It has a 42-inch deck. It will make 18 HP. The 42-inch deck and HP rating places the Z242F in the medium-size category.
For medium yards, you need the Husqvarna Z242F. This riding mower for hills includes the park brake system. This system is patent-pending. It automatically activates and deactivates with the steering levers.
The mulching kit and bagger attachment mentioned in our first Husqvarna review apply to this product as well. It also includes a hydrostatic transmission. This transmission is the best of the best. For a Husqvarna riding mower, the Z242F isn’t even too expensive. You need to try the Z242F today.
6. Husqvarna Z248F Riding Mower
We had to include one more Husqvarna product on our top seven list. The Z248F Riding Mower is another zero turn machine. It has a max speed of 6.5 MPH. That is not as fast as some zero turn mowers for hills. Yet, 6.5 MPH is more than enough to get the job done. This is a great product for those new to zero turn mowers as well.
Husqvarna has included a hydrostatic transmission on its Z248F. Being Hydrostatic means that the transmission should need zero maintenance. That’s great for any homeowner.
The deck is 48-inches and there is 21.5 HP. For medium to large yards, you need the Husqvarna Z248F. The deck has a deep design. The design makes for a better cut. Enough airflow gets through the blades because of their ergonomic design.
7. Ariens 915213 Riding Mower
The final riding mower for hills on our list is the Ariens 915213 Riding Mower. It is another zero-turn product. These are very maneuverable and efficient machines. It makes sense that so many would be ideal for cutting grass on hills.
As with most zero-turn mowers, the transmission on the 915213 is hydrostatic. It has a max speed of 6 MPH. The rear wheels are 8.5 inches wide. Such a wide rear wheel increases the stability. It will be had to tip this riding mower for hills over. That is the kind of safety you want and need.
Tips and tricks for mowing a steep hill.
Riding a lawn mower down a steep hill can be scary. If you know the right way to do it, it doesn’t have to be dangerous. Follow these tips and tricks to mow your steep hill the right way.
- Mow slowly. You want enough momentum to allow the riding mower for hills to make it up the incline. But you should not be flying up and down the steep hill. That is a great way to make your zero turn mower for hills flip over.
- Keep the engine speed steady. Constantly breaking or switching speeds can be dangerous. Slow and steady wins the race. That saying holds for mowing hills.
- Mow up and down the steep hill. Mowing up and down allows you to use gravity to your advantage. The lawn mower for steep banks will also always be facing the right way. You want the nose facing up and down the hill. When the mower is positioned horizontally, it is more likely to flip.
- Use the correct safety equipment. Mowing hills is inherently more dangerous than mowing flat ground. You want to use more safety equipment than normal. Long pants and shirts, ear and eye protection. These are the best ways to keep yourself safe while mowing hills. If you have an especially steep slope, you may also want to consider wearing a helmet.
In this FAQ section, we answer the most pressing questions about riding mowers for hills.
- Aren’t riding lawn mowers dangerous on hills?
Yes, however, the danger can be minimized. You need to purchase the correct lawn mower for a sloping garden. When you have the right equipment, you will be safer. A great riding mower for hills will come with all of the safety features needed.
You shouldn’t let your guard down, however. Mowing hills is still a dangerous proposition. Follow the tips and tricks in the last section. These will ensure you stay safe as you mow your steep slope.
The biggest danger with riding lawn mowers on steep hills is that they will flip over. As in a car, flipping can be very dangerous. People have been seriously injured because of flipping lawn mowers.
- What are the best riding lawn mower brands?
There are a lot of great riding lawn mower brands out there. In our opinion, Husqvarna is the best of the best. Husqvarna is a Swedish home and garden brand. They have a super long history. Husqvarna was founded in 1689. They originally were a rifle factory. Then they made sewing machines, kitchen equipment, bicycles, and motorcycles.
In the late 19-teens, Husqvarna switched to creating lawn mowers and other garden equipment. Since that time they have been the leaders in the field. With such a long and storied history, Husqvarna has earned its spot as the top riding lawn mower brand. There are many great lawn mowers to choose from. Husqvarna’s products are usually the top of the line in any category.
- Riding mowers vs. push behind mowers.
You may be wondering whether you should just invest in a walk behind mower for hills. One is not necessarily better than the other. Each has its own pros and cons.
Riding mower for hills
Riding mowers are much larger. You can sit on the mower as you cut your grass. They are more comfortable than push behind mowers. They also require much less work on your part. Riding mowers for hills will cut your grass in a fraction of the time it takes a push behind mower for hills.
Riding mowers are more expensive. They are also harder to store and need more maintenance. If you have a very small yard, you probably do not need a riding mower. Those with larger yards should consider this time-saving machine.
Push behind mower for hills
Push behind mowers are lighter and less expensive. They are easier to control. You are pushing them constantly. It is much easier to stop them if things go wrong on a hill.
Because they are smaller, push behind mowers for hills will not cut yards very quickly. You also have to stand behind them and push to cut your grass. Those with very large yards may not have the time to use a push behind mower.
Even people with steep yards can use the best riding mowers for hills. These machines are durable and steady. They will keep you safe as you cut the grass on your hills. They will also get the job done well without too much wear-and-tear on the parts.
No one wants to have a shaggy-looking hill. Try one of the seven riding mowers for hills reviewed in this article. You can use the buyer’s guide to find the product that will work best for you.
Sarah Eberle qualified and became a member of the Landscape Institute in 1980. Over the last 26 years she has practised landscape architecture and garden design, running her own business in Devon.
During the 1990s, Sarah joined Hillier Landscapes as Design Director, where she is still a shareholder but also runs her own practice in Hampshire.
Sarah has an esteemed record in RHS shows, having won eight Gold medals, Best in Show and the George Cook award for innovation twice at Hampton Court. Sarah has also exhibited at Tatton Park and BBC Gardeners’ World Live.