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Choosing the Right Garden Tractor for Your Needs

Most seasoned farmers and gardeners have a strong opinion about the best tractor for their land. Often, it’s what their parents or grandparents used. If you’re thinking about branching out from family traditions and seeing what’s out there, you’ve come to the right place.

I’ve tracked down the best garden tractors for different situations. There’s a lot to consider when buying a new garden tractor, and you want to select the best one for your needs.

Keep reading to find the right garden tractor for your yard! I’ll also walk you through all you need to think about when choosing a garden tractor and answer some frequently asked questions.

Garden Tractor

Our Top Picks

Best for Slopes
Cub Cadet 54 in. Zero-Turn Mower

Best for Small Yards
Troy-Bilt TB 42 in. Bronco Riding Mower

Best for Large Yards
John Deere 1025R

Best for Slopes

Cub Cadet 54 in. Zero-Turn Mower

Cub Cadet’s 54-inch Zero-Turn Mower has a tough, sturdy frame that makes maneuvering slopes a breeze, making it the top pick on this list. Zero-turn mowers are famous for their steering ease, ability to mow faster, and comfortable ride. Cub Cadet does not disappoint with this garden tractor.


  • Turf damage protection
  • 3.5-gallon fuel capacity
  • Impressive 3-year warranty


  • Subpar accessories

Best for Small Yards

Troy-Bilt 42 in. Bronco Riding Mower

If you have 2 acres or less to mow, the Troy-Bilt Bronco Riding Mower is the best choice! Ride comfortably with a mid-back, adjustable seat, and easy on-and-off access. It comes with two anti-scalp deck wheels to prevent turf damage and pressure lubrication to prevent engine damage.


  • Strong power
  • Easy to operate
  • 2-year limited residential warranty


  • Subpar accessories

Best for Large Yards

John Deere 1025R

If you have a large lawn and want to accessorize your mower, the John Deere 1025R is what you need! This compact tractor may be small, but it’s powerful. It has a 60” cutting deck, and an abundance of accessories to choose from like: a seat covertractor grab hooks, and more!

See a full list of available tractor attachments.


  • Deluxe seat suspension and armrests
  • Easy to use
  • Versatile and dependable


  • Cannot buy online unless you want to get into a pricy bidding war

Garden Tractor Considerations

Lawn Size

No two lawns are identical, and the larger the lawn you have the larger the cutting deck you need. Use this chart as a general guideline when selecting the best garden tractor for your lawn’s needs.

Lawn SizeCut Width
1 acre or less30 to 42 inches
1 to 2 acres42 to 52 inches
2 to 3 acres50 to 54 inches
3 to 5 acres54 to 62 inches
5 acres+60 inches+


Rear Engines

Garden tractors with rear engines have smaller decks and less powerful engines. Typically, their decks are less than 54 inches. If your lawn is 3 acres or less, you should opt for a rear engine mower.

Front Engines

Front engines are larger and more powerful, making them ideal for yards larger than 3 acres.


All garden tractors handle hills to some degree, but some handle them better than others. Most ride-on mowers are not suitable for slopes greater than 15 inches unless otherwise advertised, such as the Cub Cadet 54 in. Zero-Turn Mower, which is rated for slopes up to 20 degrees.

Wide garden tractors with low centers of gravity perform best on slopes.


Garden tractors can often serve several functions, depending on which accessories and attachments are compatible. Check which accessories can be paired with your ride-on mower, such as:

  • Snow plows and blowers: For winter snow removal
  • Tillers: For preparing soil for cultivating and planting
  • Baggers: For collecting grass
  • Aerators: For reseeding and fertilizing your lawn
  • Dethatchers: For removing and preventing tangled grass barriers, so all nutrients get to your lawn’s roots
  • Carts: For making dumping and hauling easier
  • Lawn rollers: For an evening out damaged ground
  • Lawn sweepers: For cleaning up yard debris like leaves, twigs, and pine cones
  • Mulching kits: For clipping grass into smaller pieces and spreading them on your yard
  • Disc harrows: For preparing garden beds or breaking up tough ground to start a new one
  • Canopy: For providing shade
  • Trail mower or cutter: For clearing paths brush or sapling paths on your property
  • Tank sprayer: For applying fertilizer to all areas of your lawn without needing to refill as much

Not all attachments are compatible with all garden tractors, so it’s important to check that your desired accessories are compatible before making your purchase.


Garden tractors are either electric or run on diesel or gas. Diesel fuel tanks are more fuel efficient than gas, however, gas engines are lighter and more powerful.

Electric lawnmowers are becoming more popular, although they haven’t become as popular as gas or diesel. They are eco-friendly and require less maintenance. However, they are not ideal for lawns greater than half an acre because their batteries need recharging frequently.

garden tractor

Garden Tractor Frequently Asked Questions

What is the average lifespan of a garden tractor?

Its lifespan depends on the size of the garden tractor and how well it is maintained. Also, the type of terrain you mow may affect your tractor’s lifespan. A tractor regularly riding over bumpy hills will not last as long

On average, you can expect smaller garden tractors to last between 500 and 1,000 hours. Larger tractors may span up to 2,000 hours if properly maintained.

What safety features should I look for in a garden tractor?

Garden tractors have several safety features to keep the rider’s best interests in mind. One great safety feature many modern garden tractors have is an operator presence control system, which recognizes when you get off and shuts off the blade.

Select the Best Garden Tractor for Your Yard!

You’re ready to find the right garden tractor that suits your needs. The Cub Cadet 54 in. Zero-Turn Mower is amazing if you live on a hill, the Troy-Bilt TB 42 in. Bronco Riding Mower is great for small yards, and the John Deere 1025R is for those who have a large yard and want to accessorize.

Want to learn more about tractor attachments? Read about these must-have tractor attachments!