There is a reason every kid wanted to mow lawns as a side hustle because no parent wanted to do it. Cutting your front yard with a walk-behind mower is hard enough, let alone trying to chop down an acre.
Unless you’re in desperate need of cardio, you should probably use a riding mower for a job that size. That is why we have prepared this list to help you choose the best riding lawn mower for 1 acre.
We also have a detailed guide to help you better understand your options and help you fall in love with mowing.
Best Riding Lawn Mower for 1 Acre
- EGO Power+ ZT4204L 42″ Z6 Zero Turn – Best Electric Zero Turn Mower
- Ariens Ikon XD – Best Zero-Turn Riding Mower for 1Acre
- Husqvarna YTH18542 – Best Yard Tractor for 1 Acre
- Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro LT – Best Riding Mower for Beginners
- John Deere S120 42 in. 22 HP – Most Comfortable Riding Tractor
- RYOBI 48V Brushless 30 in. 50 Ah – Best Compact Electric Riding Mower
- Troy Bilt TB30 – Best for Small Yards
7 Best Riding Lawn Mower for 1 Acre Reviews
1. Best Electric Zero Turn Mower – EGO Power+ ZT4204L 42″ Z6 Zero Turn Riding Mower
- Peak Power+ Technology combines the power of up to 6 EGO 56V ARC Lithium batteries. Includes (4) 10.0AH Batteries and Industry’s fastest charger! World’s First Platform Compatible Rider – powered by all EGO 56V Arc Lithium batteries
- Power of gas with 22 HP equivalent engine
- Cuts up to 2-Acres on a single charge with the included 4 56V 10.0Ah.
- 3-7 MPH Speed, up to 8 MPH in travel mode. 3 driving modes: Control, Standard, Sport. 4 Independent brushless motors. 42” cutting deck with zero turn radius. 10 position cutting height adjustments: 1.5-4.5”. 3-in-1 function: mulching, bagging, side-discharge
- 5 year tool, battery, and charger warranty with registration
We start this list with arguably the best-looking riding lawn mower. Fortunately, chopping up turf in the Ego Power+ is as fun as it looks.
This zero-turn mower single-handedly has been designed to deliver the power of a gas engine but with more efficiency and options than a typical riding mower.
This electric lawn mower comes with four 10.0AH batteries, but it can support up to 6 batteries for larger jobs, but not like you’ll need it.
It also has the fastest battery charger for electric mowers – you get a full charge in just two hours.
Once full, the engine runs the equivalent of 22 hp, which you’ll see beats out some of the gas-powered alternatives on our list.
The 42″ cutting deck enables you to mow your lawn pretty quickly, as it flies by on up to 7 mph in cutting mode – 8mph in travel mode.
What makes this electric mower even more impressive is that it has 3 cutting functions: mulching, bagging, and side discharge.
However you run it, you’ll be able to cut up to 2 acres on a single charge of just 4 batteries. To top it all, you get a generous 5-year warranty for tool, batteries, and charger.
For an otherwise flawless electric mower, the one thing we don’t love is that you can’t cut on slopes with the confidence of a gas-powered zero-turn mower.
However, that is still pretty decent, considering it will still do a better job than a typical lawn-riding mower.
- It has a 3-in-1 function.
- Battery charges quickly and lasts.
- It has a powerful 22 HP engine.
- It comes with a 5-year warranty.
- Be careful when cutting on slopes.
2. Best Zero-Turn Riding Mower for 1Acre – Ariens Ikon XD
- 4 inch deep fully fabricated with advanced airflow for an exceptional cutting performance
- The plush, high back seat featuring padded arm rests is adjustable from the operator position providing superior comfort while mowing
- Choose from 13 cutting positions, from 1-1/2 to 4-1/2 inch, in quarter-inch increments with just the turn of a dial
Next, we have another zero-turn riding mower, but this is a gas mower and a breeze to ride. The Ariens IKON XD was designed for residential use, although it is also suitable for small farms.
It runs on a 23 HP Kawasaki V-twin gas engine, and the mowing deck is made of fabricated steel for long-lasting performance.
The powerful gas engine will help you mow 1 – 2 acres with ease, thanks to its 52-inch cutting width, which does seem like overkill for an acre.
When it comes to speed, you can reach 7mph moving forward and 3mph in reverse. These, combined with the zero-degree turning radius, mean you can cut an acre in half an hour or less with practice.
Similar to the Ego, you can cut grass in side discharge, mulching, and bagging modes.
What does set it apart from that and many other zero-turn mowers is that you can choose up to 13 different cutting heights between 1.5 inches and 4.5 inches.
One other feature you will appreciate is the plush chair with armrests to make for a very comfortable ride. Perhaps the best thing for many buyers is that this riding mower comes assembled.
However, a few buyers have complained about the assembly and have had to redo certain things themselves. Still, it beats putting everything together forms scratch.
You should consider getting this machine if you are looking for a riding lawn mower under the budget.
- Wide cutting deck.
- Moves quickly, even in reverse.
- It has a solid, durable build.
- It comes assembled.
- Assembly may have some shortfalls.
3. Best Yard Tractor for 1 Acre – Husqvarna YTH18542
When it comes to gardening innovation, no company does it better than Husqvarna. Some think it’s because they are one of the oldest companies in the world (founded in the seventeenth century).
But we believe it’s because they know exactly what customers want, and their yard tractor is proof of that.
The Husqvarna YTH18542 contains everything you would want in a riding lawn mower. It is a premium product, yet it is one of the more affordable options.
It has high tech, such as the air induction mowing technology, to help you get a consistent cut with its 42-inch mowing deck, but it is also simple enough for beginners to use.
Other features you’d expect include adjustable cutting heights, pedal-operated controls, and a reinforced cutting deck. These alone make this a great buy, but there’s more.
This riding lawn mower comes with an adjustable sliding seat and an ergonomic steering wheel to ensure you have full control at all times.
You would think that the 18.5 HP gas engine is small compared to others, but you can still hit 2.5 mph in reverse.
All of these being said, there have been a few quality control complaints from buyers getting defective products.
However, you do get a 3-year warranty, so there is no rush to file a complaint if anything arises.
- Premium product without the price tag.
- It can be used all year long.
- It gives a consistent cut.
- 3-year bumper-to-bumper warranty.
- Some products have defects.
4. Best Riding Mower for Beginners – Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro LT
The more you look at riding lawnmowers, the more you realize that most of them are ugly. It is as if the manufacturers focused so much on the function they ignored the form.
That is a mistake Cub Cadet did not make. The Cub Cadet XT1 is one of the prettiest riding mowers, designed to look like a Chevy Camaro, but it is also phenomenal.
Under the hood is a 23 HP Kohler twin-cylinder engine that delivers a smooth, vibration-free mowing experience.
It has a 46” cutting deck, which will make mowing your one acre fast and pleasant. One feature you’d get a kick out of is the cruise control, which also works at the top speed of 5.5 mph.
When in reverse, you can go up to 3 mph. You also get hydrostatic transmission, as expected, as well as foot pedals to free up your arms. This riding mower is great for small, flat surfaces.
There is a 16″ turn angle, which might seem small compared to a zero-turn mower, but it is pretty impressive for a lawn tractor.
The one thing we would have liked is better performance on steep hills, but I guess it’s too much to expect perfection.
- It has cruise control.
- Great value for money.
- It has a strong engine.
- It can cut as low as 1”.
- It is much slower than competitors.
- It does not cut well on slopes.
5. Most Comfortable Riding Tractor – John Deere S120 42 in. 22 HP V-Twin Gas Hydrostatic Lawn Tractor
The problem with complex tools like zero-turn mowers is that they are not very accessible to people with mobility issues.
So, if you are elderly, have a bad back, or just want an easy mowing experience, the John Deere S120 is what you should buy.
The S100 lineup replaced the previous e-series in 2021, making this one of the newest riding tractors.
One new feature is the air vent on the hood, which allows the engine to run better – it has a 22 HP Briggs and Stratton V-twin engine.
Another new feature is that you now get an electric fuel gauge. This is a huge upgrade sorely lacking in many competitors.
When driving this lawn tractor, you also get the option of using cruise control. Again, this is great for old, injured, or tired operators.
As for the actual mowing, this has a 42inch fabricated steel mowing deck, capable of cutting between 1 inch and 4 inches in ½ inch increments.
It is a hydrostatic transmission with side-by-side pedals for easy forward and reverse mowing.
What we don’t love is that John Deere offers a paltry 2-year bumper-to-bumper warranty. However, this riding tractor is built in the USA, so it has exceptional quality.
- Electric fuel gauge.
- Tons of accessibility features.
- It has cruise control.
- Very easy to operate.
- Only a 2-year warranty.
- The blade drive belt breaks easily.
6. Best Compact Electric Riding Mower – RYOBI 48V Brushless 30 in. 50 Ah Battery Electric Rear Engine Riding Mower
- Lead-Acid Battery operated: no gas, fumes, charge and go
- Low maintenance: no belts, spark plugs or filters
- Up to 1 acre or 1 hour of runtime
- Quiet cutting
- LED headlights
Usually, cutting 1 acre means large, open fields. However, if you have a lot of narrow paths, trees, or shrubs in the way, you’re going to need something a little bit smaller.
The Ryobi 48V electric riding mower is perfect for this use. Unlike the other options on our list, this has a small but mighty 30″ mowing deck.
The width of the mower is 42 inches, so it can easily pass through doors and in between most obstructions.
If you can’t tell already, this battery-powered mower was made to cut 1 acre, which is about how long the battery will last.
To recharge the 50Ah lead-acid batteries, use a standard 120-volt outlet. This is a very quiet lawn mower, so you don’t have to worry about disturbing the neighbors when cutting at night.
To assist, you get two LED headlights and a cup holder for your coffee. One of the benefits of this electric mower is that you don’t have to worry as much about maintenance.
There are no filters, belts, or spark plugs to replace. The only thing that will need replacing is the battery, which lasts about 2 years on average.
- It cuts quietly
- Maintenance is easy
- Cuts an acre on a single charge
- It has LED headlights
- The battery life isn’t great
- The battery only has a 1-year warranty
7. Best for Small Yards – Troy Bilt TB30
- Powerful 382cc OHV engine packs enough power to mow large lots of rough grass
- 30-Inch single blade cutting deck mows a wide path
- Operator-controlled mow-in-reverse capability for ultimate maneuverability
- Comfortable, padded high-back seat and ample leg room for a Smooth ride
- 1.3 gallon fuel tank holds enough gasoline to make refueling less frequent
Last on our list is the absolute smallest yard tractor you can get to cut an acre. The Troy Bilt TB30 is a petite machine that does the job perfectly without any extra hassle.
It has a simple 10.5 HP Briggs & Stratton engine that can run in any weather, so there is no excuse for a messy yard in winter.
The mowing deck is similar to the Ryobi’s at 30 inches, and it also has a narrow body that will allow you to pass through most gates.
This riding lawn mower is perfect if your acre is spread between the front and back yard or if you don’t need a loud gas engine.
Its small size also makes it easier to maneuver. It has an 18″ turn radius, so you will need to use the reverse feature often.
Despite its compact engine, you can reach speeds of 4.25 mph going forward and 2 mph in reverse.
You will find that this riding mower is perfect for people who aren’t in a hurry or might have mobility issues.
Two features we would have liked to see are deck wash and an anti-scalping feature. But for a budget lawn tractor, you can easily store it in your shed; you can’t be too picky.
- Very easy to operate.
- It works in all weather.
- It is relatively noiseless.
- It offers side discharge and mulching.
- It has a small gas tank.
- It does not have anti-scalping.
What Size Lawn Needs a Riding Mower?
Mowing is like eating raw oysters: some people love it, and some people hate it.
However you feel about it, doctors tell us that lawn mowing is good cardiovascular exercise and it can also be good for your mind. But you can have too much of a good thing.
While mowing a lawn for half an hour can be good for you, trying to maintain an acre with a push mower will wear you out.
Consumer Reports recommends you use a riding mower for anything larger than half an acre. From our experience, that lines up.
Some of the riding lawnmowers on our list will help you mow an entire acre in less than thirty minutes. Besides speed, riding lawnmowers are also easier on your health.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, lawn mowers produce toxic levels of emissions, including carcinogens. So, the more time you spend mowing, the greater the level of exposure.
There are other factors to consider, such as the value of your time and constant exposure to noise pollution, but the bottom line is the less time you spend mowing, the better.
Now that you know why you should opt for a riding lawn mower, the next question is, which type should you buy?
Different Types of Riding Mowers
When it comes to large mowing jobs, nothing covers more ground quicker and more efficiently than a zero-turn mower.
So named after their zero turning radius, they are able to essentially spin on the spot to give an even cut even on the weirdest shaped lawns.
Instead of a steering wheel, these are controlled by two levers which takes some getting used to, but they offer exceptional maneuverability.
The advanced tech means these cost a bit more than a lawn tractor, but the time they save can be worth it.
Garden or lawn tractor
When the average person thinks of a riding lawn mower, a lawn tractor is what comes to mind. These riding mowers get their name from their shape and function.
While garden tractors are primarily mowers, they can be used for other things like snow blowing, carrying waste, spraying insecticide, and dozens of other features.
Gardners and small-scale farmers prefer lawn tractors because of their versatility and ruggedness.
However, they aren’t as efficient as zero-turn mowers, primarily because they don’t have a zero-turn radius. Although, lawn tractors handle slopes better, and they are often considerably cheaper.
Rear-engine riding mower
When looking for the best riding lawn mowers, people rarely consider rear-engine riding mowers.
These are similar to zero turns in that the engine is placed behind for greater visibility, but these tend to be much smaller.
Rear engine riding mowers are not in high supply because they fit a very narrow niche. They tend to have a small cutting deck of about 30 inches, which is barely enough to cut an acre.
While they can cut small lawns, the turning radius makes them harder to maneuver than push mowers.
So, the only people that buy rear-engine riding mowers are those who own between ½ acre to 1 acre but don’t have the budget for a lawn tractor or prefer a smaller ride.
Should You Buy A Gas-Powered or Electric Powered Riding Mower?
There was a time when the best riding lawn mowers were gas-powered, but thanks to new regulations and innovation, electric power is catching up.
Now, thanks to companies like Ego and Ryobi, we have a variety of exceptional electric-powered zero-turn mowers, lawn tractors, and rear-engine riding mowers.
But which one is better, or rather, which type of lawn mower is better for you?
Battery-powered riding mowers
The main advantage of a battery-powered mower is that it is better for the environment.
At the point of use, the best battery-powered mowers don’t emit any harmful substances, which can’t be said about gas-powered mowers.
However, just like electric cars are often not as powerful as gasoline cars, electric riding mowers can’t always compete with gas riding mowers unless you are cutting less than 2 acres.
On just a single charge of even the little Ryobi, you can still cut an acre at a comparable pace. Another advantage of electric mowers is that they emit half the noise of a gas equivalent.
That means you can use a battery-powered riding lawn mower at night without being insensitive to your neighbors or your eardrums.
Perhaps the biggest advantage is that you don’t have to constantly check or service the fuel or oil filters and other milestone-related changes.
If you’re not the mechanical type, you’re going to love the low-maintenance appeal. One thing you might not like is the price. These are significantly more expensive to buy.
Changing the battery can also cost you a pretty penny. However, when you factor in gas prices, oil changes, and regular maintenance, owning an electric mower might still be cheaper in the long run.
Now that you know which type to choose, you might be asking yourself, should I buy a used or new riding lawn mower? Read to learn more.
No matter how you feel about the environment or the sudden sexiness of electric vehicles, nothing beats the sheer power of gas mowers.
Gas mowers are able to cut tough grass and weeds with relative ease, especially when they run on twin engines.
The horsepower you get from gas is much higher than an electric mower, even though the latter is slowly catching up.
Gas-powered riding lawn mowers are also able to run longer without needing to refuel.
The Ego Power+ is able to run for 2 hours on a single charge, while a similar gas engine riding lawn mower will last at least twice as long.
Perhaps the biggest advantage it has is familiarity. People find it easier to work with engines they understand.
You don’t want to have to call an expert every time your riding lawn mower makes an unfamiliar sound. Not to mention that when it does need fixing, experts are few and more expensive.
Still, is choosing between gas and battery all you need when selecting the best riding lawn mower for 1 acre? Let’s dig a little deeper and see.
How to Choose the Best Riding Lawn Mower for 1 Acre
Type of lawn
Not every riding lawn mower is suitable for every type of lawn. In order to choose the right one, you must first consider where you want to use it and how.
Terrain/geography of the lawn
The two things we need to consider are how the lawn is laid out and its elevation. If you have one large, flat lawn, any riding lawn mower will suffice.
However, if you have trees, narrow paths, or slopes in the way, you will need to be a bit pickier.
Zero-turn mowers are best if you have obstructions. However, if your lawn is set on a hill, stick with a garden tractor.
If you do have narrow paths or a narrow gate separating the shed from the lawn, you then need to be careful with the cutting deck width.
Type of grass
For typical lawn grass on flat lands, perhaps an electric riding lawn mower might be your best option.
However, if you have some strong weeds in your yard, you can opt for the Ariens zero turn mower instead, the John Deere S120, or the Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro.
Purpose of the lawn
If you plan on entertaining guests on your lawn, you are going to want a riding lawn mower that doesn’t scalp. This essentially rules out the Ryobi and the Troy Bilt TB30.
However, if it’s just a patch of land you want to be leveled and you don’t mind uneven cuts, don’t bother with the more expensive options.
The purpose of the lawn will also determine how low you want it cut. A typical lawn is 3 inches, but if you want to go as low as 1 inch, your options become limited.
The three main cutting modes are side discharge, mulching, and bagging. These are personal choices, so we can’t tell you that one method is better than the other.
All it means is you need to choose the riding lawn mower that fits your use. Unsurprisingly, not every riding lawn mower offers all three options.
However, they will offer at least two. You should note that if you’re interested in bagging, you will need to purchase the accessories separately.
You are going to spend hundreds of hours in your riding lawn mower over its lifetime, so it helps to buy one you enjoy sitting in.
Most people prefer a high back because it gives you more support. The Ariens Ikon and the Ego Power+ go a step further by providing armrests.
The Troy Bilt has one of the smaller seat options, which is fine if you only mow for a few minutes at a time. But after half an hour, you might need a massage.
Handling and controls
Similar to riding comfort is the comfort of the controls. A soft-grip steering wheel or levers are more fun than hard plastic.
One way the John Deere S120 adds to handling comfort is with cruise control. It also has side-by-side gears for forward and reverse movement, thus reducing the amount of work your hands have to do.
Of course, if you don’t want to overwork your hands, steer clear of the zero-turn riding lawn mowers.
Another important consideration is the size of the actual mower or cutting deck. While it is easy to get swayed by things like horsepower or operating speed, the cutting width actually has a lot more to do with how quickly you get done.
40″ – 46″ is the ideal range for 1 acre to get a superior cut. This places all but three of our options in this category.
The outliers include the Ariens with its 52″ cutting deck, while the Troy Bilt and Ryobi sport a 30″ cutting deck.
While a much larger cutting width will help you cover more ground, it is a problem if your riding mower has to pass through a narrow gate. The Ariens also has 3 blades, which means more maintenance.
Fuel or battery capacity
The point of using a riding lawn mower on one acre is that you don’t need a refill before you finish it.
As you would expect from the best riding lawn mowers, they all pass this test. However, the compact riding mowers only just squeeze in the door.
If you are looking for superior battery performance, the Ego Power is more than sufficient, especially if you want to add two extra batteries.
The gas-powered tractors are also great, although we like that the S120 allows you to see your fuel level easily.
Finally, you need to consider the cost of the mower. What you’ll find is that the best riding lawn tractor can be as much as a couple thousand dollars less than the best riding zero-turn mower.
If you have plans to acquire a larger property, then it is worth spending extra on zero turns.
However, if you are happy with your one acre and you don’t need the bells and whistles, stick with a rear-engine riding mower like the Troy Bilt TB30.
What size riding mower do I need for 1 acre?
You should use a riding mower with a cutting deck of at least 40″. This can be gas or electric-powered, and it can be a zero-turn mower or a lawn tractor. However, if you have a tight budget or need to navigate tight spaces, you can get a riding mower with a 30″ riding deck.
Do I need a riding mower for 1 acre?
Yes, a riding mower will save you time and money when cutting one acre. You should only use a push mower if you only cut your lawn once a month or even less often. However, for regular lawn care, walk-behind mowers just won’t cut it.
What is the most reliable riding lawn mower?
There are several companies that make reliable riding lawn mowers, including Cub Cadet, Titan, John Deere, and Husqvarna. You are certain to find an option that best fits your need amongst their expansive catalogs.
A Perfect Cut, Every Time
It has been a wild ride, but now it’s time to answer the question: what is the best riding lawn mower for 1 acre?
Before we answer the question, you must remember that this is a personal question as it will depend on the type of lawn you have, how often you’ll use the mower and what you can afford.
However, if we had to choose one, it would have to be the Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro.
It does everything right – it is great on slopes, it can cut acres without needing a refill, it offers a comfortable ride with a strong engine, and you can buy tonnes of useful accessories.
That said, we were leaning towards the John Deere S120, but it only offers a 2-year warranty. And, of course, the best riding lawn mower with an electric engine is the Ego Power+ ZT.