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How do I Choose the Best Small Riding Lawn Mower?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 12 November 2016
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A small riding lawn mower is perfect for small- and medium-sized lawns, and it can cut down on time and effort taken to cut a lawn regularly. The biggest choice you will need to make when choosing a small riding lawn mower is whether you want a conventional style mower or a zero-radius mower. A zero-radius small riding lawn mower will be a better choice for yards with tight corners and obstacles such as trees, but it will also cost significantly more than a conventional style riding mower.

A conventional style small riding mower will mimic the look of a large tractor but on a much smaller scale. The mower is steered by turning a wheel that controls the front two wheels of the mower, meaning some space will be necessary to execute turns. This can be a problem in tight lawns or lawns that feature several obstacles. To counter such problems, a zero-radius small riding lawn mower can be purchased. This type of mower is controlled by two handles: one handle controls one pair of wheels, while the other handle controls the other pair of wheels. The rider can then push one handle and pull the other, essentially making the mower turn itself completely around without excess turning space.

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Cost will be an issue when choosing the best small riding lawn mower. Zero-radius mowers will be more expensive than conventional style mowers, and mowers made by popular brands will more than likely be more expensive than off brands or less popular brands. It is important to choose a mower within your price range, but keep in mind that less expensive mowers may feature lower quality parts, or parts that may be difficult to replace due to limited availability. Be sure to choose a brand that features parts that can be replaced easily.

Be sure to consider the blade and deck size of the small riding lawn mower you are considering. Bigger is often better, but if the yard you will be mowing is quite small or awkwardly shaped, a smaller blade and deck may be a better choice. The deck is the metal covering that protects the blade from damage and prevents debris kicked up from the blades from flying too far, potentially causing injury or damage. The deck usually sits underneath the machine, directly below the rider, and it can flare out to the sides of the machine if more than one blade is used. The width of the deck will affect the mower's ability to get into tight spots, so be sure to measure the deck carefully and consider it in relation to your yard.

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