Buying a lawn tractor is one of the biggest decisions most homeowners will ever make regarding a piece of lawn care equipment. Most will cost more than $1,000 US Dollars (USD), so getting a good quality product becomes very important. In addition to the quality, there are other things to consider when buying a lawn tractor that may not be readily apparent. Understanding these will help lead to a wise purchase.
The primary point homeowners must consider is whether they truly need a lawn tractor. Those with lot sizes of less than an acre may be more easily done by hand, with a push mower or a self-propelled walk-behind mower. Using a lawn tractor for a yard this small may be more cumbersome than helpful. Most do not turn at very sharp angles and using a lawn tractor could hurt some of the landscaping or gardening being done.
If the lawn is big enough for a lawn tractor, but there are still plenty of sharp turns to make, the homeowner may want to consider a zero-turn radius tractor. These lawn tractors have the ability to turn in place and can cut rows like many with traditional push mowers do. While these make for a quicker job around sharp turns, they also cost up to three times the amount of traditional lawn tractors.
More traditional concerns, such as horsepower and cutting width, should also be taken into account. This is one of the classic trade-offs regarding lawn tractors. While it is cheaper to get a unit with a smaller engine and cutting width, it will make the job slower. The most common lawn tractors usually have a 17 or 19 horsepower motor with a 42 inch (106.6 cm) cutting width.
There is some debate about brands. Many may feel that a name brand will offer more reliability and fewer problems than a lesser known brand. For those in that situation, the purchase should be something they will feel comfortable with and not regret later on. However, more important than the brand may be the warranty that comes with the lawn tractor. Finding the best one may be even more important than any brand name in the long run.
While these are the major considerations, there are also quite a few minor considerations as well. Whether to buy used or new, whether to buy a mower with the capability of bagging clippings and whether to buy one with attachments, such as pull-behind carts or snow blades, are also considerations unique to each buyer. The important thing in all these considerations is to make sure the homeowner gets a product that he will be pleased with in the long run.