The Best Riding Lawn Mowers for 1 Acre of 2023

Whether you want a fast zero-turn mower, a clean electric mower, a versatile lawn tractor, or a compact rear-engine mower, find one of the best in this guide.

By Mark Wolfe | Updated Jun 6, 2023 12:08 PM

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Best Riding Lawn Mowers for One Acre


When you have a large yard, mowing the lawn can consume an outsize portion of a weekend. Push mowers and walk behinds work fine to a point, but somewhere between 0.5 acre and 1 acre, many end up choosing a riding lawn mower. In addition to letting the operator have a seat while mowing, riding mowers offer more mowing power, a wider deck, and a faster mowing speed to get the job done faster.

These machines may be used to help care for a property in other ways, too. They can pull a utility cart for hauling tools, gardening supplies, and yard debris. They can tow a fertilizer spreader, a lawn aerator, or a yard sweeper. They can even help with snow removal by pushing a snow plow or powering a snow blower. Since every yard is different, there are different sizes and types of riding lawn mowers to choose from. However, knowing which may be right for you may not be entirely intuitive. So what is the best riding lawn mower?

To help you identify the right mower for your yard, read on to learn about some key shopping considerations that we used to identify some of the best riding mowers for a variety of yards. Whether you are looking for the best riding lawn mower for the money, the best garden tractor, or the best small riding lawn mower, one of the following top picks for the best riding lawn mower for 1 acre or more may be the right lawn mower for you.

  1. BEST OVERALL: John Deere S130 Riding Lawn Mower
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Craftsman 46-Inch Automatic Gas Riding Mower
  3. BEST ELECTRIC: Ryobi 54-Inch 115Ah Electric Zero-Turn Riding Mower
  4. BEST LAWN TRACTOR: Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro LT 46-Inch Riding Lawn Tractor
  5. BEST ZERO-TURN: Toro 42-Inch TimeCutter Zero-Turn Lawn Mower 
  6. BEST FOR HILLS: Troy-Bilt Bronco 42-Inch Gas Riding Lawn Mower
  7. BEST COMPACT: Troy-Bilt 30-Inch Riding Mower With Mulch Kit
  8. ALSO CONSIDER: Toro 75760 60-Inch Zero-Turn Riding Mower
Best Riding Lawn Mowers for One Acre


How We Chose the Best Riding Lawn Mowers for 1 Acre

We researched the top riding lawn mower brands and models sold through brick-and-mortar stores as well as online retailers. Through this research, we compiled more than 20 models from upwards of a dozen brands, and then we whittled the list down to include only the best sellers within the categories of lawn tractors, residential zero-turn mowers, and rear-engine riding mowers.

After comparing the measurables like deck size, engine power, travel speed, turning radius, and price, we determined the awards and named the top performers.

Our Top Picks

We’ve compiled the following list of the best riding lawn mowers for 1 acre. Read on to learn why we picked them and whether one may be right for you.

Best Overall

The Best Riding Lawn Mower Option: John Deere S130 Riding Lawn Mower

In any discussion of lawn equipment, John Deere is one of the top brands that immediately comes to mind, and the S130 shows the reason. This lawn tractor features a John Deere–branded 22-horsepower V-twin engine built by Briggs & Stratton, a 42-inch 13-gauge stamped steel deck, smooth hydrostatic transmission, and a 2.4-gallon fuel tank that enables it to cut 2 acres before refueling.

By many measures, the S130 could be the best riding lawn mower for 1 acre. The wide tires and premium two-piece high-back seat offer a higher, clearer vantage point and a more comfortable ride. The ergonomic deck lift lever is spring assisted for easier operation. The dash-mounted fuel gauge makes it easy to see when it’s time to refuel, and the tank is conveniently located under the seat for easy filling. And when mowing season is over, the S130’s numerous available attachments can do other jobs during the offseason, like plowing snow or hauling firewood. For more on the John Deere S130, check out our in-depth review.

Product Specs

  • Type: Lawn tractor
  • Engine: 22-horsepower Briggs & Stratton V-twin engine
  • Deck: 42-inch 13-gauge stamped steel deck; 2 blades


  • Powerful 22-horsepower V-twin engine drives the mower through rough terrain
  • Comfortable seat with a high vantage point makes it easy to spot hazards on the ground
  • Dash-mounted fuel gauge is ideal for monitoring fuel levels during a long mowing job
  • Easy oil-change system helps keep up with maintenance without taking a lot of time


  • Limited maneuverability on steep slopes and hills

Get the John Deere riding lawn mower at Lowe’s or a local John Deere dealer.

Best Bang For The Buck

The Best Riding Lawn Mower Option: Craftsman 46-Inch Automatic Gas Riding Mower

Save a few hundred bucks and get comparable quality and performance. This Craftsman automatic riding mower features an 18.5-horsepower Briggs & Stratton engine, a 46-inch 12-gauge stamped deck, and easy foot-pedal operation. The simple and reliable starting system requires no priming and no choke.

Although this Craftsman riding mower does not include a long list of comfort features, the mid-height seat does offer a good amount of cushion and lower-back support. The best features are its strong, dependable construction; consistently reliable start-up; and easy operation. For excellent basic functionality at a highly competitive price, this one is the best riding lawn mower for the money.

Product Specs

  • Type: Lawn tractor
  • Engine: 18.5-horsepower Briggs & Stratton single cylinder
  • Deck: 46-inch 12-gauge stamped steel deck; 2 blades


  • Broad 46-inch cutting deck is excellent for maintaining large yards
  • Heavy-duty 12-gauge stamped steel deck boasts superior durability against dents and scratches
  • Reliable starting system and foot-pedal operation are ideal for inexperienced users


  • Small 1.36-gallon fuel tank may run out of gas before completing large jobs

Get the Craftsman riding lawn mower at Ace Hardware.

Best Electric

The Best Riding Lawn Mower Option: Ryobi 54-Inch 115Ah Electric Zero-Turn Riding Mower

Instead of using a conventional engine and hydraulic wheel motors, this Ryobi zero-turn riding mower is completely electric. It uses five efficient brushless motors, which are powered by a 48-volt 115 amp-hour (Ah) rechargeable battery to drive the wheels and blades. No need for gasoline or oil changes, and there are no plugs or filters. On a mostly level and consistently mowed lawn, it cuts up to 3.5 acres per charge, but battery runtime varies with the conditions. The 54-inch deck is stamped from 10-gauge steel.

Battery power comes with some distinct contingencies that must be considered. The Ryobi 48-volt 115Ah battery provides 3 to 3.5 hours of runtime per charge in average mowing conditions, which is adequate for well over an acre of well-kept lawn on mostly level ground. Tall, dense, or weedy grass; uneven terrain; and inefficient mowing patterns (read: excessive maneuvering without actually mowing) drain the battery faster.

Recharge time from 30 percent charge takes about 12 hours. With proper charging and maintenance, the battery can work about 5 years before it needs to be replaced. Those looking for a quiet, powerful mower that eliminates most of the gas engine inconveniences may find what they are looking for in this electric mower.

Product Specs

  • Type: Zero turn
  • Engine: 5 brushless electric motors; 48-volt 115Ah rechargeable battery
  • Deck: 54-inch 10-gauge stamped steel deck; 3 blades


  • Electric motor for quieter operation that won’t upset the neighbors
  • Does not produce noxious exhaust fumes, limiting the health risk to the user
  • Rechargeable batteries can power the mower for up to 3.5 acres per charge
  • Handles large yards well due to the 54-inch cutting deck and 3 cutting blades


  • Battery runtime can be reduced when mowing in tougher conditions
  • Currently sold as a Home Depot exclusive, so availability is not always guaranteed

Get the Ryobi riding lawn mower at The Home Depot.

Best Lawn Tractor

The Best Riding Lawn Mower Option: Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro LT 46-Inch Riding Lawn Tractor

For tough mowing conditions and other all-purpose lawn-tractor tasks, this may be the best choice. The Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro LT features a premium 23-horsepower Kohler V-twin engine and a rugged 12-gauge-steel 46-inch deck that are perfect for mowing up to 2 acres of mixed level and hilly terrain. It is also compatible with a wide range of add-on equipment, like utility carts, spreaders, a snow plow, and others to help maintain a property throughout the year.

The XT1 Enduro LT boasts thick steel in the deck, a wide cutting swath, and tight turning radius to work hard in difficult conditions. The all-purpose Cub Cadet’s added weight supports superior traction and maneuverability, making it the best garden tractor in our roundup.

Product Specs

  • Type: Lawn tractor
  • Engine: 23-horsepower Kohler V-twin engine
  • Deck: 46-inch 12-gauge stamped steel deck; 2 blades


  • Powerful 23-horsepower V-twin engine drives the 2 sharpened cutting blades for enhanced cutting power
  • 46-inch cutting deck makes it easier to tackle larger lawns in less time
  • Premium 15-inch high-back seat is padded and supportive for enhanced user comfort
  • Relatively tight turning radius helps for maneuvering the mower in narrow spaces


  • Mower is too small for yards that exceed 4 acres in size

Get the Cub Cadet riding lawn mower at The Home Depot or Tractor Supply Co. 

Best Zero-Turn

The Best Riding Lawn Mower Option: Toro 42-Inch TimeCutter Zero-Turn Lawn Mower

Zero-turn mowers are grass-cutting specialists, far superior to push mowers, with the maneuverability to literally turn on a dime or even pivot in place. The Toro 42-inch TimeCutter zero-turn mower is powered by a 22-horsepower Kohler V-twin engine and is capable of mowing up to 7 miles per hour, which is nearly double the speed of a lawn tractor. It features commercial-quality hydro pumps and wheel motors, and it comes with a rugged 10-gauge fabricated deck for durability to match its speed.

This zero-turn mower is a superior choice for mowing large, relatively level, and open lawn areas dotted with obstacles. It includes a drop-pin tow hitch suitable for pulling a fertilizer spreader or a lawn aerator to help with maintenance, and it is compatible with the Toro TimeCutter twin bagger, which is sold separately.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Zero turn
  • Engine: 22-horsepower Briggs & Stratton V-twin engine
  • Deck: 42-inch 10-gauge fabricated-steel deck; 2 blades


  • Operates at up to 7 miles per hour to cut down on mowing time
  • Zero-turn design makes it easier to maneuver and control the riding mower
  • 10-gauge steel-fabricated deck increases mower durability against scratches and dents
  • Built-in drop-pin tow hitch for pulling fertilizer spreaders or lawn aerators


  • May have difficulty climbing hills or operating on steep slopes

Get the Toro TimeCutter riding lawn mower at The Home Depot or Tractor Supply Co.

Best For Hills

The Best Riding Lawn Mower Option: Troy-Bilt Bronco 42-Inch Gas Riding Lawn Mower

Lawn tractors are usually the best choice for hilly terrain thanks to their balanced-weight design and easy-to-control steering. The Troy-Bilt Bronco offers the needed stability and control for mowing slopes with the easy access of a step-through frame and easy operation of an AutoDrive transmission. It is powered by a durable pressure-lubricated 19-horsepower Briggs & Stratton engine, and it features a 42-inch 13-gauge stamped steel deck.

The Bronco’s cutting deck includes anti-scalping rollers to eliminate gouging the grass on uneven terrain. The simple design, mow-in-reverse feature, and intuitive automatic operation helps operators focus on navigating the terrain instead of fumbling with controls. One feature that Troy-Bilt could improve upon is the small 1.3-gallon fuel tank that could risk running low before the job is complete. Overall, this one could be a smart choice for durable functionality in rugged terrain.

Product Specs

  • Type: Lawn tractor
  • Engine: 19-horsepower Briggs & Stratton single-cylinder engine
  • Deck: 42-inch 13-gauge stamped steel deck; 2 blades


  • Beginners can take advantage of the easy-to-use AutoDrive transmission
  • Anti-scalping deck wheel system prevents the deck from coming into contact with the ground
  • Smooth operation with the full-pressure lubricated 19-horsepower Briggs & Stratton single-cylinder engine
  • Running headlights illuminate the area to wrap up jobs in the evening


  • Undersize fuel tank can limit the running time of the mower

Get the Troy-Bilt Bronco riding lawn mower at The Home Depot or Troy-Bilt

Best Compact

The Best Riding Lawn Mower Option: Troy-Bilt 30-Inch Riding Mower With Mulch Kit

When more mowing power than a simple push mower is needed but a lawn tractor or zero-turn mower is too big, that’s where a compact rear-engine riding mower excels. Our pick for the best small riding lawn mower, the Troy-Bilt 30-inch mower, requires half the storage space of a lawn tractor, maneuvers most walk-through gates with ease, and improves mowing speed over typical walk-behind mowers. This small riding mower features a reliable 10.5-horsepower Briggs & Stratton engine and a 30-inch 13-gauge steel deck capable of side discharge or mulching.

Although it is considered a lightweight mower, this Troy-Bilt’s rear engine configuration balances the weight over the drive wheels to offer good traction on sloped terrain. The manual six-speed transmission is shift-on-the-fly capable for easy speed control. This compact mower takes up only 62 inches long by 30 inches wide in storage, and it navigates passages as narrow as 3 feet. Those who want a compact mower or have learned that bigger is not always better may want to consider this small riding mower.

Product Specs

  • Type: Rear engine
  • Engine: 10.5-horsepower Briggs & Stratton single-cylinder engine
  • Deck: 30-inch 13-gauge stamped steel deck; 1 blade


  • Compact design for easy storage in a shed or garage
  • Small body and deck allow better access into landscape bottleneck areas
  • Mow-in-reverse system for better control in tight spaces
  • Tow-hitch for utility cart or lawn-care accessories


  • Mower has a relatively wide turning radius, reducing overall maneuverability

Get the Troy-Bilt 30-inch riding lawn mower at The Home Depot, Brand New Mowers, or Southern Chainsaw & Mower Parts

Also Consider

The Best Riding Lawn Mower Option: Toro 75760 60-Inch Zero-Turn Riding Mower

The Toro 75760 riding mower can make quick work of expansive yards with the broad 60-inch cutting deck made of 10-gauge steel. The deck also features a reinforced leading edge and 6-inch spindles to ensure the riding mower lasts for years to come. Use this lawn mower for 1- to 4-acre mowing jobs, and take advantage of the zero-turn controls to quickly change direction.

This Toro riding mower features a 24.5-horsepower Toro V-twin engine to drive the mower at up to 7 miles per hour and power the three cutting blades. It works well on hilly terrain, giving users a smooth ride due to the shock-absorbing dampeners and fully tubular front axle. When a push mower or small riding mower is not enough to handle the yard work, consider this zero-turn mower to tackle up to 4 acres of lawn.

Product Specs

  • Type: Zero turn
  • Engine: 24.5-horsepower Toro V-twin engine
  • Deck: 60-inch 10-gauge fabricated-steel deck; 3 blades


  • Powerful 24.5-horsepower Toro V-twin engine handles hills without a problem
  • Expansive 60-inch cutting deck is ideal for maintaining large yards
  • Built-in shock-absorbing dampeners for a smoother ride
  • 3 sharpened cutting blades enhances the cutting ability


  • Large body and 60-inch cutting deck are too bulky for small yards

Get the Toro 75760 riding lawn mower at The Home Depot, Toro, or Power Equipment Warehouse.

Jump to Our Top Picks

What to Consider When Choosing a Riding Lawn Mower for 1 Acre

When shopping for a lawn mower, several design and comfort factors will help you narrow the search to find a mower that is right for your property. Read on to learn more about choosing an appropriate type and size as well as other features that can extend its usefulness beyond mowing.

Engine Power and Source

To quickly and efficiently mow an acre of grass, a mower needs adequate power. The most popular large lawn mowers to date are still gasoline-powered because a gas mower offers plenty of power with an extended runtime. But, they do emit exhaust and require fuel handling and storage, along with oil and filter changes and other routine maintenance.

Battery-powered electric riding mowers have become widely available over the past decade and are rapidly increasing in popularity. An electric riding lawn mower operates without emissions, and with much less noise, but an electric riding mower tends to be significantly more expensive to purchase. Additionally, the batteries in an electric riding mower typically need to be replaced every 5 years or so.

The most popular gasoline-powered riding lawn mowers for 1 acre are built with 17- to 24-horsepower engines. Compact rear-engine riding mowers may get the job done with just 10 horsepower. Battery-powered riding mowers typically require a 48- to 60-volt battery and 75-to 100Ah to mow an average acre of lawn.

Cutting Width

The mowing deck is a major point of discussion because it affects both the speed and the quality of the cut. Not only is the overall width important, but so is the number of blades and the depth of the deck. Generally, the fastest, highest-quality cut comes from a wider, deeper deck with more blades. But a larger, deeper deck with more blades requires more engine power, and it is less maneuverable.

Manufacturers of riding mowers usually pair a 42- to 46-inch-wide deck with a 17- to 24-horsepower engine. These mowers are far and away the most popular for landowners who have between 0.5 acre and 2 acres. This combination will mow an acre of average lawn grass in 30 to 45 minutes.

Fuel Capacity

On mostly flat ground, an average riding mower will use between 0.5 and 0.75 gallons of gasoline to mow for an hour, or 0.25 to 0.5 gallons per acre. All gas riding mowers have fuel tanks larger than that, but some are only slightly larger. The smallest fuel tank in our lineup is just 1.3 gallons, which could risk running out of gas before completing the job if the terrain is steep or the grass is extra tough. Running out of gas could also be an issue with heavier tasks like hauling heavy loads uphill or powering a snow blower. For tough jobs, look for a mower with a fuel capacity of at least 2 gallons.

Electric fuel capacity is measured in amp hours. Often, electric mower batteries may be upgraded to higher Ah to increase runtime. As a general rule, while shopping for a battery-powered mower it is wise to cut in half the manufacturer’s stated “mows up to [number of acres]” because real-life conditions are never the same as those in the lab where the promotional numbers were recorded.


Riding mower transmissions may be manually geared, automatic, hydrostatic, or independent electric motors.

Manually geared transmissions require the operator to select a gear and then go, and they may or may not offer “shift-on-the-fly” capability. Shift on the fly means users don’t have to stop to select a different gear. These are the most difficult transmissions to master.

Automatic transmissions are similar to driving in an automatic automobile. Simply select the forward or reverse gear, then press the pedal to move, and the mower’s system of belts will change gears as needed.

Instead of belts and pulleys, hydrostatic transmissions use hydraulic pressure to power the wheels. This drive system is superior to both manual and automatic transmissions because it is easier to operate, delivers smooth acceleration, and requires less maintenance. Because it eliminates shifting gears, hydrostatic is a great choice for hills.

Electric mowers use direct-drive electric motors instead of transmissions. The drive wheels and blades each have their own motor, which is powered by the one battery. This system requires the lowest maintenance of all because the motors have a very long working life and require no maintenance.

Additional Features

Up to this point we have only discussed performance features. Other considerations that are equally important relate to user comfort, convenience, and multitasking. The following are some of the more important features to consider.

  • Mowing height adjustment is an ergonomic, spring-assisted deck lift lever that takes some of the work out of raising and lowering the mowing deck.
  • No-choke startup, also known as auto choke, is a feature that simplifies starting the lawn mower.
  • An upgraded high-back seat has more cushion in the bottom and support in the back, which makes it more comfortable to operate the mower.
  • A dash-mounted fuel gauge allows users to easily view the fuel level while operating the mower so they can avoid running out of gas.
  • Easy oil-change systems vary among brands. The patented systems make draining the oil and changing the filter faster and easier.
  • A deck washout port allows you to connect a garden hose directly to the top of the mower deck for easy cleanup of grass clippings and debris, rather than raising the entire deck to pressure-wash from below.
  • A towing hitch provides the ability to tow a utility cart, a fertilizer spreader, a spike aerator, and other attachments, increasing the usefulness of a riding mower.
  • A mulching deck, or a mulch-on-demand system, shreds the clippings to a finer texture for faster breakdown compared to side discharge. Many mowers require a mulching conversion kit, while others come equipped for the job.
  • Compatibility with a bagger, a mulch kit, a striping kit, a sun canopy, and other attachments further extends the range of possibilities.


If you’re searching for a new riding lawn mower, you may have lingering questions about the best mower for your property. Read on for answers to a few common questions asked by other shoppers.

Q. What should I look for when buying a riding lawn mower?

Determine the type of riding mower that best fits your needs: lawn tractor, zero-turn mower, or rear-engine riding mower. Consider the engine power, deck size, and mowing speed. For 1 acre, most users prefer the performance of 17 to 22 horsepower, 42- to 46-inch deck, and travel speed of 4 to 5 miles per hour for lawn tractors, or 7 miles per hour for zero-turn mowers.

Q. What size mower is best for 1 acre?

The most popular deck size of mower for an acre is 42 inches. However, a wider deck, up to 54 inches, could be a great choice if the space is wide open and relatively flat.

Q. How long does it take to cut 1 acre of grass?

Most lawn tractors equipped with a 42-inch deck can mow an acre in about 36 minutes. Mowing speed in acres per hour is calculated by factoring the deck size and travel speed. A mower with a 42-inch deck, averaging 4.5 miles per hour, can cut 1.7 acres per hour. Change the deck size to 46 inches and the acres per hour increases to nearly 1.9.

For the most accurate calculation, use this formula: APH = (MW/12) (MS x 5,280) / 43,560 x 0.9

APH Acres per hour

MW Mower width

MS Mower speed

5,280 feet in a mile

43,560 square feet in an acre

Q. What is a good horsepower for a lawn mower?

For a 1-acre lawn, choose a lawn tractor with between 17 and 24 horsepower, or a zero-turn mower with between 20 and 25 horsepower.

Q. How do you transport a riding mower?

Load the mower onto the trailer or into the truck bed with the engine toward the front of the vehicle. On a trailer, position the engine in front of the trailer axles. Set the mower’s parking brake. Tie down the mower front and back with ratchet straps to anchor points in the truck bed or trailer bed.

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