What to Look for in a Ride On
The size and layout of the lawn.
In general, the larger and more open the grass areas, the more important it is that the machine has a generous cutting width, at least one metre. If it's a large area but with lots of obstructions like trees and bushes, it's more important that the cutting width is small enough for the mower to pass through the tightest passages.
Tractor or Rider?
The difference between a tractor and a Rider is simply that the tractor has the cutting deck under the middle of the machine while the Rider has a front-mounted cutting deck.
For large, open areas you can just as well choose a garden tractor with a mid-mounted cutting deck, as a Rider. But if the garden has lots of bushes and obstructions, the Rider, with its front-mounted cutting deck, is a better choice, thanks to its superior manoeuvrability and the superior reach of the cutting deck.
Mid-mounted cutting deck (garden tractor)
+ shorter distance for the clippings to travel, which simplifies collection
+ good weight distribution between front and rear axles, which improves stability
– not as good at reaching into corners and underneath hanging bushes etc
– the wheels flatten the grass before it is cut, which can affect the results
Front-mounted cutting deck (Riders)
+ good at reaching close to obstructions and underneath bushes etc
+ the driver has a good view of the work
+ the grass isn't flattened by the wheels before it is cut
+ easier to manoeuvre
– no collecting
– the cutting deck is more at risk of being run into, etc
How often do you mow and which cutting system is most suitable?
How do you want the lawn to look and how often do you want to mow it? Taller, wilder grass and coarser types of grass should be cut with a rear or side ejection cutting deck that can manage large amounts of grass.
The BioClip method is especially suitable for well-maintained lawns that are mowed often. The result is a perfect lawn where the finely-cut clippings return to the lawn as fertiliser. And since the clippings contain a large proportion of water, this method means that the grass becomes more resistant during dry periods.
Collection makes for a very neat job, and is a good choice for instance if you want to avoid allergic reactions to grass or if you want to avoid spreading weed seeds inadvertently.
+ distributes the clippings better than rear ejection
+ can handle larger volumes of grass than collection, rear ejection and mulching (BioClip).
– decreased manoeuvrability because of the protruding side ejection outlet
– risk of stone and grass spray
+ better manoeuvrability than side ejection
+ stone spray is very rare
+ no grass spray into flowerbeds and the like
– the grass cuttings stick to the underside of the machine
– risk of clods forming, even in relatively dry weather