Craftsman LT2500 Review

(From $1377.00 Best)

This lawn tractor features a powerful 22 hp engine with a hydrostatic automatic transmission, cruise control, a 46-inch cutting deck, and an 18-inch turning radius. Users appreciate the quick, even cut and all-around nimble performance.

Craftsman LT2500 reviews award this budget model one of the highest ratings in the lineup of lawn tractors at Sears. One user says the mower easily cuts grass even if you're driving it at full speed. Others comment on the lawn tractor's prowess at plowing through wet grass and up hills with barely a hiccup and cutting at a consistent, even height. Reviews on the Sears site also praise the power, speed, and convenience of the 22-horsepower Kohler engine and hydrostatic automatic transmission. One owner claims this model cut his mowing time by hours. Other features that appeal to users include an easy-to-replace oil filter, adjustable seat, and deck washout port, so you can easily clean out grass clippings with a garden hose. All is not perfect, however. We read a few reviews complaining that you cannot put the machine into reverse without turning it off first, and its inability to mow in reverse puts some off as well. But praise for this model far outweighs the minor critiques.

The Craftsman LT2500 (starting at $1,377) is fully featured. It includes a one-cylinder, 22-horsepower Kohler engine and a 1.5-gallon gas tank. It turns a tight 18-inch radius and the spring-loaded 46-inch deck can be moved into five cutting positions ranging from 1.5 to 4 inches. Cruise control comes in handy, especially for larger yards. The Craftsman LT2500 accepts hauling equipment, lawn care attachments, a snow blade thrower, and two- and three-bin baggers. A mulch kit is also available for an extra charge. The Craftsman LT2500 comes with a full two-year warranty, a five-year warranty on the frame, and a lifetime warranty on the cast-iron front axle. Residents of California will have to opt for a similar tractor that carries the model number 28889 and complies with standards set by the California Air Resources Board, or CARB. Unfortunately that version, marked "CA only," costs about $100 more at Sears.

With its strong engine, easy-to-replace parts, and excellent value, the Craftsman LT2500 28915 has the makings of a winner. If you're mowing in tight spaces, check out one of the brand's 42-inch models, which are also well-reviewed.

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Ariens 960460056 Review

(From $1399.00 Best)

User reviewers are very happy with this highly rated model, which boasts a 22 hp, two-cylinder Briggs & Stratton engine; automatic transmission; 46-inch cutting deck; tight, 16-inch turning radius; and wash-out port for easy cleaning. It offers cruise control and also mows in reverse.

Ariens 960460056 reviews on the Home Depot website and elsewhere are very positive, with comments about the power and the level cut on hilly terrain and in yards spanning multiple acres. Some reviews reserve particular praise for the cutting time; consumers rave about the improvement over previously owned machines. A few reviews mention problems from the get-go, while satisfied customers are quick to note that a lemon or two is inevitable. Overall, most reviewers conclude that the Ariens 960460056 (starting at $1,399) can easily conquer basic yard work.

This lawn tractor has the most impressive specs we encountered among the models we researched, besting competitors on nearly every score. It features a 22-horsepower V-twin Briggs & Stratton engine, a hydrostatic automatic transmission, a 2.5-gallon gas tank, four anti-scalp wheels to keep from cutting bumps too close, a 16-inch turning radius, and a 46-inch deck with 10 cutting heights between 1 and 4.5 inches. Creature comforts include cruise control, a cup holder, and a high-back seat. This model mows in reverse and moves forward at infinitely variable speeds up to 5.2 mph. A deck washout port makes the mower easy to clean.

Reviewers have generally found the Ariens 960460056 a very good value for the money. The steel construction makes it feel sturdy and durable, users say, and they are happy with the ability to mow in reverse and use cruise control. Most important, though, it cuts the grass well, even if it's long.

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Troy-Bilt Bronco Review

(From $1199.00 Good)

This Troy-Bilt model is a good basic mower for small-ish yards that don't have a lot of hills or obstructions. It has a 42-inch cutting path, 18-inch turn radius, 20 hp engine, and continuously variable auto-drive transmission controlled by foot pedals. Despite some maintenance headaches, users have found this lawn tractor to be a good buy on balance.

Troy-Bilt Bronco reviews on the company's website and the Lowe's website (many overlap) offer hat-tips to this model (13YX78KS011) for doing exactly what it is supposed to do. For the most part, they say it's solidly built and has plenty of power, yet manages to be relatively quiet. A minority of the reviews grouse about excessive maintenance and servicing requirements and a frequent need to replace parts. However, most of those complaints are at least a couple of years old, which suggests that they refer to earlier models. Indeed, such complaints led us to warn consumers off a previous version, model number 13AX78KS011. Reviews suggest that more recent models deliver improved performance and happier customers have since weighed in to vouch for the Bronco's longevity.

The Troy-Bilt Bronco (starting at $1,199) boasts some standard features for lawn tractors in this price range, including a 20-horsepower, single-cylinder Kohler engine; an automatic transmission; and two anti-scalp wheels. The 42-inch cutting deck can be set to five different positions and cut grass up to 4 inches. The Troy-Bilt Bronco has a maximum forward speed of more than 5 mph and features an 18-inch turning radius. Unlike some other low-cost lawn tractors, though, it doesn't mow in reverse -- a matter of much consternation among reviewers. This is a very basic mower that does not come with any extras besides a cup holder and an adjustable seat. Consumers must purchase a 2-bin bagger or mulching kit separately. The fuel tank holds 1.4 gallons.

While the durability issues are certainly a concern, they pop up in evaluations of every low-cost riding mower. Troy-Bilt Bronco reviews indicate that this lawn tractor serves owners well as long as they don't use it on rough, hilly terrain or try to pull heavy attachments. For a consumer who simply needs to mow a flat and easy lawn of 1 to 2 acres, this model could be a good value.

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John Deere D105 Review

(From $1499.00 Good)

Unlike its predecessor, this entry-level lawn tractor from John Deere houses an automatic transmission for smooth handling. It features a 17.5 hp engine and a 42-inch cutting deck with two blades. Users like the easy operation, solid build quality, and comfortable ride.

We've recommended a couple of different John Deere lawn tractors in the past, and John Deere D105 reviews so far indicate that this new model (Model # BG20699) is continuing in the tradition of the well-regarded brand, which enjoys a big following for its riding mowers. On the Lowe's website, users say good things about this low-cost residential riding mower -- e.g., the engine runs well, the tractor handles nicely, the parts are solid, and turns are executed with ease. Judging by the reviews on the Home Depot website, customers there seem to agree that this lawn tractor delivers a comfortable ride and an excellent mow, without jerky starts and stops, and feels solidly constructed. All but one of the two dozen reviewers rated well the John Deere D105 (starting at $1,499) giving it a rating of at least four stars out of five and would recommend the product to others. Many assert its superiority over other mowers they've owned such as the d110, or compare it favorably to previous models by the manufacturer, including one that lasted for 18 years.

The primary difference between the John Deere D105 and its predecessor, the D100, is the transmission, which is automatic instead of gear-drive. John Deere D105 reviews crow that the new transmission runs very smoothly. This mower has a 17.5-horsepower, single-cylinder engine and the fuel tank holds 2.4 gallons. The 42-inch deck accommodates bagging, mulching, and side discharge.

Based on the John Deere D105 reviews we've read, this is a high-performing, high-quality lawn tractor from a brand that seems to turn out top entry-level models year after year.

Where to buy

Weed Eater One Review

(From $730.00 Think Twice)

This is about the cheapest riding mower on the market -- a compact, lightweight machine with a 26-inch cutting deck, a single-blade system that mulches or side discharges, and a relatively wide 31-inch turning radius. Some buyers are satisfied, but many complain about mediocre performance, parts that give out within a season or two, and a chronic need for servicing.

Weed Eater One reviews indicate this rear-engine rider has performed just fine for some owners with small, flat yards, as well as those where edging matters and fence lines need proper cutting. The Weed Eater One (starting at $730, Amazon) is a bit like a single-seat golf cart or perhaps a go-cart with a cutting deck. Satisfied consumers like the price and the compact size, which makes for easy passage through tight spaces and easy storage. However, this mower struggles a bit on hills, according to reviews on the Walmart website, and may give an uneven cut or get stuck where the terrain is uneven. One user who lives in Georgia writes in a review on the Sears website that the wheels lack traction when the clay soil in his area dries out and becomes hard like concrete. Other consumers gripe about steering difficulties, problems with the transmission, and replacement parts that are hard to find. Fewer than 4 in 10 of the many reviewers who have posted on Weed Eater's own website would recommend the mower to a friend.

The Weed Eater One has a small 190cc engine, narrow 26-inch cutting deck, and 31-inch turning radius, nearly twice as wide as one of our top picks. It has a three-speed manual transmission, not an automatic, which tops out at 4 mph going forward and 1 mph in reverse. This machine does boast cruise control, a convenience that doesn't appear on many more full-featured riding mowers. A single blade cuts at three heights between 1.5 and 4 inches, and you can choose a side discharge, mulch, or bag option for grass clippings, the latter two with optional accessories. Front wheels are 10 inches and rear wheels stand 13 inches high. The gas tank holds less than a third of a gallon.

This cheap model may suit fairly level yards of about one-half acre. But consumers who can resist the super-low price will almost certainly be better off in the long run with a sturdier riding mower.

Buying Guide

If you have a lawn larger than about one-third of an acre, a conventional walk-behind mower probably isn't going to cut it (pardon the pun). A cheap riding mower or lawn tractor can make mowing easier and keep costs down. Our research indicates that many consumers appreciate the value pricing of the best riding mowers under $1,500 and are quite satisfied with the performance of the models we recommend, despite some minor shortcomings.

Cheap Riding Mowers Buying Guide

Each year we find the market loaded with candidates for our list of the best riding lawn mowers under $1,500. Our top two picks this time around are the Ariens 960460056 (starting at $1,399) and the Craftsman LT2500 (starting at $1,377). Two other cheap riding mowers worth considering are the John Deere D105 (starting at $1,499) and the Troy-Bilt Bronco 13YX78KS011 (starting at $1,199). For thrifty consumers with flat or gently rolling lawns that are relatively free of obstructions (think bushes, trees, and bird baths), one of these cheap lawn tractors should be easy to handle and yield a level cut.

Technically, a lawn tractor features an engine in the front. Other cheap riding mowers have smaller engines mounted behind or underneath the seat and cut narrower paths. In the past we recommended a rear-engine riding mower, the Weed Eater One (starting at $730), which attracts buyers with ultra-low prices. However, too many complaints about its performance, quality, and reliability have surfaced in recent reviews. Consumer products experts criticize rear-engine machines in general, concluding that unless you need a mower that can navigate tight spaces, a heftier lawn tractor will generally be more comfortable, stable, and durable and fall into the same price range.

Not surprisingly, there are differences between cheap lawn tractors and higher-priced models. Inexpensive riding lawn mowers usually run on one-cylinder engines and are designed primarily to mow grass, although most can also tow small carts, snow throwers, sprayers, and the like. Consumers also have to pay extra for bagging attachments and mulching kits with the cheaper models, it may be a challenge to find parts and/or service, and longevity may be limited to several hundred hours of use. More expensive models, including heavy-duty garden tractors, feature more powerful engines, more advanced engineering, better build quality, and more features (e.g., a meter that clocks how many hours you've run the mower, a large gas tank, four-wheel steering, a longer warranty).

As you start to shop, consider some important specifics. Are you comfortable with a clutch system that requires you to manually change gears to get a few pre-set speeds, or do you prefer an automatic transmission that lets you set your own speed within a given range? Then there's the width of the cutting deck, which affects how many passes you'll have to make; 42 inches is common for cheap lawn tractors, but we found cutting decks as narrow as 26 inches and as wide as 46 inches. (Keep in mind that a wider deck makes a lawn tractor larger and harder to store.) The turning radius affects how large an area is left uncut as you turn the mower in the opposite direction. Stability and traction on inclines is critical if your lawn is dotted with small hills and dales. Will you need to mow in reverse? Not all cheap riding mowers have that capability. Finally, be sure that servicing is readily available and replacement parts easy to find.

The market for the best riding mowers is dominated by a few large players, such as John Deere, Craftsman, Husqvarna, Ariens, Troy-Bilt, and Poulan, and some produce and sell under several brand names (Yard Machines and Bolens, for example, are owned by MTD). Because of such sibling relationships, you may not see much difference between models as you shop. Big-box retailers such as Home Depot, Lowe's, and Sears carry cheap riding mowers, and you can also buy many models online. Note that vendors tend to specialize in certain brands (e.g., Sears in Craftsman). There are also private-label store brands, but we've found more than the usual number of reports from consumers about broken transmissions, loose belts, and poorly engineered parts with these budget lawn tractors, so our list includes well-known brand names only.

Features Comparison Buying Guide continues below table

Riding Mower Reviews

According to the riding mower reviews we read, consumers put great weight on the value-to-performance ratio. Quite a few users comment that the best cheap models do what they're meant to -- that is, mow moderate-size expanses of lawn unmarred by too many boulders and stumps or steeply sloped terrain; make clean edges and produce a level cut; climb up and move down small hills with relative ease; haul a cart or snow thrower; and start up without balking.

Consumers recognize they're not paying top dollar (and thankfully so) and indicate their willingness to tolerate some slippage here and loose belts there, because at budget prices, who can complain? They get cranky, however, when assaulted by major problems such as brand-new mowers that won't start or parts that constantly fail and replacement parts that cost near as much as the mower itself. Here's how lawn tractor reviews sum up the performance of each model on our list.

Handling.

Riding mower reviews from consumers and advice from outlets such as the National Gardening Association suggest that ease of handling depends in part on the right match between machine and lawn. For example, in reviews of the Weed Eater One (starting at $730) on the Walmart website, users report that this lightweight riding mower is the right size for yards up to an acre and manages slight inclines, bumps, and dips. However, some riding mower reviews caution that the Weed Eater One struggles on hills, especially when the grass is wet, and others note it's not the best buy for yards with lots of rough spots.

For larger yards and/or terrain with steeper slopes, reviewers lean toward bigger, heavier, and more powerful lawn tractors like the Craftsman LT2500 (starting at $1,377) and John Deere D105 (starting at $1,499). In lawn tractor reviews on the Sears website, several reviewers praise the Craftsman LT2500 for moving easily up and down small hills. The Troy-Bilt Bronco 13YX78KS011 (starting at $1,199) is sized for a 1- to 2-acre yard and is pronounced fine for hilly terrain -- one user comments that the mower is so powerful, it takes some getting used to. At the same time, consumers who have posted reviews on the Lowe's website note that it's easy to navigate around flowerbeds on this tractor. The Ariens 960460056 (starting at $1,399) is another mower that's right-sized and right-powered for yards up to 2 acres. In riding mower reviews on the Home Depot site, users say this model handles rough terrain and hills with ease.

Cutting Performance.

For the most part, users are satisfied with the way their lawns turn out after mowing with the models we picked, according to lawn tractor reviews. Barring any mechanical or handling problems, reviewers say, you get a well-mowed lawn in less than half the time it takes with a walk-behind mower.

Riding mower reviews at Home Depot report that the Ariens 960460056 cuts evenly and quickly, even if the grass is high. Users of the Craftsman LT2500 echo this assessment in lawn tractor reviews on the Sears website, saying the mower cuts cleanly and makes the job look like it was professionally done. Users who have posted reviews of the John Deere D105 at Lowe's like the way it handles and mention that it's easy to use, even for people who have never owned a riding mower. Comments about the cutting talents of the Troy-Bilt Bronco in lawn tractors reviews at Lowe's are generally positive and often note how little time it takes to finish the job. Users even like the Weed Eater One for delivering even trim and close cuts around edges, according to riding mower reviews on the Walmart website. A rear-engine model we like better, the Troy-Bilt TB30R (starting at $1,000), makes lawns look as well-groomed as golf courses, according to expert and user reviewers posting at Mowers Direct, an online dealer.

Rear-Engine Riding Mowers vs. Lawn Tractors

Rear-Engine Riding Mowers.

For a yard of one-half to 1 acre with even terrain, a rear-engine riding mower may make a good and affordable choice. Models with rear-mounted engines behind or underneath the seat afford excellent visibility and are easy to maneuver but don't do well on inclines and are generally less powerful than lawn tractors with front-mounted engines. The compact, lightweight Weed Eater One, for example, has a 190cc engine and resembles a single-user golf cart without the hood. Customers who have posted reviews on the Troy-Bilt website like the company's TB30R Neighborhood Rider, which has a 340cc engine, specifically because of its size, saying it's ideal for a smaller yard. They appreciate that this small riding lawn mower maneuvers easily through gates and fits well in the garage.

Lawn Tractors, Garden Tractors.

For yards of 1 to 5 acres, a larger, more powerful lawn tractor is the best option for frugal consumers. Lawn tractors such as the Ariens 960460056, Craftsman LT2500, Troy-Bilt Bronco 13YX78KS011, and John Deere D105 feature front-mounted engines that range from about 13.5 to 22 horsepower. Because of their engine size, heft (well over 400 pounds), and center of gravity, lawn tractors have the stability to handle large and hilly areas and can haul small attachments such as carts, snow throwers, and sprayers. Moreover, they hold at least 1.5 gallons of gasoline, so they can cover more territory before needing a refill. The tank capacity on the John Deere D105 is 2.4 gallons and the Ariens 960460056 holds 2.5 gallons. Compare those models with the Weed Eater One, whose tank holds only about one-third of a gallon. A few leaps up in price and power will put you in garden tractors territory, but these models with front-mounted engines, large wheels, high clearance, and heavy-duty hauling capabilities are way beyond our price range.

ZTR Mowers.

The turning radius is the minimum size U-turn that a riding mower can make. A tighter radius makes it easier to maneuver the machine and leaves less grass uncut. A typical turning radius for a lawn tractor is 16 or 18 inches. The Weed Eater One riding mower has a much wider 31-inch turning radius. If you go way upscale in price and technology, you can find a zero-turn-radius mower. Thanks to individually controlled rear wheels (one can spin forward as the other spins backward), so-called ZTR mowers turn 360 degrees "on a dime" and maneuver easily around obstacles. Like their cheaper counterparts, these rear-engine riding mowers are challenged by hills and aren't designed for hauling attachments. ZTR mowers sit well outside the Cheapism niche, starting at around $2,500. Relatively new Craftsman lawn tractors with Turn Tight technology provide an in-between option, boasting a turning radius of 6 inches.

Cutting Deck.

The width of the deck on a riding mower determines how wide a path it can cut. The wider the path, the fewer times you'll need to go back and forth across the lawn. On the flip side, though, a wider cutting deck may be more difficult to maneuver around obstacles. Rear-engine riding mowers generally sport decks in the 25- to 38-inch range; the Weed Eater One cuts a slim 26-inch path and the Troy-Bilt TB30R has a cutting deck 30 inches wide. Among cheap lawn tractors, deck size typically ranges between 38 and 46 inches. The 42-inch paths of the Troy-Bilt Bronco and John Deere D105 sit in the mid-range, while the Craftsman LT2500 and Ariens 960460056 cut the widest swath: 46 inches.

Lawn tractors generally feature two cutting blades; rear-engine riding mowers like the Weed Eater One have just one. The cutting height on riding mowers starts at 1.5 inches and tops out at 4 inches, but the number of cutting positions varies by model. The John Deere D105, for example, gives you a choice of 13 cutting heights compared with 10 for the Ariens 960460056 and five for the Weed Eater One, Troy-Bilt Bronco, and Craftsman LT2500.

Anti-scalping wheels (or rollers) placed under the deck help produce an even cut on uneven terrain. The John Deere D105, Craftsman LT2500, and Troy-Bilt Bronco include two anti-scalping wheels and the Ariens 960460056 boasts four.

Most, if not all, cheap riding mowers discharge grass clippings out to the side. If you prefer to bag or mulch the clippings, the necessary accessories (a bag or a mulching kit) must be purchased separately, sometimes to the tune of several hundred dollars, depending on the make and model.

Riding Mower Transmissions, Reliability

Riding Mower Transmissions and Speed.

You won't set any land-speed records with a riding lawn mower, but these practical machines do move along at a good clip. Among our top picks, the John Deere D105 and Craftsman LT2500 narrowly win the race with a maximum speed of 5.5 mph, followed by the Ariens 960460056 and Troy-Bilt Bronco at 5.2 mph. The smaller Weed Eater One rear-engine riding mower pokes along at a maximum 3.8 mph. These top speeds are meant for transport, not for cutting, so you'll need to slow down to mow and edge.

Depending on the type of transmission in your cheap riding mower, you'll have more or less control over the speed. Riding mowers with manual transmissions, such as the Troy-Bilt TB30R, have pre-set speeds (six in this case) and require the user to manually change the speed. The Weed Eater One uses a friction drive transmission, similar to what you might find on a snow blower, with only three speeds. The lawn tractors we recommend have automatic or hydrostatic transmissions that don't require manual shifting and perform much like a car, enabling a continuum of speeds up to the maximum. In reviews of the John Deere D105 at Lowe's, some users say the pedal that controls the speed is a bit of a challenge to master, but others declare the automatic transmission remarkably easy to operate -- just put it into gear and mow. On the Sears website, several reviewers praise the hydrostatic transmission on the highly maneuverable Craftsman LT2500. That model, along with the Ariens 960460056 and the Weed Eater One, even offers cruise control for long, uninterrupted stretches of mowing. Note, however, that a hydrostatic lawn tractor transmission eats up more fuel and requires fastidious maintenance, although it does give you more control and makes turning easier.

All cheap riding mowers move in reverse and, for safety reasons, require more than the mere flick of a switch (e.g., a key to lock into a special setting) to do so. Among the models on our list, top reverse speeds vary from 1 mph (Weed Eater One) to 5.5 mph (Craftsman LT2500). If sections of your lawn are too narrow for turning around but wider than the cutting deck, you'll probably want a riding mower that not only moves but also mows in reverse. Among the models we researched, the Ariens 960460056, Troy-Bilt TB30R, and Weed Eater One satisfy this requirement.

Electric start is standard on these riding mowers. Even the cheap Weed Eater One features electric start but also includes a pull-start as insurance in case the battery isn't sufficiently charged.

Riding Mower Maintenance.

All riding lawn mowers need maintenance, be it replacing worn-out belts, sharpening blades, or cleaning the deck after each use. It's important to service the unit regularly (according to the owner's manual) to help it last longer. Wash-out ports on the John Deere D105, Craftsman LT2500, and Ariens 960460056 make it easy to clean grass clippings out of the deck -- just attach a hose and spray -- and garner cheers from users. Before you buy, make sure replacement parts are readily available, either online or at a nearby retailer. In reviews on the Walmart website, several Weed Eater One owners gripe about the need to buy parts and obtain service from a warranty repair center or authorized dealer, only to discover that the providers don't handle this particular model. By contrast, owners of the John Deere D105 comment on the Home Depot website that there are plenty of John Deere dealerships that can service their machines.

Durability and Warranty.

Cheap riding lawn mowers usually come with a limited two-year warranty. Ariens also offers buyers one set of blades a year at no cost for the life of the lawn tractor, a bonus that appeals to many consumer reviewers. These warranties may come in handy, as most of the models we researched were panned in at least some reviews for a range of minor, and some major, problems. The Weed Eater One, in particular, takes some hits from users who gripe about broken starters, failing batteries, tires that must be inflated before each outing, and plastic parts that crack.

Although it's criticized more than others we researched, this cheap riding mower isn't alone in garnering negative press. A Home Depot customer who bought the John Deere D105 carps on the retailer's website about a plastic hood hinge that really needs to be protected by a steel front bumper available at an added cost. The one negative review of the Craftsman LT2500 on the Sears website so far notes a poorly designed gas tank and flimsy plastic parts but still gives the lawn tractor a three-star rating out of five. The Troy-Bilt Bronco garners complaints at Lowe's about rusted-out parts, stripped gears, and broken blades, but these are outweighed by the number of users who have been able to rely on the mower long-term. One Bronco owner who posted a review on the Lowe's website has been using the machine to mow a 3-acre lawn for eight years and counting. There are hardly any negative mentions of the Ariens 960460056 online. The handful of complaints on the Home Depot website concern machines that were non-functional out of the crate. Generally, for this crop of budget lawn tractors, the pros outnumber the cons.

Additional Products We Considered

Troy-Bilt TB30R Review

(From $1000.00 )

Troy-Bilt TB30R reviews point to the sturdiness and convenient size of this basic rear-engine rider. Consumers like that it easily fits through gates and doesn't take up much space in the garage. Many reviews on the manufacturer's website come from owners of older models and include very few complaints about durability. Reviewers mention that this mower is easy to start and steer and note with appreciation that it mows in reverse -- a relatively uncommon feature in this price range. The mower moves easily around any landscaping such as flowerbeds or trees, according to reviews. An expert at online dealer Mowers Direct attributes this not to the 18-inch turning radius but to a pivoting frame and responsive steering. About the only reported maintenance issue is that the battery is not particularly accessible, which could make removing it for storage a bit difficult.

The (starting at $1,000) Neighborhood Rider has a 6-speed manual transmission that goes up to 4.25 mph; in reverse it will go 1.5 mph. This mower runs on a 344cc, one-cylinder, Troy-Bilt-branded engine and the fuel tank holds a gallon of gas, which should be enough for up to a 1-acre lawn. The 30-inch deck has five cutting positions that can trim grass up to 3.25 inches. An optional mulch kit and bagger are designed to attach easily.

This cheap Troy-Bilt riding mower is a good basic model for those who want to step up from a push mower but have a space too small for a lawn tractor.

Where to buy