Aug 29

What Is A Riding Lawn Mower?

You can look at the purchase of a riding lawn mower as a purchase of a car. You will make a considerable investment in a machine which you expect to use in the long term. Given the magnitude of the investment and the important practical purpose of the device, it is certainly beneficial to learn as much as possible about it. Find out everything which you need to know about this type of mower before you start your shopping search. I have prepared this guide based on my knowledge of these machines which I have been using in my professional practice as a gardener for many years now.

Riding Lawn Mower

The Basics of the Riding Lawn Mower

A riding mower is a machine designed to cut grass automatically without any effort being used by the operator. The machine is self-propelled. The power from the engine is delivered to the four wheels so that the unit can move into the desired direction. The operator rides the machine. It is their job to steer it into the right direction and shift the speeds whenever this is necessary.


The gas engine is the heart of the riding lawn mower. It delivers power to the wheels so that the machine can propel itself forward automatically. It powers the cutting blade or blades of the unit as well.

The transmission delivers power from the engine to the wheels. There are three main types of transmissions that a riding lawn mower can come with. The manual transmission allows you to change speeds with the use of a lever. The automatic transmission enables you to shift gears through the gas pedal. The hydrostatic transmission is also automatic. Instead of using belts for delivering power to the wheel it uses fluids. It is the most sophisticated of all transmission options.

The cutting deck is the operation area of the riding lawn mower, so to speak. It is typically positioned between the front and rear wheels, which are equipped with rugged tires. The cutting accommodates the blade or blades which actually perform the grass cutting job. Its purpose is to protect them and to prevent the dispersion of grass clippings and debris into the air which can be very dangerous. The cutting deck is typically made from steel, which is especially treated for protection from rusting. The heavier the steel is the sturdier and more durable the deck is.

A riding lawn mower typically uses a horizontally rotating blade or blades. The blade spins around its vertical axis at a high speed and creates a vacuum which lifts the grass up. When the grass is lifted up, it cuts through it to give you a smooth and beautiful lawn.

The number of blades which a machine uses depends primarily on its cutting width. Usually, the longer the cutting width is the more blades there are. The models with large cutting width typically have small wheels attached to the deck. They make cutting height adjustment easier.

The grass clippings are suctioned from the cutting deck of the riding lawn mower and dispersed to the side or to the back through a chute. Most models have a specially designed bag for clippings collection which is attached to the chute.

The rider of the riding mower sits on a special designed seat positioned over the cutting deck. They use a steering wheel to set the machine into the desired direction. Gear shifting depends on the type of transmission that the unit has.

Operation of a Riding Mower

Before you start the lawn mowing process, you need to adjust the cutting height and attach the clippings bag, if you want to collect them direction. In order to work with a riding mower, you have to the take the driver’s seat and start the engine. Most models have an electric start so the engine starts to operate within seconds without any effort on your part.

Steering the riding mower is easy. You just need to point the machine in the right direction and start working. You can adjust the speed depending on the terrain and on the height of the grass and its condition. The maximum forward speed is between 5 and 8 mph, depending on the model. The maximum reverse speed is 3.5 mph. In order for the machine to operate properly, you need to keep the engine in good condition though regular oil and filter changing. It requires cleaning as well.

Types of Riding Lawn Mowers

There are three main types of riding lawn mowers depending on their capabilities. These are:

  • Standard Mowers and Mowing Tractors

These have standard mowing capabilities. They can perform a few other tasks such as fertilizing and spraying, hauling and leaf collection if they are equipped with special features or come with special attachments.

  • Garden Tractors

These machines have a wide range of capabilities including mowing ones. They can help you perform all kinds of gardening and lawn tasks from fertilizing and hauling to aeration and snow removal.

  • Zero Turn Lawn Mowers

These riding mowers pivot around their axis so that their turning angle is zero. They have the same cutting design as their counterparts but can handle obstacles better. Instead of a steering wheel, they have two levers for operation.

A Final Word

Now you know the most important things about the riding lawn mower. I shall share more about the riding lawn mower in the next few posts which include some buying tips, maintenance guidelines and many more.

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1 comment

  1. Brian

    Incredible resource for those looking to expand upon their lawn care routine (or simply have a bigger lawn for the first time). Thanks for sharing.

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