Home » Best Riding Lawn Mower for Hills [2020 Review]

Best Riding Lawn Mower for Hills [2020 Review]

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The best riding lawn mower for hills is a must-have tool for homeowners who don’t like pushing a bulky gas mower across uneven terrain. These powerful machines are also easy to operate and perfect for large lawns since they save time and energy. 

Our Top Riding Lawn Mower for Hills Reviews

However, each riding mower is different with a variety of specs and features, which can make picking the right model difficult. Luckily, we have reviewed the best riding lawn mower for hills to make maintaining hilly terrain a breeze. 

Brand
Best Overall
Husqvarna RZT54
Best for the Money
Husqvarna MZ61
Best Cheap Pick
Troy Bilt 388cc
Product
Husqvarna New RedMax RZT54 54" Deck Riding...
Husqvarna MZ61 61 in. 27 HP Briggs & Stratton...
Troy-Bilt 382cc 30-Inch Premium Neighborhood...
Cutting Width
54 inch
61 inch
30-Inch
Weight
612 lbs
770 pounds
335 pounds
Rating
-
-
-
Best Overall
Brand
Husqvarna RZT54
Product
Husqvarna New RedMax RZT54 54" Deck Riding...
Cutting Width
54 inch
Weight
612 lbs
Rating
-
Best for the Money
Brand
Husqvarna MZ61
Product
Husqvarna MZ61 61 in. 27 HP Briggs & Stratton...
Cutting Width
61 inch
Weight
770 pounds
Rating
-
Best Cheap Pick
Brand
Troy Bilt 388cc
Product
Troy-Bilt 382cc 30-Inch Premium Neighborhood...
Cutting Width
30-Inch
Weight
335 pounds
Rating
-

Best Overall Riding Lawn Mower for Hills: Husqvarna RZT54

Husqvarna New RedMax RZT54 54' Deck Riding...

The Husqvarna RZT54 riding lawn mower boasts of a fast hydrostatic pedal transmission that eliminates the need to change gears while mowing. It also delivers excellent performance, thanks to its 24 horsepower Kawasaki engine. 

The mower’s 54 inches cutting width also makes it one of the most innovative models as it cuts grass effortlessly while producing clean results. Moreover, its compact design means you don’t have to worry if you have less storage space. It also makes mowing in small spaces a breeze.

Interestingly, the Husqvarna RZT54 mower packs a lot of incredible features. An ergonomic steering wheel will ensure you don’t experience any issues while operating this model. The 18 inches high-back adjustable seat will offer you unmatched back support and comfort, especially when riding for extended periods.

The well-designed seat prevents any pressure and features a tubular frame with robust casters to reduce chassis flex and for added durability. There are also headlights and a safety button under the seat to allow you to stop the mower in case of mechanical or other issues. 

The deck wash option is another incredible feature as it makes cleaning the deck easy after use. You only have to attach a hose to the deck to clean the mower faster. Lowering or raising the cutting deck is also made easy, thanks to the fender-mounted lever.

Additionally, the push-button cruise control functionality will allow you to stop worrying about maintaining the ideal speed while mowing and instead focus on steering.

What We Like 

  • The fast hydrostatic pedal transmission
  • Impressive 54 inches cutting width
  • Ergonomic steering wheel
  • Produces clean results
  • Excellent performance

What We Don’t Like

  • Produces noise during use
  • Causes air pollution
  • Struggles to cut wet grass
Husqvarna New RedMax RZT54 54" Deck Riding...
  • Easy to service, easy to operate and designed for the long haul, the RZT provides satisfaction year...
  • Cutting Deck Specs: Cutting Width: 54 in, Cutting Deck Type: 10-gauge fabricated, Cutting Methods:...
  • Engine Specs: Motor/Engine Manufacturer: Kawasaki, Engine Name: FR Series, Cylinder Displacement:...

Best Riding Lawn Mower for Hills for the Money: Husqvarna MZ61

Husqvarna MZ61 61 in. 27 HP Briggs & Stratton...

If you are looking for a zero-turn riding lawn mower with a rear-engine, the Husqvarna MZ61 may be an ideal choice for you. This model delivers great power and excellent performance as it features a 27 horsepower Briggs Endurance engine.

It also boasts of an ergonomic deck lifting system to allow you to make easy and quick adjustments while sitting from the operator’s seat. Moreover, its triple bag collection system will help you bag, mulch, or discharge grass clippings effortlessly.

The Husqvarna mower also boasts of the 11-gauge cutting deck made of steel for longevity. Additionally, the gauge will provide you with an impressive 54 inches cut while mowing. It’s zero degrees turn radius will also allow you to maneuver easily around obstacles.

The controls of this mower feature an ergonomic design to make adjustments and steering simple. If you are looking for comfort when working for an extended period, this model has vibration dampeners, foam-padded handgrips, and high-back seats to prevent back problems.

There are also rubber isolators that will separate you from the frame while ensuring you don’t experience any fatigue. One great feature of the MZ61 riding lawn mower that is worth mentioning is the hour meter functionality with a service reminder.

This feature will notify you when it is time to take your mower to the manufacturer for service. Overall, this mower is reliable and sturdy as it delivers impressive results, which makes it a great pick for your hilly terrain.

What We Like 

  • The triple bag collection system
  • Ergonomic deck lifting system
  • Powerful 27 horsepower engine
  • High-back seat with armrests
  • Zero degrees turn radius

What We Don’t Like

  • Bagger and mulching attachment sold separately
  • Some plastic parts
  • Not budget-friendly
Husqvarna MZ61 61 in. 27 HP Briggs & Stratton...
  • Husqvarna 61 in. zero-turn lawn mower from the MZ series delivers commercial-grade power and amazing...
  • 27 HP Briggs Endurance engine provides reliable startups and high ground speeds
  • Fabricated 11-gauge steel cutting deck offers an excellent 54 in. cut with an ergonomically designed...

Best Cheap Riding Lawn Mower for Hills: Troy Bilt 388cc 

Troy-Bilt 382cc 30-Inch Premium Neighborhood...

Homeowners looking for a pocket-friendly mower will find the Troy Bilt 382cc model a great pick. First, it’s powerful as it uses a robust 382 cubic centimeters engine to offer high-performance while working on a sloppy lawn. Unlike push models, it is also easy to operate; even first-time users can handle it without any issues.  

Its 18-inch turning radius also makes maneuvering it in tight spaces a breeze. Moreover, its compact design makes it the perfect option for people with limited storage space. The riding lawn mower also comes with a 30-inch cutting deck to allow you to mow your grass efficiently and quickly. 

Additionally, you can adjust the Troy Bilt mower to five different height settings to help you mow on different surfaces. It also comes with a built-in deck wash system to make cleaning it after mowing an easy task. The comfortable grip steering wheel and the adjustable mid-back seat will also ensure you enjoy your mowing activity.

The mower also comes with a 1.3 liters fuel tank, which is enough for mowing a small lawn. There is also a fuel sight window to allow you to monitor the remaining fuel. When it comes to sturdiness, this model uses a 14-gauge cutting deck for added durability.

One major problem with the 388cc mower is its slow mowing speed as it is capable of only doing 4 miles per hour. However, if you have small and medium-sized lawns, this mower’s cutting speed capabilities will suffice.

What We Like 

  • A powerful engine that offers high-performance
  • Easy to maneuver in tight spaces
  • Requires limited storage space
  • Easy to use and compact design
  • 18-inch turning radius

What We Don’t Like

  • Unsuitable for large lawns
  • Slow mowing speed
  • Gas emission issues
Troy-Bilt 382cc 30-Inch Premium Neighborhood...
  • Powered by a 382cc Auto Choke OHV engine with top forward speeds of 4.25 MPH and a 6-speed...
  • The 30-Inch cutting deck featuring 5 adjustable settings couples the benefits of a standard riding...
  • Designed with an 18-Inch turning radius with 13x5-inch front wheels and 16x6.5-inch rear wheels

Best High-Performance Riding Lawn Mower for Hills: Husqvarna MZ54

Husqvarna MZ54 25HP 747cc Kohler Engine 54' FAB...

The Husqvarna MZ54 riding lawn mower comes with a robust 12-gauge steel cutting deck with 54 inches cutting width to allow you to complete mowing your yard quickly. This innovative model offers great performance with its 25 horsepower Kohler engine.

Additionally, the model requires low-maintenance as it features zero turn transmission. This means you won’t have to spend a lot of time servicing your mower. The MZ54 mower also boasts of providing improved grass lift as it draws air from the bottom and top of the deck. 

Its rear-wheel-drive provides great traction while the 16 inches turning radius makes accessing small spaces a breeze. This model is also easy to operate as it comes with a soft-grip steering wheel and adjustable seat for added comfort. 

It also has an ergonomic control panel that ensures all the functionalities you need for smooth operation are at your disposal. Plus, the three anti-scalp rollers and automatic brake system will help you protect your lawn from damages.

You may also appreciate the built-in headlights as they will give you optimum mowing conditions, especially when working at night. Overall, this mower is perfect for homeowners looking for mowers with excellent speed and power to complete the job quickly.

If you also want a model that you can sit in comfortably for an extended period with controls that are well placed during use, get this mower.

What We Like 

  • Built-in headlights for providing lighting at night
  • Soft-grip steering wheel for easy operation
  • Adjustable seat for added comfort 
  • 16 inches turning radius
  • 54 inches cutting width

What We Don’t Like

  • Struggles to cut tall grass
  • The wheels struggle to reverse 
  • Refueling can be tiresome
Husqvarna MZ54 25HP 747cc Kohler Engine 54" FAB...
  • Kohler 25hp Confidant 747cc Engine
  • 54 inch FAB Deck
  • Not available for sale in California

Best User-Friendly Riding Lawn Mower for Hills: Husqvarna Z242F 

Husqvarna Z242F 23HP 747cc Kohler Confidant 42'...

The Husqvarna Z242F is a user-friendly and powerful riding lawn mower that will enable you to work on large lawns with ease. With solid construction and a ton of impressive features, it is one of the most sought-after mowers.

The mower comes with a pedal-operated hydrostatic automatic transmission, 23 horsepower Briggs and Stratton Engine, as well as the auto-choke functionality, making it powerful and maintenance-free.

It also has a 42 inches cutting deck with a heavy-duty chassis and two sheets of 13-gauge steel. You also have the controls you need at your fingertips such as the fender-mounted deck lever and electric cutting blade engagement power button within reach. 

Additionally, operating this model is surprisingly easy as it comes with a soft-touch grip steering wheel and a high-back seat that you can easily adjust to suit your height. The rear wheels also increase traction when navigating inclines or cutting wet grass.

If you are looking for a powerful mower you can use on your uneven terrain, consider getting this model. While it provides a short runtime of about 2 hours, you can get an extra battery to act as a backup when the other one gets drained to ensure you complete mowing your lawn.

The mower is also easy to operate and boasts of sturdy construction with user-friendly design, impressive features, and headlights, which makes it a great pick for anyone searching for a powerful mower that can endure years of heavy use. Moreover, it can handle a large lawn effectively and give you professional results.

What We Like 

  • Well placed controls for easy reach
  • Powerful and maintenance-free 
  • Rear wheels for increasing traction
  • Suitable for large lawns
  • Solid construction

What We Don’t Like

  • The battery takes long to recharge
  • Short battery runtime
  • Gas emissions

Riding Lawn Mower for Hills Features and Considerations

Mowing your yard can be enjoyable when you are using the right tool. A good mower should have a powerful motor to propel it upward. It should also have rugged wheels to make driving it uphill easy. Here are the essential factors to consider when looking for the best riding lawn mower:

Man riding a lawn mower to trim the grass hills

Type of Riding Lawn Mower

There are four types of riding lawn mowers available, all of which have advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a look at each type:

Zero Turn Radius Mowers

These mowers have high cutting speeds as they move quickly at 8 miles per hour while mowing a 42 – 50 inches swath. Zero-turn radius mowers also save time and can maneuver in narrow spaces effortlessly.

They also eliminate the need to prune branches using a weed trimmer because they can allow you to cut up to trees due to their maneuverability. Moreover, zero-turn radius mowers mulch grass clippings and can discharge the clippings on the side.

However, they can be difficult to control on slopes as they tend to lose traction because they are not suitable for hilly backyards. These riders also require practice since they are controlled using a lever. Moreover, their rear wheels can tear up the grass while turning. 

Another drawback is their cost. These models tend to cost more due to their bagging kits, while some may not give you the desired cuts. They also come with a few accessories such as vacuum grass catcher and cart.

If you have obstacles to deal with in your yard such as flower beds, or you just intend to cut grass within the shortest period, zero-turn radius mowers can be an excellent choice. 

Lawn Tractor Mowers

These models are the most popular and have a lot of power as they have the largest engines. They are also an ideal option if you have attachments such as snow blowers or tillers that you may want to move around your yard.

Moreover, these mowers cut at 5.2 miles per hour mowing speeds, which makes them perfect for small gardening jobs and cutting large lawns. Also, less expensive mowers have 38 inches cutting deck, while high-end models can cut up to 54 inches in a single pass.

Additionally, lawn tractor mowers come with a hydrostatic transmission system that enables you to control mowing speed using a pedal. Models with this system are perfect for attaching other tools and suitable for plows.

They can also side-discharge and mulch grass clippings. Steering them is also a breeze since they use a wheel. If you opt for these mowers, make sure your model has a comfortable, high backed seat to make adjusting the cutting height and engaging the blades an easy task.

Man operating a lawn mower

The only major problem with these mowers is that they can’t carry out heavy-duty work or even tow large attachments. They are also unsuitable for yards with lots of obstacles. Due to their larger decks, they also require larger storage space. 

Moreover, you may have issues with visibility while using these riders since the motor is placed in front. Lawn tractor mowers also have difficulties working with ground-engaging accessories such as cultivators and tillers.

Rear Engine Lawn Mower

These riding mowers are perfect for homeowners that want to spend less when looking for a tool to help them cut grass. They only cut grass and nothing else. In terms of size, they are also the smallest on the market, making them ideal for people with medium-sized yards or limited storage space. 

If you also have narrow paths in your backyard, rear-engine lawn mowers can be a great choice. You won’t also have to worry about visibility because the engine is behind you. Also, noise and engine heat will be behind you and not between your legs as it is with other types.

However, due to their smaller cutting decks, they tend to have slow mowing speeds of about 1.5 to 4.5 miles per hour. These riders also have a narrower cutting width of 28 inches, while their attachment options are very limited.  

Due to their lever-operated transmission, you will also have to keep taking your hand off the wheel, which can be tiring to adjust the mowing speed.

Garden Tractors Mowers

These mowers accept wider cutting decks of up to 60 inches because they have larger motors compared to lawn tractors. Garden tractor mowers can also work with attachments such as plow blades, tillers, snowblowers, and cultivators perfectly. 

Most garden tractors riders also come with power takeoff which enables them to run a generator or pump. They can also handle any task due to heavy-duty construction as they use robust steel frames. Like their lawn tractor counterparts, they also have a hydrostatic transmission system.

However, it is difficult to maneuver them in tight spaces due to their large size. They also require a lot of storage space and are bulky. You will also have to deal with limited visibility because the motor is in front.

Type of Transmission

Man using a lawn mower on an uneven grass terrain

This is another crucial factor you should consider since riding mowers have different types of transmission that enables them to increase or decrease acceleration and speed. Below, are the common types of mower transmissions:

Hydrostatic Transmission

Mowers with this type of engine will save you energy as you won’t have to shift up and down manually. They are also durable because they don’t experience a lot of wear and tear.

Moreover, they tend to run smoothly since they use oil instead of belts to deliver power to the wheels. 

Automatic Transmission

This engine tends to adjust the mowing speed automatically depending on its speed and revolutions. It also shifts up and down so you don’t have to do it manually as it is with hydrostatic transmission. You will only have to slow down or press on the pedal. 

Manual Transmission

These mowers will allow you to choose when to shift up and down. Manual transmission mowers also come with different speeds to allow you to control manually the speed at which they can move. 

Mowers with manual transmission also come in different styles. However, we recommend choosing those that don’t need you to stop or slow down to control the speed. You should also avoid those that require you to push the clutch down to change gears. 

Motor

If your lawn has steep slopes and hills, then you need a riding lawn mower with strong breaks and a powerful motor. The motor will help it propel easily at an angle, while the braking system will prevent you from speeding down the slope in case the mower gets out of control.

When it comes to the engine, we will be looking at the following:

Speed 

This is the first thing you should check out when looking for a mower for hills because there are moments when you will have to slow down or, even move faster. For this reason, you should get a mower that moves faster if you plan to work on a lawn with few obstacles.

Woman driving a lawn mower

However, if you will encounter a lot of obstacles, a model that mows slowly will be ideal to allow you to be more precise while cutting. That said, it is important to note that most riding mowers move at 5-6 hours per mile. 

Other mowers also move faster at 8 miles per hour such as the zero-turn mowers. A fast mower will allow you to cover straight paths within a short period if your lawn is open.

Torque

Apart from engaging the blades, the motor also plays a key role in running the mower. Due to this, you should check the torque specification so that you know the speed at which the blades rotate.

This will also enable you to know the cutting power of the mower. For example, a higher torque will work better if your yard has taller and thicker grass patches. 

Engine Displacement

This refers to the size of cylinders the engine has. Fortunately, some manufacturers provide this figure, which is usually represented in cubic centimeters. Thus, if the figure is higher, it indicates a stronger riding mower and vice versa. 

Horsepower

Generally, the mower’s engine determines the amount of power it has. This means the horsepower can give you an idea of the amount of power it can deliver to the attachments.

Rear Wheel Drive

Mowers with rear-wheel drive are a great option for mowing hills and slopes because the wheels offer better traction and are bigger. These wheels are also suitable for hills because the rear of the mower controls them instead of the front pulling the entire weight.

However, if your lawn is open, flat mowers with front-wheel drive will be an excellent option as they are more efficient.

Braking Ability

If you want to tackle slopes and lawns with hills effectively, you should make sure the mower has a good braking system. Quality breaks will allow you to control the mower, stop it, or even slow it down, especially when driving downwards.

This will prevent you from hitting an obstacle and damaging the mower, getting into an accident, or losing control while mowing.

Turning Radius

Lawn mower parked in a grass full of fallen dead leaves

This feature will allow you to know the amount of room your mower needs to make a turn. Although most lawns work well in open lawns, you will be able to cover more area quickly if the turn is smaller. 

Similarly, a model that requires a lot of space to turn is perfect if you have to deal with many obstacles while working.

Deck Size

This refers to the radius the mowing blades can cut. Thus, if the cutting width and deck are wider, then you will be able to mow a wide area in one pass and minimize the time you will spend cutting. Generally, the size of your lawn mower will determine the deck size. 

So, if the deck is bigger, you will require a powerful engine and larger mower. That said, wide cutting decks are perfect for lawns with open areas, while smaller cutting widths are ideal for lawns with many obstacles.

Extra Features

Riding lawn mowers come equipped with different features to enhance your lawn mowing experience. However, you may not find all of them useful. These are some essential features your mower should have:

  • Electric Power: This is a great feature that prolongs belt life as it will allow you to engage the mower blades without the need to pull a lever.
  • Washout Port: This feature will make cleaning the underside of your machine after every use an easy task. You can connect a hose to it to clear grass clippings stuck beneath the deck without having to tip the mower.
  • Folding Handle: If you have limited storage space, you will find riders with this feature ideal because a folding handle doesn’t occupy a lot of storage space.

Wrap Up

Riding mowers are ideal for people with large, rough surfaces of hills. However, a good mower for hills should maneuver around obstacles effortlessly and have a robust engine. 

It should also have essential features that matter to you and use attachments if you prefer a multi-purpose rider. We hope our reviews and detailed guide will help you a mower that suits your budget and mowing needs.