Which are the leading lawn tractors and riding mowers for 2012 and 2013?
Of course there are existing models that are still around this year and which will still represent great buys in their class. But, there are also some new models that have been or will be introduced by the leading manufacturers.
So it’s worth thinking about these and how they are likely to rate amongst lawn tractor buyers.
I’ll keep this page updated but, for now, I’ll set out some selections in the various classes for you to consider.
Some of these are tried and tested familiar names and models. Some are the new entries.
I include the new entries here for your consideration, but you’ll need to remember that there is less feedback about the new models available.
So in many respects when looking at these new models, you’ll need to think about what you know about that manufacturer’s reputation and the quality of the lawn tractors that it has put on the market before, as you make up your mind about what you see.
Best entry level lawn tractors
This is a really important sector of the market and the level of competition, measured by the number of models out there, should help the lawn tractor buyer by driving up standards and driving down prices.
That said, there is quite a spread in prices at this level.
At the lower end of the scale, I still like theCraftsman 42 inch 24hp V-Twin Briggs & Stratton Turn Tight Hydrostatic Yard Tractor.
You can usually get this for around $1700 fromSears (click the link for the latest price).
And you get a good deal of features for your money – hydrostatic drive, a 24 horsepower engine, a 6 inch turning radius thanks to Craftsman’s tight turn technology and a 42 inch deck.
Overall, this is a great entry level bargain and a very well regarded lawn tractor.
It has had over 130 user reviews on Sears’ website and averages 4 out of 5 stars. To my mind that is pretty impressive.
A step-up of about $500 in price is the Husqvarna YTH23V48. This is a lawn tractor I rate pretty highly. So much so that I was recently trying to get my mother-in-law to buy one (for me to use, needless to say).
I like the tough, no-nonsense simplicity of Husqvarna products and this lawn tractor fits that mould.
It has 23 a horsepower engine, a 48 inch deck and Tuff-Torq hydrostatic transmission. Our full review of the Husvarna YTH23V48 is here.
Finally, spread across the entry level range is the D100 Series of John Deere riding lawn mowers.
From the D100 with its 17.5 horsepower engine and 42 inch deck at around $1,500 to the 26 horsepower engine and 54 inch deck of the new D170 at around $2,800, the John Deere quality is hard to overlook.
Best mid-level lawn tractors
Here, I’ll include another Deere, the John Deere X324 with its all-wheer steer, 22 Horsepower Kawasaki engine and 48 inch deck, priced around $4,700.
I’ll follow that up with another Craftsman. This time theCraftsman 54″ 26hp V-Twin Kohler Turn Tight Garden Tractor. This model (pictured at the top of the page) has hydrostatic drive, a 6 inch turning radius and a very high rating amongst its users.
Third and fourth, I’d include the Simplicity Broadmoor and the Snapper 7800545 LT130.
I tend to like Simplicity lawn tractors in general, although we had one or two reader complaints last year about the Simplicity Prestige. The Broadmoor still seems to be a solid model though.
The Snapper 7800545 LT130 always looks a good buy when you consider its overall specification – 23 horsepower engine, 46 inch deck and all wheel steer – and its price – usually somewehere between $2500 and $3,000 (click the links for the latest price).
This is what one reviewer on Amazon.com had to say about this Snapper:
“the Snapper seemed to be reading my mind as I went around the yard. Very smooth, responsive, and no lack of power. I was apprehensive at first about the 4 wheel steering, but would not go back to 2 wheel. The tractor seems to be well made with heavy duty parts where it counts. I look forward to many years mowing with the LT130” read more here
Best top-level lawn tractors
Best lawn tractor – Simplicity Conquest
If you had a really high budget, you’d no doubt want to look at the John Deere X500 Series or X700 Series. Indeed, the 4 wheel drive, X749 is probably the best of the best in the lawn and garden tractor class.
But what I’m really interested in so far this year is the new CTX Series lawn tractors by Craftsman.
Launched with much fanfare at the Detroit motor show, these are Craftsman’s ultimate lawn tractors, boasting features such as:
- electronic fuel management
- electronic deck lift
- low effort steering
- cruise control
- automatic traction control
- differential lock
- auto style electronic dashboard.
The CTX fleet consists of:
- the CTX9000 20 horsepower, 42 inch model at around $3,000
- the CTX9000 22 horsepower, 46 inch model at around $4,000
- the CTX9500 26 horsepower, 52 inch model at around $5,500
- the CTX9500 30 horsepower, 54 inch model at around $6,500
Be aware, those prices are deals at the time of writing and represent online offers at Sears.com. The best way to get a bargain on one of these is to check out the models available through Sears Outlet that we feature here.
The Craftsman CTX9500
You may notice some similarity between the CTX series models and the Simplicity Conquest. I guess that gives us a clue about who is behind the manufacturing of these models.
In any case, these are some pretty impressive looking lawn and garden tractors.
What do you think? Please leave your thoughts below.