Riding lawn mowers are popular among homeowners with large lawns. When compared to push mowers, riding mowers makes the task much simpler. However, certain riding mowers may not handle hills because of instability or a lack of power to climb the slope. If you’re in this situation and want to find the finest riding lawn mower for hills, you have a lot to think about.
If you have a hilly lawn, you’ll need to get a riding lawn mower that’s suitable for your type and can cut the grass to your specifications. Riding mowers are faster at mowing your lawn, and they are ideal for the elderly or anyone with health issues because they require less manual exertion.
To cover all this, you can go through our guide and find the best mower for steep hills. By the end of our comparison reviews, you’ll not just see which is the best lawn mower for hills, but with the buying guide, you’ll know what to look for when considering any of the best riding lawn mower for steep hills options, here or anywhere else.
Why You Need a Good Riding Mower for Hills
You’ll find the best riding lawn mower for hills comes with several benefits. Here you can find the main ones and other pointers to help you as you go through our comparison reviews to find the best riding lawn mower to meet your needs.
- Riding lawn mowers are perfect for anyone with a health problem or who has difficulty standing and pushing a mower.
- You can use lawn mowers for hills as easy to use as driving a car.
- Riding lawn mowers tackle hilly and uneven terrain that push mowers can’t.
- Best riding lawn mowers come with an electronic start, so there are no pull cables to fire up the engine.
- A lawn mower for hills has enough power to take the strain out of mowing thick grass on even terrain.
- Riding lawn mowers are faster than a push mower.
The best riding mowers for hills come in two types. Here you can find a few safety pointers to know as they can help you decide which is the best riding lawn mower type for you.
Lawn Tractor Riding Mower Tips
- Foremost, if the hilly terrain you plan to mow is steep and your lawn tractor won’t go back up the slope, don’t use it.
- Avoid holes, ruts, and drop-offs, as they can cause a lawn tractor mower to tip.
- Clear the area of debris that could harm your mower.
- Only mow grass is completely dry, even if your mower has power.
- To reduce tip[ping risk, unhitch attachments such as mulchers or a rear bagger attachment.
- Mow vertically, not horizontally on the slope.
- When mowing hilly terrain, don’t change directions and wait until you are at the bottom or off the slope at the top where you can turn on the flat.
- On a slope, don’t stop.
- Don’t roll downhill with your lawn tractor in neutral.
Zero Turn Riding Mowers
- Ensure mower tires have good traction to stop sliding.
- Only mow when the grass is dry.
- Choose a mower with wide rear wheels to increase stability.
- Drive on hills of 15 degrees or less no faster than 5 mph.
- Avoid sharp turns on a hill.
- Remove bagged clippings before mowing any hill as additional weight can reduce steering.
- Slower mowing speed and accurate steering lead to successfully mowing slopes using the best zero-turn mower.
Top Riding Mower For Hills Reviews
1. Husqvarna Z254 54 in. 26 HP Kohler Hydrostatic Zero Turn Riding Mower
The Husqvarna Z254 sits among the best riding lawn mowers as it uses a reliable Kohler 26HP engine. Besides this, you have a unique parking brake that senses the movement of the levers. Using this, it automatically activates or deactivates without user intervention. (Find the Best Riding Snow Blower)
The Z254 offers a strengthened steel cutting deck covering the 54″ blades, which allows you to cut the entire lawn quicker than smaller models. Although you need to purchase the parts, you can get a mulching kit or bag your grass cuttings rather than having them discharged over your lawn.
Dimensions are 72 x 61.49 x 34.48 inches, so it isn’t the largest mower; thus, storage is simplified. You even find many storage options in the molded plastic wheel arches sitting to one side of the engine.
- 26 HP high engine power by Kohler
- 54-inch mower deck
- Can mow up to 6.5 mph
- Patent-pending automatic park brake
- No headlight
- Power to wheels isn’t equal on some mowers
With a guide price of just under $3,700, you get one of the best zero-turn lawn mowers for hills without breaking the bank. It seriously cuts down on your work and offers a maximum forward speed of 6.6 Mph. Anyone who has a hilly garden can find this could be the right riding lawn mower for them.
2. Craftsman 17ARFACT091 46-Inch Hydrostatic Gas Zero Turn Mower with 23HP Kohler Twin Cylinder Engine
One of the best zero-turn mowers is the Craftsman Z525. It has a dependable auto-choke mechanism integrated into the twin-engine, making it powerful enough to be one of the best mower for hills. It offers a 46-inch deck to cut grass in one action and reduce cutting time, although it has a smaller deck than other models.
You can find the deck wash makes cleaning your undercarriage more accessible and leading to top-notch operational efficiency. You can even use the Craftsman Z525 lawn tractor cutting deck to mow in reverse.
- Powerful 679cc dual engine
- Reverse mow feature
- 5-inch turning radius and a smaller cutting deck of 46-inches
- Dual Hydro-Gear EZT
- Mainly suitable for larger properties
- Reports of some mowers not starting on the delivery
With a guide price of just under $4,000, the 23HP Kohler-engined mower offers a lot. You need limited storage space with dimensions of 84 x 52 x 34.75 inches, comfortable steering levers and seat, and a zero turning radius. You get various cutting heights, and it deserves its position in the best lawn tractors when cutting an uneven lawn.
3. Ariens IKON XD 52 inch 23 HP (Kawasaki) Zero Turn Mower 915267
If you have any steep slopes to deal with, you want to cut these in as few passes as possible. You’ll have confidence here with the Ariens as it has a wide 52-inch cutting deck and powerful Kawasaki engine.
Large rear wheels deliver lots of stability for downhill paths and sloped terrain, so it is more than suited to medium to large gardens and above.
It offers lots of comfort and added support from the included armrests. The motor stands out as it is a three-blade deck and a 725cc Kohler 7000 hp overhead twin-valve engine for cleaner cutting and fewer emissions.
- Fabricated with advanced airflow for premium cutting performance.
- 52” commercial deck cutting width
- 13 cutting positions
- Quieter than rival lawnmowers
- Accessories sold separately
- Hydrostatic issues for some customers
You’ll find an abundance of cutting heights, with 13 in total. For garden tractors, you get lots of added features for a guide price of a little under $4,200.
There is little chance of the mower tipping when carrying out your lawn care once you follow a few safety tips that are the same for any rear-engine ride-on mower. With a deck wash port and an effective deck lifting system, upkeep is a breeze.
4. Ryobi 38 inches 100 Ah Battery Electric Rear Engine Riding Lawn Mower RY48111
This 100Ah electric Ryobi Riding Lawn Mower is perfect if you want a green alternative to traditional gas-powered mowers that can manage hills with a 10-15 percent slope.
Rather than being overpowered with a single blade, the 100 AH battery powers two 38-inch blade decks for a total cutting width of 76 inches. You can also change the cutting height to 12 different settings. Using the lever, the height can be set from 1.5 to 4.5 inches.
Maintenance is much easier compared with other types of mowers. Unlike other traditional mowers, it does not require as much maintenance because it is battery-powered.
There’s no need to clean the mower using a deck lift system. You won’t have to replace belts or replace the spark plugs, or filters. The mower can run for 2.5 hours or cover 2.5 acres on one charge. (Read our Ego Leaf Blower Guide)
Noise is reduced, and you only hear the hum of the blades cutting the grass and the three brushless motors.
- It comes with built-in cruise control
- It comes with a USB phone charger
- Handles hills with a 10-15% incline
- Dual 38 inches blade cutting width and 12 cutting positions
- It can feel bumpy
- Lacks some power in thick grass
The Ryobi electric lawn mower may lack the small turning radius other zero-turn mowers have, yet it makes up for this with the twin-blade setup and the ease of battery operation. With a guide price of just over $4,000, you pay for the privilege of going green.
While it appears expensive, consider there is no fuel tank to fill, reduced maintenance, and less need to check the instruction manual.
For the best riding lawn mowers, you’ll find the Ryobi and its anti-scalp wheels a contender against other rear engine mowers, yet it is better suited to flat terrain where possible.
5. Husqvarna MZ54F 54 in. 24 HP Kawasaki Hydrostatic Zero Turn Riding Mower
When you compare the best lawn mowers or lawn tractors, the name Husqvarna rises above many. They have been offering the best lawn mowers for years and go as far as offering snow blowers you can fit.
However, they have different models, and the Husqvarna MZ54F Kawasaki 24HP is a beast and deserves its spot on the best rear engine lawn mower for hills comparison list.
To make control easy, you have hydrostatic transmission, armrests as you control the levers, and also, unlike many other lawn mowers for hills, it comes with Roll Over Protection System (ROPS).
- Highly rated Kawasaki motor (Briggs, Stratton models available)
- Precise & robust hydrostatic transmission
- High levels of comfort for long mowing sessions
- Oversize chassis delivers great stability for rough terrain.
- It lacks a fuel gauge
With a guide price of just below $9,000, you need a large garden to get the best from any rear engine mowers, yet the Husky takes this to another level. You won’t find any riding lawnmower like it, or at least outside the Husqvarna brand of riding lawnmower you won’t.
Best Riding Mower For Hills Buying guide
While there are many lawn mowers for hills on the market, it’s challenging to find a riding lawn mower that will perform on hilly or uneven terrain.
Here are some of the most important features to consider.
A high-quality engine from a well-known manufacturer, such as Kawasaki, Briggs & Stratton engine, or Kohler, is ideal because these engines are built to last even under the harshest situations. In terms of power, a good engine should be able to deliver 15-17 horsepower, which is more than enough for the job.
Remember, a more powerful engine won’t make you faster, but it is better should you want to tow a trailer or a snow blade.
Electric vs. Gasoline Riding Mowers
Riding mowers can run on gasoline or electricity. While both options are powerful, there are pros and cons.
Electric riding mowers
Because an electric riding lawn mower is battery-powered, it is environmentally friendly, simple to maintain, and extremely quiet. It will, however, require recharging with some models only lasting an hour, which can be inconvenient if your lawn is large and takes longer to mow. (Find the Best Electric Lawn Mower)
Gasoline riding mowers
Riding lawn mowers that run on gas generates fumes and make a lot of noise, but they’ll keep going as long as you have gas in the fuel tank. Although they require more maintenance than electric mowers, they are significantly less expensive.
Mower Deck Size
As you drive your riding lawn mower, this is the width you’ll cut. Compact mowers cut up to 30 inches wide, while larger mowers cut up to 50 inches wide. A 50-inch cutting deck can handle a vast, open lawn, but a smaller lawn with obstacles like trees, shrubs, and gates will be easier to maintain with a 30-40-inch cutting deck since it is more maneuverable.
Mower Transmission Type
Riding lawn mowers come with varied types of transmission.
Gear Driven Transmission
It is the most basic and traditional transmission style, making these machines both sturdy and economical. Because of the continual gear shifting, they are not always as comfortable to use if you have to mow lots of turns and corners.
A mowing machine of this type is like an automatic vehicle and uses a belt and variable pulley system to change gears for you. Easy to drive, especially on smaller lawns with lots of trees and obstacles to mow around. Automatic Transmissions are more costly to buy and maintain.
This is the most powerful transmission technology available. It’s a simple technology that makes these mowers one of the best on uneven terrain. A great cruise control option lets you choose the speed and relax. They cost more to buy and maintain, but the results and convenience of use appeal to many.
If your lawn is sloping, uneven, or steep, search for a riding lawn mower with a wide stance, low profile, high traction, and a low center of gravity. This is the best riding lawn mower for hills because it can tackle uneven terrain without slipping or tipping. Any safety tips are welcome when you need to deal with this kind of terrain.
Why are zero turns bad on hills?
Since the front wheels are casters, zero-turn mowers steer with the rear wheels. Entering a steep slope with poor steering control may cause a rollover. Too-rapid application and rear brakes contribute to sliding on hills. (Read Bad Boy Zero Turn Mower Reviews)
How do you mow a steep hill?
It is preferable to use a riding mower to mow up and down the hillside. This will prevent you from sliding or rolling down the hill. If the mower rolls sideways in this type of mishap, you could be crushed by it. If the hill is too steep, don’t mow up the hill; instead, mow down the hill.
How steep of a hill can a riding mower go?
Mowing steep slopes can be risky since mowers can crash over. Conventional walk-behind mowers can handle a 20-degree incline, while riding mowers can handle up to 15 degrees.
How do you mow straight lines with a riding lawn mower?
To keep the zero-turn mower on a straight route, apply equal forward pressure to both steering arms. A bit touchy at first, but you’ll soon learn how much pressure is needed to travel across the lawn gently.
While testing, it was hard first to pick any mower that would rise to the top. However, add in price to performance and thinks take a different turn. The Husqvarna Z254 54 in. 26 HP Kohler Hydrostatic Zero Turn Riding Mower quickly shone as the leader. It offers a steady 6.5mph, is easy to operate, and is very comfortable.
The unique parking brake is among the safest ride-on mowers, particularly when working on slopes. It offers an effective cutting width and much more to last for years.
The biggest downside to the best ride-on lawn mower for hills is the lack of fuel gauge. Everything else propels this ride-on mower to another level compared to others at much higher prices.