If you have a small yard or if you just don’t feel comfortable driving a large lawn mower there is a good solution that might save you money and space in your garage. Rear engine riding lawn mowers are a really good solution for many home owners and they don’t cost that much unless you are adding lots of special features.
So, the first thing we have to understand is why on some riding mowers have their engine in the front while others have them in the rear. Honestly I think the rear engine design is probably best because if you look at the larger zero turn mowers that are used by professionals the same rear engine design is used. On the smaller commercial mowers that we have in our homes cost is often a determining factor for engineers that make them. If a company is building a 10 to 25 horse power tractor it is often a front engine design that looks similar to tractors used on farms. This is because the larger mowers often have more features while the smaller home owner rear engine models are normally limited just to cutting the grass.
Addon Features not normally available on smaller consumer grade rear engine riders would include things like the ability to tow an attachment such as a wagon or rear dethatcher. They are also not the best choice if you want to plow snow in the winter but some models might add that option.
If you like to bag your grass to remove weed seed or leaves in the fall then a small rear engine rider may offer that attachment or you probably can add it if your deck has a chute. Not all models come with a chute because the decks are so small that a closed mulching deck is sufficient.
Deck Size is an important factor and rear engine riders normally only offer a 26 to 33 inch deck. This means it will take much longer to cut a large yard with a smaller blade than you would find on a standard riding mower. Front engine riding mowers normally come with a 42 to 55 inch deck and often have two blades vs a single blade on a smaller deck.
Engine Size is a consideration and most rear engine riders are limited to smaller engines. This is important if you are considering attachments that will put additional stress on the tractor. Expect to find standard engines between 10 and 15 horse power.
If you consider that power assisted push mowers often come with engines 6.5hp or slightly larger and that you will be riding a top a rear engine rider that is much larger than a push mower you probably want to go with the largest engine available in your size range.
Transmissions on Rear Engine Riding Mowers are normally very simplistic however some models come with a drive belt while others use a friction disk design. It is difficult to say which design is best but if you consider that a belt will eventually fail and it may fail a few times in the life of your riding mower then a friction disk design can be a benefit.
Add on Options
As said you may or may not have the ability to add options on a rear engine riding mower. If you expect to add a snow plow or even a snow blower then you want a model that is easy to convert.
Bagging options are available but some designs have a plug bin that sits under the seat of the mower while others use a conventional chute and rear bag. I really would not go with an under seat design even if you decide you will never use it because they are difficult to manage and can pack clippings deep inside the mower’s parts.
Rear engine riding mowers are a great option for people with small yards or people that don’t like riding monster riding mowers.
They fit easy in your garage or shed and will navigate quickly around bushes, trees and through normal sized gates.
Expect to pay from $750 to $1,200 depending on your options.
If you need a bagger then inquire about that option before you make your purchase and you may even be able to buy third party