If you have a relatively large lawn to cut then you are probably thinking about purchasing a Riding Lawn Tractor.
When choosing a Lawn Tractor you should decide up front what jobs you expect it to perform and take into account the terrain of your yard and obstacles you will need to get around.
As for the basic shape of riding mowers you will find a high profile version that can perform many duties other then just cutting your grass and a low profile contractor style mower that is dedicated to only cutting grass.
Low Profile Mower
If your yard is on a hill or if you will need to cut around areas like ponds then a low profile riding mower is what you want.
The main feature is that the weight of the mower is lower and its center of gravity will allow you to ride along hills without the fear of tipping over.
Low profile mowers are also wider so you can get more done in one pass then you can with a riding tractor.
Some models of low profile mowers can reach up to 60 inches in one pass
On the other hand if your lawn has a number of bushes and trees then a low profile mower may be too wide to navigate those areas easily. In that case you have the choice of either using a string trimmer or hanging on to your old push mower to get into tight spaces.
Some Low Profile can perform turns with a Zero Turning Radius so positioning can be much more accurate.
With the exception of a bager the low profile design does not allow much in the way of accessories. You will also find it lacking other features like headlights but you may be able to get one with a nice cup holder.
The standard lawn tractor is called that because it can perform many operations around your property other then simply cutting your grass.
The only real drawbacks to a high profile lawn tractor is the center of gravity that we spoke about for the low profile riding mower and that this type of mower may have a slightly smaller cutting width.
Lawn tractors come in many different sizes. Cutting widths are one concern and usually start about 28″ inches and stop about 46″ inches in width.
Most riding mowers will start with a 15 HP engine and range up to 25 to 35HP depending on its size and feature addons. The larger the blade path the larger the engine. Mowers with blades smaller then 40 inches can probably get away with a 20HP Engine. For blades larger then 50 inches wide you will need something closer to 30HP.
How every engine will work on every design of mower is different. If you find your engine is bogging down when you cut tall grass then you should raise your cut height and make 2 passes. Wet grass will also bog down your engine as will full baggers.
One of the most important addons is a grass catcher or rear bagger. Baggers will collect about 5 times as much as a standard lawn mower allowing you to work longer before stopping.
In addition to cutting your grass you can add many attachments such as a snow plow or thrower or a hopper trailer to carry items across your yard. If you have a few acres or more then these options can come in very handy.
When choosing a type of Lawn Mower you want to pick a model that you can handle with ease. Often going smaller is a better choice then larger even when your job may seem bigger.
Remember you will be riding your lawn mower not pushing it so take into consideration that your tractor may be too large for other family members to handle easily or it may be too large to fit in your garage or shed.
If you need a general purpose tool then a Standard Model Riding Mower is your best bet but if you live on property with steep hills or even moderate burms you will enjoy a low profile model for its added safety.
Also like adopting pets you should always consider buying a used lawn tractor. Most areas will see enough people moving every year to result in relatively new used models being placed in the news paper.
If you can save more then half then used is a great deal.