1. What should I consider before choosing a lawn mower?
Every yard needs a reliable lawn mower, one that’s built to help make yard work less of a chore. Investing in a lawn mower is an exciting time and there are a lot of factors to consider. Troy-Bilt is here to help you learn the different types, specifications, and features. But before you dive in, consider the following:
Yard size: The most important consideration when searching for a lawn mower is lawn size. Walk behind mowers will work well for yards of less than an acre, but if you live on a property larger than that you’ll want to narrow your search to riders.
Mow time: How much time you want to spend mowing, combined with the size of your yard, will focus your lawn mower selection. Riding lawn mowers can significantly reduce your mowing time, which is why they are generally recommended for large properties. A rugged and reliable Troy-Bilt walk behind mower will get the job done for smaller yards, but you can also consider a small riding mower if you’re looking to get the job done quickly.
Terrain type: A small yard might be hilly, a large yard might be flat. The kind of terrain you’ll be mowing over will help guide you in deciding which features will be most helpful in making the task easier.
Obstacles: A tighter turning radius or a self-propelled walk-behind will come in handy if your yard has a lot of trees or obstacles to maneuver around.
Storage space: Whether it’s in the garage or a shed, you’ll need space to store your lawn mower. Take stock of your available capacity and make sure there’s enough for the new addition. And measure the width of your gates and other entrances you’ll need to maneuver your machine through to ensure the mower will fit with ease.
Mow frequency: If you only like to mow when you need to and want to avoid raking grass clippings from your yard, consider purchasing a rear bagger to collect clippings for easy disposal. Mulching grass clippings puts nutrients back into the soil for a healthier lawn and is best accomplished when you mow more frequently. (See Section 7 for more on discharge options.)
2. What are the different kinds of lawn mowers?
Walk behinds and riders are the two general types of lawn mowers, but they come in many shapes and sizes. Get to know some of the most common ones:
Reel mowers: With no engine, reel mowers are all operator effort and provide a quiet operation, allowing you to mow earlier or later depending on your schedule.
Push mowers: These predominately use gas-powered engines to propel the blades, requiring the operator to push the machine forward.
Self-propelled mowers: Some walk behinds feature a transmission that propels the machine forward with two primary speed types. Single-speed offers a set speed that can be engaged or disengaged. Variable-speed systems allow you to set your pace more precisely by squeezing on a lever or the handles. Troy-Bilt self-propelled mowers also come in two different drive types — front-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive. (See Section 6 for more on the different drive types.)
Wide-area walk behinds: If you’re looking to get the job done more efficiently than a walk behind with a standard deck, a wide-area walk behind mower comes with a larger deck. Available in 23” or 28” deck sizes, these self-propelled mowers can make the job a little easier than standard deck mowers by reducing cut time because they can cut more grass each pass.
Mini riders: A more compact riding lawn mower with a 30” deck, mini riders are ideal for smaller properties because of their smaller size, but still bring many of the same features of a riding lawn mower. They’re great if you’re tight on storage space or have a smaller gate you’ll need to regularly maneuver through.
Lawn tractors: Are great for larger properties and designed to accept lawn mower attachments like grass baggers, dump carts and other pull-behind accessories like aerators and sprayers so you can use your machine for more than just cutting grass.
Zero-turn mowers: Named for their turning radius, zero-turn lawn mowers are ideal for large properties of at least one acre or more. Zero-turns can turn on a dime, helping you to trim close to all lawn edges quickly, and navigate around trees and other obstacles with relative ease. All Troy-Bilt zero-turn mowers are attachment capable.
3. What size lawn mower do I need for my yard?
A general rule of thumb is: The bigger the yard, the bigger the cutting deck you’ll need. If your yard is less than an acre, a walk behind lawn mower should do just fine. Reel mowers are great for homeowners that have virtually no yard to worry about, or less than one-fourth of an acre. A push or self-propelled mower is ideal for yards less than a half-acre. If your yard is bigger than a half-acre, consider a wide-area self-propelled lawn mower with a 23” or 28” deck. A mini rider (30” deck) would also be a good choice for a smaller yard, bringing many of the advantages of a rider in a compact size that saves on storage space.
For properties of 1 acre or more, consider a lawn tractor or a zero-turn mower as these come with larger deck sizes and powerful engines, allowing you to easily tackle the task. Riding mowers come in a variety of deck sizes.
Size is not the only factor. For example, your yard may be less than one-half an acre, but if it consists of mostly uneven terrain and lots of obstacles you might want to consider a self-propelled lawn mower or a model with high-rear wheels to help navigate it.
4. When is the best time to buy a lawn mower?
Like with most other necessities, it’s best to think about buying before you actually need one. Buying earlier in the spring typically means you will have a larger selection of available products with the features you’re looking for. And you’ll be ready to go the moment your grass is ready to cut.
5. What specifications should I consider when buying a lawn mower?
Your perfect fit is striking a balance between your needs and preferences. Here’s a closer look at some of the key lawn mower features.
Engine size: Bigger yards need bigger lawn mowers, and bigger lawn mowers need more power to get the job done. A lawn mower with an engine that features higher horsepower or larger cylinder volume capacity (measured in “cc”) will be able to handle tough grass conditions.
Deck size: Similar to engine size, the bigger the deck, the more grass you can cut in one pass, allowing you to work more efficiently. Technically large decks will work on small yards but will make it hard to get around tight spaces. It’s important to choose the right deck size based on your yard size, the number of obstacles, and how quickly you want to get the job done.
Drive type: As explained above, there are three primary drive types for self-propelled walk behind mowers. Riding mowers also have different drive types available (explained further in Section 6).
Discharge options: Disposal of grass clippings is an important part of cutting grass. Most mowers feature side discharge or rear bagging while others also are compatible with a mulch kit (explained further in Section 7).
Attachments: Troy-Bilt lawn tractors and zero-turns are attachment capable, allowing you to use them for more than just cutting grass. Not all attachments are available on all models, so consider what else you want to use your lawn mower for. (See Section 9 for a list of available attachments.)
6. What kind of drive system do I need?
Self-propelled walk behind lawn mowers allow you to put minimal effort into pushing your machine and can make mowing over uneven terrain easy. Here’s a look at some of the advantages:
Front-wheel drive: FWD delivers traction to the front wheels and helps maneuver easily around beds and trees. Since the drive controls the wheels up front, FWD allows for smooth handling.
Rear-wheel drive: RWD delivers traction to the rear wheels and will help increase handling for improved performance on hills.
InStep™: Troy-Bilt’s drive control system — InStep™ — makes the job easy by adjusting to your pace so you can mow at a speed that’s comfortable to you. Equipped on select walk behind mowers.
Riding mowers are more involved, so naturally they’ll operate differently utilizing either a speed adjuster, levers, pedals, or a combination. Whatever set of controls you’re most comfortable with will guide your decision among these options.
Shift-On-The-Go™: This is the entry-level transmission set your speed and direction prior to mowing and go. You don’t have to constantly have your foot on a pedal, and there is a brake to stop.
Continuous variable transmissions: CVT transmissions utilize a shifter and a pedal to give the user control over direction and speed. Troy-Bilt AutoDrive™ allows you to shift into forward, reverse, or neutral then press down on the pedal. Like driving a car, your speed is determined by how much you press on the pedal.
Hydrostatic transmissions: A drive system that allows the operator to directly control the speed of the mower through the pedals (one for forward and another for reverse). The more you press on the pedal, the faster you’ll go, allowing you to customize your speed to your liking.
7. How should I dispose of grass clippings?
There are three primary ways most lawn mowers process grass clippings: side discharge, rear bagging and mulching. During your search, you’ll probably run into terms like 2-in-1 and 3-in-1, particularly when looking at walk behind lawn mowers. A 2-in-1 mower generally will be side discharge and bagging capable while a 3-in-1 mower also will generally be compatible with a mulch kit.
Riding lawn mowers generally do not use the 2-in-1 or 3-in-1 vernacular, but still predominately rely on the same three methods to process grass clippings. There are advantages to each option, here’s a closer look.
Side discharge: This is the most common method of disposal as the grass clippings will discharge out from the mower’s side chute as you mow to circulate them across the yard. It’s quick, easy and efficient, ideal if you have a small lawn, short grass or mow frequently. Keep in mind that this method may come with some additional cleanup work if your grass is on the longer side as clippings could spray onto your driveway and on the sidewalk. And if the grass is too long, side discharging may create lumps in the yard.
Bagging: Instead of discharging the grass clippings all over your yard, the mower sucks them into a bag, usually attached to the back of the mower. If you’re looking for a clean-cut, well-kept look, bagging is the way to go as most grass clippings will be collected with the bag. You’ll also be able to clear certain other debris — like weeds and leaves — from the yard while you mow, saving you time by integrating multiple tasks into one. Just be sure you don’t accidentally clear debris that is too big for your mower to handle as that could cause damage to the machine. Keep in mind, you may need to empty the bagger multiple times throughout your cut, adding time to the task. A bag that can handle more bushels of debris will mitigate the number of times you need to stop and empty it.
Mulching: Both side discharge and mulching return the grass clippings to your yard, but a mower equipped with a mulch blade will cut the grass into finer pieces, allowing them to fertilize your yard with the natural nutrients from the clippings. To set your mower up to mulch, you will need to install a mulch kit. This replaces the standard blade with a mulching blade and plugs the discharge chute, allowing your mower to recut the clippings multiple times and create fine mulch that provides nutrients back into the soil. Like with side discharge, you will need to cut your lawn more frequently when mulching as it might not be able to chop tall grass finely enough if it’s too long or thick, resulting in larger clippings that won’t decompose quickly enough to be effective.
8. What features should I consider for my lawn mower?
We’ve talked a lot about your yard, but you’re the one doing the work, so don’t forget to take into account what you, the operator, needs out of your machine. Lawn mowers come engineered with many features to help make the task easier on you. Some features to consider include:
Convenient Height Adjustment: On a walk behind, look for dual- or single-level adjustment if you want to quickly adjust the cutting height with no tools required. On Troy-Bilt riding mowers and zero-turns, this is done by a hand lever.
Deck wash: Decks with a deck wash allow you to simply attach a standard garden hose to clean debris from the cutting system.
Traction: If your yard has uneven terrain, consider a walk behind mower with high rear wheels or front caster wheels as this will help navigate it smoothly. Riding lawn mowers usually come with automotive-inspired wheel options with tread patters designed to deliver a smooth ride and help prevent turf damage.
Auto choke: Feature built into the engine that eliminates priming, allowing for quick and easy starting.
Blade engagement: Riding lawn mowers with this feature will allow you to disengage the blades so it can be used for more than just cutting grass. This is done with a power takeoff clutch (PTO), either with a hand lever or with an electric knob/button.
Headlights: Enhance visibility to help you see better. On Troy-Bilt riding mowers, they automatically turn on when you start the machine.
AGM batteries: Many Troy-Bilt lawn tractors and zero-turns are equipped with AGM batteries, which are designed to provide a longer lifespan, lower maintenance and improved starting performance compared to traditional lead acid wet cell batteries.
9. What are some must-have attachments for my riding lawn mower?
Many lawn tractors and zero-turns are designed to do more than just cut grass and are engineered to accept a variety of attachments and accessories. Not all attachments are compatible with all models, so be sure to look closely to make sure the attachment works with the mower you’re considering. A few options to consider for getting the most out of your lawn mower are:
Baggers: Twin- or triple-bagger attachments save raking time and allow for quick clean-up and easy leaf pickup in the fall. Troy-Bilt’s twin bagger system has up to a 6.5-bushel capacity, while triple baggers have up to a 10-bushel capacity, allowing for extended mowing time before emptying is needed.
Mulch kits: Are helpful for various types of lawn mowers. Recycling grass clippings back into your lawn through mulching is one of the best ways to ensure your lawn stays healthy. Reduce yard waste by mulching frequently during the mowing season.
Striping kit: Adding patterns to your yard gives it the well-manicured look of a golf course or a professional sports field. Striping kits allow you to mow and stripe at the same time, making it easy to get the lawn you’ve always wanted.
Sun shades: Helps shield the operator from the sun while mowing. Designed for easy installation and removal, the Troy-Bilt sun shade features a heavy-duty frame for long-lasting quality.
Hauler: The EZ Stow Hauler can hold up to 10 cubic feet of soil or mulch, brick, stone, shrubs, plants, or even garbage bins. This versatile two-wheeled cart features four collapsible sides, so it can be folded flat and stored vertically to take up less storage space in a garage or shed.
Snow plow: The Troy-Bilt 12-gauge steel blade can move snow, dirt, gravel, mulch, and other commonly used materials that you need to remove in order to maintain your yard.
10. How can I find the right lawn mower for my yard?
Troy-Bilt lawn mowers are built to last with many helpful features depending on your needs. Whether it’s a rugged walk behind or a durable rider, Troy-Bilt lawn mowers will help make yard work easy. You can use our product finder on TroyBilt.com to narrow down your search and find the best mower for your yard.