We are often asked which ride on mower is the best of the bunch. Is it a John Deere, a Honda or a Mountfield? These are all names which have been around for years and are well known for making sit on mowers.
The answer for us should actually be turned around to ask what do you need in a ride on mower? There is no point in you having a 50 inch cut monster if you only have a small garden. You’d spend more time turning around than you would cutting the grass and time is what we are trying to save you after all.
So the first question we ask if you call Fenland Spirit Services to talk about ride on mowers is “How much grass do you have?” For someone with a medium to large garden, maybe up to ¼ acre a smaller ride on mower would be more suitable. Atco, Mountfield, MTD, Hayter & Honda all make small mowers which are nimble, good around trees or flower beds, have tight turning circles with up to 30 inch cut decks.
Most customers looking for a machine of this size want to collect the grass. A heap in the corner of your garden, where you drive & tip the grass works in many cases. Some ride ons have bins on the back so you don’t have to have a heap. You can remove the “bin” when it’s full and empty it into a compost bin or green waste bin. The engine on this size of mower would be around 8-12hp.
The next size up would be for someone with approximately ½ acre -1 acre of grass to cut. For this amount we would recommend a machine with a bigger cut, say 32-42 inches would be ideal. Maybe additionally with a bigger engine too, say 13-16hp. The size of the engine becomes more important when the deck gets bigger. A smaller engine will have to work harder to move the machine and furthermore turn 2-3 cutting blades. MTD, Honda, Hayter, Countax, Westwood & smaller John Deeres fit nicely into this bracket of mowers giving several options for grass collection.
This is the next question we tend to ask our customers – do you want to collect the grass? The first option is not to bother. This may be best if you are cutting verges or a small paddock where the grass can be left. Within this option there are also further choices. Blowing the grass out a side chute or the back of the deck or even mulching the grass.
While many people think this is what they want, it requires uniquely different blades on the machine. It also makes the engine work harder as it is now cutting the grass twice. Mulching may not be suitable for most people as the grass must be kept short. This means cutting twice per week in the summer. Front cut mowers such as Stiga & Husqvarna are also available in a range of deck size. They are a popular choice for customers who know they won’t want to collect the grass.
The second choice for grass collection is similar to that on the smaller ride on mowers. Either a bag or bins on the back of the mower. The thing to be aware of with this option is the tube which runs from the deck into the collector. This can & will get blocked if the grass is quite long and/or damp. The tube can be unblocked but watch out for compacted grass around the cutting blades which as a result can stall them or even burn out the belt. The nice thing about a bin kind of grass collection system is you can often use the mower without the collector. Blasting the grass out the side onto the ground, you don’t have to collect it which can of course be useful at the first cut of the year.
Be careful if using a fixed chute into a bag, most importantly if removing the collector from the back of the mower. As well as shooting grass out the back in a plume, stones & other missiles at rapid speed could also cause damage or injury. Most mowers have a safety switch to stop the machine from cutting if you remove the bag. We have seen them not working as they should.
Powered Sweepers & Collectors
The final option for a large garden is a powered sweeper & collector on the back of the mower. Usually fitted to a Westwood or Countax mower, this is the top end of collecting with a ride on mower. The sweeper has a roller so in addition you can get stripes on your lawn. These machines are usually 36 inch cut upwards and in addition have a 13hp engine or bigger.
The largest of these mowers may have a diesel engine and are suitable for up to 2 acres of grass. They operate by cutting the grass with usually 3 blades. The sweeper brushes pick grass up off the ground behind you & throws it into the collector bag. In addition the bottom of the sweeper has a heavy roller which uniquely flattens the cut grass. It therefore leaves stripes which many people find attractive to see. You will then need a grass heap somewhere in the corner or back of your garden to dump the cut grass.
A nice feature of the sweeper/collector is that it can be raised off the ground or even removed so you don’t have to collect all of the grass. You will get a huge amount of grass from over an acre of land. Collecting some on your nice piece of garden and leaving the rest on the ground may be advisable.
The sweeper/collector can cope with the grass being damp comparatively better than mowers with a chute (which can block). If used with the cutting deck disengaged it equally works well sweeping & collecting fallen leaves from the ground.
For people with over an acre of land which they are looking to cut we would recommend one of the larger machines. For 2 acres or more, a garden tractor with a tow behind topper or a local farmer with a tractor might be more cost efficient.
How can we help
If you are looking for a refurbished ride on mower, please get in touch to see what we have available. Our stock changes regularly during the spring & summer and above all we are always happy to help or advise. Our mowers are serviced with belts, batteries & bearings changed as needed. We deliver & demonstrate and are pleased to provide a warranty and great after sales service. See our Facebook page for our latest updates.