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mowers lined up in the sun
Ride on mowers lined up in the sun

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, so a heap in the corner of your garden, where you drive & tip the grass works in many cases.  Some of these ride ons have bins on the back so if you don’t have or want 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 and maybe a bigger engine too, say 13-16hp.  The size of the engine becomes important when the deck gets bigger as a smaller engine will have to work harder to move the machine and turn 2-3 cutting blades. MTD, Honda, Hayter, Countax, Westwood & smaller John Deeres fit nicely into this bracket of mowers and gives you a few 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 on the ground.  Within this option there are further choices of 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 different blades on the machine and makes the engine work harder as it is cutting the grass twice, mulching is not really suitable for most people, as to work successfully the grass must be kept short, which means cutting as much as twice per week in the summer. Front cut mowers such as Stiga & Husqvarna are also available in a range of deck sizes and 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 can & will get blocked if the grass is quite long and/or damp.  It can be easily unblocked but watch out as if the grass gets compacted around the cutting blades it can stall them & 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 be useful at the first cut of the year. 

Be careful if using a fixed chute into a grass bag however, as if you remove the collector from the back of the mower, as well as shooting grass out of the back in a plume it can also shoot stones & other missiles at a rapid speed and could cause damage or injury.  Most mowers have a safety switch to stop the machine from cutting if you remove the bag, but we have seen them not working as they should.

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 as you can also get stripes on your lawn.  These machines are usually 36 inch cut upwards with a 13hp engine or bigger.  The largest of these mowers may even have a diesel engine and are suitable for up to around 2 acres of grass.  They operate by cutting the grass with usually 3 blades, then the sweeper brushes pick it up off the ground behind you & throws it into the collector bag.  The bottom of the sweeper has a heavy roller which flattens the cut grass leaving stripes which many people find attractive to see.  You will 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 so collecting some on your nice piece of garden and leaving the rest on the ground may be advisable.  The sweeper/collector can also cope with the grass being damp better than mowers with a chute (which can block) and if used with the cutting deck disengaged, works brilliantly at 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 or 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.

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 we are always happy to help or advise.  All our mowers have been serviced with belts, batteries & bearings changed as needed and we deliver & demonstrate and are pleased to provide a warranty and great after sales service.

To see our current ride on mowers available for sale, check out our mower catalogue