Best Lawn Tractor for Hills in 2019 – Buying Guide, Comparison & Reviews

Here are 5 best picks which we consider to be among the best ride on mowers for cutting lawns which have inclines

Best Lawn Tractor for Hills

There are many different things you have to consider before you decide which lawn mower to buy. Although the size of the lawn to be cut is a very important factor as is the number, type and location of any obstacles in that lawn but perhaps the most important factor which should first be thought of is the terrain, such as hills or any inclines.

Inclines which are not too steep can be mown but if the gradient is steep then any type of mower could be dangerous however some types of mower can be used on steeper inclines than others. A general rule of thumb is that walk behind mowers can be used on inclines up to 20 degrees, ride-on mowers on inclines up to 15 degrees and zero turn mowers up to 10 degrees. Although the walk behind mowers should be used across the slope, riding mowers should be used up and down but never use any mower on an incline if you have to keep shifting your weight to make the mower cut or you feel unsafe in any way.

Walking up and down an incline, let alone mowing an incline, can of course expend a lot of energy and so, providing the slope is not too severe, many people opt for a ride-on mower to make the task easier but not all of these types of mowers are as suitable for inclines as others. You will therefore have to consider which ride-on mower to buy.

1. The Hill Ready Husqvarna GTH52XLS

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Husqvarna GTH52XLS review

Owners have found that this mower can not only mow up hills with ease and at full speed but can also tow a trailer up those same hills. This is comfortable with ergonomic design, armrests and adjustable seat but its design can make it awkward for larger drivers to climb on and get seated.

This mower weighs over 800lbs and whilst that may seem heavy, it is designed for the more demanding tasks with a solid and durable chassis. To allow for better control on steeper inclines the mower has locking back wheels but considering it is designed for uphill work some owners thought it should have at least the fittings for a roll bar should they choose they need one or feel safer with one. With a cutting swath of 52” fewer ups and downs are needed.

With their ability to lock the rear wheels are excellent for hills however many owners have had trouble with the front wheels which apparently do not arrive adequately oiled.

Specifications

  • Engine: Briggs & Stratton,
    24 hp
  • Cutting width: 52″
  • Height of Cut: 1.5 – 4″
  • Tank Capacity: 4 gallon

Advantages

  • Heavy duty
  • Suitable for hilly terrain
  • Locking rear wheels
  • Ergonomic design

Disadvantages

  • Difficult to mount
  • Front wheels prone to damaging

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2. Convenient Cub Cadet XT1

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Cub Cadet XT1 review

This mower is very convenient as you can adjust forward speeds and change to reverse with just 2 foot pedals and not hand levers. The large fuel tank is also convenient as it can mow an acre with just a quarter tank so no need for repeated refueling stops.

With hydrostatic technology and a powerful engine this mower can cut most lawns and the mowing is made easier by the mower’s ability to turn sharply, allowing it to cut close to obstacles. The fact that the mower can mow in reverse can be a great time saver especially as the deck can be lifted when necessary, like when approaching larger roots.

The mower is sturdy except for the hood which is plastic but some owners have claimed this makes maintenance easier. The mower has been known to be prone to engine problems however, either shorts or oil leaks. The mower provides a clean cut whatever the grass or conditions but the mulching accessories are sold separately.

Specifications

  • Engine: Kohler, 18 hp
  • Cutting width: 42″
  • Height of Cut: 1″ – 4″
  • Tank Capacity: 3 gallon

Advantages

  • Rugged build
  • Good maneuverability
  • Cuts cleanly
  • Hydrostatic transmission

Disadvantages

  • Accessories for mulching sold separately
  • Engine prone to problems

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3. The Sporty Troy-Bilt TB42

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Troy-Bilt TB42 Review

This ride-on mower has a sporty look due to its step through frame which affords drivers extra leg room as well as giving the mower a slick appearance. As well as having extra leg room, drivers of this mower can enjoy soft touch steering, a seat with a high back and have an easy to use foot lever to control the hydrostatic transmission.

The smooth hydrostatic transmission allows for no clumsy clutching when changing speeds or switching from forward to reverse. The powerful 547cc engine is powerful enough for most tasks and 2 anti-scalp wheels assists in giving the mower extra traction. A 1.36 gallon fuel tank means fewer refueling stops and 6 adjustable cutting heights ensure an immaculate cut just the way you want it.

With the ability to start well and take tight cornering this mower is liked by most owners although some have mentioned it has a tendency to stop for no apparent reason. Although designed for mulching the mulching kit is sold separately.


Specifications

  • Engine: Briggs & Stratton,
    19 hp
  • Cutting width: 42″
  • Height of Cut: 1.5″ and 4.5″
  • Tank Capacity : 1.36 gallon

Advantages

  • Good leg room
  • 6 cutting heights
  • Anti-scalp wheels
  • Hydrostatic transmission

Disadvantages

  • Stops without warning
  • Mulching accessories sold separately

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4. Durable Craftsman T135

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craftsman t135 review

With a powerful 18.5 HP engine and reinforced front axle this mower is tough enough for most lawns which it can mow at 6 different speed settings. For extra durability is has been made with heavy duty components and the engine has been designed with overhead valves to lower vibration and afford excellent balance.

The relatively small cutting swath of 46” may make the mowing longer but the mower’s ability for bagging, mulch or side discharge will allow you to make up that time on the overall task. A hand lever can lower or raise the deck to adjust for differing cutting heights and the vented deck allows for a cleaner cut. A steel hood that helps to prevent damage to the engine is a potential help to its longevity.

When operating this mower is thought to be excellent but many owners have experienced more mechanical problems with this than they have other mowers.

Specifications

  • Engine: Briggs & Stratton,
    18.5 hp
  • Cutting width: 46″
  • Height of Cut: 1″ – 4″
  • Tank Capacity : 1.3 gallon

Advantages

  • Powerful
  • Robust
  • Durable
  • Well balanced
  • Little vibration

Disadvantages

  • Prone to mechanical problems

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5. Cruise with Husqvarna YTH24V48

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Husqvarna YTH24V48 review

To make life easier or mowing at least, as well as its other qualities this mower has an option for cruise control. With a 24 HP Briggs and Stratton V-Twin engine and smooth Hydrostatic transmission controlled by a foot peddle, this allows its owner to cruise along cutting a 48” swath for as long as it takes to cut their lawn.

The adjustable seat and ergonomic controls including steering wheel make this one of the most comfortable mowers to operate. Air induction into the deck producing a better air flow helps to keep the cut constant and it has a fender mounted adjuster for cutting heights.

The mower is rugged and can be used on most types of grass and terrain however some owners have noted that when used to mow longer grass, the belt is susceptible to breaking. This is a fairly recent problem as the older models did not require belt drive.

Designed to be able to tow and mulch however, the necessary accessories to afford these have to be bought separately.

Specifications

  • Engine: Briggs & Stratton,
    24 hp
  • Cutting width: 48″
  • Height of Cut: 1.5″ – 4″
  • Tank Capacity : 2.5 gallon

Advantages

  • Cruise control
  • Comfortable to drive
  • Ergonomic
  • Cutting height adjustment
  • Vented deck

Disadvantages

  • Accessories not included
  • Unreliable belt on newer models

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Buyer’s Guide

Since the introduction of Zero Turn Radius (ZTR) mowers lawn owners have been excited and cannot wait to buy one however, although they are very good and ideal for many lawns, including those with slight inclines, they are not recommended for lawns with steeper inclines.

A ZTR mower has front wheels that can turn in opposite directions allowing the mower to be able to turn perfectly but on steeper inclines one or both of those front wheels may lose contact with the ground rendering the mower uncontrollable, similar to the front wheels on a shopping trolley.

Even with a ride-on mower many people consider mowing the lawn a chore they could do without and so obviously they often look for the fastest machine which for most lawns is fine but for lawns with inclines, the highest speed you will use is perhaps 5mph and so speed is not the first concern.

Maneuverability is also a concern as most lawns have obstacles which need to be navigated around and so this is also an important factor for a mower which will be used on slopes. However, the mower being powerful enough to mow uphill and its ability to keep traction with the ground are the two factors which should most concern owners of lawns with hills.

Mowers with engines in the rear are usually large and heavy which may mean they are less likely to flip over however, their front wheels may more easily leave the ground causing problems even if they are rear wheel drive. Smaller mowers may therefore be the best option provided they are powerful enough for the task.

Maneuverability should also be a factor though especially as many inclines have ponds at the bottom and it would not be the first time a mower has ended up in a pond due to its inability to turn in time at the bottom of a slope. This is also due of course to the fact that riding mowers should be used up and down slopes to try and ensure that both their front wheels remain on the ground.

As all lawns are different in terms of terrain, it is impossible to recommend one particular model or type of mower for all lawns, plus of course there is always an element of personal preference but in the case of hilly terrains, personal preferences should always take second place to the factors mentioned above due to the safety aspect.

It is important even before considering which mower to buy, to know the gradient of the slopes on your lawn. A new mower’s handbook should note what gradient of slopes that particular mower is suitable for and planning to use on steeper inclines is a very dangerous practice which should be avoided at all costs.

There are many different ride-on mowers available today and so among the choices there is certainly one which will meet your particular needs regardless of the size or terrain of your lawn, just take the time to research as many as necessary.

Conclusion

Today there are an increasing number of accidents which occur that involve lawn mowers and sadly many of those accidents involve children. It is now estimated that lawn mower accidents account for the need for children to have amputations more than car accidents or any other cause. This means that lawn owners need to not just ensure they buy a mower which will mow their lawn the most efficiently and neatly but also ensure that they buy the correct mower for the task, hopefully avoiding unnecessary accidents.

Of course it is unlikely that an operator will be involved in an accident if they are not actually riding but and so perhaps robotic lawn mowers may be the solution. There are already in existence robotic lawn mowers and some are designed for large grassed areas and also grass areas with inclines. These may be safer for the operator but the mowers could be involved in accidents with others, especially if the mower is out of sight of the operator, perhaps on the far side of a hill.

As with ride-on mowers though, if buying a robotic mower you should first look at the manual to see what gradients of lawns it can be safely used on and so you will once again need to know the gradients on your lawns before doing anything else.