Owning a large estate or garden can be a rewarding experience, but looking after it may prove to be troublesome if you are the only one doing it. This is made especially difficult if the estate has a hilly terrain.
Riding lawnmowers work best for large areas, but not all riding mowers are made for the demanding task of maintaining hills and mounds. The best riding lawn mower for hills will have to be powerful enough to scale slopes and sturdy enough to not topple over.
Mowing a yard with an even landscape is considerably different from mowing one riddled with hills. Riding lawn mowers are powerful machines that are specifically designed to undertake the maintenance of uneven yards.
We combed through dozens of riding lawn mowers to pick out eight of the best riding lawn mowers for rough terrain.
Quick Overview – Top 8 Best Riding Lawn Mower for Hills
- Husqvarna Z254 Zero Turn Riding Mower – This mower packs the ultimate power for all yards, big and small. Pitch it against any terrain and you will not be disappointed with the results.
- Ariens IKON-X 52” Riding Mower – The reliability of an Ariens design and the power of a Kawasaki engine make it one of the most powerful mowers on the market.
- Snapper 2911525BVE Classic RER Riding Mower – The perfect compromise between form and function, this lawn mower can maneuver steep hills with considerable ease.
- Craftsman T225 Riding Lawn Mower – This mower packs a 19HP powerful gas engine and a large 46-inch deck at an incredible price, making it a bargain for any estate owner.
- Snapper 360Z Riding Lawn Mower – This rear-engine lawn mower offers great versatility and compatibility with a number of aftermarket accessories to make your job that much easier.
- Simplicity Courier 2691477 Riding Mower – The Simplicity mower is as simple to operate and control as its name suggests, and it is just as comfortable with an exclusive rear suspension.
- Husqvarna LTH1738 Riding Mower – This sturdy riding mower packs the power of three: a powerful hydrostatic engine, powerful cutting blades, and powerful controls.
- Greenworks GLM801601 Cordless Lawn Mower – This powerful battery-powered lawn mower is great for small hills and knolls in your garden and for times when the riding mower is overkill.
Have a look at the key features of best riding lawn mower for hills:
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Best Riding Lawn Mowers for Rough Terrain Reviews
Hills and uneven landscapes can prove to be a challenge for regular mowers as they possess neither the engine nor the cutting capabilities to undertake such demanding tasks.
Mowers that can work on slopes are built with specific design considerations, which allow them to trim glass equally from all areas of the rough terrain.
If you are in the market to buy the best riding lawn mower for hills, you would be looking at a considerable investment.
However, not all jobs and yard types require the most powerful mower. We have reviewed a selection of eight lawn mowers that are sure to satisfy a variety of needs.
8. Greenworks GLM801601 Cordless Lawn Mower – Cordless but Powerful
The Greenworks GLM801601 is a sleek cordless lawnmower with a 21-inch cutting area. Not all yards will be large enough to require a riding mower, which is where this one shines. It works great from small lawns with mild slopes.
The Greenworks GLM801601 works on a massive 80V lithium-ion battery. It can run for about an hour on a single charge, which is sufficient for maintaining an average mid-sized lawn.
The wide deck and steel blades do a great job of giving the lawn a clean cut without having to go over the area multiple times.
Furthermore, seven height adjustments give users more control over the look they want to achieve for their yard.
Why We Like It
The incredible maneuverability of this machine has made it a favorite among users. Its large wheels and slim design make it easy to control and move around.
Customers also appreciate its long runtime made possible by the 80V battery.
A customer has also complimented its power. Being a cordless lawn mower, customers do not expect it to deliver a lot of power, but the Greenworks GLM801601 exceeds expectations. A powerful motor and sharp steel blades allow for a fine cut in a single pass.
Some customers noted a few issues with the customer service and warranty claims being slightly delayed.
However, Greenworks has been known to honor warranties, so buyers will not face any issues in claiming one with a little bit of patience.
Additionally, it is important to note that this mower is not self-propelled. Although it is great for mild hills and slopes, using it on steeper slopes will prove to be a challenge.
- Long-lasting battery
- Easy maneuverability
- Powerful performance
- Comes with two batteries
- Not suitable for steep slopes
- Only one battery can be charged at a
The Greenworks GLM801601 is a powerful and affordable lawn mower for mid-sized lawns with mild hills and knolls.
It works great for gardens that are not too big and will serve you well if the size of your garden does not merit a large riding mower.
7. Husqvarna LTH1738 Riding Mower – Great Small-Job Mower for Beginners
The Husqvarna LTH1738 is a compact lawn tractor suitable for small to mid-sized yards. Due to its small form factor, this mower can handle steep slopes with relative ease. It is also very easy to control for beginners.
The LTH1738 comes with a powerful 17HP Loncin hydrostatic engine. This is a powerhouse in a small body, so this lawn tractor faces no trouble climbing over steep hills and large obstacles.
It also features a 38-inch cutting area, which should be suitable for most small to medium-sized yards.
It can also be used for larger areas because of its powerful engine but will require a few extra passes to cover the entirety of the area.
Why We Like It
There are a few things to appreciate in this powerful but small lawn tractor. Customers like the tractor’s ease of use and great control.
It is an ideal mower for new users and will help them get accustomed to riding mowers.
The LTH1738 has a small form factor as well, and customers appreciate that it does not achieve this at the expense of performance.
The powerful 17HP engine does a great job trimming dense vegetation and has greatly satisfied users when scaling uneven terrains.
Some customers did observe that the machine could do with a larger cutting area. Its 38-inch cutting area is smaller than that of other lawn mowers in this price.
However, a larger cutting area would come at the expense of size and maneuverability. This lawn tractor is designed for smaller areas, and a larger design would hamper its intended purpose.
- Easy to use
- 16-degree pivot
- Powerful steering wheel
- Small cutting area
This lawn tractor is great for uneven yards that are not too large. A small cutting area makes it unsuitable for larger yards. Moreover, its powerful steering wheel allows for greater control, making it an ideal choice for first-time users.
6. Simplicity Courier 2691477 Riding Mower – Powerful Mower at a Premium Price
Simplicity’s Courier 2691477 is a powerhouse zero-turn mower with a 21.5HP engine and a large 48-inch cutting area.
It boasts a number of value-adding features such as sturdy metal frames, strong front axles, and an incredible rear suspension, providing added comfort on longer jobs.
The Courier 2691477 comes with a powerful 21.5HP engine. The machine also features a push-start button, and there are no chokes to make ignition as easy as possible.
The sturdy steel deck houses three blades that can trim a 48-inch area. This makes the mower suitable for large areas and more demanding tasks.
The mower also comes with an incredibly effective rear suspension system that claims to reduce the effect of bumps and impacts by 23%.
This adds greater comfort to mowing tasks, especially when working long jobs on a large uneven terrain.
Why We Like It
The Simplicity Courier 2691477 is a powerful riding mower that users love for its precision and control.
It manages to finish larger tasks in significantly less time owing to its powerful engine and large clearing area.
The mower’s great comfort factor has also been applauded by many customers. Not only does the mower make quick work of demanding tasks, but it also makes sure that users don’t feel the brunt of the work. This makes for less stressful mowing routines on bumpy surfaces.
Although customers love the Courier for its performance and comfort, they do not note that it is slightly expensive when compared to other options. There are mowers with equally powerful engines available for far less.
However, it should be noted that the power of the engine alone does not determine the machine’s performance.
Several other factors like the deck, quality of blades, and suspension system are also essential components, all of which the lawn mower excels in.
- Comfortable suspension system
- Powerful 21.5HP engine
- Large cutting area
- Durable body
- A bit costly
- Bulky exterior
For anyone willing to spend a few extra dollars, Courier 2691477 is a great option. It delivers powerful performance when trimming dense grass and working on steep slopes.
5. Snapper 360Z Riding Lawn Mower – Commercial-Grade Performance for Less
The Snapper 360Z is a unique zero-turn lawn mower that has garnered a lot of attention not because of any extraordinary features but for its strong set of specs. This machine is as suited to personal use as it is to more demanding commercial jobs.
The Snapper 360Z features a 23HP 724cc Kawasaki engine. Kawasaki is a reliable name in gas engines, and the engine in the 360Z does not disappoint.
It perfectly balances power, durability, and noise to deliver a powerful and reliable performance.
Despite packing some decent horsepower, the engine manages to be quieter than some other alternatives.
The Snapper 360Z also comes with a 12V dry battery to help with the ignition. The battery is housed under the side, beside the fuel tank.
Why We Like It
With this mower, Snapper pays attention to basic features that make the mowing task much easier. These include a removable cargo bed with a steel railing that can hold a maximum weight of 50 lbs.
This can be used to carry around maintenance tools and anything else, meaning you can even take it for a spin to the nearest hardware store.
Customers also love the lawn mower’s sturdy metal body. The fully welded steel frame and reinforced front axle greatly increase the machine’s durability.
Despite its praiseworthy performance, customers did note a couple of annoyances with the mower.
The cutting height needs to be adjusted manually, which is troublesome if you are used to adjusting the cutting height between tasks.
Although this is an annoyance, the height adjustment does not take a lot of time or effort and can be adjusted quite easily. Some customers also noted that the seat can be uncomfortable for larger people.
- Commercial-grade build
- 23HP engine
- Large cargo bed
- Manual cutting height adjustment
The Snapper 360Z is a commercial-grade lawnmower in an average homeowner’s budget. It delivers on what it promises and gets the job done with considerable ease.
4. Craftsman T225 Riding Lawn Mower – Cost-Effective Heavy-Duty Lawn Tractor
The Craftsman T225 is an affordable lawn tractor featuring a powerful engine from the reliable manufacturer Briggs and Stratton.
The engine, coupled with a large 46-inch cutting area, makes this mower great for medium-sized yards. It will hold its own against a larger yard too, albeit at a slower pace.
The T225 comes with a 19HP Briggs and Stratton engine. Unlike some other regular 19HP engines, Briggs and Stratton optimize this one to provide a considerable amount of power.
The engine also offers ReadyStart technology, so a single turn of the key is enough to get the mower going.
The machine’s 46-inch cutting area is also a reasonable size for most yards.
It may be smaller than some other larger lawn tractors, but when compared to some competitive products at a similar price, it delivers better performance than many.
Why We Like It
In addition to its engine performance, customers have also been impressed by the T225’s hydrostatic transmission operated through a responsive foot pedal.
The transmission delivers a smooth performance comparable to that of several more expensive mowers.
The lawn mower’s padded seat is also a feature that has been frequently complimented by customers.
The seat is quite comfortable and provides sufficient padding to make long jobs less uncomfortable. This is important for a mower that treads uneven terrains.
The mower’s efficiency and ease of use left customers generally satisfied, but a couple of users noted that the seat became loose and started spinning in the middle of a task.
This issue occurs because the seat needs to be manually fitted to the mower when the machine is purchased.
When the seat is not properly fitted according to the instructions provided by the manufacturer or if the screws have not been properly tightened,
The seat can get loose during use. Following manufacturer instructions to properly fasten the seat should help rectify this.
- Easy to assemble
- Responsive transmission
- Great maneuverability
- Requires proper adjustments before use
The Craftsman T225 is a homeowner’s dream. At a price that is easier on the pocket as compared to other alternatives.
This lawn tractor delivers great performance and incredible control. Its reverse mowing function also simplifies going over the same area multiple times.
3. Snapper 2911525BVE Classic RER Riding Mower – Compact but Powerful
This rear-engine mower from Snapper has attracted quite a following since it first came out a long time ago.
As the classic in its name suggests, this is one of Snapper’s older models. Despite its age, it still manages to stay relevant with a powerful performance in a small form factor.
This Snapper Classic comes with an 11.5HP 4-cycle Briggs and Stratton engine. It delivers an impressive performance that has carved out a market for rear-engine tractors in a market teeming with zero-turn mowers and garden tractors.
Its small form factor and a five-speed variable drive system make it incredibly versatile. The system allows users to adjust the mower’s speed without stopping between tasks.
Its lightweight also enables it to keep performing even in smaller areas and on difficult surfaces.
Why We Like It
This Classic mower has become a favorite due to its ease of use and easy-to-access controls.
Customers note that the lawn mower shines in everyday garden maintenance tasks that do not merit the use of a heavier garden tractor.
The small form factor also adds to the Snapper Classic’s appeal. The smaller build makes it faster and allows for space-efficient storage.
The mower features a vertical stand-on-edge system that allows it to be stored in a considerably smaller space than a regular rear-engine mower.
Being one of the older designs, customers do complain about a louder engine than most newer models.
This is to be expected, though, considering its age. Its appeal lies in other features likes its versatility and easy usage.
Some customers have also noted that the mower could have benefitted from a slightly larger cutting area.
The smaller cutting area, however, does not pose much problem as this mower was not designed for large yards and works incredibly well on medium-sized ones.
- Compact storage
- Easy to use
- Can handle many slopes and hills
- Durable build
- Small cutting area
- Louder than other models
The Snapper 2911525BVE Classic is for the days when you want to do a little bit of maintenance.
Larger riding mowers are not meant to be used every day, while this lightweight and reliable machine are easy enough to be taken out for everyday use.
2. Ariens IKON-X 52” Riding Mower – Powerful Performance and Great Maneuverability
Ariens IKON-X is a great zero-turn lawn mower for personal use that comes with a professional-grade build.
Its sturdy deck, solid blades, an arched padded seat, and incredibly easy-to-use design are complemented by its durable steel build. This ensures greater durability come rain or sunshine.
The IKON-X features a 23HP Kawasaki engine. This is a 4-cycle commercial-grade engine that is easy to start and delivers a tremendous performance.
The engine also offers single-stage air filtration that prevents buildups under continued use. This enhances the overall performance of the mower.
Another feature that makes the IKON-X truly worthwhile is its 4.5-inch deep-fabricated deck made from 10-gauge steel.
This design allows for better airflow, which essentially boosts the mower’s performance in all weather conditions. The build quality and design also offer greater durability.
Why We Like It
The performance of the IKON-X has not attracted many negative comments, and neither should it with its powerful engine and durable steel deck.
Customers especially comment on the machine’s comfortable arched sear and armrests. The design is quite ergonomic and reduces stress on uneven terrains.
The mower’s easy-to-access controls and simple usage have also attracted considerable praise from users. The controls are easy to understand and smartly placed within hand’s reach on the control panel.
For such a versatile and powerful mower, customers did notice the absence of a few essential features. One such feature is headlights.
The mower does not come fitted with a headlight, which limits its usage in low-light conditions.
Customers have also noted that the IKON-X is nosier than other machines in a similar price range.
This is most likely because of the powerful engine it houses and the action of the large cutting blades that allow it to perform a finer cut.
- Powerful engine
- Durable build quality
- Easy-to-reach controls
- Three-surface blades
- A bit noisy
- No headlights
The Ariens IKON-X is cheaper than many other mowers we have seen with similar specs.
It is great for people with large yards owing to its wide cutting area and efficient cutting performance, reducing the need to go over the same area twice.
1. Husqvarna Z254 Zero Turn Riding Mower – Powerful and Built to Last
The Husqvarna Z254 has become quite popular because of its precision controls, smart maneuvering, and powerful performance.
This mower was built to drive over all types of bumps, hills, and knolls without toppling over. It is also incredibly sturdy and manages to look the part.
The Z254 comes fitted with a 26HP Kohler engine, which is one of the most powerful in this list and on the market.
Despite pumping out so much horsepower, the engine is surprisingly fuel-efficient in comparison to other similar engines.
Husqvarna has also added a powerful fan for the engine that helps it cool down on heavier jobs. The fan also helps lift the grass under the blades, allowing for a much finer cut.
The smarter cooling system also ensures that the lawnmower continues to operate longer at maximum efficiency.
Why We Like It
The Z254 is a considerable investment, and customers who have invested have not been disappointed.
Users praise the mower for its premium build quality and durability. The reinforced cutting deck also prevents damage to the machine’s internals.
The lawn mower’s ease of use has also been complimented by customers.
Most professional-grade mowers that offer this much performance come with complicated controls, but the Z254 is a refreshing break from pace.
Users of the mower have observed that it requires frequent maintenance to perform at optimal efficiency.
Although you should perform periodic maintenance on your mower anyway, more frequent maintenance could be a deal-breaker for less concerned users.
The Z254 is built like a tank, so it will go over bumps and hills as a tank would. However, customers observed that this comes at the price of maneuverability.
Its sturdy build prevents it from cutting sharp corners which could be a necessity in small spaces.
- Efficient, easy-to-start engine
- Powerful fan
- Durable build
- Lacks maneuverability
- Large, clunky build
The Husqvarna Z254 is hands down the best riding lawn mower for hills that you can buy and also one of the most expensive.
It is designed for performance, durability, and comfort and will serve you faithfully for many years.
You have gone through some of the best riding lawn mowers for a number of tasks. This will have given you a brief idea of the different form factors and engine types that riding mowers come with.
It is easy to get excited in your search for the best riding lawn mower for hills and spend a few thousand dollars on the most powerful machine that your budget allows.
Before you go on and purchase a mower, it is important to know which riding lawn mowers will fulfill your needs better than others.
More often than not, the best choices are not ones that are the most expensive but those that offer you the best possible performance for your needs at a price that does not break the bank.
The following are some recommendations on what to look for when selecting the best riding lawn mower for hills.
The Types of Riding Lawn Mower:
There are three basic types of riding lawn mowers: basic lawn tractors, rear-engine mowers, and zero-turn mowers.
Each type of lawnmower has its own special characteristics and set of features. We will look at all three in a bit more detail to give you a better idea of which lawn mower will be best for your requirements.
Basic Lawn and Garden Tractors
What determines how efficiently a mower trims the grass is the engine it packs. The more powerful the engine (or in other words, the higher the HP rating), the more capable the lawn mower is going to be at carrying out the maintenance job.
Lawn tractors are the most powerful among all three types of lawn mowers and also the most expensive.
If you are a professional landscaper who requires a reliable mower for heavy maintenance tasks or if you have a large estate to take care of, lawn and garden tractors are the ideal choice for you.
Lawn tractors are built to withstand continued use and the test of time. They are also designed to provide maximum comfort for longer jobs with suspensions and other features to make the task easier.
Lawn tractors can also accept a variety of aftermarket attachments, like snow blowers and tillers, which provide greater versatility for a variety of jobs. If you want a machine that does more than just trim the grass, lawn tractors are for you.
These mowers are comparable to linemen on the football field – well-built and strong, ready to undertake those rough takedowns, and considerably heavier than other players on the field.
Their massive size, sturdy build, and large engine make them pretty heavy. This is great in some instances but not so great in others.
Due to their heavy build, they will not tip over, even when scaling steep inclines. This gives rest to a prevailing fear among users of riding lawn mowers.
However, the heavy build also makes them incredibly slow. The maximum speed at which these machines will go is often only as fast as the average walking speed of a person.
Rear-Engine Lawn Mowers
The best rear-engine lawn mowers generally come at the same price as a mid-range lawn tractor. Thus, they are comparably cheaper, and this lower price comes with a few compensations.
Rear-engine mowers have a smaller form factor than lawn tractors and come with less powerful engines. This means that they tend to struggle with thicker and dense grass, reducing their effectiveness in demanding jobs.
However, because the engines are not as powerful, rear-engine mowers are not only cheaper than lawn tractors but also more cost-effective.
They don’t consume as much fuel, which makes them more effective than lawn tractors in the longer run. They are great for people who are worried about their expenses.
Their smaller form factor also brings another advantage. These riding mowers are faster than lawn tractors and tend to finish the job more quickly than their heavier counterparts.
This is great for users who do not want to spend hours trimming the lawn. Their lighter weight also allows them to scale hills and rough terrains more easily than lawn tractors.
Zero-turn mowers are a comparably newer addition to the list. Ever since their introduction, they have managed to garner considerable praise and support in their favor. This is because these machines are the perfect coalition of speed and power.
This type offers great maneuverability and as the name suggests, it can do zero-degree turns. These lawnmowers are capable of spinning around at 180 degrees and changing direction on the spot.
This incredible maneuverability comes coupled with the ability to take on powerful engines. Some zero-turn mowers come with engines as powerful as 30HP, bringing them on par with lawn tractors.
Despite the powerful engine, they are much lighter than lawn tractors and faster than rear-engine mowers. Some zero-turn mowers can be driven as fast as 20 mph.
This means that these tractors are great for larger estates and will get the job done faster than lawn tractors or rear-engine mowers. Zero-turn mowers also work well on uneven terrains and can easily scale a number of obstacles.
This is made possible by their front-caster wheels that also allow for those sharp turns we discussed.
This zero-turn maneuverability and sharp turns allow users to work them around trees and flowerbeds without ruining the landscape.
Most zero-turn lawn mowers feature levers instead of a steering wheel, while some models do come with a traditional steering wheel.
Like the rear-engine mowers, they cannot use aftermarket attachments, making their usage considerably limited.
However, if mowing is all you need to do, other alternatives cannot beat these mowers in terms of speed and maneuverability.
They are also very stable, which reduces the risk of them tipping over even when scaling steep inclines.
These machines are generally very expensive but are the best option if you have a large estate, the yard has a hilly or rough terrain, and your budget allows for it.
Riding Lawn Mower for Hills (FAQs)
The category of lawnmowers is an extensive one, and it is understandable if you still have a lot of confusion.
You will be able to find a number of online forums of like-minded landscaping enthusiasts who will be able to help you with your questions and queries.
However, it is often quicker to go through frequently asked questions as the chances are that your query has already been addressed by someone at some point. We answer some of the most burning queries below.
✅ Why can’t I just use the most expensive push-mower instead?
Push mowers are great maintenance tools, and some of the most expensive ones are quite powerful. It is also true that even the most expensive push mower will not equal the price of a mid-ranged riding mower.
However, different tools are made for different purposes and they work best when used for their intended purpose. You will not use a sandwich maker to toast bread, although you could if you wanted to. Similarly, more expensive push mowers are designed for smaller lawns and front yards.
Using a push mower for trimming a larger yard or more dense grass will overwork its internals and damage the engine. It will also take you considerably longer and require more effort to mow a large piece of land with a small push mower, even if it is self-propelled.
✅ How should riding mowers be maintained?
Riding mowers are essentially small vehicles and like all gas-powered vehicles, the engine will require regular oil changes, valve cleanings, and other essential maintenance. Also, because the riding mower tends to be used in large areas, undergoing considerable stress, some parts of the machine would need to be replaced from time to time. These include the cutting blades, the discharge cover, grass catcher and the trail.
It is important to check the integrity of the mower’s components as soon as you feel the performance deteriorating. Using the machine with damaged parts or parts that are not performing optimally can cause lasting damage to other components.
✅ Are riding mowers safe to be used on slopes and hills?
Riding mowers that are designed for hills are perfectly safe (see our selection of the best riding lawn mowers for rough terrain). However, even the best lawn mower will not work on all terrains.
When using a riding mower, be careful that you:
- don’t use it on hills that are too steep or else you risk the mower tipping over unless the mower expressly advertises otherwise;
- don’t use the mower on a slope when it is too wet or else the mower may slide when brakes are applied.
All the lawn mowers on this list will work best for some type of yard and garden. It is important to know the type and size of your yard and then determine the mower that will work best.
You should also ideally ensure that you are not spending more than you need to for your yard type.
If budget is not an issue, the Husqvarna Z254 is the best riding lawn mower for hills and large estates due to its powerful engine and fast speed. For mid-sized yards that do not have dense vegetation or steep hills, the Snapper 2911525BVE Classic Rear-Engine Mower is a powerful and versatile machine.
The Craftsman T225 also deserves an honorable mention for its sturdy build and powerful engine, making it a great riding mower for more demanding jobs.