What do I need to know before I buy a garden tractor?

Honda Ride On Mowers

Garden tractors are now more popular than ever, and that could be because they are now more affordable than ever before or it could be because the latest designs means they are suitable for more compact gardens. Once you’ve used a garden tractor you will never want to return to your trusty lawnmower. Easier to operate and more efficient in every way – they really do put the fun back into gardening!

However, like with all garden machinery it needs to do its job and be the best option for you. So what do you need to consider before buying a garden tractor? Read our handy guide for help, tips and advice.

Don’t get too big for your boots!

Or rather, select a garden tractor that suits the size of your garden. If you have a large open plan garden then go for something with a wide cutting width, but if you have a garden with tight spaces or obstacles to mow round, consider something with a smaller cutting width. Remember if you have small spaces/gates to navigate around or through – it is best to measure them before you select your garden tractor just to be on the safe side. All measurements are included in the details on our website and if you’re not sure please ask us before you order.

Accessorize or not?

Many of our garden tractors come with additional accessories that can make your job easier, and sometimes can save you a packet as well, so always look for our special offers. Consider if you really need that accessory? Some are an optional extra therefore you can always buy at a later date if you decide it is needed.

Problems with transmission?

You can choose from hydrostatic and manual, in short the manual will be like driving a manual gear car, you use a clutch system to change gears, and the hydrostatic (more like an automatic car) is better for going round obstacles and may even feature a cruise control, great for those wide open spaces!

Cutting Blade positioning

This may seem self explanatory but in a nutshell if the cutting blades are at the front then you can easily trim underneath bushes and trees, and things like garden benches – which can save you time and effort as you probably won’t need to keep moving them every time you mow the lawn. If they are positioned under the driver’s seat (usually set to one side or the other) you can easily get up to edges and around borders. Professional gardeners believe that the front positioned blades give you increased visibility, however you must consider that these types often will not collect the grass clippings! If grass collection is important to you then you must make sure your chosen product offers this.

Rear Collect Garden TractorsEasy operation?

Consider your own strengths and capabilities when choosing your garden tractor. Is it easy to get on and off? Is it easy to operate? Are there too many buttons and levers? Some garden tractors have limited features and therefore less things to learn and operate. Choose your garden tractor depending on your needs and capabilities.

Rear collecting?

Decide whether or not to collect the grass clippings. A rear collecting garden tractor collects up the grass clippings into a collection bag as you mow, which you then empty, either by a lever, button or by physically taking the bag off and emptying it. In some cases you will want to mulch the clippings as this provides vital nutrients back to your grass. Your product may come with a mulching plug or you may have to buy one separately. They can cost in the region of £100 so it is worth checking.

Side discharge/mulching?

Mulching garden tractors cut up the grass clippings very finely so they disappear back into the garden to feed the soil and grass. They do such a great job that you will hardly notice them on your lawn. Side discharge tractors neatly cut and spread the grass so it can be left to wilt naturally. Mulching grass is a great feature as really saves time, in fact it can be more than 30% quicker than conventional methods as you don’t need to stop working to empty the collector; this also results in a significant fuel saving. Mulching grass allows the clippings to be recycled, improving the soil as they decompose forming a natural fertiliser high in potash and nitrogen. You will notice a marked improvement in your grass as this fertiliser takes effect over the course of the cutting season. Our range includes mulching side discharge tractors from leading manufacturers such as Mountfield, Lawnflite, MTD, Efco, Stiga, Viking and more.


It is highly recommended that you store your garden tractor in a secure shed. Covering and leaving outside may risk its longevity and performance. These garden tractors are considered a high risk item for thieves so make sure it is covered on your house insurance and if you think it is necessary you could buy some wheel clamps. Consider the space you are keeping it in, is the shed accessible and can you easily get the garden tractor in and out? Do you need a ramp?

Servicing and maintenance

Some manufacturers offer extended warranties which are really worth having. Sometimes you may need to take your garden tractor to be serviced to keep your warranty in place. Consider how you will do this? Always read the user’s manual that comes with your machine as it will outline your responsibilities as an owner and how often and how you need to maintain your garden tractor. In many cases you will have a local lawn mower company who will collect your tractor, service it and maintain it and deliver it back to you. If you live near us, we can do that for you. We have an excellent reputation and great customer service. Call us anytime to see what we can do for you.

Other small things to consider

  • How comfy is the seat?
  • Will I be able to get it into my garden?
  • How big is the collection bag?
  • Is it easy to clean and maintain?
  • How big is the fuel tank and how can I tell when it’s getting empty?
  • How easy is it to empty the clippings?
  • What are the safety features?
  • Am I getting good value for money?
  • Am I buying from a reputable company with a good reputation and excellent after-care? (If you’re buying from us, that would be a yes!)

Now you are ready to make an informed decision on what type of garden tractor to buy, the best advice we can give you is to make sure you buy from a reputable dealer – like us! We’ve been in the trade long enough to know that we can offer you great prices and a great service too. What are you waiting for? Call us today on 01263 820202 or 

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Alex is responsible for managing Just Lawnmowers website and blog. When not building websites he spends his time out walking in the beautiful North Norfolk countryside, gardening in his wild, sloping garden or enjoying a game of chess down at his local chess club!

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