If you are lucky enough to have a multi-acre property to your name, you will surely want to take good care of it. Land like that has the potential to not only earn money, but to make cherished family memories as well. However, maintaining 3-5 acres of grass can be a challenge. You really need a riding lawn mower or else a pull-behind mower attachment that works with your existing tractor. There are many different options available for each type, but we are going to make it easier by doing the research for you. Read on to get five choices for best lawn mower for 3 acres to 5 acres, along with all the info you need to make your choice.
Choosing The Right Riding Mower
There are several factors to consider before making your choice.
Size of yard/mower
Riding mowers come in multiple sizes, including compact and extra-large models. Choosing the right one is a matter of assessing not only the size of your yard, but also its contours. In general, if your yard is large and open, you can get a mower with a big cutting swath to get the job done quickly. Cutting decks on riding or tow-behind mowers usually range from about 30” to 50” wide.
However, if your yard is oddly shaped or has a lot of obstructions like trees, fences, shrubs, or landscaping, you will do better with a smaller mower that can maneuver around these features. A mower with a cutting swath between 30” and 40” is ideal for this purpose.
Grade of land
If your land is relatively flat, you’ve got nothing to worry about. Any model of riding or pull-behind mower will work just fine for your property. But if the land has a significant grade or multiple hills, you’ll want to choose a bit more carefully.
Look for a mower with a wide stance, lower center of gravity, and some kind of traction control. Those categorized as “yard tractors” usually fit the bill for uneven terrain.
The transmission is what transfers power from the mower’s engine to its wheels, creating the necessary forward or reverse movement. In newer riding mowers, you can find manual, automatic, or hydrostatic transmissions. Your best type of transmission depends a lot on how often you mow, the layout of your yard, and your experience level with riding mowers.
Manual (or gear-driven)
A manual, or gear-driven, transmission is basically the “original” type of transmission. Much like a manual car, you’ll need to shift gears on this type of mower as you change speed. Manual transmissions are quite durable, but may be a hassle if your lawn has a lot of trees and landscaping to navigate around. Back on the plus side, though, manual transmission mowers tend to be a bit cheaper than those with automatic or hydrostatic transmissions. If you have a wide open, flat lawn, a manual might be ideal because you won’t have to do much shifting anyway.
Automatic transmission mowers, like automatic cars, make your job easier because they automatically shift gears as necessary. Automatic transmissions use a belt and variable pulley system to transfer power from the engine to the mower’s wheels. There is no need to shift gears or use the clutch. An automatic transmission riding lawn mower is a bit more expensive, but may be worth it to make your job considerably easier.
Hydrostatic transmissions represent the top of the line in terms of riding mowers. They are the most powerful on the market and use fluids to shift power from the engine to the wheels of your mower. With no belts and no need to depress a pedal to shift gears, you get the smoothest ride on the market with a hydrostatic transmission. You can also count on a very long transmission life. However, the trade-off comes with the steep price tag, and you will also need more gas and more routine maintenance with a hydrostatic transmission.
There are also three main types of body configuration for riding lawn mowers. They are rear engine, lawn and garden tractors, and zero turning radius (ZTR) mowers.
Configured just as it sounds, these mowers have their engines in the back. That makes them smaller and ideal for yards where you’ll need to make narrow passes. These mowers cost less and take up less room in storage, but aren’t designed to pull any kind of attachment. If you’ll want to do that for any purpose, it’s best to get a larger mower.
Lawn & garden tractors
Lawn & garden tractors are built solidly to provide you a greater range of usage possibilities. If you ever want to pull a mower attachment or a wagon, go for one of these tough machines. Lawn & garden tractors have large and powerful engines and usually feature a wide cutting swath, but on the flipside, are not the most agile machines. If you need a high speed mower or have a lot of landscaping in your yard, this might not be the ideal choice for you.
Zero Turn mowers
These sleek machines are high-performance models that power through mowing at up to 8 mph and can turn on a dime. Their design allows for nimble 360 degree turns and easy maneuverability. They may be the most efficient mowers in terms of time spent, but there is a learning curve to operating one. Zero Turn mowers are also more expensive, and cannot be used to tow anything because of their more delicate hydrostatic motors.
Top 5 Best Lawn Mower For 3 acres to 5 acres - Comparison Table
Have we helped you decide on the features necessary for your best lawn mower for 3 acres to 5 acres? Here are some quick specs on five top reviewed models.
21” x 7
1 year reel
2 years frame
Dig deeper with our in-depth reviews of 5 lawn mowers capable of taking down 3-5 acres without a hitch.
1 Troy-Bilt 382cc 30-Inch Premium Neighborhood Riding Lawn Mower
Troy-Bilt makes a nice compact mower for large acreage of relatively flat land. Its 18” turning radius may not be ideal for yards with a lot of landscaping, but will take down your open spaces with ease. The 30” cutting swath is adequate though it does fall on the smaller side in terms of a riding lawn mower. The benefit of this Troy-Bilt, beyond reliable operation, is the ease of storage.
It is powered by a 382cc Auto Choke OHV engine and can reach speeds of 4.25 mph rolling forward. This mower has a 6-speed transmission and a 1.3 gallon gas tank with a viewing window so you can tell when you need to fill up. There are 5 blade settings so that you may customize the preferred height of your grass. The front wheels are 13x5” and the rear wheels are larger at 16x6.5” – all four are built rugged to stand the test of time.
In terms of ergonomics, the seat supports you to the mid-back area and the 13” steering wheel is padded for comfort. The manual power takeoff allows for a smooth and rapid start. As might be expected, though, the machine produces a fair amount of vibration while operating. The user manual reports that this mower can handle grades of up to 12%, but some users have indicated that they don’t feel secure on grades over 10%.
62 x 34 x 26 inches
2 year warranty
- Light and compact; easy storage
- Starts easily
- Able to mow even in reverse
- Limited ability on hills
- Shifting gears can be tricky
- Service may be difficult to access in very rural areas
2 Husqvarna MZ61, 61 in. 27 HP Briggs & Stratton Zero Turn Riding Mower
If you are looking for a riding lawn mower with all the bells and whistles, this Husqvarna model could be the ticket. It is a Zero Turn mower with a huge 61” cutting swath and 3 blade cutting system. It has a 27 hp Briggs and Stratton Endurance V-Twin engine with a hydrostatic transmission. One of the nicest aspects of the Husqvarna is the pedal-assisted cutting deck lift. This allows you to precisely set the blade height right from the driver’s seat.
The frame is heavy duty and the oversized chassis along with large tires provides superior strength and a smooth ride. This mower also has a commercially rated hydraulic system. But when you’re done looking under the hood, you’ll be impressed by the ergonomic extras. The Husqvarna offers a high seatback with armrests, as well as an adjustable steering wheel.
However, on the downside, this model does not have a spring-mounted seat, so you are likely to experience some bumps and jolts while traversing rugged landscape. There is also no low gas light on the dash to help you determine when to refuel.
In terms of maintenance, the foot pan is removable for easy access to deck belt pulleys and spindles. For more in-depth maintenance, Husqvarna offers a three year warranty for personal use. The machine is also considered appropriate as an entry-level commercial riding lawn mower, though the warranty for this type of use is only one year.
75.5 x 76 x 42 inches
3 year warranty (personal); 1 year commercial
- Sturdy construction
- Handles and maneuvers beautifully
- Huge 61” cutting swath
- May slide on steep downgrades
- No low gas indicator or washout hose connectors
- Skid marks possible with inexperienced users
3 Ariens IKON-X 52" Zero Turn Mower 23hp Kawasaki FR691 - Series #915223
Another great zero turn model is the Ariens IKON-X. It is sturdily built with a 10-gauge steel frame and its high-backed padded seat keeps users comfortable while mowing. The engine is a powerful 23 hp/726 cc Kawasaki FR V-Twin.
The impressive deck provides a 52” cutting swath. The blades are slightly offset so as to extend further on one side than the other – this allows for clean cutting right up to edges. There is a 4-point dual arm deck hanging system controlled by a dial for height selection.
One negative point for some people is that this mower is not available for sale in California. That means that it is not the most fuel-efficient model around; there are certainly greener options. However, users have no complaints about the way it does its job, describing the results as maintaining the lawn “like a carpet.”
There is a mulching kit available for purchase separately, but no bagger. The mower arrives fully assembled and users report that it handles beautifully. The product comes with a nice 3-year warranty.
78 x 41 x 64 inches
3 year warranty
- Beautiful results
- Easy to edge mow
- Zero turn radius
- Poorer fuel efficiency
- No bag available
- Mulching kit sold separately
4 Swisher FC10544BS 10.5 HP 44-Inch Finish Cut Trail Mower
If you have a multi-acre lawn, chances are that you already own a tractor. If that’s the case, you may want to purchase a tow-behind mower. This Swisher model has a 44” cutting swath, but even better, features an articulating hitch. That means you can pull the mower directly behind your tractor or set off to the left or right. Along with safety bumpers to protect trees and shrubs, this allows for precise cutting on any terrain.
There are other key safety features included as well. For starters, it is built tough with heavy steel and has wide tires to improve stability. This hitch also has control to engage and disengage the operating blade, so you don’t always have to turn off your tractor to examine the mower. The single-point cutting height adjustment makes it simple to adjust from 1.5” to 4.5” according to preference.
The blades are high end G6 commercial mulching blades. This tow-behind mower also has its own power source in the form of a 10.5 hp/344 cc Briggs & Stratton recoil start engine. That means you will need to pull start it. If this is a problem for you, consider the 11.5 hp electric start model, also available from Swisher.
Swisher delivers this mower almost entirely assembled; you will just need to install the tow bar, top up the air in the tires, and add some gas. Some users feel that the gas tank is a bit small, but that is to be expected with a tow-behind mower. Swisher products are made in the USA and are compliant with emissions laws in all 50 states.
42 x 58 x 23 inches
1 year warranty
- Articulating hitch
- Safety bumpers to protect landscaping
- Commercial quality blades
- Smaller gas tank
- Grass can build up inside belt compartment
- Safety switch for engaging blades located inside belt compartment
5 Promow Gold7 Pull Behind 7-Gang Reel Mower
Though rotary mowers have virtually taken over the market, some people still prefer the precision scissor-cut achieved by a reel mower. This type has blades that rotate as the mower is pushed or pulled. The blades snip the grass cleanly, whereas a rotary blade controlled by a motor tends to tear off the tops of grass blades. The Promow Gold7 is a reel mower that can be pulled behind your tractor.
Beyond the cleaner cut, there are some other benefits to using a reel mower to tow behind a tractor. For example, it does not need its own power source, so you don’t need to add gas or oil, nor do you need to start it up separately or pay for maintenance on an engine.
This particular model allows for a lot of customization, as well. There are 7 separate reels that may be attached together in multiple configurations, depending on your landscape. You don’t need to use all 7, either, if that works better for your lawn shape. But with the option to operate 7 21” reels at once, your mowing will get done in a flash. Promow advertises that this mower can handle 5 acres in just one hour.
All connected, the total potential width of the cutting decks is 11’ 4”. The reels may be adjusted to a cutting height anywhere between 5/8” and 2 ¾” high. The drive wheels on each reel are 2 ½” x 10” and the bearings are sealed. In order to properly tow the entire set-up, you’ll need a tractor with at least 16 hp.
Choose the Promow if you already have a powerful tractor but are concerned with the environmental impact of the tools you use. This mower may also be ideal for ballfields or other lawns that require a precise and even cut.
68 x 40 x 32 inches
1 year warranty on reel; 2 year warranty on frame
- Multiple configuration options for reels
- Blades are easy to access and sharpen
- Huge cutting swath makes short work of mowing
- Requires significant horsepower to tow
- Tends to roll right over tall weeds
- Made in China^^
Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Lawn
Now that you’ve found the perfect lawn mower, you’re ready to get to work, right? Absolutely – as long as you follow these tips for mowing in a way that keeps that grass healthy.
Scalping is when grass is cut all the way down to the turf, exposing the ground underneath. Scalped patches are unsightly and provide a perfect environment for weeds to take hold and flourish. But even if you haven’t scalped the lawn, be careful not to cut your grass too short in an effort to put off your next mow. Grass that is regularly cut too short won’t develop a healthy root system, which makes it more susceptible to damage caused by drought or extreme temperatures.
Keep Mower Blades Sharp
Even though grass is pliable, it still requires a very sharp blade for cutting. When your mower blade dulls, it tears rather than cuts the grass. Those jagged tears tend to allow pests and plant diseases easier access, which can lead to widespread damage. You will notice when your cutting blade has become dull because the grass develops a whitish or brown hue. But better than waiting until your lawn starts to suffer is to routinely sharpen those mower blades a couple of times per season.
Leave Shaded Grass Longer
Grass uses photosynthesis for nourishment, which means it requires sun to stay healthy. Grass blades are adept at using even filtered or limited sun, but that job is easier with longer length. That’s because longer grass has more surface area upon which to receive sun rays. If your lawn is shady, help the grass stay healthier by leaving a bit more length after a mow.
Only Mow Dry Grass
If you have to, it’s okay to mow when your lawn is damp, but it’s not ideal. Wet blades tend to clump together and prevent an even cut across the entire lawn. If the ground is really wet as well, the grass is likely to get ripped out by the roots rather than cut. The wet grass clippings can also stick to your mower blades and other mechanical parts, potentially jamming them.
Vary Your Mowing Pattern
It’s easy to get into a rut when performing routine tasks, but in this case, when you mow the same way every time, you can create literal ruts. The weight of a mower’s wheels on the ground compact the soil underneath your grass. The same way that you can clearly see high-traffic patterns in your indoor carpets, you will start to notice stripes in the lawn that no longer grow healthy grass.
To mow properties of multiple acres, you’ll definitely want some sort of riding lawn mower. Whether that is a standalone rider or a pull behind tractor attachment is up to your personal preference. There are also many other available features to consider, which means that you should be able to find your best lawn mower for 3 acres to 5 acres without sacrificing the bells and whistles that can make the job a breeze. You might even have fun!