Best Riding Lawn Mowers for Steep Hills (Jan. 2021 UPDATED)

Happy April, everyone!

Now that we’re finally in the sunniest and most beautiful part of Spring, it’s about time that we start looking over our options when it comes to the grass in our yards. Some of us don’t have to ponder for too long because our yards are either very small, flat, or both. But then some of us have uneven ground in our yards. By “uneven,” this can mean anything from rugged dirt, Bermuda grass, or just shapely terrain.

And yes, “shapely terrain” is another way of saying hills.

Lots and lots of hills.

Thankfully, we’ve got a handy consumer’s guide for you grass-cutting enthusiasts out there. Knowing how big the struggle can be when mowing lots with steep hills, we’ve compiled a list of the top ten best riding lawn mowers for steep hills. Why not have a gander at our guide? Your lawn won’t wait forever!

Can Any Mower Work For Steep Hills?

Technically, yes.

But anything other than a riding lawn tractor will likely prove to be a giant pain to work with.

If you don’t believe us, let us think about the lifetime rival of riding lawn mowers; the push-mower. Push-mowers are pretty popular with homeowners around the country, as they are easy to use and extremely affordable. I mean, what can possibly be more nifty than having 100% power and control over where your mower cuts? Sure, you can’t sit on them without unceremoniously breaking them…but they’re convenient!

So this must mean that they are awesome to use on steep hills.



The sad reality here is that, unless you’ve got a rear-wheel drive lawn mower, pushing a grass-cutter up steep hills won’t promise a thorough job. This is because of the lack of power integrated in such small machines. They’re not fast and lack the traction needed to cut hills. And you can forget about using them for large lots or unkempt grass!

Okay, But What Makes Riding Lawn Mowers Best For Steep Hills?

Glad you asked, dear readers!

There are a number of reasons why riding lawn mowers are so much better for your steep hills than push-mowers (or really any other type of lawn mower). We already know some of the basic reasons, such as the much needed control, traction, and speed that the push-mowers all seem to lack. But there is another thing we need to look at as well. We’re talking about power source.

While all types of lawn mowers have engines of varying sizes, one thing that lawn tractors have that others don’t is a transmission. Yes, it works exactly the same way as it does for cars. The transmission is what decides whether or not you get to move around your lawn. This means that a day without a transmission is a day where you just sit in your expensive lawn tractor like duck on a log, waiting to see if the grass will somehow cut itself.

Riding lawn mowers have three different types of transmissions they can use. One type is an automatic transmission, which utilizes belts and pulleys mechanically. Mowers with this type of transmission tend to be very fast and easy to use, as there’s no prerequisite for knowing stick-shift driving. The downside is that they’re kind of expensive; at least more so than mowers that use a manual transmission.

Lawn tractors that use manual transmissions work exactly the same way as cars that use manual transmissions. You use a lever to switch gears while using both feet to drive (one foot on either the accelerator or brake, the other on the clutch). So long as you know how to drive stick, these machines are pretty simple to use AND they are much more affordable than the other two types of riding lawn mower transmissions. So what’s the catch, you ask?

They’re very slow at mowing hills.

Last but not least is the hydrostatic transmissions. Holy Toledo, these transmissions are freakin’ incredible! If they weren’t so damn expensive, we’d say they trump any manual or automatic transmission. They use fluids to power the mower, which makes it five times more powerful. And fast! So fast!

Concluding Thoughts

And that does it for our list, folks! Out of ten impressing riders, only one has earned the top-spot on our list of the best riding lawn mowers for steep hills. Only one mower has risen above the rest and proven that it’s a force to be reckoned with. That winner is the Ariens Zoom 34.

Despite coming from an underdog company, this riding lawn mower has risen to the top with its affordability, lightness, and powerful engine. With its zero-turn capabilities, you can cut your yard at a much faster pace than you would with other types of mowers. The only major gripe reported with this grass-cutting beast is its slow reverse speed. But hey, it’s so light already that the reverse speed doesn’t really matter!

Does the Ariens Zoom 34 catch your eye?

Or would you rather take a gander at the other nine options on our list?

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