Best Riding Lawn Mower for Rough Terrain [2021]

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Best Riding Lawn Mower for Rough Terrain – Troy-Bilt TB30

Our Top Pick

After purposely navigating several different riding lawn mowers on rough terrain, the one we found most comfortable is the Troy-Bilt TB30.

Surprising, especially since it sports a tinier lawn mower with manual transmission.

Take a look at the TB30’s key specifications below

  • 10.5-HP Engine
  • 30-inch Deck
  • Manual Transmission
  • Shift-on-the-Go

The TB30’s moderate 10.5-HP engine may seem small, especially by riding lawn mower standards, but it’s only sporting a 30-inch deck.

It doesn’t need too much power to drive the mower blades at high speeds.

The manual transmissions can be a pain to new users, but it offers maximum control to the operator when going up and down slopes.

The wheels, though small, are designed to absorb much of the vibrations of rocky surfaces, so you’re not flying around in your seat.

The TB30’s fuel tank is just 1.3 gallons. For yards smaller than an acre, this won’t be a problem.

Also, the smaller tank helps keep the TB30’s weight down for better maneuverability and travel speed on rough terrain.


  • Comfortable seating on all terrains
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Incredibly user friendly
  • Great for veteran landscapers


  • Fuel tank could be bigger

It may take some time to mow lawns over an acre, as well as multiple tank refills, but on rough surfaces, the TB30 holds up incredibly well.

Riding lawn mowers are designed to reduce the time needed to mow tremendous laws, but they might not ensure the most comfortable ride, especially on rough terrains.

After punishing 23 riding lawn mowers by driving over hilly landscapes and rock-filled fields, we’ve created this list of the best riding lawn mower for rough terrain.

Check out our picks down below!

Top Riding Lawn Mower for Rough Terrain Compared

Product ImageProduct NameFeaturesPrice
Troy-Bilt TB30
  • Engine: 10.5 hp
  • Deck Size: 30 in.
  • Transmission: Manual
  • Shift-on-the-Go
Husqvarna MZ61 61 in. 27 HP Briggs & Stratton Hydrostatic Zero Turn Riding MowerHusqvarna MZ61 Briggs & Stratton
  • Engine: 27 hp
  • Deck Size: 61 in.
  • Transmission: Hydrostatic
  • Hour meter
Troy-Bilt 540cc Briggs & Stratton
  • Engine: 540 cc
  • Deck Size: 46 in.
  • Transmission: Automatic
  • Deluxe Steering Wheel and Cup Holder
Ryobi 38' Battery Electric Rear Engine Riding Lawn Mower RY48110Ryobi RY48110
  • Engine: 48V
  • Deck Size: 38 in.
  • Transmission: Automatic
  • Brushless Motors
Craftsman T225 19 HP Briggs & Stratton Gold 46-Inch Gas Powered Riding Lawn MowerCraftsman T225
  • Engine: 22 hp
  • Deck Size: 46 in.
  • Transmission: Hydrostatic
  • 20-inch rear tires
Husqvarna YTA24V48 24V Fast Continuously Variable Transmission Pedal Tractor Mower, 48'/TwinHusqvarna YTA24V48
  • Engine: 24 hp
  • Deck Size: 48 in.
  • Transmission: Hydrostatic
  • ReadyStart

Reviews of the Best Riding Lawn Mower for Rough Terrain

If you have hills or rough patches within your property line, you’ll definitely want to check out the other top-performing riding lawn mowers on our list.

Best Premium - Husqvarna MZ61

best overall rating Husqvarna MZ61 61 in. 27 HP Briggs & Stratton Hydrostatic Zero Turn Riding Mower

Key Specifications

  • 27-HP Engine
  • 61-inch Deck
  • Hydrostatic Transmission
  • Service Hour Meter

If you’re curious as to what the best premium riding lawn mower for rough terrain is, it’s the Husqvarna MZ61.

It’s rocking a powerful 27-HP Briggs & Stratton engine to drive it at high speeds on flat and uneven surfaces.

It’s not just about travel speed, either. The MZ61’s super-wide 61-inch deck reduces the number of passes needed to clear one-plus-acre lawns, though at the cost of making sharp turns.

The MZ61 also has a handy service hour meter that alerts the user of how many hours the unit has been running for.

You won’t need to rely on gut-feeling to know when to change the oil, air filter, spark plug, and perform other minor maintenance.


  • Never need to guesstimate when to service the engine
  • Wide mowing deck means improved mowing efficiency
  • Powerful engine for traveling across uneven terrain
  • Designed for gardens over an acre in size


  • Turns could be sharper

The MZ61 offers tremendous mowing performance, even on uneven surfaces.

Best Budget - Troy-Bilt 540cc

best overall rating

Key Specifications

  • 540-cc Engine
  • 46-inch Deck
  • Automatic Transmission
  • Deluxe Steering Wheel and Cup Holder

The best budget riding lawn mower for rough terrain is the Troy-Bilt 540cc riding lawn mower. Don’t let its low-cost fool you—it can handle uneven surfaces just as well as the best of them.

Rocking a 540-cc engine, this unit is capable of traveling across long yards (around an acre in size) with plenty of gas to spare.

It drives mowing blades with a max diameter of 46 inches to clear wider paths per sweep for better mowing and fuel efficiency.

Automatic transmission makes controlling this unit incredibly easy, but it struggles somewhat when climbing up gradual inclines.


  • Handy on rough and smooth terrains
  • Great maneuverability
  • Easy to use for amateurs
  • Decently wide mowing deck


  • Could climb hills better

As the cheapest model on our list, the Troy Bilt 540cc doesn’t come with all of the bells and whistles, but overall, it’s a reliable riding mower.

Craftsman T225

best overall rating

Key Specifications

  • 22-HP Engine
  • 46-inch Deck
  • Hydrostatic Transmission
  • 20-inch Rear Tires

The Craftsman T225 comes with a sizable 22-HP engine that drives the 46-inch-diameter mowing blades to clear more tall grass per pass. The result is reduced mowing times on large, grassy fields.

Hydrostatic transmission allows the T225 the move at a comfortably fast speed without impairing turning too much.

However, customers have complained about its gas-guzzling engine, which can be annoying for pro landscapers.
The benefit of large rear tires becomes apparent as soon as the T225 steps on bumpy surfaces.

There are fewer vibrations, sparing your lower-back from after-mowing pain.


  • Large rear tires mean increased performance on uneven terrains
  • Powerful engine
  • Easy to maneuver around obstacles
  • Climbs hills decently well


  • Could have better fuel economy

The T225 is a decent medium-range riding lawn mower that handles rough and smooth terrain like a champ.

Husqvarna YTA24V48

best overall rating Husqvarna YTA24V48 24V Fast Continuously Variable Transmission Pedal Tractor Mower, 48'/Twin

Key Specifications

  • 24-HP Engine
  • 48-inch Deck
  • Hydrostatic Transmission
  • ReadyStart

The Husqvarna YTA24V48 is an easy-to-use, ultra-wide riding lawn mower. Its massive wheels allow it to transition seamlessly between different terrain types.

The 24-HP Biggs & Stratton engine provides a ton of power to move all 475 pounds of metal across long distances with ease.

It has ReadyStart technology that eliminates choke control and fuel priming—simply turn the key and the YTA24V48 is ready to roll.

The 48-inch deck is a bit narrow compared to the size of the YTA24V48, but it certainly clears large patches of tall grass easily. If your job requires mowing acres upon acres of grass, this fuel-efficient beast is the right choice.


  • Effortless start
  • Powerful mowing and flexible maneuverability
  • Travels well on all terrains
  • Reverse mowing


  • Could move better on slopes

The YTA24V48 is a lot more flexible than it looks. If you deal with rough terrain regularly, not including steep slopes, the YTA24V48 is a great option.

Best Electric Riding Mower for Rough Terrain

If you want your garden looking fresh while reducing your carbon footprint, you should check out the electric Ryobi RY48110.

Ryobi 38' Battery Electric Rear Engine Riding Lawn Mower RY48110

Here’s what the RY48110 key specifications are

  • 48V Battery
  • 38-inch Deck
  • Automatic Transmission
  • Brushless Motors

Electric riding lawn mowers, like the RY48110, are admittedly less powerful compared to gas-guzzling models, but it doesn’t exhaust toxic fumes that harm the environment.

The RY48110 draws power from a 48V battery.

It has two brushless motors—one to move the lawn mower and another to power the mowing blades—that produce less heat than their brushed counterparts, thereby using less energy to run.

The 38-inch deck is smaller than we prefer, but the narrowness makes for a less bulky machine.


  • Low-maintenance brushless motors
  • Zero emissions
  • Suspension system absorbs bumps along the mowing trail
  • Incredible mowing Efficiency


  • Deck could be wider

For the environmentally-conscious out there, the Ryobi RY48110 electric riding lawn mower is your safest bet for mowing up and down steep hills, as well as traveling across uneven terrain.


In this section, we’ll address the FAQs people have about riding lawn mowers for rough terrain.

Are zero-turn lawn mowers good on rough terrain?

They can be. If you take a look at the Husqvarna MZ61, our premium pick, you can see zero-turn lawn mowers aren’t limited to even surface mowing only. They also offer the benefit of making tight turns around obstacles and reaching spaces traditional riding mowers can’t get to.

How long do riding lawn mowers last?

A riding lawn mower has a life expectancy of around 300 hours, though regular maintenance can extend its lifespan to over 1,000 hours. This also applies to riding mowers used for rough terrain, though mowing uneven surfaces can cause extra strain on the engine. This means taking better care of your equipment—e.g., changing the oil as soon as it needs to be changed.

Should I buy a new or used riding lawn mower?

The cost of a riding lawn mower can be expensive, especially if you’re just starting out your landscaping business. A brand-new machine has a higher upfront cost, but it will last several seasons longer than a used one. Getting a used riding lawn mower means dealing with the maintenance issues left over by the previous owner. They’re probably looking to get rid of a machine that is far past its prime in order to upgrade.

Can I use a push lawn mower on rough terrain?

It’s possible, but we wouldn’t recommend it, especially if you’re starting a landscaping business. Time is money, and you don’t want to spend more time mowing a client’s one-acre yard than you need to. A riding mower can clear an acre of grass in under 30 minutes, whereas a push mower will take mover than three hours.


And that, dear readers, concludes our guide on the best riding lawn mower for rough terrain.

We hope you learned something from our experience of testing 23 riding lawn mower models across flat and rough terrain.

If you’re still unsure about anything, please let us know by leaving a comment below.


Last update on 2024-06-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About Linda Johnson

Linda has been working with power tools since she was 13 years old. As DIYer she works on wood and metal to develop artworks that she puts on sale. She loves traveling.

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