The lawn tractor is a large ride-on mower that can mow the lawn of land with a minimum area of 1,000 m². Ideal for maintaining your garden without getting tired, this type of machine is easy to handle, efficient and suitable for all terrains, including the most capricious. You just have to drive it like any four-wheeled vehicle. Nevertheless, to choose the machine that suits you, several criteria must be taken into account. Let’s discover them together.
What are the characteristics of a lawn tractor?
The tractor lawn mower is a self-propelled machine which has the function of mowing large areas of lawn and at the same time harvesting the cut grass. This machine can adapt to flat and uneven terrain, steep or strewn with various obstacles. Very practical, it saves precious time by almost halving the mowing time compared to a thermal or electric mower. Easy to handle and drive, it is a gardening tool accessible to all.
There are two types of lawn tractors: the rider and the ride-on.
- the rider should be reserved for mowing medium-sized surfaces, from 1,000 to 2,000 m².
- Ride-on lawn tractor suitable for large spaces from 1,500 to 6,000 m².
Whatever its type, the lawn tractor is made up of four wheels on which rests a frame. It is equipped with a four-stroke engine that runs on gasoline. Below 2,000 m², a 10 to 12 HP motor is sufficient; beyond that, you should rather consider 13 to 15 HP of power. Equipped with two drive wheels, the lawn tractor is driven with a gearbox (manual or automatic) like that of a car, with three speeds and a reverse gear.
While all lawn tractors collect cut grass, this collection mode is varied depending on the model. Some are equipped with a classic bin that must be emptied automatically or manually. Others eject grass to the sides or rear of the machine. For the latter, it is possible to pick up the green waste manually or to opt for the mulching technique, which consists of crushing it to leave it in the lawn in order to feed it.
If the lawn tractor is a very practical and comfortable machine for the maintenance of medium and large surfaces, it can be very expensive and requires a substantial investment. The first models are sold for 1,500 to 2,000 euros. For a high-performance machine on large surfaces and on complex terrain, count 4,000 to 7,000 euros.
It should be noted that for an area of less than 1,000 m², the lawn tractor is of no interest.
How to choose a lawn tractor?
Choosing the lawn tractor that suits you shouldn’t be left to chance. Indeed, to take advantage of the advantages of a high-performance tool, it is important to make your choice by following certain essential criteria. Here they are.
The size of the terrain: engine power and cutting width
The size of the land is a determining criterion since it determines the power of the mower tractor engine and the cutting width.
- 1,000 to 1,500 m² area : for such a surface, a 10 CV motor (from 300 to 350 cm3) is sufficient for a cutting width between 72 and 92 cm.
- 1,500 to 3,000 m² of area : for such a surface, a 10 to 15 CV motor (from 400 to 500 cm3) is recommended for a cutting width between 84 and 102 cm.
- More than 3,000 m² of surface : for such a surface, a 15 CV motor (at least 550 cm3) is necessary, for a cutting width between 102 and 122 cm.
It should be noted that most lawn tractors support a slope of up to 30%. Beyond that, it is best to call on the services of a professional.
The method of collecting grass clippings
Depending on your needs, your physical abilities and the time you have available, you will need to choose a specific collection mode. Each has advantages and disadvantages.
- The collection box : this option is practical, because the cut grass is immediately picked up, which allows you to do everything in one pass and obtain an impeccable, well-finished and clean result, which is more aesthetic. If you wish, you can save the clippings for your compost or to recycle it in another way (mulching, etc.). On the other hand, as with a conventional mower, you will have to stop several times to empty your bin, hence the need to opt for a large container (300 litres) in order to limit round trips. The bin can be emptied manually, which proves to be restrictive if it is bulky and heavy, or automatically, by pressing a button or a lever.
- Side discharge : this device ejects the grass clippings directly to the side of the machine during mowing. You save time since you no longer have to stop to empty your bin. On the other hand, it all depends on what you intend to do with this waste that adorns your lawn. Cut large, they are unattractive for two to three days after mowing, but then serve as a natural fertilizer for your lawn. If they bother you, you can pick them up by hand, but the time saved will soon be lost.
- Le mulching : Mulching is similar to the discharge version, but the grass is shredded into very small pieces before being redistributed around the sides and rear of the machine during mowing. The result is more aesthetic, because the small strands are barely visible and penetrate better into the lawn to make a better fertilizer. On the other hand, these machines do not like grass that is too high and need regular maintenance after each mowing.
To make the best choice, several points of comfort must hold your attention.
- Blade guards : if your land is strewn with obstacles or wood debris or rocks, opt for a lawn tractor with reinforced blade protection to avoid damaging your machine.
- An ergonomic seat : in high season, you will spend several hours mowing on your machine. So choose a comfortable model, with a height-adjustable and ergonomic seat as well as easily accessible centralized controls.
- The wheels : the larger your wheels, the more you limit vibrations and gain in comfort and the less you mark your lawn with unsightly streaks.
- cutting height : Be sure to invest in a model that allows you to choose and easily adjust the height of cut to suit your needs.
- The transmission : you can opt for a model with manual transmission, as on traditional vehicles, or automatic to gain in driving comfort.