What is the difference between a Ride-On Lawnmower, a Lawn Tractor & a Garden Tractor?

If you need to maintain a large garden or grassed area where you are questioning the efficiency of even a large petrol mower, it may be time to consider a ride-on lawnmower or lawn tractor.

But what is the difference between a ride-on mower, lawn tractor or even a garden tractor? All these types of machine are good for maintaining large grassy areas but they also have some key differences. Understanding how they differ and matching this to your own requirements will help you choose the right type of machine for your garden or area of land.

Ride-On Mowers

ATCO Rider 28H Ride on Mower
ATCO Rider 28H Ride on Mower

This is the smallest type of ‘ride-on’ – also sometimes referred to as a Rider Mower, Sit on Mower or Ride-On Front Mower. The engine is located at the back with a seat at the front. Its main function is mainly to cut grass and it is effectively a lawnmower with a seat.

The cutting deck on a ride-on is under the front of the mower enabling the ride-on to be more manoeuvrable, which is useful if you have a lawn with trees, flower beds or obstacles to get around and to reach under. The cutting width on a ride-on is generally smaller than on a lawn tractor starting at around 60cm.

We recommend the popular range of ATCO Rider Mowers starting with the ATCO Rider 28H Ride-On Mower at £1,699.

Lawn Tractors

Murray MSD100 Side Discharge/Mulch Tractor
Murray MSD100 Side Discharge/Mulch Tractor

A lawn tractor tends to be larger than a Ride-On Mower with the engine at the front and the seat behind. With a lawn tractor the cutting deck is mounted at the mid-point / centre of the tractor. With more powerful engines they are ideally suited for larger gardens and rougher terrain. They are generally better for tougher tasks e.g. they will tow a low weight.

They are good for a larger expanse of grass which is relatively obstacle-free (large trees or bushes are fine) as the position of the cutting deck means they are not good for reaching under lower objects. Cutting widths tend to be wider starting at around 76cm and a lawn tractor will also have a larger turning circle than a ride-on mower.

A popular small lawn tractor is the Murray MSD100 Side Discharge/Mulch Tractor – ideal for lawns 1 – 1.5 acres.

Garden Tractors

ATCO GT36H Garden Tractor
ATCO GT36H Garden Tractor

Garden Tractors are similar to lawn tractors (the name is often interchangeable) but the difference being that they are the most robustly built of all machines, designed for heavier duty work. They have the widest cutting widths and the most powerful engines. They are ideal for tougher work with a range of attachments such as towing (heavier weights than a lawn tractor), sweeping leaves, clearing snow or fertilising. As such, Garden Tractors are the most expensive option.

Our best-selling Garden Tractor is the ATCO GT36H with a 92cm cutting width