Best Riding Mower for Hills

Which Riding Mower is The Best For Lawns and Gardens on Hills?

Is there anything better than the smell of fresh cut grass?

For those doing the cutting, the answer may not always be resounding enthusiasm.
Maintaining your lawn is a commitment best done on a regular schedule.
And without the right equipment, it can be a frustrating experience.

Slogging up and down a sloped lawn every other week to keep the grass down is its own unique style of torture. For this reason, people all over the country make the pilgrimage down to their local hardware store in search of a riding lawn mower.

The thing is, you shouldn’t just rush out and buy the first shiny machine you see.

You need to make sure you are getting a quality product that can handle those troublesome hills with ease. The question is, which riding mower handles hills the best?

Let’s take a closer look at the leading lawn mowers designed for rugged yards.

RatingModelFuel MPHInchOur RatingPrice
​Troy-Bilt 382cc 30-Inch Premium Neighborhood Riding Lawn Mower1.34.25304.6 out of 5 starsLearn More


Husqvarna MZ61 27 HP Zero Turn Mower, 61-Inch
58.5614.6 out of 5 starsLearn More


Cub Cadet RZT L5035.5424.0 out of 5 starsLearn More

Rear-Engine Lawn Mower or Garden Tractor: Which is Best For Hills?

There are tons of riding mowers available on the market. So you don't get lost among the massive choices, I am going to review three of the best options for use on hilly terrain.

The models I have chosen are a mix of rear engine and garden tractor style mowers. Read on to find out which of these machines will best suit you.


The Husqvarna MZ61 is a popular choice for those looking at purchasing a rear engine riding mower, but it certainly has its limitations.

The manufacturer has tried to include a lot of features in this model. But there are many things that can potentially go wrong. These issues can be difficult for novices to diagnose and repair.

The large number of features, which may or may not be useful for you, are also reflected in the relatively high price of the Husqvarna MZ61.

With that said, there are quite a few benefits to this riding mower when it comes to sloped lawns. While some may see the weight of this unit as a negative, it actually gives you incredible grip, particularly on downhill stretches.

The heavy weight also contributes to its safety so there’s less chance of you flipping over.

The key feature of this model is the high maneuverability, allowing you to get around obstacles easily, even on sloped ground. Joe at Mower Reviews HQ gives glowing praise to the ease of riding the MZ61. Having tried it for myself, I completely agree.

Overall, this is a solid and powerful unit well suited to those with large yards. If you only have a small to medium piece of acreage to maintain, I think it is probably overkill.


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    Solid construction and design
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    Tight turning circle and good maneuverability
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    Good grip


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    Unnecessary extra features​​​​
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    Relatively high price tag

Although it may not look as flashy as some of the other options out there, the Troy-Bilt 382cc Neighborhood rear engine riding lawn mower has been getting rave reviews.

It is not all good news though. In order to offer this product at an affordable price point, some compromises have been made.Although it may not look as flashy as some of the other options out there, the Troy-Bilt 382cc Neighborhood rear engine riding lawn mower has been getting rave reviews.

For one thing, the footrest area is made of plastic, which I feel should have been metal on a machine that is going to see heavy use.

It should be noted this is not ‘zero turn’ either, so if you don’t have adequate space to make turns, then this isn’t the perfect choice for you.

The main drawcard of the Troy Bilt is power! I have friends with this model and they regularly comment on just how powerful the engine is.

The strong motor will help you to navigate moderate hills with ease. The blade and cutting deck are also well positioned to help you get a neat and low cut so you can avoid going over the same area twice.

For the price, it is hard to beat this riding mower. More expensive models will provide a better riding experience, but the Troy Bilt Neighborhood model is more than sufficient for medium sized yards.


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    Great price
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    Powerful engine
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    Close cutting blade


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    Some plastic components
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    Requires some space to make a turn
Cub Cadet XT1-Enduro

Slightly different from the two models reviewed already is the Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro, which is a garden tractor style mower.

Although garden tractors are not always popular for those with sloping land, this model is a real contender.
Many users have had good experiences with this mower on uneven land. However, the garden tractor style is still not the best for this purpose.

With a high center of gravity due to the engine position, tipping over is more likely than in rear engine models. There are also a number of users who report trouble with the battery.

The great thing about the Cub Cadet XT1 is that you cannot get better value. Consumer Reports have put this mower head-to-head with other popular garden tractors in higher price brackets. And the XT1 regularly comes out on top.

Users rate the Cub Cadet XT1 so highly due to its maneuverability and ease of use. Due to the responsive steering and tight turning radius, slopes and hard to reach places are less of an issue.

To sum up, this is a great choice if you really want a garden tractor.
All you need to do is carefully consider whether a machine with a front mounted engine will be safe to use on your lawn, especially if it has a severe incline.


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    Great value
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    Tight turning circle
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    Responsive steering


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    High center of gravity due to front mounted engine
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    Reports of battery issues

Now that we have looked at some of the best options on the market, let's take a closer look at the most important features on a riding mower.

Important Features to Consider Before Purchasing a Mower

With all the choice out there, it can be hard to decide which features you actually need. Of course, there are a lot of things you want. But everything comes at a price and you may not be able to afford everything.

When deciding on your next riding mower, you should consider the following BEFORE you buy:

Lawn Size

The size of your lawn is going to be the number one consideration when choosing a riding mower. If you have a small lawn, you can get away with one of the budget models.

However, if you have a large lawn you will need a more heavy duty mower, which is always a little bit more expensive.


If you have any kind of incline in your yard, you will need to make a very careful choice. Some riding mowers are unsuited to inclines and can even be dangerous on big slopes.

Wheels without good grip, or machines with a high center of gravity are prone to tipping and this can cause serious injury. Always ask about a mower's performance on slopes and test it for yourself if you can.


Most people have many gardens and trees dotted around their property, which makes turning and maneuverability a key consideration. While some models can turn around in their own footprint, others require some room to make their turn.

If you have lots of space, a turning radius will not a problem. But if space is limited in your backyard, or if you must mow around many objects, then a ‘zero turn’ mower will be best.

Once you’ve figured out the features you absolutely need, it’s time to look for the mower that fits your budget. Next, let's take a look at which riding mower offers the best value for money.

Which Riding Lawn Mower Offers The Best Value For Money?

Even after careful thought and consideration, it can be hard to choose one mower out of the many options on the market. You can spend a lot on a very expensive model and be happy with it. However, not everyone can afford to do that.

Let’s see which riding mower offers the best value for your money.

Husqvarna MZ61

If you want a fully featured product with a rear mounted engine, then the Husqvarna MZ61 may be right for you. Although it is the priciest model reviewed in this article, it does the job without any compromises.

With a full suite of features, great grip on slopes and a tight turning circle, it is hard to look past this mower if you are serious about your lawn.

Although some people may think you do not need all the features on the MZ61, it is sometimes better to have them. You never know when comfort or durability might come in handy.

Troy-Bilt 382cc Neighborhood

On the other end of the budget spectrum is the Troy-Bilt Neighborhood riding mower. This piece of equipment packs all the main features you need into a very affordable package..

Of course compromises have been made to make the Troy-Bilt so affordable, but none of them impact on the cutting performance, which is stellar.

Many people can be equipment snobs and turn their nose up at a cheap option like this. Granted, it will not be as nice as more premium models, but it will still get the job done and can last many years of hard use if you take care of it.

If you would like to see the mower being used, ‘Tools in Action’ have made a detailed review video of this model. Check it out here.

Cub Cadet XT1 Enduro

The Cub Cadet Enduro is a little different from the other two models reviewed, as it has a front mounted engine in the style of a garden tractor. As far as garden tractors go, the Cub Cadet is highly rated and performs as well as much higher priced models.

It turns with great precision and users report being very happy with the responsiveness and riding experience.

The biggest concern people have with a front mounted engine is its performance on slopes. It is true you need to be a little more cautious due to the tipping risk, however the Cub Cadet can handle moderate slopes safely.

If you only have some hilly areas in your yard or lawn, then the Cub Cadet is more than capable of dealing with them.

Get the Best Piece of Lawn Equipment For Value and Safety

The idea of getting hurt while doing routine maintenance in the yard is nothing short of embarrassing.

If you don’t want your neighbor running over after you’ve tipped your mower, I suggest you look no further than the Troy-Bilt 382cc Neighborhood riding mower.

Although it is not the flashiest product on the market or most pleasing to the eye, it delivers where it matters.

The powerful engine keeps you moving at a good pace even on hills and ensures a top quality cut. More importantly, it manages to deliver this great user experience at a very inexpensive price that just about anyone can afford.

The Troy-Bilt is best for those with a medium sized block that has some hills and inclines. Those with very large blocks and severe slopes will need to look elsewhere. But realistically, not many have such sizeable land so this mower should work well for most people.

It is hard to make this choice as I like all the products reviewed, especially the feature packed expensive models. However, it is just too hard to look past such a great value, basic machine that gets the job done.

Click here to get the best value riding mower for yourself right now and start to enjoy mowing the lawn again!