Ride-On Vs Push Mower. Which to use?

Ride-on Vs Push Mowers

No matter the size of the lawn or grounds that you maintain. We can all agree that choosing the correct tool for the job can make our lives far less stressful. A Lawnmower or ‘mower’ is an essential piece of equipment when it comes to lawn maintenance. Whether you like a pristine checkerboard, wavy style or cut short, there is a lawnmower out there that can help you. Lawnmowers have come a long way from where they once first started. 

In this article, we will help you understand the benefits of choosing the right mower for the job and compare the differences between ride-on and push mowers. 

What type of mowers are there available?

Push mowers

Push mowers are the most popular type of gardening equipment available on the market. With so many variations available, it can become confusing which design of mower will suit your maintenance best. Some machine runs off electricity, while others run off fuel. Electric mowers are not suitable for every lawn and can be far more dangerous in practice than their alternatives. There are two ways you can cut your lawn with a walk-behind mower. You can do all the pushing, or you can get a machine to pull itself around. 

Self-propelled mowers come in 3 different options

Front propelled

Front wheeled drive machines are best for level ground with having to avoid many obstacles. This allows you to apply pressure to the handlebars to reduce traction and pivot in and around corners. 

Rear wheeled drive/roller

This design is perfect for all-around performance, especially if you have to navigate uphill or sidehill mowing. A lot of models that are rear wheeled drive, sometimes replace their wheels for a roller. This allows people to achieve the strippy finish that many desire in their own gardens.

All wheeled drive 

A relatively new development in the mowing world, the all wheeled drive option offers a similar performance on hillside cutting. Some models of all-wheel drive mowers do lack the power, as it is distributed not only to the mower blade but also to all four wheels. 

Along with different self-propelled options, there are several mower functions available. This predominantly focuses on not just how well or short the mower can cut your grass, but what it 

does with the cuttings thereafter. 

There are 2 main categories. Two and three function mowers. 

2 function mowers cut grass into mulch and into a bag. When grass is mulched and left on the surface, you get the added benefit of the nitrogen being reabsorbed back into the ground. However, if you wish to operate the machine with a bag, you can collect all the mulch as you work your way around your lawn space instead. 

A 3 function mower not only provides mulching and a method of collection but can also side discharge cuttings. This feature is ideal if you are working in longer grass which can cause blockages within your mower.

Ride on mowers

When it comes to large-scale maintenance, then a ride on mower could be the better option for the job. These machines are designed to go through a huge amount of cutting in a short period. They are comfortable, powerful and specialised for groundskeeping. Essentially, there are three different ride-on mowers. Rear engine, Tractor and Zero turn. Lets us have a look at these designs in a bit more detail: 

Rear Engine Mowers

Starting at the bottom with the smallest of the machines is the rear engine mower. This machine is the first stage up from using a self-propelled walk-behind mower. They offer in the region 10-15hp and have a cutting radius of 30-50 inches (model dependant). A bit of an upgrade compared to a walk-behind. They have the ability to mulch and on some models also mulch and collect cuttings. This is an ideal choice if you are looking to cut anything up to an acre in size. Perfect for homeowners or small grounds maintenance companies.

Lawn Tractor

These machines are the most popular choice mowers for groundskeepers on semi-rough terrain. Lawn tractors have more power than a rear engine mower and have the ability to also mulch and bag cuttings. Because of the vast amount of mulch these machines can collect, they are usually installed with a hydraulic tip to reduce the amount of manual labour an operator has to do to empty. These tractors are generally diesel-powered with an output of between 18-25Hp and top speeds of up to 15mph. Cutting diameters range from 40 inches upwards. 

Zero-Turn Mowers

Ever so more recently, the design of zero-turn mowers was introduced into the market. These machines provide forward speed and steering, utilising its dual hydrostatic transmissions at the rear wheels. These mowers operate on a mulch basis only, which is not ideal for all situations. They are engineered for speed and manoeuvrability. With cutting diameters, or ‘decks’ of between 32-60 inches, they offer a fast and efficient solution.

The Pros of push or self-propelled lawnmower 

Kinder to your lawn

If you are looking for a more precise cut to your area, then a push or self-propelled mower offers a cleaner and far more accurate cut compared to its ride on alternative

Less noise pollution

All push mowers are far quieter compared to ride-on. This means that they do not require additional PPE to operate. 

Easy to use

There is far less to go wrong with a push or self-propelled mower compared to a ride on option. Push mowers are also very simple to service and repair if anything is to go wrong. 

Reduction in carbon footprint

If you are striving to reduce your overall impact on the planet, then using a push mower or self-propelled mower will reduce the number of emissions you create. 

Easy to transport 

Most models are small enough to put in the rear of a standard hatchback car. 

Cons of a push or self-propelled lawnmower 


If you are not using a petrol-based machine, then you could run out of power very quickly. Electric mowers can struggle and get clogged easily. 

Wet grass is a nightmare

Grass that has a small amount of dew on can cause issues. No matter if you have a push or self-propelled mower, these machines can really struggle to cut and collect. This inevitably makes more work for the operator.

Not designed for rough terrains

Push mowers are built for flat lawns and rely on self-propelled mechanisms to help them cut on up slopes and along hillsides. 

Pros of a ride on mower

Shorter time mowing

Ride-on mowers can get the job done so much quicker than with a push or self-propelled option. 

Less stress on the operator

The machine is designed to be easy and comfortable to use. This means that operators can work in comfort and there is far less stress on their bodies. 

Ability to tow

A ride on mower can double to be an all-terrain vehicle at your home. A lot of ride-on styles have the option to have a tow bar included.

Adjustable cutting levels

This allows customers to tailor their cut to a particular level of the lawn. Most of which can be operated without the driver having to leave their seat.

Saves you money in the long run

Even though ride-on machines may seem more expensive to hire compared to their other alternatives, they will save money in the long run. You will be amazed how much you will be able to do in such a small amount of time.

Cons of a ride on mower

Requires a trailer to transport

Ride-on mowers are heavy, therefore cannot be put in the back of a vehicle, unlike its push alternative. Make note that you may be required to take an additional B+E trailer training course to tow a ride-on lawnmower depending on its weight. 

Less manoeuvrability 

Some designs of the ride on mower lose the ability to manoeuvre around objects. This can be an issue and lead to further additional work.

WHC Hire Services are committed to supplying the nation with the highest quality garden and groundskeeping equipment. Since 1997, we have offered a vast range of tools and machinery for all different types of projects. With depots in Tewkesbury, Worcester and the Cotswolds, we are available and on hand when you need us. With consistent investment into the quality of our equipment, we can assure that customers, contractors and businesses (no matter their size) receive their required tools on time and in perfect working condition.

Click here to see our full range of gardening and groundskeeping equipment, or call 01684377977 to discuss your project with one of our friendly and knowledgeable team. Together, we can help you get the job done right.