Rolling lawns are a wonderful addition to your yard, adding a layer of majesty to the landscaping that’s hard to find when things are all flat. They also add quite a few complications to maintenance and after a certain point, those lovely hills can actually become dangerous obstacles when you’re getting the job done.
While there are specialized mowers available for mowing ridiculously steep hills, their price range puts them out of the realm of possibility for most people. Thankfully, if your hills are steep but not too steep, you can still get the job done on a realistic budget, you just have to pay special attention to the mower you purchase to get the job done.
Below are our recommendations for the 4 best lawn mowers for steep hills, and afterwards, we go into what you should look for in the deal mower for your needs.
Snapper P2185020E / 7800982 HI VAC 190cc 3-N-1 Rear Wheel Drive
This mower from Snapper is almost philosophically ideal for a walk-behind mower to use on hills.The mower (see full specs) comes with variable speeds, seven height settings, and it’s rear wheel drive. Add in a high-quality motor and the Hi-VAC technology attached to bring the grass up even faster and you’re looking at something truly special. The high-price might make some balk, but it’s really not much for those who are truly dedicated to their manicured lawns. It’s, without doubt, one of the best push mowers for hills.
Troy-Bilt TB330 163cc 21-inch 3-in-1 Rear Wheel Drive Self-Propelled Lawnmower
While not quite as ideal as the Snapper, this rear-wheel drive mower from Troy-Bilt is a great option that comes in at about half the price. It has enough horsepower to get you up the hill, a pretty good sized base to cut with, and it should hold traction. The only real issue here is that you’ll need to be a bit more careful since all four wheels are the same size. With that precaution in mind, however, you’re looking at one of the best lawn mowers for steep hills period.
Honda HRX217K5VKA 187cc Gas 21 in. 4-in-1 Versamow System Lawn Mower with Clip Director and MicroCut Blades 660250
This lawn mower from Honda is absolutely perfect for the task of tackling hills. With a powerful engine and a ton of cutting power, you’ll be mowing hills in record time when you use it. The 4-in-1 aspect is also nice for those who prefer to shred their grass or turn it into mulch in order to make sure their whole lawn stays healthy for an extended time. You really can’t go wrong with this steep slope mower.
Husqvarna 960430211 YTA18542 18.5 hp Fast Continuously Variable Transmission Pedal Tractor Mower, 42″
If you absolutely must have a ride-on tractor for mowing steep hills, then you’ll need power and a variable transmission to take care of you and keep you safe. The 18.5HP contained within this mower (see full specs) should take care of most lawn hills with a surprising amount of ease, and the tractor itself is designed to handle like a car rather than a mower. While some might find this to be a bit odd, what it means is that if your foot comes off the pedal the mower will come to a stop, making things more intuitive if you get yourself into a dicey situation. This is likely the best riding mower for hills.
A Quick Word About Safety
Mowing hills can be dangerous, but there’s a lot you can do to minimize the amount of damage you might cause. While it might seem counter-productive, you’re really best off selecting a walk-behind, self-propelled mower since there’s no chance of a roll over at the end of the day.
Always mow side to side as you go along slopes in order to maximize the safety you’ll be able to achieve. This procedure is reversed if you’re using a ride-on mower, however, as it is much safer to mow up and down in a single direction.
This can make the whole process seem quite tedious if you’re working on a large embankment or hill, but it’s the safest way to go about things. We really only recommend a ride-on mower in extreme circumstances, even if you have a quite large yard it might be best to use a rear-wheel drive, self-propelled lawn mower when it comes time to get the hills done.
Always be safe, and keep in mind a roll over with a ride-on tractor can be fatal and it’s not worth your life or a long stay in the hospital just to get the job over with faster.
What to Look for in Best Lawn Mower for Steep Hills
The first thing you’ll need to be looking for is a rear wheel drive mower. Front wheel drive simply won’t cut it on anything sloped over a few degrees. It’s not recommended to even try with front wheel drive; you’d be better off with a mower that has to be pushed.
All-wheel drive is quite nice in a lot of situations, but on hills, rear-wheel drive mowers will prove themselves to be a superior option in almost every case. It’s really all about the traction, if you lose grip on the mower it’ll go careening off and you’ll have to start the line over at the very best and might suffer some injury at the worst.
Rear wheels being taller than the front ones is also something to keep an eye on, but it’s not absolutely essential. It’ll take a little bit more work on your part if the wheels are equal, but it’ll mostly be about being careful which you should be anyways.
Never attempt to use a zero-turn lawn mower on a hill, it’s going to be tough going and you’ll lose control of the mower quite easily. This problem will become even worse if you insist on using a ride-on.
We only included a ride-on mower for extreme situations; it’s not a great option for most people’s lawns or properties. Even professionals will often use large, specialized, self-propelled mowers when they approach exceptionally large embankments. The risk of injury is simply too high.
You’re likely to get tired while you’re hitting a lot of hills, even with a mower with pretty high horsepower since you’ll be pushing a considerable amount of weight around. Make sure you take care not to get too tired to control the motor should things get a bit awry, and remember to let go before the mower comes up if things get really hairy.
Any of our self-propelled options will make an exceptional mower for any lawn, and they’ll allow you to conquer hills with a surprising amount of ease. We recommend these as the best lawn mowers for steel hills. If you purchase the top one you can afford, you’re well on your way to an immaculately groomed lawn, regardless of any hills, bumps, or embankments you may encounter. Good luck!