Buyer's Guide Table of Contents
Last Update: December, 2023
When you’re dealing with a yard that has hilly terrain, not just any lawn mower will do. Instead of struggling to get a mower to work on hills, it’s a better idea to invest in a lawn mower that’s made to handle hills.
Unlike mowers meant for regular, even lawns, these are fully equipped to handle tough hills and make the whole process much easier for you.
Mower For Hills
This Honda mower has a variable speed that goes up to 4 mph. You'll love the super fine mulch it gives you.
With powered rear wheels, this mower gives you better control. Not only can it handle hills, it can tackle very tall grass too.
Snapper XD 82V MAX
This Snapper self-propelled mower makes it easier than ever to get over hills. The 21-inch cutting deck means you can get done faster.
This Troy-Bilt riding lawn mower is easy to maneuver. It tackles hills very well and you’ll be comfortable using it.
This Craftsman mower has an impressive 46-inch cutting deck. It's designed to be easy to move around and even reverses.
More About The Honda HRR216K9VKA
This is a great mower for people with hilly backyards, and it gives you plenty of room to adjust it to exactly how you want it to run. Whether you're on a super steep incline and need to take your speed way down, or if you've gotten to a flat area and want to crank the speed up to the full 4 mph, it's up to you.
Additionally, you have 6 different preset height adjustments to choose from. This makes a big difference when you’re going from a well maintained flat area to a less than tended hilly spot.
You’ll love how you can choose to mulch, bag, or use the side discharge. If you want super fine mulching, this is the mower for you.
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More About The Honda HRX217K5VKA
This Honda mower delivers control you can be confident in, even if you’re dealing with difficult slopes and a heavy bag of clippings. It has 4 in 1 functionality, so whether you want to mulch, utilize bag clippings, discharge, or use a combination of any, you’ve got it all at your fingertips.
It is comfortable to use and it packs a lot of power too. Even thick, tall grass that most mowers struggle with don’t stand up to this one. It’s a durable and reliable mower that keeps up the quality work even over several years.
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More About The Snapper XD 82V MAX
The Snapper XD is a self-propelled mower, which makes it perfect for taking care of hilly areas. It’s also well loved for being safer to use too. Best of all, it's extremely user-friendly in all of the features it includes. Not only does the power automatically adjust to match the work the blades are doing, it also has a push button start so you get right to work.
One of the really convenient things the Snapper mower gives you is easy, cord-free movement, no gas required. The batteries are rechargeable and last for up to 45 minutes.
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More About The Troy-Bilt 382cc
This Troy-Bilt riding mower can cut 30 inches wide and allows for 5 different height adjustments. The cutting deck is designed to give you the best of push and riding mowers. You can cut more at once, but you still have plenty of room to turn and maneuver around when you need to.
This is a mower you can really enjoy using. Not only is it well designed and efficient, it’s comfortable with its mid-back seat. There’s no more straining and it navigates really smoothly.
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More About The Craftsman T225
Some riding mowers can be difficult to maneuver, which ends up negating the convenience they are supposed to offer. You'll be pleased to know that this Craftsman mower is very different. The wheels are designed to offer better traction and easier turns with 15-inch front wheels and 20 inch rear wheels.
Even better, this riding mower actually reverses. So if you’re someone that dreads mowing your hilly lawn because of unexpected pits and stops, you can rest assured you’ll be able to get out of (and around) sticky spots.
Another impressive feature (and one you’ll love if you want to get yard work over ASAP) is the super wide cutting deck. It’s a full 46 inches wide, which means you can get more done in every pass.
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Even when you have a lawn mower that does a great job navigating hills, you still need to be extremely careful. Mowers are a useful tool, but also a serious piece of equipment that can injure when used improperly.
Here are some safety tips to take note of:
Try to avoid going up and down steep slopes whenever possible. This can lead to a loss of balance and control. Instead, move side to side, horizontally, and work your way across the yard.
Only mow hilly areas when the time is right. Don’t mow when it’s just rained recently or when the ground is slick.
Choose a time to mow when you have plenty of it. Meaning, don’t mow when you’re going to rush. You need to go slowly when mowing hills. Always pay attention to the terrain around you, and don’t take risks. It’s better to err on the side of caution.
Factors to Consider When Buying
If you've ever pushed a broken down car, stroller, or anything else on wheels up a steep hill, you know how hard it can be. This is not only because of the hill itself but also because of the weight of whatever you're pushing.
This being said, before you get a lawn mower for your grassy hills, make sure that it is a relatively lightweight model. A heavy lawn mower and steep hills don't mix, as you'll find it incredibly difficult to get the lawn mower up and down the hill.
Ease of use
Mowing is stressful enough; you don't need a lawnmower that adds further complications. You'll want to search for a model that has a reputation for being easy to use.
You might be wondering how a lawn mower can be easy or difficult to use. What we mean is that if your lawnmower has a battery that is a pain to change, or a small gas tank if you have a gas lawnmower, it might be more of a hassle than it's worth.
Keep an eye out for batteries with long lifespans and easy assembly, cruise control, among other user-friendly features.
Rear wheel drive capabilities
All-wheel drive is great in most situations and for most lawns. However, when it comes to steep hills and embankments, a bit of extra kick is often needed.
This is what makes rear-wheel drive something important to look for, if you intend to use your lawnmower on the ground that is sloped.
The extra kick given by the portion of the motor that controls the back wheels will make it easier for you to successfully guide your machine up the hill.
Most of us are accustomed to mowing with traditional gas-powered lawn mowers. While these are the most popular type of lawn mowers and generally boast the strongest motors, there is a more eco-friendly lawn mower motor on the market.
Hybrid engines can be used with either gas or an electrical connection, whereas electrical engines don't use gas at all. Fully electric engines are by far the most eco-friendly, so if you’re passionate about preserving the planet, keep the engine type in mind when browsing for a new mower.
Cutting height adjustment settings are crucial if you use your lawn mower for any type of professional landscaping. These settings allow you, much like beard and hair trimmers, to choose how long you want your grass to be after it is cut.
Most lawn mowers with adjustment settings will range from 1 inch to up to 4 inches, giving you plenty of choices. Even if the lawnmower you're looking into doesn't have a huge selection of settings, one or two settings is still something to look for.
The deck size of your lawn mower will play a big part in the amount of time it takes to give your lawn a complete once over. Although a longer deck gets the job done more quickly than a shorter one in our personal experience, shorter decks are better suited for hills.
This is because they allow you to remain in control of your lawn mower more efficiently, which makes maneuvering up and on hills less difficult.
Wheel size is important when handling hilly terrain. You might know this if you follow any kind of monster truck or professional racing - larger wheels mean easier driving.
This is the same when it comes to lawnmowers - except, of course, larger wheels, in this case, means less of a hassle cutting the grass on the hills. Large rear wheels give your lawn mower stability.
Best for Mowing Hills: Push vs. Ride-on Lawnmowers
The debate between push and ride-on lawnmowers seems to be never-ending. There are two distinct sides and virtually no in between.
This being said, despite both being designed to do the same job, both types of lawn mowers are completely different machines.
Walk-behind (push) mowers require you to walk behind them and manually push them in the intended direction. They generally have a mower deck that is about 30 inches wide. They are best suited for flat patches of land that range in size from small to medium, as they require human strength to move forward.
Self-propelled lawn mowers require virtually no muscle to push them forward but still require the user to walk behind the machine, making them a sub-type of a push mower. This still means a lot of walking for the user if their lawn is bigger than average. The average push lawn mower requires frequent bag changes, which can be a pain for frequent mowers for large yards.
The affordable price of traditional push mowers, though, is what makes up for this type of mower's seemingly few good qualities. These types of mowers can be found for under $1,000 and are generally very sturdy.
Ride-on mowers are quite the investment, ranging in price from roughly $1,000 to upwards of $3,000. They are great for small hills and valleys, thick grass, and large areas of land. They aren't, however, safe for use on steep slopes.
Midrange models boast features like cruise control, a large blade width, and sometimes even a cup holder. These features, as mentioned, mean a hefty price tag. In addition, when this kind of mower breaks down, it can be costly to fix, much like a small car would be.
Mowing On Hills: Tips
Side to side instead of front to back
As mentioned, if you're using a push mower, try to avoid front to back movements. Instead, get used to moving your lawnmower side to side when on a hill.
Moving front to back using this kind of mower can compromise your personal safety. Going front to back increases the chances if the lawnmower rolling back onto your feet and legs, which can lead to catastrophe.
Side to side movements means that if the mower did too, it would likely roll more slowly and not as far down the hill.
Do not attempt to do a zero turn
It’s tough to execute a zero turn with a lawn mower and you can very easily lose control. This is especially dangerous if you’re on a ride on mower. As a rule of thumb, avoid a zero turn at all cost.
Utilize maximum cut height
Both annoying and bad for your lawnmower, scalping is a common occurrence when trying to mow hills. To prevent it, we recommend that you always cut with the mower's cut height in the highest position.
Never attempt to mow wet grass
There's a reason that you've probably been told to steer clear of cutting wet grass. One, because wet grass is more difficult to cut. Two, because wet grass is more likely to get clogged in the parts of your mower and cause a problem.
When dealing with hills, however, wet grass is a bad idea because of how slippery it gets. You're already on a steep incline with a powerful machine, there's no need to add the risk of slipping and hurting yourself on your lawn mower's blades to the mix.
Choosing the right lawn mower can be challenging. Choosing the best lawn mower for hills, on the other hand, takes extra time and research, as many of the standard lawn mowers rules don't apply.
When searching for a new lawn mower for hills, don't forget to consider which engine type you prefer. Make it a point to seek out mowers that have large rear wheels, rear wheel drive, adjustment settings, and appropriate deck size. Mowing a hill can be extremely tiring. You’d be glad that you picked a good mower with enough horsepower to help take the load off you.