• Your yard size: For yards that are about three-quarters of an acre or less, a walk-behind mower can be a good choice. The smaller your yard, the smaller the mower deck can be. For example, a 21- or 22-inch walk-behind mower is commonly used on smaller yards.

If your yard is larger than three-quarters of an acre, consider a rear-engine riding mower or a smaller lawn tractor. Riding mowers with rear-mounted engines provide good visibility and excellent mobility. Look for mowing decks between 28 and 42 inches wide and engines from 12 to 20 hp.

A zero-turn rider or front- engine lawn tractor may be appropriate for one- to three-acre yards. Look for 16 to 24 hp and a mowing deck 38 to 44 inches wide.

For yards larger than three acres, a larger zero-turn rider or garden tractor is probably best. Look for engines with at least 24 hp and mowing decks in the 48- to 61-inch range.

• The terrain: A typical walk-behind mower is fine for a small, flat yard. If your land is sloped or hilly, consider a self-propelled walk-behind mower. One with big back wheels is easier to maneuver across rough terrain. All riding mowers can handle varied terrain, though some are better on slopes than others.

Be careful on slopes and hills. If you’re using a riding mower, mow up and down the incline, never across. With a walk-behind mower, always mow across the incline and never pull the mower back toward your feet.

• Your physical condition: If pushing a lawn mower is difficult, you may want a self-propelled mower even with a very small yard. Similarly, a riding mower may be the right choice if you’re unable to easily walk behind a mower.

• The engine: Look for a quality engine suited for the size of the job you expect it to do. For example, Briggs & Stratton engines can be found in several brands of lawn mowers ranging from small walk-behinds to large zero-turn mowers and garden tractors.

• Lawn mower features: New lawn and garden tractors from Simplicity have Free Floating mower decks with full-width rollers, traction options, push-button start and two- or four-wheel suspension. Many zero-turn mowers offer suspension systems and ground-following mower decks.

For more information, visit www.snapper.com and www.simplicitymfg.com.

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