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7 Best Mowers for Rough Terrain

by ThatWoW Editorial Team
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An ideal lawn in our imagination would be one with uniformly cut grass, flat ground, and manicured hedges. It should provide you with a welcoming surface to play, run, or just have a cup of tea in the evening. All it may take is a bit of trimming and watering here and there to maintain it.

In reality, most of our lawns look far from ideal. It can be hilly, sloppy, bumpy with uneven grass, holes, and whatnot. So rough is the terrain that it can take hours for a trimmer or a reel mower to maintain the lawn. When the going gets tough, the tough get going and that’s what the lawnmowers we have listed here are for.

Having a powerful specialized mower for rough terrains may cost you a substantial sum, but it’d make your job much easier. These lawnmowers can not only trim the grass on uneven grounds but mulch, collect and discharge it for fertilization.

Check out the complete list of land mowers here and read the buying guide to make a wise investment—one mower can last years if you purchase the right one.

7 Best Mowers for Rough Terrain

1. Husqvarna MZ61 61 in. 24 HP Kawasaki Hydrostatic Zero-Turn Riding Mower

Husqvarna MZ61 61 in. 24 HP Kawasaki Hydrostatic Zero Turn Riding Mower
  • 24 HP Kawasaki engine provides reliable startups and high ground speeds

Swedish brand Husqvarna is one of the most reliable and oldest brands of mowers dating back to 1947. And the MZ61 is a prime example of just how good the company’s goods are. It is a zero-turn mower that works as fast as any rough terrain mower in the segment.

The Kawasaki engine of the mower comes with an electric start saving you the effort of pulling chains to start your mower. Its 61-inch cutting deck ensures your mower will be able to cover a massive 4.2acres/hour. That makes it an excellent option for medium to large-sized lawns.

Apart from being a powerful beast, the mower is also ergonomically designed with comfortable and high operator seats and smooth steering. You also get armrests, vibration dampeners, adjustable seats, and padded hand grips. That ensures gardening work won’t hurt your back and be painstaking anymore.

It has a durable heavy-duty steel frame that is built to last for years and years. It is also a very safe option because of the presence of the Roll Over Protection System. It will eliminate the chances of injury even in the roughest of terrains.

It also has a triple bag collection system that helps mulch, collect, and discharge debris. The ride is also pretty smooth and bump-free with the presence of an oversized chassis and massive tires. 

Pros:

-You can operate it for three things: vacuum, mulch, and clean

-Comfortable seating and armrests

-Powerful Kawasaki engine

-Oversized tires for a smooth ride

-Roll Over Protection System for maximum safety

Cons:

-Pretty costly

-Cleanup is a bit challenging due to the design

-A mulching kit and bagger attachment are not sold with the mower

2. Snapper 2911525BVE Classic RER 28 inch 11.5 HP 344cc Rear Engine Riding Mower

Getting a massive and expensive 61-inch mower isn’t always the most practical thing to do. If the bumpy terrain in your yard isn’t larger than a half-acre or so, you can make do with a 28-inch mower like this one from Snapper which is ideal for smaller spaces. It consumes less space, is easy to park, and does the job as well as the larger ones.

The lawnmower has a 5-speed shift disc drive system and a basic yet convenient design that would suit most newbies too. The 11.5HP engine will mow your 0.25 acres yard in less than an hour easily.

It also costs much lower than large 46 or 61-inch mowers. The larger mowers consume too much gasoline which can prove to be costly when using in a small yard. The small mower from Snapper reduces fuel consumption and saves your cost there too.

The tires of this riding mower are similar to other heavy-duty mowers albeit with smaller grips. The rear wheels are wider than the front ones providing the mower with a wide base ensuring a smoother and safer ride. Such an arrangement also protects your grass. 

Pros:

-Compact size

-5-speed disc drive for smooth and quick operation

-Cost-friendly

-Easy to store and maintain

Cons:

-Its cutting deck is narrow, making it difficult to cut closer to the objects

3. Craftsman M215 159cc 21-Inch 3-in-1 High-Wheeled FWD Self-Propelled Gas Powered Lawn Mower

Craftsman M215 159cc 21-Inch 3-in-1 High-Wheeled FWD Self-Propelled Gas Powered Lawn Mower with Bagger
  • POWERFUL 159CC OHV GAS ENGINE: Powerful gas engine comes equipped with recoil and auto choke. No...

Craftsman is another established and reputable brand in lawn mowers that has made a name in providing exemplary quality. The M215 is a versatile lawn mower that can cut, collect, discharge and mulch smoothly. It doesn’t have a powerful start but comes with a recoil start and an auto choke which starts the device quickly even in winters.

The auto choke is particularly impressive—it gets the engine to start much faster than other self-propelled mowers. The mower is good enough for medium-sized yards because of the 21-inch cutting deck.

This self-propelled mower is pretty easy to use as you don’t have to push it, just guide it around. The variable speed feature of this lawnmower allows you to conveniently move the mower as per the bumpiness of the terrain. You can also adjust the height from the 6 height settings along with the dual lever for customizable and smooth operation.

The rear wheels are 11 inches thick as compared to the 8-inch thick wheels in the front, giving the mower a wider base for stable operation even in the roughest of terrains. The lightweight mowers design is also quite practical with a trendy 21-inch cutting deck and angled easy-grip handle.

The engine cover isn’t top-notch but the overall build quality is pretty satisfactory especially at this price point. The mower also comes with a 2-year warranty for any manufacturing defects making it a trustworthy option.

Pros:

-3-in-1 functionality

-Easy to start with auto choke

-Offers various customizations include height adjustments and variable speed

-Thick rear wheels with good traction

-2 Years warranty

Cons:

-Isn’t suitable for large yards

-The handles can make hands hurt after long operation

4. Greenworks 21-Inch 40V Brushless Self-Propelled Mower 6AH Battery

Greenworks 40V 21-Inch Brushless Self-Propelled Mower 6AH Battery and Charger Included, M-210-SP
  • CORDLESS LAWN MOWER – Get more done, faster, with Greenworks electric lawn mowers. This 40V...

If you are looking for a compact and cost-effective mower, Greenworks 40V brushless mower is just the ideal option for you. It not only costs less than most other mowers but also reduces fuel consumption since it works on a battery. 

The mower comes with a 21-inch cutting width that makes short work of small to medium-sized yards. Since it’s cordless, you’ll be able to smoothly mow around the yard without any distractions or extensions. The 40V battery of the mower isn’t very powerful and would equal to around that of an 80cc gas engine.

That would be ideal for a small yet bumpy yard but it can be taxing to mow a large yard with it. Self-propelled lawn mowers generally make too much noise that can be a pain to your neighbors and can increase your anxiety. But this Greenworks mower is a class apart with its brushless motor that keeps motoring along silently. You can adjust the motor’s speed to maneuver smoothly and tackle difficult terrains smoothly.

The 3-in-1 functionality of this mower allows you to mulch, side discharge, rear discharge and collect your grass clippings handsfree. The mower has a dual battery port to tackle larger yards and more difficult terrains.

You can keep an extra charged battery which will save you a trip to the garage. The mower comes with a load sensing technology that adjusts the power output depending upon the current grass clippings. As a result, you would save battery power and time.

Pros:

-Battery-operated with dual battery port

-Cost-friendly

-Adjustable height and speed

-Brushless motor ensures silent operation and better torque

-Quick push-button start

Cons:

-Can’t cut high grass like other battery-operated mowers

5. Husqvarna 967820502 LE221R Self-Propelled Battery Lawn Mower

Husqvarna 967820502 LE221R Self-Propelled Battery Lawn Mower, Orange
  • 40V battery mower offers cordless push-button startups with plenty of power and no engine...

Here is another trustworthy and budget-friendly lawn mower from Husqvarna—but this one is self-propelled with a 900W motor. This 40V battery-operated lawn mower can work excellently in tight, difficult-to-reach spaces in your small to the medium-sized yard. It has a maximum speed of 2.8mph which is pretty lower than some of its peers but it provides a 1/2 acre cutting capacity.

You’ll also get two 40V batteries coupled with a fast charger which ensures you won’t have to recharge before mulching the whole yard. You can just replace the battery and carry on. The fast charger completely charges each battery in under one and half an hour. It also has a battery saver mode that allows the mower to automatically adjust the power output depending upon the grass clippings and save battery power.

You don’t need to take out the battery to save its power either. Instead, the mower will only start to draw power from the batteries when you turn the switch key to the ON position. The company has paid special attention to safety and provided a start inhibitor switch that is needed to be on for the blades to start working with the self-propulsion.

Pros:

-Low battery consumption with Save mode

-Adjustable speed from 1.8 to 2.8 mph

-Dual battery ports

-20 inches thick cutting deck

Cons:

-Slow speed as compared to similar mowers

6. EARTHQUAKE 28463 M205 Trimmer with 150cc 4-Cycle Viper Engine Walk Behind String Mower

EARTHQUAKE 28463 M205 Trimmer with 150cc 4-Cycle Viper Engine Walk Behind String Mower, Red/Black
  • POWERFUL - Powered by a strong, yet quiet, 150cc 4-Cycle Viper engine. The Earthquake M205 walk...

If power is what you are after, the 150cc beast from Earthquake is an irresistible option. The powerful string trimmer can handle all kinds of tasks from trimming to mowing to cutting brush and more. Coming with a 22-inch cutting width, the mower can handle taller grasses with ridiculous ease.

The mower has pretty tall 14-inch wheels that are easy to maneuver and tackle challenging bumpy terrains. The tall wheels make it perfect for cutting tall grass, unlike short self-propelled mowers which are only good at cutting short grass and shrubs.

Its sleek handlebar is easy to hold and comes without any tools embedded over it. You can cut through tall grass, shrubs, weeds, and foliage using this powerful land mower without making much sound.

The product comes with a huge 5-year warranty testifying its durability. It has a strong frame and a 4-stroke engine that will last for years and tackle adverse terrains. It can be used for both heavy-duty and lighter purposes. Its slightly sleek frame allows you to store it easily in narrow spaces—you can just fold back the handlebars for easier storage.

Pros:

-4-Stroke 150cc powerful engine

-Tall wheels to tread through tall grasses easily

-One-piece steel deck makes it a durable option

-5-year warranty

Cons:

-Spare parts might not be available easily if you accidentally damage your mower, so it has to be used carefully

7. American Lawn Mower Company 50514 14-Inch 11-Amp Corded Electric Lawn Mower

American Lawn Mower Company 50514 14-Inch 11-Amp Corded Electric Lawn Mower, Black
  • Electric lawn mower with a powerful 11-Amp motor to cut all types of grasses; High efficiency, yet...

American Lawn Mower’s unbeatable price has more to do about its corded electric operation and less about its power. It offers a rear discharge and mulching feature although you can’t side discharge and collect debris with it. The grass bag that accompanies the mower also has a level indicator to know when the bag is full.

The mower is stylishly designed with a compact black frame and matte finish. It is extremely lightweight and compact weighing 2.65 pounds—this makes it suitable to use in narrow locations and easy to maneuver around. The foldable handle of this mower also makes it easier to store in small spaces. 

The adjustable height of this mower ensures you can cut differently sized grass quickly. You can adjust the height from 1″ to 2.5″ although we would have liked the upper range to a bit higher. Adjustable height also ensures you’ll cut your grass into a pleasing and uniform length throughout.

The lawnmower is also eco-friendly as it neither uses gas and produces emissions nor batteries. It makes for a cost-effective alternative to other mowers, although you’d need a long extension to work it around even small yards.

The electric mower mulches 16 gals without making much noise. Its handle has a padded comfortable grip that allows you to work for long hours in the yard without hurting your hands. The mower also comes with a 2-year manufacturing warranty.

Pros:

-Saves fuel as it runs on electricity

-Low cost

-Lightweight and easy to maneuver

-Easy to store with foldable handles

-2-year warranty

Cons:

-The limited height adjustment of the mower means it’s challenging to cut tall grass and takes too long to do that

-Hard to tackle bumps because of the low height

How to Select the Best Lawn Mowers for Rough Terrain? Buying Guide

Buying a garden tool like a lawnmower is unknown territory for most of us, especially when we are buying one for rough terrain. You don’t want to invest your money in an unsuitable product and regret it later. 

Assessing a few important factors can ensure you get the best possible tool. You’d be able to assess just how much you can spend after reading this buying guide.

Selecting the Type of Mower

Here are the types of mowers based on their operation which are ideal for rough terrains:

Hover

These lawnmowers as the name suggest hover above the ground and hence are easy to maneuver along rough terrains. They are also cheap options and can mow strangely shaped areas with ease. But these mowers are typically corded and hence aren’t ideal to be used in large yards. 

Cylinder

The cylinder lawnmowers have a cylindrically shaped cutting deck on the front part of the mower. The blade is fixed at the bottom and the cylindrical metal blades rotate against it swiftly to cut it fast. They cut pretty quickly and come in all kinds of fuel types including electric, cordless and gas-operated.

These mowers are excellent for flatter terrains with a little bit of bump but you may find it hard to cut tall grass with them. 

Rotary

These mowers have a single blade that works like propellers in a plane rotating below the mower. They can work in bumpy as well as flatter terrains and can cut various types of grasses. You can find this kind of mower operated by all types of fuels.

Cutting longer and rougher grass will become easier and quicker with the help of rotary mowers.

Power Options

Electric

These are the most common types of lawnmowers connected to the power with a cord. Naturally, it isn’t the most convenient type of mower because it has to be connected to an extension and the cords can be an obstacle. 

But these types of mowers save money because they don’t use fuel or battery. They are also environment-friendly as they don’t produce any emissions. Check if the cable allows you to move around the lawn before buying it. 

Cordless

Cordless mowers are budget-friendly and convenient mowers albeit a bit more expensive than corded ones. They also need to be recharged and may run out of battery during operation. Look for those with 2 battery spaces—they are suitable to mow medium-sized yards.

Gas

The most common type of mowers is the gas-operated ones. They are ideal for uphill climbs, large and uneven yards, and rugged terrains. They can tread the most challenging terrains but they cost much more than other types. You should go for these when mowing a large, oddly shaped, and uneven yard since they are a valuable investment and would save your time and effort considerably.

Tank Capacity

The tank capacity of gas land mowers should be about two to three gallons to run for at least 2 hours. In terms of battery-operated ones, look for at least 75 Ah battery for medium-sized yards as that can run for two hours. Commercial gas mowers should have about 5 to 6-gallon capacity.

Mower Speed Adjustment

Your lawn mowers should have an adjustable speed to ensure that they can be maneuvered through difficult bumps with ease. Gas mowers typically have a speed of 5 to 8 MPH in the forward direction and 1 to 3 in the backward direction. Electric ones have lesser speed than gas mowers.

Although expensive, gas mowers are more powerful, work faster, and last longer, and hence are a better option for large rough terrains.

Self Propelled

Most of the powerful lawnmowers including the riding ones as well as the walk-behind ones are self-propelled. That means you just have to steer the mowers and not push them. You can also find mowers that aren’t self-propelled— although inexpensive, they are difficult to move along bumpy terrains.

Mulch Mowers

Your mower should be able to mulch grass clippings and throw them back into the lawn to add nutrients to the soil. So, you’ll be recycling the cut grass and using it as a type of manure for your soil. Most mowers we have added to this list have this feature.

Grass Box

A mower with a grass box is ideal if you have a medium to large yard. It will reduce the number of times you have to stop mowing to empty the box.

Size of your yard

You must determine the type of mower you need by assessing the size of the yard. A smaller yard may not have enough space for a powerful gas-powered mower that will cost you $5000.

Instead, a cheap walk-behind mower may be good enough for your 50 sq ft yard. For small lawns up to 100 sq ft on average, electric and cordless mowers should be used as they are easier to store too.

For large lawns with rough terrains above 250 sq ft, you’d be wrong to buy anything other than gas or petrol-operated mowers. These mowers are powerful and are designed for long hours of usage.

Cutting Height

This is the height of the grass after you have cut it. This height should be adjustable for rough terrains as different places would require different settings to make the lawn look even. The upper range of the cutting height of the mower should be around 4-5 cm if your lawn has tall grass. If the yard’s shrubs and grasses are short, you can select corded mowers that cut only up to 2.5 inches.

Cutting Width

The cutting width is the size of the strip your mower will cut at a time. The wider the cutting width, the lesser the time it will take to complete mowing. A 300mm cutting width is enough for a small lawn while you should look at a width above 400mm for a larger yard.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the best type of lawnmower for uneven ground?

A string mower is the best option for a small yard with up and down rough terrains. These have tall wheels which are easier to move around through the rough areas. For larger areas though, string mowers can be painstaking to use and you should go for a riding mower in that case.

Riding mowers are faster and easier to use and have what it takes to tread through rough terrains. They cost more but are absolutely necessary for larger yards.

Are zero-turn mowers suitable for rough terrains?

No, mowing rough terrains require you to tread through tall grasses and bumps which can get difficult with the small wheels of the zero-turn mowers. The wheels can get stuck in bumpy and hilly areas making it a troublesome proposition. 

How to take care of lawn mowers for uneven ground?

Lawnmowers are expensive tools and hence you’d want them to last as long as possible. To maintain your lawn lower for a long time, you must follow all the caring tips given in the manual regularly.

For gas-powered engines, you should change the oil regularly, clean the carburetor, air filter, and more. You shouldn’t overcharge the battery of the cordless mower and keep it out of the mower when not in use. The user manual would help you in taking care of your land mower.

How do you mow an uneven lawn?

-Prepare your mower

Now that you have decided to mow your lawn, fill up your gas tank to ensure you don’t run out of fuel during the process. If you have a battery-operated mower, get both your battery charged to avoid going to the garage to recharge in between. Use a rider mower to save time mowing large lawns.

-Sharpen your mower blades

Dull mower blades can make uneven cuts that look ugly. Sharpen your blades once or twice a year depending upon usage. Clean the blades after every 3-4 uses to avoid any obstacles.

-Set mowing height

Don’t set the mowing height too short as it may lead to an increase in weed growth. The optimal mowing height is usually 2 to 3 inches. To measure the mowing height, measure the length of ground to your cutting deck and then to the blades.

-Clear the area

You should clear debris and stuff like toys from the yard which can prove to be an obstacle. Keep your pets and children away as the mower may throw away rocks at fast speeds.

-Divide the lawn into rectangles

When you have uneven ground in your yard, try to divide it into squares and then start moving along with the parameters. That would provide you room to move around smoothly.

-Mow side to side on hilly areas and slopes

Moving up and down on your uneven hilly grounds can be dangerous. Instead, make perpendicular straight lines and start mowing this way on slopy areas. 

-Mow in adjacent lines

You should try to move back and forth while mowing uneven areas with slight overlapping. Keep the speed slow to ensure you don’t fall and injure yourself. Mow from one end to the other in a straight line then turn the mower around and mow in the opposite direction, again in a straight line.

-Make the ground as even as possible

Try leveling your bumpy lawn which can make your lawn look better and be safe for playing and running. You may flatten the soil in the spring months by stamping on it if it’s a slight irregularity. You can use pure sand to fill smaller holes too.

Do reel mowers work on uneven ground?

A reel or manual mower isn’t suitable to mow uneven grounds because it’s won’t generate enough power and is pretty lightweight. Power mowers that are fuel generated are your best bet for bumpy terrains.

Conclusion

Lawnmowers are an indispensable asset for mowing bumpy terrains since it’s practically impossible to go up and down trimming the grass using a trimmer or a reel mower. They make your cut more uniform, save time, and ensure your lawn remains healthy for long.

Craftsman M215 is the ideal lawnmower for extremely rough terrains because it’s light in weight and has massive power. It reduces the risk of falling that comes with riding mowers and gets the job done efficiently. For smaller lawns, consider buying the Snapper mower as it’s compact, easy to use, and cost-effective.

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