Two Troy-Bilt riding mowers drive to the top of our tests

Two Troy-Bilt riding mowers drive to the top of our tests

The best you can hope for when shopping for a riding mower is a solidly built, top-performing machine that doesn’t leave you feeling clipped on the price. This year, in fact, we have two such models in our lawn tractor tests—a pair of zero-turn-radius mowers from MTD’s Troy-Bilt brand that we named CR Best Buys.

The Troy-Bilt Mustang 42-inch 17WFCACS, $ 2,300, is preferred by homeowners with just a couple of acres to mow, particularly if they bag clippings. Its three-blade sibling, the Troy-Bilt Mustang 50-inch 17WFCACP, $ 2,800, can mulch or side-discharge (no bagging) and is well suited for larger properties.

What the pair have in common are heavy-duty frames we’d expect to see in zero-turn-radius mowers costing $ 3,000 or more. The controls are sturdy, and our testers especially liked the integrated brake—set merely by separating the control levers. In other words, there’s no need to fuss with a separate parking brake when you need to start or stop the unit. Other attractions include a hydrostatic transmission, a high-back seat, and a fuel gauge you can see without leaving your seat. Both mowers are available exclusively at Lowe’s.

But it was the cutting that impressed our testers most. The Troy-Bilt Mustang 42-inch 17WFCACS, in fact, was the only riding machine we tested to earn our top score for evenness in all three mowing modes. “Of the models we’ve tested, it’s got the best cutting deck out there,” said Peter Sawchuk who runs our mowing tests. With so much more grass to process, the Troy-Bilt Mustang 50-inch 17WFCACP did slightly less well for side discharge, but that’s often as good as it gets for mowers that size.

Before choosing a mower, check out our lawn mower buying guide for walk-behind mowers, lawn tractors, and zero-turn-radius mowers. Then see the results of our lawn mower tests, which assess models for handling and ease of use as well as cutting evenness.

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