Riding Mower Attachments

Riding Mower Attachments (what to own, what to avoid)

If you have a riding mower you probably either own attachments or are considering purchasing some. In today’s article I’ll talk about some of the most common riding mower attachments and I’ll discuss which ones are worth owning.

The reality is that some equipment is essential and well worth the investment and the space it will occupy in your garage or storage shed, but other riding mower add-ons simply won’t be used often enough to justify the purchase (you can spend that money better elsewhere).

I’ll go through everything you need to know here so you can make the best decisions when upgrading your mowing equipment.

Let’s get started.

First Thing’s First – Sizing & Compatibility

Before you buy any attachments for your riding mower, make sure that they are compatible with the model you own.

You wouldn’t believe how many people email me asking why the attachment they purchased didn’t fit … well, it’s built for a different mower!

Why Upgrade Your Riding Mower with Attachments?

One of the main purposes of getting attachments for a riding mower is to help the mower do more than just cut grass. But more generally, we buy lawn equipment to make our life easier, and to accelerate the pace at which we can complete lawn care projects around the house.

Why Buy Riding Lawnmower Attachments

Less time working on the lawn, more time enjoying the lawn. That’s the goal, right?

There are many different functions your mower can fulfill if you have the right attachments for it.

In many cases, whether an attachment is worthwhile for you will depend on the size of your property (how large it is). For example, a lawn sweeper will probably only be useful if you have an especially large area. If you don’t, it probably won’t be worth the cost and the trouble of having to store it.

Keep in mind that many of these attachments are quite large, so unless you have unlimited storage space, you will usually need to pick and choose, purchasing only the attachments that are specifically best for you.

If you have a zero-turn riding (ZTR) mower, you will find there is a more limited selection of attachments available than you might find for garden tractors and lawn tractors.

Now, let’s get into the nitty gritty.

Riding Mower Attachments

Here’s a list of some of the most popular and useful attachments for riding mowers (in no particular order).

Aerator

You can get aerator attachments for your riding mower that will give your lawn the aeration it needs.

Riding Mower Lawn Aerator Attachment

Aeration helps prepare your lawn for fertilization and reseeding. It is process in which small holes are put in the ground, allowing for better air circulation and water and fertilizer penetration. This will make your grass roots stronger and healthier.

Buying an aerator attachment for your mower is a good investment in most cases. It will mean you always have an aerator on hand whenever you want to aerate your lawn during the course of the year. And the ability to purchase this attachment is one key advantage to riding mowers (it’s not an option on a walk-behind mower).

Aerator attachments vary in size, with between 40 and 48 inches in width being very common. Keep this in mind when planning where you will store it in your garage.

Aerator attachments for riding mowers can vary quite a bit in cost. They generally range from around $100 or $150 to $750. I like and recommend this model from Agri-Fab. It’s 48 inches wide and does a nice job.

In this article I compare spike vs plug aerators, to help you determine which style tow-behind aerator may be best for you.

Bagger

A bagger is a very common mower attachment. This is a useful attachment, as it makes collecting lawn clippings very easy.

Leaf Bagger - A Good Attachment for Riding Lawn Mowers

You can get baggers in different sizes, including 9-bushel triple baggers and 6-bushel twin baggers. When deciding on what size of attachment to get, consider the size of your lawn.

Bagger attachments can be rather large. For example, it may be about 42 inches X 46 inches. You will need to find storage space for this, so plan this out before making your purchase.

These attachments can sometimes be quite expensive as well. In some cases, they can be as much as $500 or more, and in my experience many people are frustrated by the capacity of the leaf baggers they get from the manufacturer … it never seems like enough.

When a Simple Bagging Attachment Isn’t Enough

I have large maple trees on my property which drop a ton of leaves, and while I usual mulch and bag with my self-propelled Honda mower, I borrowed my dad’s rig one year and he has a large lawn tractor leaf bag like this one on Amazon which fits over his factory leaf bagger attachment. It allowed me to clear my front and back yard of leaves in a snap.

As long as you’re strong enough to muscle the full bag, it’s a great way to super-charge your leaf clean up, and I recommend looking into something like that if leaf clean up is a big job at your home.

If you don’t have a very large lawn, buying a bagger attachment is probably a waste of money for you – you may be better served by investing in a quality leaf blower that will take up less space (and is much more fun to use).

There are a lot of good backpack blowers on the market, but I’ve only used my PB-770T from Echo (Amazon link) because it has never given me reason to use anything else. I can recommend that model if you’re in the market for a backpack blower and are having trouble choosing one.

Lawn Roller

A lawn roller attachment is useful for getting your lawn back into shape after the winter. It will even out any parts of the ground that have been damaged in the cold weather.

Lawn Roller Attachment for Your Riding Mower

The roll of a lawn roller is filled with sand or water to give it the necessary weight to press down and level your lawn as you drive across it. I generally recommend using water as you can empty it out when you’re finished (making the roller lightweight and easy to handle as you put it away.

If you ever need to put down sod, you can use the lawn roller to get your ground prepared and even for this process. You can also use it for tasks such as pressing seeds you have planted deeper into the soil to ensure good soil-to-seed contact for optimum germination.

There are lawn rollers available with different abilities and in different sizes. I use this one from Brinly by pushing it across my lawn, but it has a tow option as well. I love that it will work as a walk-behind roller or as an attachment for your riding lawn mower. There are always some areas of your property that are tough to get to on a riding mower while towing a piece of equipment.

Dethatchers

A dethatcher attachment is a fantastic attachment to have if you ever need to dethatch your lawn.

Dethatching is a process in which you remove matted grass and other kinds of debris from your lawn. This is essential for new growth to take place, and when you dethatch just prior to overseeding you’ll see great results.

Why Purchase a Dethatcher for Riding Mower

Using a dethatcher attachment will make the dethatching process easy and a lot less effort than it would be otherwise. You will be able to get rid of barriers that are stopping your lawn from getting all the nutrients, water, and air it needs.

A dethatcher attachment is quite large (for example, about 40 inches wide), and it’s a bit unwieldly because of its design, but there are a few options which are better than anything else you’ll find out there.

Check out my list of the best lawn dethatchers – there are three tow-behind models that stand out as being great options.

Disc Harrow

A disc harrow is ideal for getting your garden beds ready for replanting. You can also use it to break up hard ground to begin a new garden.

Disc Harrow Attachment for a Riding Mower

Having a disc harrow attachment will come in handy when you want to prepare your garden beds for replanting. It’s also useful for breaking up hard ground when you want to start a new garden, or complete a lawn renovation by killing your existing lawn and starting over.

Truth be told, this isn’t an attachment you’ll want unless you have a very large garden area, but it’s worth including in the list because it can save time and prevent you from wrestling with a rototiller.

Spreader

We should all regularly fertilize our lawns in order to keep them healthy and beautiful. If you have a large lawn (which you probably do as you have a riding mower), it might be a good idea to buy a spreader attachment (you can see my favorite one right here).

Towable Lawn Spreader Attachment for Your Riding Mower

An example of a spreader attachment is a tow-behind broadcast spreader. Using a spreader attachment will make it much easier for you to fertilize your lawn whenever you do so during the year. You can also spread good seed over your lawn, spread lime, iron, and other soil amendments with this attachment, making it a solid investment.

Spreader attachments come in different sizes, some of which are smaller than other kinds of riding mower attachments. Agri-Fab makes a good one.

Snowblower

If you live in a region that gets a lot of snow in the winter, it might be worth your while to get a snow blower attachment for your riding mower. This will make it easy to plow through all the snow that collects on your property.

Snowblower Attachment for Riding Mower

You will be grateful you have this the next time you need to clear a driveway or pavement, and this is one attachment that can really extend the value of your riding mower, making it a year-round asset to your property.

Snowblower attachments are just as large as many other riding mower attachments, and they can be quite heavy, but if you live in a northern climate and have a large driveway it’s worth the cost and the space in your garage.

I can say from experience that if you’re buying a plow kit or snow blower for your lawn tractor it’s a good idea to invest in some snow chains for your tires as well. Most tires on riding mowers aren’t built for snow, and you’ll be frustrated with your investment unless you can get good traction. It’s worth the extra money. Measure your tires before you order, but these ones on Amazon will work for most riding mowers.

Canopy

If you have a large property and spend long periods of time outside doing mowing, think about getting a canopy. A canopy attaches to your mower to give you shade from the sun, and usually can be attached to any mower with a roll bar.

The canopy attachments for many riding mowers are collapsible, so they don’t take up too much storage space, and if you leave it on your mower it doesn’t increase the footprint of your mower at all.

Most manufacturers will sell you a canopy and roll bar that’s made to fit with your mower, but there are third-party universal canopies like this one that may work for you as well.

Attachments I would Only Consider for Large Properties

The attachments below are usually only worth buying if you have quite an expansive property. Buying them if you only have a small lawn will most likely be a waste of money.

Trail Cutter or Trail Mower

A trail cutter or trail mower is really only worth considering if you have an extensive property.

This attachment will reduce the amount of time it takes to mow your grounds. You can also use it to clear paths through saplings and brush.

If you have any places that need heavy cutting power, a trail cutter or trail mower is a good investment. Swisher makes a solid one, which you can see demonstrated in the short video below from Piney Life:

Tank Sprayer

A tank sprayer is really only worth looking at if you have a very large property. It makes it easier to treat large parts of the yard without having to constantly refill the tank.

Tank sprayer attachments tend not to be as large as many other riding mower attachments, so you won’t have to worry quite as much about storage space, but this is a luxury tool that only a few homeowners I know have in their arsenal.

Lawn Sweeper

If you have a large lawn and find gathering dead leaves, acorns, or pinecones a difficult task, a lawn sweeper would be a good buy.

Lawn Sweeper for Riding Mower

A lawn sweeper attachment will gather leaves, pine needles, pine-cones, acorns, and other types of debris in your yard. You can also use it to sweep up grass clippings after you mow.

When the lawn sweeper gathers this debris, it uses a rotating sweeper brush to put it into a hopper bag. When you see that this bag is full, simply empty it.

You can find lawn sweepers in different sizes, but they do tend to require a decent amount of storage space.

The cost of a lawn sweeper can range from $150, for example, to $700. It’s probably not worth your while to buy a lawn sweeper if you don’t have a very large property.

Cart

Many riding mower owners like to have a cart attachment. You might call this a utility trailer or dump cart. You can use this kind of attachment for tasks such as hauling soil or garbage, garden tools, or mulch in your garden.

Lawn Mower Dump Cart

If you have a large property and do a lot of garden work, a cart attachment might be a good investment for you, but if you already have a wheelbarrow and don’t mind using it, you probably don’t need one.

Some carts are quite large and they have deep containers, meaning it might be challenging to store if you don’t have a large garage. If you’re interested in a good one, my dad owns the Agri-Fab 45-0101 (pictured), and he likes it.

Which Riding Mower Attachments Are Right for Your Lawn?

It depends.

It’s clear that the types of attachments that you should consider getting for your riding mower depend on the size of your property.

Best Attachments for Riding Mower

The type of soil that you have will also play a role, however.

If you have a sandy lot, you may not have to invest in an aerator. You may be better off investing in a spreader to easily top-dress with compost.

If your lot is heavy clay, than an aerator will be essential.

Big trees? Get the lawn sweeper – you’ll thank me every fall.

Another factor you need to consider before you purchase any riding mower attachment is storage space. Don’t put yourself in a situation where you have more attachments than you have places to put them. And be sure that you leave room in your garage to comfortably maintain your mower every spring (even if there isn’t room to park your car in there).

Nobody likes having a garage they can’t use.

by

Sarah’s blog, Lawn Chick, is read by over 2 million homeowners each year and she is regularly cited as an expert source of lawn care knowledge by major publications. Her goal is to meet you where you are, and help you achieve a yard you’ll be proud of. Ready to take the next step toward improving your lawn? Grab her free lawn care cheat-sheet: What to Do When - Take the Guesswork Out of Lawn Care, or upgrade your garage by browsing her favorite DIY lawn care products.

2 thoughts on “Riding Mower Attachments (what to own, what to avoid)

  1. Patti Bibo

    I was reading your April 2020 blog about Milo and Ironite….I couldn’t find anywhere to comment on that article. I wanted to ask you a question…..in the article you say
    “I use Milorganite 4 times per year on my yard, and I supplement with a different iron supplement called Dr. Iron (Amazon link).”
    I was wondering HOW you supplement with Dr Iron….I do the same as you with Milo so WHEN and how much do you use Dr. Iron?
    Thank you….from one woman to another!
    Patti 🙂

    • Hi, Patti!

      Sorry about the comment situation – I’ll look into that and get it resolved this week.

      To your question – I do a soil test every spring and let those results guide me toward whether I need to do an Iron application in the spring (I usually choose to once every other year or so), and then I typically do one mid or late June because I have people over on the 4th of July and I want my lawn looking its best (that gives it time to take effect). Beyond that I might do it when my lawn starts to look a little tired, or if I’m having a party or gathering I apply it a few weeks beforehand to give it that nice dark green.

      There have been some years when I’ve just applied Dr. Iron with my Milorganite on every application and that has worked well too. If I’m applying that often I’d suggest using 1/2 the recommended quantity of Dr. Iron and just adjusting your spreader settings to reflect that and still get nice even coverage. If I’m doing the application at the same time as Milo I do them in two separate passes so I get nice even results and I don’t get clumps of Iron coming out here and there by mixing the two products.

      Hope this helps, and best of luck with your lawn this year! Thanks for visiting my blog. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *