Updated December 2021
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Buying guide for best lawn mower tires

It’s the first week of June, the birds are singing, the sun is shining, and the grass is growing. Soon you’ll need to wheel out your lawn mower from the depths of the garage and begin the weekly event of mowing the lawn. Before using your lawn mower for the first time, you should check the tires because it’s inevitable — you will eventually need to replace a damaged or worn-out tire on your trusty lawn mower.

You might only use your lawn mower for one season of the year, but upkeep is still necessary. Just like car tires, lawn mower tires wear out with use. And just like cars, your lawn mower is going to be less effective with a shoddy tire. During the winter, it’s possible for lawn mower tires to go flat or for them to be damaged by the elements. Cold weather affects tire pressure, too, so when you drag that bad boy out for the first time, the tires may be flat.

Which type of lawn mower tires do you need to purchase? We created this guide to help you figure that out and to lead you to the best possible tire products for your mower. Read on to learn about key considerations and features.

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Riding lawn mowers are recommended for yards that are more than one quarter of an acre to one acre. An acre is measured at 43,560 square feet, so one quarter of that is about 10,890 square feet. Using a push mower for a large expanse will prompt you to need more frequent replacements.

Key considerations

Type of lawn mower

Riding lawn mowers are often owned by those who have a large expanse of yard to mow. With a larger yard comes more wear and tear on your lawn mower tires. For a traditional lawn tractor mower, the front two tires will be identical, as will the back two. The back tires will be larger than the front tires. The same goes for zero turn riding lawn mowers.

Push mowers and electric mowers have smaller tires than riding mowers, but the same ratio remains: the front tires will be slightly smaller than the back tires. Push mowers come in front-wheel, rear-wheel, and all-wheel drive, all of which affect the wear on the tires.

Tire size

Understanding the sizing of a tire may be the most difficult part of the process. The size is printed on the sidewall of the tire, and it can also be found in the owner’s manual. Lawn mower tires are always sized in inches via a certain sizing system. That system will contain a series of three numbers separated by “X” or “/.”

With sizes containing the “X,” the first number dictates the overall diameter of the tire. The second number indicates the width of the tire, and the third number represents the size of the rim needed. So, “18 X 9.50-8” would mean the tire is 18 inches in diameter with a 9.50-inch wheel on an 8-inch rim.

With sizes containing the “/,” the numbers differ slightly. The first number is the width of the tire, the second number is the height of the sidewall, and the third number is the rim diameter. You will need to complete some simple math to discover the overall diameter of the tire in this instance. So, “4.10/3.5-4” would mean the width of the tire is 4.10 inches, the height of the sidewall is 3.5 inches, and the rim diameter is 4 inches. To figure out the diameter of the entire tire, you would add the rim diameter to the sidewall height and multiply it by two. For example, 4 (rim diameter) + 3.5 (sidewall height) x 2 = 11 inches total wheel diameter.

If the system of numbers differs from these examples, check the owner’s manual for an explanation of the numbers. Some sizes will be extremely specific to the type of mower.

Traction needs

  • Terrain: Hilly yards need tires that have more traction because of the angle the mower when you’re mowing. The increased traction will ensure the mower doesn’t tip, and it will also ensure the mower stays close enough to the ground to cut the grass.

    Flat yards don’t require as much traction unless there are numerous small turns and corners or a lot of obstacles. Traction aids in turning the mower easier.

  • Drive type: Front-wheel drive push mowers allow the driver to push on the handle of the mower, which reduces the traction on the front wheels. These are used for pivoting into and out of corners and are best for level yards with lots of obstacles.

    Rear-wheel drive push mowers are used for uphill mowing or sidehill mowing. The opposite happens with these mowers: when the user pushes the handle while moving uphill, the front tires have increased traction.

    There are mowers available that are all-wheel drive, too. These are suitable for yards that are hilly in some places and flat in others with hard-to-reach corners and small spaces. All four tires on these mowers will need to have increased traction abilities.

Ply rating

The ply rating dictates the load, or carrying capacity, of a lawn mower. A heavy-duty mower requires a greater ply rating. Greater plies are also more resistant to punctures in the tire casing, like when running over a nail or a thorn. You can find the ply rating stamped on the side of the tire. For most owners, there are two options: A/2-ply and B/4-ply. Two-ply tires are weaker and less expensive; four-ply tires are stronger and more expensive.

Tread type

Turf treads are the most common type of tire used on the average yard. The tire is designed so the tread provides some traction when crossing over pavement or grass clippings, but it doesn’t have so much traction that it digs ruts in the yard.

All-terrain treads usually have larger blocks of tread on the tire. The grooves between the tread blocks are deeper to provide traction in loose gravel or sand. These tires can be used on lawn mowers, but they are more often found on all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) or utility vehicles (UTVs).

Ribbed treads can be used on easy-to-mow lawns. If you have a simple flat expanse that you mow in rows, ribbed treads will help keep the tires from sliding sideways. They are designed to roll easily and to last for a while.

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Did you know?
The back wheels of lawn mowers are often larger than the front wheels. This is because an increased diameter helps you navigate ruts and difficult terrain more easily.


Specialty tires

If you have an older lawn mower, it’s possible the manufacturer’s tires are no longer sold in retail outlets or traditional stores. You may have to order specialty tires that specifically fit your machine. Ordering specialty tires ensures your lawn mower will be working at peak performance.

No-flat tires

This type of tire is different than the traditional rubber wheel. It’s constructed from solid polyurethane and is mounted on a steel rim. The tire is non-marking and has the same feel as a rubber tire, but it won’t ever get flat.

Ball-bearing wheels

For yards with intense terrain and difficult mowing, ball bearing wheels aid in smoothing the ride. Wheels that have ball bearings essentially have metal balls that “bear” the extra load, which allows for an easier mow.

Lawn mower prices

It’s possible to purchase multiple tires at once, package-style, and it’s also possible to purchase both the tire and wheel rim. But the prices we’re explaining take only one tire into account, and we will specify if a rim is included.

The most affordable lawn mower tires are in the range of $15 to $25. These will have a basic tread for an easy yard, and they don’t include the tire rim.

The next range of affordable tires is from $30 to $40. These tires are slightly more durable, perhaps with a greater maximum load, and they also don’t include the tire rim.

The most expensive lawn mower tires cost more than $50. These are highly durable tires for difficult terrain, and some may include the rim.


  • If you see the acronym “LR” printed on the side of a tire, know that it stands for “Load Range.” That dictates the ply of the tire.

  • When replacing lawn mower tires, it’s recommended that you perform other lawn mower maintenance as well. This may include changing the spark plugs and mower blades or replacing old gas. Doing all of the maintenance at once will increase the life of the tire.

  • White-walled tires are a unique way to decorate your lawn mower. While decoration may be the least of your worries, some people ride their lawn mowers almost every day — and white-walled tires definitely add some character to a lawn mower.
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When replacing a tire, stick with the original tire size the mower came with. Manufacturers purposely choose those tires for optimal lawn mower performance. Changing the tire may decrease the performance.


Q. Should I replace all lawn mower tires at once, even if only one needs replacing?

A. No, that’s not necessary. However, it may be smart to purchase additional replacement tires so the next time you need to change one, you will already have it on hand. This is especially true when changing both front tires or both rear tires. If one front tire wears out, odds are the other tire will be wearing out soon.

Q. How do I know I need to change a lawn mower tire?

A. Examine the tire and the sidewall for signs of deterioration and/or multiple cuts or chunks missing from the tread. These are signs you need a new tire. Also, if the tire loses air pressure or traction when going uphill, it may be time for a replacement tire.

Q. How long will a lawn mower tire last?

A. There are a lot of factors that dictate the life of a lawn mower tire. How often you mow the lawn, how large the lawn is, the obstacles and terrain of the lawn, and the age of the lawn mower all affect this. Most lawn mower tires should last for at least one summer.

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