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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

40 Models Considered
18 Hours Researched
2 Experts Interviewed
180 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best riding lawn mower batteries

The battery of a riding lawn mower is a key part of the machine. With the right battery, you can perform a simple electric start with a key. Without the right battery, however, your riding lawn mower will not work properly.

Note that the battery of a riding lawn mower differs from the rechargeable battery found on some electric push mowers. It also differs from the battery found in a car because, unlike a car, a riding mower does not have an alternator that charges the battery as the machine operates.

A riding lawn mower battery looks pretty simple, and in some ways, it is. Simply connect the correct battery cable to the correct battery terminal and away you go. But you can’t place just any battery in your riding lawn mower; you must use the size and design compatible with your model of mower.

If you’re on a mission to buy a battery for your riding lawn mower, we can help. In this buying guide, we discuss the elements to look for as you shop.

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The majority of riding lawn mower batteries carry between 12 and 12.6 volts when fully charged to match the 12-volt system of the machine.

Key considerations

Ensuring compatibility between battery and mower is the most important aspect of shopping for a riding lawn mower battery. Next is the positioning of the terminals. Here are some facts you should understand about the configuration of riding mower battery terminals.

What a terminal is

The terminals on a battery are the places where you connect the battery cables from the mower. The cables pull electrical power from the battery and deliver it to the mower’s starter.

In a mower battery, these are U shaped pieces of metal that extend from the top of the battery case. You connect the metal ring on the end of the battery cable to the terminal with a bolt and nut.

Positive and negative

One of the two terminals is a positive terminal, marked with a plus sign, while the other is a negative terminal, marked with a negative sign.

The two battery cables in the mower also consist of one positive and one negative. You must connect the correct cable to the correct terminal. Failure to do so could cause a massive surge in electrical power, potentially leading to a meltdown of internal components in the battery or a crack in the case.

U1 battery format

Lawn and garden batteries with 12 volts, including those for riding lawn mowers, are group U1 batteries. Two types of U1 batteries exist. It is important to match the U1 battery design to your lawn mower.

U1L: Sometimes shortened to U1, this type of battery indicates that the positive terminal will be on the left side when installing the battery.

U1R: This type of battery has the positive terminal on the right side when installing the battery.

U1L and U1R batteries have the same internal design. The only difference between the two designs is the position of the positive and negative terminals.

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Did you know?
You do not have to purchase a replacement battery that matches the brand name of your riding lawn mower. However, it must be a compatible battery.


Lawn mower batteries don’t have much technology that sets one apart from another. However, there are a few features to keep in mind as you shop.

Cold cranking amps

“Cold cranking amps” is a measure of the amount of electrical current the battery can deliver at the start. A higher number of cranking amps gives the battery better results when starting in low temperatures.

Selecting a battery with too few cranking amps may leave the mower unable to start in cooler weather. Even if the mower starts, a battery with a low number of cranking amps may cause steady damage to the battery, shortening its lifespan.

You will pay more for a mower battery with a higher number of cranking amps. Notably, though, a battery with a greater number of cranking amps than required doesn’t provide additional benefits.


A lawn mower battery should have its capacity listed somewhere in the product specifications. Capacity refers to the ability of the battery to hold power. The capacity of the battery should be compatible with the needs of your mower.

Battery makers measure capacity in amp hours, or Ah. A battery with a larger capacity costs more, but it should provide a better overall performance than a battery with a smaller capacity.


The vast majority of lawn tractor batteries operate at 12 volts. However, if you have a high-performance lawn mower that requires or can use extra voltage, you may be able to use a special type of battery that has up to 40 volts.

"When your lawn mower battery wears out, it should be recycled rather than placed in a landfill because it contains hazardous materials."

Lawn mower battery prices

For a 12-volt battery that’s made for a riding lawn mower, you could pay a wide range of prices. Understand that the battery you purchase must precisely fit your lawn mower, so if only a few batteries are compatible with your mower, it may be harder to find one in your desired price range.

Inexpensive: The least-expensive riding lawn mower batteries cost $15 to $35. These may not work well in cold temperatures and typically have a low capacity.

Mid-range: The middle price range for riding lawn mower batteries is $35 to $60. These batteries deliver a solid performance with the capacity needed to keep your lawn mower running well.

Expensive: High-end mower batteries cost anywhere from $60 to $300. These batteries have large capacities and plenty of cold cranking amps. Often, they have a special design, extra voltage, or a size that is unique to your lawn mower model.

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Did you know?
Rather than plus and minus signs, some batteries and mowers use red to indicate the positive terminal and battery cable and black to indicate the negative terminal and cable.


Here are some tips to help you maximize the lifespan of your riding lawn mower battery.

  • Store the battery indoors during winter. Riding lawn mower batteries that are exposed to cold, particularly below-freezing temperatures, have a significantly shorter lifespan. Store the battery in an environment where the temperature will not dip below freezing, especially if the machine is going to sit idle for several weeks.
  • Keep the battery charged. Because lawn mower batteries have a lead-acid configuration, they need regular charging while in storage. Using a maintenance charger or a trickle charger over the winter storage period can help lengthen the lifespan of the battery.
  • Regularly add water to certain types of batteries. Some lawn mower batteries require the addition of water to a reservoir to help them maintain their level of performance. If the battery contains caps you can remove, it probably needs to have distilled water added to it occasionally.
  • Don’t drop the battery. This probably should go without saying, but don’t drop or crush the lawn mower battery. If the casing cracks, the battery becomes unusable.
  • Pay attention to manufacturer recommendations. Your lawn mower battery should come with instructions about the specific maintenance it requires. Whereas these tips are aimed at general maintenance, your particular battery may require you to perform specific actions.
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Riding lawn mower batteries typically last four to five years, although some people get as few as three years and others get as many as seven years.


Q. How can I test my lawn mower battery?
You can use a digital multimeter to test the battery’s charge. The reading on the meter will show you whether the battery has begun to lose its ability to hold a charge and needs replacement. For a 12-volt battery system, a reading of 10.5 volts or higher indicates a viable battery. If the reading is below 10.5 volts, use a maintenance charger to try to approach 12 volts.

Q. How will I know if my riding lawn mower battery needs charging or testing?
If your riding lawn mower sits idle for a long time, such as over the winter, the battery may need recharging before it is able to start. If the mower becomes difficult to start or only clicks when you turn the start key, it could be a sign that the battery needs replacing.

Q. Should I clean the terminals on the battery?
If the battery seems to be malfunctioning, you can try cleaning the terminals. A corroded terminal will not work properly. Corrosion appears as a bluish-green or white growth on and around the terminals. Mix baking soda with a bit of water, and lightly scrub the terminals with a toothbrush to clean them.

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