John Deere LA 155 19.5 horsepower 42' tractor
We absolutely love our John Deere. When we bought our current home several years ago, we needed to get a new mower because we have a lot of yard space both in the front and back of the house. After shopping around for several weeks, we decided on this model because of the ease of riding on it, and John Deere's excellent reputation. I was nervous about the $1700 price tag, but in retrospect I'd absolutely buy it again.
This mower cuts a clean swath clear across the grass. It's comfortable to sit in and to drive, and it does an excellent and neat job with the grass. It comes with a switch that lets you mow in REVERSE- who knew you could do this?!- so you don't constantly have to circle small objects and turn tight corners in your yard.
I'm also pleased with the level of noise this mower emits. It's a mower, so it's loud, but I've definitely heard a lot worse. I don't worry that I'm disturbing the entire neighborhood when my husband mows the lawn! Of course, you should always wear protective eyewear AND ear protection when mowing your lawn; otherwise you can incur hearing loss and eye damage.
Another thing that I like about this mower is that you can adjust the cutting height from 1 inch to 4 inches, adjustable by quarter-inch increments. It's great to have so much control over the height of our lawn. You can change the cutting height by a switch on the left side, near where your feet rest. You just slide it up and down until you get to the height you want.
All in all, this is an excellent mower that I'd highly recommend you take a look at if you're in the market for a new ride-on mower. I think it'd make a great first tractor for someone who's used to a more traditional push mower, as well, since it's fairly straightforward and economical for what it does.