Troy-Bilt TB30 R Neighborhood Rider 30″ Riding Lawn Mower


[Original article 2012. Updated 2024 with current model the Troy-Bilt TB30 B).

Spring and Summer are awesome because we get to do our lawn and garden reviews. When you build quality products, you get brand loyalty. Troy-Bilt started building rototillers in 1937 and has acquired loyal users ever since.  I am one of those loyal users. The Neighborhood Rider is the size of a wide cut mower, so it can get into those tight areas.

The TB30 R is about the size of a standard walk behind wide cut mower, it can get into the tightest of situations with ease.  The TB30 R is powered by a Briggs and Stratton 11.5 HP motor with a simple choke/ throttle lever.  Push the throttle all the way forward to the choke position and turn the key.  That is all you need to start the mower.  It has a nice look to it and a quality feel all around.  A large cup holder will hold your beverages for you on those hot days.  The mesh covered seat allows it to stay cool and breath.  It also swivels to the side to allow the operator to get on and off easily.  The seat is mid-mounted and like Eric said in the video it gives a smoother ride.  We were both surprised at the level of comfort the seat had.  Lifting the seat up gives you access to the oil dipstick.  The steering wheel telescopes into 3 positions depending on your style and overall the mower is quite ergonomic and comfortable.

A 6 speed transmission will get you up to 4.25 mph, in tight areas this can sometimes be a little too fast.  Luckily you can control the speed via the foot pedal and or the 6 speed selector which is located on the lower right of the steering column.  Forward, neutral and reverse are located at the base of the seat.  The TB30 R handles well and has a tight 18″ turning radius, perfect for around small trees.  The low impact tires tread lightly,  but still have enough traction to get you out of a wet area if needed.  When in neutral the mower was a breeze to push around the garage and the small size took up hardly any space.  Keep in mind the TB30 is for flat lawns only,  use on uneven or hilly terrain above a 12 degree slope is dangerous.

The Neighborhood rider can do most everything other big box store tractor’s can and it can go where other tractor’s won’t .  It has a hitch, which we immediately took advantage of.  We pulled our Agri-Fab aerator and roller around the yard, towing up to 400 lbs behind the unit, which I am sure is in excess of the recommend “Light accessories”.  Still apart from a little under steer and slow downs in the drainage ditch, it pulled it flawlessly!  The 30″ deck has a manual PTO lever that engages the blades and right next to that are the 5 Deck positions.  The cut quality was good and the mower had no issues, even going through tall grass.  On angled terrain we could feel some frame flex.

The fuel fill is easy to access and also uses the clear plastic tank as a visual gauge.  Oil changes are simple with the included drain hose.  For those of you that like to mulch, for under $20 you can get the mulch kit accessory and they also offer a bagger.  The Lowes Service Advantage covers this product, if you have any issues just call the number on the back of the unit.  The Neighborhood rider is good for flat lawns only.  Anything with more than a 12 degree slope is not recommended.

The simple starting and operating controls make the TB30 R perfect for any home owner to operate.  Plenty of power and the ability to tow light accessories make it more than just a lawn mower.  Built by a brand that is known for durability the Troy-Bilt TB30 R Neighborhood Rider is a top pick for flat lawns 1 acre and under.  More info via Troy-bilt and via Lowes


  • 2 Year – Extended Service Contracts are available through Lowes

You can buy the Troy-Bilt TB30 at The Home Depot.


  1. You didn’t find the mower to be unstable? I bought one and found it to be very tippy on anything but the very flattest of lawns. In a tight turn at medium mowing speed a very small depression in the ground will cause the front wheels to dig in. This causes the opposite read wheel to come off the ground stopping the mower forward motion which in addition to the shifting weight of the rider tips the mower over. It happened to me 3 times the first time I mowed my half acre lawn. Scares me to the point I may return the mower and will definitely not let anyone else use it.

    • Hi Joe, WOW it tipped over? no it wasn’t unstable for us. All we had to contend with was a small drainage ditch and I always run perpendicular to the incline to avoid flipping over. The mower is only a 30″ mower so am sure it is less stable than a wider mower but from your describing is nothing like we experienced. Can you get a video of what your talking about? We had the opposite effect instead of the front wheels grabbing they would slide if you were in an aggressive turn.

  2. The front wheels will sometimes slide but a modest depression in a dry lawn at the wrong time will cause them to catch. I thought about trying to catch the tipping action on video. I am comparing this mower to two others of similar design I’ve owned over the past fifteen years. A John Deere S and a Murray which were both 30 inch rear engine riders and easily more stable. This style of mower is less popular than the tractor style but people who like them REALLY seem to like them. I understand a wider mower would be more stable and read the flat lawn warnings that came with the product literature. But I’m not sure many people own lawns sufficiently flat to use this mower safely.

  3. I think your review of the mower is spot on. I really like the mower and want to keep it. It is a joy to use other than what I’ve described. To me safety trumps all ease. The only other thing I would like to see is the position of the blade engagement lever and the direction shifter swapped with the blade being automatically disengaged and re-engaged when changing forward / reverse direction. As it is you have to remember to manually disengage the blade before shfting into reverse or the motor stops.

    Better stability and this would really make it the ideal mowing machine!

  4. Just finished putting my tb30 together. Hooked up battery and have nothing on the key. Not even a click. Battery is shown 12.08 on meter. I’m assuming its a 12 volt? Would this be the problem?

    • Make sure that you depress the foot pedal all the way and that the blades are not engaged. Then check the connection on the seat. Did you plug in the seat? it has a spring loaded safety.

    • If the side discharge shoot or mulch plug which ever one you’re using has a switch that must be in the closed position are the motor will not start. To correct make sure your deck attachment you’re using is properly in position to contact the switch

  5. Also make sure the side discharge shute is pushing in the interlock switch to the rear of the chute. It took a little effort to get it positioned just right the first time I put it on.

    BTW, I’ve been using the mower for several weeks now and have become more comfortable using it but am much more restricted in my mowing patterns now.

  6. There is a bagger option. Lowes sells it for $199 and free shipping (its a huge box) and includes a counterweight for the front end..

    Just got mine today.. haven’t used it yet.. first impressions are great though.. everything feels pretty good and simple to use..

    bagger makes it narrower and it will fit through most gates…
    But adds some length to it. Totally worth it though

  7. Does anyone know where the:
    the stab plug off the reverse kill switch – makes life a lot easier when trimming if you can cut in reverse. This was on the toy bilt website. Where is this located?


    • Turn the ignition switch to the middle position after everything is running and push button, light will come on and it’s ready to go

  8. @ Jack, July 7
    Yes it has a rear bagger attachment, but with the mulching kit, you don’t ever need to bag, the clippings are so fine, they are hard to even see back in the lawn… this is a great mower, my first riding, no more push mowers that fill up every 5 minutes … have used this for a month now, 100% satisfied !

  9. After owning a Toro 8-25 rear engine rider since 1989, which I loved,
    the TB30 by Troy Bilt is just what I needed. Too bad Toro doesn’t make anything that size anymore.It looks good & operates like its supposed to. We have a flat lawn,so that’s an ideal situation.People really need to consider their landscape before they invest in a riding mower. Great job Troy Bilt!

  10. It’s really a nice and helpful piece of information. I am glad that you just shared this useful
    info with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks
    for sharing.

  11. My Troy-Bilt mini riding lawn mower tipped over and now it won’t start. We checked all safety switches, nothing seems to be broken, it clicks and sometimes has a high pitch sound when trying to start it. Bought a new battery and still won’t start. does anyone know what might be wrong with it? Had it for one year. Didn’t buy the extra insurance. Thanks.

    • Start the engine. Run about 2 to 3 minutes to get the oil hot so all will drain out. Loosen the oil plug. Snap on the extension to drain the oil outside the frame. Finish removing the oil plug. Drain the oil into a container at least 2 quarts. Replace the plug. It will hold 44 ounces of oil. That is a quart plus. Just put in a quart and keep adding a little and checking your dipstick until you reach the line on the dipstick. You can do it.

  12. I recently bought the TB30, and very happy with it so far. I have 2 questions. It came with the bagger unit already installed.How involved is it to switch from bag to mulch? And also, if I were to get a cart such as the Bluehawk, can it be added with the bagger on?

  13. How can I change the spark plug? I have limited mobility and cannot see where the spark plug is. I have reviewed the pdf’s on the TroyBilt site, but none show the spark plug in relation to the engine. In one schematic, I see a spark plug wire, but I can’t ‘visually’ piece it together. I don’t want to have to take everything apart to find it. Typical lawn mowers have easy access to the spark plug, but not this mower. 🙁
    And similar to the other comments in this thread, I also will not let anyone else drive this mower due to unsteadiness. My wheels get stuck and spin a lot. I wish I had saved the $1,300 I spent on this and kept saving until I could purchase a nice front engine riding mower instead. Sadly, lots of problems here ….

  14. I just received my Troy Bilt 30 inch riding mower and the shift rod was broken. I have a new one on the way. It is only held in place with a cotter pin on both ends. Is there anything I need to do other than just put the new one on with the cotter pins? Also, with the broken shift rod, is this the reason the machine would not move after starting and putting it in gear?
    Thank you.

  15. Is there anyway to stop the seat from swiveling? I hate this “feature”. I personally think it’s unsafe. I have a little slope in my yard and when cutting it the seat swivels and i feel like I’m going to fall off or tip over.

    • I took 2 3/8×34 bolts and washers and installed them in the lower portion where there are holes for bolts. seems to stop the swiveling.

  16. This is the worst mower they ever built! I call it the death trap!! so many things are wrong with this particular type of model….It only has a break pedal to control the gas pedal, and in order to put it in reverse, you first have to move the deck up. forget the tight turns cause it will jump and nearly knock you off!! My mom used this and got gourded in the head and had to get staples to close her wound. She thought when she bought this model she was saving money….you have to go slow and heaven forbid you have any slanted ground. Now all their models only brake pedals. I mow the property for her now, because she is afraid of an accident. It takes me 3 hrs to mow her 1 acre in instead of 1.5 hr. She hasn’t had this for a year, I just wished that she could get her money back.

  17. Can anybody offer me any info on why my TB30R mower wont turn over i was using the starter connector to jump start the engine because the key was not making the connection to start now that is no long working eighter help please i checked all the points in the chat and they were good. any other suggestion???


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