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Lawnmower: buy cheap or feature laden?

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#1 of 81 OFFLINE   DaveF



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Posted August 16 2005 - 04:56 PM

For my brand new house and brand new grass, I must finally buy my first ever lawnmower. And I'm torn between frugality and features. Any suggestions on the balance between cost versus ease and quality of use?

For my half-acre lot, which I can mow in one hour with a (borrowed) push-mower, I'm considering either full-featured, self-propelled 3-in-1 mulcher/bagger/side-discharge model or a <$150 push-only, 2-in-1 mulcher/side-discharge.

The object of my affection is the Toro Recycler 20041, at $400. I'm also flirting with the Craftsman 37669 (http://www.google.co....an 37669&hl=en) on clearance for $300.

Or, I could go cheap and elope with something like the $140 Weedeater sold at Home Depot.

Any suggestions on getting a push-mower? Cheap or fancy?

#2 of 81 OFFLINE   Bryan X

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Posted August 16 2005 - 05:07 PM

I've got a half acre and use a self propelled Cub Cadet. I wouldn't even think of using a regular push mower. I'd get one in the $400 - $600 dollar range.

#3 of 81 OFFLINE   Wes



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Posted August 16 2005 - 05:30 PM

Just got rid of my crappy Craftsman last year and replaced it with http://www.hondapowe....Name=hrr216tda a Honda. Could not be happier with the new mower.

The Toro I'm sure would be a good mower but I would stay away from the Craftsman even though they are using the Honda motor. All the other parts are crap. Just my opinion!

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#4 of 81 OFFLINE   Daren Welsh

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Posted August 16 2005 - 05:34 PM

Check the classifieds/yard sales for a used self-propelled Honda.
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#5 of 81 OFFLINE   Bryan X

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Posted August 16 2005 - 06:07 PM

I agree about staying away from the craftsman. I had one before my current mower and it was crap. The Cub Cadet I have has a Kawasaki engine and I haven't had any trouble with it in the three years I've had it so far.

#6 of 81 OFFLINE   Todd Hochard

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Posted August 16 2005 - 06:38 PM

I owned a piece-of-crap Murray from Wal-Mart, and it cut my very small lot in FL just fine for 11 seasons. Trouble is, it was hard to start after 4 years, needed 2 minutes of "CPR" (primer pulsing) for the first couple of minutes of operation, and was a hydrocarbon-spewing machine, from new.

I recently moved to VA, got a 1/4 acre, and decided to leave the old mower behind. I wanted a Honda, spent too much time gnashing my teeth over the cost, but ended up with-


NO regrets whatsoever over the price. It cuts perfectly, mulches fantastically, has pretty low-emissions as tested by the nose-o-meter, and is perhaps the quietest lawn mower I've ever heard (well, with an engine, anywayPosted Image ).

I expect that it will last me 10 years, or Honda will be getting some serious grief from me.Posted Image

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#7 of 81 OFFLINE   DaveF



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Posted August 16 2005 - 06:53 PM


staying away from the craftsman

[quote] Oddly, Craftsman has the third-best reliability rankings in Consumer Reports, behind Honda and Toro. And there's concern Honda may slip, as they're moving to cheaper engine parts.

I appreciate the comments. I should have known the HTF crowd would recommend the more expensive choice Posted Image

Todd - that Honda is very nice. But I want to keep it under $400. If I do get that Toro, I'll be angling for a 10% discount from HD to get it for $400 after tax.

#8 of 81 OFFLINE   Carl Johnson

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Posted August 16 2005 - 07:10 PM

I too would recommend staying away from Craftsman. To make a long story short I had two separate mowers suffering from bent blades in a period of less than two months so I got my money back. On my way home from Sears I just so happened to see a well used but operational mower for sale at a second hand shop and it's been working flawlessly for the past four years Posted Image

#9 of 81 OFFLINE   Shane Martin

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Posted August 16 2005 - 07:32 PM

I went with a Honda Self propelled for <$400 from my local dealer. I wouldn't dare cheap out on a mower. My father hated his Murray.

#10 of 81 OFFLINE   Mark Philp

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Posted August 16 2005 - 09:15 PM

I've learned from experience to stay away from the cheap ones. You'll end up getting a new one every other year. As for Craftsman, the cheap ones aren't very good, but the one I have now is a Craftsman brand, but with a Honda engine. It's the best mower I've ever had. Starts the first-time, every-time, and cuts great. As for bent blades, I don't know how anyone can blame the mower. A blade only bends when you hit something like a rock or a medal pipe or some such thing.

#11 of 81 OFFLINE   Danny Tse

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Posted August 16 2005 - 10:35 PM

Well, I recently purchased a cheap Craftsman rear-bagging lawnmower for $175.00 and let me tell you, I should've spend more. It's not that there's anything wrong it since it starts on the first try and it has been reliable. However, it's the little things like the ease of adjustability of the wheels or the amount of cut grass getting stuck in that flap that opens to the bag. I don't know how long it will last, although it will follow a tough act as my last lawnmower lasted over 20 years. I should've purchased a Honda.
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#12 of 81 OFFLINE   ChadM


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Posted August 17 2005 - 03:14 AM

I too just went from a Craftsman to a Honda and could not be happier. Spent less than $400 at Home Depot, which carries Honda in my area.

#13 of 81 OFFLINE   Seth_L



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Posted August 17 2005 - 03:20 AM

As someone else pointed out there are now Craftsman mowers with Honda engines. As you can see there is a common theme between most of the posts in here about Hondas.

#14 of 81 OFFLINE   Dan Joy

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Posted August 17 2005 - 03:37 AM

Going on my 13th year on my TORO RECYCLER:b I just change the oil and sharpen the blade every year for maintenance. I live in OK where I sometimes have to cut my bermuda 2-3 times per week. If the money is there, go with a good unit like Toro or Honda. YMMV

#15 of 81 OFFLINE   Dennis*G


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Posted August 17 2005 - 04:56 AM

It's a mower. Get whatever works as all it does is spin a blade. :-) That said, you just need quality. I ran a $100 murray into the ground after 10 years of it's life, it could have gone longer, but the wheels came off and after 2 replacement sets, none would work right. So I got another Murray this time around, 3-1, works good, but does have some drawbacks (well 1 anyway) the rear wheels stick out past the deck, so I cannot get in close to things to mow around, so everything needs the weedwacker to clean up. I tried a neighbors self-propelled mower once and I hated it. We have slight hills (and I mean slight) on our lot and the single propelled wheel would sometimes just spin in the grass and go nowhere. Just something to keep in mind.

#16 of 81 OFFLINE   Jon_Gregory


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Posted August 17 2005 - 05:27 AM

Here's my opinion. If you get a self propelled mower, get one that is rear wheel drive. Those front wheel self propelled mowers are crap. When the bag begins to fill up and the weight is on the back wheels, the front wheels loose traction. If the self propel is on the back wheels, it keeps traction going during the whole operation.

#17 of 81 OFFLINE   LewB



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Posted August 17 2005 - 07:35 AM

I bought the Toro mower based on what I read in Consumer Reports. My impressions: They say that it is only mediocre if you mulch the clippings (leave on the grass as you mow). Boy is that the truth, I find myself going back over places that I've already mowed just to break up the clumps it left behind on the first pass. I frequently hear the gears of the 'personal pace' system make a grinding noise if I start out too fast. I think the drive wheels may just be spinning, but I'm not sure. The cover for the battery box comes off as I'm mowing. It just doesn't seem to be able to snap into place tightly. My current fix for this is duct tape. YMMV

#18 of 81 OFFLINE   ColinM



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Posted August 17 2005 - 07:45 AM

4 years on my Craftsman and I'll not buy another.
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#19 of 81 OFFLINE   Mort Corey

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Posted August 17 2005 - 07:51 AM

Buy a Honda....not a Crapman with a Honda motor or one of the ones they sell at the big box home center (they're different...trust me) Rear whell drive (two speed is nice) and rear bag (side bags are a PITA) you won't be sorry. My first one lasted ten years before a cable broke (lack of proper maintenance on my part) and I had it completely serviced and gave it to my son-in-law who's now on his sixth year with using it (again minimal maintenance). Mowing the lawn is enough of a pain in and of itself...you don't want to be adding to the work with a mower that you have to futz with...JMO Mort

#20 of 81 OFFLINE   Drew Bethel

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Posted August 17 2005 - 08:08 AM

Just spend $200 and get a yardman and call it quits. Mine is going on three years without a hiccup. You're just cutting grass for christ sake! Does the blade spin? Is the grass being cut? DONE!
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