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Lawnmower: buy cheap or feature laden?


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#21 of 81 Shane Martin

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Posted August 17 2005 - 05:22 AM

Mort,
What you described is the mower I bought from Honda. No way I would cheap out and go the Yardman/Murray Route.
Quote:
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.
I haven't had this problem. My front yard is on a slight hill. No issues yet with the Honda Self Propelled I bought.

#22 of 81 ColinM

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Posted August 17 2005 - 05:55 AM

The problem wth the Craftsman is that pulling the starter rope puts stress on four bolts holding down the main engine hood, to which the recoil assy is attached.

Over time, the holes have ovalized and the hood shakes and rattles. Even more so since three of the bolts no longer actually engage the hood. It's louder than the engine itself.

I'll have to get longer bolts and covering washers to fix it, which involves removing the gas tank, etc.
You call that a knife?

#23 of 81 Tim Hoover

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Posted August 17 2005 - 07:12 AM

I've been mowing my acre for 5 years now with some used POS mower I bought for fifty bucks. It cuts the grass, which is all I ask...
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#24 of 81 DaveF

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Posted August 17 2005 - 07:54 AM

Quote:
They say that it is only mediocre if you mulch the clippings
That's disappointing to hear. Though, I believe few mowers rated better than an "average" for mulching; those that were good or excellent were priced over $400.

As for Honda, while I respect their engine life (and own a Honda Accord) the Hondas I've seen don't have side-discharge. And CR rated all but the most expensive Hondas as lesser performers. So I'm not presently interested in a Honda mower.

Quote:
Just spend $200 and get a yardman and call it quits. Mine
As much as I would like to get the do-it-all, super-convenient Toro, I'm leaning towards a $130 mulcher/bagger at Home Depot. That would leave $250 I could put towards furniture or vacation.

Again, I'm suprised by all the anti-Craftsman comments. You all need to subscribe to CR, and get their reliability data updated Posted Image

#25 of 81 ColinM

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Posted August 17 2005 - 08:47 AM

CR likes Bose. Nuff sed.
You call that a knife?

#26 of 81 DevinJC

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Posted August 17 2005 - 09:01 AM

Go electric, quiet, lightweight, and cut just fine. Creating the electricity they use is considerably less pollution than what gas powered models put out. Perfect for half acre or less.

#27 of 81 Wes

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Posted August 17 2005 - 01:01 PM

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Again, I'm suprised by all the anti-Craftsman comments. You all need to subscribe to CR, and get their reliability data updated


I guess I don't hold much faith in CR, I had a Craftsman like I said and I am here to say in 3 years of owning it I went through 2 belts (on their advertised Direct Drive wording on the sales tag). Two front wheels (the gear drive ground down to nothing) and both of my bag supports broke. Also the two big rear wheels bent out because of the poor engineering of the wheel supports. It had an amazing 6.5HP that would bog down at even the sight of long grass, no way did that produce 6.5hp, I have seen 3hp Briggs that could out power that Craftsman no problem.

I am in the second year with the Honda and no problem yet and I mow three 1/3 acre yards every week!

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#28 of 81 DaveF

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Posted August 17 2005 - 02:36 PM

Quote:
Go electric, quiet, lightweight, and cut just fine
That would be cool, but they're too expensive and don't seem like an effective solution for 1/2 acre.

Quote:
I guess I don't hold much faith in CR
CR isn't perfect (as recent photo-printer reviews showed), but I've found their reviews more helpful than not over the years. And they're about the only serious source of quality information for low- to mid-range consumer goods.

I browsed some more today. The $700 Honda would also be peachy, but that's beyond the budget Posted Image

And my dream solution would be the Robo-Mower Posted Image

#29 of 81 Julian Reville

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Posted August 18 2005 - 06:19 AM

Buy which ever one has the highest gas milage! Posted Image

Oh, and make sure you a have a secure place to lock it up. My previous mower, a self-propelled Scott, was burgled out of my garage; @$$hat broke the lock.

Last year I bought a self-propelled Toro.

#30 of 81 Walt N

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Posted August 18 2005 - 09:05 AM

My 3 year old Toro Recycler is amazing. I didn't want an electric start system but that's all they had at Lowes, and now I'm addicted to it. I'm still on the original battery which lasts months between charges. I'm also a big fan of the Personal Pace drive system they use. Best mower I've had, a wonderful piece of machinery.

I only wish I'd bought this mower 10 years ago instead of going through a series of cheap mowers that I hated to use, or that died prematurely.

#31 of 81 DevinJC

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Posted August 19 2005 - 06:07 AM

Quote:
That would be cool, but they're too expensive and don't seem like an effective solution for 1/2 acre.


The black and deckers are $200-$400 at Home depot. I have the cheaper one and cut a flat 1/2 acre with it no problem. You just have to manage the cord, much like a vacuum cleaner. In fact the whole experience is more like using the vacuum than mowing.

#32 of 81 Andrew Pratt

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Posted August 19 2005 - 07:17 AM

My craftsman 6.5HP push mower has been trucking along nicely for the last 3 years. No issues todate and starts first pull every time. I'd love a honda but they were too expensive at the time and for my lot the craftsmen does fine.

#33 of 81 DaveF

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Posted August 19 2005 - 11:05 AM

Quote:
You just have to manage the cord
While an electric mower has its appeal, it's not the right solution for me. Among other concerns: I would need about 150' electric cord to mow the back yard, and that's a bit much to manage.

Quote:
My craftsman 6.5HP push mower has been trucking along nicely for the last 3 years.
I'd like to buy a Craftsman, simply because I'd prefer to shop at Sears. I was browsing there this week and was reminded of the good service and customer focus they have, at least in the appliance and hardware departments. Much better than Lowes and HD.

But I do have a Sears 10% coupon for next week, so I intend to buy next week, and get whatever store I go to match that coupon.

#34 of 81 Chris PC

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Posted August 19 2005 - 04:43 PM

With all the the SMOG in Toronto, I will never push a gas mower ever again. I use a reel push mower and when that doesn't work, I use our electric mower. I want to get a rechargeable and stick a photovoltaic panel on the roof to make up for the power it uses (the rechargable or the corded). Using the corded mower isn't a big deal. Its fairly easy to deal with the cord. Like my friend says, ..."Its actually very easy to avoid mowing over the cord.." (a common stupid thing people bring up as a drawback to corded electric mowers).."..just don't mow the lawn when you are drunk!"

I love electric mowers. They never bog, are much quieter and cut no problem. Another idea is to consider reducing the amount of grass you have to cut. Put down some patio stones and build a garden with native trees, shrubs, wildflowers and veggies Posted Image
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#35 of 81 Michael_K_Sr

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Posted August 20 2005 - 02:31 AM

Quote:
I'd like to buy a Craftsman, simply because I'd prefer to shop at Sears. I was browsing there this week and was reminded of the good service and customer focus they have, at least in the appliance and hardware departments. Much better than Lowes and HD.
Another vote here for Craftsman. My 5 HP push mower has been running flawlessly for almost ten years now.

#36 of 81 Paul D G

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Posted August 29 2005 - 12:49 AM

Found this while looking for info on a mower myself. I'm torn (majorly) between the Toro 20055 and Honda HRX217TDA. The Toro is lighter and more manageable and cheaper, and I like the Honda's features but wonder if $600 is a bit overkill on a mower.

I just returned a Craftsman 37707 and I hated the thing. It's more than just a spinning blade hacking at grass. That's fine if you just leave it there. The Craftsman bagged less than half of what it mowed no matter how long the grass was. It would frequently clog so severely sometimes it knocked out the motor. I'd have to clear out the chute five or six times on my backyard alone. Even when mulching. Finally on Friday the discharge panel popped off for no apparent reason while I was mowing. After 30m of struggling to get it back on (spring was tight) I dug out the receipt and discovered I had one day left on my 90day return. Into the trunk it went and back to the store.

-paul

#37 of 81 Mark Fontana

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Posted August 29 2005 - 05:22 AM

Paul, I had the same problem with that d*!@ discharge panel popping off and the resulting struggle to get it back on!

For others reading- this is the spring-loaded flip-up piece of plastic that covers the side discharge hole when you aren't using it. Unfortunately on the latest Craftsman models, it sticks out past the right side of the mower and catches on anything you happen to get too close to. In my case, just catching on a shrub or tree branch was enough to pop it off.

I ordered free replacement parts for all the plastic panels while the mower was under warranty, since they seem to be pretty flimsy and I wanted backups.

I solved the side discharge cover problem by drilling a hole through the cover and side of the mower and bolting the cover down on both sides. At the same time, I added a bunch of cable ties to keep the control lines from snagging on branches and shrubs.

I was going to take the mower back, but I checked out similar Honda and Toro models, and they weren't built much better. It's pretty lame when you have to modify a brand-new product this way...

#38 of 81 MarkHastings

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Posted August 29 2005 - 05:46 AM

As an outside observer to this thread, it sounds like Craftsman USED to make GREAT lawnmowers that would last for years. The new ones are probably 'cheaped' out on.

I say this because it seems like the majority of people who bought one YEARS ago, love them and the majority of people who bought one recently HATE them.

#39 of 81 DaveF

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Posted August 29 2005 - 07:01 AM

As the original poster, I thought I should pop in with an update. I appreciate all the great advice and helpful suggestions. But, in the end, I made an unexpected choice: a used mower from a coworker's neighbor.

I got an off-brand, self-propelled, side-discharge mower for $60. It's a few years old, but in good shape, clean, and the blade was recently sharpened. And it comes from a guy known for selling decent used equipment. The major down-side is that it didn't come with the mulching-plug and I've not located a replacement. However, duct tape and cardboard made a tolerable substitute this weekend Posted Image

While not my ideal mower, at $80 less than my cheapest, store-bought option (and at least $300 less than the Toro), this is a good choice for the short-term. And it will make it easier to buy a nice rider in a year or two.

#40 of 81 Paul D G

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Posted August 29 2005 - 07:54 PM

Nothing wrong with that. I sold my old mower to my former neighbor (we moved across country). I'd spend a half hour trying to get that damn thing started until I gave up in frustration. Next day I'd try again and it'd start the first time. And this scenario happened every time I tried to start it. It probably needed a good clean/tune up and my neighbor was more handy with that than I ever will be.

I've settled on the Toro since I see nearly nothing but positive reviews on it and there's not much at all about the Honda.

-paul


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