Buying a forever lawnmower. Lawnmower buying advice.

ciscoii

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Hello all! I recently purchased my first home. The house is located on 1/3 acre lot. Im looking to buy a long lasting lawnmower. Here are my requirements, all of them don’t need to be satisfied but preferred.

☐20" cutting width ( yard has allot of landscaping and tight spots, I like smaller cutting path )

☐Powerful and strong torque engine that doesn’t stall in knee high grass on a damp Saturday morning when the wife is yelling at you to cut the dam grass.

☐Bright Red deck color

☐Self propelled optional

☐Larger rear wheel

☐Commonly found parts

☐I’m 6 feet tall so adjustable or higher push bar would be nice

☐Add on bag optional. I plan on using mulching blade 90% of time



I’m OK with buying slightly used from FB marketplace, craigslist etc.

I’m OK with buying online. Here in South Texas we have Home Depot, Lowes etc.



My budget is $750 or less.




Thank you very much, please advise,
Just saw this and I'm not going to read all replies! 1) cut your grass more often; 1/3 acre is nothing and it is good exercise. 2) the best push and self propelled mowers I ever had was old 1960's and 1970's mowers with a Briggs engine. I had 2 that I gave to a friend ~8 years ago to make room. They were tougher and better than the 2 Honda self-propelled I have now. I used to cut 2+ acres with that old SP as a kid....it was long with 2 little wheels in front and 2 big ones in back....late 60's I'd guess. Using non-ethanol gas is good for any small engines other than the ~$5/gallon.
 

TobyU

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Man! I see a lot of blind loyalty here or loyalty from previous experiences that is not accurate with the equipment you can buy today.
Toro has been my favorite lawn mower company for a long time but that certainly doesn't mean they make the best mowers or that they don't make mistakes etc.
The problem is everything revolves around marketing and fancy features usually just on paper etc and the companies are very fickle and they change things every two or three years instead of fixing any small problems with the old design and eventually making a near perfect or at least a better mower.
They changed to completely different design like on the handle or the driving agent mechanism etc and then the whole cycle starts over to figure out what's going to fail under warranty, which they'll fix usually, but then what's going to fail year 3 through 10 which is what annoys the owners.
Let's be realistic and admit that they don't want people to keep their mowers 10 plus years and fix them but rather they want you to go out and buy a new one.
Your list is quite extensive and I kind of laughed at a couple of them suggestions are requirements because I don't see why it matters what color the lawn mower is. I certainly prefer Toros to stay red and now they've been making these nasty dark gray ones which I don't like at all because Toro was always anonymous with bowls and bullfighters and red paint was very pretty but it has no influence on my purchase decision.

People have been a little bit confusing because they've been talking about older Toros along with newer Toros and personal pace. You won't find any newer Toros that aren't 22 in. The old ones were 21 at least the basically all ones unless you go way way back but we're not talking about those.

Also, it makes very little difference whether it's a 20 or a 22. You probably won't notice the difference mowing with it unless you just so happen to have some little tiny area between a shrub and a wall or something where that answer to may make a difference but 99% of the people do not.
What does make a difference for a lot of people is the length of the mower.
Nobody ever talks about this but even on a self-propelled mower where you basically let it do all its work, you still have to change the direction a lot..
Toros are the shorter style mowers and so are troy-bilts.
The older Craftsman's made by ayp / Husqvarna are of the longer design and if you place two of these mowers side by side you will see there is about a 4 to 6 in difference in the wheelbase and the overall mower.
This link makes a world of difference into how hard it is to push down on the handle to lift the front wheels off the ground to make a turn.
Since most mowers have standard Wheels and not caster Wheels this is going to be a concern and you will notice it..
Mowers that have the front caster wheels you don't ever have to push down at all as you can push them around the corner with one finger and they just pivot in place but even though many manufacturers made models over the years like this, they never caught on and they are very very slim portion of the market and of mowers in existence.

So in reality, length is more important for use than the cutting width.

Engine horsepower rating is a moot point as they all lie anyways..
They are basically at an all-time high for power for most mowers especially self-propelled so the longevity of the engine is more of a concern.
They're all kind of finicky too now since they are all emissions compliant engines and the Briggs is the top winner right now and being the most finicky one and most likely not to start after the off-season storage.
That's a moot point though if you put fresh gas in your mower the last time you mow for the season and even less of a chance if you will put 1 oz of stabilizer into your empty 1 gallon gas can and then get the fresh gas, go home fill your mower to the very top, mow with it, then top it off when you're done. The odds are greatly your favorite it will start and run just fine next season then.

If I had to buy a new engine today I would probably go with the Kohler XT series engine.
I haven't had one single catastrophic or internal engine problem on any of these.

I've already had a handful of the new Briggs & strattons self-destruct with their plastic camshaft melting, valve train issues with rocker arm popping off a push rods and or rocker arm studs loosening up, a few blown head gaskets, and a good number of them when they had a blade strike bend the crankshaft to non-usable and a handful of them blow the entire side of the block out or crack it from the impact.

I've never been a Honda fan but you've got that blind loyalty by a lot of people that amazes me.
They are currently out of the mower making and small engine making business and the last two seasons they had the completely new design which already has had a major recall for a camshaft where they will not run or they're so hard to start you can't get them to run, and it is a major internal engine repair to fix the camshaft where is the previous design was about a 10 minute procedure.

My second pick would be any one of the Chinese built engines that are probably made by Loncin still like MTD has and so does toro.
I prefer the MTD ones or the other generic ones because Toro has used two or three different ones since they started doing this and one of the first generation ones you couldn't get any parts for because they had some things made differently just for them but no parts made so you're out of luck.
All the other ones are basically the same engine and same Parts regardless of what brand of mower it's on so parts are pretty available.

I wouldn't have ila mower that isn't self-propelled and I see a lot of failures of the front wheel mount.

I don't know what it is but it must be the way they manhandle the mower around and do a lots of maneuverability because I've had almost 10 or 12 of them in the past few years where it tears the metal off the deck and the whole wheel falls off..


If you had a self-propelled mower before then you might want to try a couple because I have found that people that get used to front wheel drive prefer to stay with front wheel drive and people who get used to rear wheel drive want to stay with that too and if you give them the opposite mower they just won't like it because it just doesn't feel right.
I also advise staying away from all wheel drive mowers because it will cost you more when you buy it and it will definitely cost you more in the future for maintenance and repair.
Some of them literally have double the parts like Toro with two transmissions, two cables, two belts

Others have one cable and two belts and two transmissions or one cable and one belt and two transmissions.
They all have four Drive Wheels which are proprietary so you have to pay whatever the price is for the replacement Wheels when the gears wear out and no longer pulls itself.
Is far better to only have two than four because on a non Drive wheel on a mower you can pretty much fit anything that fits on there and it will work just fine.
Hi rear wheel mowers are a marketing scam.
Maybe it's just me but I have mowed with thousands of mowers and I can't tell that a high rear wheel does one bit to give you -better maneuverability on rough terrain- like they say but I can guarantee you that I've seen a lot more leaning sideways and loose floppy and broken Center plastic axle sections on larger rear wheels that I have standard size rear wheels so I don't recommend them.

The slightly larger ones are fine too.
You just don't want those big 11 and 12-in wheels.

Craftsman's wheels have always been the weak link but that only matters if you're buying an old one that starts with a 917 model number because those are made by ayp/Husqvarna.
The newer ones are made by MTD and they are just a Troy bilt with different stickers.
Cub cadet is MTD.

The total personal pace is pretty easy and intuitive to use but it's also just as easy to use the front wheel drive model with the Kohler engine because it's almost impossible, it might actually be impossible, to find a personal Pace with the Kohler.

Rear wheel drive used to be more durable than front wheel drive but now you are very likely to get more life out of the front wheel drive Toro than the rear wheel drive so that's why I would get a Toro front wheel drive with a Kohler engine.

You can also consider lawn boy because they are made by Toro and basically just a green painted Toro.
They also make a smaller mower which I think it's either 19 or 20 in.
That fits one of your parameters but these will all be green.
They also tend to mostly use the Kohler engine and they also mostly have rear wheel drive but it's not the personal pay style usually. It's usually squeezing the handle but they may have a sense a speed or something like that but regardless, I have found the newer lawn boy drive system to be better than the Toro.
As quickly as they change things, it's kind of a crapshoot anyway you go.

I would stay away from Husqvarna as they're having major parts problems because they're getting out of the mower business too at least push mowers.
You can look up a drive cable on one that's only 3 to 4 years old and it will say NLA for no longer available.
Many of the aftermarket ones online don't fit.
Anyways, remember that Craftsman now is the same as Troy-Bilt and earlier in the season the best price I could find was a front-wheel drive Craftsman at Lowe's.
Pay a close attention to Toro though and check everywhere you can because I believe Toro has made some decisions on their own and no longer are playing nicely with their big buyers.

They are selling mowers to basically anyone who wants to buy them and now tractor supply has them and this may create some better pricing.

I've also found that online shopping is not very great on lawn mowers.
I've seen in the store have basically the same mower as online for 150 less.
 

I Max

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I have a Toro personal pace mower with electric start and really like it. 1/3 acre is big for a 20 inch blade. I'd go bigger. I also have an electric Dewalt push mower but batteries are a problem. I had another brand electric mower but it failed in less than a year. Batteries are no longer available for the DeWalt mower. There are no repair parts either. I do like it for small areas but it can't handle tall or tough grass or large areas as I am down to my last battery.
In regards to your battery take old one to batteries plus and they can build you a fresh one.
 

borisdmower

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Best advice from family friend and mower mechanic, Change the oil regularly at least every 25hours, and keep the air cleaner clean. Done this and even on a 6hp Briggs, 25 years later its still going.
 

Markdd52

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Just forget all this....... get 3-4 goats... 😆
 

69HemiGTX

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This is my forever lawnmower. It's the wrong color for you, maybe a little old at 40, and some would consider it stinky as its a two stroke, but I wouldn't give it up for the world. I use the JD 14SB it replaced as a backup now, but that's rare.
20180429_084658.jpg
 

GearHead36

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GearHead36, you seem to have a penchant for assigning motivation to people's opinions. Why must it be that you are the only one who's opinions are sincere and based on experience and facts. Isn't it more likely that people have differing perspectives and not just the party line. I doubt if you're a shill for the petroleum industry any more than I and others push a climate agenda.
Because people are stating facts that just aren't true. The OP wanted a "forever" mower. The battery evangelists came in here with their recommendations. Battery equipment is not at the point where they have earned the "forever" label. Repairability is much better with gas equipment. Parts availability is better, and more shops can work on them. But frankly, the current crop of gas push mowers probably don't meet the "forever" criteria either. Most push mowers have Briggs engines, which, over the past few years, have been cheapened to the point of being a poor shadow of its former self. Briggs has started recommending no oil changes. Just top it off. Great plan to ensure an engine life of no more than 5 yrs. This is why I recommended on page 1,

"If you want a long lasting mower, I'd find a local "flipper". I.e. someone who fixes junk mowers, and resells them. They will know what is reliable and repairable. Personally, if I were buying a push mower now, I'd go with a 3-6 yr old Toro Recycler with Personal Pace. It wouldn't bother me to buy something 10 yrs old if it were in good condition."

I have a 13 yr old Toro with a Briggs flathead engine. I recently moved, and have a larger yard and a riding mower now. I don't really need a push mower any more, but I'm not getting rid of it, because if I ever want one again in the future, I don't want to be stuck with the crap that's on the market now.

I wouldn't buy anything new. And if you buy gas, change the oil every year.
 

TonyPrin

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Because people are stating facts that just aren't true. The OP wanted a "forever" mower. The battery evangelists came in here with their recommendations. Battery equipment is not at the point where they have earned the "forever" label. Repairability is much better with gas equipment. Parts availability is better, and more shops can work on them. But frankly, the current crop of gas push mowers probably don't meet the "forever" criteria either. Most push mowers have Briggs engines, which, over the past few years, have been cheapened to the point of being a poor shadow of its former self. Briggs has started recommending no oil changes. Just top it off. Great plan to ensure an engine life of no more than 5 yrs. This is why I recommended on page 1,

"If you want a long lasting mower, I'd find a local "flipper". I.e. someone who fixes junk mowers, and resells them. They will know what is reliable and repairable. Personally, if I were buying a push mower now, I'd go with a 3-6 yr old Toro Recycler with Personal Pace. It wouldn't bother me to buy something 10 yrs old if it were in good condition."

I have a 13 yr old Toro with a Briggs flathead engine. I recently moved, and have a larger yard and a riding mower now. I don't really need a push mower any more, but I'm not getting rid of it, because if I ever want one again in the future, I don't want to be stuck with the crap that's on the market now.

I wouldn't buy anything new. And if you buy gas, change the oil every year.
GearHead36, let me see if I can summarize your thoughts. Electric is no good. A new mower is no good. Most gas is no good. B&S is no good. And you recommend someone ask a flipper for advice on what to buy. You don't suppose he'll happen to have just what they need in his shop.
 

Rivets

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I think the OP’s questions have been answered. Time to close this thread, as it has become more I’m smarter than you on this subject.
 

PGB1

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Hello all! I recently purchased my first home. The house is located on 1/3 acre lot. Im looking to buy a long lasting lawnmower. Here are my requirements, all of them don’t need to be satisfied but preferred.

☐20" cutting width ( yard has allot of landscaping and tight spots, I like smaller cutting path )

☐Powerful and strong torque engine that doesn’t stall in knee high grass on a damp Saturday morning when the wife is yelling at you to cut the dam grass.

☐Bright Red deck color

☐Self propelled optional

☐Larger rear wheel

☐Commonly found parts

☐I’m 6 feet tall so adjustable or higher push bar would be nice

☐Add on bag optional. I plan on using mulching blade 90% of time



I’m OK with buying slightly used from FB marketplace, craigslist etc.

I’m OK with buying online. Here in South Texas we have Home Depot, Lowes etc.



My budget is $750 or less.




Thank you very much, please advise,
I'm partial to electric. No more gasoline to buy and spill, no more oil changes & other P.M. tasks. Friends have Ego, Kobalt (Lowes) and GreenWorks. They all love them and each is several years old. I believe parts for Ego and Greenworks stay available for many years. I never looked into Kobalt or the others.

I have a Lawnmaster brand and, although a durable and feature packed machine, parts are not available & have not been since it was new. Should it fail, I'll probably get Greenworks based on just-in-case research.

Plan B is attached below. These do eventually wear out, no parts are available- but they provide gas instead of using it. The neat thing is that if you get one of each gender, you never have to buy another!

Happy Mower Shopping & Home Owning!
Paul
 

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