Lawn mower suggestions?

Posted by: terzaghi

Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/11/13 10:55 PM

Looking for a self propelled walk behind mower. I think I have it narrowed to a Honda or husqvarna. Honda I want is $599, husqvarna is $499. I get 10 % off on either one. I get another 5% off husqvarna through Home Depot and chase CC bonus points, plus a $50 rebate.

Thoughts? John, what does the latest CR say? An old CR rated the Honda I am looking at as #1 I think. I don't have the model numbers for either mower handy right now.
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/11/13 11:31 PM

I bought the Husqvarna 4 wheel drive from Lowe's for $499 before $50 rebate. Probably the same one you're looking at. Had good reviews. Haven't used it yet. It's on the CatBrat thread, page 99.
Posted by: terzaghi

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/12/13 07:35 AM

Yeah, that is the one. $50 rebate ends tomorrow.
Posted by: terzaghi

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/12/13 08:02 AM

I should have said I get another 5% off husqvarna through lowes... (Not Home Depot)
Posted by: BlueJays1

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/12/13 08:17 AM

From the 2013 CR buying guide.

"The best self propelled gas mowers we tested come from Honda and Toro. But we found some differences in value and performance for the 100-plus other mowers we tested this year.

Honda HRX217VKA
Toro 20381/82
Honda HRR216VYA
Honda HRR216VKA

...then they list the Toro Recycler, a few craftsmen models, a few Troy-Bilt, a Lawn-Boy. The Husqvarna models they have rated at 14/15 and lower.

CR recommends the Honda HRX217VKA and HRR216VYA, Toro 20381/82. Their best buys are the Honda HRR216VKA and the Toro Recycler 20333/32/34.

John Deere, Husqvarna and Troy-Bilt were the most repair-prone brands among self-propelled mowers. Sample size of 31,371 from 2007-2011.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/12/13 08:36 AM

I bought a Toro last year that I REALLY like. Best mower I've ever owned. I liked the Honda models as well, but they were quite a bit more money for the same features....at least at the time.
Posted by: JohnK

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/12/13 09:32 PM

David, the current May issue of CR includes new tests of lawn mowers and tractors. The top ranking brands are much the same(Honda and Toro)as in the Buying Guide which Blue Jay discussed and which uses 2012 test results. The Honda HRX217VKA($600)was first, but the HRR2169VKA at $400 did nearly as well and was given a "Best Buy" designation. Some Toro and Troy-Bilt models were also highly rated. The Husqvarna models tested somewhat lower in performance and also were noted in the Reliability Survey of owners as being lower than average in reliability. They didn't receive either a "Recommended" or "Best Buy" designation.
Posted by: dakkon

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/12/13 10:11 PM

I have a buddy who works for the city, he had to do several years of lawn duty..


When i asked him about lawnmowers. He simply said "buy a Honda". He said the Toro's that are good are the commercial ones. The ones that you have to get at the lawn shops, not the ones homedepot carries..

This is the input from someone that had to dow lawn mowing for a living in Texas. So basically mowing 5 days a week... Oh, and city employees aren't exactly easy on the equipment....

Hope this helps..
Posted by: BlueJays1

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/13/13 09:40 AM

I don't know about walk behind lawn mowers, but my brother in law has a commercial Cub Cadet zero turn and I have a Toro ZTR (purchased from home depot). The internal parts quality like the engine are pretty much the same. Just a slightly bigger engine of the same make. They even use the exact same air filter. The differences is in the outer shell. No plastic on the commercial unit, has a larger cut diameter and an engine guard is standard.

I don't think it matters all that much for a residential cut, but I do take pride in the build quality aspect. Reminds me of my older John Deere (residential) riding lawn mower. But my older JD even has a superior engine to the commercial unit. They don't make residential lawn mowers like they use too.

Posted by: Eno

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/13/13 09:48 AM

I bought a Toro Recycler ~6 years ago. Still running like a champ; never had it "tuned-up". Best mower I've ever had.

Whatever you buy, make sure it's rear-wheel propelled (or 4 wheel); you will regret buying a front-wheel.
Posted by: terzaghi

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/13/13 10:57 AM

Thanks for all of the comments. I'm going to go with a Honda! I may look at a few cheaper Honda models as well. It's been raining like crazy so I have another week until my yard dries out enough to mow anyway.
Posted by: terzaghi

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/13/13 11:45 AM

Uh oh, while looking into cheaper models I found another one of interest. The first one is the Honda that was rated number 1 in CR ($599 model). The second one looks to be essentially the same model, but with a few "upgrades" for $100 more. The biggest difference I see is that the $699 mower has a blade stop feature that stops the blades but keeps the mower running. It seems like this feature would be handy for dumping out the bag.

The second difference is in the description of the speed control. The $699 mower has "Variable-speed, hydrostatic cruise-control system offers self-propelled operation with a control lever for precise speed adjustment"

compared to the $599 mower's "Variable-speed smart drive system provides self-propelled operation with a paddle-style control handle"

Not sure what the real difference is here with the "cruise control" system. Does anyone know anything about these two extra features?

Mowers linked below:


http://www.homedepot.com/p/t/100617641?c...41#.UWl6jDcSgxN

http://www.homedepot.com/p/t/100325494?c...94#.UWl6ITcSgxM
Posted by: BlueJays1

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/13/13 11:51 AM

You got me thinking about lawn mowers now. I might go to a Honda power equipment dealer and look at the HRR2169VKC. The Toro 20333 I am interested in as well at home depot. I might jump on one of those if they go on sale.
Posted by: terzaghi

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/13/13 11:55 AM

Hmmm.. I may have sold myself on the cruise control and blade stop system

Blade Stop System:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=f3FKkrtE038

Cruise control speed system:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=YZqfHRfS0wA


Smart Drive Speed System
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=A5ikBT_DOkE
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/13/13 12:22 PM

A blade brake is great when you bag, as you would otherwise have to keep stopping and restarting the engine. It's somewhat useful, but maybe less of a priority when you side-discharge or mulch in that it only comes into play when you stop to move a rock or a branch or a toy.

If you bag, I'd say it's worth it.

As far as the variable-speed goes, you might want to look / try the differences yourself.
Posted by: terzaghi

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/13/13 12:27 PM

Good point Mark. I should probably check out each mower at the store and get a feel for the handle/ controls.

Does your toro have a blade brake?
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/13/13 12:32 PM

No, that's the one feature I didn't go for.

I USED to mulch, but Joyce didn't like us dragging in the little clippings. Plus, I have a truck now which makes getting rid of the bagged clippings much easier.

It has electric start, though, which kind of makes up for the frequent re-starting.
Posted by: BlueJays1

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/13/13 12:45 PM

Do the Honda's only have a rear discharge? I don't know if I would like that.
Posted by: terzaghi

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/13/13 12:46 PM

Oh cool, so it just starts with a button push?

I haven't bagged clippings in forever, but I used to use a bag when mowing my parents lawn as a teenager. For $10 a month our city has a big red trash can they will give you that you can dump lawn clipping, branches, bush trimmings, etc. into, and they pick it up once a week from your curb. You don't even have to use a trash bag. I'm thinking about bagging and going that route.
Posted by: terzaghi

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/13/13 12:52 PM

As far as I can tell it looks like if you don't bag or mulch but want to discharge, then you are in fact stuck with the rear discharge (no side option for HRX series). I don't think that is a deal breaker for me as I would plan to bag or mulch. However, the video of the rear discharge on honda's website shows the grass shooting all over the guys feet. 1:27 at link below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=qrVyQkgDl3o

The side discharge mowers from honda look to be the HRS series which don't offer bagging options.

http://powerequipment.honda.com/lawn-mowers
Posted by: BlueJays1

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/13/13 12:57 PM

I would be doing all three, depending where I am on the property. That's the main thing that has stood out to me that I like a lot better about the Toro is the side discharge.
Posted by: terzaghi

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/13/13 12:57 PM

Yeah, it may be good to have the added flexibility.
Posted by: terzaghi

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/13/13 01:01 PM

Popular mechanics really seemed to like the Toro they tested. Not sure how old this article is.

http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/improvement/lawn-garden/4349693#slide-1
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/13/13 02:31 PM

David, I've been very happy with my Ariens snow blower and noted this information on a new mower they have for 2013. Check out the two video clips explaining the new features.

Ariens isn't one of the bigger-volume manufacturers but they're made in the USA, have a longer warranty, and this new model has some nice features that I haven't seen on any other. (I went through all this last year when I bought the Toro). If I were looking for a new mower this year, it would be in the running.
Posted by: BlueJays1

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/13/13 02:48 PM

I really love Gravely mowers. They are a division of Ariens. Both have a strong history.
Posted by: terzaghi

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/13/13 04:32 PM

I ended up at Home Depot and left with the Honda with blade stop and cruise control lever.

Should try it out within the next week and will report back!
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/13/13 04:35 PM

Congrats!

You can try it out on MY lawn if you'd like.

Not really. The snow has only melted as of yesterday. I won't be mowing for another 3 weeks. Then 3X a week after that! smile
Posted by: terzaghi

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/13/13 04:37 PM

Yeah, I had a weak moment and splurged. I had to buy my wife a new comforter and sheet set as part of the deal smile
Posted by: BlueJays1

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/13/13 04:51 PM

Nice. Should be a fun machine.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/13/13 05:00 PM

Originally Posted By: terzaghi
I had to buy my wife a new comforter and sheet set as part of the deal smile

Originally Posted By: BlueJays1
Nice. Should be a fun machine.

The mower or the bed?
Posted by: terzaghi

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/13/13 05:21 PM

Originally Posted By: MarkSJohnson
Originally Posted By: terzaghi
I had to buy my wife a new comforter and sheet set as part of the deal smile

Originally Posted By: BlueJays1
Nice. Should be a fun machine.

The mower or the bed?
laugh
Posted by: terzaghi

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/13/13 06:47 PM

Posted by: terzaghi

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/13/13 07:21 PM

Honda is running a special on their standard warranty now as well. I simply had to register my mower online and received another 1 year of warranty.

Not bad, so now I've got a 6 year warranty on the mower, and a lifetime warranty on the Nextite deck.

Thanks for all of the recommendations and input. This is the first new mower I have ever purchased. My first one was free, and second I bought used for $60. I will be mowing in style now!
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/13/13 08:43 PM

I don't see the cup holder in that photo.... grin
Posted by: JohnK

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/13/13 10:31 PM

Very good, David. Was your wife so fascinated by the mower that she could barely wait to try it out herself?
Posted by: JohnK

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/13/13 10:35 PM

Yeah Eno, but I heard that the front wheel drive is better in the snow.
Posted by: terzaghi

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/13/13 10:38 PM

She was not nearly as enthusiastic about it as I was that's for sure...
Posted by: jakewash

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/13/13 10:56 PM

You most likely won't need that warranty. I've had a Honda powered Craftsman mower for 10 years, never had a problem with it, ever. I am looking into replacing the blade brake cable and choke cable, getting sticky and not working nearly as well. The starter rope finally broke last year but it was midway up the handle so I was able to keep using it as is, just have to bend a little to reach the handle now.
Posted by: terzaghi

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/13/13 11:59 PM

Good to hear Jason. I hear similar stories from other Honda mower owners.
Posted by: brwsaw

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/14/13 02:56 AM

Wish it would quit snowing already.
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/14/13 08:27 AM

I didn't see any 4 wheel drive Honda push mowers. That's what drew me to the Husqvarna model. Not saying they don't have one.
Posted by: terzaghi

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/14/13 09:00 AM

I think you are right catbrat.
Posted by: jakewash

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/14/13 07:53 PM

Originally Posted By: brwsaw
Wish it would quit snowing already.


Can't agree more, had about 5" of snow fall last night
Posted by: brwsaw

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/14/13 09:54 PM

I feel better now.
We had light puffy flakes falling slowly off and on for the last two days.
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/14/13 11:03 PM

Haha.
Posted by: BlueJays1

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/24/13 11:41 AM

Originally Posted By: terzaghi
Honda is running a special on their standard warranty now as well. I simply had to register my mower online and received another 1 year of warranty.

Not bad, so now I've got a 6 year warranty on the mower, and a lifetime warranty on the Nextite deck.

Thanks for all of the recommendations and input. This is the first new mower I have ever purchased. My first one was free, and second I bought used for $60. I will be mowing in style now!


Driving yesterday I noticed a crew out cutting lawn. They were both using Honda push mowers that were rear discharge with bag attachment, and mulch capabilities. They were not bagging the grass but rather using the mulch. I was so impressed with the quality of the cut that I went to a Honda equipment dealer this morning and purchased a mower.

I didn't get any bag capabilities with mine. I just went for the side discharge and mulch. The more I thought of it I also didn't get self-propelled because it would limit what I could cut with the machine. I wouldn't have been able to cut my ditch, cistern and trimming around evergreens would be very difficult. The amount of cutting I do I am also hard on machines. For the Honda push mowers I also found the one with the bag was far too heavy. Secondly I already have a mower that I can bag grass with.

The build quality is fantastic, started with ease on the first pull. Very quiet. The mower folded up nicely onto itself and could even fit in the trunk of my car. The dealer also advised me to only use high octane gas and avoid buying from generic gas stations.

You are going to be a very happy camper with your mower. You have all the bells and whistles too.


Posted by: terzaghi

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/24/13 06:04 PM

Glad you like your Honda. I have mowed twice with mine now and bagged 100% both times. This thing cuts like a champ. I am very happy that I went with the feature that allows the mower to keep running when dumping grass. The speed control knobs are great too and I can't imagine liking the paddle level Type controls more. I plan on changing the versa mow to maybe 70% bag and 30% mulch later just to experiment with things. I actually look forward to mowing now. The mower is pretty quite, but the 190cc engine does put off a little noise.


My only complaint so far is that since I am mowing my grass which will has patches of dormant Bermuda here and there, emptying the bag gets my allergies going. I hope this will be less of an issue in the coming weeks as I start dumping all green clippings.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/24/13 06:12 PM

I remember that when I first got my Toro, my only complaint was that my grass started grower faster in a vain attempt at showing me who was in charge.
Posted by: BlueJays1

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/24/13 07:55 PM

Originally Posted By: terzaghi
Glad you like your Honda. I have mowed twice with mine now and bagged 100% both times. This thing cuts like a champ. I am very happy that I went with the feature that allows the mower to keep running when dumping grass. The speed control knobs are great too and I can't imagine liking the paddle level Type controls more. I plan on changing the versa mow to maybe 70% bag and 30% mulch later just to experiment with things. I actually look forward to mowing now. The mower is pretty quite, but the 190cc engine does put off a little noise.


My only complaint so far is that since I am mowing my grass which will has patches of dormant Bermuda here and there, emptying the bag gets my allergies going. I hope this will be less of an issue in the coming weeks as I start dumping all green clippings.


The mulch works amazing from what I saw from that lawn service. The lawn looked like the clippings were bagged. It is too wet for me to cut grass right now but I did mulch a strip of grass. The clippings are so fine, it didn't even leave any clippings on my shoes (which we all know get dragged into the house).
Posted by: dakkon

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/24/13 08:19 PM

David, one thing of note that i'd like to add...


Keep an eye on the blades edge, you will probably need to sharpen it 2 times a season (middle and end). I sharpen mine with an angle grinder. It only takes a few minutes, and makes a world of difference. I use an impact to get the lock nut off.

This is one of the maintenance items that often gets over looked.



Also, change the oil once a season. The oil doesn't cost much, and if you do it every season you'll be good to go. Also, air filter once a season/as required.


These are the maintenance intervals i follow anyhow. Granted a mower isn't a "huge" investment.. But spending 20$ a year on keeping a machine running is well worth the money in my opinion.
Posted by: terzaghi

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/24/13 09:49 PM

Thanks for the advice!
Posted by: Murph

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/25/13 08:19 AM

I can mulch and let the clippings fall where they may, guilt free. With all the salt spray I get cranking up the acidity, my poor excuse of a lawn needs all the bio-degradable material it can get.
Posted by: Strider53

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/11/14 06:10 PM

So here we are a year later and it's my turn to purchase a new mower.
My last mower finally quit on me after 23 years of service
(it was a Toro). Does any one know what the CR recommendations are for this years models?
thanks,
Jeff
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/11/14 06:13 PM

Good heavens. You're considering smiting Karma by buying something other than another Toro? You live dangerously.

Nice thread revival wink

Like I said in the dishwasher thread (!), we got a Honda a few years ago, and it's really been great so far.

Good luck!
Posted by: Socketman

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/11/14 06:56 PM

You need one these universal type of mowers.


Posted by: BlueJays1

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/11/14 07:02 PM

Originally Posted By: Strider53
So here we are a year later and it's my turn to purchase a new mower.
My last mower finally quit on me after 23 years of service
(it was a Toro). Does any one know what the CR recommendations are for this years models?
thanks,
Jeff


Honda is still the king. They rank Toro as "recommended" as well but their repair rate according to the CR numbers is 17% as opposed to Hondas 12% for self-propelled.

Self-propelled Multiple Speeds (2014 Buyers Guide)

Recommended:
Honda HRX217VKA
Honda HRR2169VLA
Toro 20381/82
Honda HRR2169VYA
Toro 20333/34

CR Best Buy:
Honda HRR2169VKA
Toro 20332

Do you need any models for single speed or push?
Posted by: Strider53

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/11/14 07:05 PM

Nice! That's got to be one of those 4 wheel drive models that does double duty, removes grass and snow.
/Jeff
Posted by: Socketman

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/11/14 07:39 PM

Its powered by a briggs and scrap iron, that's all the respect it deserves . Same way I leave it every year and it always starts right up.
Posted by: Strider53

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/11/14 08:33 PM

Thanks for the information, I think I will look at only the multi-speed models to start and if I don't find anything to my liking then look at simpler machines. My yard is relatively flat so I'm thinking rear wheel drive versus front wheel drive?
I like the idea of electric start so the blade stop is of no interest.
/Jeff
Posted by: JohnK

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/11/14 10:30 PM

Jeff, the most recent CR mower tests are in the current May issue. The results are essentially identical to those BlueJay shows above from the 2014 Buying Guide.
Posted by: exlabdriver

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/11/14 10:39 PM

I'm on my third year of a front wheel drive (only way to go IMO) Troy Built with a Honda motor. It's been under a tarp for the winter but it started up OK & I just cut the lawn for the first time this year.

It is quite heavy to maneuver in tight spaces but it runs fine. I like the wheel height adjustment gizmos that change each pair rather than 4 individually...

TAM
Posted by: BlueJays1

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/12/14 08:08 AM

Originally Posted By: JohnK
Jeff, the most recent CR mower tests are in the current May issue. The results are essentially identical to those BlueJay shows above from the 2014 Buying Guide.


Yeah. The May issue lists the Toro 20381/82 as a CR Best Buy instead of Recommended and the Honda repair numbers read as 11% instead of 12%. The list is longer in the May issue but performance starts to drop after 6 on the list so I didn't even bother listing the other models from Snapper, Ariens Troy-Bilt etc.
Posted by: Da_Gimp_Pimp

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/13/14 06:29 PM

I use Consumer Reports ratings as a starting point, and nothing more. Then I move on to actual user reviews. I research every potential purchase extensively. Consumer Reports has it's vested interests like all high profile, established review sites/publications.

Like our governments.....you don't blindly trust them!
Posted by: BlueJays1

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/13/14 09:32 PM

Originally Posted By: Da_Gimp_Pimp
I use Consumer Reports ratings as a starting point, and nothing more. Then I move on to actual user reviews. I research every potential purchase extensively. Consumer Reports has it's vested interests like all high profile, established review sites/publications.

Like our governments.....you don't blindly trust them!


For sure. I do the same. CR as the starting point at what to look at. Then any opinions from individuals with their experience about a specific product. Lastly I look up the recent recall history of the companies products within the last 3 years or so.
Posted by: exlabdriver

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/16/14 11:40 AM

In my post above I noted how heavy my Troy Built Honda was. I tried my daughter's non-propelled mower that is the model down from mine.

What a joy in close spaces due to its far lighter weight. I wish now that I had gone that route as it would suit my convoluted yard far better...

TAM
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/16/14 12:06 PM

Posted by: Strider53

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/16/14 12:20 PM

Yep, this was the Detroit area yesterday, Sunday it reaches 80 degrees, Monday night 4 inches of snow fell.
Wonder if we've had enough yet!
/Jeff
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Lawn mower suggestions? - 04/16/14 01:38 PM