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Old 04-11-2013, 09:19 AM   #1
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New Homeowner - Lawn Mower Advice


I just bought my house in May of last year and had a local company do the mowing. Nothing too tough. I am on a .25 acre. I am looking to buy a lawn mower but dont want to go over $250. I want something that has high back wheels and is NOT self propelled. I would like one with a nice warranty and easy to fix if I need to fix it.

I am looking at these two right now, any suggestions on these two or any others?

Lawn Boy with 2 year warranty and then a 3 year powertrain warranty

Craftsman with 2 year warranty

Thank you, I am looking to buy this weekend.
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Old 04-11-2013, 09:30 AM   #2
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I have a craftsman special edition push self propelled. It has the Honda engine on it. Bought it 3 years ago. Great mower. I can mow twice on one tank of gas. It bags great. But i usually mulch. Just use bagger for leaves in fall. So i would recommend a craftsmen with the Honda engine not Briggs and straton.
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Old 04-11-2013, 09:37 AM   #3
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I have a craftsman special edition push self propelled. It has the Honda engine on it. Bought it 3 years ago. Great mower. I can mow twice on one tank of gas. It bags great. But i usually mulch. Just use bagger for leaves in fall. So i would recommend a craftsmen with the Honda engine not Briggs and straton.
I would prefer a Honda engine myself, but I cant find one for under $300
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Old 04-11-2013, 11:58 AM   #4
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I have two mowers that are over 15 years old and have briggs and stratton engines. Hondas are great too, but if you take care of and maintain the mower, it'll last for a decade or more.

Since you know you want larger back wheels, and not self propelled, and your budget is $250...that's specific enough where you don't have a lot of choices anyway. Sounds like you've got a couple that seem to "fit the bill".
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Old 04-11-2013, 12:15 PM   #5
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Honda engines are great and reliable, but if they do break, they can be challenging and expensive to repair. Briggs and stratton motors are not that bad really, but can sometimes be a little bit finnicky, so you need to keep up with your maintenance a bit better with one. Thankfully, they are well supported and parts can be found in many locations, and are not that expensive. I tend to prefer the Briggs "Quantum" series engines, as they blend the best of the older "classic" series (flathead style engine), with the best of the newer style engines (better carburator, paper air filters, better oiling system) If you do get a Briggs powered mower, the quality of the mower itself can vary greatly. MTD, Murray, and troy-built are lower-end mower brands that have a bit to be desired in the quality department, and the mowers tend to fall apart around an otherwise good engine. Snapper, John Deere, Lawn-Boy, and Husquvarna are some pretty well built brands that will should hold out as long as the motor. Beware too though, just because it's got a reputable brand name does not necessarily mean it is well built. Manufacturers put out varying quality levels of their equipment based on the clientele of the store they are selling to. A big box store that sells "discount" merchandise is not going to get the brand's finest quality, where a local power equipment shop will get the brand's better models (The same is true in the audiovisual industry where I come from)

Whatever you do, do NOT buy a lawnmower with an unknown brand name engine. There are many lawnmowers and other yard equipment now being made by Chinese manufacturers that are rip-off designs of Briggs and Honda, but without the build quality. THey are showing up at discount tool shops frequently, and that big box store that everyone hates. One of the names I see frequently is "Predator" engines Beware too that the Techumseh brand, which used to be a trustworthy American brand (The previous supplier to Sears / Craftsman), has been sold out to the Chinese, so I would avoid any NEW Techumseh mowers. If you see an older Techumseh powered lawnmower at a garage sale or something, it maybe worth picking up if it appears to be in good condition though.

The biggest thing is to be mindful of maintenance. Lawn mowers tend to dirty the oil quickly because of the environment they are used in, and because they have simple carburetors that aren't perfect at fuel metering. Changing the oil goes a long ways towards long-term engine longeivity. Keeping the air filter changed and clean is very important too, and will directly affect the performance of the mower. Also, about once a year, take the air duct off the top of the engine and clean the cooling fins on the motor. The engines on mowers are air cooled, and tend to suck in debris that can choke the cooling fins up and thus overheat the engine. Some Honda engines are a little challenging to perform this on however. Keep the blades sharpened for best performance too. One of the best, most important things too is also to walk the yard and give it a once-over before mowing. The thing that damages lawn mowers the most is hitting hard objects like rocks, wood, kids toys, etc. Hitting objects can bend blades, shafts, knock things out of balance, and bend/break the decking.
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Old 04-11-2013, 12:56 PM   #6
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Thank you everyone for the feedback. It looks like the Lawn Boy is what I will be getting. 3 year warranty on the engine sold me along with the type of engine with it. Could not find anything with that warranty for under $250. I also found a 10% off coupon for Home Depot so after tax I can get it for $225.

Thanks!
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Old 04-22-2013, 09:48 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by 7 VII 7 View Post
Thank you everyone for the feedback. It looks like the Lawn Boy is what I will be getting. 3 year warranty on the engine sold me along with the type of engine with it. Could not find anything with that warranty for under $250. I also found a 10% off coupon for Home Depot so after tax I can get it for $225.

Thanks!
Well, after some more researching I found that the Lawn Boy had some issues with the clippings going into the bag. So I raised my budget to $300 and ended up with a Troy-Bilt TB230 Self-Propelled Mower Lowes Link. I used it yesterday and I really love this mower. It has a Briggs & Stratton engine and a "wash desk" to clean out the clippings. The self propelled is also variable so depending on how hard I pull the trigger depends on how fast it moves.

I am very pleased and would recommend this mower to a new homeowner. I have only used it once but it started first pull everytime. Really happy.

Thanks!
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Old 04-24-2013, 12:39 PM   #8
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Make sure that you use fuel stabilizer in your gas can if you'll be keeping it for more than a few weeks. My Bolens is also made by MTD (using a smaller B&S in the same line) and it's messy if you let the ethanol ruin your gas. If you do, clean the carb with Gumout. In year five and it runs great, although it needs four pushes on the prime bulb instead of three now. I changed the spark plug after year two.
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Old 04-24-2013, 01:01 PM   #9
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I'm thinking of dropping around $500 on a Black & Decker cordless electric. I figure over the course of a few years it will pay for itself with the cost of gas these days.
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Old 04-25-2013, 09:14 AM   #10
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I'm thinking of dropping around $500 on a Black & Decker cordless electric. I figure over the course of a few years it will pay for itself with the cost of gas these days.
You can run a $300 gas lawnmower a loooooooong time before approaching that break-even point.
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Old 04-25-2013, 09:34 AM   #11
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You can run a $300 gas lawnmower a loooooooong time before approaching that break-even point.
Really? I figured with having to pay for gas so often I would break even pretty quick...
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Old 04-25-2013, 09:42 AM   #12
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Really? I figured with having to pay for gas so often I would break even pretty quick...
If you go through 5 gallons of gas a year @ $4 a gallon, that's only $20 a year in gas. The payback period under those circumstances is longer than the expected life of either mower.

Electric mowers have their advantages, namely noise and pollution reduction, but it's rarely a more cost-efficient solution than a basic gas mower.
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Old 04-25-2013, 09:43 AM   #13
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If you go through 5 gallons of gas a year @ $4 a gallon, that's only $20 a year in gas. The payback period under those circumstances is longer than the expected life of either mower.

Electric mowers have their advantages, namely noise and pollution reduction, but it's rarely a more cost-efficient solution than a basic gas mower.
Glad I asked then!
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Old 04-25-2013, 10:10 AM   #14
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Make sure that you use fuel stabilizer in your gas can if you'll be keeping it for more than a few weeks. My Bolens is also made by MTD (using a smaller B&S in the same line) and it's messy if you let the ethanol ruin your gas. If you do, clean the carb with Gumout. In year five and it runs great, although it needs four pushes on the prime bulb instead of three now. I changed the spark plug after year two.
I bought a 2.5 gallon fuel container. I have used about .5 of it in the mower. So you are saying if I dont use the 2 gallons in the next 2 months I should put fuel stabilizer in there? Is that the same kind that you would put in your mower for winterization? This is a first I have heard this.
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Old 04-25-2013, 10:11 AM   #15
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when I had a lot similar in size, I could mow it about 2 times on one tank of gas. I'm not sure how large my gas tank was on my push mower, but it wasn't more than a quart. So in one month I was probably using between 1/2 gallon and 3/4 gallon....and that's on the high end. I would image I spent $15-20 at most on gas per mowing season.
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