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Old 04-29-2007, 10:48 PM   #1
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Any tips/opinions on lawnmowers? Updated with pictures!

We have to buy a lawnmower for our new house! We did not have to cut our own grass in the condo - that's what part of the maintenance fee covered. At our new house, the grass and yard will be our responsibility (yay!) but we don't really know the first thing about lawnmowers.

We want a push, not riding, mower. I want my husband to consider an electric one but I don't think he will. What are some features we should look for? Does anyone have an opinion on the mulching mowers? Do they do a good job or do the mulched pieces just leave the yard a mess?

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Old 04-29-2007, 10:56 PM   #2
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stay away from electric mowers...doh!
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Old 04-29-2007, 11:05 PM   #3
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Electric mowers are fine for small yards with no hills. I would recommend a self propelled mower of a good brand name and warranty, you will have the same mower for years to come. I have a Toro self propelled mower, it has 3 speeds.
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Old 04-30-2007, 12:17 AM   #4
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I would not go with an electric. Way too expensive to get a satisfactory mower that is out preformed by some of the lesser gas powered mowers. From a lot of research and talking with several lawn services last year this is what I learned. Ditch the self propelled, unless you have physical limitations. You pay 100 dollars plus more dollars for a feature that often breaks and then adds extra weight to your push mower. Many mowers are built to be essentially thrown away avoid these (100 dollar mowers). mainly because they sport undersized engines that strugle to cut a healthy lawn. Don't get caught up in names (many mowers use similar engine manufactures) after that not much difference in quality in the decks. Larger wheels in the rear are nice. Mulching is a must feature and if you want to bag a rear bag is the way to go, side bags are just a pain because they limit you to larger spaces and in some instances limit the yard you can mow. Basically go with the most horsepower you can get on a push mower. If the yard isn't too large skip the largest cutting area and drop down to the next cut with the same hp engine. Some say the less mass increased blade speed and allows the grass to be chopped in finer pieces. Bottom line higher HP engines do a better job mulching usually. Aim 6 minimum and try to get 7.

Many studies have shown that several self propelled models actually take more effort to push (underpowered). HP generally needs to be upped to compensate for the extra weight and drain due to the "self propelled" feature.
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Old 04-30-2007, 12:30 AM   #5
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http://www.snapperinc.com/residential/p216012.html

That is the push mower we have. Self Propelled is nice especially if you have steep hills and a lot to cut. Pushing a, almost 100lb, mower up a steep hill numerous times is hard work! The self propulsion is a nice feature, but like mentioned, it costs extra that isn't entirely needed if you can physically push the mower up those hills yourself.

Rear bagging is the best thing invented for push mowers. The snapper is a breeze to empty and has a nice large bag too.

Don't skimp and get the $89 walmart pushmowers because it will probably not even last you the summer. Get a good quality (John Deere, Snapper, etc.) and you'll be happy! We've had the same Snapper mower for almost 6 years now and only thing that's had to be replaced on it is the blade.

Happy grass cutting.
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Old 04-30-2007, 01:01 AM   #6
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My self propelled mower is great! I have a lot of hills and a large back yard. On the third speed I have to run after it, it's actually too powerful on the third level. I agree with the rear bagger esp if you have a lot of trees, side baggers get caught and make turns difficult with landscaping. My mower is 12 years old, the secret to making them last is maintenance, just like a car. They require checking the oil and proper winter storage. And even occasionally an oil change and a new spark plug. You can sharpen most blades with a dremel tool and get much longer life out of them. It all depends on how you take care of it. I still recommend getting a good brand as it will outlast and outperform many walmart type brands.
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Old 04-30-2007, 08:16 AM   #7
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I got a craftsman 5.5HP mower from an estate auction before we purchased our house 6 years ago. The mower is still going strong. I only spent $100 on it at the time and I doubt I have put $20 into it since then to keep it running.

Mine has large back wheels and I think that does wonders for ease of pushing. Mine is not selfpropelled. I dont know how well I would like one that is and I dont think its a big benifit for me. My yard is hilly but if the self propelled would help going up hills but woudlnt it make me go faster than I might want to going down the hills? I dont know.

Mine is a mulcher with a bag on the back if I want to use it. I dont use the bagger as I would have to empty it like every 10 minutes and it would easly doublt the time it took to mow the yard as a result. If you dont let the grass get super high between mowings the mulching does not dirty up the yard.
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Old 04-30-2007, 08:23 AM   #8
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Lawnboy makes exelent psuh mowers IMO.
But if you want a cheap good mower Wal-Mart has one for $99 that I bought 8yrs ago and havent had any problems with just changed oil and spark plug.
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Old 04-30-2007, 10:06 AM   #9
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I just bought a riding Cub Cadet. It is very nice. Figuring on a riding vs. push will depend on how big your yard is and the slope. If you are willing to push a mower uphill then go with a push one. I have a half acher of land and got tired of doing the push thing. As for mulchers, you can simply buy a mulching blade.
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Old 04-30-2007, 04:10 PM   #10
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Can't go wrong with a mower that has a Honda or Briggs & Straton engine. Not sure which brands feature these but they are good quality.
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Old 04-30-2007, 04:16 PM   #11
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Well someone here has to stick up for electric mowers I suppose

Well, i should say its a rechargable electric mower, so there's no cords to mess with. I'll admit, that is the only way I would go with an electric mower. Using an electric with a cord as a kid drove me crazy.

My electric is designed as a mulching mower and it doesn't leave the yard a mess at all. The grass gets chopped into quite small pieces so you don't really even see it.

In terms of the battery, I can do both my neighbors yard and mine; front and back on a single charge with plenty of charge left. Even on the days that I've.... forgotten(?) to cut the grass for a while. Yea, forgotten. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Anyway, even on high wet grass my little battery powered mower does just fine. I'll admit it doesn't have the same power as a gas mower, but that really is only a concern when I let the grass get really high, and well, that's my own fault.

IMO, you'll love doing it the first summer, then as time goes on, it will settle more and more into simply being a chore. What i like about my mower is that there's very little maintenance. No oil changes, no frustrating with a pull to start it, no runing out of gas in the middle of the yard etc. I simply unplug, mow, plug it back in. Every once in a while I flip it over and clean out the undercarrage and sharpen the blade. But you need to do that with every mower.

JMO, enjoy your new yardwork!
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Old 05-01-2007, 05:05 AM   #12
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When I did cut the lawn I used a mulching blade without any problems. I hated having to stop and empty the bag.

Here's my tip on selecting a mower. The larger and sturdier the wheels, the easier it will be to cut your lawn.
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Old 05-01-2007, 09:05 AM   #13
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http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?actio...711&lpage=none

I purchased this mower from Lowes last spring and like it a lot. It has a really simple choke mechanism, you simply slide the choke lever to the choke position and pull the cord to start it. The choke lever automatically adjusts itself as the mower starts up. The main things that I looked for when I bought it were... Large rear wheels, Mulching capability, Rear bagger, and a Honda engine.

No matter which mower you buy, the best thing you can do to keep it running a long time is to change the oil after the first 2 or 3 hours of run time and at least once a season after that. I service my mowers in the fall after the last mowing... Change the oil, replace the plug, clean off all the built up grass from under the deck, and sharpen the blade. You also should drain out all of the fuel and run the mower until it quits. This will help prevent varnish deposits from forming in the carburetor.

Personally, I would avoid Briggs & Stratton and Techumsi engines. I really like the Honda engines and have heard good things about the Subaru "Robin" engines. Of couse engine choice is a matter of opinion. But in my experience, I have spent less time tinkering with the Honda engines than those made by Briggs & Stratton and Techumsi.
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Old 05-01-2007, 10:31 AM   #14
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Thanks, everyone! These are all excellent tips and it will give us a good start on our mower shopping!

Bound for OBX, that's a nice mower. I see it weighs 70 pounds! 8O
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Old 05-01-2007, 12:47 PM   #15
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I bought a TORO Personal Pace mower last year. I LOVE it. It actually self=propells itself at your walking pace, up to 6mph. It is a great mower for $499.
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Old 05-01-2007, 12:56 PM   #16
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http://www.toro.com/home/mowers/supe...ler/20055.html
Here is a link
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Old 05-01-2007, 09:38 PM   #17
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all good advice..the only thing I can add is this

when looking at self propelled mowers, front wheel drive works best on flat level lawns...if you have a lot of hills or inclines go with rear wheel drive
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Old 05-09-2007, 12:19 PM   #18
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I prefer mowers with a blade-break clutch (toro calls it Blade Overide System-BOS). Only the blade stops when you release the handle instead of the engine dying. Very nice if you have to pick something up off of the lawn or empty the bag, or if you just hate pull-starting.
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Old 05-09-2007, 01:07 PM   #19
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I do lawn cutting as a part time business. Seldon use anying less than 36", but I have a Snapper, self propelled, rear bagger. Should last a homeowner a lifetime. 6.5 HP engine.

I love the bag becasue there is no small opening that grass is to be dumped from.

My advice would be to go with a larger engine if you have choices (it'll live longer IMO), a bagger that's easy to dump (some you gotta shake like crazy), and an easy recyling/mulching hookup ( i remove my bag and put the plug in the hole).

Rear discharge is my favorite too for thes ability to manuever in smaller spaces.

Also, for those of you who care, if you mulch, do so only if you cannot see clippings behind the mower. Mulching should be done so that the very fine blades of grass left behind decompose and add nitrogen to make kawns greener. Anything more than those fine, dissappearing clippings will casue trouble later down the road when time to de-thatch cause your grass is getting choked out.

IMO, however less than 1" of thatch (clippings and other dead stuff) is good as it is kinda like mulch for the grass - holds moisture and keeps the sun from baking the ground.
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Old 07-15-2007, 02:37 PM   #20
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We got the lawnmower. It is a Toro 6.5 HP recycler (mulching mower). The rear wheels are larger. (thanks for that tip, everyone!) It has a place to attach a hose to wash the blade off. That's a good feature.

Here are some pictures! The neighbors probably thought I was crazy to take pics of a lawnmower and get Steve to pose with it, but hey - it's our first lawnmower!
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File Type: jpg img_1025-resize_135.jpg (91.2 KB, 19 views)
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