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Rear Bag Mower vs Side Discharge Mower? Brand? Sub $400

dcmetro's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 58

06-15-07, 08:42 PM   #1  
Rear Bag Mower vs Side Discharge Mower? Brand? Sub $400


I am totally new to the 'mowing world'. I have a few Qs that shall help me make the right decision:

- Which is better: Rear bag or Side Discharge mower? Why?
- RWD vs FWD: I have read that RWD is slightly better. True?
- Any particular brand to use or to avoid?

Some facts:
- My budget is sub $400 for sure
- My lot size is .25 acre. So decent size lawn (Front and back)
- Lot not totally flat. Some ups and downs

I like some mowers around 350 at Home Depot and Lowes which are either Troy, John Deere or Toro.

I would appreciate your assistance.

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puey61's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,224

06-16-07, 02:51 AM   #2  
The Troy-Bilt is a mower manufactured by MTD Products, the John Deere and Toro are their own respective companies. Of the three, I like the Toro but what you buy should depend on which one(s) you have a local servicing dealer in your area. The box stores do not have service available and when you have a break-down (and you will), you need a local shop to be able to obtain service or parts. Even though I'd place the Troy last on my list, of the three, and if you would have to travel an hour to get to a Deere or Toro dealer but you have an MTD dealer in your backyard, you may opt for the Troy. As far as rear bag versus side discharge, this is a matter of personal preference and local zoning laws. Generally, if you discharge the grass you will find you MAY need to rake up the clippings but with bagging you WILL have grass clippings. Most towns, nowadays, will not take green waste from curbside and if you have no way/need to compost the clippings or any other way, otherwise, to get rid of them, you may opt for a mulch option or the discharge option and forget the bagging idea. Rear wheel versus front wheel drive is still another matter of personal preference. I like rear wheel drive, I thing that they track straighter. Also, if you go with the rear bagger, a full bag of grass is rather heavy and tends to lighten the front end and a front wheel drive will tend to lose traction to a certain extent. And, the front wheel drives tend to wander a bit, anyhow, making it difficult for obsessive people (like me) to keep a perfectly straight line.

bontai Joe's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 592

06-18-07, 08:46 AM   #3  
Depending on how tall you or other possible operators are, you may want to choose a mower by it's fit to you, as opposed to other criteria. I'm 6'-3" and have a bad back, so if the best mower in the world requires me to stoop over to push it, I ain't buying it. Liewaise for a person of short stature having tha handle bars at chin height is not gonna be fun for long either. So make sure the machine "fits" you as an operator. Having said that. I prefer rear wheel drive for the same reasons mentioned above. I also prefer side discharge, because I HATE bagging clippings. I prefer the clippings to decompose on the lawn and return the nitrogen back to the soil instead of having to constantly having to add fertilizer.

dcmetro's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 58

06-21-07, 07:07 AM   #4  
Thanks for the suggestions guys. I have been looking at some local classified for used mowers as well. But I fear that if they break down, I might have to pony up more than what I saved when buying used. Is that a true fear for mowers? For the generally known issues for breakdowns, is it cheap to get them fixed?
Generally for stuff that I do not know much, I just take a 3-yr warranty plan. What do u say?

geogrubb's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 2,333

06-21-07, 07:55 AM   #5  
You need to ask why someone is selling the used mower and see how it looks and runs, if it looks good and is easy to start when it is cold it can last a long time, just don't leave old gas in it over the winter and use fresh(fresh from the pump not fresh from last years can) and they will last a long time. I collect peoples disguarded mowers over the winter and fix them in the spring and usually the problem is they have been left with fuel that evaporated and messed up the carb which requires some cleaning. I then sell them for $10.00 per horsepower. I don't make much money but it keeps a lot of good mowers out of the landfill. Have a good one. Geo

mattison's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 5,549

06-21-07, 07:57 AM   #6  
I got the Toro personal pace mower a few years ago and like you I have slight up and down areas. the personal pace option is great since it will only go as fast or slow as you want to walk. It was right around your $400.00 range.

As for the extended warranty I usually opt out.

stickshift's Avatar
Group Moderator

Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 18,479

06-21-07, 09:43 AM   #7  
I'd go for a mulching mower - less work and better for the lawn anyway. I have .4 acres and push, so I can't help on which wheel drive is better.

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