Self-propelled mower rec's?

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  #1  
Old 10-06-15, 10:52 AM
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Self-propelled mower rec's?

Okay, so daughter just moved into her first house (trying to kill me in the process this last weekend) and is going to need a lawn mower. For the time being she'll be the one doing the cutting unless she talks her BF into it or we're visiting.

Can I get some opinions on top 2 or 3 makes/models and ones to avoid? Likely stores to be shopped will be HD/Lowe's/Sears/WalMart. Her lot is 1/4 acre, less house, deck, trees, and drive, so figure 7-8000 sq ft. Mostly back yard and flat; smaller front yard with a bit of slope.

Price will be a factor (she's a teacher), so although a Honda would be nice, probably not in the budget.
 
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Old 10-06-15, 11:09 AM
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Personally I like a simple, light weight push mower. Very standard in design with all wheels the same size and you have to adjust each wheel's height individually. The light weight makes these simple mowers easy to push and they are very maneuverable. The stone simple design also means there is very little to go wrong. They also happen to be the least expensive type of mowers and at that point I look at them for the sturdiest deck, strongest wheels and pick one with a brand name engine like; Briggs & Stratton, Tecumseh... to help insure that parts can be readily found.

When you start adding a bagger, single point height adjustment, swiveling wheels or large back wheels the weight climbs and at some point self propelled becomes more important. All that extra stuff also pushes the price up and self propelled usually adds gears, pulleys and a belt that can wear out.
 
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Old 10-06-15, 11:18 AM
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My favorite is a 22 in. cut Troy Built with a 6.5 hp Briggs. all small wheels but not self propelled. But it's so easy to push and it is quiet !!
 
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Old 10-06-15, 11:23 AM
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My parents had a "standard" city lot of 5,000 square feet with a house and separate garage. That meant two little patches in the front, a line down the driveway (two paved lanes about 18 inches wide each) a back yard that was maybe 500 square feet (or less) and then a side yard of about 1600 square feet. My daddy always bought a cheap Wally*World (I think it was K-Mart as WW hadn't made it to this neck of the country at that time) with the idea that he would run it until it crapped out and then buy another. As I recall he generally got at least five years of use out of a mower.

Conversely, my good friend Bert, (now deceased) had about the same amount of yard yet he insisted on a top-of-the-line Honda mower. He spent almost as much in tune-ups and such every year as my daddy spent on the whole cheapo mower. No doubt that Honda was a good mower but from an economic standpoint it was a total loser in my opinion.

Myself, I use a battery-run Black and Decker non-self propelled. My lot, although better than 9,000 square feet has only slightly more grass than did my parents or Bert. IF I keep it mowed on a more or less regular basis, something I haven't done in the last few years, I could do the entire yard twice on a single battery charge. I'll add that this mower is still using the original battery some 16 years after purchase.

Within the last few months I have bought a newer B&D battery mower for $25 and two Earthwise battery mowers, one at $25 and the other free, all through Craig's List. The B&D and the first Earthwise both needed new batteries and the free Earthwise probably needs a new battery but it does run well enough to cut the grass. I only wanted them for their motors so all together it was well worth the cost. I did cannibalize my original B&D, transferred the (original) battery from it to the newer B&D and I am going to transfer the original charger and battery meter as well. The two Earthwise are going to the metal recycler after I remove the motor from the second one along with the wheels.

So, my personal recommendation is always going to be electric and to avoid the power cord I recommend battery. The Earthwise has a more expensive battery and cannot as easily be retrofitted with a standard (less expensive) battery AND has a smaller discharge chute that is more prone to clogging if the grass is left to grow long. On the other hand, it also has an all-steel deck and is maybe a bit better built than the B& D which has a plastic deck but will easily take generic batteries that are significantly less expensive than the genuine B&D battery.

Honestly, I would watch CL for a deal no matter what power source you use.
 
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Old 10-06-15, 11:42 AM
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I've always been partial to a Murray push mower although the one I have now lacks a feature that I miss - no drain plug the only way to change the oil is turn the mower upside down. Something I'll pay attention to the next time I look at a new mower!
 
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Old 10-06-15, 02:20 PM
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Well, you're going to get answers all over...but I had a Craftsman big rear wheel, front drive, B&S 6.5 hp and it mowed my 12000 sf lot no problem.

"unless she talks her BF into it " Say what???

He should mow it every week! That's what he's there for. Yer wifey didn't train her very well in the art of male manipulation I guess.
 
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Old 10-06-15, 03:51 PM
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You and I come from a different era, Vic; I would have cut my GF's lawn every day if she asked when I was that age. They've been an item for about 2 years now, so maybe someday in the not-to-distant future it'll be one of his spousal duties.
 
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Old 10-06-15, 03:54 PM
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Side note: I was also considering prowling some of the local mower repair places for used units, but not sure I want to go that route since she's a 3 hour drive away if it needs Dad's Maintenance/Repair.
 
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Old 10-06-15, 03:59 PM
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No one has mentioned one, but wifey liked her John Deere self propelled for the small back yard.
 
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Old 10-06-15, 04:36 PM
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Go to the local HD,WW, Lowes, wherever get the $139 special and run it until it quits. Have a good one. Geo
 
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Old 10-07-15, 04:44 AM
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Yeah, that was kind of my inclination, geo.
 
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Old 10-07-15, 04:53 AM
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Found a JD used on ebay for $105 w/ free shipping. Hmmmmm:

John Deere 21 inch 3 Speed Self Propelled Lawn Mower | eBay




Found a good deal on one of these, too, but don't think it will fit in garage:

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Old 10-07-15, 04:58 AM
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bet the boyfriend would be willing to use that one
 
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Old 10-07-15, 05:02 AM
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Had another look at the ebay listing. It says free shipping, but when you look closer it says local pickup only (Fort Worth). Think I'll pass.
 
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Old 10-07-15, 05:24 AM
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Mower

Troy-Bilt 22 inch self propelled front wheel drive.
 
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Old 10-07-15, 06:23 AM
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Not a fan at all of Troy-Bult!
They have cheapened them up way to much.
I had a Pony tiller and went through 2, pull cords the first year I owned it, it looked like they made them out of cheap cotton. Can not just replace the recoil, had to buy the whole side housing.
One of my customers brought me a string trimmer to fix and once again the recoil was broken, I took it apart and could not believe how cheaply it was made.
The two plastic keepers had broken off that where the size of a tooth pick.
The one mower I have new found respect for is one my girlfriend bought for her mother many years ago.
It's a Craftsman 6.5 with the Eager 1 engine.
This thing sat in a shed for many years without being used after her death.
I added fresh gas and it started first pull and ran like a champ.
Since that day I only use it about once a month to mow a steep banking and it still starts first pull every time.
An old Murry I have the decks rusted out after the second year, had to replace the cheap plastic wheels.
 
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Old 10-07-15, 06:56 PM
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What I like about troy built mowers is the wheels are bearings instead of cheap bushings. My wife loves it and I do too !!
 
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Old 10-07-15, 07:02 PM
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Am I the only one who shops Craigslist? Now is the time to be buying a used mower.

The only thing I ever had issues with is Craftsman. I will not buy any Craftsman tool with a motor, gas or electric.
 
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Old 10-07-15, 09:56 PM
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Am I the only one who shops Craigslist?
I guess you didn't even read my post. In the last couple, three months I have gotten THREE mowers off of Craig's List, two for $25 each and the third for free. All three were in good shape and the free one is what I am currently using to mow my weeds. Also bought a brand new one horsepower, 24 volt DC motor for a fraction of its going price off of CL. I'd probably get a whole lot more junk off of CL if I had a way to move them and a place to store it.
 
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Old 10-08-15, 03:40 AM
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Don't know if there would be much of a fall/winter discount in fla. When I lived there I had to mow 10-11 months out of the year.
 
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Old 10-08-15, 04:37 AM
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I mow about 9 months a year. Yes, browsed Craig List and that's the front runner right now. Advantages to buying new and getting couple of years of warranty, but mowers aren't that prone to breakdown like electronics and such, so not a big deal. Going to browse CL in her area today so I can avoid dragging one from this side of state. Looks like I have to drive over Saturday anyway to deal with water heater issue and a couple of other small things not able to get to last weekend due to frenzy of activity.
 
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Old 10-08-15, 07:55 AM
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Well, that was quick and easy. Found one on Craig's List right here in town about 15 minute drive away. Craftsman/B&S 6.5HP 22" self-propelled rear-bagger/mulcher. Three years old and very clean. Started on first pull stone cold. Could use a fresh blade and I'm going to put a new drive belt on just for good measure, but otherwise it's pristine. Talked him down to $110 from $125. A little more than I was hoping to pay, but the condition warrants it and he asked me for some of my business cards. "Tow your wife's car? Yes, and that'll be...um, $110".

Tolyn gets a free ITYS if it dies.
 
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Old 10-08-15, 04:50 PM
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Sorry Furd, I didn't read your whole post. However my comment about CL was more directed at the_tow_guy.

TTG - I would never stoop to that level. Happy you found a mower.
 
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Old 10-08-15, 08:04 PM
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.
 
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Old 10-11-15, 06:02 PM
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Been out of town a while and I'm coming in after the fact, but I think you did fine. I like the Craftsmans, agree with buying quality used, and at least you didn't get a MTD (troy bilt, etc...).
 
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Old 10-11-15, 07:08 PM
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Front or rear drive? Like I said, I always liked the big rear wheel front drive.
 
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Old 10-12-15, 04:27 AM
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Front drive, small wheels. I would have preferred a big wheel, but too good a deal to pass. Hauled it over on Saturday and gave her Lawn Mowing 101. She did okay except for remarking about the hard work, even with a self-propelled (she's about 5-1 and 115#). Mostly I think it was from her not being a mowing expert, so was fighting the mower some. Mower cut just fine. My one brain fart was ordering a fresh blade and drive belt on Amazon, but opting for delivery HERE instead of THERE and it didn't come in until late on Friday, after I had already had to leave to drive over so had to run with re-sharpened old blade and belt.
 
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Old 10-12-15, 04:31 AM
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That's alright TG, you can bring those along on your next 'daddy, I need this done' trip
 
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Old 10-12-15, 04:48 AM
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Going back in 2 weeks for Halloween weekend of golf and relaxation (yeah, right).
 
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