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Ariel Offline OP
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And here the Mower
Since my son won’t always be here, I’d want self-propelled, able to corner, adjust blade height, and go up slight inclines. Electric starter. You see I WAS following Axtremus’s thread!.

But I have a lot less to mow. Our lot size is about 1/4 acre (240’ X 60’ about). Hence no ride-on. I think I’ll subscribe to the Toddler2 school of thought, and not get top of the line (Honda?) thinking of it rather as a “Kleenex” mower. It would be nice if it lasts the eight years I expect to remain in this house. We’ll change the oil!

Does a Sears Briggs and Stratton engine sound OK? Would Lowes have a better one? Again - All comments and suggestions appreciated.


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Toro, Toro, Toro!!!

We've owned one for 18 years and the only maintenance it's required in all that time is blade sharpening.


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Ariel Offline OP
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Sounds like a matador at the start to a bullfight, Plays! I have a feeling Toro’s are relatively pricey though. I know you get what you pay for (often anyhow – there IS savvy shopping), but in my case, I really only need it to hang in there for eight years – only want it too, in a way! Why move an old lawnmower?

Does anybody out there think the Sears or Lowe’s mowers are OK? That's kind of where I was aiming. There sure is a price range. Are they really bad?? What about a Briggs and Stratton motor? And other than as mentioned, any features I should make sure to get?

My dandelions are about to turn to puff. Please, HELP!! This is my most urgent purchase needed.

Thanks again, all.


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Go to Sears - the mowers are on sale...Craftsman mowers are great and you can purchase additional warranty if you are not very good at upkeep and maintenance. ask for the additional mother's day discount..


accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

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Ariel Offline OP
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That's just where I was going to go. Do you realize they have at least twenty models?? At least!

The price range is huge. I don't know how to wade through them and figure out which horsepower or blade-adjustability or super dooper mulcher or motor brand I need...It's worse than buying bras or shoes. Almost (but not quite) as bad as mattresses.

You're right though - that IS the place for me with our price range owing to what Tom called cutely, our limited "shelf life" in the house...(I hope).

Or is Lowe's better?

Ariel

Ariel help


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Ariel,

My lot is about the same size as yours ( a little smaller). I have a Wal-Mart MTD side discharge that I got for $99. It has been very reliable for the 6 seasons that I've had it. I'm not a proponent of MTD, but it might fit your needs. It has B&S engine and starts easily.

My only complaint is that it is not a mulching mower, so if I need to mow when the grass is long, I get the berms or cut grass. I would lean towards a mulching push mower (or a "real" reel manual mower) for that size lawn. Anything with a B&S engine will last 8 years with a lawn that size.


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I agree with NY1911.

If you're not fussy about features (like mulching) and the lawn isn't real big, the $100 lawnmowers work just fine. If the grass left on the lawn is a concern, get one with a bag - the cheapest mowers will have it on the side. The newer B&S engines seem to work pretty well - they're not Hondas, but they don't cost like Hondas either.

The biggest difference between $100 mowers and $150 mowers seems to be the deck design - the slightly more expensive mowers do a better job of vacuuming up clippings in to the bag. Bigger decks mean fewer passes, but if your kid is going to be doing the lawn, who cares? What else does he have to do? wink

I don't know if Sears still offers them, but the mowers with the Eager-1 engine were a big deal when they first came out. They've done something to them to make them easier to start and it seems to work. Even the nastiest beater lawnmowers I've had with the Eager-1 engine start very easily. I might be inclined to pay a bit more for this upgrade - maybe $30-50 or so. Like pianos though, you can get carried away with a few more dollars here and a few more dollars there, and the regular engines (I don't think any of them use points any more) start up OK too.

I buy used lawnmowers when I have to clean up a lot that has a lot of tall weeds - it's amazing what a rotary mower will cut down if you take your time. I usually end up paying about $50 for the mower and sell it for the same when I am through with it, or if I've hit a rock or something I just scrap it when I'm done. Hit one big rock and a rotary mower is toast - it bends the crankshaft and the mower shakes like a dog passing peach pits.

If a new mower is only $100 and your're not likely to hit big rocks, buying used here may not make a lot of sense. Used mowers seldom come with bags, and a replacement bag is probably more than $50 from a dealer. You'll get a warranty on a new one, and the cheapest repair on a mower at a shop is more than $50.

I'm not real keen on reel mowers unless you absolutely must have a golf-course look. For what it costs to sharpen one, you can almost buy a whole mower. If they're not sharp, they're horrible.


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What's a reel mower?


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Steve's probably right on the reel mower...I don't own one, I just see it as a good way to piggy back my exercise on to my chores. laugh


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So live your life and live it well.
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Steve...you'd fit in up here.... I have a coke bottle with water rigged up to a rotary stone to sharpen the mower blades that ...wasn't my invention. I asked for a new mower and I was taught how to operate the contraption.


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Quote
Originally posted by ny1911:
gryph...

http://www.reelmowersetc.com/scotts_classic.htm
There are gas-powered versions, too.

When I was a lad of about 14 (the Earth was still cooling), my first business was a lawn route. One of my customers had a beautiful Bluegrass lawn and insisted that I use his mower because he wanted it just so and he was sure that my mower had a lot of Bermuda grass seeds stuck to it that were just waiting for the chance to invade his little piece of perfection. He also banned my edger - I edged that one with little scissors.

'twas a Scotts "Super Silent", and from what I remember it was an upgrade from the "Classic" shown on the website. When it was sharp (and if I hadn't skipped a week - I was 14, after all) it worked beautifully. As soon as it got dull though, it was the most miserable thing I have ever had to operate. It pulled up the lawn in chunks and mowing his little 20'x 40' lawn became a hurculean task.

About the only time you really need a reel mower is if you are mowing something like Tiff-Green that has to be super-short (think "putting green"). Other than that, rotary mowers are the way to go.


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Ariel Offline OP
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Thank, thank you apple, steve and ny1911! And to you to gryphon for asking one of my questions! Made me feel loads better. wink

Now, what is an MTD mower? (MultiTaskDischarge, MammothTripleDeployment, MercilessTauntingDybbuk...) Better just tell me.

And later when the time comes (I HAVE had mowers which should have been taken into custody by the Mower Proteection Society), perhaps someone can walk me through oil changes, blade sharpening, and anything to do with the carborator whatever that is...Poor little mower.

Ariel


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I liked your "dog visual", Steve. laugh
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YOU know the one I'm talking about. :b:

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MTD is what the bag is if its not full. smile

use in a sentence?
"Golly, I wonder who MTD that bag"

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Ariel Offline OP
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Steve, you said:

Quote
Bigger decks mean fewer passes, but if your kid is going to be doing the lawn, who cares? What else does he have to do? wink
Haha, though not so very much. My son is as busy as a high level executive, unfortunately. And with piano camp, a week-long computer competition (Nationals again!) and a visit to Grandma and some time with his Dad, I'll be on my own a lot with the mower... Plus my son works a great deal on the computer doing graphics, learning programming, engaging in activities he has asked me not to mention on-line...And he IS supposed to practice the piano two-three hours a day when he's around. And that's just the summer. frown

(Four of the eight projected years are when he's hopefully to be in college too!)

So, self-propelled it will be! I even briefly (very briefly) toyed wiht the idea of one of those little independent mowers - kind of bots which go around your lawn on their own.

apple, thank you. I will definitely ask for my mother's day discount at Sears. I would NEVER have thought of it! (improvised blade sharpeners!...Do you know how inferior I feel? Need hangdog emoticon)

Ariel


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smile
MTD is a company that makes cheap mowers. I think it's a conglomerate and you can get the same mower with different paint for more $$$ if you like.

I think you're on the right track for a "small lawn" mower Ariel. I'd skip any mower that doesn't have a throttle. Some of the sears tecumsa engined ones are like that. Mine is. I just removed the spring and cranked the throttle up, but it's a lousy solution. The "auto throttle" is a bad solution to a problem that didn't exist.

B&S engines are fine. Mulching is an OK feature, but in reality it's not good for the lawn. I don't notice any difference between mulch or side discharge when the lawn is long, you get cuttings on top either way.

I'd go to Lowes over Sears, having now bought at both places. I love Sears and the extended warranty, but let's be realistic, this is a lawn mower. The odds of it breaking due to a mfgr defect is slim to none. It'll die when you run over a rock, don't change the plug, don't sharpen it, or it gets old and tired.

Good luck,

Todd


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Toddler2,

Thanks very much. I don't even know what a throttle is except as "I'll throttle you if you don't shape up!" So you see that this mower is not going to a good mower home. I confess that our last mower did not die a natural death.

I like Lowes too. They are the only chain store I know of which still makes returns contingent only on the bar code indicating it is one of their stock items!

Thanks again! You are the only one who alluded to Lowes.

Ariel


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Can't get away from Lowes here in NC.

The throttle, if you're serious, just adjusts the amt of gas the engine gets. You can speed the engine up for more power, or run it lower if you don't need to power through thick grass. For some reason, some mfgrs decided we were to dumb to move the lever on our own, and tried to make it adjust itself. :rolleyes:


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I have had two Sears mowers with the Eager-1 engine. The first one had the deck rust through because I didn't clean all the wet grass out of it periodically, and it eventually spit a rock through a hole in the side, so I decided it wasn't safe. But the engine ran great up to the day I sold it (for $10) to a guy who did a little welding as a hobby.

The second one I got from my parents when they sold their house. I still have it, though I haven't used it in eight years or so, since my neighbor mows my lawn with a commercial mower...he does in 20 mintues what it used to take me 3 hours to do.

Hey, if you're in the PNW, I'll make you a good deal on a slightly used Sears mower!

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