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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Everyone, As the name says, I'm a consumer looking for pro results. I need a new walk behind for my small 1/3 acre lawn to replace my 10yr old Honda with engine issues (carb replaced twice:banghead:).

I want a mower that mulches very well for the summer and bags leaves well in the fall. I don't love fertilizer so mulching capability is very important. I also want a really nice finish. And to top it off, I want a fast mower (time isn't on my side usually). I want to stay between $500-600.

I've narrowed it down to the following list:

- Cub Cadet SC 500z: caster wheels, good price but how does it cut?

- Craftsman Pro 39970: caster, ball-bearing wheels, great engine, how does it cut?

- Toro Super Recycler 20381: super recycler cutting reputation but moderate engine and mixed reliability based on reviews and only OK bagging performance

- Honda HRR 216K9VYA: Honda cutting reputation with twin blades and blade break. Mix reviews on Honda engine reliability and I'm having the same problems.

Upgrades at $600 range:

- Honda HRx2175vka: cutting reputation with the versa mow system, ball bearing wheels and bigger engine, still concerned with reliability

- Masport M800St: UK brand in semi-pro arena. Found on mowers direct for $600. Big engine and seems like a good brand but almost no info out on it.

I want to like the Toro's and Honda's because of their cut reputation, but the reliability issues are something I have a hard time with.

The Craftsman is interesting and I'm actually leaning towards it. No reviews yet because its new, but the features list and engine is unmatched at $500. It's made by MTD and I think the deck and trans is the same as the cub cadet. Not sure how it cuts though. If I could only bolt some Honda micro cut blades to it, it'd be perfect...

WHICH WOULD YOU BUY FOR ~$500??

Thanks for reading.
 

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Ditto on Honda. While more expensive in a lot of cases, Honda OPE offers exceptional reliability and longevity when properly maintained.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Motorhead.

Anything specific you like about the briggs?

Have you had trouble with your Honda carbs? Maybe I just need to start using fuel stabilizer at all times, or do stabilizers harm the engine over time?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Another vote for Honda. Thanks Austen.

I'm just so jaded by my current Honda experience, its hard to buy another...
 

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Maybe I just need to start using fuel stabilizer at all times, or do stabilizers harm the engine over time?
Fuel can gum up in any type of outdoor power equipment when it's stored and not used.

It is a good idea to run the fuel out of the carburetor on any type of OPE by shutting off the fuel valve and running the engine until it shuts off anytime it's going to be stored for a while. If there's no fuel valve, drain the fuel of the tank then start it up and run it until it quits running; as it begins to sputter turn the choke on. Draining the fuel out of the tank at the end of the season and replacing it with fresh at the start is recommended. An alternative method is using fuel stabilizer, as you suggested, and is a great way to extend the life of the fuel. It will not hurt the engine.
 

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I'm only going to speak from personal experience here...

While I'm a fan of Cub I don't think they're at the top of the list when it comes to the push mower line....

Since I've had very limited experience with push mowers in general and owned more riding tractors. Here are my thoughts... I purchased a push Toro 4 yrs ago this year. I owned it for part of a season before swapping with my parents with a Snapper RER since our needs were reverse... They moved into a house with a little yard and I had a bigger yard. Each season they've purchased the briggs kit to tune-up. Oil, filter, and spark plug. They purchased a second blade since and swap it out each year. It gives a fantastic cut and mulches beautifully. That's all the push has done it's entire life is mulch. The personal pace feature and electric start makes using it a breeze. They give a good warranty and with the auto choke, They try to tout about their 3 yr 1st pull guarantee starting feature.

I'll agree with guys with regards to Honda! Love that brand on anything and will normally give you a life of great service.... With regards to your issues carb related on your previous Honda engine. Hopefully it was an isolated incident.

But this is just my :2cents:

Good luck and keep us posted!

P.S. I think this lawn mower gives you the most bang for your buck!
 
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Can you share with us the model of Honda that you've had for 10 years and the reason the carb had to be replaced twice. Did you replace the carbs yourself, or was the work done by a small engine shop?

I have to echo what Austen said about fuel stabilizer. Fuel will go "stale" in a fairly short time, and stabilizer is a good thing to put into your gas can every time you go to the gas station to fill it up. Honda recommends that you turn the fuel valve to the off position when ever the mower is not in use, and I'm pretty sure Honda recommends the use of stabilizer as well, and to drain the carb if it is not going to be used for more than a month.

If you take even a casual look at my signature down there at the bottom, I think you'll see that I kind of favor Hondas. The only issue I have ever encountered with any carb on any of them has been a result of gummed up fuel. I will say that other companies manufacture fine engines, but I have never found a more reliable, smooth running engine than a Honda.

My recommendation from the list you compiled, a new Honda and a good supply of fuel stabilizer.
 

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My fault... I see where I kinda led you astray... :bag:

Yes in my personal experience the Toro would be a good choice! That was also my price cap and I had heard a lot of good things about this lawn mower. You are only one step away from the Honda engine on this brand located in this link...

Toro 20382 Super Recycler 21-Inch 160cc Honda Personal Pace Lawn Mower

As I'm sure you've done your research and may already know about this offering, figured I'd mention it.

I have this same engine on a pressure washer, and it's been going strong for almost 10 years. Very little maintenance required and it runs like a TOP!

Keep us posted and let us know what you decide! Don't forget :wwp: :pics: :pics: :2th:
 
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I actually own a Toro I got used from my best friend. I personally don't spend large amount of money on a push mower, I buy used and fix them for myself so not a good person to ask!! :)
I like the Toro for ease of use. The only issue I had was hard to start Briggs. I fixed that some what by modifying the engine.
You can't go wrong with Honda, their reputation speaks for them!
 
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first two are mtd junk imo. i would go with the hrx217
No need to call MTD junk! They do the job for most people. I have had some good ones!
 
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If you want self propelled, I would go with the Toro. If you don't need self propelled I would go Sears or MTD High Wheel. If there is a choice, get the biggest motor possible. Most of these motors are made in China, Thailand, or North Carolina. North Carolina is Honda stuff. Briggs doesn't make any small motors in the USA, anymore.

I have a Sears 21" Walk Behind. 190cc engine. It will mulch, side discharge, and bag. It is my favorite machine. I expected little of it, but it has earned me a lot of quick cash.

I have a 21" Toro that is from 1990. It is a self propelled mulcher or bagger. Best cutting rig I've ever had. It has a Subaru motor and always starts first pull. It has a blade clutch. The cut is superb, partly because it weighs so much. It will only cut at three inches or less. That's fine in a Southern climate, but in NH, where I am, 3 1/2" is the minimum recommended grass length. 4" is preferred. So, I don't use the Toro until the end of the year when things are dormant. And, Man, does it mulch leaves. Dry or wet, it destroys them. There are 25 maple trees across the street from me in a cemetery and they drop all their leaves in my yard. I blow a lot of them, but I mulch a lot, too.

I think either MTD or Sears 21" machine would be fine. That Cub looking thing with the zero turn wheels looks too gimmicky to me. Also, in a non professional environment, overkill.

Good luck. Just don't buy the English thing, unless you move to England.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Can you share with us the model of Honda that you've had for 10 years and the reason the carb had to be replaced twice. Did you replace the carbs yourself, or was the work done by a small engine shop?

I have to echo what Austen said about fuel stabilizer. Fuel will go "stale" in a fairly short time, and stabilizer is a good thing to put into your gas can every time you go to the gas station to fill it up. Honda recommends that you turn the fuel valve to the off position when ever the mower is not in use, and I'm pretty sure Honda recommends the use of stabilizer as well, and to drain the carb if it is not going to be used for more than a month.

If you take even a casual look at my signature down there at the bottom, I think you'll see that I kind of favor Hondas. The only issue I have ever encountered with any carb on any of them has been a result of gummed up fuel. I will say that other companies manufacture fine engines, but I have never found a more reliable, smooth running engine than a Honda.

My recommendation from the list you compiled, a new Honda and a good supply of fuel stabilizer.
Model is a Harmony HRR216TDA. I changed it myself two seasons ago and then had it changed at the dealer last spring.

I haven't typically used stabilizer but I only buy fuel by the two gallon and run through it in about two months. I have always changed the oil at the start of each season (is it better to change it at the end of the season before storage?) but I got this mower second hand from my father in law who used it only lightly, but I don't think he serviced it.

thanks for the input.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
If you want self propelled, I would go with the Toro. If you don't need self propelled I would go Sears or MTD High Wheel. If there is a choice, get the biggest motor possible. Most of these motors are made in China, Thailand, or North Carolina. North Carolina is Honda stuff. Briggs doesn't make any small motors in the USA, anymore.

I have a Sears 21" Walk Behind. 190cc engine. It will mulch, side discharge, and bag. It is my favorite machine. I expected little of it, but it has earned me a lot of quick cash.

I have a 21" Toro that is from 1990. It is a self propelled mulcher or bagger. Best cutting rig I've ever had. It has a Subaru motor and always starts first pull. It has a blade clutch. The cut is superb, partly because it weighs so much. It will only cut at three inches or less. That's fine in a Southern climate, but in NH, where I am, 3 1/2" is the minimum recommended grass length. 4" is preferred. So, I don't use the Toro until the end of the year when things are dormant. And, Man, does it mulch leaves. Dry or wet, it destroys them. There are 25 maple trees across the street from me in a cemetery and they drop all their leaves in my yard. I blow a lot of them, but I mulch a lot, too.

I think either MTD or Sears 21" machine would be fine. That Cub looking thing with the zero turn wheels looks too gimmicky to me. Also, in a non professional environment, overkill.

Good luck. Just don't buy the English thing, unless you move to England.
Thanks for the input. I do need or want self propelled. I cut around a lot of bushes where I stand offset from the mower and use one hand to maneuver it. Self propelled really comes in handy, especially when the bag is half full of wet leaves.
 
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