Tuesday, May 06, 2008


I mentioned in my woe-is-me post a few days ago that my lawn mower was not running right after I got it back from a tune-up. Well today I got the official word from Ace Hardware that it is toast. As expected, they have various claims as to how this is possible and yet still not be their fault.

Regardless of where blame lies, the bottom line is that I am now in the market for a new lawn mower. So instead of doing what I was planning tonight, I spent the evening scouring the web trying to determine whether the Toro 20093 or Honda HRX217K2HXA would be a better purchase.

The Honda has the advantage of being a known quantity (it's effectively what I had up to this point). Of course that mower only managed to limp through 7 seasons before crapping out, so that may not be a complete plus.

The Toro is significantly cheaper (~20%), and was highly rated by Consumer Reports. However it features a wacky personal pace system where the mower's speed is dictated by how hard you push on the handle. That sounds great, except that we have a large and steep hill in the backyard which seems like it would wreak havoc on anything depending on pressure on the handle. Plus I read a number of review talking about problems with the drive gears in the Toro wearing out in just a couple seasons when used on very hilly terrain. On the other hand the Toro was the highest rated company for mower reliability in Consumer Reports this year (!) and sports a five year warranty versus the Honda's three year.

The frustrating thing about mowers is that the way they run in actual use is probably far more important then anything else, but that is the one thing you have no way of knowing until you get it home. Making the whole thing a crapshoot.

I wonder how many sheep I could buy for $800; They'd keep the lawn trimmed down.


Moe said...

Or you could go cheap and just get a non-powered push mower! I've been using mine one for over 5 years and I love it. I can cut the grass at midnight and no one would know, it doesn't smell, and it's cheap.

The cons are that you have to keep them sharp, and you can't let the grass get to long.

wleino said...

You can have my non-powered push mower. All it needs is a sharpening. My yard is just too darn hilly for one of those.

Steve Eck said...

Moe, As I was writing the post I was thinking about your push mower. My hill in the back would be absolutely no fun with a 14 inch push mower.

Bill, My yard isn't quite as hilly as yours, but it would definitely be a lot of work.

I bought the Honda tonight, under the assumption that the extra money was worth getting something that I knew how it would work, versus gambling on the Toro.