1. Missed the live Ask the Expert event?
    Catch up on the conversation about fertilization strategies for success with the experts at Koch Turf & Ornamental in the Fertilizer Application forum.

    Dismiss Notice

Ariens LM21S Review

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by GMLC, Jun 13, 2011.

  1. GMLC

    GMLC LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,345

    So my 1996 Honda HRC216 21" mower is finally wearing out. This mower has been awesome, I bought it new in 1996 for around $1100.00 and is the only mower I can compare this Ariens to.

    A new dealer near me that sells Ariens and Gravely has been pushing the Ariens LM21S 21" mower on me hard. I asked around here and got mostly good feedback so I reluctantly bought it three weeks ago. Got the dealer down to $600.00. The mower has the kawasaki FJ180V engine.

    The kawi engine is awesome and has more power than my old honda. Almost no bogging in wet grass 4-5" tall. It is a little harder to start than the honda and is also louder with noticeably more engine vibration. The mower deck is built very well and seems to be very strong. The rest of the machine is not built as well and the fit and finish is no where near honda's. First thing I noticed when mowing was this mower has more lift than my honda and I bet bags very well(I mulch). The cut quality was not on par with honda but it wasn't bad. Very little clumping on wet grass but the cut wasn't as sharp if that makes sense. I would not use this mower as a finish mower but its fine for trimming and going places my walkbehind wont go. I found the controls awkward and hard to use. My hands got tired very quickly and its to far to reach to adjust the self propelled speed control. My biggest complaint is the drive system. It seems strong but the TRACTION IS HORRIBLE on uneven surfaces. One wheel will spin if it has any less pressure on it than the other one. This made the mower very very annoying on hills, ditches, bumps and almost everywhere. It really made this mower much harder on my body and I was exhausted after using it. It almost worked better as a push mower. My honda's hydro drive never had these problems.

    So to sum this up I paid half as much for a mower and got a mower half as good.:hammerhead: I most likely will be trading the Ariens in for another honda...
  2. Mowingman

    Mowingman LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 4,720

    I have one and love it. You are correct about the traction, too bad they can't come up with a locking differential in the drive axles.
    The cut is excellent. You may not be using the correct blades on it. I used to be a dealer for Gravely/Ariens, and, as I recall, there are about 3 blade options. I think they come with a multipurpose blade. When I took mine home, I also took a handfull of the optional mulching blades, (I think they are called). Anyway, these blades provide a much nicer cut when mulching. I like the mulch job better than the mulch job of previous J.D. and Toro commercial 21" mowers I owned. Mine is used in St. Augustine and Bermuda grasses.
    These Ariens mowers are designed for homeowner use, but are really good for light duty commercial use also. I expect mine to last another 10-15 years.
  3. GMLC

    GMLC LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,345

    I did see a mulch kit with baffles and a different blade available. I can live with the cut but not with the traction issue. If only all my yards were flat I would be ok, but not much level ground here in NH. No doubt it will last a long time as it is built like a tank.
  4. lawnboy dan

    lawnboy dan LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,711

    i started using these last year. no complaints and does the same job a snapper hi vac with much less problems. i have 3 with swivel wheels and one straight axel model. only mower i have seen with TRUE 3/1 cabality-does all 3 well . the kawi is a real beast and up to any task. i allready knew about the traction issue as a long time snapper user and i just pick my jobs for the ariens. i highly recommend this mower -if you understand its linits. after all its half the $ of a true comm.
  5. I_am_a_beginner

    I_am_a_beginner LawnSite Member
    Messages: 194

    We started the year with 1 LM21S and 1 PRO 21. Both were doing good in dry grass. They were both heavy as s"h"i"t (it is steel made). Seriously they are both to much heavy to handle in tight places and good luck for moving them from anywhere without turning them on. The traction doesnt do well at all in uneven surfaces. You can't mulch when the grass is wet, the deck isn't made for this at all too. The grass will quickly be stuck in the upper back deck. If you have to adjust your deck heigh on the LM21S, you just loose so much time and productivity because it has a non user friendly system. You have to remove a thing for each wheel before being able to move your deck down or up. We switch our mowers to 21" Toro and we don't have any problems at all. Mulch better in wet grass, you can stop without turning the engine off and the mower is way lighter because it is made in aluminium.
  6. lawnboy dan

    lawnboy dan LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,711

    i agree its a pain to change the height on the swivel wheels-i have 3 so i leave them at diff heights and use the one that suits the yard at the time. i have no prob mulching anything-use the stock high lift blade for best results and make shure you have the "mulch dome" installed

Share This Page