Mower recommendation

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by F6Hawk, Aug 31, 2004.

  1. F6Hawk

    F6Hawk LawnSite Member
    Messages: 195

    Hello all, and thanks for such a great forum! I spent hours last night reading after I found it.

    I am needing (ok, strongly wanting) a new mower. Currently have a Wal-Mart special, SP with rear bag type. I am leaning towards a commercial 2-cycle model, like the Toro series, but WOW! what a price jump! Bear in mind, I am only mowing my own lawn here, no commercial work or anything. But I don't mind so much paying more $$$ for something that will perhaps be the last mower I buy, I just don't want to break the bank with it. I am going to a local Toro dealer today, I have heard their commercial mower is around $1,100 or so. Kinda hurts the head to think I could buy a rider at that price (and lose all that exercise?).

    Advice on brands/models? Not a large lot, in the city, I think it around 12k sq ft total.

    Also, (don't throw stones, please fellas, I know youz are pros, is why I am asking) I have this handy Weed Eater brand string trimmer that flips 180 degrees and can be a string edger. Still running ok, but will probably be replacing it this fall. Recommendations here? I see most prefer a straight shaft, though not sure why. I am vertically challenged at 5'5", and the one or three straight shafts I have used in the past seemed too long for me.

    Thanks in advance for any advice!
  2. NickN

    NickN LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Alabama
    Messages: 1,009

    I'd recommend looking at the Cub 21" with castor wheels at Lowes.Around $500.Comes with bagger,discharge shute,and mulching blocker.I've used one all season for trimming and areas I can't or won't take the ZTR with no trouble.
    I like it most because I can turn it with one hand instead of having to lift the front to turn.Cuts great too.
  3. Rtom45

    Rtom45 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 456

    If I'm not mistaken, Toro also makes Lawn Boy. There's a nice self propelled series under either name that sells for about $350 to $400.
  4. ElephantNest

    ElephantNest LawnSite Bronze Member
    from La.
    Messages: 1,878

    Lawn Boy would be ok, also, Honda make some great mowers for under $500.00. I'd get another Honda before I got another Lawn Boy.
  5. CookTractor

    CookTractor LawnSite Member
    Messages: 17

    Husqvarna has a nice 21" mower thats starts for $249
  6. F6Hawk

    F6Hawk LawnSite Member
    Messages: 195

    Wow, all kinds of choices!

    The Toro I looked at today is one of the Proline series, 21" Commercial, 2 cycle. Not sure about the overall quality, but I like the idea of having an aluminum deck, and the BBC (Blade Brake CLucth?) is nice feature. Only thing I did not like about it (without having used it, bear in mind) is that it is not a variable speed SP, like thier cheaper line. One set the speed (1-3), and that is all you get.

    I really like the one-handed bag feature, and there is no starter rope to get in the way on the handle, it remains on top of the engine.

    Besides "mowing on the side of a hill", what, if any are the advantages of a 2-cycle vs. a 4-cycle mower? (well, that, and only having one can of gas in the garage, I mean?) I read on here lst night that a lawnboy (assumed it was a 2-cycle one) went for 8 hours on one tank of gas.... seems like a lot of running time to me; I thought 2-cycle used MORE gas than 4-cycle?

    Thanks again for the input, I appreciate all the help!
  7. dvmcmrhp52

    dvmcmrhp52 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Pa.
    Messages: 4,205

    Here's my 2 cents worth.............
    If I were to quit cutting lawns tommorow and never cut a lawn other than my own I would still never buy homeowner equipment ever again.
    I'll buy quality and spend my remaining years with it.
    With that said,and if your bank account is O.K. with it, buy a commercial 21" mower and a Stihl (or equivelant) straight shaft trimmer and maintain them well. You will be set for a good long time.
    I'm 5'7" and would not use a straight shaft trimmer for the same reasons you stated...........use one for a period of time and you will find that a curved shaft trimmer is nothing but chiropractor bills waiting come...............Just my opinion.
  8. F6Hawk

    F6Hawk LawnSite Member
    Messages: 195

  9. F6Hawk

    F6Hawk LawnSite Member
    Messages: 195

    Ok, after visiting a couple of local commercial dealers, here is what I have narrowed it down to:


    1) Exmark M216KASPC - 21", 6HP Kawasaki, regular fuel, aluminum deck, BBC. Basically, the same model as a Toro commercial. $1,069

    2) Toro SP w/BBC - 21" SP, 2-cycle 5.5HP Suzuki engine, last year's model left on the floor. $999


    1) Stihl KM55 - $219.99 Homeowner model, with changeable heads, trimmer $99, edger $99.

    2) Stihl KM85 - $359.95, Pro model, takes same attachments as above. Slightly smaller engine (25 vs. 27 cc), but it has a bit more power, and (I assume) a better-built engine, since it is a commercial model.

    3) Echo PAS-260 - $259.99, trimmmer attachment is $100, edger is $80.

    So waht do ye recommend, out there in professional land? I know that a swappable-head model is probably NOT the choice of most commercial users, but bear in mind that I am just a homeowner, probably never use the trimmer/powerhead more than once per week (or less). Is Echo as good as Stihl? Better? What would YOU add to your arsenal?

    I was told by one of the dealers that Toro makes the Exmark 21" mower, but that they make their OWN mowers over the 21" size. Believable, after looking at both of them. This years' Toro has the 5.5HP Honda engine, but they wanted $1,099 for it.

    Opinoins welcomed, let me know what YOU'D buy given these choices.

  10. jsmonroeCT

    jsmonroeCT LawnSite Member
    from CT
    Messages: 82

    Go with the exmark mower - more hp and its a 4 cycle engine.

    The Stihl trimmers are great. I have a FS80 and it has an unreal amount of power. I'm a homeowner but I believe what dvmcmrhp52 said - buy the best you can afford. But the commercial stihl. Just remember - a bigger engine means more weight. Good luck.

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