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Mower deliberations.

Paul Lloyd-Jones

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Hey guys, I am an arborist and crew manager for a small tree service in Central Florida. I’m new to OpeForum. I came for the chainsaws, but now I have a mower question.
I pay about $800-$1000 a year for someone to mow my .61 acre lawn. This is a good price for what I’ve got, but I don’t think it’s going to last. The minimum wage increase here is really driving up costs.
Recently, I decided I might like to just put about one year’s lawn care expense (or less) into buying a new reliable push mower to cut the grass myself. I have a blower and whip that I can use from work.
I would be trading convenience for responsibility and empowerment. I think it’s pretty low-risk, since if in a year, I decided I don’t want to do it myself anymore, the main loss is my time/labor. (But I think the work is good for me anyway).

At the moment, I am looking at a Toro 21” SuperRecycler (187cc?) for $800. I started off wanting a HondaHRX217, but it seems hard to find them (even online), and I prefer to buy in person.
But then today, I was at Home Depot and saw this…
IMG_7051.jpeg

IMG_7050.jpegIMG_7047.jpeg
The associate says they got a few of them like this 2.5 years ago. They were not selling (can’t imagine why at that original price) and they started marking them down. The other two finally sold, but at some point they tried putting gas this one and it wouldn’t start.
I am not a mechanic, but I think I could figure out the problem (especially with some help), barring any major factory defect). Otherwise, I could just have a local guy I know of do it for me. But I kinda think I’d like to try to do it myself.

The possible third option is this:
IMG_7043.jpeg
IMG_7042.jpeg
It’s $1100.

Option 4 came in from a friend this morning:
(YARDMAX 22 in. 201cc Select PACE 6 Speed CVT High Wheel RWD 3-in-1 Gas Walk Behind Self Propelled Lawn Mower, Black)
It’s a china cheapo 200cc for $350. He just got one and thinks it’s great, but he’s probably clueless on the subject overall.

Toro pros: Reliable model. Easy to get parts. (Low stress)
Cons: less power. (I like power.)

Milwaukee pros: My wife will use it.
Cons: High priced at $1100. I think it should be enough battery to get through the lawn, but I don’t know about when we let it get long.

Dewalt pros: Faster cut. I feel great about getting a deal. Takes much less time to mow.
Cons: Risk of headache and stress/loss of investment. How much risk??? I probably won’t let my wife use it ever, as she is not super capable with machinery.

Yardmax pros: cheap way to find out if I really want to do it myself (31-44% of the cost of the other options). 200cc engine.
Cons: Likely to have issues within a year (?)

I’d welcome any input. Thanks!
 

Paul Lloyd-Jones

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Btw, I was not considering an electric option at all until I saw the Milwaukee. I’m just a big fan. I am sure there are better value electric options. They’re just generally not really what I’m into.
 

USMC615

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Honda HRX217 all day long. Read reviews on Home Depot concerning the handle switch problems of the Milwaukee M18 mower and you'll soon get rid of that option. I'd leave that Dewalt right where it sits...no telling what sort of can of worms you're getting into. I'd def pull up the Dewalt and check reviews if any out there.

I have a 2021 model Honda HRX217 self-propelled bagger (GCV200) and it's a bad-ass push mower...one of the best mulchers you can get because of the twin blade design. Also have a Makita 18v x 2, 36V battery mower (XML08PT1) 21" self-propelled bagger push mower and it's a fine mower. Have an older Husqvarna 21" self-propelled bagger push mower that has a Honda GCV160 on it and it's never missed a beat in 10 years.

My advice if looking and maybe considering a rider to cut a little over half an acre...find you a good condition used Snapper rear engine rider in either 28", 30", or 33" Hi-Vac deck...nice ones can be had for $300-600 depending on overall condition and what the current owner has recently replaced. The simplicity of the drive system (since 1951 basically when they were first introduced) with the engine crankshaft drive disk and rear axle clutch disc assy is bulletproof. No costly transaxles, etc, etc to fool with. I've got a nice Series 23 Snapper 28" RER Hi-Vac w/12.5hp B&S electric start and I wouldn't trade it for nothing, and like you I'm a little less than 3/4's of an acre. Look on FB Marketplace and you'll see several Snapper RER's to look at within a 100 mile radius (actually a real nice 28" just east of Gainesville I saw day before yesterday when I looked on FB Marketplace for a buddy of mine who wants one...I'm in mid-Ga so the search results sometimes get down into Fla a little bit).
 
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chipper1

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Buy the cub cadet, fix it, use it a few times, then get the honda. Let your wife run them both, then sell the cub for a profit and in the listing say "my wife likes the honda better ".
 

Paul Lloyd-Jones

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Hey Bub, thanks for the quick response and all that information! I did check out the reviews and you’re right about the Milwaukee. That’s disappointing, but I’m glad not to have to deliberate on it. Of course, now I am thinking about the snapper, and back to considering the Honda. The Honda’s blade clutch feature I read about on another similar thread sounds extremely appealing.
And, I did not know that those Snappers were such reliable machines, but I think I saw one the other day just up the street from my house at a repair shop that sells some used mowers. They are only open M-W, so I won’tbe able to find anything out till Monday. But I’m going to see what is definitely available online today as far as the Hondas. If I can find one and it’s close to the price of the Toro, that’s probably what I’ll do.
I still think the Dewalt is a good deal, but have not gotten to search for reviews on it yet. It’s just that at about 85% off it’s hard to imagine being in trouble with it. It just might not be right for me at this point.
I’m past the Yardmax idea. I don’t want junk, even if it’s cheap.
 

USMC615

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The Dewalt may be worth the gamble, it does get some decent reviews on HD's site. The mower is actually made by MTD. You can get a rear stand-on (sulky attachment) riding attachment as well for it for just under $500.
 

USMC615

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As well, if prior military, use your 10% off mil discount for a new mower if you get one from HD or Lowe's.
 

Squareground3691

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Purchase this 5 IMG_1830.jpeg years ago , Kawasaki motor and Parker hydro’s , it’s already paid for itself, and plan on having it for many years to come ,👍
 

Paul Lloyd-Jones

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Buy the cub cadet, fix it, use it a few times, then get the honda. Let your wife run them both, then sell the cub for a profit and in the listing say "my wife likes the honda better ".
Somehow I never saw this. I love this idea. I did get a used Honda yesterday. Great deal. Couldn’t find a new one at all, let alone with the features I wanted.
But I decided last night that I will still buy the Dewalt (“Cub Cadet”) and flip it. It’s just got too much potential to pass up.
 

USMC615

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Somehow I never saw this. I love this idea. I did get a used Honda yesterday. Great deal. Couldn’t find a new one at all, let alone with the features I wanted.
But I decided last night that I will still buy the Dewalt (“Cub Cadet”) and flip it. It’s just got too much potential to pass up.
Does the DeWalt mower even exist anymore?…been four days since your original post.
 

Paul Lloyd-Jones

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Yep. It was gone when I got there Monday morning.
Ya know, I’m realizing posting a deal like that on a forum like this might not have been a great idea if I was hoping it would stick around. Probably nothing to it, but I oughta think that through more in the future.
 

USMC615

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I doubt posting on this forum had anything to do with it whatsoever…God only knows how many people just like yourself saw that DeWalt mower sitting there for that price, or told someone about it, etc. Lesson learned…snooze ya lose is still a thing.
 
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r7000

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BE AWARE that Honda HRX mowers currently, with the GCV200 engine, have bad cams. The decompression thing on them that allows you to pull start the engine fails, and then you can't start the engine. Same if it is electric start. Whether or not there's a recall last I knew what TBD, and Honda is getting out of the U.S. lawnmower market - there will be no new mowers after now (this year). They will still support parts for already built mowers, and will still be making mowers to be sold in Europe and elsewhere.

for > 1/2 acre to use a honda hrx217 type mower that's 21" or 22" I don't know. Unless you like the exercise walking and time spent. I have a ~2005 HRX217 with the hydro trans, and I bought a new one few years back, they are good mowers give the best cut I've seen. But being in florida, with flat land not small I'd be looking to invest in a zero turn for their speed and time and labor saved. I don't think anyone would necessarily be happy with a walk behind mower given 0.6 acres.

I don't have a zero turn, but i've seen more than a couple owned by residential folks where the hydro trans have gone out on them. Whether the commercial models that are ~$5k have better trans with cooling and which are serviceable I don't know, but the retail zero turns sold by depot/lowes they tend to not last - they cram the hydro trans for each rear wheel in, they're small, overheat, have poor cooling to begin with and then worse when packed with grass clippings that you can't easily clean away. and you want to be careful with such residential grade zero turns if you have hills. And for a machine like a zero turn you're spending > $1000 on, probably over $3k for a good one, I'd get it from a power equipment dealer that can service it and honor warranty, which depot/lowes retail type places won't do.
 

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BE AWARE that Honda HRX mowers currently, with the GCV200 engine, have bad cams. The decompression thing on them that allows you to pull start the engine fails, and then you can't start the engine. Same if it is electric start. Whether or not there's a recall last I knew what TBD, and Honda is getting out of the U.S. lawnmower market - there will be no new mowers after now (this year). They will still support parts for already built mowers, and will still be making mowers to be sold in Europe and elsewhere.

for > 1/2 acre to use a honda hrx217 type mower that's 21" or 22" I don't know. Unless you like the exercise walking and time spent. I have a ~2005 HRX217 with the hydro trans, and I bought a new one few years back, they are good mowers give the best cut I've seen. But being in florida, with flat land not small I'd be looking to invest in a zero turn for their speed and time and labor saved. I don't think anyone would necessarily be happy with a walk behind mower given 0.6 acres.

I don't have a zero turn, but i've seen more than a couple owned by residential folks where the hydro trans have gone out on them. Whether the commercial models that are ~$5k have better trans with cooling and which are serviceable I don't know, but the retail zero turns sold by depot/lowes they tend to not last - they cram the hydro trans for each rear wheel in, they're small, overheat, have poor cooling to begin with and then worse when packed with grass clippings that you can't easily clean away. and you want to be careful with such residential grade zero turns if you have hills. And for a machine like a zero turn you're spending > $1000 on, probably over $3k for a good one, I'd get it from a power equipment dealer that can service it and honor warranty, which depot/lowes retail type places won't do.
I said my HRX217 was a last year model in an above post but I purchased it the spring of '21. Haven't had any issues with it so far and hopefully won't considering what you posted. Did you ever see how far back year-wise these GCV200's had this cam problem?
 

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Honda HRX217 all day long. Read reviews on Home Depot concerning the handle switch problems of the Milwaukee M18 mower and you'll soon get rid of that option. I'd leave that Dewalt right where it sits...no telling what sort of can of worms you're getting into. I'd def pull up the Dewalt and check reviews if any out there.

I have a 2021 model Honda HRX217 self-propelled bagger (GCV200) and it's a bad-ass push mower...one of the best mulchers you can get because of the twin blade design. Also have a Makita 18v x 2, 36V battery mower (XML08PT1) 21" self-propelled bagger push mower and it's a fine mower. Have an older Husqvarna 21" self-propelled bagger push mower that has a Honda GCV160 on it and it's never missed a beat in 10 years.

My advice if looking and maybe considering a rider to cut a little over half an acre...find you a good condition used Snapper rear engine rider in either 28", 30", or 33" Hi-Vac deck...nice ones can be had for $300-600 depending on overall condition and what the current owner has recently replaced. The simplicity of the drive system (since 1951 basically when they were first introduced) with the engine crankshaft drive disk and rear axle clutch disc assy is bulletproof. No costly transaxles, etc, etc to fool with. I've got a nice Series 23 Snapper 28" RER Hi-Vac w/12.5hp B&S electric start and I wouldn't trade it for nothing, and like you I'm a little less than 3/4's of an acre. Look on FB Marketplace and you'll see several Snapper RER's to look at within a 100 mile radius (actually a real nice 28" just east of Gainesville I saw day before yesterday when I looked on FB Marketplace for a buddy of mine who wants one...I'm in mid-Ga so the search results sometimes get down into Fla a little bit).
This! The old Snapper RER cut great, were simple to work on, and a blast to ride wheelies with as a kid! No wonder dad had to replace clutches every few years!
 

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Seems like all the players are pulling out of gas going to electric. but DC electric has some major flaws one amperage vs voltage for desired torque that is why you are seeing 60/80 volt systems which still draw a huge amount of amperage. that big amp draw is hard on batteries ,any kind. Most of he units out there are running brush type DC motors, around 75% efficiency. got stay on top of changing those out ( yet to see any MFG tell you that) if they wear too far down all the magic smoke is going to go poof. Brushless dc motors can approach 90 % cost is an issue on both sides of the coin. just for an idea of amp draw a 12 v hydro pump for a snow plow will pull apx 400 amps and any give run time on that system is apx 2 minutes or less. The 6 or 8 gauge cable from the factory is undersized. We generally change them out to at least 4 gauge even then we have melted a few.
 
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