Lawn Mower 2016 Buying Guide- The Competition

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There are plenty of companies selling mowers who give you a lot to choose from. Because no testing was performed hands-on by ourselves, we entirely relied on data from others tests, feedback from customers, and manufacturer information for this year’s lawn mower buying guide.

Even the mammoth piece from Consumer Reports doesn’t go over every mower model (and only really the tip of the iceberg). Because these models are massive in number, we went with some generalizations based on the mowers that were given a test run. So, while what appears to be some nicely made mowers from other manufacturers, reasons are below on why some of them were discounted.

The mowers from Husqvarna tested by Consumer reports all fell in the bottom half of the results. To add to this, Berendsohn points out (in a review of his) that if the Husqvarna needs to be pulled backward, then the mower must first be rolled a foot or two forward with the drive system disengaged. In another write-up he adds that the control bar is not comfortable.

Mowers to Watch for in 2015

Troy-Bilt and Snapper both have rear-wheeled good looking models that Consumer Reports gave good scores to, but both of them were outdone by not only the Honda but the Toro Recycler as well (priced similarly).

The Craftsman and Cub Cadet mowers all took a place in the low to middle range of Consumer Reports findings, with one push mower being the exception (the Cub Cadet). The Craftsmans seem to be generally liked by Berendsohn, but the spots at the top of his tests always get taken by other mowers. The Cub Cadets- same story.

Gravely mowers are mostly made for the hands of professionals, but there are a number of Gravelys suited towards the everyday homeowner. The Gravely XD3 is one of them. Too bad that neither Berendsohn nor Consumer Reports has yet to test them out, so there’s little information. Their availability is limited to authorized dealers, which may be farther away from your whereabouts than you’d see traveling to. What I found from the impressions of customers was mixed.

The ratings of Yard Machines are sporadic across the board at Consumer Reports. Some models are poorly ranked, while others did well (we didn’t pick any of them as best, either). Customers at Home Depot have given Yard Machines some solid feedback, but not as much at Amazon.com where the sampling is smaller.

EGO has little competition to deal with in the cordless mower market. The round-up from Consumer Reports backs this up along with customer’s enthusiastic feedback. Next in Consumer Report’s line is the (usually under $380) Black & Decker CM1936, but it’s not as good at handling and its batteries are incompatible with other lawn tool utilities. One Ryobi mower in particular is cordless and other tools from Ryobi are compatible with its battery, but Consumer Reports ranked the mower somewhere in the middle in their rundown of cordless mowers.

Speaking of Push Mowers

The Lawn-Boy 10730 is an option, usually picked up for around $240, although it has less-than-stellar feedback than what customers thought of our Cub Cadet pick. Consumer Reports, weirdly enough, missed out on testing the Honda HRR216PKA (their $440 push mower). For a mower you push, it’s no doubt expensive. This push mower model offers what appears to be the same high, overall quality and fantastic ability to mulch as our main Honda HRX choice.

Being one in their line of HRR mowers, the feature of the Versamow will be missed. Other than that, if self-propulsion is a feature you can do without (and you can stomach the seriously priced high MSRP), then it shouldn’t be too bad of a mower.

If you’ve warmed up to the idea of a mower with the Honda label on it, but are going in with a particular budget, their thinned-down HRS216PDA push mower is another one they offer (for $350). Just like the old mower your grandfather used, it will only side discharge. The mower is the cheapest of the Hondas. Once more, to say the quality isn’t there would be doubtful (just as the price of the Honda), but the tradeoffs are the bagging and mulching functions- features of significance that I feel you’d really want versus going with our Toro pick, the $400 runner-up.

Also in the Market- Electric Corded Mowers

While some will find them perfect, their limitations are plenty that would be frustrating for most to deal with. Because one of the primary requirements is for the mower needing an outlet to plug into, mowing around an obstruction like hedges or trees turns into an exercise in managing the extension cord. These drawbacks were reason for us to withhold on researching electric corded mowers. And, with the great improvement being made by cordless mowers recently, anyone who strongly prefers engines not to require gas shouldn’t be disappointed with our pick for a cordless alternative.

It’s still not too late in the season of 2015, with a number of companies continuing to release their 2015 models. I’m on the lookout for further coverage from Berendsohn on top of what Consumer Reports will update to their guide. I’m following the trail on those new Worx cordless models and the mowers in Craftsman’s latest line (22-inch Platinum Series and 22-inch Gold Series).

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It all started with a trip to my Grandma's hobby farm in Nevis, MN tilling up her garden. The purpose of this site is to help with the frustration of choosing the perfect gear for your lawn or garden. It's grown to be so much more than that! No, you won't find any lawn or garden equipment being sold here. We just research and write about these products, giving you our opinion on anything from BBQ grills to grass shears!

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