Tag Archives for " Push mower "

May 28

Mower features you don’t need: Part II

By Eli | Briggs & Stratton , Engines , Honda , Kawasaki , Kohler , Power Equipment , Push Mower , Riding Mower , Tecumseh , Zero Turn Radius Mower (ZTR)

We are back to addressing why I disagree with some of the points made in a Consumer Report’s article regarding unnecessary features on mowers.  We continue with push mowers.

Washout ports. Manufacturers of walk-behind mowers with washout ports recommend you lower your deck before attaching a hose to the port. If you have to adjust the height of each wheel separately, you’ll likely ignore that part of the instructions—or merely tip the mower on its side (air filter up) to hose it down from beneath. Why pay extra for a mower with that feature?

Perhaps the ports are not a must have, however, if you want your deck to last as long as possible, they are a great idea.  There are several things they did not mention.  Lets look at those things.

  1. The need to wash the under side of the deck (perhaps they think its a given).
  2. The fact lowering the deck is “recommended” but not required (however, it works better if the deck is lowered).
  3. They build off another of their points later in their article where they state that single-lever wheel-height adjustment is an unnecessary feature.  Yet, almost by their own admission, if the mower had both, both would be used and arguably would be necessary features.
  4. The fact that tipping up the mower on its side does not work as well as using a washout port.
  5. The fact that tipping the mower on its side, even if tipped the recommended way, can cause oil to drain into different parts of the engine and eventually cause engine damage.  This obviously varies by engine make and model.

Now, these features are unnecessary, but handy.  If you are looking for a base model, don’t necessarily expect these features on your mower.  If you are looking to buy a good quality mower that is designed to last a long time, these should be some of the features you should expect.

Something I mentioned earlier but did not expound upon is the life saving feature (life saving for the deck) of the deck washout port.  While it is not necessary to have a washout port to enjoy the life saving benefits of cleaning your deck.   If you don’t wash the mower deck, whether push mower or riding mower, the grass will accumulate on the top and on the under side of deck.  If you mow while the grass is damp or wet, the grass will stick to the deck.  This grass needs to be removed from the deck.  It is most easily removed while the grass is still wet.  What better time to do it than when the grass is still wet?

The grass contains moisture and when it is so close to the mower deck, it causes the paint to peel and then eventually, it causes the steel deck to rust.

Apr 11

Mower features you don’t need?

By Eli | Power Equipment , Push Mower

I recently read an article posted on the Consumer Reports website regarding unnecessary features on mowers.  While I agree some mowers have far too many features or at least far more features than are “needed”, some of these features are really nice.  Some of the features Consumer Reports deemed as “unnecessary”, I believe really do make a difference.

They cited their studies indicated larger rear wheels on push mowers as unnecessary. Regarding manufacturers statements about the advantages of high wheels they stated “They’re touted as easier to push over uneven ground. What we’ve found in tests, though, is counterintuitive to such thinking. Manufacturers of high-wheeled mowers situate the engine (or motor, for electric models) more forward to accommodate the greater diameter of the rear wheels. This makes the mower noticeably heavier to tip back for turning, which you do frequently. They require more effort to mow, not less.

While in a round about way, they may have a point (the larger rear wheels require different brackets which place the wheels further back), that is NOT the point of the larger rear wheels.  The point is that they are easier to push because the wheel diameter is larger and thus the ground has “more leverage” to turn the wheel.

Another advantage of larger rear wheels is if there is any need for you to pick the front end of the mower up to push it over an item (stump, uneven terrain, driveway gravel, etc).  I have even seen people be able to load a mower onto a trailer by themselves that they could not have loaded otherwise. They simply pushed the mower up to the trailer, pushed down on the handle and pushed the front wheels onto the edge of the trailer deck.  Then the picked up on the handle and pushed the mower onto the trailer.  If you are a commercial cutter and use the mower to trim lawns this could also be seen as a time saving tip.  With that in mind, a consumer grade push mower will not endure commercial use very long!

The point Consumer Reports made falls more into the “disadvantages” category.  Another disadvantage of larger wheels is that they are slightly less stable as far as durability (not as far as mower rollover stability).  The brackets also tend to have more pressure on them making the brackets and the deck more likely to break.  With this in mind, consider whether or not larger rear wheels are worthy of your investment dollars.

Next time we will look at another facet of their report with which I disagree.

Until next time, keep your engines running!