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Gas push mowers: Cheap vs. expensive?

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[OP]
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Mar 23, 2009
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Toronto

Gas push mowers: Cheap vs. expensive?

My current push mower I bought 9 years ago from Wal-Mart for cheap, less than $200. It is a 21" Yard Machines 173 cc model with some unknown engine.

The engine still runs fine, but the deck is rusted through now in parts, so I need a new unit. I want to get a new push mower. Not self-propelled since I have a lot of spots in my big yard where having a self-propelled one might be a hassle because I'd be fighting the wheels.

I see some in the $250 range, and then some in the $500 range. What's the difference with the higher end ones? I'm reading reviews and people say that the $500 ones don't necessarily last twice as long. Do they cut better, or do they cut the same? Will the deck last longer than my current mower, or is that a moot consideration because I shouldn't expect a consumer gas push mower to last a decade?

BTW, I share a riding mower with my neighbour so self-propelled becomes superfluous for my backyard. I need the push mower mainly for my front yard, and for the nooks and crannies in the backyard where the riding mower is too big to use.
32 replies
Deal Addict
Feb 5, 2009
2808 posts
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Newmarket
EugW wrote: My current push mower I bought 9 years ago from Wal-Mart for cheap, less than $200. It is a 21" Yard Machines 173 cc model with some unknown engine..
I had the same or similar model purchased 13 years ago and was running just fine until now, and I plan or replacing it with something similar. Not an expert on this stuff by any means but have seen neighbour having issue with a new expensive TORO, and personally I do not see a benefit of the expensive one. I have just run over a pipe which broke the shaft, I would hate to have it happen with royce royce of lawn mowers.
Deal Addict
Feb 18, 2016
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Depending on size of yard, it might not be practical, but what about a reel mower? I have a typical postage stamp sized lot so it makes sense for me. What I like is that it doesn't take up any floor space, I can hang the thing up on the wall when I'm done. Still need an edge trimmer of course to go along foundation, fence etc but that is true no matter what.
[OP]
Deal Expert
Mar 23, 2009
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Toronto
Front yard is average sized for a detached home. Back yard is huge, although usually I use a riding mower. The riding mower doesn't actually save me that much time though. It is just less effort. The reason it doesn't save that much time is because the riding mower is an old small one and because I still have to break out the push mower for the spots I can't get to with the riding mower.

I actually tried a reel mower, which was a nice refurbished one from my local knife sharpener, but it just was not practical in my situation. Corded electrical wouldn't work either because of the size of my backyard as I need the mower to be able to go the whole length of the yard through its nooks and crannies. I'm not really interested in battery powered either.

So it's really only gas. Just have to decide how much to spend on a gas push mower. Based on homer's post though, I'm leaning towards keeping the budget under $300.
Member
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Aug 25, 2007
460 posts
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Toronto
Looking for a new mower myself.

The more expensive ones usually are propelled, however retiring mine after 10 years as I just don't like that feature myself. I find the gas powered, manual push is a better fit for me.

I am looking for electric start however, have only seen it in the gas propelled one at Home Depot, now to find that option on the gas manual push model somewhere.
Deal Fanatic
May 1, 2012
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Markham
The main differences are the following:

1. Make of Engine + cc of engine
2. Directly related to #1, higher the cc... usually stronger the mower. Stronger mower = go through higher weeds.
3. Brand of the mower (Toro, Echo, Greenworks, etc...)
4. Mower, 2in1, 3in1, or self propelled.

Make your choice. If you are not finicky, most engines will do fine but I suggest getting a B&S or Honda with at least 160cc. Those ones with 140cc are just there to do small small yards. 3in1 is nice, but you really only need mulching, so any mower will do.

As for construction, I suggest Toro or Echo but these will cost north of $500. Good luck.
[OP]
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Mar 23, 2009
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How come none of the mainstream stores sell like 190 cc push mowers?
Member
Apr 30, 2004
271 posts
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Any mower with a steel deck will rust and if you do not clean it after each use and store it outside- will rust thru really quick.
Any engine will outlive a deck basically.
Self propelled is heavy, I like a basic one - easy to push, less parts.
Lot of used on Kijiji in a good condition for $100 or less. Don't see a reason to spend more.
Deal Addict
May 23, 2009
2836 posts
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Mississauga
I've got by with two 140cc Sears non-branded engines. The first from 2000 (2-in-1) was still running great till the deck rusted out in 2014. I got the second one in April 2014 (3-in-1) and no issues here with it struggling to mow. In fact, last fall I had to mow a property that had not been mowed in over a year(~100x30ft)...the mower struggled a bit but got the job done. The main problem I had was fallen apples that had accumulated on the lawn which required me to rise the front end of the mower a few times....still the blades chopped up a few.

I have not yet changed the oil on the new one but the old one got an oil change every other year. Fuel drained each fall season is all the loving I give it. I don't wash it.

Edit: Both mowers are assembled in the USA by Husqvarna.
[OP]
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Mar 23, 2009
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I ended up spending $369 at Rona for a Remington 21" push mower with so-called "professional" 775 series 175 cc Briggs and Stratton engine:

Orange is the new black
The Professional

However, on my way to Rona I also got pulled over for driving with an expired plate. :( I had forgotten to renew my plate sticker. And they also dinged me for not having my latest insurance card with me. $285 in tickets. Frack! That makes this the most expensive push mower I've ever purchased.
Sr. Member
Feb 25, 2015
693 posts
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ON
Pop into a small engine repair shop. They usually have some used ones or lots in kijiji.
[OP]
Deal Expert
Mar 23, 2009
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Toronto
Invalid12 wrote: Pop into a small engine repair shop. They usually have some used ones or lots in kijiji.
Actually I went to my local repair shop and they had lots of used ones, but they were like maybe $100 off a new model despite being several years old so I wasn't interested.
Sr. Member
Feb 25, 2015
693 posts
228 upvotes
ON
EugW wrote: Actually I went to my local repair shop and they had lots of used ones, but they were like maybe $100 off a new model despite being several years old so I wasn't interested.
Ouch, ya that's no good. I'm also looking for a new mower. I think if you cut 1/2 acre than spend more but if mostly for trimming cheaper on sale should due. I'm looking at the cub cadet sc500z as I have alot of gardens and takes about an hour to cut.
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Mar 31, 2008
11849 posts
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Toronto
EugW wrote: I ended up spending $369 at Rona for a Remington 21" push mower with so-called "professional" 775 series 175 cc Briggs and Stratton engine:

Orange is the new black
The Professional

However, on my way to Rona I also got pulled over for driving with an expired plate. :( I had forgotten to renew my plate sticker. And they also dinged me for not having my latest insurance card with me. $285 in tickets. Frack! That makes this the most expensive push mower I've ever purchased.
Good thing is those aren't moving violations, so just remedy it, and you'll get the ticket off. The pain is the whole process of booking the court date, etc. Although they changed it so you don't go to normal court like a speeding ticket. It happened to me too. Booked my initial appointment (in person visit to make that selection), and when I was supposed to come back a few days later to show the prosecutor I got everything updated, I was busy with work and couldn't go, so was expecting to get a bill. But for some reason, they just got rid of it and have not seen it or it affected my ability to renew. Not saying to this, but it shows you how easy it is to get it dismissed.
Deal Addict
Feb 3, 2006
1195 posts
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I'm also looking for a mower, however I'm looking for a self-powered mower with electric start and a pace feature.
The mower is for my father in law who is getting up there in age.

I've checked out Canadian Tire, Lowes and Homedepot and the reviews seem to be a a bit mixed.
My mother in law's budget is about $800.

Any suggestions?
[OP]
Deal Expert
Mar 23, 2009
19403 posts
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Toronto
EugW wrote: I ended up spending $369 at Rona for a Remington 21" push mower with so-called "professional" 775 series 175 cc Briggs and Stratton engine:

Orange is the new black
The Professional

However, on my way to Rona I also got pulled over for driving with an expired plate. :( I had forgotten to renew my plate sticker. And they also dinged me for not having my latest insurance card with me. $285 in tickets. Frack! That makes this the most expensive push mower I've ever purchased.
Used this mower yesterday on my very long grass. I hadn't cut it in many weeks so it ranged from 2" to 8" (!). This 4-stroke 175 cc engine cut a bit better than my old Yard Machines 173 cc no-name engine ever did, but it wasn't ginormously better. It still bogged down a bit in the tallest grass. Just as importantly it started extremely easily, with one light pull, and there was no smoke. Nice not having to use a choke too.

The Remington deck also has a hose attachment port which is to allow convenient washout of the underside of the deck. I tried it and it worked partially, but didn't get all areas of the deck. To properly clean it I still had to scrape off some of the mulched grass by hand with a stick. So, that hose attachment port is a nice idea, but is lacking in its implementation.

It was a 21" model. I was looking for a 22" with a bigger engine out of interest's sake but it seemed all the 22" models I saw were self-propelled.
[OP]
Deal Expert
Mar 23, 2009
19403 posts
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Toronto
EugW wrote: It was a 21" model. I was looking for a 22" with a bigger engine out of interest's sake but it seemed all the 22" models I saw were self-propelled.
Similarly, do any 190 cc models exist that are (reasonably priced) push mowers?

During my brief search locally it seemed all of the push mowers were limited to 175 cc or less and 21" or less. If you went bigger they were all self-propelled. So, I got the biggest push mower I could find locally, which was a 21" with 175 cc engine, with an advertised 7.75 ft-lb torque. I was checking some other websites, and it states that for home use, 7.75 ft-lbs is considered heavy duty even for a self-propelled model, so I guess it should be even heavier duty by push mower standards.

I know 22" push models do exist, but the few I found online (not locally) actually had smaller less powerful engines (eg. 140 cc / 5 ft-lb torque), which kinda defeats the purpose.
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Apr 23, 2009
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Agree with Anikiri 100%

Buy a Honda mower (Toro) 160 cc or more. Will last you lifetime.

I bought a commercial version of TORO with aluminum deck and Honda engine. You wouldn't find this at big box stores. Only dealers sell them. Cost me $900 but I consider it as one-time expense. Going strong after several years. No rust and is much lighter. It is solidly built and can take years of abuse. Starts every time without fail. I am sure this is my last lawn mower. Cheaper engines don't last as long and give you starting trouble if not maintained properly.





Anikiri wrote: The main differences are the following:

1. Make of Engine + cc of engine
2. Directly related to #1, higher the cc... usually stronger the mower. Stronger mower = go through higher weeds.
3. Brand of the mower (Toro, Echo, Greenworks, etc...)
4. Mower, 2in1, 3in1, or self propelled.

Make your choice. If you are not finicky, most engines will do fine but I suggest getting a B&S or Honda with at least 160cc. Those ones with 140cc are just there to do small small yards. 3in1 is nice, but you really only need mulching, so any mower will do.

As for construction, I suggest Toro or Echo but these will cost north of $500. Good luck.
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Apr 23, 2009
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If you gonna buy used one, look for a commercial used Toro lawn mower with Honda engine 190 cc. It goes for about $200 on Kijiji. Almost last forever.
Naz wrote: Any mower with a steel deck will rust and if you do not clean it after each use and store it outside- will rust thru really quick.
Any engine will outlive a deck basically.
Self propelled is heavy, I like a basic one - easy to push, less parts.
Lot of used on Kijiji in a good condition for $100 or less. Don't see a reason to spend more.

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