Without a doubt, lawn mowers are serious investments. Since you do not always use it, you are somewhat stuck with it so if you buy a pricier one thinking that it would run its course smoothly for the coming years and yet have spent much on repairs albeit not being used every time, then you have lost in the investment.
Since they are needed to keep the turf well-maintained, we need lawn mowers for our home’s ‘general cleaning’. But not all lawn mowers are built the same although they carry out the same function. To save you from future lawn mower regrets, this post features the lawn mower brands to avoid.
What red flags help you identify lawn mower brands to avoid?
As have been said, not all lawn mowers are made the same, but some are just too good at masking what they lack. To be a smart lawn mower shopper, you must check the following red flags for lawn mowers. If you check more than two of these in your lawn mower choice, you might want to back out.
- Colorful and over-designed lawn mowers
- Too short or bulky types
- Start-up issues
- Inferior construction (cheap looking materials)
- Screeching noise
- Engine vibration
- Too inexpensive
- Short and limited warranty
- White smoke coming off the lawn mower
- Consistently bad reviews
- Poor customer service
7 worst lawn mower brands to avoid
In listing the worst lawn mower brands to avoid, specific determinants were used as basis. Aside from the anecdotal evidence from customers scored from major product review platforms, this list was also based on the overall performance of each brand surveyed by various consumer rating sites.
1. Troy Bilt
When it comes to power mowers, this brand is at the forefront. However, collective reviews point out bagging issues from this brand’s mowers. Bagging clippings is one of the most fundamental functions of a mower and customers complain of having grass and mulch fall from the bag every time they mow the perimeter.
To be objective, this is the only concern when it comes to Troy Bilt. However, this led to a 55% customer satisfaction rating and that figure does not look good for the brand’s reputation as its flaws clearly outweigh its performance.
It is a commendable brand, but its electric mower models just do not make the cut when it comes to customer satisfaction. For one, it is powered by a lead-acid battery, which is not that reliable and powerful compared to lithium batteries. As such, main complaints surrounding the electric mowers of this brand are poor clean cutting.
Aside from that, its battery life is not that long. It cannot do the job for medium to large perimeters albeit its built. While it is less expensive than their other electric mower counterparts, they fall short when it comes to the job to be done. Customers tag it as ‘waste of money’ and ‘regrettable purchase’.
It is a reputable brand for lawn mowers but just like Earthwise, it falls short when it comes to their electric mowers. Its main pitfall would be design flaws. One, customers complain about its efficiency.
With a 15-inch deck, it seems to be lacking in power. As such, anecdotal reviews mention that you need to add at least 30mins of mowing time to a mowing job that you should have done in 20 mins.
Other than this, it is also considered very expensive relative to its build and performance. Overall, it has a consumer satisfaction rating of 45% that is why it is listed here in the brands to avoid list.
We are not talking about all Craftsman mowers because it is still one of the leading brands when it comes to these tools but for the longest time, customers have well documented their disappointment on the failure of Craftsman mowers when it comes to bagging clippings and their side discharges.
Some even go as far as to say that Craftsman mowers are only good for mulching and nothing else.
While it is considered as reasonable when it comes to pricing, some customers also note the short lifespan of the mowers from this brand. Overall, complaints revolve around falling short in key mowing areas.
5. Cub Cadet
While it has been around for many years, it has also risen to be one of the most avoided lawn mower brands with a low customer satisfaction rating of just 40% according to Consumer Reports. The major issue about this brand is its poor performance inside discharge and bagging clippings.
Specifically, the bag is noted to rip easily. It also takes pride in its mowers being high performing self-propelled ones, but they do not perform as well as their counterparts. It is also quite pricey so there is that to consider too.
6. Poulan Pro
The gas lawn mowers of this brand are commendable with their durable and reliable engines. But according to customers, that is the only thing that is good with the gas-powered mowers of this brand.
The first issue is the construction of the gas mower. It is said to be made of cheap materials and are so stiff, they cannot be moved. So, if you are working on a bumpy lawn, this just might be a problem.
The wheel adjuster of Poulan Pro is also considered poorly made. The deck also vibrates too much, making it drop and loses cutting precision. Customers write of grass cut too short and damaging the look and health of the yard. For this, it kind of deserves its 37% customer satisfaction rating.
7. Sun Joe
This brand is a go-to one when it comes to lower price range lawn mowers. As a matter of fact, it has been a good selling point for the brand for the longest time. However, customers have taken notice of why it should be an avoided brand when it comes to lawn mowers.
The main issue for this lawn mower brand is its poor construction quality. Its performance is also below the bar according to major review platforms. Some documented it as very prone to breaking and its bags easily rip. To top it all, reports on poor customer service are also tarnishing the reputation of this lawn mower brand.
5 most reliable lawn mower brands
To help you narrow down your lawn mower choice, it is also important to have a head start of what brands and their corresponding models to look for in terms of the most reliable brands and models. To help you with that, here are some of the most reliable lawn mower brands according to reviews and customer satisfaction ratings.
This model is well-loved because it can be operated manually for harder terrains and can be battery operated for clean perimeter cutting. It is also commendable for its long battery life. Customers note that one battery charge could run for one and a half hours continuously.
Aside from this, upsides like having two, adjustable blades and easy to navigate controls make it a top choice for lawn mowers. Its fast-charging time also adds to its 94% customer satisfaction rating according to Consumer Reports.
Honda is a leading tool and equipment brand, and this lawn mower model is another reason as to why it gained this reputation. One of its most notable upsides would be its clean and accurate cutting. While it is self-propelled, it proves to be a valuable lawn mower because of its two-blade cutting system. Most of all, it does a pro job in bagging clippings as well as in even mulching.
Its 200cc engine also lives up to the high-power branding of this Honda lawn mower. And although it could be pricey, customers claim that it is a good investment as it could last for more than 15 years.
3. Toro (21382)
When it comes to durability and reliability, this is the brand and model to look for. Customers gush over its cast aluminum build (which makes it rust-resistant) and cutting precision at a 21-inch cutting deck.
Anecdotal reviews also list its engine’s smooth running, commendable bagging as well as mulching capabilities even in uneven terrains and super moist lawns.
With its rear-wheel drive, you can count on it to do the job for hilly terrains. Its main upside is its personal pace system which makes the mower go faster when the drive bar is pushed. Overall, this is a good choice for uneven terrains.
Its high-power profile is well-manifested by its 10-inch rear tires. This is by far one of the best choices when it comes to bumpy lawns because of its large tires. When it comes to features, it is also considered well-equipped.
One, it is operated by dual lithium batteries. It also comes with a three-function capability and a durable, steel deck with seven-position options.
The fast-charging ability of this electric mower is also a plus. It can work for two hours straight with just a single charge. The icing on the cake would be its inexpensiveness. It is no wonder that it would generate an easy 92% customer satisfaction rating.
The best selling point of this lawn mower would be its 5-year warranty, performance, and relative inexpensiveness. For a battery powered mower, it runs supreme. It works on a 120V brushless motor which works well with the toughest yards to mow. It can continuously work for three hours with a single charge.
Its superb cutting performance is owed to its cast aluminum deck, and it might be rugged looking, but it is durable, and its construction is not made of cheap materials. The bagging capability is also commendable plus it folds, so it is very easy to store.
What should I look for when buying a lawn mower?
Aside from knowing what lawn mower brands to look for, it is also imperative to know the features and other selling points to look for when buying a lawn mower. As such, here is a buying guide list to help you in narrowing down your choice.
#1. Power source
The first thing to do is to choose if your lawn mower would be gas powered, corded or battery operated. Each has its pros and cons so you must know which one would work best for your needs.
- Gas: Gas-powered lawn mowers are the most high-powered ones. They can work continuously as long as you have gas refills when you are working on a large yard. They could be noisy though and they are not very environment friendly.
- Electric: They are more environment friendly, make less noise and are easier to maintain. However, they offer less power and of course, when the battery runs out, the mowing stops too.
- Corded: They are the quietest to run and they also do not run out of battery. However, this one does not give you enough mowing range because it relies on a power outlet.
#2. Width of the mower’s deck
The rule of thumb is that the wider the deck, the more grass it could take off with one swing. Thus, a wider deck means a shorter time span for the job to be done. Smaller decks also have their wonders.
They are easier to maneuver and are better for uneven terrains. But if you have a large and even perimeter, a larger deck is more cut for the job.
#3. Mulching, side ejection and bagging
One of the convenient functions of having a lawn mower is that, when all the grasses are clipped, they are manually ejected on the side and are sliced up into mulch or they could be sucked in like a vacuum and be deposited in the bag. If you find reviews about a brand lacking in these areas, do not even consider it.
#4. Power and performance
Find a lawn mower that matches the size of your lawn. The higher the engine size and capacity, the better its performance when it comes to large size lawns. The most manageable engine power for any type of lawn would be in between 120-190cc.
Think about how comfortable you are when using it. If you are more comfortable in pushing it while you walk behind it, then get a push type mower. If you feel that you get more traction and control when you ride it, get a tractor type lawn mower.
#6. Other valuable features
Aside from the basic features that one should find in a lawn mower, there are other valuable features that you could score out of one. Here are some commendable features that add a plus value to your lawn mower.
Washout port: Having this one makes the cleaning easier in every run. Through a hose connection, it clears the grass clippings beneath the deck. All you must do is tip it a bit.
Folding handle: This helps a lot in storage. Having collapsing handles saves a lot of space in the storage area. Those that can be stored upright are also safe to keep because you do not risk oil or gas spills.
Uniform wheels: You might easily get convinced with large rear wheels, but reviews suggest that having lawn mowers with uniform wheels do a better job regardless of the terrain it is working on.
Hour meter: This is a default feature for tractor mowers but having it on walk-behind ones could make it a good deal. It helps you in adjusting the work and in anticipating battery changes, cord adjustments and gas refills.
Fuel meter: If you have a gas-powered or tractor type lawn mower, having a fuel meter is an important feature. Knowing when to stop to get a refill defines the quality of the mowing job.
The most affordable lawn mowers are still the push or walk-behind type as they range from $200-800. If you opt for more convenient features, expect higher upfront spending. Ball bearing wheels, upgraded engines, and cast aluminum builds make it more expensive.
You can easily narrow down if a brand is a lemon with the consistency of reviews that they get from reputable review sites and anecdotal evidence from actual experiences of customers who have tried it. Cross-checking the lawn mower brand that you are considering is more essential than you think it is.
Is Snapper a good lawn mower brand?
This lawn mower brand takes pride in distributing high-end walk-behind and tractor type mowers. Having been around for many years gave it a reputable character in the lawn mower industry.
As a matter of fact, it is one of the go-to brands of commercial establishments and for large size residential lawns. With all of these, yes, Snapper is a good lawn mower brand.
Is Craftsman a good lawn mower brand?
To be honest, Craftsman lawn mowers have been receiving a lot of mix reviews over the years. The self-propelled lawn mowers of this brand are the ones saving their reputation but all else seem to be falling short when it comes to performance. The main issue has really been the inefficiency of their bagging and side ejectors. So, this one is both a yes and a no.
Should you sharpen brand new lawn mower blades?
No. They are already set at the right cutting sharpness and are straight out of the quality control of their manufacturers. However, you will find that their first cuts are slower in general. As a matter of fact, they would not even cut your finger with their brand-new sharpness level. This should not be a source of panic because that is just normal.
What lawn mower should I get for a 2-acre perimeter?
If you are specifically looking for a lawn mower that could work well with a 2-acre perimeter, you should get a lawn mower with a deck of 42-28-inches. When you are mowing a 3-acre perimeter, choose a 50-inch mower deck and above.
How many hours can a tractor lawn mower run?
In maximum, a tractor lawn mower can run for at least 250 to 300 hours. After that, you might need a thorough maintenance check because repairs are just down the corner. There is no specific number of hours for the longevity of gas, cord, and electric lawn mowers. But overall, good brands should last for 7-10 years with minimal repairs in between.
What is the best brand of zero turn lawn mower?
This type of lawn mower is specially made to cut a lawn in the fastest way. As the term implies, it seamlessly runs the perimeter without the need to turn because of a built-in pulley system. If you are looking for the best brands of zero turn lawn mowers, you should consider the following:
- John Deere
- Ariens Ikon X
- Troy Bilt
- Cub Cadet
- Ariens Apex
When should I consider buying a new lawn mower?
As has been said, lawn mowers should last for a decade. With this length of time, it is important to know when you should consider buying a new one. For that, consider the following signs:
- Issues on transmission
- Engine problems
- Limited warranty
- Too many repairs
- Damage on the crankshaft
- You want an upgrade
Choosing a lawn mower should not be that hard if you know what brand to look for. It is imperative to have a list of brands to avoid and brands to consider for you to save time, money, effort, and having to experience premature repairs in between. The main principle to keep in mind is that lawn mowers should last very long because they are not used every day.
It is understandable to be loyal with a brand or be convinced with hearsay. But also know that with the right research, you can find good alternative brands out there that you can consider a good investment in the long run. Also note too that proper maintenance is perhaps what is just between you and a durable lawn mower. So, with all these in perspective, you can now start lawn mower shopping on your own.