Walk-Behind, Self Propelled, Lawn Mower Questions Re Toro & Craftsman ?

Hello:
New at this lawn mowing "fun".
Need to purchase a mower, of the walk-behind, self propelled type. Looked a bit at Toro and Craftsman
Re Toro:
Went to look at new walk behind, self propelled mowers at the local Toro dealer. Really don't want to go much over $300.
He had a "Recycler" model (not the Super Recycler), model 20005 that looks like it would be a good match for me.
But, he told me it was only one walking speed. Sort of that "it moves, or doesn't". No variable walking speed. But on looking at their flyer under Drive System:, it says for this model "Variable Speed, Front Wheel Drive". (this is Not one of their Personal-Pace models)
So, my questions are, please:
a. Does it have what can be considered a variable walking speed ? If so, how does one control it ?
b. Does it work well ?
c. Any other opinions on Toro in general ?
Craftsman: Also looked at the Craftsman 37657 that has what they call a "Vari Speed EZ Walk" feature.
The Craftsman, for about the same cost, "seems" like a better bet than the Toro because of this variable speed walking feature that is apparently very simply controlled by a squeeze handle.
a. Would be appreciative as to opinions on this Craftsman model, and how well their EZ Walk Feature works ?
b. And, I guess also general opinions on Toro vs Craftsman (in the $300 range) regarding quality, etc.
Thanks,
Bob
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I don't think your salesman is up on his product. http://www.toro.com/home/mowers/recycler/20005.html Greg
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I bought a Craftsman 'variable speed' mower last year. Controlling the speed was more effort than actually mowing the lawn. If you pull the bar all the way in, the mower goes so fast it's absurd -- running speed or better. Trying to find that engagement point, especially with some bumps in the lawn, was almost impossible. I returned it.
The single-speed Craftsman work well. I used mine for about 8 years until the engine bit the dust. They have one lever that locks forward for drive, and release when you let go of the deadman bar. I liked my old one enough that I bought a new engine instead of a new mower.
Robert11 wrote:

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Take a good assesment of your lawn. Lots of flat open areas with long walks? Then the self propelled is a good choice. Smaller lawn, many trees, gardens, foutains, shrubs to go around? Then don't get the self propelled as it will be harder to negotiate around a lot of things.

Pay me now or pay me later. $300 is minimal for a reliable mower.

Never had one, but they have a good reputation.

Craftsman limits your sources on parts to Sears for most things. Just my opinion, but I'd never buy a Sears branded product unless I knew who the manufacturer is.

I'd put my money on Toro.
Check out John Deere also. They have been very reliable. Mine is about 10 years old and starts on the first pull every time except the first start of the season when it takes two pulls.
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Also consider the Honda line. Even though dragging an electric mower along is almost like not doing any work at all.

how
EZ
very
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Robert11 wrote:

...
Every self propelled I have seen has more than one speed. Yea, even those that say single speed. On those I have seen those walking speed controls only change the ratio of walking speed to blade speed. So on a single speed mower you reduce the engine speed you reduce the walking speed. When you reduce the walking speed you also reduce the need for mowing speed since you will be cutting less grass.
I have a multi speed mower and I always leave it on the same speed and I'll bet most people do.
I suggest you take a trip down to your library and look up the most recent story in "Consumer Reports" magazine and see what they have to say about mowers. Read the whole story, not just the ratings so you know why they think Acme is better than Consolidated.
Other than that, ask if you can take on outside and crank it up and see how it feels. Does it move at a comfortable pace. does it start easy, does it change over from mulch to bag easy, etc.
--
Joseph Meehan

Dia\'s Muire duit
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The craftsman mower I have now is three years old, it replaced a 10 year old Craftsman. The new one is a high wheel,self propelled,6.5hp, mulch, bag, or discharge. Last week I took it out of the garage after 6 months of no use. I changed the oil, checked the plug gap, sharpened the blade and added fresh gas. It started on the first pull. It has a "variable speed" that just controls the RPM of the engine/walk speed. I leave it at full throttle 95% of the time. I would not hesitate recommending a Craftsman mower.
Les
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My Toro recycler is 12 years old and starts on the first pull. I have given it no maintenance (other than oil changes and air filters) and am waiting for it to die so I can get an electric; but it still works fine.
Think twice about self propelled. They can be more trouble than they are worth, and lawn mowing is good exercise.
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wrote:

My experience with the squeeze to go faster types is that they are more trouble than they are worth and uncontrollable. It's very hard to hold the handle at any other position than full on when you are using the machine.
I have had a Lawnboy for about six years now and it has never had the first issue. I'm in south FL so it gets worked often and hard with a ten month mowing season. Between the two options you listed I would choose the Toro but if buying a new one right now I would also take a hard look at the Honda mowers. They are a bit more money but seem to be significantly better than your average bear.
Steve B.
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Bob:
I have a single-speed Honda. When i bought it, like you, I was unsure about having only one speed. My experience has been similar to others here. Having one speed has been no problme at all. Tom
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how
EZ
very
I agree with others that, if you're young and husky and have a level yard, you don't need the mechanical complexity and prospect of earlier need repairs that go with a self propelled mower. However, I'm not young and parts of my yard have significant slope. I love that Craftsman with the squeeze-lever speed control that I bought two years ago. I don't find it difficult to find the speed that my aging body feels comfortable with. --- SJF
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