Until I got fancy and bought a new, monstrous, Toro "guaranteed to start" "Personal Pace" self-propelled "recycler" mower with a "Briggs and Stratton" engine. I used it for about 1 season before I confirmed this chap's experience:
Toro Personal Pace Recycler Mower 20073 Reviews. Buying Guides & Consumer Product Reviews - Epinions.com
Pros: Easy to move around not much more to say about Pros.
Cons: Check the oil often. I'm leaving this one at the curb and buying a Honda!
I purched my Toro a year ago. Make sure you check the oiloften I checked it once in the year I owned it (like I did with my Honda I have had for 15 years) and the engine seized. save your money and buy a Honda!...I probably used it about 8 times. Did I mention I'm not a lawn guy? I'd have probably checked the oil come the fall, but it never got there.
So I'm out $400 or so for the mower, - plus $35 for the checkup because lack of oil isn't quite covered by warranty. The manual, by the way, says to "check oil before each use or daily". I kind of missed that bit.
I get annoyed when I waste $10 on a bad book, so I'm definitely looking for lessons from this one. The one silver lining was I despised the mower. It was heavy, clumsy, lousy on hills, and overall it was designed for cutting estate lawns rather than our weeds.
Here are my early lessons. I'm still looking to add more ...
- Never buy anything from Toro or Briggs and Stratton. I think I can remember that one.
- Don't buy anything without research. I'm used to researching bikes, cameras, cars and so on, but I thought I could go to a reputable place and just pick up a mower. Wrong.
- Buy the simplest stuff possible. I didn't need the "personal pace" feature, I didn't need the recycler. I did need a minimal maintenance device. The store I went to didn't have anything simpler.
- Never buy anything over $50 in a hurry. I should have left the store when I didn't see what I wanted, instead I bought what they had.
- I'm really not an engine guy.
Now I'm researching the alternatives. I like the look of this Gardena LiOn mower (high-end cylinder motor with LiOn boost), but I'm definitely doing my research first ...
Update: My Amazon review. Most of the reviewers do like this mower.