Thoughts on Mower Choice

Hey guys
I need to buy a mower tomorrow and would love some advice before I dive in.
I've looked at husqvarna, Victa and Honda.
I've got a medium sized backyard and I mow every fortnight. I'm chasing 4 stroke because my Honda whipper snipper is 4 stroke.
Budget $400-$500

I'm leaning towards the Victa Power Mulcher for the large engine and torque $549 at bunnings https://www.bunnings.com.au/victa-power-mulcher-18-mulch-or-...
The comparable Husqvarna but leaning towards the Victa LC19 $550-$650 at allmowers https://allmowers.com.au/product/husqvarna-lc19-lawnmower
And the Honda, but I've read conflicting reports of the entry level Honda engine and think the Briggs Stratton might be better $619 at hastings mowers and $699 elsewhere- https://www.hasmow.com.au/honda-hrr216pku-mulch-catch

Anything else I should consider/other recommendations?

Thanks in advance.

Comments

  • +2 votes

    consider electric

    •  

      Not terribly keen

    • +1 vote

      I had an Ozito electric before that was horribly under-powered. Spend a bit extra for a higher power rating if you go electric.

      •  

        Yeah wouldn't be going any less than 36v but I'm happy with petrol oil and spark plugs

        • +1 vote

          I got the dual-battery 40v brushless Gardenline mower…. on paper this is better than the Ryobi One+ mower.

          It was absolutely gutless. Even when the lawn was relatively dry and mid-height, it would require two trips.
          And if the lawn did have a good growth from recent rains, forget about it.
          And this was me with x4 batteries failing to cut a relatively average sized backyard, forget the front.
          Ended up return/refunding it after trying x4 consecutive times back to Aldi. Using a cheap petrol one for now, have no issues.

          Maybe in 5 years the technology will improve, and I will come back to try it.
          I wonder how the battle is with eBikes vs Regular Bikes, and eCars and IcE cars.

          • +2 votes

            @Kangal: Voltage is not power. You can have 200 volts, but if it's a 100 watt motor it isn't gonna cut anything

            •  

              @brendanm: I know, but usually lower voltage devices are lower power devices, which is why I mentioned it.
              Neither products actually disclose the true power, which makes it hard for consumers to judge them and susceptible to cheap marketing tricks.

          •  

            @Kangal: The 40v batteries will be the same voltage as 36v. It’s just a Tameike ting thing to advertise the max voltage or the normal voltage of lithium batteries. In he US, Ryobi 36v stuff is sold as 40v AFAIK, but they are the same. My Ryoki 36v mower works well enough.

            As far as ‘on paper it appears better’ unless you have power/torque figures available, you cannot compare on paper. I have experienced Aldi, Ozitto and Ryobi 18v cordless drills side by side and found the Ryoji had the most torque, the Aldi was the worst. All ostensibly the same, it markedly different in usage. I’d like to compare some premium brand gear to see how it goes, but haven’t had he opportunity yet.

            •  

              @Euphemistic: That doesn't make sense, sure Wattage is a figure that can be fudged but Voltage makes little sense. Unless they're comparing the same battery, one when it's low and running normally compared to one that's full/over-charged and running at max load.

              Still doesn't change the fact that the Ryobi eMower was a 36V/5A unit and the Gardenline was a 40V/8A. Like I said initially, on-paper I had the superior unit with extra/spare batteries to hotswap. But this didn't translate to good performance in the real-world.

              • +1 vote

                @Kangal: https://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/confusion_with_v...

                The nominal voltage of lithium-ion is 3.60V/cell. Some cell manufacturers mark their Li-ion as 3.70V/cell or higher. This offers a marketing advantage because the higher voltage boosts the watt-hours on paper (voltage multiplied by current equals watts).

                36v batteries will be a pack of 10 3.6v batteries. If you label each as 3.7 you get an extra volt. If you ‘market’ it a little more you’ll end up with 40v.

                Also when you look at a battery it will give you volts and amp hours (Ah) on the label. The amp hour rating is an indicator of capacity, how long the battery will run for. What you hook it up to will determine the current draw, and therefore the run time. Ie my drill battery will run for maybe an hour using the drill, but several hours running a lower wattage light because the drill draws a lot more current than the light.

                Like I said, two otherwise comparable drills had significantly different power to drive screws in a back to back test. Same battery voltage and same capacity, but different tool power.

                •  

                  @Euphemistic: I know this.
                  I'm just saying its too much exaggeration (lie) to say a 36V is 40V, the difference is too much. If it was a case of 36V to 37V, heck, even 38V it would be understandable. And I know Voltage isn't a fixed rating, even AA battery's voltage drops and increases depending on charge state and load.

                  I would say this might be a case of Australia's strong consumer protections causing Ryobi to be honest with the 36V rating, and a case of American ignorance/laziness to let them market the same batteries as 40V.

                  So if Ryobi is that shifty on just a simple number, perhaps their more expensive name-brand mower, is actually inferior to the Gardenline mower as the spec sheet suggested. Which means my initial hunch was correct, battery mowers are not yet ready there for the average job, and we'll need to wait probably until 2025 to upgrade. I mean, the first Tesla Roadster sucked when compared to the direct competitor 2009 BMW Z4, which offered much better fit and finish, range, lower price, and a more nimble driving experience. Fast-forward to the 2019 Tesla Model 3 Performance, and that's a competitive car (at least in the cheaper USA market, which also gets Tax subsidies).

                  •  

                    @Kangal: If you know all that stuff, you should know that 40v is just marketing speak for 36v gear. If you stick a 36vbattery on a volt meter immediately off a charger you’ll probably get 40v. Just like if you check a AA battery it will showlike 1.57 straight up, but immediately begin to degrade once used.

                    My ryobi mower does the job fine and it’s definitely not a premium product. It’s also a few years old now. I’d say that current battery mowers are at a point to compete with petrol.

                    No way I’ll be going back to petrol yard equipment for my ‘average suburban yard’. The fuel, oil, noise and stink far outweigh the minor power loss for me. If I had an acreage, or a jungle I’d probably want something more.

                  •  

                    @Kangal: Max charge they will be at 40-42v. Fully discharged will be 30-32v. They can state any voltage in between and it's technically correct, just depends whether they want to state the "nominal" voltage, or full charge voltage. Literally just marketing.

                  •  

                    @Kangal: Ego mower are apparently rly good?

              •  

                @Kangal: Wattage can't be fudged, it's literally volts X amps. If a motor pulls 10 amps at 40 volts, it's a 400 watt motor.

                •  

                  @brendanm: You're saying voltage can be fudged, then say Wattage is a product of Volts x Amps, then go on to say Wattage can't be fudged…. you okay?

                  Voltage is consistent, it depends on the actual hardware of the battery or adaptor. And as I said before, it varies, but not as much as you might think, at least not for Li-ion otherwise that's a sign of a degrading battery and not suited for work.

                  Amps can be varied, and is not consistent, thus Wattage is a figure that can be fudged rather easily. I see this all the time when comparing Electronics from China vs Europe, where the European devices have more power, but on-paper look much weaker when comparing the Wattage figures. This is common knowledge when it comes to speakers.

                  The Gardenline mower seemed like it had +80% more power, which should've been enough for my average backyard. But I'm not sure about it anymore. I still stand behind my initial comment, I don't think battery mowers are quite ready for mainstream, but they probably will be given some more years/increases in battery and motor technology.

                  •  

                    @Kangal: The voltage isn't fudged. Read what I wrote. https://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/confusion_with_v...

                    That should give you some information as to the voltage range between charged and discharged for liion batteries.

                    Speakers don't have power, they handle power. Speakers are also not motors. It's common for amps to be labelled pmpo power, which is the very maximum peak an amplifier can produce. RMS is the proper measurement.

                    You have no motor wattage specs to see if it "had 80% more power". The "8A" you mention is actually 8 amp/hours, which lets you know the capacity of the battery, not the power of the motor.

                    Try a decent quality battery mower that actually provides the motor power.

                  • +1 vote

                    @Kangal:

                    The Gardenline mower seemed like it had +80% more power, which should've been enough for my average backyard.

                    You made the mistake of looking at the battery power, not the motor power.

    •  

      I have an eGo 56V that I got for about $600 when Masters collapsed and its been brilliant. I wont go back to petrol.

  •  

    You should be able to get a self-propelled mower in that price range.

    •  

      Any recommendations? What happens if I wanna… Stop?

    •  

      With all due respect you can get SP mowers for ~$300 or so sometimes - but if your yard isn't overly large, steep & you're able bodied IMHO it's much more weight, PITA to use (i.e turning sharp corners, engaging on/off and potential issues) for marginal benefit.

      That said I get it some people want SP regardless - just like some folks want pre-cooked rice etc - I don't understand but fair play to them.

      •  

        I was so happy when I got my SP lawnmower but then realised how slow it was, I found myself pushing it along anyway to go at my normal pace.

  • +3 votes

    personally, I'd go second hand.

    my current mower is 9 years old. it came with the house when I bought it. it was old then. it still works near perfectly. (sometimes requires some start-ya-bastard in the carby )

    I've picked up plenty of hard rubbish mowers that just needed a new spark plug, air filter, oil change and blades sharpened. and were good to go (and on sold) -bought the sparkplugs and filter from aliexpress for ~$3 the pair delivered

    • +6 votes

      I agree 100%.
      Current mower was $100 on gumtree from the guy who has a dozen for sale, his garage was like a show room. He does an altomic and services/resurrects ones he gets for free.
      He was happy to get my old rusting-out deck that still started reliably that he could use for parts.

      Less to landfill, big savings - what's not to like?

  •  

    Masport.
    Liftime wty on catcher. Long lasting & durable mower without the snob price tag.

  • +1 vote

    Try get one which is power assisted (engine turns wheels)…

  •  

    It'd be handy to know if you want to catch, mulch or side throw the clippings? You also seem ok with just a regular push mower (which is wise unless you either have physical issues or a very large property - I have an acre myself and STILL use just a push mower!) That said this thread is well worth looking through as mowers aren't a complex tool and so what works for most folks will fit for you as well.
    https://forums.whirlpool.net.au/thread/96qk4ym3

    As someone who knows a bit about the area the first thing I'd say is to prioritise the quality of the engine above all other features - it's really the make or break part of any mower. A bad chassis can be lived with but a poor engine is a deal and sanity breaker.

    My 2c on your suggestions:
    - the Victa I'd avoid - it's expensive for what you get - those B&S engines are nothing like the ones they made their reputation on - sure thats a slightly larger one but they're all chinese made aluminium ones and I know mechanics are very sus on them. Otherwise it's a very average mower IMHO.

    • the Husky is expensive and you're paying for the brand - again nothing spesh about it IMHO to justify the price

    • that Honda is ok - but it's a bar bladed mower (ok if you're wanting to mulch and have a lawn devoid of obstacles etc) - but IMHO it's again where you're paying for the brand though it's a solid mower

    I agree that 2nd hand mowers can be a real bargain - they tend to drop 50% in value the moment they're used and so if you can locate a good mower thats relatively unused - thats value. Check the condition e.g colour of the oil, any issues starting, rust under the deck etc. But that can be a great mower for $200-300.

    Obviously avoid anything thrashed or neglected - change oil, plug and filter straight away and put a fuel treatment through it and sharpen the blades and thats a good deal - but if you value your time more I get buying new.

    IMHO for what you're doing consider these:
    https://www.hasmow.com.au/bushranger-46tk6m
    Good specs, solid Australian brand - the Kohler motor is better than the low end B&S's.
    https://www.bunnings.com.au/ryobi-yamaha-175cc-18-4-stroke-p...
    Nice Yamaha engine on this one - easy to grab through Bunnings, versatile mower as can catch, mulch or sidethrow.

    If you'd like to go cordless electric these are good mowers for the $$$ - ideally you can get a few batteries when they price match Aldi:
    https://www.bunnings.com.au/ozito-power-x-change-2-x-18v-bru...

    Hope that helps :-)

    •  

      Wow
      I thought b/s were bulletproof so I was set with the victa choice. The one I'm retiring is still running after 24 years.
      I've never heard of Kohler.
      I was leaning towards the victa over the ryobi because of the b/s engine, you reckon the Yamaha is better?

      Not terribly keen on electric.
      Would like mulching capabilities.

      •  

        Yes, B&S is not the same as 24yrs ago - that said ALL low end mowers are more vulnerable to poor maintenance that older ones - which were so good they tolerated it. Well DYOR Kohler is a quality engine maker.

        I would prefer that Yamaha to that B&S.

        No offence but I think if you're ~24yrs between mowers it's likely you're not across the massive leaps ahead cordless mowers have made within the past 3 or so yrs. Low weight, high torque, very low maintenance - ability to use the batteries in other tools etc.

        Their big hidden benefit is for folks who are not tech savvy (with small engines) and so you don't have to pay to have your mower serviced professionally. Honestly if you've an average yard I'd strongly recommend considering a mid level cordless option - again Whirlpool forums have threads on this but that Ozito one is an excellent choice - loads of power, great warranty, well priced and very solidly built.

        If I didn't have so much grass to mow I'd have one in a heartbeat - must makes sense.

      •  

        Batterys on sale now to pm aldi, if you dont think it does the jov you just take to bunnies ad say the sales guy said it would work and its shit. No way to lose.

  • +3 votes

    Get a goat.

  • +1 vote

    Once you go ride-on, youll never go back.

  •  

    Dunno how big your yard is but I wish I'd bought a mover with a soft catcher like Honda. Much easier to tell when it's full. I bought a B&S/Victa 945 (I think) and the throttle cable thingie is at the front and gets knocked a lot and bent. Sometimes it sticks now and I have to manually hold it down to turn it off.

  •  

    I went to a 36v Ryobi a couple of years ago. You won’t get me going back to petrol. So convenient, quiet and virtually no maintenance, just put the battery on charge after finishing, and take it off when charged. Battery in, pull the run switch and it starts every time, then stops immediately when you let go.

    A 5ah battery will do my lawns, approx 250m2 unless I’ve let it go too long and I need to double cut the thickest parts (hi setting then low setting). I have 2 batteries, so running out of charge isn’t an issue mid mow. If the grass is long, I’ll use a smal,we batteey out the front , then save the big battery for the backyard where the grass gets thickest.

  •  

    Don't get a mower with individual height adjustment levers on all 4 wheels. That's my only complaint about the Toro I got last Xmas.

    https://www.bunnings.com.au/toro-22-personal-pace-recycler-l...

  •  

    I'm suggesting a Honda with a Honda motor, not b&s. I've got one still runs like new, just oil, plug and air filter changes. My cousin works in the council and offered me the chance to buy some of there old mowers, to my surprise I've got the same engine, theirs are self propelled. He bought two for himself they were going so cheap, I think $200 odd bucks each. They're still running like a dream. These motors a like motorbike motors, steel cam and valves, not plastic like in b&s motors.

  •  

    I have a question about mowing. I've just finished mowing the backyard and there are track marks up and down the yard- everywhere the mower wheels have been. The grass is very dry - no rain for a fortnight - so the turf is as hard as it ever gets. The track marks happens every time I mow the backyard. Do I have unusually soft grass or soil or is that what modern, heavy mowers do now? Or is it a combination of the two? It never happened with other, lighter mowers I've used on other yards.

    I've never mowed with a light mower on this yard so I don't know if it's just the turf or just the mower.

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