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Discussion Starter #1
I need some lawnmower advice please!

Right now we have a very small urban lot (25' wide x 100' deep) which had only about 120 square feet of grass, so we have a decent reel mower which worked fine.

Very recently, we removed our concrete driveway which tripled the size of our backyard. It's still a small backyard, probably about 400 sq feet max, but it's a bit much to use just a reel mower anymore.

Since we're a frugal lot, we're undecided if we should buy a used mower (probably one that some guy reconditions out of his back garage) for less than $75, or buy new.

Regardless if we buy new or used, should we go with gas or electric, corded or cordless? If we go new, most likely we would want to go higher end if it means it's a unit that will last a long time.

One important thing to keep in mind is we're in a position (military family) where we most likely will move in a year or two, into a house that probably would have a larger lot. In which case I'm wondering if it's just best to invest in a gas mower anticipating a larger lot size?

Totally confuddled on this one. Any suggestions?
 

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Look in the phone book or ask around if anyone in your area does small engine repairs. Such places usually recondition mowers as you describe. Also check usedcalgary.com or similar sites close to you but watch out for lemons. Don't waste your money mowers will umpteen fancy gadgets (push button start/handlebar mounted pull cord/bagger). No! Paying more for "high end" won't ensure it lasts longer. Mowers with all these options are heavy, more likely to be stolen and have more things to break. Forget about the $399 jobbies on the front of the sears flyer.

Forget about electric mowers. You run the constant risk of running over the cord and always have to fuss with the cords when mowing. Not good. The reason most people don't use these is because they suck.

What you want is a plain jane briggs and stratton 3.5HP gas mower with NO options. Basic lawn mower. Shouldn't cost you any more than $300. Stay away from big box stores to buy one of these. They want to sell you options, here put it on your points card. Pfft whatever.

And make sure you drain the fuel at the end of every season.
 

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Yard Machines 148cc / 20-in Gas Lawnmower
Product #60-1612-4

$169 at Canadian Tire

can't beat that - Briggs engine and all

you'll have to decide if everyone in the family is comfortable with jerry cans of gas. Some people don't like messing with gasoline.

I would actually fill the tank at the end of the season and add some Sta-Bil for the last mow
 

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>Yard Machines 148cc / 20-in Gas Lawnmower
>Product #60-1612-4
>$169 at Canadian Tire
>can't beat that - Briggs engine and all

Good choice! Looks like a winner to me. Great price too. And easy/cheap to fix. At this price not much point messing with used.

>you'll have to decide if everyone in the family is comfortable with jerry cans of gas. Some people don't like messing with gasoline.

No big deal. Keep a can in the shed, lasts all summer.
 

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An electric mower is perfectly adequate for a small lot. (corded - not cordless. The cordless are too underpowered.) I use one for a lot that is 70' x 115', plus 20' of road allowance. They are more maintenance free than a gas mower. Managing the cord takes a bit of practice is all. Why buy a gas machine because you "might" move into a bigger house? Time enough to do that when you do.
 

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I use a corded mower for a small lot. The cord is not hard to handle, the mulching mower is wonderful and the environmental impact and cost is minimal.
 

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I'd think about an electric mower. Nice not to have gas in the garage. Probably a bit better for the environment too.

I use an electric weed whipper on my grass. There's a lot of nooks and crannies around gardens and such, so it's a bit of a pain with a reel mower.
 

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I use a corded mower for a small lot. The cord is not hard to handle, the mulching mower is wonderful and the environmental impact and cost is minimal.
Agreed. I have a reconditioned gas mower that mulches and its wonderful. We picked it up from a local handyman for $25. Last year we looked at comparables and the current model of the machne we picked up was over $400! Had we been unable to find such a great deal, we were looking at battery operated electric mowers because we hate dealing with gas & oil mix ratios.

If you have a hilly yard, self-propelled mowers are great. Its one add on I'll always buy because I have some joint damage; shoulder and both knees, the benefits for me far outweigh the additional costs.
 

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I need some lawnmower advice please!

Very recently, we removed our concrete driveway which tripled the size of our backyard. It's still a small backyard, probably about 400 sq feet max, but it's a bit much to use just a reel mower anymore.
I love push-mowers, and am surprised you'd want to switch (as 400 sq ft is not very much space). The push mower is greener, quieter and easy to maneuver- my lot is larger than the one you're getting into and I've never thought once about upgrading.

What about obtaining a larger push mower? How many inches is the current one?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
That may be an option. I think ours is 12 or 14 inches in width. What I find difficult is circumstances like we're in now, where, due to having to keep the newly sodded area clear, all my daughters toys are piled up in one corner, on the old grassed area and now the grass there is so darn long the reel won't catch it. Maybe we just need to buy a whipper snipper thingy and keep the reel mower. Too many options!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I cut the grass with the reel and it's fine... it needs to be sharpened but other than that, I think we'll continue with it. Not only does it save us $ (by not having to buy a new mower and not using gas or electricity), I rather like using it! :)
 

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You can look on your local kijiji or craiglist sites for used lawnmower at a great price.

We got ours used 3 years ago when we moved into our first home (similar footage as yours). Briggs and Stratton engine...works like a charm. I ran it over a rock over the weekend and thought the flywheel may be sheared. I tried again yesterday and it came on right away...doesn't get any more better than that. And oh yeah, I removed all small rocks in our backyard.
 

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A vote for electric cordless

I use a black and decker cordless electric mower. Similar size yard and I mulch. Haven't had any issues and I can often mow front and back twice on a charge.
 

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I just got a Honda Engined Craftsman from sears for $270. I think it was regularly $4xx. I've always wanted a semi-decent petrol mower.
 

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>Yard Machines 148cc / 20-in Gas Lawnmower
>Product #60-1612-4
>$169 at Canadian Tire
>can't beat that - Briggs engine and all

Good choice! Looks like a winner to me. Great price too. And easy/cheap to fix. At this price not much point messing with used.

>you'll have to decide if everyone in the family is comfortable with jerry cans of gas. Some people don't like messing with gasoline.

No big deal. Keep a can in the shed, lasts all summer.
Just one point to offer, because i just replaced the coil on a relatively new lawn mower. My new mower needing the coil, was a 3 yr old Craftsman, 6.5 HP. In one way I was unlucky because the coil was defective, HOWEVER, i was lucky because i could actually get the part. The $169.00 mower that you will buy on sale, most likely does not have parts that can be ordered. In other words, its a throw-away item, after it breaks, just like most of the other junk from China. (i'm on my 3rd china made tea kettle now in 6 years).

If you want to go cheap, buy an old briggs and stratton, and best buy it reconditioned from an old guy that fixes mowers for a living in his back yard or garage.
 

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Not entirely true, james. The $169 mentioned earlier in the thread is a basic 3.5 HP briggs. Parts are cheap and readily available for those. Parts for your 6.5 HP SUV mower cost more and because there are more features (self-propelled, bagger etc), more things will invariably break.

Frankly guys, for the amount of grass that most urban lots taken, the $169 3.5 briggs without all the gadgets is your best deal all-around. Those SUV mowers are heavy and require more cash outlay. The extra HP isn't really needed for most lot sizes. That's why I see them as the SUV of push mowers, when in fact a small basic sedan mower is adequate for most people.
 

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I'm a fan of gas mowers that have mulching capability. That way, there's no need to rake afterwards. :)
Unless you've let your grass get really high and you're cutting it short, there's no need to rake afterwards period. I haven't raked grass clippings from a yard in probably 20 years. I just let them sit and compost themselves into the soil.

Then again, I haven't used a power mower in about 20 years either. The reel mowers cut the grass cleanly instead of chopping it, and I find the whole experience so much easier, more relaxing, and quiet. One of my neighbours actually came out to thank me after we moved into our new house and she saw me cutting the lawn with a reel mower -- she and her husband hate hearing power mowers on the weekends. You can get modern reel mowers with four wheels instead of a roller in the back; some of them cut a wider swath than a conventional power mower and you can mow your lawn in less time.
 

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Not entirely true, james. The $169 mentioned earlier in the thread is a basic 3.5 HP briggs. Parts are cheap and readily available for those. Parts for your 6.5 HP SUV mower cost more and because there are more features (self-propelled, bagger etc), more things will invariably break.
Mine is a Briggs. I just got my mower going three weeks ago, after buying a coil thru my usual small engine parts supply. The owner is about 80 yrs old and we were discussing this very issue, (which is why i bothered to pass the info on). He was explaining that he gets a lot of the cheaper not-brand-name units in and he has to explain to the owner, that there are no parts available for the units, because they are a one-run mass produced unit, where the parts used are not available in the after market. It could be that they were not Briggs and Stratton manufactured engines, however that's what i took him to mean, and he actually mentioned the $169 price in the context of the issue. I'll check with him, next time i see him, just for my own curiosity, as I have always thought like you, can't go wrong with a briggs!

For my next lawn morrow, i think i'll try the battery units. They sound great.
 
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