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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, i'm going to be buying some stuff this weekend, mainly a riding lawn mower & at least a weed wacker if not a push mower as well.

I grew up riding a 12hp Sears (craftsman) mower, nothing fancy, but that was bought like 20 years ago, so fill me in?

Good features to look for?
Things to steer away from?

Brands? Is Sears the best place? - their commercial says they have the best pricing, or they'll match or beat advertised pricing from competitors, but that doesn't speak for the quality i'm going to get

the biggest concern, is me. I'm about 450lbs, so I'll need a seat that can support my fat ass -- can I upgrade a seat? lol

Thanks in advance for any help

Oh, and to start the debate -- gas or electric weed wacker?
 

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I've owned a lot of lawn equipment over the years and have had a lot of luck with echo trimmers, etc. I would definitely go with gas over electric. Not sure how much you'll be cutting but may want to consider a zero turn mower. Whatever you do, make sure engine is from a reputable manufactuer, Briggs, Tecumseh, Honda, Kawasaki, etc. Its the most important part of the mower. Hydrostatic transmission is great but much higher priced. Husquvarna, Toro and Snapper are great brands. John Deere is good too but you'll be paying more than others just because its Green. Good luck.
 

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Sounds like you have a large yard to mow (I have about 2 acres). For riding mowers, I always prefer to look for brands that are easy to service yourself and have parts widely available. I like Craftsman for this reason (Husqvarna manufactured Craftsman mowers the year I bought mine - it's about 6 years old and runs as good as new). Sears is good about having Craftsman parts, but so many 3rd-party companies make parts for Craftsman that the sky is the limit when you need blades and other replacement parts for your mower. As for engine, you can beat the hell out of a Briggs and Stratton engine and it'll keep running solid. They last a long time and IMO their reliability is amazing. The weight support shouldn't be a huge issue, I guess you'll want to make sure you're looking at beefier mowers with adequate horsepower, because the mower is going to spend some of that horsepower carting your ass around your property. LOL.

Gas weedwhackers are the way to go. You're not bound by a cord and they're just easier to deal with, plus more powerful. Craftsman also has a line of wheedwhackers and I own one of the lower-end $100 models. It works perfectly, starts after 1 or 2 pulls and cuts through the thick stuff really well. I like the bump-feed weedwhackers and hate the weedwhackers that use the single line. So much easier to just bump to get more line, and winding the line when you run out isn't rocket science. Those single-line trimmers are a hassle and the lines aren't cheap. They shred as easily as regular trimmer line if you hit bricks/concrete with them, and since the single lines are thicker they will do more damage if you hit vinyl siding with it.

One thing that my wife bought me for Father's day that I love and would recommend to anyone I know with a riding mower - the "Mo-Jack EZ". This thing has paid off huge -- lets me jack my mower up easily using a crank to access the blades and everything else on and underneath the deck, makes pressure washing/cleaning a breeze. They run about $200 at Tractor Supply/Home Depot. They are worth their weight in gold IMO if you like to service your own stuff to save $$.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
honestly I only have a lil more than .5 acre, but it's long and all flat, and I don't wanna push, LOL

But we also have waverunners on a trailer, and it would be easier to move them w/ the rider vs a truck, and we have a lot of big stones that need to go to the back from the front, so I want something that'll take a trailer hook up as well

I'm also thinking long time here ... I don't plan on buying another one for years and years, so I want something that will last & do things I haven't thought about at our new place (once we move.. 5+ years)
 

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Tractor wise avoid Sears/Crafstman like the plague.
20 years ago they were fine, quality even. But for the past several years have been more like prettely painted junk geared toward getting new versions out the door every season.
Lotta drivetrain issues, and god forbid you accidentally bump into anything bigger or harder than a tennis ball unless you want to rebuild the front suspension and/or kill the transaxle.
Sure, they do have a decent warrantee, but who wants to call it in every couple weeks so you can cut your grass or pull a light trailer?

John Deere, not so great (fuel delivery issues have been coming and going past few years, and freaking expensive to fix little BS like belts) but better than Crafstman by a pretty fair margin.
They still paint them green at least.

Troy would be good, but they do cost a wee bit more.
If you can manage to find an old Wheelhorse (Troy bought them up several years ago) then nab it, even if its got a couple 100 hours on it as they tend to go well upward of 1k hours if properly serviced.
People tend to get rid of them to buy shiny new, not because they broke down and needed replacement.

Pushmower wise you are pretty OK with anything powered by engines mentioned by cgrutt, though Honda and Tecumseh are rated slightly better than Briggs unless talking OHV versions, in which case they are all pretty equal.
Avoid 3hp and down models regardless of your perceived need. 4~4.5hp if you want any real fuel economy and grunt enough to cut grass over 3" tall. (standard 'healthy durable lawn' cut height is 2 1/2"~2 3/4" to give you an idea)

GREAT if you can get a 'big wheel' (18"~20" bicycle mags on the back) 5~5+hp. Yazoo used to be one brand, but other makes are out now and are available in 22"~24" cut at the small end.
They are incredibly easy to push and maneuver because of the big back wheels and easy to start and keep going as a result of a heavier iron flywheel.
EG: my 90lb 73 year old arthritic mother fires hers up first pull every time and runs it all over her 3/4 acre lot. Every week all summer long.
(she refuses to let me do it because 'it takes away from her independance and excersize', so I don't want no **** about that dammit! LOL)

EDIT:
Most important for pushers is to clean the crap out from under them frequently, especially if a bagger version, otherwise the deck will go to rot in just a couple years regardless of powerplant.
 

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Anything you buy at a big-box store is likely to be made boy the same manufacturer - just re-branded.

For stuff like this, I prefer to keep it simple. The less features you pay for, the less stuff that can break. So for me, no hydrostatic drive, no 4 wheel steering, no electrical blade engagement and no wires on the carburetor.
 

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About 10 years ago I bought a poulon pro at sears for $800 because it was a "floor model" that they were replacing. It was a $1400 mower retail, great deal. The battery box was broken a bit, but nothing a little wire hasn't held in place for 10 years (new one is $8 plus shipping from Sears parts). The main reason I bought it was it had an 17.5hp engine, which is pretty darn good for a mower with a 42" deck. I'd strongly recommend getting something around this size. It's a briggs and stratton engine, and I it still runs as good today as when I bought it new (with regular service of course).

So...it really depends on your price point. I'm cheap, so I got a good deal, and this thing tows a full size trailer around with a light load no problem. If you have lots of cash though, you can't go wrong with a cub cadet or a John Deer. Expect to pay close to 2x as much. For me, the "sears models" are just fine and I'll bet I'll replace this one in about another 10 years with a sears again (or poulon, or whatever varient there is).
 

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For the rider, consider a three blade deck. I've owned both a 3 and a 2, currently have a 2 blade and regret not buying the three. Three blades mow so much smoother than a two. I mow about 1 1/2 acres. Brand wise, pick whatever you like. I have a Craftsman that is actually a Husqvarna, it's five years old now and I have never had a single problem with it, still running the original battery that stays in it all winter and fires it up in spring without charging. I couldn't be happier with the tractor, I just wish I had bought the three blade deck.
 

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Anything you buy at a big-box store is likely to be made boy the same manufacturer - just re-branded.

For stuff like this, I prefer to keep it simple. The less features you pay for, the less stuff that can break. So for me, no hydrostatic drive, no 4 wheel steering, no electrical blade engagement and no wires on the carburetor.
i agree with kev 74. i also bought a jack to lift the mower up to clean the deck which is very important. the sad part is in reality is that you should almost buy a new 2nd deck when you buy a new mower. usually the motor and chassis last twice as long as the decks.

i would say go with a gas weed whacker. also doesn't hurt to treat all gas engine stuff fuel stabilizer. shelf life of today's gas is crap.
 

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Anything you buy at a big-box store is likely to be made boy the same manufacturer - just re-branded.

For stuff like this, I prefer to keep it simple. The less features you pay for, the less stuff that can break. So for me, no hydrostatic drive, no 4 wheel steering, no electrical blade engagement and no wires on the carburetor.
Agree 100%. Most lawnmowers use the same components (engines differ - briggs, tecumseh, honda, they pick and choose at random), and the riding mower frames are all made in China these days which is why they don't hold up. Light/thin gauge frames are cheaper to ship and cost less to produce. The less electronic components involved, the better. Keep in mind that mowers are exposed to quite a bit of moisture in this area (especially in Spring and Fall when grass is perpetually wet), and you'll need to keep the deck hosed off because grass clippings will cake up whenever you mow long or damp grass. Electronic components corrode and flake out when they're exposed to moisture.

It's astounding how much price variance there is between the different brands. It's difficult to say one brand is better than another, I've just had great luck with my particular Craftsman (which is really a Husqvarna). It's all belts/pulleys and the deck blades are engaged by a lever, hardly any electronic components. Deere is way overpriced and servicing the newer models is not very straight forward.
 

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I don't have much to chime in on the lawn mower part, since I just use a decent Honda mower I bought from Home Depot two years ago, and it's given me absolutely zero issues since. Put gas in, check oil, change it once a season, good to go. I only mulch the grass, so I have no use for my bag on it.

For a weed whacker, I use a Ryobi battery powered one. Uses the same lithium batteries as most of their power tools, and last year I charged it once the entire season and it didn't need any more. I use it quite a bit. Plenty of power on it, and I've never needed to smack the trimmer on the ground to get more wire out, it seems to do it automatically.
 

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Cub Cadet RZT50. I have 145 hours on it and have had zero issues. just regular maintenance. Cuts like a dream.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Anyone in the Rochester area know of a lawn-mowing only type place? (instead of sears/lowes/HD)

There is a John Deere authorized dealer about 10 min from me, but I don't think we can afford john deere prices right now.

Money isn't necessarily an issue as my dad is fronting the money and getting paid back over time (no interest, unlike a store card, LOL) so I'm not going to get a $500 special that won't support me / fall apart, but then again, I don't need $4000 lawn god either, haha

I do appreciate all the replies though... as odd as it sounds, this is my first time being a home owner... before it was "use what's in the garage", but now that I don't live at home, I have to make all these decisions for myself! LOL So thanks for helping!
 

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John Deere isn't as good as they use to be and ar overpriced esp. with lawn equipment. What you pay for what you get isn't up to par with other brands of similar quality imo. Tractor Supply carries mowers. I got my cub cadet at HD. Most any tractor sellers sell them. They may have to order them but they usually have some options. Toro Timecutter's are nice for a residential budget, as are the cub cadet RZT series and Arien's mowers and husqvrana. Some HD's carry the Cub RZT's and Ariens and Tractor Supply has Cub's. I'm sure theres a Toro dealer in your area
 

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My Craftsman 17.5 HP 42" cut works great, but as stated it's probably the same as a few other brands. I'm a geek though and run Royal Purple oil and a double platinum spark plug. It's the best Briggs & Stratton I've ever owned.

The best mower my family has ever owned was a Cub Cadet. The best trimmer was an old John Deere from when they still made them.
 

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I have a Troy Built .. works beautifully BUT I also use to work on small engines for a living so I maintain it which is the key to everything out there. Now .. if I were looking to buy new ... I'd look at Cub Cadet. Pricey yes, but they hold there value well AND parts are readily available. They have nice features and many mid line models seem to be built as well as the top offerings from other companies. For a push Mower .... Craftsman will do you fine. Trimmers ... well .... the skies the limit but a run of the mill one will work fine as well. Also, don't overlook a nice well cared for zero turn radius mower. They can be had at some decent prices now. Good luck to you!
 

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honestly I only have a lil more than .5 acre, but it's long and all flat, and I don't wanna push, LOL

But we also have waverunners on a trailer, and it would be easier to move them w/ the rider vs a truck, and we have a lot of big stones that need to go to the back from the front, so I want something that'll take a trailer hook up as well

I'm also thinking long time here ... I don't plan on buying another one for years and years, so I want something that will last & do things I haven't thought about at our new place (once we move.. 5+ years)
We mow about 1.5 acres. When we moved in, I bought a Weedeater rider at Lowes or Chase Pitkin or something for about a grand. It was fine the first year, started having problems the second year, and was junk on year three. See below VVV

Anything you buy at a big-box store is likely to be made boy the same manufacturer - just re-branded.

For stuff like this, I prefer to keep it simple. The less features you pay for, the less stuff that can break. So for me, no hydrostatic drive, no 4 wheel steering, no electrical blade engagement and no wires on the carburetor.
I bought a John Deere to replace the Weedeater, Bought it at John Deere, before they started crapping them up and selling them at the box stores around me. Paid around $5000. It's been ten years without a problem if you don't count the rollover. (I crashed it) You can still get good ones at the Deere dealers.
 

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Ahhh.... Ariens.... I remember when they were unquestionably the almighty master and commander of the snowblower world.

Keep that in mind Sweet98 for when you come back this fall asking about such things, 'cause a mower won't cut it in the snow. :)
(unless you get one with a blower attachment, which is prolly many many 100's outside what you want to budget for such)
 

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Ahhh.... Ariens.... I remember when they were unquestionably the almighty master and commander of the snowblower world.

Keep that in mind Sweet98 for when you come back this fall asking about such things, 'cause a mower won't cut it in the snow. :)
(unless you get one with a blower attachment, which is prolly many many 100's outside what you want to budget for such)
Got a Simplicity Pro snowblower that I'd put up against any walkbehind. The thing is a beast....
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Ahhh.... Ariens.... I remember when they were unquestionably the almighty master and commander of the snowblower world.

Keep that in mind Sweet98 for when you come back this fall asking about such things, 'cause a mower won't cut it in the snow. :)
(unless you get one with a blower attachment, which is prolly many many 100's outside what you want to budget for such)
4x4 & don't invite people over, nuff said! LOL

Yea i was thinkin about that blower attachment as well, but ultimately, we didn't get any snow really this year, so the occasional shoveling wasn't that bad, lol
 
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