Lawn mower bagger hose. Grass Collection

Grass Collection

Our grass collection accessories are built to stand up to hard use season after season. They’re engineered to fit Wright mowers as well as other professional brands.

Origins of the Grass Gobbler Before Bill Wright invented the first stand-on mower, the Stander, he invented and began manufacturing welded steel grass catchers that could withstand the rigors of commercial use.

Grass Gobbler™

With a simple all-steel construction, the Grass Gobbler has proven itself to be the most durable catcher ever made.

  • Designed for continuous airflow and high-density packing
  • Durable all steel construction
  • Available in small (2.0 cu. ft.), regular (3.3 cu. ft.) and jumbo (4.3 cu. ft.) capacities
  • Fits most professional brands

Use the chart below to find which Grass Gobbler is compatible with your mower.

For a more detailed chart and with listings of older mowers, go to the ‘Gobbler Identification Chart’ in the Accessory Parts Usage Charts Section below.

Mower Gobbler
Exmark VIKING, Metro, E, S, X series. GG450 / GGJ550
Gravely 2002 later Pro G H/Pro Turn, Pro Walk WRJ300-3
Deere 7-iron JD200-2 / JDJ300-3
Wright type Deere JDJ500-HD
Ransomes/Bobcat 94′ Later GG250 / GGJ350
Ransomes/Bobcat 01′ Later Floating Deck TE250 / TEJ350
Ransomes/Bobcat 01′ Fixed Deck GG450 / GGJ550
Scag SC200-2 / SCJ300-3
Scag Advantage SA200-2 / SAJ300-3
Scag Velocity SVJ300-3
Ferris, Snapper, Simplicity (iCD type deck) FS200-2/FSJ300-3
Toro Floating Dck 01′ Later Turbo Force TOJ350
Wright Original WR200-2 / WRJ300-3
Wright AERO Core WRJ500-5
Leaf Gobbler fits all Jumbo LG1000

Leaf Gobbler™

Hillbilly Bling. Homemade leaf vacuum attachment

WrightVac™ Powered Bagger

The Ultimate Bagger for the Ultimate Mower. The WrightVac system is designed to meet the demanding needs you face everyday as a professional landscaper. Our goal was to create a bagger system to match the performance of the mower. This means the WrightVac was engineered to produce enough airflow to prevent clogging even when mowing at max speed of 13mph; which makes it ideal for both the ZX series and the ZK.

In addition, the WrightVac shares the same heavy-duty low low-maintenance elements as the ZXT resulting in a truly commercial-grade powered bagger.

  • The kit includes: Blower, 3 Bin Bagger, Front Hitch-Receiver and Weight Kit
  • Deck compatible Belt kit to be purchased separately
  • WrightVac’s purchased same date or later than ZXT, will share mower warranty
  • Holds up to 12 bushels of grass

Use the table below to get the correct Wright part numbers.

Description Notes Part Number
Grass Collection System, 3 Bag, ZXT/ZXL/ZK Includes: WrightVac blower, Bagger, ZXT/ZXL/ZK weight kit, and front hitch receiver 95320001
Pulley Kit, 52, GCS 3 Bag, ZXT/ZXL ZXT/ZXL Deck size specific parts not included in 95320001 95320002
Pulley Kit, 61, GCS 3 Bag, ZXT/ZXL ZXT/ZXL Deck size specific parts not included in 95320001 95320003
Pulley Kit, 72, GCS 3 Bag, ZXT/ZXL ZXT/ZXL Deck size specific parts not included in 95320001 95320004
Pulley Kit, 52, GCS 3 Bag, ZK ZK Deck size specific parts not included in 95320001 95320006
Pulley Kit, 61, GCS 3 Bag, ZK ZK Deck size specific parts not included in 95320001 95320007
Pulley Kit, 72, GCS 3 Bag, ZK ZK Deck size specific parts not included in 95320001 95320008
Adaptor Kit, WSZK Includes ZK platform adaptor, additional weight plates, and deck lift spring assist kit 95320009
WrightVac Blower Full compatibility with ZXT only 98320110

Grass Clippings Clog Mower. Late Season Veggie Harvest

Powered Grass Collection System

Designed specifically for Wright Z and ZTO models, the powered grass collection system holds up to 8 bushels for 48” models, 12 bushels for 61” models, and your choice of 8 or 12 bushel systems for 52” models. The rear wheel motors can be moved fore and aft to maintain proper weight balance.

  • Designed specifically for Wright Z and ZTO models
  • Rear wheel motors can be moved fore and aft to maintain proper weight balance
  • Holds up to 8 bushels for 48” models, 12 bushels for 61” models, and your choice of 8 or 12 bushel systems for 52” models

The table below will give you the correct Wright part number based on your mower cutter deck.

Deck Configuration Part Number

Lawn mower bagger hose

Universal Leaf Bagging System for Residential Lawn Tractors

Empties by way of large Metal Drop Door.

Comes with Quick Disconnect Mounting Frame, Upper Suspension Frame, Feed Tube Support Bar, Safety Bar, Bag/Cage, Assembly Hardware and English/French/Spanish Owner’s Manual.

Bag/Cage collapses for ease of storage/Bag Capacity = 18 Bushels.

Deck Boot and Chute Tube are not included. Order item #84712 if a deck boot, chute tube, bridge clamp and mounting hardware are needed. Or contact mower manufacturer to determine availability of deck boot and chute tube for your specific lawn tractor/mower.

1ea. | Shipping Weight 53lbs | 9.1FT3

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Heavy Duty Universal Leaf Bagging System for Z-Turn Mowers Sub Compact Tractors

Empties by way of large Metal Drop Door.

Comes with Heavy Duty Quick Disconnect Mounting Frame, Upper Suspension Frame, Feed Tube Support Bar, Safety Bar, Bag/Cage, Assembly Hardware and English/French/Spanish Owner’s Manual.

Bag/Cage collapses for ease of storage/Bag Capacity = 18 Bushels.

Deck Boot and Chute Tube are not included. Order item #84712 if a deck boot, chute tube, bridge clamp and mounting hardware are needed. Or contact mower manufacturer to determine availability of deck boot and chute tube for your specific lawn tractor/mower.

1ea. | Shipping Weight 55lbs | 9.1FT3

My Lawn Mower Chute Clogs – Solved!

Just so FRUSTRATING!! Cutting tall, heavy grass, especially if it’s wet, will keep you busy clearing the chute all day.

So what’s going on? Why does my mower chute clog? The most common reason a mower chute clogs are because the grass is too heavy, but there are lots of other reasons:

Lawnmower grass catcher troubleshooting is straightforward; most are common problems and easy to solve. In this guide, we’ll look at all the most common causes.

Grass height, weather conditions, and a worn blade will be the most obvious reasons for the tractor or walk-behind mower clogging. Very often, a dull, damaged, or worn blade is the root cause of a clogging chute.

If you need video help, check out the “Mower blade sharpening video” it walks you through the whole process step by step, from examining the blade, sharpening both on and off the mower, blade removal, blade balancing, refitting, including using a torque wrench to tighten blade bolt to spec.

Conditions Chute Clogging

As a guide, you should cut no more than 1/3 off a blade of grass at once. For best results, a mower shouldn’t be cutting more than an inch of grass, and the best lawn height is about 3″. Cutting regularly keeps the workload on the machine to a minimum, and it’s easier on your lawn.

lawn, mower, bagger, hose, grass, collection

Weather makes a big difference. Obviously, if the grass is damp, the mower is going to struggle to perform. But I understand, sometimes it’s necessary to cut wet grass when you need to get the job done.

A clogged chute can, of course, is a symptom of an underlying problem. Clearing the chute may not resolve the issue. Grass build-up or damage to the underside of the deck can cause the grass to catch and clog. The underside of the deck should be smooth so that the grass moves freely around the deck, up the chute, and into the bag.

Chute – Clearing the chute may not solve the problem. Check the chute for damage or old dry grass build-up.

Clean – Old grass on the deck can cause problems. Regular cleaning will prevent build-up and prolong the life of your mower.

Deck Wash Port – Clean the underside of the deck at the end of the season, as the acid in the grass eats away at the metal over the winter. Most mowers will have a garden hose connection on the deck, simply connect your hose and run your blades to clean the underside of the deck. This does a reasonable job of cleaning.

The wash-out port isn’t fitted to all mowers. It does a pretty good job of cleaning the underside of the deck.

Hose – Move your mower to a suitable location, as it leaves a bit of a mess. Just attach and turn on a garden hose. Start your mower to engage the blades. Run until the water runs clear – simple!

Deck Coating – After cleaning the deck and allowing it dry thoroughly, spray on a coat of WD40; it’ll help protect the deck over the winter and also help keep the deck grass-free in the spring. Better than that is applying a non-stick film, it works pretty well, and it’s easy to apply.

The best in the business – DuPont Teflon non-stick dry film, and you check out the price on Amazon.

Clean – Lift the front of your tractor, and secure it well before climbing under. A wire brush and paint scraper do the job.

To Prevent Clogging

To help prevent clogging, three options are common:

Option 1 – Quick fix is to spray the deck with WD40. It does help, but it won’t last.

Option 2 – Spray deck with DuPont Teflon coating.

Option 3 – Spray the deck with bed liner. Works on tractors, riders, and walk-behind mowers. Check out the video here.

Check Your Grass bag

A clogged grass bag is a common problem. Tractors and walk-behind mowers often get cleaned at the end of the season (well, some do), but bags rarely do. Symptoms of a clogged bag are not collecting or only a half-filled grass bag.

Examine your bag/box; when held to the light, you should be able to see through it. A stiff brush will remove the old grass, or use a power washer.

Consider buying a new grass bag if damaged. They are available to purchase, usually with or without the frame. Check if the bag/box sits correctly against the mower body. If it’s loose, the air and grass flow to the bag will leak.

Bag – Thatched grass on the inside of the bag is a common issue. It prevents airflow through the bag, which in turn prevents grass from entering the bag.

Clean – As a rough guide, you should be able to see through the bag. A stiff brush or, better, a pressure washer does a great job.

Check For Blade Damage

Two types of blades are common, the lift blade and the mulching blade. They are fitted to tractors, ride-on, and walk-behind mowers. A defective blade can cause vibration, uneven cutting, and poor grass collection.

No need to tell you a bent blade is dangerous and should never be repaired. A new blade, bolt, and washer is the way to go.

Examine – Check your blades for damage, misalignment, or bent or broken tips. Your blade is the business end of the mower and needs to be in top condition. Defective blades can cause vibration, uneven cutting, and poor grass collection. A mowing blade may look OK, but they do wear.

Mowing blades are engineered to cut and move grass; as they wear, they become much less efficient. A worn blade will cause clogging.

Timed Blades – Some deck setups will have an overlapping cut, although more common on lawn tractors than walk-behind mowers.

Toro Timemaster walks behind the mower and has a timed blade set up. To achieve this, the blades must be fixed at a set angle in relation to each other. This is done by using a toothed timed belt.

If one of the blades hits an object, the blades go out of time, or the belt can break. When the blades are out of time, bagging quality suffers, and a clogging chute is a symptom. In addition, badly timed blades usually damage each other. I wrote this detailed guide, including pictures, to help you replace your “Timed deck belt”.

Dull or Worn Blade

A dull or worn blade will cause clogging; as the carefully engineered blade wears, the trailing edge is less efficient at moving the clippings. The leading edge will also be worn from grit and debris, and sharpening sessions will likely have changed its shape.

The average mower should get a new blade every 3rd or 4th season. If the blade is in good overall condition, go ahead and sharpen it.

Lift Blade

The Lift blade is also known as the 2 in 1, so-called because it bags and discharges. Lift blades vacuum the grass upright, before cutting and moving the clippings to the bag. Lift blades are specially designed for collecting grass and come in the low, medium, and high lift.

2 in 1 Lift Blade

Lift means sucking power; a higher lift blade will require a more powerful engine. The lift is created by curving upwards of the trailing edge of the blade.

If you like bagging – You need a lift blade.

Mulching Blade

A true Mulching blade is designed to cut grass, circulate it around the deck, cut it several more times, and drop it back onto the lawn as fine clippings.

You’ll know a mulching blade when you see it; the leading edge isn’t straight; it curves up and down. This results in several cuts to the same grass blade but at different heights – fine clippings.

If you’re not interested in mulching, then remove the mulching blade and fit a lift blade. It will always bag better than any hybrid mulching blade.

3 in-1 Blade

A true Mulching blade is not designed to collect. That got engineers thinking – Meet the hybrid mulching blade or 3 in 1. It attempts to do it all, mulch, bag, discharge. However, we all know it can’t be excellent at everything, and it isn’t.

Mulching has become quite popular, and manufacturers have responded by making a blade that tries to do it all but doesn’t quite succeed.

Check out the blade replacing video here, and if you need new blades, check out the Amazon link below.

Engine Performance Problems

It’s also worth considering if the throttle is set correctly; it should be set to fast/run when cutting. Is the engine running as it should? If the engine power is reduced, the mower may still cut well but will be less efficient at collecting.

lawn, mower, bagger, hose, grass, collection

A small-engine tractor or walk-behind mower should have a tune-up at the beginning of every season, regardless of how well it might be running.

I wrote these guides to help you tune up your own mower; it includes an oil grade chart and quantity for your engine; check out:

Bad Gas

Stale gas is the number one most common cause of poor engine performance. It’s usually caused by letting gas sit in the mower over the winter. The bad gas can damage the carburetor causing 100 in repairs, and it’s not covered by your warranty.

This problem can be avoided by using a gas stabilizer; you won’t have to use it all season, just at the tail end. It’s simple to use, just dump the bottle of gas stabilizer into your gas tank and run the engine to mix it throughout the fuel system, that’s it. You can find a link to the fuel stabilizer I use here and a video on how to use it here.

The fix for bad gas – is to remove and clean the carburetor; if it’s badly corroded, you’ll need to replace it.

I wrote these easy-to-follow guides, including pictures on carburetor cleaning, which will help you find your problem and fix it fast.

Tune-up – Mowers like a tune-up at least once per season.

What Is Power Take Off (PTO)?

The PTO clutch assembly will not be fitted to all mowers, and so this may not be applicable. It’s fitted mostly to tractors, ride-on, and larger walk-behind mowers.

A PTO clutch is a unit fitted to the end of the crankshaft. The deck belt wraps around the PTO pulley; its function is to apply the power of the engine to the blades when a switch or lever is operated.

PTO Wear

The PTO clutch, when worn, will slip, reducing power to the blades. This will be especially noticeable in taller grass. The PTO, if fitted, will be manual or electromagnetic.

If manual, it will likely have a lever and cable to operate – check that the cable is pulling the PTO. Both types can’t be repaired; they must be replaced.

PTO – Check the PTO system. The manual version is engaged by a cable. It lives on the crankshaft, right under the engine. Check that the cable is pulling the PTO lever all the way.

Fitting – Replacing the PTO isn’t difficult; air tools make it look really easy.

Tractor Belt Wear Problems

Belt wear is also a common reason for a chute to clog; check the deck-cutting belt for damage and general wear tear. A new belt will transfer more of the engine power to the cutting blades and will improve the cutting and bag-filling performance.

Belt types and lengths will be specific. Some brands will only work well using OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) belts.

Worn – A cutting deck belt that’s slipping will be less efficient at collecting. Check the belt for proper tension, cracking, glazing, or contamination.

Damaged – Damaged belts will cause vibration and poor general performance. A typical deck belt might last 3 – 4 years.

You may find these links useful:

Related Questions

Why is my lawnmower spitting out grass? Common reasons for grass trailing is grass-bag or box not sitting on the mower deck correctly. Check for gaps around the bag/deck interface and holes in the bag.

Grass not going into the lawnmower bag? When your mower isn’t filling the grass bag, first try cleaning the bag, if that doesn’t help, replace the cutting blade.

Hey, I’m John, and I’m a Red Seal Qualified Service Technician with over twenty-five years experience.

I’ve worked on all types of mechanical equipment, from cars to grass machinery, and this site is where I share fluff-free hacks, tips, and insider know-how.

And the best part. it’s free!

The Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers in 2023 for Making Your Yard Work Easier

These lawn mowers drive themselves, taking the load off you in the process.

By Roy Berendsohn Published: Mar 21, 2023

One of the perks of the warm-weather season is getting to spend time outside. If you own your own home and have a yard, it’s very likely that in order to enjoy your outdoor space, you need to mow the lawn. The larger the yard, the more work it will be to maintain. If you have a lot of grass to cut, you’d be wise to consider a self-propelled lawn mower especially now that there are a ton of sales just in time for Memorial Day.

The primary difference between a standard push mower and a self-propelled mower is that the former moves when you push it, and the latter essentially moves itself with only your guidance. Once the engine is running, all you have to do is squeeze a handle or push a lever and the mower will start moving forward with you as you walk.

Turning the mower around is your job, but once you have your heading, just keep the drive handle squeezed and escort the mower down the path, no pushing necessary.

Self-propelled law mowers take power off the engine and route it via a belt to a pulley on the transmission and axle. When you move the drive control lever on the mower handle, you tension the belt, causing the pulley to turn, and this drives the transmission, moving the mower forward.

Move the drive control lever back and the tension is released, the pulley stops turning, and the mower stops moving forward. The belt-driven transmission is a time-tested design to power the mower and take the load off you in the process.

What to Consider

A mower is like many consumer products in that the more features a manufacturer adds, the more expensive it becomes. But a longer or more eye-catching list of features isn’t necessarily better. Sometimes less is more. Here are the most important to keep in mind.

Front-wheel drive mowers tend to be less expensive than rear-wheel drive units. They can be easier to turn because you don’t have to disengage the drive wheels to do so. Simply push down on the handlebar to raise the front wheels off the ground. However, their traction isn’t as strong on hills or when the bag is full, as there isn’t as much weight over the drive wheels.

Rear-wheel drive mowers do cost more and aren’t as easy to turn, as you do need to disengage the drive—but this isn’t too much of a hassle. Rear-wheel drive mowers shine on hills and inclines, and when the grass bag is full. In either scenario, weight is shifted rearward and over the drive wheels, which enables superior traction, thus making the self-propel more effective.

An engine as small as 125 cc can power a mower, but most are somewhere in the 140 cc to 190 cc range. A large engine helps when powering through tall, lush grass or in extreme conditions, such as with a side discharge chute in place and mowing tall weeds in a border area. Also, the extra torque provided by a larger engine can improve bagging when the going gets tough (tall, leaf-covered grass in the fall). But if you mow sensibly and pay attention to deck height—and especially if you don’t let your lawn get out of control—an engine between 140 and 160 cc has more than enough power to get the job done.

A mower can have all four wheels the same diameter (7 to 8 inches), or it may have rear wheels that range from 9.5 inches to 12 inches in diameter. Larger rear wheels help the mower roll more easily over bumpy ground.

With some mowers you can start the engine with the twist of a key or the press of a button. It’s a great option, but a luxury. Keep the mower engine tuned and use fresh fuel with stabilizer added to it, and you’ll never have trouble starting.

Any number of mechanisms can control a mower’s ground speed—a squeeze handle, a drive bar that you press forward, even a dial. There’s no single right answer here. Look at the design and think about how you like to work. For example, if more than one person will be using the mower (and not all of them are right-handed), a drive control like that on a Toro Personal Pace mower might be the answer. Just push down on the bar to make it go faster. Let up on the bar to slow down.

A mower that can bag, mulch, and side discharge is known as a three-function mower, the most versatile kind. Two-function mowers bag and mulch or mulch and side discharge.

Mowers will typically have one, two, or four levers to control the deck height. Single-lever adjustment is the easiest to use, but it requires more linkage, which adds weight and complexity. If, for some reason, you find yourself varying deck height frequently, it’s a good option. Otherwise, two or four levers work just fine.

Only Honda makes a gas-engine mower with a high-impact plastic deck (there are battery mowers that have plastic decks). Otherwise, mowers generally have a steel deck, and a few manufacturers—Toro, for one—offer a corrosion-resistant aluminum deck. An aluminum deck won’t rot the way a steel deck will, but you still need to keep it clean.

lawn, mower, bagger, hose, grass, collection

This is a hose fitting mounted on top of the mower’s deck. When you’re done mowing, hook up a hose and run the mower to power wash the underside of the deck. We’ve had mixed results with these, but they’re better than just letting a mass of dried grass clippings accumulate.

expensive mowers come with a more durable bag with more dust-blocking capability. If you bag a lot, especially leaves or other lawn debris in the fall, then you need a mower with a higher quality dust-blocking bag. Having said that, if you rarely bag, the standard one that comes with a mower will last you the life of the mower.

Also called wide-area mowers, machines in this subgroup help homeowners better reconcile their need for more power and speed with the fact that they may not have enough storage for a tractor or zero-turn mower. A typical residential walk mower has a single-blade deck that cuts a swath from 20 to 22 inches wide. Wide-cut mowers (built for homeowner use) have either a single blade or, more typically, a pair of blades, cutting from 26 to 30 inches with each pass. Some of these are rated for light commercial use and have larger decks, in the 32-inch range, and engines that start at 223 cc and go up to about 337 cc.

Wide-cut mowers typically employ gear or hydrostatic drive transmissions, and they have top speeds of about 4 to 6 miles per hour. At their fastest, they move so quickly you have to trot to keep up with them. Needless to say, they’re overkill for small yards; only opt for one of these if you’ve got a significant plot of land that you need to keep tidy, but not one so large that you’d be better off going with a full-on riding mower.

How We Tested and Selected

We compiled this list based on Popular Mechanics mower testing and our knowledge of the lawn mower market at large. For our testing, we put mowers through the paces using our standard Popular Mechanics methodology: We cut turf grasses such as fescues and blue grass and rougher non-turf grasses like Timothy, clover, orchard grass, and wild oats, all in both normal and shin-deep heights. We mow uphill, downhill, and across the faces of hills. The maximum slope we cut is about 30 degrees.

That may not sound like much, but it’s about all you can do to stand on it, let alone push a mower up it or across it. We mow damp and wet grass to test general cutting performance and whether clippings accumulate on the tires. And we cut dry and dusty surfaces to see how well the bag filters under less-than-optimal conditions.

Honda HRN 216VKA

Key Specs

Honda mowers enjoy a sterling reputation. Having tested their walk and self-propelled mowers for the last 30 years, we feel confident that Honda’s entry level mower is a great choice for homeowners looking for power and durability. The HRN features a GCV 170 gas engine that’s built to withstand long hours of operation.

If you do your own maintenance (and most owners who buy this class of product do), you’ll appreciate the easily accessible spark plug and the fuel shutoff valve that enables better winter storage. Close the fuel shutoff and run the mower until it sputters to a halt. This will clear the carburetor of any gasoline, which will prevent the ethanol in it from disintegrating and causing running issues later on. Open the shutoff valve in the spring, add some fresh gasoline, and the mower should start easily.

All this maintenance stuff is great, but we can also tell you that our past test findings on other Hondas prove that their cut quality is outstanding for cleanliness. Sharp blades deliver a velvet-like finish. And their bagging ability is also quite good, in the same league with other well-bagging mowers from Toro.

In all, if you take mowing seriously, you should enjoy this Honda. If you have a little wiggle room in your budget, consider the Honda HRX, which features a mower powerful engine and a composite deck that won’t rust and is renowned for its durability.

One note is that Honda has announced that it will cease selling lawn mowers in the United States after this year—so if you’re considering buying one, best do it sooner rather than later.

Toro Recycler 60-Volt Max Lithium-Ion

Key Specs

Toro mowers have garnered more recommendations from us than any other brand for two reasons: build quality and cut quality. These were amply demonstrated in our testing as the Recycler turned in the best ratio of cut area per amp-hour of battery in the self-propelled category, while at the same time not skimping on cutting, mulching, or bagging quality.

We attribute this outstanding mower performance to three features, all upgrades to the previous version of this machine. First, the air vent at the front of the mower deck seems to improve mulching and bagging performance. Toro calls it Vortex technology, a design that increases air flow under the deck. This helps to stand the grass for a cleaner cut, which improves mulching performance, and also allows better airflow into the bag when collecting the clippings.

Next, the company’s redesigned “Atomic” blade configuration appears to assist the air flow and clipping movement. Finally, the three-phase, 60-volt motor is exceptionally efficient, resulting in a large cut area for a single battery.

Toro has maintained features that make this mower work: rear wheel drive, a one-piece deck that’s all steel (no plastic nose), 11-inch wheels to help it roll over roots and crevices, and the same fold-forward handle that was an industry breakthrough when it was introduced some years ago.

Ryobi 40-Volt Brushless Self-Propelled Mower

Key Specs

This is one of Ryobi’s top-of-the-line mowers, and it’s American-made construction is something we wish we saw more of. It delivers a tremendous cut area with its two 6-Ah batteries providing a total of 12-Ah of capacity, and its X-shaped blade leaves a pristine surface in its wake.

Ryobi estimates the design should provide 70 minutes of run time; we didn’t time our cut, but it strikes as plausible. Its rear-wheel drive and reasonably aggressive tire tread pattern provide good hill climbing and sidehill cutting performance, and its bagging on all surfaces (level, sidehill, and uphill) is also commendable.

Other ease-of-use features include an easily installed or removed bag that mounts and dismounts straight up and down through the handle; deck adjustment is quick and easy thanks to a single-level deck height adjustment. The straight edge deck is polypropylene; it will never rust and needs very little care other than basic cleaning.

Toro TimeMaster 30 in. Briggs Stratton Personal Pace

The Toro Timemaster 30-in. mower has been around for several years and has earned a reputation as a sturdy workhorse for homeowners who want to cut down on their mowing time. It’s also used by some professionals as well. A few years ago the Timemaster got a slightly more powerful Briggs and Stratton gas engine, so it should have no issues powering through most demanding mowing jobs.

The Timemaster is rear-wheel drive and features Toro’s Personal Pace drive system that’s used on many of its self-propelled mowers. This allows the mower to move at your speed by simply pushing down or releasing the handle, which is spring-tensioned.

With a 30-in. deck, Toro claims the Timemaster will help you reduce your mowing time by about 40% compared to using a standard-sized mower. You can mulch, back, or side discharge with the Timemaster, and the handlebar can be locked in a fully vertical position to reduce space consumption in storage.

If you have half an acre to a full acre of lawn to mow and prefer the experience of a walk-behind mower versus a tractor or zero-turn, the Timemaster is worth a look.

Craftsman M220

Key Specs

Craftsman mowers have been doing very well in our tests, so we can recommend this one because it’s so much like the many other of the brand’s models that we’ve tested. If you’re looking for a good blend of maneuverability and power, you’ll get it with this mower. Its front drive helps move it along and makes it easy to turn.

It’s important to note that front-drive mowers do lose some traction when running uphill, particularly with a full grass bag. But if your slope is less than 20 degrees, and you’re not bagging uphill, you’ll be fine. The side discharge will also help you handle tall grass. Adjust the two deck levers to bring the mower up to full height and have at the rough stuff.

The fact that this mower bags, mulches, and side discharges is a plus, enabling you to handle a wide range of mowing conditions, from early spring and late into the fall. Three-function mowers like this are our preference for that versatility.

Toro Super Recycler Self-Propelled Lawn Mower

Key Specs

This is a beauty of a mower, with a cast-aluminum deck and a smooth-running Briggs Stratton 163-cc engine. We tested the Honda engine-equipped version, and it was effective at both bagging and mulching, even in moist grass.

Equipped with rear-wheel drive and the Personal Pace system (the farther you push the drive bar, the faster the mower goes), it’s an effective hill climber and moderately effective on sidehill cutting. It has relatively small 7.5-inch tires on all four corners, which causes this Toro to bump up and down a bit on washboard surfaces. But the good news is that it’s equipped with a far higher quality tire than we’re used to seeing these days. We didn’t notice them pick up any grass on moist surfaces.

Other features we like include its forward-fold handle that has a built-in shock absorber that Toro calls a Flex Handle Suspension, and a high-quality grass bag that loads through the handle, from the top.


Are there special maintenance considerations with self-propelled mowers?

Yes. Both front- and rear-wheel drive mowers typically feature a drive belt, which can crack or wear out over time. Fortunately these belts are not difficult or particularly expensive to replace.

Secondly, you may have to replace the drive wheels occasionally. These wheels are driven with gears. there are typically teeth on the inside diameter of the drive wheel that line up with a gear on the axle. These teeth can wear out, especially if they are made of plastic. Higher-end mowers may feature drive wheels with a metal gear that meets the metal axle gear, which improves longevity of these components.

My lawnmower says I don’t ever have to change the oil, but just add oil when needed. Is this OK?

It’s not a good idea to never change the oil in your lawn mower. In a lawn mower, same as a car, oil degrades over time and is less effective at reducing heat and friction in metal components. Changing the oil in your lawn mower is easy to do and will significantly increase its service life. For most homeowners, changing the oil at the beginning or end of each mowing season should be sufficient, though there is certainly no harm in doing it more often.

Roy Berendsohn has worked for more than 25 years at Popular Mechanics, where he has written on carpentry, masonry, painting, plumbing, electrical, woodworking, blacksmithing, welding, lawn care, chainsaw use, and outdoor power equipment. When he’s not working on his own house, he volunteers with Sovereign Grace Church doing home repair for families in rural, suburban and urban locations throughout central and southern New Jersey.