Pros: Move itself, Easy to start.
Cons: Average durability, drive does not work as well as it did.
This is a self-propelled lawn mower. So not only does it mow but it also moves itself with a press of a handle. This makes mowing the lawn a lot easier on your back, legs
.well your whole body.
First off you have 3 speed settings on this lawn mower. You will pretty much leave it on the fastest setting the whole time because it really isnt all that fast. The first two setting are too slow for me but there are there is you are doing some sort of precision mowing. Id say the highest speed is a brisk walk. In fact I would say that you could push a lighter mower faster than the craftsman self-propelled mower at the highest speed, but you would definitely be exerting a lot more energy.
The drive system does not enable the mower to go up and down a hill easily. It just does not have the power to do that. So if you have a steep hillside then I recommend a cheap lightweight lawn mower, or a lot of round up.
You start it by pulling on a rope like most gas-powered tools. It is very easy to pull to get it started. They even have the cold start bubble. It is located at the front and you pump it up 3-5 times to push gas along. This feature helps with starting up a cold motor. And yes this feature does work.
There is also a height adjustment for the wheels. All you do is pull a leaver on the side to move the front set of wheels (or the back set of wheels) up or down. I think the height options are good. I have never needed a lower setting or higher setting that what is available.
There is also a safety handle that turns off the engine when you are not holding it. I call this the dead mans switch (like the switch that must be held for some amusement park rides.) If you do not hold down this handle while operating then the engine shuts off. It is a very common feature on lawn mowers today.
This is a 4-cycle engine so oil needs to be added in a separate compartment from the gas. Weed whackers, some hedgers, chain saws, etc use a 2-cycle engine that means that you add oil in with the gas. You do not want to do that here. And maintenance is just like other 4-cycle engines so you will need to check the engine oil level, change the spark plug periodically, etc.
There are three options when it comes to dealing with the grass clipping. You can close the side port to let the grass get mulched, screw on the grass shoot and it just hurtles the grass particles off to the side, or you put a longer arm on and connect the bag to it. In order to attach each one you unscrew a cap insert/remove the accessory and insert the new piece. It is very easy and they ergonomically designed the screw cap so you wont have any problems taking it on/off.
What I like
-Simple to control.
-Pull string to start works great.
What I do not like
-The first problem is the bagging system. It frequently gets clogged when I am mowing. I usually just get sick of the bag and take it off. I personally would rather have the clippings because I use them for mulch but the hassle is just not worth it. The main reason it does not work is because the engine is just not strong enough to pull the grass clippings up the side port and into the attached bag. The side port accessory is also angle too high in my opinion. Had the attachment been at a lower angle then it may not have been much of a problem.
-Durabililty is just average.
-Drive motor mechanism not as good as it could be.
Who is this for?
If Sears has made some improvements then I would recommend this model. If not then you will probably want to spend the extra cash on a cheaper riding mower. The only reason I would not recommend this because of durability and the design of the bagging system. Also remember that this does not mow itself, you need to pull and push this mower at times. But the drive does make it a bit easier. So if you cant push a regular mower then this is not going to be your solution. You probably need one of the robot mowers, a riding mower, or a yard service.
Maintenance & Cleaning
Every spring I like to take a large chisel and scrap the insides of this mower. Grass gets deposited on the inside of the mowing chamber and creates a fairly thick deposit of grass clippings. The force of the blades gives them enough force to bond with whatever grass was there already.
I also recommend changing out the oil once a year to keep things in good order.
To get the spark plug out I just use a deep socket and wrench to unscrew it and get it out.
I also read a piece of information on consumer reports.org. They stated that propelled mowers had a 26% chance of needing service in the first 3 years of ownership. This is compared to 15% of push mowers needing service in the first 3 years. Food for thought.
I guess for a gas powered mower it has been ok, it has lasted for a good 6 years. But I have been disappointed with the drive mechanism. It just is not working as well as it has. At one time the drive failed to work and my father-in-law helped me fix it. Now I just do some periodic maintenance just to keep it working, but the drive mechanism never has worked as well as it did the first day I owned.
Also the dead man switch actually broke off. This means that it would not turn on. I went ahead and took off this bar and I have the dead-man switch in the permanent on position because of this defect.
And I think something is wrong with the carburetor since my spark plug is getting dirty frequently (at least that is what my dad thinks.)
I really want a new lawn mower but that will be at least another year before that happens. So it better survive until then.
This is a self-propelled lawn mower. Just by pulling a lever the mower will move itself and all you have to do is walk behind it as well as turn it. The mower is heavier than a cheaper model but the motor compensates for that (except up hills.) Overall I have been pleased with this mower and I am glad I bought it. But this just does not have the durability I want and it is a bit heavy for my hillsides. So if you are in the market and dont have the money for a riding mower, this is a good option. But you may want to get to know your local lawn mower repairman.
Other outdoor tools.
14.4V hedge trimmer.