Pros: Reliable, Cuts evenly, Easy to use settings.
The John Deere Walk Behind Mower JS46 is my third John Deere walk behind. My first one was extremely similar but an older model that we sold with our house when we moved a few years ago. When we moved into our new place I replaced it with the same mower. Last year I noticed they came out with a newer slightly different looking model that had a slightly wider cutting path and a little higher maximum cutting height so at the end of the season I traded in my old one for the newer model.
How I like this compared to the older Model
I do not notice a big difference in this newer model except for a 1 inches wider cutting width which means I can get my lawn done just a little bit faster. I like overlapping my rows a bit so even though an inch does not seem like much, after you do a bunch of rows it's a few less rows to do. We have a suburban lot that is 80x 150 We have a lot of curves and with the larger width I did not notice it being tougher to get around them. This newer model cutting height is up to 4.2" where the old one went up to 3.9" That may not seem like a lot but in the hot summer that quarter inch can make a difference. I am quite pleased with my purchase
Handle Height Adjustment
Sometimes I have trouble with lawn and garden equipment because they are designed for men and I am only 5' 5" so sometimes things are just way bigger than is comfortable for me to manuever. It is pretty easy to switch the height on the handle if needed. I find that the John Deere walk behind is very easy for me to move around curves and works well for my height. My husband mows sometimes too and it is easy to change the adjustment to make it work for him too.
Electric Key Start
The electric start is absolutely great. I have to charge the battery only once or twice in a season and the rest of the times I just turn the key and it starts up right away. If you prefer to use the pull method to start it that works too. This is nice because even though the battery hardly ever runs down, if it does you can still start the mower. I am not a fan of the pull start because it bothers my shoulder, so I love having the electric start. The electric start does add 5 lbs to the weight, but in the scheme of things it does not really matter that much but my older John Deere was 110 lbs and the JS46 is only 100 lbs. The models without the electric start are only 95lbs.
The electric start comes with two keys that you can either remove or leave in the mower. When operating the keys have to remain in the mower. I sort of wish they had a key that just stayed in the mower so I would not have to worry about losing it. But I guess some people like to carry around their key to their John Deere mower with their other keys :-)
Mowmentum Drive System
I absolutely love the Momentum Drive System on the John Deere walk behind, otherwise known as self propelled. This mower and my other John Deers are rear wheel drive. Previous to that I had front wheel drive mowers and there really is a difference. Often a front wheel drive will just spin rather than actually pulling the mower along. To me the rear wheel drive is much more effective.
Compared to other branded self propelled mowers, the John Deere Momentum drive system is so much easier to use. Most mowers have one bar you have to pull down to keep the mower running and another which engages the drive... with some you have to squeeze harder to go faster and let up to slow down. I always found that made my hands hurt. With the mowmentum system you have the bar that is held down when you start the mower but it fits up in the handle and is not hard to hold in. To engage the drive you simply push forward and the top part of the handle bends forward which engages the drive. The harder you push the faster it goes. It is a really intuitive system. When you are on a flat surface it is really easy to keep a uniform speed. When going up hill you will naturally be at a slightly different angle which is perfect for pushing harder on the mower getting it to pick up the speed. When you go down a hill the natural position will be such that the mower handle will pull back disengaging the drive, so you can use the hill to keep it moving. After the first few times using it, you won't even be thinking about the speed. Also based on your preference the max speed can be adjusted somewhat. I bought mine from a dealer and he set it for me when he delivered it.
Another thing I like about this mower is that when you disengage the drive you can push the mower relatively easily. Other brand mowers that were also self propelled were close to impossible to push and I would have to keep the drive engaged just to get it back to my garage.
Adjusting wheel height
The back wheels are a little larger than the front wheels but all of them are made of a hard plastic with a rubber tread which works great for me compared to mowers I have had in the past with cheapo plastic wheels. There is a lever on the inside of the black wheel that can move up and down to adjust all the wheels at once. This to me is close to amazing. When I had mowers in the past that had wheels with independent adjustment I never used the wheel adjustment but this is so easy to do that you do not even need to turn off your mower to do it. I adjust them lower to cut about a 4 inch strip by the sidewalk a little lower to cut down on having to use my string trimmer. Generally in the hot summer I keep my blade set on the highest setting but do lower it when the weather is wetter in the spring so that the grass can dry out thoroughly. There are nine settings starting at 1.2"
3 in 1 Discharge System
Bagging, Side Discharge, or Mulching. The John Deer JS46 comes with a grass catcher bag that holds 2.5 bushels of grass clippings. I do not bag my grass but it is there if you need it. It attaches onto the back of the mower by pulling up a flap and attaching it. If you are going to mulch then you have to open that same flap and make sure the mulching plug is in place. To use the side discharge there is a side discharge guard that has to be raised up. It is very easy to use any of these systems, but I prefer the Mulching setting because it is easier and better for the lawn and the environment.
As far as mulching goes, the John Deere Walk Behind JS46 does an awesome job mulching as have all my other John Deere walk behinds. Even when the grass is longer I rarely have a problem with it leaving clumps of grass on the lawn.
I am not one to wash my mower off all the time and keep it in pristine condition so I have to say that it holds up very well to my neglect. It comes with a little gas stabilizing cartridge that fits inside the gas cap. You just pop that in and I guess it is supposed to do something. Frankly, when it was empty I threw it out and never replaced it in any of my mowers and never noticed a bit of different either. If you are so inclined you can turn it over and hose it off but that is not for me. I generally give it a few shakes to get any stuck grass out of it and take the mulching plug out to release any stuck in there. The only time I have had a problem with it getting clogged up is when I had to mow wet grass a couple times in a row. If you mow dry grass it's just not a problem. But if you like to keep it clean and shiny, knock yourself out! I will be inside enjoying a nice cool glass of iced tea. Since I am not a mechanic once a year I have the mower store where I bought it take it in and do anything that needs to be done to it. I am lucky that they pick it up, clean it all up and return it to me so I don't have to put the dirty thing in the trunk of my car. The handle does fold down though if you need to transport it.
How well it mows
The John Deere Walk Behind JS46 is the best mower I have ever had. I like it as much or a little more than the other John Deer walk behinds I have had mainly because of the wider cutting path and higher wheel height adjustment, but generally they were all great machines. One of the things I love about the mower is the comfortable handle. Also it is very easy to learn how to use the Mowmentum Drive System. It is so easy to maneuver that I feel it cuts my lawn in nice uniform rows and does not leave piles of grass when I am mulching. I love that it has electric start making it easy to stop and start. With a normal mower I hate turning it off because of having to again deal with the pull start but with the key start if I want to stop it to pick up a dog toy or hose, it is no big deal to start it up again.
Engine - Briggs and Stratton
Gross Torque Power - 8.75
Displacement - 190cc
Valves - Overhead
Starting - Electric Start with Pull Cord backup
Choke / Primer - Fresh Start & Ready Start
Deck - 22” 14 gauge steel
Blades - 3-in-1 applications (mulching,side discharge and bagging)
Single lever height of cut - Yes
Height of Cut - 9 settings from 1.2” to 4.2”
Discharge - Rear
Drive System - MowMentum Drive System™
Transmission - Variable drive transmission; rear wheel
Variable Speed - 0-4 mph
Adjustable Handle - Standard 3 position
Front Wheels - Stationary 8 inch
Rear Wheels - Stationary 9 inch
Bag; Side Discharge and Mulch Ready - Standard
Bagger Capacity - 2.5 bushel
Total Weight - 100 lbs
Thank you for reading my review
If you have any questions or comments about the John Deer JS46 Walk Behind Mower, feel free to leave them in the comments section