Pros: It's a Toro. Cuts Well, Starts effortlessly, cleans up well.
Cons: Steel deck.
I hesitated to write this review. There is absolutely no shortage of reviews on the Toro Recycler series of mowers. I wanted to take a few months of use before sharing my opinion.
I used to think a mower was a mower. My last mower died a horrible slow death, and had become a more effective mosquito fogger than it was a mower. The old craftsman was unsophisticated, crude, loud, and vibrated like heck. That was when it was brand new, and then it deteriorated. My father had converted to Toro about 10 years ago with the purchase of a Super Recycler mower. Of course at that time, there only was the one series of Toro, and it was available only at "boutique" merchants.
First A Little Background Info
So, whats the big difference between Recycler Series, and Super Recycler series? The Super Recycler is the premium series. It makes use of an aluminum deck, where the entry level Recycler Series mowers make use of Steel. Of course Aluminum is far more desirable as it should resist corrosion, and well, the steel deck will eventually rust. Not to mention the steel deck is heavier. Ok, what else is different. The Recycler series mowers come with a 2 year Guarantied to Start Warranty. The Super Recycler Series comes with a 5 year GTS Warranty. What this means is, as long as you perform the maintenance that Toro outlines in the user's manual, and keep a log of it, that if your mower doesn't start on the first or second pull, they'll fix it free. As well, the Recycler series mowers make use of an atomic blade that minces the clippings very fine. The Super Recycler Series uses a "Veneered" blade, with patented Toro clipping accelerators and kickers that cut the clippings even finer! Both systems are good. The Recycler Series is available at Department Stores.
Now for My Experiences
All hands on deck
I visited the Home Depot and purchased a Toro Recycler model number 20096. The mower features as I mentioned a steel cuttung deck that is 22" wide. New to the 2007 model year, Toro has included a means to clean your mower's underside. Basically it is a female hose attachment made of plastic. The attachment works fairly well. I from time to time have problems hooking my hose to the attachment as it is fabricated from a cheap grade of plastic. But when you can attach the hose, simply start the motor of the mower, and turn on the hose. After a few minutes, the bottom of your mower is clean. It works decent.
Gentleman, Start your engines
Mounted atop of the deck on the 20096 is a 6.5 HP Tecumseh Engine. As you get to the top end of the Recycler Series Toro utilizes Briggs and Stratton Engines. The Tecumseh starts strong, and is more than adequate for me, and I'm sure for most homeowners. Toro's Guarantied to Start warranty is a nice touch. My last mower was not a reliable starter. To date, my mower has started flawlessly on the first pull. Simply press the primer button three times, and pull the starter. The engine seemingly runs smooth. There is no sound of strain, or rubbing. The thing I noticed in comparison to my Craftsman is that there are no vibrations that run through the mower. Another thing you may notice on the mower is the lack of a throttle control for the engine. This isn't a big deal to me. Typically I would have turned it up all the way, and left it there until I replaced the mower. Maybe Toro found that most homeowners felt this way? I don't know. As with most mowers, the engine has a "kill switch" bar. To start the engine, and operate the mower, one most hold down the bar. Let go of the bar, the engine shuts down.
Personal Pace? What's that?
Toro has a couple of different propulsion systems on their push mowers. Number 1 is you. The base Recycler does not have a self propel system. Then Toro has a front drive self propel system. This operates at variable speeds up to 5km/h. Toro also has a variable speed rear wheel drive self propel, which is an upgrade to the front drive. And then, as on my mower they have Personal Pace self propel. It is a rear wheel drive system that has infinite speeds of propulsion up to 7.2km/h. Basically, press on the bar that slides (it is on the handle of the mower), and it moves. The harder you press on the bar, the faster it goes. Basically the mower will move at the same pace you walk. You want Personal Pace. This is a great system. I was worried that the plastic sliding bar on the handle would break, or be flimsy. Don't worry about it. It is sturdy, and it works well!
You Talk too much, how does it cut?
Oh my Goodness. This is what I brag about. This mower has a couple of options for the clippings. You can discharge them from the side chute, rear bag them, or my favorite, mulch. I have not used the side discharge, so I can't comment. What I can say is that the bag is small. If you choose to bag, you will empty it often. Even if the grass is wet, your grass won't get clogged while bagging, to some extent. It bags better than most mowers. Mulching is amazing for a mower that is a 3 in 1. This mower cuts grass evenly, and effortlessly. Unless your lawn is exceptionally long, you should have a concern with clippings left on top of the lawn.
I have found that this mower has restored my passion for maintaining my lawn. It is easy to use. It cleans up easy, and starts easier. Best of all, it just works well, and does what it was designed to do. It cuts grass well. All lawnmowers are not created equal!