Rated 4.3 out of 5Â by 141
Rated 4 out of 5Â by SpottedDog Mechanics first impression
To me a mower is only as good as the little things the manufacturer puts into it. I looked at Lawnboy, Cub Cadet and Toro. Your choice of motors are basically three. Briggs & Stratton, Honda and Koehler. All are good motors as long as you properly maintain them. All can start on the first pull or two if they are kept in good order. So, why this one?
The fact you can tip it on its end to store is a great thought on Briggs' part. One reason is for storage but the second is even better. Easier to clean. Yeah, they all put that fancy hose connection on top so you can connect your garden hose to clean underneath. Nice thought but IMHO a dumb design. The connection is plastic and will break before the summer is over. Tip it on its end and take your garden hose to it. It does a better job.
Another neat idea was to make it without a stop switch or choke. I find most people don't know how to use a choke anyway so the fact it will start without one is awesome. All you do is hold the gas lever and pull the cord.
One drawback is that you still need some good lat strength. Obviously we know who will be mowing our lawn...not the wife...
This is a mower that has front wheel drive. Most others I've seen have rear wheel drive. Is this an advantage? I think so. When one pushes the mower you can tend to push down on the rear thus gobbling up some of the power that would normally be used to cut your lawn. I found that with the front wheel drive on an undulating lawn this mower worked fine. One interesting thing on the design is you need to keep hold of the gas lever and grab the wheel drive lever to propel it forward. If you release the gas lever the mower stops. Good safety factor. It may take some getting used to but if you have kids than you can appreciate this one.
Power wise this mower has a 190cc Briggs & Stratton engine. I was cutting grass that had sprouted to 6 or 8 inches before I had an opportunity to cut it. This mower had no problem. It didn't even break a sweat. There is plenty of power.
One thing I also noted was that the wheel height adjusters were plastic. What would it have cost to make them steel? Another 10$ maybe?
All in all I like this mower and would have given it 5 stars if not for the few cheap plastic parts that I foresee breaking easily.
May 20, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5Â by doresoom Genius Design, Toro Quality
This is my second Toro Recycler class mower, and I couldn't be happier with it.
The one I replaced with this one was a model 20330 which I've had for four years, without any problems at all. It still starts on the first pull when I take it out of the garage for the first mow of the year, even when I admittedly haven't maintained it as well as I should. So when I saw that Toro had come out with this new SmartStow design, I knew it would be a quality mower.
Setup couldn't be easier. I didn't even have to lift the mower out of the box - just fold down the side, swing out the handle, and roll it right out of the box. The oil is included, with stickers and warnings plainly visible so you can't forget to add it before starting. After I filled up the gas tank, it cranked on the first pull.
The mower cuts great, and the self-propel feature pulls it along at a brisk walking pace. In total, it took me about 1 hour and 15 minutes to cut my 1/2 acre yard. I had a little bit of trouble with the self-propel seeming underpowered at first, but then I discovered I had the back wheels set too low and the back end was dragging on uneven ground. As soon as I raised the wheels up a notch each (they're all independently and easily adjustable), the mower had no more problems with the self propel feature. I'm a big fan of the front wheel drive too, since I don't have to fight to keep it from pulling away from me when I'm turning a corner.
The SmartStow feature is pure genius and a huge space saver. The whole mower folds up into a 16"x23" footprint. It's even fairly easy to move it around in this configuration, so it can be set right up against the wall in the garage or shed. I'm also more likely to make sure the underside of the deck is cleaned out after mowing, since it's much easier to check and clean this way. Just one observation - if the back wheels are on their lowest setting, the mower will have the tendency to fall over easily. Bumping them up just one notch makes it completely stable.
As I was mowing, I noticed several improvements that Toro has made over the older 20330 model. In fact, just about every little idiosyncrasy I didn't like about my old model has been addressed:
- The Briggs and Stratton engine has the same 190cc displacement, but this new model bumped the torque from 6.75 ft*lbs up to 7.25 ft*lbs. I had gotten used to side discharge or bagging, since I'm lazy and go too long between mowings to mulch without stalling. With this new mower, I managed to mulch my whole front yard without stalling, and made it a third of the way through my overgrown, weedy backyard before enough grass had stuck to the mowing deck to stall it out.
- Once I switched to side discharge, I didn't have any more issues with stalling, and the side discharge didn't clog up even though I was cutting through thick, overgrown weeds. I don't know if the difference is a new mowing deck contour, or if it's the extra power from the new engine, but I'm definitely not complaining!
- I also discovered that the handle had been redesigned so that it was much easier to grip the control bail and self-propel bail. My older model required quite a bit of hand strength, and if I wasn't careful how I held it, I'd end up with my hands cramping by the time I finished my lawn. Not so with this new model - it barely takes any effort at all to hold both bails together on the comfortable grip.
- The high wheel design actually makes a big difference when navigating rough terrain. I had previously opted for a low wheel model to save a few bucks, but after trying both, I'd definitely go with the high wheel. It's just so much smoother when mowing over uneven turf.
April 29, 2014
Rated 4 out of 5Â by SysCompany Worth it just for the storage
I really wanted to give it 5-stars because I LOVE this mower, but I'm going to 4 because after using it a few times, there is one thing that I wish was different and need to highlight: the front wheel drive. It would be perfect if it had rear wheel drive. The front wheel drive does have a weak grip, and it's kind of annoying, but by no means a deal breaker for me. I would buy this again in a heartbeat. I only highlight this for someone that might rely more on the self-propelled feature, as this does weaken it.
Now that that's been said, I do love this lawn mower and highly recommend it. Odds are you're buying this for the storage feature, and yes it's everything you dreamed. Folds up for storage, and it's wicked easy to do. Just pull two pins, swing the handle, and tilt her up. The bag works well, as does the mulching. Haven't tried the side shoot but I'm sure that would be fine too. All-in-all, this was a great mower that is perfect for anyone that has limited storage or has to move a lot (IE military).
April 29, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5Â by Redskorpion The Perfect Fit
My fiance and I are renting a house with a small two car garage without space for a mower. We thought we were going to have to purchase a storage shed which wasn't ideal since we planned on buying a home soon. The Toro SmartStow was the perfect option. It was a little more expensive than a traditional mower but with the money we saved on a shed we got a quality self-propelled mower that should last for years to come.
May 18, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5Â by Builds4Fun Great value: easy setup and storage
I had this shipped to my home address "out in the country". It arrived via UPS as promised, sturdily packed.
Assembling the mower required minimal effort, though the instructions were a little out of date with what was already assembled on the mower. On the other hand, that meant I had less to do for assembly.
Added the oil that was provided with the mower, added gas and pulled the starter cord. The mower started right up.
Adjusting the height is easy and quick. The mower rolls over uneven ground easily. Grass cutting/mulching is good.
Starting is VERY easy. No throttle adjustment is required or available.
Only one thing I wish were different: when you release the blade control bar, the engine stops completely, rather than stopping the blade and letting the engine idle. This means if I walk over a bare spot, dust is kicked up by the blade. For most users, this should not be a problem, especially since restarting the engine is so easy.
There is a clean-out fitting on the deck for washing under it after use. It requires you to lower the mower to its lowest setting to be most effective. It works OK, but I found it more convenient to let the mower cool, then turned it on its side and used a spray nozzle. That way I didn't have to change my height adjustment.
Access to the air cleaner is easy with a single screw. I clean mine after each use since we are in a dusty environment.
The quality, fit and finish are good. It would be excellent except that the control cables are a little long and hang off the side of the handle (not a big deal) and the deck is painted steel instead of a cast metal deck (again, not a big deal...just my preference). The front wheels are belt driven, which means it will need to be replaced over time, as opposed to a direct-designs drive on more expensive models.
Finally...storing the mower is very easy and compact. The mower stands upright solidly and well balanced.
BTW, this is a "recommended buy" in a consumer review magazine which I did not discover until after I had purchased the mower.
April 2, 2014