latest lawn mower tests also highlight features that could make a difference in selecting one model over another. We also tell you which features aren’t worth paying extra for. Or that matter only for certain users. Here are a few: ">
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High speeds and other mower features you don't need

Consumer Reports News: April 04, 2011 12:36 PM

Now that you can finally see your lawn again are you in the market for a new mower? You can hit your local department store, home center, or outdoor power-equipment dealer armed with our latest ratings of push and self-propelled mowers and lawn tractors, which we’ve recently posted.

Consumer Reports latest lawn mower tests also highlight features that could make a difference in selecting one model over another. We also tell you which features aren’t worth paying extra for. Or that matter only for certain users. Here are a few:

Walk-behind mowers
Washout ports. Manufacturers of walk-behind mowers with washout ports recommend you lower your deck before attaching a hose to the port. If you have to adjust the height of each wheel separately, you’ll likely ignore that part of the instructions—or merely tip the mower on its side (air filter up) to hose it down from beneath. Why pay extra for a mower with that feature?
Single-lever wheel-height adjustment. If you adjust wheel height a few times a year, even just to use the washout port, you’ll appreciate the ability to make changes in one motion. But if you tend to set a mower at one height and leave it for the life of the mower (as do most people), you won’t miss this feature either.
High rear wheels. They’re touted as easier to push over uneven ground. What we’ve found in tests, though, is counterintuitive to such thinking. Manufacturers of high-wheeled mowers situate the engine (or motor, for electric models) more forward to accommodate the greater diameter of the rear wheels. This makes the mower noticeably heavier to tip back for turning, which you do frequently. They require more effort to mow, not less.

Lawn tractors
High speeds. We’ve tested a number of lawn tractors with ground speeds approaching those of zero-turn riders. Before you pay extra for more miles-per-hour, keep in mind that as with a zero-turn rider, you can only use the higher speeds to go back and forth between the grass and your garage or shed. For actually cutting grass to even lengths, you’ll need to slow down the pace to that of the usual lawn tractor.

Zero-turn riders
Control levers. True, they’re a chief attraction of this type of rider. But they can be unwieldy to use at high speeds and riskier on slopes. Some newer zero-turn riders have come out, from Cub Cadet, that offer a steering wheel we’ve found easier to steer.

Ed Perratore


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