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Troy-Bilt takes on Toro, but lags in Consumer Reports tests

Consumer Reports News: May 24, 2011 12:25 PM

Troy-Bilt is launching online ads, mobile sites, kiosks at Lowe’s and a series of videos to get tech-savvy Gen X and Y buyers to pick its mowers over others. But favorable results in Consumer Reports’ latest mower tests make Toro and some other big brands a better bet for homeowners who do their homework.

The MTD-owned brand’s pitch, How we're built, as reported by MediaPost, aims to drive potential customers to view the videos, which tout the careful design and tough testing of its mowers and include a bright-red Toro as the competition. One video details how a smoke-flow test helped optimize its “Tri-Action” mulching, which lifts grass with a bumper rake, chops it repeatedly with an S-shaped blade, and then whirls the clippings around in a symmetrical deck the company claims maximizes airflow.

That same video claims Troy-Bilt mowers can “go toe to toe with any other mower on the market, and blow them all away, literally.” But months of grueling trials at Consumer Reports’ Florida test site tell a different story. While Troy-Bilt mowers are impressive mulchers overall, mediocre mowing in other modes put even the brand’s top self-propelled model mid-pack in our scores—behind four Hondas, five Toros and six Craftsman models, among others, including a Yard-Man mower built by the same company.

Bottom line: See our mower buying guide and video for self-propelled mowers, push models, and tractors and riding mowers. Then check Consumer Reports’ latest mower and rider Ratings before you make your cut, since some models among even the top-scoring brands mowed far better than others. Our latest brand-repair surveys can also tell you which mowers are likeliest to stand the test of time.

Ed Perratore

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