Best mower for me for less than $400?

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Ok I have an old commercial Snapper with a 5HP B&S. There are parts of my yard that is Bahia but mostly St. Augustine. Thats in the front. In the back its whatever grows thats green. I have 3 dogs so like I said whatever that grows is cool with me. However this Snapper is not able to mulch without shutting down. It also will bog down sometimes with the side discharge. I really want to mulch. So I have been looking at Toro, some new Lawnboy at Lowess, and a Husqavarna at sears that has a 8.75 Torque B&S which on B&S webiste is actually kind of considered a commercial engine. However I know the mower design is very important. So any recommendation for a mower for less than 400 that can do this? Thanks!
 

ctc

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I have a $150 sears mower that mulches no problem. In the past I've also thrown mulching blades on old garage sale mowers. You don't need to spend much to mulch.
 
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Back in 1998 I bought a Toro Super Recylcer Mower for $329.00 The reason I bought this was because the deck is aluminum, its going on its 12th season and does a fantastic job of mulching. The aluminum deck is in perfect shape, I bought this at a commercial lawn mower place, sorry but if you want something to last a long time you need to go commercial, in my opinion.
 

mcrn

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 Originally Posted By: ctc
I have a $150 sears mower that mulches no problem. In the past I've also thrown mulching blades on old garage sale mowers. You don't need to spend much to mulch.
I want to make sure I was clear. My old commercial snapper can't mulch my yard so I doubt a $150 craftsman would be able to do it?
 

FZ1

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Do you mean Scalp?? Just raise the mowing height. Get a cheap Honda quadra cut.
 

mcrn

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Ok I have the mower set as high as it can go. I have the throttle as high as it can go. I am doing everything I know possible to get the most out of this mower. It just can't do the job. It bogs down or dies. It is the second mower I have had with this same problem. The yard is not easy to mow through.
 
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Consumer Reports just did a piece on mowers. I think some of the upper Toros for around $350-400 were rated as "best buys." I'll provide model #s if anyone is interested...
 

FZ1

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Maybe you need new wheels??? You can pick up a few more rpms if you run 5-30 synthetic. What oil are you using? New spark plug,AF?? Last tune up??
 

mcrn

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Valvoline ML full synthetic in there now and before that was amsoil. New plugs. New air filter. Just cant do the job.
 

mcrn

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No the wheels are not new but in good shape. I have tried to get new wheels to raise the height but it appears I cant get new taller wheels because of the shape of the axle. So again, any recommendations for a good mower for less than $400? This mower that I have is old and tired. It Cant do the job I need it to do. I appreciate the help to improve this mower but like I said I really have tried everything. Thanks again.
 
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Consumer Reports cites the follwing as "CR Best Buys" in your price range: Toro Recycler 20330 (for about $320) Toro Recycler 20332 that will set you back about $390 (but I think I saw one at Home Depot for about $350). Craftsman 37435 for about $300 was a good all around performer... The Toro Recycler 20333 was rated #2 overall, behind a Honda HRX2172HXA (about $800), but for HALF the price at $420!
 
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I got a Troybilt with the 6.5 B&S at Lowes several years ago for around $225. It's been a good performer and I've yet to bog it down in tall grass, wet grass or piled up leaves. It sounds to me like you need a few more hp to tackle your job.
 
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I grew up with a really old mower, and with a sharp blade through high grass it too would bog down and die. In order to make it mulch better through really high grass, or really thick grass, I had to cut with 1/2 width of the deck. It doubles the number of passes you have to do, but sometimes you have to work with the tools you got. When you start to mow you have to go one full length cutting with the full deck width, after that just line it up 1/2 way along the deck, therefore you get 1/2 the friction and 2x the cutting power, but 1/2 the volume of grass cut per pass. Or you can try cutting your grass 2x a week.
 

mcrn

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Virgo do you mulch? And Superdave I have tried that too! It still bogs down and dies!
 
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