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  #1  
Old 05-29-17, 09:13 AM
Zunardo Zunardo is offline
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Experiences buying lawn mowers - walking and riding?

Just had my trusty Craftsman self-propelled mower literally blow up on me over the weekend. It was my first self-propelled walking mower, it was probably ten years old when I bought used for $50 from a neighbor. That was over ten years ago, so I definitely got my money's worth out of it.

Mrs. Zunardo and I went to Sears yesterday to see what's out there - I liked the look of the Craftsman Pro Series (yellow) walking mowers. And then we looked at their Pro Series riding mowers, and I started drooling.

That's when things got weird. My wife looked at it, looked at me, and said "I authorize you to buy this riding mower."

For a second I felt like Tim Taylor saying to Jill, "I have never loved you more than I have at this very moment."

Will do some more research on other brands, and I was curious what consumer experiences everyone has had about buying lawn mowers, both walking and riding, and also how functional the riding attachments are. If we go with the riding mower, I'd definitely look at getting a snow plow attachment for the winter for driveway and sidewalk,

I was kinda surprised to see snow blower/thrower attachments for the garden tractors, I guess they're powered by the tractor itself, but definitely not going to spend that much.

Read up on several forums about the Craftsman Pro Series - quite a few negative comments, and quite a few positive comments. If I had to guess, I'd say the biggest key to success with them is following owner's manual and performing the maintenance schedule to the letter.

(SIDE NOTE: I just bought a Poulan gas chain saw, and struggled for a few days to get it to start, began to wonder if I'd bought a lemon - then I discovered if I actually read the directions and followed the start-up procedure exactly, it fired up every time. Who knew? )

Thanks in advance.
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Old 05-29-17, 09:29 AM
Uncle Ted Uncle Ted is offline
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Poulans are garbage. 'pullin' all day to get it started. Chainsaws I go with Stihl or Husqvarna. Lawn mowers Toro or craftsman. Riding mowers John Deere, Husqvarna, Craftsman.
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Old 05-29-17, 11:08 AM
Zunardo Zunardo is offline
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Originally Posted by Uncle Ted View Post
Poulans are garbage. 'pullin' all day to get it started.
LOL - when I was puzzling over my chainsaw, I watched a YouTube video with a Red Green type of guy, and he said if you get a Poulan Pro, you'll be a "pullin' pro" from trying to start it. Then he showed how to make some adjustment on the spark plug and lost me completely. But since I started following the owners manual exactly, I haven't had any problems getting it to fire up. We'll see what happens next spring after I've had it in the garage all winter.

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Originally Posted by Uncle Ted View Post
Riding mowers John Deere, Husqvarna, Craftsman.
Only thing bad I've heard about John Deeres is the price. When I see the commercials about how "affordable" JD's are and how you can afford them by leasing them, I hold onto my wallet.

Thanks for the recommendations.
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Old 05-29-17, 11:18 AM
Uncle Ted Uncle Ted is offline
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Go to lowes and ask to see their returns on mowers. You can wheel and deal with them. I bought a brand new riding husqvarna for $900, list price was around $1800. Someone bought it and returned it because a switch was not working right. Lowes has the manufacturer rep repair the item when it comes back then they resell it.
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Old 05-29-17, 11:41 AM
coldshoulder coldshoulder is offline
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I just bought a new Honda 21" self-propelled walk-behind Friday.

My brother, and 2 different neighbors all have the same basic mower and they all say it's the best mower they've ever had. One said it was highly-rated by Consumer Reports.

Used it yesterday for the first time, and I loved it. Can bag or mulch without any hassle switching between methods. Started on first pull with no choke or primer button. Easy controlling speed for self-propelled--and it was quick, a good brisk workout while walking!

So far I'm happy.
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Old 05-29-17, 12:00 PM
Uncle Ted Uncle Ted is offline
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Honda makes a great small engine. Probably the best.
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Old 05-29-17, 12:05 PM
TylerDurden TylerDurden is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Ted View Post
Go to lowes and ask to see their returns on mowers. You can wheel and deal with them. I bought a brand new riding husqvarna for $900, list price was around $1800. Someone bought it and returned it because a switch was not working right. Lowes has the manufacturer rep repair the item when it comes back then they resell it.
Lowes has a company called Altaquip repair all their returned power equipment. The headquarters is in the Campbell building, I used to work there. From my experience with our shops, you pretty much get what you pay for when it comes to riding mowers. I was going to buy one of the "cheaper" John Deere from Lowes but after talking to out lead shop tech in Cincinnati, I ended up going with a mower from the 300 series. My house came with a Cub Cadet that the previous owner bought in 1993 and my dad is still using it to this day.

As an aside to the OP, I'd be reluctant to make a major purchase from Sears. The company I used to work for also did the repair work for them and we ended up parting ways partly due to their financial situation. They're likely not going to be around in the long run.
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Old 05-29-17, 12:08 PM
TylerDurden TylerDurden is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle ted View Post
honda makes a great small engine. Probably the best.
+1
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Old 05-29-17, 01:01 PM
Uncle Ted Uncle Ted is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TylerDurden View Post
Lowes has a company called Altaquip repair all their returned power equipment. The headquarters is in the Campbell building, I used to work there. From my experience with our shops, you pretty much get what you pay for when it comes to riding mowers. I was going to buy one of the "cheaper" John Deere from Lowes but after talking to out lead shop tech in Cincinnati, I ended up going with a mower from the 300 series. My house came with a Cub Cadet that the previous owner bought in 1993 and my dad is still using it to this day.

As an aside to the OP, I'd be reluctant to make a major purchase from Sears. The company I used to work for also did the repair work for them and we ended up parting ways partly due to their financial situation. They're likely not going to be around in the long run.
I was just going by what the associate at lowes said, he probably had no idea who fixed it. Yeah John Deere does make a cheap rider to compete with the others.
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  #10  
Old 05-29-17, 03:30 PM
irish_buffalo irish_buffalo is online now
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Ted knows his stuff. Craftsman's are ok but their self propelled design is not good (front driven, tires are not in sync, will begin to bend out over time).

Honda makes a great walk behind and their engines will last forever if you take care of them. They use a different drive system as well.

I have a Toro Zero Turn. Had a Cub Cadet Zero Turn before that (16 years). I basically received a great deal on both. When it comes to the zero turn riders every brand is darn near the same (they reverse engineered em). Just make sure you get a Kohler engine if you go that route. Much like a Honda engine if you change the oil and air filter once or twice a year and keep everything greased it will last forever.

Every piece of smaller engine equipment I own is Stihl (two hedge trimmers, two back pack blowers, one straight shaft trimmer, two chain saws). They are more expensive but that is because they last so long. One back-pack blower and trimmer of mine were purchased in 1997. Almost 20 years old and still run like champs!
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  #11  
Old 05-29-17, 04:26 PM
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eastside_purple eastside_purple is offline
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I've always had good luck with Toros, self propelled and zero turn.
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Old 05-29-17, 04:45 PM
Zunardo Zunardo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Ted View Post
Go to lowes and ask to see their returns on mowers. You can wheel and deal with them. I bought a brand new riding husqvarna for $900, list price was around $1800. Someone bought it and returned it because a switch was not working right. Lowes has the manufacturer rep repair the item when it comes back then they resell it.
Thanks, we’re going there tonight to look at their models.

I did ask about returned/reconditioned models at Sears yesterday, and the salesman said it was too early in the season, they usually don’t get them in until end of June

Quote:
Originally Posted by coldshoulder View Post
I just bought a new Honda 21" self-propelled walk-behind Friday.
So far I'm happy.
May I ask what store you bought it at? I’m not real familiar with Honda mowers, just what I see at Lowe’s or Home Depot. I’ll check ‘em out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TylerDurden View Post
From my experience with our shops, you pretty much get what you pay for when it comes to riding mowers. I was going to buy one of the "cheaper" John Deere from Lowes but after talking to out lead shop tech in Cincinnati, I ended up going with a mower from the 300 series.
I’m getting that idea also – that’s why I was mainly looking at the Craftsman Pro Series. High marks from the consumer websites for their sturdiness and longevity, comparable to John Deere 300’s. Interestingly, I wasn’t even looking prices, just going from one to the other and sitting down to see what they felt like. When I plopped down into a Pro Series rider, I just said “Whoa!” real loud. That thing felt solid and ergonomic, from the seat to the steering wheel and everything else.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TylerDurden View Post
As an aside to the OP, I'd be reluctant to make a major purchase from Sears. The company I used to work for also did the repair work for them and we ended up parting ways partly due to their financial situation. They're likely not going to be around in the long run.
That is a consideration, and one reason I would only consider the Craftsman Pro Series from Sears.. I figure if it makes it past the 90-day stage with no problems, the odds are better it's going to have few or no serious problems down the road - just regular maintenance/replacement for wear. Hopefully Sears will transfer their repairs to a reputable company if they go under.

I know Ace Hardware also sells Craftsman, so I’ll check them out also. I think I read where Black & Decker now own the Craftsman name?

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I've always had good luck with Toros, self propelled and zero turn.
That saved me this weekend. My dad gave me his old Toro walking mower about 5 years ago when he bought a new one. It’s been sitting unused in the back of my garage the whole time. When my Craftsman blew up Saturday, I got the Toro out, filled the tank halfway, made sure oil level was good – and it fired up immediately, ran great. Only downside is it’s non-propelled. I’ve gotten spoiled not having to push the whole time.

Guess I’ll be getting more exercise until I figure out what I want to get.
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  #13  
Old 05-29-17, 04:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TylerDurden View Post

As an aside to the OP, I'd be reluctant to make a major purchase from Sears. The company I used to work for also did the repair work for them and we ended up parting ways partly due to their financial situation. They're likely not going to be around in the long run.
Does Black and Decker own the entire Craftsman product line now? Interested to see how the brand fairs under their management.
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Old 05-29-17, 05:06 PM
Sig Hansen Sig Hansen is offline
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Bought a Husqvarna with a Honda engine last year. Got it like-new for $150 from a lawnmower repair place. Works great.

Toros and Hondas are also good mowers. I can't understand why the hell Stihl doesn't make a push mower yet; they would likely drive every other brand out of business.

Just make sure that whatever you buy has an all-steel body and as few plastic parts as possible.
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Old 05-29-17, 05:09 PM
Uncle Ted Uncle Ted is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sig Hansen View Post
Bought a Husqvarna with a Honda engine last year. Got it like-new for $150 from a lawnmower repair place. Works great.

Toros and Hondas are also good mowers. I can't understand why the hell Stihl doesn't make a push mower yet. They would likely drive every other brand out of business.
Does Stihl make a 4 cycle? Most mowers are 4 cycles, 2 cycle can rev way higher than a 4 cycle but don't have the a 4 cycle has.
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Old 05-29-17, 05:18 PM
Sig Hansen Sig Hansen is offline
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Does Stihl make a 4 cycle? Most mowers are 4 cycles, 2 cycle can rev way higher than a 4 cycle but don't have the a 4 cycle has.
I don't think so

The only lawnmower they make is the new battery powered push mower. When I was a kid we had a really old 2 cycle lawn boy. That's the only 2 cycle mower I've ever seen
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Old 05-29-17, 08:43 PM
coldshoulder coldshoulder is offline
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Zunardo....bought my Honda mower from Do-Cut Sales & Service, which to my knowledge has only 2 locations--in Warren and in the Boardman/Canfield area near Youngstown.
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Old 05-29-17, 09:47 PM
EagleGuy EagleGuy is offline
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[QUOTE=

(SIDE NOTE: I just bought a Poulan gas chain saw, and struggled for a few days to get it to start, began to wonder if I'd bought a lemon - then I discovered if I actually read the directions and followed the start-up procedure exactly, it fired up every time. Who knew? )

[/QUOTE]

LOL When will we ever learn? Personally, I think it's due to the "right now" world we live in.

If you decide to buy a riding mower, opt for the hydrostatic transmission. You will thank yourself a million times!
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Old 05-29-17, 10:10 PM
simkon simkon is offline
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Originally Posted by coldshoulder View Post
Zunardo....bought my Honda mower from Do-Cut Sales & Service, which to my knowledge has only 2 locations--in Warren and in the Boardman/Canfield area near Youngstown.
I thought it was called Do-Cut Tru-Value Hardware or did it change names after the Canfield location burned down?
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Old 05-30-17, 03:06 AM
bob22 bob22 is offline
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Zero turn or give me death!

Sent from my LGL16C using Tapatalk
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Old 05-30-17, 04:15 AM
eastisbest eastisbest is offline
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Push Mower: I don't fall for that tool time crap. Name brand engine (usually briggs), large rear wheel, most HP I can find, then the cheaper the better. I'm brutal on them, practically use it to till and cut down small bushes. Occasional body work. $11 blade every couple years, keep it sharp between. I've never had one die, a yard-master works just fine. If I'm paying more than $200 for a new push mower, I've list my mind.

Cutting grass isn't brain surgery. Sharp blade, done.

Now if the need were for something over an acre, I would be going comfort for my body, zero turn, remote control, beer cooler, the whole tim tailor package. Not one of these robotic things remote controlled. I'm talking full on NASA. If they can put driverless on the highway going 80, they can put one on my lawn going 5. I want to be ON the thing as it does it's assignment without my need to control. GPS all the way, I'm along for the ride, drinking my cooler, enjoying nature. I'm just there to monitor my employee.
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Old 05-30-17, 07:28 AM
EastYoungstown EastYoungstown is offline
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I have an old John Deere self propelled mower. Probably 30 years old?

Still runs with no problems.
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Old 05-30-17, 08:33 AM
WinstonSmith WinstonSmith is offline
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My Gravely has never caused any problems. Just bought a Stihl multi-purpose weed eater/edger to go along with the blower I have. The most expensive lawn equipment you can buy generally are the cheapest.
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Old 05-30-17, 09:16 AM
oldline70 oldline70 is offline
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Have owned mainly Craftsman mowers over the years. Currently have a 46" Craftsman I bought in 2010 (it's a red one) after we moved and I left my 20-year-old 42" Craftsman with the house we sold. Both riding mowers have been champs, as have the several Craftsman push mowers I've had.

I will say with my latest Craftsman 46" riding mower, at first I went thru several cables (the ones that engage the mower blade - I'm not a fan of the design with the lever that flips from left to right to engage the blades) and thought I had purchased a dog - but it's been a beast ever since, and I use it heavily.

Backpack blower - bought a Husqvarna at Lowe's and it's been awesome. Starts every time.

If I wanted to spend some serious coin, I'd buy John Deere.

I always read and heard great things about Honda mowers but the prices were waaaay too high, IMO, for the kind of mower I needed at the time. Nice but pricey.
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Old 05-30-17, 12:53 PM
clarkgriswold clarkgriswold is offline
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For walk behinds, go with a Toro or Honda. Mostly everything else is garbage.

As for riders, as someone said, you're going to get what you pay for. Some of the bigger names, like Deere, produce garbage on their lower end. If I had to get one, I'd look at Toros and Cub Cadets.
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Old 05-30-17, 04:00 PM
Raider6309 Raider6309 is offline
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its what your price range is. I have a $700 Honda lawn mower and a $5,000 John Deere but I've used the lowes/ Home Depot/sears/ TSC/ and SEARS MTD stuff and they work fine. If it's flat land, anything will work fine
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Old 05-30-17, 05:33 PM
eastisbest eastisbest is offline
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its what your price range is. I have a $700 Honda lawn mower and a $5,000 John Deere but I've used the lowes/ Home Depot/sears/ TSC/ and SEARS MTD stuff and they work fine. If it's flat land, anything will work fine
EXACTLY! This is as I posted before.

These engines are not brain surgery. Not M-cycles. You get nothing from a "Honda" or Husq" you won't get from a Briggs except the higher repair and replacement part bills.

Doesn't need to be flat land. My MTD, 5HP Briggs mulcher does up 20 degree, down 20 degree, sideways on 20 degrees, and into high weeds and bush, flinging rocks and asphalt all over the place. No burps or hesitations. Hell, I use it to till up weed infested land. Get the large wheel and it practically pushes itself. I've had to call Cleveland for a new handle once (the sharp hill and me one hand pushing and pulling torgued it), I keep the deck cleanISH, blade sharp. It needs a blade adapter because it finally lost a battle with a large rock. Deck could use a little tack welding. I get the same mow as the guy who paid $400 for razzle dazzle and get same results.

Push mower, buy cheap. Heck, buy old and repair so you'll have an all-metal deck instead of this plastic crap and a real pull cord instead of dental floss they use now. Largest engine you can find so it "wins" if you hit rocks or stumps. This is what you want especially if you got area you maybe clear only a few times a summer or if grass is going to get high.

For a rider though, if the yard is less than sculpted I have to imagine some are easier on the body than others? Everything around here is mostly lime/clay otherwise known as uncooked concrete with green stuff growing in it. That can be a rough ride.
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Old 05-30-17, 06:19 PM
TylerDurden TylerDurden is offline
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EXACTLY! This is as I posted before.

These engines are not brain surgery. Not M-cycles. You get nothing from a "Honda" or Husq" you won't get from a Briggs except the higher repair and replacement part bills.
Except that you do. I've read through literally tens of thousands of tech notes along with talking to many techs. Honda engines are better than Briggs. Does that mean every person that buys a Briggs is going to have an issue, or that every person that buys a Honda won't, of course not, but the percentages are going to favor the better quality engine.
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Old 05-30-17, 07:30 PM
eastisbest eastisbest is offline
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Except that you do. I've read through literally tens of thousands of tech notes along with talking to many techs. Honda engines are better than Briggs. Does that mean every person that buys a Briggs is going to have an issue, or that every person that buys a Honda won't, of course not, but the percentages are going to favor the better quality engine.
Fair enough. I'll buy 2 or 3 B&S powered MTDs for the cost of a Honda, if my B&S ever dies. Manufacturing issue on an engine I think good chance shows itself before warranty ends. BUT, I've never had a prob (YET).

It's not champagne. Talking only about home owner push mower. I don't see why I should care which is better "quality?" Which is prettier. Sounds better. Which gets better gas mileage. Its job is to spin a blade. A blade that cuts a tiny green reed. I can be happy with however many years of cheap, poor quality I can get out of the easy to maintain Briggs.

I will admit, I had my eye on a Husq at Lowes, waiting for a sale. It was pretty. Nice lines. No fancy gadgets or powered walky to break. Side discharge mulcher. I was tempted. I'd look good pushing that around. Then over the Winter they switched to a plastic crap deck, cheap metal stock handle and had to get the bells and whistles.

And that's another thing, the handles. SO much cheaper quality now, I don't care how much you pay for a push mower. Still better I think to find a solid old one with a metal deck, particularly if it's going to be used harshly.
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Old 05-30-17, 08:29 PM
Uncle Ted Uncle Ted is offline
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Go ask any landscaper what they use. Stihl, husqvarna etc. I don't think I have ever seen a landscaper cut grass with a craftsman. Or a tree guy use a pullan. I don't buy things that are marked residential because it is lower quality.
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