19 Reasons Not To Buy A Cheap Petrol Lawnmower
Petrol lawnmowers don’t have to be expensive, especially when a quality used one will often be perfectly adequate.
There are many things you should take into consideration when looking to purchase a new low priced petrol lawnmower. Let’s start with this..
Don’t Be Fooled By The Badge
Many major lawnmower brands are currently opting to provide their own engines nowadays, especially on cheaper models, so although you may recognize the make of a particular manufacturer be sure to check out the brand of engine fitted.
Just a note. when I talk about cheap lawnmowers. I don’t mean good quality lawnmowers that have special offers on or lawnmowers being sold at special sale prices for a short period of time. I also don’t mean cheap used lawnmowers.
I mean the generally cheapest new options that are always the poorest quality.
Never buy a petrol lawnmower without an adjustable height setting.
Many cheap lawnmowers do not provide this feature.
Lawnmowers without height adjustment become useless once the grass grows passed a certain length, the ground is soft or the grass is wet.
To see if a cheap lawnmower has any height adjustment look on each wheel for a lever that allows you to adjust the height.
Some more high-quality lawnmowers will have a single lever height adjuster which is a great feature.
If a lawnmower doesn’t have any height adjustment then avoid purchasing it. Some do and some don’t.
Recently I serviced an MTD petrol/gas lawnmower with a 4HP Tecumseh engine and a plastic deck.
This lawnmower was almost 20 years old and the cutting deck had withstood the test of time. This plastic cutting deck was incredibly thick as opposed to the modern plastic cutting decks on offer today.
If you wish you can watch the video I made of the complete service here
Please subscribe to my Youtube channel here https://www.youtube.com/c/MowerMan
Most plastic cutting decks are very thin and not built to stand up to the demands of a lawnmower in my opinion. I would advise against a plastic deck and opt for a metal cutting deck.
If you clean off the underside of a metal cutting deck once a year it should last a very long time.
Having a lightweight plastic deck makes cutting a terrible experience. There simply isn’t enough weight to sit the lawnmower well on the grass.
This actually makes cutting more difficult.
I’m not a particular fan of self-drives on any lawnmower unless absolutely necessary. They are prone to failure, even on high-end lawnmowers. If you see a choice between a cheap lawnmower with or without a self-drive choose without.
I highly doubt the self-drive will last very long and will cause problems when it fails, which it ultimately will.
Pull Cord Mechanisms
I’ve honestly lost count of the cheap lawnmowers I see for sale with broken pull cord mechanisms. There is a lot of tension on a pull cord mechanism to start a lawnmower especially if the valves are poorly set or you are having starting issues.
Spare parts are not cheap and can be incredibly difficult to find especially if you have an unbranded lawnmower.
Briggs And Stratton make excellent recoil starters, particularly on the 35 classic engine. Lower priced lawnmowers always have poor quality starter recoils.
There is no easy way to start a petrol lawnmower with a broken starter recoil.
Cutting Width And Blades
Many cheaper lawnmowers have very small cutting widths. Beware of this if you have a fairly large area to cut.
Although this may not be a particular problem, a poor quality blade will be. Using a poor quality blade will dull quickly and not cut well.
This will make transferring cut grass to the grass box troublesome as the blade sharpness, design and angle provide the backlift for transferring cut grass to the grass box. Cutting wet or damp grass is almost impossible with a poor quality blade.
When I first started repairing lawnmowers for profit I purchased unbranded spark plugs. Many times they didn’t work at all. I always purchase NGK spark plugs for my lawnmowers and have never had one single problem.
You can find many of the parts I use on the recommended products page. https://repairlawnmowersforprofit.com/recommended-products/
If you are considering purchasing a cheap lawnmower be sure to check the brand of spark plug. I would advise replacing it as soon as any starting issues occur if not before.
Grass Box Attachments
If you are purchasing offline and have the chance to see how the grass box attaches to the lawnmower have a good look.
Many cheaper lawnmowers have terribly thin plastic hooks that connect poorly to the cutting deck and tend to not last very long especially if you regularly collect a full grass box of trimmings. There is a lot of weight in a full grass box especially if the grass is wet.
Look for a grass box that has strong plastic or preferably metal connections that hook onto the cutting deck.
I much prefer grass boxes to grass bags. Grass bags can last a long time and take up less storage space, however grass boxes last much longer.
Engine Size And Weight
One giveaway that a low-quality lawnmower has is a massive size underpowered engine on a small lawnmower cutting deck.
Engine size doesn’t equal power so be sure to check out the power output of the engine. I would advise 3.5 HP (horsepower) (148cc) as the minimum for doing a reasonable job.
Having a massive sized underpowered engine on a petrol lawnmower is a sign of poor quality. It also makes manoeuvrability more difficult, and of course, the lawnmower is more difficult to push.
Most cheaper model lawnmowers will have an unbranded engine and it will be almost impossible to purchase any spare parts or consumables.
Spare Parts And Consumables
If you ever decide to start repairing lawnmowers for profit as I regularly do you will quickly learn to avoid any unbranded lawnmower models that need spare parts to repair.
I have yet to find a supplier of spare parts for any unbranded petrol lawnmowers.
Imagine only needing a spring or linkage for a lawnmower or a pull cord mechanism to repair a lawnmower but you can’t find one anywhere? Your lawnmower is unusable simply because you can’t obtain the correct parts.
It’s an incredibly frustrating experience and one that happens regularly when purchasing a cheap lawnmower.
Beware Of Lightweight Lawnmowers
A lawnmower that is classed as a lightweight isn’t a good thing.
One of the easiest lawnmowers to push without a self-drive is the Honda IZY. It has a solid steel deck and a quality powerful Honda Engine.
It is far from lightweight but the design of the lawnmower including the quality of the wheels makes this happen. Not the weight.
In my experience, a lawnmower that is too light is actually more difficult to push through the grass when cutting.
They just don’t roll along like a quality lawnmower with a good amount of weight. They also don’t cut as well as they don’t sit well enough down onto the grass.
In short don’t be fooled by the lightweight sales pitch, after all, you’re not lifting it up and down!
Take a look at the handles on a cheap lawnmower, they are thin. Not only that take a close look at how they attach to the lawnmower cutting deck. Many times I see a petrol lawnmower where the handle has snapped near the cutting deck.
There is a lot of strain on this part of the handle when a lawnmower is being turned.
Compare how cheap lawnmower handles look compared to the Honda IZY lawnmower I mentioned previously. There is a world of difference.
If storage is an issue you may require the handle to fold down.
Not all lawnmower handles fold down so be aware of this if it’s important to you.
I really like the quick release handles I have on my own Masport lawnmower.
Occasionally I transport my lawnmower to help relatives with their grass and this is a useful feature. Trying to fit a lawnmower in a car when the handles don’t fold down is almost impossible!
Now I understand we aren’t dealing with a car here so I’m not talking about cosmetics!
What I am talking about is functionality. What Makes a good lawnmower wheel?
Size and tread are important, however, once again take a look at the wheels on a Honda IZY lawnmower.
It’s sensibly sized and the tread is made of rubber, much like a standard tyre.
This is well designed and this lawnmower is incredibly easy to push, even without a self-drive. Now compare those wheels to the small plastic poorly treaded wheels on a cheap petrol lawnmower.
One of the biggest complaints people have about gas Lawnmowers is how hard they can be to push. Having poorly designed and constructed wheels is a horrible experience, and unfortunately, on many cheap lawnmowers, this tends to be the case.
Beware of any lawnmowers that come with an “Assurance”.
An assurance is not a warranty. Look for a lawnmower that has at least a two-year warranty on all parts including the engine. Be sure to register your lawnmower to validate the warranty and put the registration details in a safe place.
I always advise taking a photograph of the service ticket when purchasing a lawnmower. You should find this on the lawnmower cutting deck in the form of a silver rectangular sticker.
The reason I recommend this is because this service ticket (if provided) has all the details you will need to find replacement parts.
Unfortunately, these tickets can fade over time or become damaged through use and become unreadable.
Make sure any lawnmower you purchase has a service ticket and a warranty, not an assurance.
Try and get a 2-year warranty if possible as most problems occur after storage in winter months.
I have recently written an article on how to cut wet grass for the website.
In this article, I discuss chute size. https://repairlawnmowersforprofit.com/how-to-cut-wet-grass-and-the-best-petrol-lawnmowers-to-do-it-with/
So what is chute size and why is it important to take into account when purchasing a petrol lawnmower?
A chute is an opening that allows cut grass to be transferred to the grass box.
On any small cheap petrol lawnmower, the chute size will be very small. This is ok when cutting perfectly dry grass and the blade is sharp.
In reality, we all need to cut grass when it’s not completely dry sometimes and trying to collect grass into the grassbox through a small chute is more difficult.
To see the chute size of a lawnmower simply remove the grass box and lift up the grass box deflector. Avoid anything that’s not larger than the size of your hand wherever possible.
Petrol Tanks That Split
There is nothing worse than having a split petrol tank, it causes a real mess and I’ve seen this happen many times on cheap petrol lawnmowers.
Take a look at the petrol tank on a Briggs And Stratton 35 classic engine. It’s made of aluminium and I’ve never seen one split.
Most lawnmowers nowadays opt for plastic petrol tanks and that’s absolutely fine. I have seen many lawnmowers with split petrol tanks on cheap lawnmowers. Years ago I used to attempt to repair them with limited success.
If you do decide to purchase a cheap lawnmower with a plastic petrol tank make sure the actual tank is on the side of the lawnmower and not at the back underneath the starter recoil.
Petrol tanks on the back seem to split more easily and are much more difficult to remove than those on the side.
It’s difficult to gauge the quality of lawnmower cables and I can’t say with any certainty that cheaper lawnmowers have poor quality cables. What I do know is that on a more advanced model of lawnmower the cables can quickly and easily be adjusted when necessary.
On cheap lawnmowers they often can’t.
This leads to throttle, startup, and self-drive problems and usually, there is no way around this problem as there is no adjustment that can be made. As previously discussed obtaining spare parts can be difficult if not impossible.
Look for adjustable cables on a cheap lawnmower. It’s not often you will find this feature but if you do I would add it to your potential list of purchases.
Make sure a lawnmower has a blade adapter. If you don’t know what a blade adapter is it’s where the blade attaches to the crankshaft. Most lawnmowers have a blade that sits on two pins.
These two pins are designed to break in the event you hit something hard accidentally. Take a look at the underside of a new cheap lawnmower in a shop and make sure it has a blade that sits on a blade adapter.
If there is a choice between two lawnmowers, one with a blade adapter and one without, make sure to choose the one with.
“If It Breaks I’ll Buy A New One”
I hear this term a lot when people come to purchase second-hand lawnmowers from me.
Some people always like to haggle a deal when picking up a lawnmower. Often when I’ve agreed a price people will turn up and attempt to offer me less. This is just part of repairing and selling lawnmowers for profit.
I have met some great people on my travels around picking up and selling on lawnmowers and often the debate about price will be “I could buy a new lawnmower for less”.
I often politely ask how long they think it may last at such a cheap price for a brand new lawnmower to be met by the response “If it breaks I’ll get another one”.
This baffles me.
I understand you can purchase cheaply a new petrol lawnmower but what if it has no warranty and breaks after just a handful of uses? Would you really be delighted to just buy another one? And what would you buy? The same again at such a cheap price? I very much doubt it.
This is why there is a great demand for purchasing good quality refurbished second-hand lawnmowers. I regularly sell refurbished quality petrol lawnmowers at higher prices than cheaper new ones.
Simple, people like quality. Many people know what looks poor quality and are much happier purchasing similar lawnmower to the one they have for years that did a great job. It’s a great business to be in and good fun also.
What Makes A Great Gas Lawnmower?
Lots of things. In fact I’ve written a complete buyers guide on exactly what to look for when purchasing a second-hand lawnmower.
You can read it at your leisure here. https://repairlawnmowersforprofit.com/buyers-guide-to-choosing-a-second-hand-petrol-lawnmower/
I have also written an extensive guide on which lawnmowers could potentially last a whole lifetime with the correct maintenance.
This article is available here https://repairlawnmowersforprofit.com/8-best-walk-behind-petrol-lawnmowers-that-could-last-a-lifetime/
My Recommendation For Purchasing A Cheap Lawnmower
Many websites would simply sell out here and post a lot of links to terribly built lawnmowers.
I’m not going to do that.
This year I have spotted some really great deals on cheaper gas/petrol lawnmowers including a Qualcast rotary mower with a Briggs And Stratton 450E series engine being sold in my local supermarket!
Great deals like this do come around and armed with all the advice listed above you should have enough information to make a great choice.
My recommendation on which cheap petrol lawnmower to purchase would be not to buy a cheap one at all.
You may have guessed this to be the case after reading the article.
I really do believe purchasing a lawnmower with much better quality at a slightly higher price is the best option. Especially if it comes with a warranty and there are spare parts readily available. It all just makes so much more sense.
Don’t forget to look for some great second-hand deals also, especially from someone who regularly refurbishes lawnmowers and re-sells. If you find someone on eBay simply check the feedback and it will give you a good indication by looking at there previous sales feedback.
If you buy (too) cheap you buy two, three times etc.
If you do decide to go down the cheapest option that’s of course, fine as well but keep in mind some of the advice and use it to make an informed purchase.
The best final tip I will give as previously mentioned would be to make sure it has a warranty and not an “Assurance”.
Take a look at this article on 8 best walk behind lawnmowers that could last a lifetime https://repairlawnmowersforprofit.com/8-best-walk-behind-petrol-lawnmowers-that-could-last-a-lifetime/