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My Toro Lawn Mower Review and Why I Recommend It

Late last year, my old lawn mower (Mean Green) finally broke beyond repair, and so I had to kick it to the curb.

Before I bought my new red toro lawn mower, I borrowed mowers in the past including a Honda push mower (very heavy), a John Deere self propelled (stiff and also heavy), and a MTD (lighter but not much better).

Toro Lawn Mower
Toro Lawn Mower

Out of the mowers that I tried, I have to say that my red Toro Recycler lawn mower is my favorite.
Initially I hated to spend $375 dollars on the new toro lawn mower that I bought, but I’ve changed my mind and below are the reasons why I’ve had a change of heart.

  • Personal Pace Self Propel, this is awesome!  Initially I thought big deal, but after using it for a few times, I now understand the value of a variable paced self-propelled lawn mower.  When I use the constant speed John Deere, it was good but I was limited to a speed that I couldn’t control, so I was limited as to how fast I could mow.  With my Toro Recycler, I was only limited by how fast I chose to mow.  When my son was mowing, I even saw him run with it.  Of course I went out and yelled at him (Grrr).  This feature shouldn’t be overlooked, it’s awesome!
  • Maintenance is easier!  I dreaded changing the oil after using it for 5 hours (need to do if the mower is new) of use and thought it would be a pain.  But since it comes out at the top instead of the bottom (Mean Green was a pain this way), it was quick and easy.  I was pleasantly surprised!
  • An even better workout!  Since Mean Green was a push mower, I assumed the I would be getting a better workout with him, but this is not the case!  Since I can go mow much more quickly, I actually maintain a more brisk pace, so I think it’s almost borderline aerobic!
  • A tank that will last the entire mowing cycle for my yard.  The gas in “Mean Green” sometimes didn’t last for the entire yard, and I would have to refuel it every now and then, but this is not the case with my new toro mower!
  • Special mowing blades enable me to mow without having the mower set to mulch.  If I didn’t have my old lawn mower in mulch mode, I the grass would be to thick and I would have to rake it up.  With my new toro mower, even when the mower isn’t in mulch mode I don’t have to rake because it cuts the grass into smaller pieces.  This was a pleasant surprise, and great for spring when the grass is growing like crazy.
  • The mower is so easy to work with, that my son (10 years old) can mow the lawn occasionally (yes, for money).  With the old mower he couldn’t start it, but with the Toro “Easy Start” system, even my son can start the Toro lawn mower!  Plus with the “Personal Pace Self Propel” system, my son doesn’t have to strain to mow the grass!
  • It has a special washing system where you attach a hose to it and turn on the water and run it for 15 minutes to have the mower clean itself, but I don’t use this feature because I don’t want to waste the gas or water.  Still it’s an intriguing idea.

I’ve decided to call my mower “Red” as in the movie (and book) “The Shawshank Redemption“.  Even though I’m not getting paid to write this article, I thought I would share my experiences with the product.

I hope you found this personal review helpful,

MR

8 Responses to My Toro Lawn Mower Review and Why I Recommend It

  1. Nice review, MR.
    I have a new push Troy-Bilt now at the house, and the older self-propelled Craftsman at the weekend farm. The boys prefer the Craftsman for ease of starting and mowing (our lawn slopes), so I think I’m going to make a switch.

    • Part of the reason I bought this particular mower is so if my son wants to try and make money when he’s a bit older, he can easily and quickly.

      Most of the nieghorborhood lots aound here are small, and this mower would work perfectly.

  2. Thanks, this is all personal experience. After mowing just before a big storm was rolling in, I fell in love with the versatility of this lawn mower :)

  3. Toro, The Best Lawn Mower I’ve Ever Owned.

    I purchased my first Toro Lawn Mower used. It was a used mower that was sitting by the curb in a driveway for sale that I spotted while taking out the trash in Lompoc, California in 1982 (give or take a year) . It was the most durable and best built mower I’ve ever owned. It never failed to start. I would go into more details, but . . . it started reliably . . . it mowed (had lots of power) . . . nothing else to report.
    In 1989 we moves south to a condo in Oxnard, California and left it with my father in Santa Barbara. For the first couple of years I continued to use it on occasion when visiting.
    In 2001 We moved to Ohio. Unfortunately My Father had moved into an apartment and had given the Toro away. We inherited a mower with our new home, but still missed our old Toro.
    2006 my wife was unable to pull start our mower after fracturing her sternum in an automobile accident so we decided to purchase a key start self propelled mower. Based on our experience with our old Toro we exceeded our planned budget and purchased you Toro Key Start Personal Pace Recycler feeling that the key start combined with the Personal Pace technology would help her be able to get her exercise without aggravating her injury.
    Initially were were thrilled with the Toro. It started right up with the key (even when I tried the pull cord, it started on the first pull as advertised). We were very impressed with the Personal Pace Feature. We were disappointed that the mulching feature never worked as expected, with the mulcher attachment in place, the mower would bog down and stall.
    The “Guaranteed to start on the first or second pull” barely lasted the first year. A year and a half after purchase the mower bent a valve. Our local repair center, Outdoor Power World replaced the bent valve under warranty but to be honest the mower never ran smooth again. It ran like an automobile engine with a miss-firing cylinder. It was also much harder to start which continued to degenerate as time went on.
    Often, when the Toro would stall or run out of gas I would have to wait for it to cool down before It would start again.
    At the 2 and a half year point the self start became flaky. I purchased the Starter Pinion Assembly with the rubber cone since it was slipping. A few months later when I got around to install it I discovered that bolts had come loose and the gear teeth were all chewed up. In fact a large number of bolts on this Toro have come loose on their own. Something I have never had to deal with on this scale in 40 years of mowing.
    My three sons had given up trying to start the Toro out of frustration a long time ago. I usually managed to get it started though, but sometimes even after a lot of coaxing, priming, and up to 20-30 pulls of the cord I would have to wait an hour or so before trying again. So much for “Guaranteed to start on the first or second pull”.

    I see on your web site that your new recycler is “New and Improved” and that the “Guaranteed to Start” has been increased from 1 to 3 years. Great for your new customers, but it doesn’t help your old customers who are (if you pardon the expression) left holding the bag. However to be honest I am extremely reluctant to even consider spending ANOTHER $400 for another Toro product after this experience.

    Overall now Toro holds the top spot in two categories:

    #1 The best mower I’ve ever owned.
    #2 The worst mower I’ve ever owned.

    I went out this weekend and the Toro finally decided it had cut it’s last blade of grass and wouldn’t start despite all my coaxing. So I guess it’s only fitting that my last Toro ends up where I found my first Toro. . . . Out by the curb on trash day.

    Gregg Hazen

    Brunswick, Ohio 44212

    I sent the above letter to Toro.

    Below is their response and my return reply:

    5/26/2011

    Dear Gregg Hazen,

    Thank you for contacting The Toro Company. The Toro Company prides itself in its reputation for producing products of high quality and reliability. We appreciate your taking the time to inform us of the difficulties you have experienced with your Toro mower.

    For years, our engineering and manufacturing efforts have been directed toward a single goal, providing our customers with high quality, reliable, and time saving outdoor beautification products. Your comments are greatly appreciated, as one of our highest priorities at The Toro Company is helping with your outdoor maintenance needs. We appreciate you bringing the situation to our attention as we always encourage our customers to provide us with feedback.

    We sincerely regret the inconvenience this has caused you and appreciate your taking the time to notify us.

    We value you as a Toro customer. Please know that you have an open invitation to contact us at any time.

    Sincerely,

    Rhonda M
    Customer Care Representative

    Case Number 2166797

    My Reply:

    I just received your response to my letter about my experience with my Toro Key Start Personal Pace Recycler Mower.

    I am very disappointed, your reply is an obvious canned response if I have ever seen one. To be honest, your form letter response was so non specific, I wonder if my letter was even read in it’s entirety . I was hoping for at least some kind of dialog, or at least a personal email contact. You obviously must deal with a great multiple of dissatisfied customers with similar issues with their Toro Mowers to only warrant such a non personal response..

    Obviously, despite your claim of your high quality and reliability, my experience has been otherwise. I am sure it is no surprise that I have purchased my last Toro product. I do not plan to risk wasting another $400 on the oft chance Toro has improved their quality, especially when there is no hint from Toro that there ever was any quality issues in the past.

    I had been toying posting my experience with my Toro on multiple internet sites to warn others from making the same mistake I did, and your impersonal form letter reply has made up my mind. Be assured your response below will be included with my postings.

    Gregg Hazen

    Brunswick, Ohio 44212

    I have not received any more contact from Toro.

    What use to be an exceptional Mower manufacturer has become an unresponsive manufacturer of poor quality mowers. I did notice that Toro has switched from the Tecumseh engine to the Briggs & Stratton.

    Do not waste your money buying a Toro. And as you can see by Toro’s reply email, customer service is impersonal and virtually non-existent.

    Gregg Hazen
    Brunswick, Ohio

  4. Do not believe the web sites that give Toro mower a great review, they are usually selling them too. I got a Toro mower about 3 years ago and it is the biggest piece of junk I’ve ever purchased. Steer clear from these mowers, nothing but problems. Spend a few bucks more and go with honda, great mower.