2012 Consumer Reports Updates Lawn Mower & Tractor Buying Guide

From: Rural Lifestyle Dealer

June 4, 2012 — Consumer Reports has updated its “Lawn Mower & Tractor Buying Guide” for the 2012 season. You can find full details by visiting their website here.

Here’s a summary of some of the key points from the report. First, the overview:

2012 Consumer Reports Updates Lawn Mower & Tractor Buying Guide 1

Husqvarna’s new YTH21K46

“Our latest tests confirm that more horsepower doesn’t necessarily mean higher-quality mowing. Mower manufacturers have swapped horsepower numbers for engine-size and torque specifications, but even those don’t guarantee better results. Our advice: Check ourRatings (available to Consumer Reports subscribers) for top performers.

“Even if you don’t plan to shop for a mower, you could end up doing so if you own an older model and it breaks. The latest data from the Consumer Reports National Research Center show that push mowers usually aren’t worth fixing after four years and self-propelled mowers after five years. Older tractors might be worth repairing, but getting them to and from the shop can add expense.”

Consumer Reports’ tests of 116 tractors, mowers and riders showed:

“John Deere’s X310, $4,000, and Cub Cadet’s LGTX1050, $2,700, are part of a new breed of lawn tractors with power steering and cushy seats. Smooth mulching and bagging helped both score well, although a poor showing in our brand-reliability surveys kept the capable Cub Cadet off the magazine’s list of winners.

Paul’s Note: The X310 is only available through John Deere Dealers. The Cub Cadet LGTX1050 has been discontinued at Home Depot.  Check your local dealer for availability.

“A better value: Husqvarna’s new YTH21K46, $1,600. A 46-inch deck speeds mowing over narrower models without requiring three blades, which compromise cut quality.

Paul’s Note: Lowes and Biuld.com carry the YTH2K46 for around $1600.  You can also buy the Craftsman Model 28852 which has the same deck and features Craftsman’s exclusive turn-tight steering and long life Platinum Briggs & Stratton engines for around $1500.

“Consumer Reports also found some bargains among self-propelled gas mowers. The best Honda and Toro models are now priced about the same, and include Honda’s new HRR216VKA, $400. But Toro has the edge when it comes to features; its Recycler 20333 costs the same but adds a blade-brake clutch that stops the blade rather than the engine if you step away to clear a rock or branch from its path.”

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Paul SikkemaSkip Mielwocki Recent comment authors
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Skip Mielwocki

Paul, as I have said, many many times, I love your articles and reviews.

I finally took the plunge and purchased a 2012 Cub Cadet 1046 KW, with 21 hp Kawasaki Engine. I purchased the 46 inch vs the 42 based upon all of your recommendations. I simply love this riding tractor. My lawn now looks like the best pro’s have been in charge of it.

What type of snow remover would you recommend for my 1046?

Thank you and stay well and keep up the excellent work that you do.


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