Snapper Hi-Vac has poor cutting quality

amazer98July 11, 2009

I'm new to GardenWeb and this is my first post, so any feedback on my little problem would be very welcome.

A couple of weeks ago I bought a Snapper Hi-Vac walk-behind mower (P21875BV) with a decent B&S Intek engine. I like the mower OK, seems solid, and I like the fact that the transmission is mounted outside the mower deck, which makes it accessible.

I had to junk a 6 year old Honda Harmony that was in good shape except for the fact that the tranny had seized and fixing it would cost close to $300. Even the repair shop said it wasn't worth fixing since there was a lot of labor to replace the tranny since it was wedged in the corner of the mowing deck.

Anyways, my problem with the Snapper is that the grass cutting evenness is really bad. I've tried both the Ninja mulching blade, and more recently, the Hi-Vac blade using the bag.

The Ninja gave really bad cutting quality (a 1 on a scale of 10) and the Hi-Vac blade rates maybe a 3. The grass gets cut, but there seem to be many stray longer blades, and even those that are cut seem quite uneven. In contrast, the Honda cut beautifully (I used on the twin mulching blades with that mower).

I mow at medium speed and make sure that all wheels are adjusted identically. Even when I slow to medium-slow, the results are the same-- crummy! Lately, I've been mowing in the middle of the 7 height settings. I am dumbfounded as to why the Snapper cuts grass so poorly.

Are those of you that are using Snappers happy with your cut quality? Have you found non-Snapper blades that perform better? Maybe I could use the Honda blades on my Snapper-- would that work?

Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer!

Andy in NH

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Your not alone snappers have very poor cut i've tried every blade that snapper makes , still poor . Amost every mulcing mower i have tried has a poor cut quality. Recently i tried a friends new ariens lm21s this was the very best cut i have ever seen from a mulching mower, highest setting is 3.25 in.still cut great. I'am thinking this will be my next mower!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 5:02PM
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What kind of grass are you cutting? I have two Snapper mulchers and a Honda HRC216 (Microcut). The Snappers with Ninja blades cut and mulch as well as the Honda. If the deck is clean and the blade is sharp there should be no problems as long as you're not not trying to make the mower do things it isn't designed for.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 8:57PM
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I would think that the blades are only marginally sharpened by the factory, you might need to sharpen them yourself to ensure they're reaching their potential.

If you want to try another blade, try a Gator mulching blade. They are not as expensive as a Ninja, and they mulch almost as well. Again, they will need additional sharpening before installing.

I have a Snapper 21" self propelled and IMO even when I used a beat up Ninja blade the cut was decent.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 11:20PM
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Thanks for all your feedback.

I guess I could sharpen my blades, but they seemed to have a decent edge on them, as they were new. My Honda cut excellently, even at the end of a summer, when the blades would have certainly been duller than a new Snapper blade.

Our grass is more or less typical of what you see here in New England. It's not as nice a golf course grass, but the crabgrass isn't terrible either. It's a reasonable-looking lawn, but won't win any awards.

Essentially, lawnmowers are pretty simple, right? So long as the blade is decently sharp and level in the mower deck (and the wheels are adjusted correctly), every mower should perform identically, I would think. What other variables are there? Perhaps engine speed and blade design.

So, I can't think of a reason why a Snapper should mow badly and a Honda mow well... unless the Honda blade was better designed.

Please keep the comments coming!

Thanks, Andy

    Bookmark   July 12, 2009 at 1:55PM
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I have 2 snappers and both mow excellent. Not sure but there must be a reason for the problem. I have mowed with a Honda mower and found it was pretty good as well but not much different. The hydro drive on the honda was a bit strange but did perform well. Seemed to rob the ngine of power too. I would recommend having someone look at it. Show them the poor cut quality and any reputable dealer should be able to diagnose the issue.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 11:24AM
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er...are you sure the blade isn't on upsidedown? Pull the starter cord (ever so slowly) while the deck is tilted so you can observe the direction the blade spins. Pretty much everyone has slapped a blade the wrong way at least once (guilty ;)

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 1:03PM
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mooch91(central NJ - zone 6)

Snapper blades should have a channel that fits neatly around the hub. If you install it upside down, the blade won't be securely locked to the hub.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 5:57PM
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I don't think I installed the blade the wrong way. I checked out the two options and one way (the channel aligned with the hub) clearly made the most sense.

Plus, if I put the blade in upside down, then it wouldn't bag at all, right? I imagine that the draft would force the clippings into the ground instead of up through the chute.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2009 at 4:11PM
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I'm wondering if the blades might be flawed?Try a set of new blades and I bet the problem goes away

    Bookmark   July 16, 2009 at 4:29PM
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I have purchased 4 Hi-Vac Snappers in over 40 years of mowing lawns.......

NO Problems what so ever!

Going to buy a P2170B next week.


    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 1:55PM
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If you put the blades on upside-down, then you would have a fly-mo, or a machine that puts the grass on, instead of cutting it off! :o) rj

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 9:21PM
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i put a razor edge on my ninja blade sharpen every 3 cuts to get the best cut from any mower. make sure you balance it also.i never liked the factory edge on a new blade any how. it always left grass standing. always mulch or bag in the slowest speed it works better. never cut more than 1/3 of the grass blade at any time.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2011 at 3:57PM
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If the blade was on upside down you would still have some lift but the cut would suck. The upward sweep end would now be sweeping downward but would be on the leading edge. This would still allow some measure of lift but a terribly poor cutting edge. It would only be a flymo if it was sweeping down on the trailing edge.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 10:21AM
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I would return the Hi-Vac if you can. I had a similar experience with the Hi-Vac RER. Many people on here rave about them but the cut quality couldn't be any worse...especially when mulching.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2011 at 9:33PM
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Anyone that thinks Snapper Hi-Vacs (either walk behind or rider) have a poor quality cut has a screw loose. These are among the best mowers on the market.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2011 at 9:54PM
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I fought this for years with my SNAPPER, it was maintenance related, REMEDY: under the engine there is an area for air movement from under the deck KEEP THIS AREA UNCLOGGED AND KEEP THE NINJA BLADE SHARP.

No more stragglers also helps to cut in opposite directions on each swath. Try it it worked for us. Dave L.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 7:29AM
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I just bought a brand new Snapper mower to cut my St Augustine. What a disappointment! I replaced a Honda mower that I had for nearly 20 years and that mower by far out performed this Snapper. It seems like no matter how slow I go I am left with an uneven cut and those dreaded stragglers.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 10:49AM
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I have a Snapper High Vac I bought in 1993. It's still running fine and I love the thing. I've always been a fan of Snapper mowers.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 10:55AM
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I have two Snappers, one that I bought, another that I inherited from my Dad. Love the mowers, but good luck with Snapper customer "service" - the brand has fallen on hard times after being bought out a couple of times.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 7:59AM
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I bought a Snapper mower about seven years ago and used it for for five years. What an awful for five years of mowing! It never cut the grass cleanly. Sure, the grass would be shorter after I mowed it, but it always had a very ragged look to it. Plus the mower, which was one of their higher end mowers and cost about $700, weighed a ton and was difficult to maneuver.

Every time I let go of it while mowing, the motor would turn off, and it required a hard pull to restart. I finally got rid of it, and bought a Toro. The Toro is so much better in every single way.

The Toro cuts very cleanly, it mulches, and starts easily. The model I got lets you walk away from it and the engine will Continue running, even though the clutch disengages the plates for safety. Plus it has a sensor so the motor goes faster if you walk faster ��" you don't need to actually change the gears or anything.

If I could use another metaphor: the snapper is an overweight you go, and the Toro is a BMW. Except the twirl doesn't cost as much is a BMW it actually cost less than the snapper! Clearly the new snappers or a different animal from the older ones, as many owners of older model snapper seem to love them. But the new Snappers suck badly.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 8:10AM
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