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Consumer Reports Test Criteria

Posted by newhomeowner_2010 Wisconsin (My Page) on
Mon, Mar 8, 10 at 17:34

I'm curious to know what other people's definitions are regarding the criteria that ConsumerReports uses every year to rate the "best" mowers in the market.

To me these seem like subjective opinions and I'd like to see what other people think. I would like to know how YOU would define cutting quality regarding:

Evenness
Mulching
Bagging
Side Discharge
Handling
Ease of use

Thank you to all that respond.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Consumer Reports Test Criteria

  • Posted by canguy British Columbia (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 8, 10 at 21:05

CR is a guide based on a random sample of owners opinions, it is in no way a definitive guide as to which one to buy. I was in retail OPE sales and just shook my head when the uninformed consumer came in clutching his copy and announced " I want this one cuz CR sez it's the BEST."
Our lawn conditions here in the pacific north west are quite different from the American mid west which are different from the deep south. No on mower is best in such differences.


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RE: Consumer Reports Test Criteria

Many years ago I quite paying attention to CR. My boss took it and passed it along to me. Everything we had was junk according to them but we were getting good service from them and were well satisfied.

I just now subscribed for the first time because of a special "foot in the door" offer and I was curious what it had to say about cars and several other items. A quick check of their overall gasoline mileage on practically everything I know about is considerably off, unless you use them as taxis in NY City. they really trashed the Chrysler minivans, not only for interiors, which I probably would agree with, but ride, handling, reliability, mileage, everything. Same to a lessor degree with most USA brands, Including the Buick Pk. Ave. which we happen to have owned several of and still would if they had not been discontinued.

Now I know bunch are going to say these are a compilation of owner reports. Again, I suspect they all lived in NY City or Chicago.

I would just use it skeptically as a guide, not as an authority.

Walt Conner


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RE: Consumer Reports Test Criteria

The tests in Consumer Reports are about as objective as automobile tests in Motor Trend, camera tests on DPReview or messages on Lawn Mowers Forum. They are ultimately opinions that may contain a few numbers some of which come from the manufacturer. CR goes one step further than most test magazines in that they provide the experience of consumers for certain products. CR is a reasonable resource for those of us who do not have in-depth knowlege about lawn mowers, refrigerators, stoves, etc.

In general most consumers who follow CR advice will come away with a reasonably priced product that will serve them well. Most of consumers are not interested in paying a premium for the absolute best product when somehting more middle of the road will serve the purpose.


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RE: Consumer Reports Test Criteria

Consumer Reports has long been in love with Toyota cars. I know many people who've bought a Toyota "because Consumer Reports said it was best." Now look at the mess Toyota is in. So much for trusting CR.

As others have said, though, if you don't know anything about some item CR tests, the test results can be a valuable resource. But I would argue you're always going to be better off educating yourself in a more in-depth way and then making a decision on your own, rather than just trusting what CR says.

In response to the original question, I do think the CR criteria are mostly useful. They would probably be MORE useful if they tested mowers in the condition most mowers are in after 2 or 4 years -- dull blade, loose belt driving the wheels, etc.


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RE: Consumer Reports Test Criteria

chesapeakebeach, You believe the media hype about the Toyota "mess". Whatever...I have a Toyota that is currently in the recall but so what. I remember when Chevrolet Impalas would break the motor mounts and stick the throttle open. Nobody freaked out back then. This latest Prius debacle on the news shows this guy talking about his Prius zooming up to about 90mph. When asked if he turned the key off or even placed the car in neutral his response was I had both hands on the wheel at such a dangerous high speed. Well he managed to dial 911 on a cell phone. He looked like a scammer to me.
Anyway, CR tests of many items is way off base. They place mtd or other cheapo brands right up there with good stuff never considering the fact that real world users like us have seen mtds and other cheapos fall apart in a year. They just don't get it. Other times when I actually am researching something they just don't test the brand I want to read about or the model. I rarely get much good info from them. More often the info is useless.


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RE: Consumer Reports Test Criteria

"Consumer Reports has long been in love with Toyota cars. I know many people who've bought a Toyota "because Consumer Reports said it was best." Now look at the mess Toyota is in. So much for trusting CR."

There have been literally decades of Toyota overwhelming the competition with reliable well made cars. Their cars commanded a premium on the new and used market as a result. That reputation had nothing to do with well-deserved glowing reviews in CR but was based on the experience of innumerable consumers who bought the cars and had a good experience.

CR could no more be in a place to discover something like the sudden acceleration of a few Toyota cars than it would have been with a similar problem in the Audi 5000. It remains to be seen whether this is a real automotive problem or a problem with a few car owners mixed in with a good dose of group hysteria.


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RE: Consumer Reports Test Criteria

"He looked like a scammer to me."

And the lady whose Prius went out of control and ran into the stone wall in NY yesterday?

Walt Conner


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RE: Consumer Reports Test Criteria

"And the lady whose Prius went out of control and ran into the stone wall in NY yesterday?"

I'm reminded of all the hysteria surrounding the Audi 5000 and the supposed sudden acceleration that mysteriously caused several wrecks. A perfectly good car was killed and it was only afterward that the cause was discovered. Some inexperienced or poorly trained drivers thought they were pressing the brake when they hit the gas pedal. A mandatory Park-Brake-Interlock device relieved many drivers of their responsibility for being familiar with their cars.

Until we know exactly what caused "the lady whose Prius went out of control" to run into a stone wall in NY yesterday all we know is that an accident happened. We all know single driver accidents happen all of the time. What we have now is group hysteria and a lot of media attention.
What we don't know are the facts about the real cause of the accident.


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RE: Consumer Reports Test Criteria

Cr loved not only Toyota but Honda, Nissan and they are starting to love Hyndai too..they love what works and what is reported to be trouble free. Toyota will get thru this...human nature is to cut down the great ones...be them Sports Figures, Actors or even car makers...that why Toyota is getting hacked away at now. My favorite event lately was the local GM dealer offering an extra $1000 on a Toyota trade towrds one of their offering. Right under the ad was an artcile on GM recalling 1.2M cars for some sort of steering issue. Whne GM or Dodge has a recall ists just another day...when Toyota or Honda has one its an event. I'll stick with Toyota...


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RE: Consumer Reports Test Criteria

"We all know single driver accidents happen all of the time. What we have now is group hysteria and a lot of media attention.
What we don't know are the facts about the real cause of the accident"

Keep your head under the pillow if you wish, might want to check the Toyota engineer's statement today about Toyota knowing they had a problem but hiding it.

He is probably just another "scammer" though.

Walt Conner


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RE: Consumer Reports Test Criteria

Walt, Most of the time you make sense. Sometimes you just come across as a mean old guy with nothing to do but pick apart other people's statements. If you can't see that the Prius guy was a moron with an agenda then you have your head under a pillow. When asked why he didn't turn the car off or put the car in neutral he said he was afraid the car would flip over....but he could call 911. I think a basic IQ test should be mandatory for a driver's license.


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RE: Consumer Reports Test Criteria

Always nice to hear from you rdaystrom, you have always had such a warm and reasoned personality.

Sorry about your Toyota.

Walt Conner


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RE: Consumer Reports Test Criteria

"Keep your head under the pillow if you wish, might want to check the Toyota engineer's statement today about Toyota knowing they had a problem but hiding it. "

Which Toyota engineer made the statement, what did he say and where was it reported on March 11. I searched several news sources and could find testimony given on the hill by a Toyota engineer on March 2.

To date there has been no cause of these sudden acceleration instances put forth. Only rumnor and speculation which as we all know puts those of us with an overactive imagination into overdrive. In how many other instances have we seen crowd hysteria lead otherwise rational people astray? (hint: it's a very long list that goes back centuries)


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RE: Consumer Reports Test Criteria

" Only rumor and speculation which as we all know puts those of us with an overactive imagination into overdrive."

And the same applies to people who say these people reported as having trouble are "scammers". AS several have already said, the facts are not out yet.

As to who, what, when, engineer's pettigree, etc, it was on TV yesterday and I certainly am not going to try to track it down.

By the way, an article on another sites says that the incar computer will not allow Prius to be shifted into neutral at high speed with throttle at full acceleration because if done accidentally it would blow the engine.

Walt Conner


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RE: Consumer Reports Test Criteria

" Only rumor and speculation which as we all know puts those of us with an overactive imagination into overdrive."
And the same applies to people who say these people reported as having trouble are "scammers". AS several have already said, the facts are not out yet. "

I agree - the facts are not out. And statements like: "Keep your head under the pillow if you wish, might want to check the Toyota engineer's statement today about Toyota knowing they had a problem but hiding it." are nothing but unfounded rumors that do little more than feed the already high level of crowd hysteria.

"As to who, what, when, engineer's pettigree, etc, it was on TV yesterday and I certainly am not going to try to track it down."
So, once again we have unsupported statements being bandied about as though they have a shred of fact in them.

"By the way, an article on another sites says that the incar computer will not allow Prius to be shifted into neutral at high speed with throttle at full acceleration because if done accidentally it would blow the engine."

And again - another unfounded rumor. Only Toyota can make a credible statement about how a car computer functions at the extreme - not some second hand statement from some unnamed website that can't be found.


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RE: Consumer Reports Test Criteria

roadbike

You need to lighten up and take a deep breath, unless this is stepping on your toes.

Walt Conner


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RE: Consumer Reports Test Criteria

Walt, You need to lighten up.
Roadbike, I agree with everything you said.


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RE: Consumer Reports Test Criteria

rdaystrom "Roadbike, I agree with everything you said."

Surprise, surprise, rdaystrom , you know where you can go and you won't need a coat.

State of Cal. filed a lawsuit today charging Toyota with KNOWLINGLY selling hundreds (thousands?) of vehicles with faulty accelerator systems.

Probably just a scam though.

Walt Conner


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RE: Consumer Reports Test Criteria

Walt, Have you ever had an original thought? Almost all your replies just quote someone else and then try to pick it apart. It's funny that my replies got you so mad you had to resort to telling me to go to h*ll just for agreement with roadbike. Hey I've got an idea. Why don't you quote this post and comment on it...even better come up with a thought of your own.


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RE: Consumer Reports Test Criteria

Hey rdaystrom, what is that on your nose? Oh, I see, that happens to baby elephants too. What makes you think I am mad? I am just tired of taking your crape over the years and from now on anything you dish out, you are going to get back in spades.

"It's funny that my replies got you so mad you had to resort to telling me to go to h*ll "

You seem to have a short memory, it was you who started the where to go business, back when I had the utmost respect for you.

Walt Conner


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RE: Consumer Reports Test Criteria

Walt / Ray : The Special Olympic Ceremony is just Starting lets all try to get along in Good Faith Gentlemen ! Take a Deep Breath Guys ! It's just trivia , check out the Paralympic Athletes if you want to see what is Really Important ! Good Debate Mostly Though Dudes ! :)


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RE: Consumer Reports Test Criteria

Yah, I don't have any more time to play now anyway but get along? I am tired of trying that.

Walt Conner


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RE: Consumer Reports Test Criteria

Yeah it's tough not getting Personal especially when you have strong convictions within your opinion . Been there done that lol . Ray obviously has very Strong Opinions ,
so do I at Times ! Sometimes even misplaced , however soon or later reality seeps in and what is important is that we all share our opinions in a reasonable manner . There is nothing wrong with agreeing to disagree it known as compromising . As far as the Debate on Consumer Reports , my two cents mirror some of the previous forum members . At Best they are Subjective . The give a basis for future thought and comparison testing by potential buyers like you and I who will use a little common sense and make their own informed opinion prior to purchasing , I would never purchase a product solely on the view point of a Single Consumer Report . To many variables across the Country to narrow down one product as Superior in all areas . Whats Great in Georgia probably won't cut it in Fairbanks (for long) lol . But anyway I think the OP has seen how fair reaching and unique our collective opinions are on Consumer Reports...T .


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RE: Consumer Reports Test Criteria

I was suspect of the Prius driver. He seemed fake to me. Now the truth is coming out. Here's a quote from a follow up federal investigation......"During and after the incident, Mr. Sikes said he was using heavy pressure on his brake pedal at high speeds but the investigation of the vehicle, carried out jointly by safety officials from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Toyota engineers, didn't find signs the brakes had been applied at full force at high speeds over a sustained period of time, the three people familiar with the investigation said.".......


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RE: Consumer Reports Test Criteria

ewalk, That was a reasonable answer. Wow....I don't know what to say...I agree with you. Ouch that hurt....just kidding. Anyway, Walt can't stand me and I know that. It doesn't bother me. I don't "bow and scrap" to him just because he is an old fa *t.He loves to take quotes out of other peoples messages and make cute little cutting replies. When I disagree with him he usually just blows up like an atom bomb. Then he gets all hurt like a puppy, puts his tale between his legs, and stays away for a long time. I suspect he will do that now. ..............Back to Consumer Reports...what I don't like is how junk can be rated side by side with known good stuff. Here's a hypothetical....MTD mower gets a great rating...CR's "Best Buy" or whatever, blah blah blah. Everyone thinks it is great and goes in and buys one... Toro on the other hand gets a somewhat lower rating, almost bottom of the list....OK, my point is this. Toro will still be running and mowing in ten years. After a few years the MTD transmission will go out, the handle will break off, the deck will crack, the wheels will bend out, and the deck will rust through. The Toro company has over the years improved on these issues and it will still be a good mower. The quality issues don't come out instantly and they don't make headlines. Real world owners have mowers that are several years or many years old. In almost every case the cheaper throw away brands will be history and the better quality brands will still be there. Consumer reports misses much of that. Instead they rate something high because the bagger was a little easier to use or the rope starter was more "ergonomic". It doesn't matter that a better mower's deck is thicker metal or the wheels are better and won't fall off. That stuff doesn't come into play in there evaluations.


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RE: Consumer Reports Test Criteria

"Walt can't stand me and I know that. It doesn't bother me. I don't "bow and scrap" to him just because he is an old fa *t.He loves to take quotes out of other peoples messages and make cute little cutting replies. When I disagree with him he usually just blows up like an atom bomb. Then he gets all hurt like a puppy, puts his tale between his legs, and stays away for a long time. I suspect he will do that now"

Well sonny, you got another guess coming. Now you guys can see what I mean about this back stabber. Name calling etc. I was finished but if you would like to continue, have at it.

I did withdraw out of respect at one time but I have no more respect left for this "thing".

Walt Conner


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RE: Consumer Reports Test Criteria

Ray: I'am happy we agree ! Don't have to agree next time , if it's a Biggy let me know in a Constructive Manner . I'am usually rather receptive to postive criticism . Unfortunately we had a Negative Session while I was using the Internet and various Forums as a Release , and in our case a Non Productive One at that ! Hopefully that is all behind us , I Hope the same can be said for You and Walt. I believe you said yourself that Normally you concur with his Posts and that they are reasonable , I think that probably is a fair assertion of what we all normally can expect. Back in the Day normal Management Meetings at Best could only expect a Consensus of Opinion not Concurrence of 100% Nature. Anyhow I think you both have on occasion gone over the line as we all have , if were Honest with ourselves . Hate is a Pretty Strong Word for People we Really Don't even Know lol . I have had time since returning to the Forum from Vancover to look back in numerous Threads and has seen Valuable Posts by you both ! I hope you both can find common ground and move on Dudes...I think you both Enjoy the Forum usually , so lets all Enjoy it Together..T .


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RE: Consumer Reports Test Criteria

As far as I can determine, the Toyota gas-pedal problem was a simple issue, and was dealt with in record time, as I would have expected of Toyota. It wasn't the biggest or worst recall in history and even after this mess Toyota aren't the worst company for recalls - I think they're about 15th on the list! But somehow this issue caught the imagination of the media.

When the gas-pedal problem was discussed on local radio here, some taxi drivers phoned in and said "If you have time, put your toe under the gas pedal and pull it up. If not, press the clutch in. Press the brake pedal. Shift into neutral." They didn't seem unduly panicked.

As for the Prius.... Toyota says the issue was one of software and of a feeling of uneven application of the brakes under certain conditions. It was NEVER an issue of brake failure and anybody who says his brakes wouldn't apply is talking about something entirely different OR is a scammer as alleged above.


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RE: Consumer Reports Test Criteria

Wally my boy... Yes, you are right - I do not post every day. I have a life that extends beyond lawnmowers. You might want to look outside at the sunshine every once in a while - it would help even out your perpetually dour disposition. At times you come across as an unfunny version of the Walter Matthau character in Grumpy Old Men. Maybe you have been fidling with mowers for too many years.

I have the feeling that your world rarely extends to reading newspapers. Otherwise you would not use the filing of a lawsuit by the state of california as presumptive evidence of Toyota negligently producing cars with defects and Toyota having covered up those problems. I know this is a lot to throw at you at one time so I'll keep it simple. This is just the filing of a suit. It has not gone through pre-trial discovery let alone the trial itself and has a long long ways to go.

Wally, you are adept at copying snippets of information from here and there and remembering small pieces of a news broadcast. But you do not take the time to understand a topic. Instead you parrot back simple thoughts that come to mind - almost a stream of consciousness. Your unfortunate posts do little more than perpetuate the crowd madness surrounding this topic.


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RE: Consumer Reports Test Criteria

roadbike. first off my mane is not Wally, second, In none of my posts will you find where I made any claim about whether any charges for or against Toyota were true and even in the post where little elephant got so worked up, I made no claim one way or the other and you are making the same mistake by jumping to conclusions. Your condescension is enough to make a maggot upchuck.

Now let me ask you, just what is the best way to reference a part of a post other than clip and past it? I think you will find that is what the function on the computer is for.

Now twice I have been ready to let this drop but if you guys want to continue the BS, I am more than willing to oblige.

Also in none of my posts will you find where I have called anyone by a disparaging name such as has been used against my nor slurred them as you are now doing. I do now have a nick name for one which shouldn't be hard to figure out.

As I said before, if you want to continue, I will certainly oblige.

Walt Conner


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RE: Consumer Reports Test Criteria

Now that I have your undivided attention, you would do all of us a favor by thinking about how to make the things you copy/paste believable. If you are going to continue to deliver sensational quotations please provide the source. Otherwise your posts will continue to be read by others as impossible sensationalism.

Which engineer made the admission, who proved the Toyota coud not be taken out of gear under hard acceleration, etc. I don't remember doesn't cut it as an answer.


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RE: Consumer Reports Test Criteria

Hi,

I didn't intend for this to turn into a Toyota dispute. I honestly would like people's opinions about quality of cut of lawn mowers regarding:

Evenness
Mulching
Bagging
Side Discharge
Handling
Ease of use

Please don't respond anymore unless you address my question. Thanks!


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RE: Consumer Reports Test Criteria

Assumptions:
1. The test lawn is cut and bagged on a consistent basis.
2. Time of year is June (or some other month when grass is vigorous.)
3. Mowers are set to the same blade height above grass.
4. Test grass is bluegrass or some other variety not requiring special treatment and is dry.
5. Power mowers are tested separately from push mowers.
6. Power mowers are operated at 3/4 maximum speed.

Evenness - The cut should should leave no visible missed blades, should give clean cuts and should appear flat - no low and high side.
Mulching - No windrows on a lawn that was cut 1 week prior.
Bagging - Should fill a bag completely with 1 week old grass without choking or visibly spitting cut blades.
Side Discharge
Handling - Should engage and disengage drive easily, back up and turn easily.
Ease of use - Should start on the second pull from cold. Control of speed, power and blade should be accomplished with a minimum of fuss.

Most of the test results are measured by opinion. But if you have three experienced testers then a consensus opion should be meaningful.


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RE: Consumer Reports Test Criteria

Sorry Newhomeowner ! I think we all got kinda Side Tracked lol . As for your information Request ! Well I'm, pretty Well a Farmer as far as lawns go ! If I had my way I would just Cut and Bale . Anyway I think Roadbike did more than a adequate job on the Quality Assurance of Cut and Design Aspects (way over my head) but very Concise RB ! On the more Serious Side you can't go wrong as far as Manufacturers are concerned with Honda , Snapper , Toro , Lawn-Boy , Cub-Cadet . All are High Quality Units. Then you have White , Mtd , Poulan , Husqvarna , etc or Sears , K-Mart , Costco , Wal-Mart , Home Depot , Canadian Tire (Box Store Series) . Personally I like the walk behind Models (Small Acreage) Mulching Models (Hate Raking) Options on Self Propelled are Front Wheel Drive Vs Rear Wheel , I can only attest to front Wheel that I have owned (Lawn-boy and Sears) were ok just lift the front when you wished , did not have to hit the Selector Knob to disable the Self Propelled Mode. I realize that there are down sides to Front Wheel Drive also . As far as Riding Units I will leave that to Individuals with far greater experience and working knowledge , but due to their substantial cost , would suggest you do your homework (test rides , demonstrations) hands on to ensure you get what you need and not what the Salesman wanted to Sell You Dude ... T .

P.S. I'am out off here have at it Bro's :)


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RE: Consumer Reports Test Criteria

Well, Walt, now you have a nemesis like mine! But, i think the explosive guy ran out of epithets.
And, thats the trouble with too much education--they forget to be nice to others, or how to talk to others without going off the deep end! I'm on your side, Walt!
Rusty Jones


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RE: Consumer Reports Test Criteria

I wasn't entirely serious with my list - my way of saying that as much as you make a product test appear to precise and measurable, it is ultimately an opinion.

Ewalk said: "On the more Serious Side you can't go wrong as far as Manufacturers are concerned with Honda , Snapper , Toro , Lawn-Boy , Cub-Cadet . All are High Quality Units. Then you have White , Mtd , Poulan , Husqvarna , etc or Sears , K-Mart , Costco , Wal-Mart , Home Depot , Canadian Tire (Box Store Series)"

You hit the nail on the head! If you buy a mower from one of the first tier major brands you listed then you will have a well designed machine for that price. Mowers made by those companies for Home Depot, Lowes, etc., will cost less and certain non-engine features won't last quite as long as on a model sold only at dealers.

It's easy to over-analyze the purchase of something like a lawn mower. For most of us homeowners a mid-price range mower from one of the big brands will turn long blades of grass into short ones and last a couple of decades with regular maintenance.


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Hey, thanks Rusty. Don't worry, I can handle them. Notice the slurs and the age references, personal attacks, at least we know WE have lived this long, they may not be so lucky. Also the last couple of posts weren't even coherent, taking bits of some posts and mixing with BS of their own.

Walt Conner


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Roadbike ; I really was not being facetious ! In my opinion you did a Great Job of outlining the Op's Basic
Request . I just threw out my Personal Opinion on Walk Behind Mower Manufacturers . I also believe you have a very prevalent point as to Eg: Honda Engine on another Box Store Mower or Power Washer for that Matter. You may have their Engine but not the Rest of their Quality Package as you have quite clearly identified !

P.S. Walt / Rusty : What you Oldies but Goodies up To ? Listen to me Talking about being Old Roflmbo...I guess I should take a Good Look in the Mirror before Casting any Stone's..Eh !


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I use Consumer Reports as a reference source...not the 'last word" on any purchase. CR has some good stuff in it, particularly the reliability data on cars and appliances.


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RE: Consumer Reports Test Criteria

It certainly would be interesting to read the details of how CR tests lawn mowers.

With machines like lawn mowers I've found that going upscale a bit results in a better product that with maintenance will last. I opted to go for a Toro Super Recycler rather than the Recycler series sold at Home Depot. There are several small ways in which it is better built and I have every hope that it will last 30 years.


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RE: Consumer Reports Test Criteria

Currant 2010 Consumer' reports Buying Guide really does not have anything worth reading on push nor riding mowers. It indicates last in-depth test was May 2009 and may describe their testing methods. This issue is probably available at your local library.

When all is said and done, newhomeowner_2010's going to have to rely on his own good judgement after evaluating his needs, experiences of family, friends and associates. The dealership customer relation for a premium rated mower, may make that brand not desirable there.

Walt Conner


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RE: Consumer Reports Test Criteria

Walt - Good comments. My experiences with a dealer led me to buy the Super Recycler rather than the Recycler. The price difference was about $200.00 which is insignificant when seen over the 3 decade useful life of this mower.

After looking at the mowers offered by Home Depot I decided to visit the local Toro dealer. There I was able to actually try the controls on Super Recycler with the engine running. I also got answers to questions that led me to move up from a mid-level to an upper-mid level mower.


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