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Craftsman mowers... why all the hate?

Posted by lawncadet Louisville, KY (My Page) on
Wed, May 28, 08 at 3:56

Okay, so my Lawn Boy 10210 finally was declared dead after 15 years of use. No biggie, I still have a 10313 and a 10424 to quench my Lawn Boy desires. However, after leaving the repair shop that dealt me all the bad news about my 10210, I realized that although I don't really need to replace it... I now only have 2 mowers instead of my usual stock of three! Kind of ridiculous, but I really like using different machines... keeps it interesting! So, on the way home I stopped by Sears and found a returned Craftsman push mower with a Briggs 6.25 engine on it for 120.00. I pulled the trigger if only for the motor! Anyway, I came home and mowed with it immediately and I was quite impressed with the power and mulching performance. So, my question is why all the hate on Craftsman products? I have one of their trimmers, blowers, tillers, and hedge trimmers and they have all been excellent equipment. I know they aren't particularly pro commercial grade stuff, but the mower I got today seems sturdy enough. Now, I probably won't get 15 years out of it like I did my Lawn Boy but I see no reason not to expect a long life from this mower. I believe there may be a bit of mower snobbery going on here! I honestly got as good a cut and mulching performance with this Craftsman than I have any of my Lawn Boys. Don't get me wrong, I am a sucker for those little green machines, but I was happily pleased with this little Craftsman's performance.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Craftsman mowers... why all the hate?

Sounds like somebody has nothing better to do than "TROLL"!


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RE: Craftsman mowers... why all the hate?

Having just purchased a Toro SR4 after 6 years with a craftsman, I can easily make a comparison.

The Craftsman could not cut a full swath without leaving a trail of green lumps even when using the side discharge. Trying to mulch with it was a complete waste of time.

The welds on the discharge chute broke after about 4 years so everything shot back and hit whoever was pushing.

The wheel adjustments are so poorly engineered that even a big man has to use 2 hands to adjust cutting height.

The deck is flimsy. Within 2 years the front wheels were breaking off. I had to get large washers to strengthen the wheel assemblies. This was only a temporary fix.

It constantly leaked oil and had to be refilled every time I used it. There is a giant stain on my shed floor.

My new Toro easily mulches through the same grass the Craftsman could not cut cleanly. It is easy to use, easy to adjust and much quieter.


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RE: Craftsman mowers... why all the hate?

Did you think it wouldn't work when it was new? The history of my Craftsman walk behind mower was similar to harryshoe's above. Let's see...The handle itself broke, the rear wheel hubs broke, the adjusters got loose, the deck splayed out like a Hippo sat on it, the recoil starter stuck, the handle mounts broke, it wouldn't cut evenly, it was loud, it has a lousy air filter on it. Other than that it was quite nice....


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RE: Craftsman mowers... why all the hate?

lawncadet; Hope you didn't trash the remains of your 10201. Why not take it apart and 'part it out'? Even the engine is worth something to somebody who will rebuild the bottom end.


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RE: Craftsman mowers... why all the hate?

Thanks for the Troll accusation, nothing better than people complaining about a legitimate discussion about a lawn mower on a lawn mower FORUM.

Wow, I am sorry you guys have had so much trouble with them. I have two family members with close to ten years use on their Craftsmans. I can see that the deck and wheel assemblies don't compare to my Lawn Boys, but come on... I paid $120.00 for this thing! I am betting I will get my money's worth out of it!
Saxman - I gave it to a buddy that has hope of getting it going someday. I should have kept it and did the Ebay thing but was kind of ready to let it go and maybe the buddy will get it going again!


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RE: mulching performance

rdaystrom - I was absolutely certain it would work when new. However, I do believe things such as quality of cut and mulching performance can be evaluated after one mowing.

I am not trying to convince anyone here that these are the best mowers out there. It just seems that for the average person, these things may be more than acceptable


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RE: Craftsman mowers... why all the hate?

Well, I'd like to put my two cents in here. I've had three Craftsmans in my 10 years of homeownership. The first was an old silver 20" from the early 80's. It was a handme down and got me through my first year till it quit. My second one was from 1999, green, 3 in one with a 6 hp Briggs. It's still running somewhere, I sold it because we have a number of hills and the self propelled was a good way to go. I bought a brand new 7 hp Briggs 21" high tunnel in "03. After only 5 years the deck is rusting out all over the place. It does an ok job, but we have a really thick lawn and it misses a lot of spots for mulching. Or leaves clumps. I'm buying a Gator blade to try, but from what I've read they work great on Tractors when there's more than one blade. I'm curently thinking about purchasing a brand new SR4 Toro, if we can swing it. (We also probably need a new range.) I've had a few problems with this 7 hp Craftsman besides the rust, it was missing a shim in the one rear wheel and the little balls that engage the gear wore out almost imidiately, the original carb couldn't keep the welch plugs in so I got a new one, and it still doesn't run quite right. (That's more on Briggs than Craftsman). I still can't help but think that Briggs has two differnt assembly lines, one for good machines like Toro, one for chaper machines like from Sears. I don't know. It's not a horrible mower, the first year or two I had it I was very happy with it. Now, not so much. Dave


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RE: Craftsman mowers... why all the hate?

Ignore the trollish comments about Trolls - you are asking a valid question. Indeed the same question could be asked about Murray, Troy and other moderately priced mahcines.

For $120.00 you got a good deal - a working lawn mower. Sears mowers are in my experience decent machines given their price range. Not surprisingly as a group they are a couple of notches below the Toro SR and other similarly featured and priced mowers. They do a passable cutting job and their non-motor components will not wear as long as a more expensive machine.

There is an tendency for some of us to unfairly assume moderately priced mowers should perform at the same level as top-of-the-line machines. That's unfortunate because new forum members looking for information on inexpensive mowers will be given wrong information.

Lawnboy mowers seem to be exempt from criticism on the forum and yet they have the reputation for requiring more owner intervention to keep running than most mowers with 4 stroke engines.


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RE: Craftsman mowers... why all the hate?

Roadbike,
I agree with you except that I want the lawn to look nice right after I cut it. If there are clumps of grass everywhere, my yard and gardens don't please me. The beds are the picture and the lawn is the frame around it.

Even if I took the time to rake all the clumps, the lawn didn't look great as the rake pulled up all the grass which wasn't cut evenly.


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RE: Craftsman mowers... why all the hate?

Seems like much of the criticism aimed at Craftsman lawnmowers really has to do with the shortcomings of Briggs & Stratton engines. I don't like them, either. My present lawnmower is a Craftsman with the Honda 160 GCV engine. I bought it in 2000 when my previous Craftsman, about 5 years old, needed a new carburetor. I gave it to one of my sons, who got it fixed and is still using it. It is now about 13 years old.

My Craftsman with the Honda engine now has almost 500 hours on it. I have been putting about 65 hours a year on it. (I have an hour meter on it). It is a front wheel drive, and I paid about $290 for it back in 2000. It has not been perfect; the front wheels wore smooth and I replaced them, and the back tires split apart about a year apart and I replaced them. The transmission went out, and I replaced it for $75. The new one came already made to a new axle and didn't look like the old one, but the attachment points were the same and it works just fine.

Now, 2 years after all this work, which cost a little less than $150 total, the mower works perfectly and is 8 years old, with the hour meter reading about 480 hours. The Honda engine gets treated to an oil change of Mobil One 5W30 once a year. It has never required the addition of ANY make-up oil from year to year. I have replaced the spark plug once in 8 years. I replaced the drive belt when I changed the transmission, and that's it.

This mower has cost me about $450, including all of the repairs and replacements, and it is good to go. No trouble with the handle, or the deck, or wheels getting out of line. And, it gives a really nice cut, whether I am bagging, which I usually do, or mulching. One thing: I don't try to mulch wet grass.


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RE: Craftsman mowers... why all the hate?

When someone uses the word HATE in the title of a post, I figure they are trying to get people riled up.
I consider that TROLLING!
Use the search function for Craftsman!


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RE: Craftsman mowers... why all the hate?

I enjoyed my first craftsman, it was a 4.0hp 21" with side shaft self propel. Brought it new in 1992 and never had a problem with it, didn't have a gearbox for self propel so we didn't have to worry about that breaking. The Tecumseh engine was pressure lubricated so it survived on the hills. The cut quality was decent for the hills we needed it on and it always started first pull. We upgraded to a snapper 4 years ago because are craftsman developed an oil leak. I could have fixed it if I knew what I was doing back then and im sure it would have still been working.
The newer craftsman mowers could not compete with my old 92, with the new mowers ive seen them fall apart literaly, wheels break, engines throw rods, smoke, oil burning, the whole 9 yards.


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RE: Craftsman mowers... why all the hate?

Personally, I think the dislike of Craftsman equipment
is based upon the total image of Sears. They sell about
anything you can imagine, and I'll bet everyone has bought
'something' from Sears that they were not happy with,
so they associate the word 'junk' to all of Sears
merchandise.


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RE: Craftsman mowers... why all the hate?

"Personally, I think the dislike of Craftsman equipment
is based upon the total image of Sears. They sell about
anything you can imagine, and I'll bet everyone has bought
'something' from Sears that they were not happy with,
so they associate the word 'junk' to all of Sears
merchandise."

That association is well deserved. Craftsman used to make many quality products. They are now strictly a value line (even most of their "Professional" series), but their regular prices usually don't reflect that. Their sale prices are closer to what the products are actually worth, and often you can find their products under the product manufacturer name brand for significantly less. Ryobi is a good example of that. A Craftsman mower not on sale is probably overpriced, and people will think they are getting better quality than they actually are.

I despise these sales tactics Sears uses, so I usually avoid buying anything from them. I prefer to buy quality products that will last 15-20 years from locally-owned dealers who can service what they sell. In the long run, I feel that is more cost effective, better for my local economy, creates less trash, and the equipment is more enjoyable to use. I had a Yardman mower, it only lasted about 6 years before falling apart and really just does not compare at all to my new Toro in terms of performance or quality. I am much happier mowing now. Happier being a relative term of course ;) I'll never buy another cheap mower.

All Craftsmans are not necessarly junk, and a good deal is still a good deal provided you know exactly what you are buying. But if you can afford it, I feel a quality mower is a good investment.

I do own some Craftsman tools. But I didn't pay anywhere near full price for them.

For $120, and considering you don't expect it to last 15 years, I don't really see why you shouldn't think you got a good deal. People who try to claim Craftsman is just as good as the premiums mowers are a different issue.


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RE: Craftsman mowers... why all the hate?

My personal dislike of Craftsman/AYP mowers is they are bottom of the line Murray quality selling for mid range quality prices. If the selling prices were equal to the quality then things would be acceptable. Not everyone can afford top quality equipment but many get suckered into paying mid range prices for entry level equipment.


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RE: Craftsman mowers... why all the hate?

Harryshoe:
"I agree with you except that I want the lawn to look nice right after I cut it. If there are clumps of grass everywhere, my yard and gardens don't please me. The beds are the picture and the lawn is the frame around it. "

RB> You get what you pay for in lawn mowers and Sears mowers are not priced with SR. I agree that the SR delivers an excellent cut and handles heavy grass easily.

xlindax:
"Seems like much of the criticism aimed at Craftsman lawnmowers really has to do with the shortcomings of Briggs & Stratton engines. I don't like them, either."

RB> I would respectfully disagree. Most of the problems with lower-end mowers seems to be non-engine related. Most any engine will run for 20 years or more with normal maintenance. And most any engine will have some repairable problem at some point. Common problems with lower end mowers seem to include controls breaking, wheels loosening up, wheel adjusters coming off, etc. But those are not just Sears problems.

ibpod:
"Personally, I think the dislike of Craftsman equipment
is based upon the total image of Sears. They sell about
anything you can imagine, and I'll bet everyone has bought
'something' from Sears that they were not happy with,
so they associate the word 'junk' to all of Sears
merchandise."

RB> Sears along with several other retailers sells "about everything you can imagine" so I don't get the point of that comment. However their range of lines is far less than it once was. I would hope that buying one bad "something" from a retiler would not sour the buyer on all future deals. If that were the case most retailers would be out of business by now! I've had more returns to Target than to Sears and yet I continue to do business with both because I know they will back up their merchandise. After sales resolution of problems is really the most important issue for rating a retailer.


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RE: Craftsman mowers... why all the hate?

Well, this thread has been pretty hot here! I really wasn't trying to rile anyone up. This is the first Craftsman mower I have owned and only bought it for a backup to goof around with and because it was a good deal. The Briggs engine alone seemed to be worth the $120. I know that it is basically an entry level machine and I bought it at an entry level price. I can't speculate on the long term quality though it looks like there isn't much reason for optimism from your experiences. I can say that the cut was very nice and it out mulched my 10313 Lawn Boy, particularly in my back yard which retains water badly and is always moist mowing.

I agree with several here that the deck and assembly components are probably the weak spots. I have never had trouble out of a Briggs engine to be truthful. Of course, I have a Craftsman/Poulan trimmer and blower that have been excellent machines as well and I know this is probably not the norm!

Anybody know who makes the Craftsman tillers? I have a front tine Craftsman tiller that is about 10 years old with a Briggs engine that is still going strong. The most I have had to do to it is spray a little carb cleaner in it at the beginning of the season. Are the tillers AYP as well?

Thanks for all the comments and experience... now if I could just save up some money for that pressure washer I have been looking at!!!!! Ha!


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RE: Craftsman mowers... why all the hate?

I have seen some post negative things about Craftsman on this site just what other have told them. They themselves have never owned one. When you go to the repair shops you see alot of Craftsman due to the fact that there are probably a 5-1 Craftsman to other brands in use today. If I see clumps of grass being left behind I would think wet grass and mulching wet grass is never a good idea, not only hard on mower blade but leaves moisture on deck and will shortly rust. I have posted before about my 13 year old rider that runs, looks and cuts like new but I also treat it like a 4K John Deere. You definetly got a good deal. $120 today will fill up my truck twice! Thats bad. I believe there are mowers that will prematurely fail and I also believe that the majority of problems with Craftsman mowers are neglect.


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RE: Craftsman mowers... why all the hate?

Oh, dear, how you folks rag on about Craftsman mowers. Personally, i love 'em! I get 2-3 a week for spring tune-ups, and most everybody seems to keep them a long time.
Occasionally, i find one setting out with the garbage, and so i take it home, check it out, make it run, and sell it out by the roadside! Yep--i love 'em!


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