Many top self-propelled mowers use same blade and deck
The most capable mowers have engines powerful enough to run the blade through tall, heavy grass. Even more essential is the mower deck, which houses the blade and takes care of processing and evenly dispersing the grass clippings. But how to tell one mower deck from another? Good news, you don’t have to. The latest models of self-propelled mowers from Cub Cadet, Snapper, Troy-Bilt and even some from Craftsman, have the same exact deck and blade made by MTD. And, as we discovered in our latest lawn mower tests, it proved to be a good pairing.
Out of the newly tested, self-propelled, multiple-speed mowers, nine models from those four brands have the same blade/deck combo. And some newer self-propelled, single-speed mowers from Yard Machines and Murray have this deck and blade as well. Among push mowers, several MTD-made machines feature identical blades and decks, though their decks differ slightly from those of self-propelled models. Where the mowers differ is in engine size and quality, drive wheels, controls and other features.
What at first seemed like a cost-cutting measure has resulted in easier shopping. In our mower tests we found a crop of fine self-propelled mowers that, with little exception, cut impressively across all three mowing modes. In fact, the Troy-Bilt TB-280ES 12AGA26G, $340, and Troy-Bilt TB-320 12AVC35U, $330, both CR Best Buys, made it onto our most recent list of top mower picks, giving long-time front-runners Toro and Honda something to think about. Two models from Snapper would also have ranked among our picks, but Snapper is among the most repair-prone brands of self-propelled mowers.
From top-scoring models like the Honda HRR2169VKA and the Toro Recycler 20333, both $400, you can get mowing evenness that’s a notch higher, at least when you’re mulching clippings. And our lawn mower Ratings feature more top picks of walk-behind mowers, lawn tractors, zero-turn-radius mowers, and rear-engine riders. For more mower information, see our buying guide, which includes a video on how we test mowers.