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Worth it to upgrade lawn mower from 21" to 30"?
Old 07-08-2017, 09:49 AM   #1
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Worth it to upgrade lawn mower from 21" to 30"?

I don't have a huge lot, only 10k sq ft, but still takes longer than I'd like to cut the grass. Is it worth it to upgrade from my 21" mower to a 30"? Seems like it should cut time roughly in half, right?
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Old 07-08-2017, 10:02 AM   #2
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I shudder at the thought of cutting grass in Houston! It's a tradeoff, but as long at they're both self propelled it's just a matter of how long you care to be out there. Still cutting mine, and not quite as large as yours, but 21 is just fine. Bear in mind that even self propelled, the larger will take more effort to turn as you go back and forth.
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Old 07-08-2017, 10:17 AM   #3
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I don't know. I quit cutting my grass at age 57 and hired a lawn guy, because I was working all week and cutting grass all weekend. By that age I could only cut the back on Saturdays (and then spend the rest of the day recovering from being so overheated), and cut the front on Sundays (ditto for recovering). And that was with a lot half the size of yours. I also joined a gym when I quit mowing so it had no effect on the amount of exercise I was getting - - it just affected how safe that exercise was for me, IMO.

Just something to consider! I'm all for LBYM, but personally I'd rather cut back in other types of spending if necessary, in order to afford a lawn guy. YMMV. I sold my mower to my lawn guy for 3 free mows.
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Old 07-08-2017, 10:23 AM   #4
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I don't have a huge lot, only 10k sq ft, but still takes longer than I'd like to cut the grass. Is it worth it to upgrade from my 21" mower to a 30"? Seems like it should cut time roughly in half, right?
Can you move to a riding mower? Seems like a big enough lot to justify unless its tricky terrain.
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Old 07-08-2017, 10:34 AM   #5
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Depends on what you feel your time is worth and what physical shape your in and wish to maintain.

I have a 13K sq ft flat lot
Use a 21" push mower (not old enough to need a self-propelled, the lot is flat)
If I take no breaks, takes under 2 hours to mow.
I'm 67.

But in Houston, it'd take 4 hours as I'd do the front, hour break, do the side, hour break, finish the back. A good sweaty exercise day! May break it into two days. so three hours total.
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Old 07-08-2017, 12:58 PM   #6
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I'd rather not go all the way to a riding mower, don't have a good place to store it and there's a gate I'd have to navigate between the front and back yards.

I can get a lawn service but that's ~$2k/year, if I buy a large mower for $1k it pays for itself in 6 months.

But yeah the summer months in Houston are awful.
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Old 07-08-2017, 01:33 PM   #7
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Could you hire a lawn service for just the months when weather makes the chore more difficult? Or hire a neighbor kid (or someone from your church/community organization) for less than a service? Although, both of these suggestions result in on-going expenses, rather than the fixed cost of a new mower.
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Old 07-08-2017, 01:36 PM   #8
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Old 07-08-2017, 01:37 PM   #9
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I have a whopping 857 sq ft of lawn. I know this from the monthly bill I get from Tru Green lawn service. This was a subtle hint to hire someone. And of course as usual I have a story. A wonderful guy I used to work with dropped dead while shoveling the snow he was about 47. I think pushing a mower in Texas during the summer over a 10 Thousand sq foot lot is not on my to do list.
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Old 07-08-2017, 01:42 PM   #10
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I don't have a huge lot, only 10k sq ft, but still takes longer than I'd like to cut the grass. Is it worth it to upgrade from my 21" mower to a 30"? Seems like it should cut time roughly in half, right?
Actually, no. I used to mow (hire out now because of health issues) and initially used a 21" mower to mow about 1/2 acre or 20k square feet minus the footprint of the house. It took about an hour. Wanting to cut the time a bit I bought a walk-behind 33" mower.

It made all of about 10 minutes difference. Not worth it to me.

I recently gave both mowers to DW's nephew, who with his wife just moved into a new-to-them single family house with a large yard.
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Old 07-08-2017, 02:14 PM   #11
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I can get a lawn service but that's ~$2k/year, if I buy a large mower for $1k it pays for itself in 6 months.
I don't want to offend, but honestly you might want to look around. New Orleans is not that far from Houston, I have the most expensive lawn guy I ever heard of, he mows year around, and gosh, I don't pay anywhere near that stratospheric amount per year. Even if you add in my annual gym fees (to the most expensive gym around), it doesn't come to that much.
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Old 07-09-2017, 06:46 AM   #12
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I've owned a Troy-Bilt wide-cut (33 inch) walk-behind mower for more than 20 years. It will indeed reduce your mowing time significantly. With swivel wheels up front it is surprisingly maneuverable but it's still much, much heavier than a 21-incher. You will get an upper-body workout tooling a mower like this one around your yard.
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Old 07-09-2017, 07:02 AM   #13
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PA with a 22k sqft lot that is mostly grass and has 300 ft sidewalk and another 200 ft of fence/patio to be edged. Many years ago DW dropped the hammer and outsourced it over my objections.

$35/wk for about 5 months each year.

I've never looked back. Best decision she ever made -- certainly far better than marrying me!
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Old 07-09-2017, 09:39 AM   #14
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If it were just mowing, I'd be looking at the low-end riders. But it's not. It's edging/trimming, weed-whacking etc. And then getting the gas and the motor oil, and the upkeep, and the smell in my garage.... and the space I don't have in there...

I write a $90 check to my lawn guy every month and it is the best money I spend. I'm in S.Fla, that gets me a much needed weekly cut from May to Nov, and every-two-weeks the rest of the year. His crew is done in 20 mins. I would take me 2 hours. If I want to take a two week trip in the middle of the summer I don't have to worry about coming home to a jungle. I have someone on point if I need a hedge trim or anything extra taken care of.

And it's a local business that I like to support.
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Old 07-09-2017, 11:13 AM   #15
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I actually went small. Bought a 16" battery powered electric mower to cut my 1800 sq ft lawn. I can knock it out in 20 minutes. Bought a reel mower last year and it works well, but summer time heat was just too much for me using it. I feel more like a wuss everyday. Getting old is hell.
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Old 07-09-2017, 11:17 AM   #16
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I was walking into town yesterday and passed by a guy mowing his lawn with a super quiet electric mower - We could barely hear the thing. How nice.
If I still cut my own lawn I'd get one of those.
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Old 07-09-2017, 11:45 AM   #17
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If the 21" takes too long in your mind - then yes get the 30". You'll get done sooner, but I don't think that you would be done in half the time.
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Old 07-09-2017, 02:46 PM   #18
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I was walking into town yesterday and passed by a guy mowing his lawn with a super quiet electric mower - We could barely hear the thing. How nice.
If I still cut my own lawn I'd get one of those.
I have an electric . I thought I would be courteous to my neighbors. Turns out they have the loudest gas , smoke throwing stinky mowers you can find. And they all mow on different days. At least when it snows around here everyone is at it at the same time.
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Old 07-09-2017, 03:09 PM   #19
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Math question: assuming cut rate is directly proportional to deck width, the 30" would cut at a 42% faster rate meaning you could finish the yard in 30% less time, right? Not half the time?

And I think the assumption of direct proportionality is off because it'll take you longer to navigate and you'll end up with some narrow strips much less than 21" where the extra deck width won't matter (assuming your yard is like mine and you have lots of edges with sidewalks, mailbox, planter areas, trees, driveway, patio, etc). So I could see the time savings being less than 30%, possibly only 15%. Unless it was self propelled and motor-assist turning, where it would actually speed you up overall (and cut 42% more on each pass).

I don't have any useful advice, but I'm currently paying $20 every 2 weeks to a teenager to mow my 1/3 acre yard. We're gone for 9 weeks and no way it would be pretty when we got back otherwise
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Old 07-09-2017, 03:19 PM   #20
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I guess part of it too is the layout of the yard and what obstacles are there. For me the larger mower didn't make much difference because when I'd done what I could with that I still had to use the 21" mower for another 10-15 minutes to get to areas the larger one couldn't get to. Plus there is time spent shutting down one and starting up the other. So the total time spent mowing didn't change as much as I thought it would.

DW is impressed with the speed of the mower that the guy I hired gets the yard done. But the mower he uses costs about $4k+.
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