I think as a man that’s worth his own salt he does a few things on his own – and one of those is yard maintenance. Easier said than done, especially in states like Florida where it’s 90+ degrees well into September. Maintaining your own lawn in extreme climates like the south just means that the equipment you use is all that much more important. The lawn mower is the backbone to any lawn maintenance arsenal and I decided to review the Sears Craftsman 22″ Self-Propelled mower I got for Father’s Day last year.
What I Like About the Craftsman 22″ Self-Propelled Mower
Having gone from a mower that I had to push entirely on my own, I was very appreciative to have the assistance of self-propelled. The self-propelled drive works adequately, even in the ‘crunchy’ grass we have here in Florida. I have a relatively flat lot, so hills aren’t very much of a concern but my yard does have some slope. I like that the mower gives me the ability to control the speed of the drive using the red drive handle. If you want to go slower, simply let off the drive grip. If you want to go faster, just give it a squeeze. You can go exactly the speed you want to go.
I also like the “Dust Blocker” bag as it seems to really live up to its name. While it doesn’t completely eliminate dust from the bag area it does seem to greatly reduce it, which makes for an overall more pleasant lawn mowing experience.
What I Didn’t Like About the Craftsman 22″ Self-Propelled Mower
Let’s start with starting the mower. My previous mower (a Honda powered mower) started on the first pull every single time. It would start on the first pull even after an extended period of not using it. While the Briggs & Stratton powered Craftsman isn’t difficult to start, it has never started on the first pull since the day I got it. Experience tells me it’s never going to be easier to start than when it was new, so I expect the starting to continually degrade as I use it.
The design of the bagging mechanism is really quite poor and not the best quality. While it’s not difficult to remove the bag from the mower, it is a bit awkward and there’s only about one angle that you can effectively remove the bag. This makes emptying in tight spots a challenge so give yourself plenty of room.
The biggest complaint I have about the mower is that the bag chute from the mower becomes very easily clogged to the point that it bottle-necks at the chute and often won’t fill the bag more than about 1/4 full before it require manually clearing. I’ve mowed my yard in every season and in almost every condition, although I try to avoid mowing when the grass is wet. Even when the grass is perfectly dry and not prone to clumping I still regularly experience the clogging of the chute.
The above chute clogging problem also makes the mower difficult to use on ‘mulching’ mode, where you remove the bag and simply have the mower mulch the mowed grass clippings. The chute to the bag is large enough, even when the bag is removed, to accumulate clippings and interfere with the blade even in mulching mode. I would mow through average height grass and would regularly hear the blade ‘clunking’ on the grass as it accumulated in the closed bag chute. Overall, this made for a very poor design.