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Overall score is made up of:
Performance (50%), including side-discharge mowing tests where we assess engine power, evenness of cut and spreading the discharged grass. For mowers where a mulching kit is standard, we also run mulching tests looking at the evenness of cut and how evenly the mulch is spread back onto the turf.
Ease of use (50%), which looks at handling, ride comfort, ease of controlling speed, starter mechanism, ease of engaging the mower blade drive, changing cutting height and checking fuel level.
We also measured the noise of each mower and the minimum mowable diameter (effective turning circle) for tractor models. To verify each mower’s safety, we assessed the instructions, warning stickers and labels, pulley and belt coverings, and automatic safety cut-outs. All mowers in our database passed the safety assessment.
Of the 289 Consumer members who owned a ride-on and participated in our reliability survey, almost two in five reported their mower had needed repair, making them by far the least reliable product we survey.
Unfortunately, only two ride-on brands had sufficient respondents to give a margin of error narrow enough that we could comment on their results. John Deere ride-ons returned better reliability than average, with only 25% needing repair, while 39% of Husqvarna owners reported an issue with their ride-on, a shade over the average of 38%. John Deere were the most satisfied ride-on owners, with 75% very satisfied with their purchase.
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