Updated 28 Oct 2016

MTD

420/38

Snapshot: The MTD 420/38 is a tractor-type ride-on mower with a single cylinder engine and a 38/97 cutting deck. But how does it perform?

420/38
Consumer score
SCORE
Avg price

$3199

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Test results

Overall score
69
Mowing
?/10
Mulching
?/10
Ease of use
?/10

Good points

  • Very good mowing.
  • Very good mulching.
  • OK to use.
  • Very good safety rating.
  • Good price.

But

  • Reverse cut-off over-ride doesn’t default to safety cut-off mode.
  • Relatively wide turning circle.
  • The clutch takes up very sharply (which is tricky if you often reverse and then go forwards).
  • Seat isn’t easily adjusted for leg room.
  • Noisy.

How we test

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.

Key data

Model

Avg price
$3199
Type
Tractor

Specifications

Deck width (mm/inches)
38/97
Engine power (HP) / capacity (cc)
Not stated/420
Engine make / cylinders
MTD/1
L x W (m)
1.73/1.27
Noise (dBA)
91
Fuel capacity (litres)
5.6
Transmission type
Manual

Features

Cruise control
Blade engagement
Manual
Mulching kit
Optional
Rear catcher bag
No
Mow in reverse
Cutting-height range (mm)
92/31
Cutting-height positions
5
Top speed (forward / reverse) (km/h)
9.2/Not stated
Minimum mowable circle (mm)
1400
Electric starter
Headlights
Cupholder
Washing port

Member reviews

Reliability

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.