I did a Craftsman 21″ Briggs & Stratton push lawn mower model 38903 torture test. The mower was bought in 2005 and is quite similar to the current model 38903. Push mower technology doesn’t seem to change much. The main difference is that my mower has 6.5 horsepower and the new model is rated at 6.75.
The test was done by running the mower for about an hour per week. In Houston Texas the mowing season is very hot and lasts about 35 weeks per year. So the mower has cut my lawn about 175 times.
The suggested service schedule has been completely neglected. No checking the oil before each use, no annual oil change, no replacing the spark plug, not sharpening the blade….you get the idea.
Even with this abuse the mower has reliably started the first or second pull, and performed well. After the fifth year there was some grass that was a little bent and not cut cleanly. At that point I got a new blade and changed the oil, air filter, and spark plug. My guess is that this will keep the lawn mower running for a few more years.
Obviously it is best to do maintenance as scheduled, but this machine seems to handle neglect quite well. (One good reason NOT to neglect service, is that this could cause safety issues.) If your lawn is extra large a self propelled mower could be better. However it is good to get some exercise and this machine is easy to push and maneuver. My mowers rear bag has has been used occasionally and works well but fills up fast. The cutting height is easy to adjust but I wish the maximum height was a little higher. The engine power is sufficient and the noise level is typical of a push mower.
My purchase price was $179 and five years later I see the newer version on sale for about the same price. I think this mower is a good value for the price. One good thing about getting a Sears product is that replacement parts are available for many years after the sale