The study ranks 13 brands of walk-behind lawn mowers on customer satisfaction, based on machine performance, maintenance issues, warranty and price.
In the study--based on surveys done this summer of more than 2,220 consumers who purchased a new lawn mower within the past 12 months-- John Deere ranks highest in performance, maintenance and warranty. Honda and Toro, which follow John Deere in the rankings, also perform consistently well in the most important factors driving satisfaction.
Lawn mowers are also reliable. According to J.D. Power, very few walk-behind lawn mower owners--less than 1 in 10--reported experiencing a problem. But while the incidence of problems varies widely from brand to brand, the three most common problems reported were in areas involving the starting mechanism, the engine, and the drive system.
"A walk-behind lawn mower needs to be durable, dependable and effective at maintaining a yard, and the John Deere mowers definitely are," says Michael Drago, director for the real estate and construction industries practice at J.D. Power and Associates. "In particular, John Deere mowers have a notably low rate of reported problems. In fact, owners of other brands are at least twice as likely to experience problems than are owners of John Deere mowers."
Also, owners of electric mowers are generally as happy with their machines as are owners of gasoline-powered machines.
"One of the first decisions customers must make in considering a walk-behind lawn mower is whether a gas-powered or electric model is right for them," says Drago. "Although each type has its own strengths and weaknesses, the overall satisfaction for the two product types is relatively similar."
The study finds that whether they are considering a gas-powered or electric lawn mower, many customers cite price as the most important consideration in their selection.
Drago says a key issue for consumers is starting reliability. "After all, even the most powerful mower available won't meet customer needs if the customer has difficulty starting it."