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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on June 15, 2011
[Please note: I did not buy this mower from Amazon or one of its affiliates. I bought it from Home Depot for $299 and free shipping. I am publishing this review here solely as a courtesy to Amazon shoppers who might be interested in this product.]

This unit weighs 94 pounds in its shipping carton. You may need help moving the carton around before you slide the mower out of the carton. Follow directions on the carton to remove the mower.

Setup was quick and easy, and no tools were required. Toro includes a 20-ounce bottle of 30W motor oil in the shipping carton. Do not forget to fill the engine with oil. Follow all setup instructions.

The mower started on the first pull of the starter cord. This is the so-called Easy Start system, which is actually a thermostatically controlled choke mechanism. So no manual choking or priming is need.

I cut about a half acre of grass on my first use of this mower. Note that I did not say "lawn." The area was actually an old irrigated hayfield, flat but very bumpy, and with tuffs of grass every few inches rather than a smooth, continuous cover of grass. The grass was about 8 to 10 inches tall, so I set the mower to its maximum height of 4 inches and used the side discharge chute. This height was also used to avoid hitting embedded rocks.

I must say that I was greatly impressed with the performance. [Note: I live at over 6000 feet above sea level and did not have the high altitude package installed as recommended by Briggs and Stratton.] The front wheel drive is quite powerful and will keep you walking at a brisk pace. It is very easy to engage and disengage when maneuvering the machine. The high rear wheels are very good on rough ground and allow the user to easily tilt the front of the unit upward to make sharp turns.

Clean up using the "Quick Wash" system was pretty good. Simply attach a garden hose to a fitting on the top of the deck, turn on the water, and start the mower. All the heavy grass clippings are washed out in a minute or so, leaving behind only a thin green slick around the underside of the machine.

Toro put a lot of thinking into the design of this machine. It is extremely easy to operate. The only thing I did not like about the design was the auto-shutoff mechanism. The operator must continuously hold down the "blade control bar" to keep the engine running. So this is actually a kill switch rather than a blade control (it does not disengage the blade, but instead shuts off the engine ignition.) This is apparently a safety device that makes it nearly impossible for the operator to come into contact with the moving blade. However, it also means that you cannot leave the machine unattended for a moment. If you need both hands to do something, of if you need to move something out of your way, you must release the blade control bar and then restart the engine.

[Update, June 25, 2011: This machine is susceptible to sparkplug fouling (sparkplug becomes wet with raw fuel and stops firing). Once the sparkplug is fouled, the machine cannot be restarted without removing the sparkplug and drying and cleaning it or replacing it with a new sparkplug.

Sparkplugs can foul for many reasons: Sometimes it is the sparkplug itself (wrong heat range, wrong gap, worn out electrodes, etc.). Sometimes the problem is in the engine (bad sparkplug wire, plugged air filter, faulty carburetor settings, weak or failed magneto, worn out engine causing low compression and oil blow-by).

Whatever the reason, a sparkplug should not foul in a brand new Toro lawn mower. Worse, the so-called Easy Start System makes it nearly impossible for the operator to overcome the fouled condition. Usually, the operator can open the choke, hold the throttle wide open, and pull the starter cord rapidly to clear the excess fuel in the combustion chamber. But with the Easy Start System, the operator has no way to adjust these settings. Thus, the sparkplug must be removed, cleaned, and dried.

Until Toro fixes this problem, be sure to have an extra sparkplug ready to replace the wet one.

I have encountered this fouled sparkplug condition three times in about five hours of lawn mowing. Therefore, I have lowered my rating from Five Stars to Two Stars.]
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on June 26, 2010
Have had this mower model for three years and it has never failed to start. Mow about 5,000 sqft once a week in season. HOWEVER, the rear wheels are made of cheap, cheap, cheap and flimsy plastic and have broken one per year and the cost is now ~$35 incl. shipping. So, factor in another $100 to your cost of ownership over 3 or 4 years.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on May 16, 2011
This is the best lawn mower that I have ever owned. I opened the box, easily put it together in minutes, topped it off with oil (which it came with), loaded it with fresh gas and she fired up after just one pull. This thing mowed through my lawn that was over 8 inches tall in one pass like it was nothing. It even chopped up some pretty big tree limbs with ease. The Toro 20331 is easy to use and the "Self Propel" feature works great! It has an adjustable speed, at full speed you almost have to power walk to keep up with this thing. ... I had so much fun mowing my lawn I went next door with it. My neighbors are out of town and their yard is almost at 3 feet near the road (I just wanted to see what this thing would do) It barely bogged down as it cut their grass and weeds down to a perfect 2 1/2 inches. This thing is a Work Horse!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 8, 2012
I've had my Recycler for three seasons now, and no problems. It has never failed to start, and I've never replaced the spark plug. I have noticed that it uses more gas and has less power when the air filter is dirty, and that may lead to to the spark plug problems some of the other have mentioned. The air filter must be checked and cleaned frequently, especially if you mow in areas that are dry and dusty.

By next summer, I will likely replace the belt for the front drive mechanism because the rubber is dry and starting to crack. Other than that all I've done to mine is change oil and replace the blade and air filter.

Overall, the quality of the build and parts is in the high average range. I can see some wear, but nothing has broken. I'm very happy with my Toro, and would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants a dependable mower at a fair price.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 22, 2012
I bought this mower at Home Depot in June 2010 and put it to heavy use immediately. Assembled easily, put in the oil, one pull and it started right up. In fact, after sitting all winter it took exactly one pull to get it to start, and that is with old gas at that!
My wonderful wife decided to feed our lawn at the beginning of the springtime and with the yard naturally retaining water the grass grows like mad. I'm forced to mow it no less than every 3 days, rain or shine! This mower cut through it quite easily when using the side chute, or occasionally the back chute but bogs down when trying to mulch the grass. That is partly my fault because I'm trying to get it to mulch 4 1/2 to 5 inch thick grass down to 3 inches and it seems to be too much for it most times. As others have said, when you have the self propelled lever all the way down you have to use long steps to keep up, or just let the front wheels spin a bit as you go. I'm 6'3" so my long legs keep up okay. One bad note: the removable side chute is held in place by small tabs on the underside of the spring-loaded side-chute cover. Those tabs are easily bent and have broken off of my mower due to the chute being banged against trees, poles, etc. Now I've got to get online and get another chute cover with new tabs and put it on the mower. Other than that I have no qualms whatsoever with this mower. Two and a half seasons, one oil change, no new spark plug and it starts first time, every time. Enough said. Worth the money, in my opinion.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 1, 2012
This mower breaks down more than any I have owned. Within 3 years I had to replace the axle/drive shaft for the self propelled drive - $85 from a local parts store. A year later, the self propelled feature is not working again. The cables stretch out too soon. It burns oil already and has lost compression and power, even though I have regularly changed the oil and plugs. The Quantum 6.5 B & S engine is one of the poorest designs ever. The air filter is situated on the front side and collects so much dirt and debris it cloggs after only 2 or 3 mowings and @ 6.95 a pop the filter is expensive to replace (more than my filter for my car!). This filter has to be replaced so often (at least 4 times a season) I am beginning to suspect B & S did this intentionally to keep the cash coming in! LOL
Also, I cannot adjust the fuel because of the easy start system. It does start though, almost every time.

Stay away from this Briggs and Stratton engine and this Toro.

This is my first and LAST Toro.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 12, 2013
I bought my mower from Home Depot not Amazon but as others have said, buyers need to see the problems with it.

LOVE
Starts on first pull, even after a winter of sitting in a garage
Easy to adjust cutting height
Easy clean features works well

HATR
After 13 months of ownership the coil went out. Replacement part would cost nearly as much as the mower. Luckily I found a shade tree mower mechanic that took a used one out of another mower and repaired mine for $75 rather than $275.

Just now, month 22 of owning the mower, when restarting the mower the handle flew across the yard and the mower starter cord got sucked into the mower where the blade cut it to pieces. The metal stop that should catch the rope so the starter doesn't suck the rope in? Didn'd do it's job. So no problem I thought. A NORMAL MOWER you can take the starter housing off, rewind the spring, tie on a new starter rope and Bobs your uncle, $3 repair. Nope. You can't access the starter spring housing. Some kind of proprietary rivets hold it on. Must go find the shade tree mechanic again.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on December 3, 2011
The mower starts good, runs good, and is easy to operate. However, the rear of the mower is made of plastic. The first day I owned it I ran over a pine cone and it shattered the plastic. Who ever heard of using plastic where the blade spins? It cost over 50.00 for the part. So, I tried to be very careful. Yet, the other day I was cutting a ditch where someone had thrown a hard object that I didn't see. The blade easily chopped it up but, once again, the plastic was shattered. I would not recommend this mower due to it cheap use of plastic.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 28, 2013
This mower had issues from the beginning in terms of starting. Toro is zero help and the instruction manual has one item in trouble shooting - take it to a service center.
I will make this short as my intent is basically to warn others of the issue and offer a possible solution since Toro will do nothing. It seems, in my case anyway, the issue lies in the auto choke mechanism.It looks cheap and is poorly designed.A slight modifications or a conversion to a manual setup should help - for some of us anyway.
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on April 29, 2014
This machine made my fall leaf cleaning a breeze with the bag being simple to remove when it filled and was simple to replace when I emptied it.
I also enjoyed the fact that there were three options of side throwing, mulching, or bagging when I mowed.
Winterizing it was a breeze with the step by step instructions in the manual.
I wish I had this machine when I had a larger yard the self propelled is so great. Love it.
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