In Consumer Reports latest lawn mower tests, a couple of self-propelled, walk-behind mowers from Troy-Bilt showed great improvement. Still, their overall performance wasn't good enough to make our list of top picks. That may change if the enhancements we've seen in the company's newest mowers enable them to excel in our mowing, mulching, bagging and handling tests.
Our experts got a look at the new walk-behind mowers that will be sold under both the Troy-Bilt and Cub Cadet brands by maker MTD in connection with the annual Green Industry and Equipment Expo (GIE+Expo), a trade show for outdoor power equipment and related products. And a few of the upgrades we saw could give competitors Honda and Toro a run for their money.
In our past tests of Troy-Bilt mowers, lackluster results were related to the mowing decks. Whether you want to mulch, bag or discharge your clippings, airflow beneath the deck as you're cutting is what largely determines how well the mower does its job. In the case of the Troy-Bilt TB-330XP and TB-350XP in our Ratings, the shape of the deck and the rear opening contributed to those models' mediocre scores for bagging. We also found the handling wanting.
The new models, including the Troy-Bilt TB-320 (pictured) have stamped, symmetrical decks with edges that are folded beneath for more durability and better airflow for mulching. A variable-speed control in the five self-propelled models is intended for easier handling, adjusting to your pace as you mow. Among other new features, the rear opening has a much wider mouth for more complete filling of the bag—and a larger opening in front is intended to improve airflow in any mowing mode.
There's one caveat: Our readers tell us that Troy-Bilt has been among the most repair-prone brands of self-propelled mowers. We don't know if the redesigned models will change their experiences over time. But the results of our performance tests on the new models will be ready in plenty of time for anyone planning to buy a new mower next spring.