Lawnmower manufacturers have studied the habits of lawnmower owners, and they've discovered something about us: We're not maintaining our mowers. In fact, these machines are one of the least maintained items that a homeowner regularly uses. We've heard stories that the vast majority of mowers never have their oil changed and rarely get a clean air filter or even a fresh spark plug. Kind of scary. And a sharp blade? Forget it.
Perhaps Briggs & Stratton had these people in mind when it engineered the . You never need to change their oil. Just check the dipstick and add oil as required. The engines are further simplified by not having a manual choke or purge bulb. Just pull their recoil handle to start. About the only thing you have to do is change the spark plug and air filter once a season.
We're intrigued by this—it has great potential for busy homeowners, or even teenagers who run a small lawn cutting business. So we checked in on 13-year-old James, who's running a small lawn-cutting business near where I live. His key piece of equipment is a equipped with a 163-CC EXi engine that develops 7.25 ft. lbs of torque.
The report: So far, so good. The Snapper rolled out of the box and needed no assembly. After it was fueled and its crankcase filled, the mower roared to life with a couple of pulls. This was particularly encouraging, James' father reported, because many of the other small engines that the family uses for work and recreation are hard to start.
The grass had grown high on the family homestead, but the SP80 sliced through it as you'd expect from a brand new mower with a razor-sharp blade. Having polished off the family lawn, James moved on to the neighbors' yards, earning some pocket money in the process and feeling pretty good about his new mower. And his parents are feeling pretty good about their son's work ethic.
The SP80 is front-wheel drive, a bonus for tight spot maneuvering. And it bags, if you want to compost the grass clippings. For tall grass, its side-discharge chute slips under the spring-loaded hatch on the side of the mower.
After hearing James' report, and considering our previous positive experience with Snapper mowers, we'd have to say that the SP80 looks like a good bet for homeowners weary of spending time on oil changes and busy teenagers out to conquer the world, one neatly mowed lawn at a time.
Snapper SP80, by the numbers
Manufacturer's Minimum Advertised Price: $298
Engine: 163-CC, EXi
Engine power: 7.25-ft.-lbs of torque
Self propelled: Yes, front wheel drive
Ground speed: Variable up to 3.5 mph
Side Discharge: Yes
Height Adjustment levers: Two
Deck Height Adjustments: 1.25-3.75 inches
Rear Wheel Dia.: 11 inches