Husqvarna, the world’s largest producer of lawn and garden equipment(source) has a long history for producing well-made machines. So when I needed to get a new lawn mower I decided upon the Husqvarna XT721F self-propelled model. I got it on sale at Sears for $300. Let me go through the pros and cons of this mower for anybody considering it.
Starting: The first thing you have to do to a mower is get it started. The XT721F does not come with a primer, so it takes a bit of work to get it going. I am a full-grown man and can get it going in between 2 and 10 pulls. However, my 12-year-old son cannot get it started on his own. It does take a fair amount of strength to pull the starter cord. If you are older or buying this mower to get a younger child to mow the lawn, keep this in mind.
Engine power: The 173 cc engine is a beast. It whips through deep grass without even a hint of bogging down. It is loud, but not any more than an average gas mower. It gets decent mileage for a self-propelled model, as I can mow my yard about two times on one tank of gas. My old Craftsmen mower could do it about 1 ½ times on a single tank.
Self-propulsion: This is a front-wheel drive mower, so it is fine for lawns that are mostly flat(such as my own). If you have a lawn that has a lot of hills, the propulsion will not do you as much good, as there won’t be enough weight under the front wheels to pull the mower up a hill.
The speed of the mower is determined by a hand grip that spins the wheels progressively faster the more the handle is squeezed. If you squeeze it all the way, the mower goes at about 4 miles per hour. This is actually pretty fast, so I run it at about half of that. If you don’t like squeezing and releasing the handle all the time, you can just tape a block of wood on the metal grips of the mower at the distance you usually pull the handle, allowing you to hold the handle at the speed you want all the time. However you choose to do it, the front-wheel drive is responsive and makes the mowing easy.
Cutting options: The mower comes with a rear bagger, and this is the option I currently use. It allows for a very neat cut, especially if you keep your lawn cut pretty short(as I do). If you like your lawn to be a bit longer, mulching is also an option. I generally dislike using a side discharge bag because they are a bit ungainly and make maneuvering more difficult. The cutting width of the mower is 21 inches, which is pretty standard for many walk-behind mowers.
Overall build: I would give this mower a slightly-better-than-average rating as to its overall quality. The cutting deck, bag, blade, and engine seem pretty well put together, but if there is a chink in the armor of this mower it is definitely the wheels. The plastic they are made out of is fairly flimsy, and I had to get one of the rear wheels replaced when it cracked shortly after I bought it. The rear wheels seem to have a touch of give in them and do not seem terribly solid.
Summary: For the price, the Husqvarna XT721F is a better-than-average mower, but it is definitely not perfect. It has a strong engine, good self-propulsion system, and is made by a company with a long history of quality products.
However, it is not recommended for smaller individuals or children who might have a difficult time starting it. Also, consider carefully if your yard is very bumpy or you will be doing something like tossing the mower in and out of a pickup a lot, as the wheels don’t seem to be able to take a lot of punishment.
All that being said, I would give this mower a 7 out of 10. For $300, it is a pretty good deal for a better-than-average self-propelled mower.