Think about the best time to buy a lawn mower. Normally, it isn’t something you can actually plan. It never fails. Winter turns to spring, and your long-dormant yard begins to spring (sorry) to life. You decide to let the grass grow a bit after its long winter’s rest. Then the rains come — three or four straight days of warm, lifegiving spring rain. By the time it stops, your yard has blossomed into a deep, thick, full-fledged nightmare.
No putting it off any longer: It’s time for that first mowing of the new year. You drag your old trusty, rusty mower out of the back of the shed. Topping it off with fresh gas, you adjust the choke and pull the cord. Nothing happens. After several more pulls and running a systems check, you realize that old faithful will mow no more. It has gone to that great village of green in the sly.
Now that you don’t have a choice, you have to go shopping for a new machine, even if it isn’t the best time to buy a lawn mower. The problem is that at the start of the mowing season, the prices are at their highest for the year. Having to get a mower at the start of the season can hit you hard in the bank account. Don’t let this happen to you.
When Long Will Your Mower Last?
You should have a pretty good idea if your mower is on its last wheels. You have it in your hands the entire time it is running. Because of this, you should be able to easily monitor issues that pop up. Even when no problems are obvious, the average push mower will last between 200 and 500 hours. It will also depend on the quality, and by extension, the price.
Which model you choose usually depends largely on the price at the time you’re looking for it. If you’re shopping for your first mower or replacing your current model, the price makes a big difference. So, you’ll want to do your shopping during the best time to buy a lawn mower.
Lawnmowers are in an odd category of household purchases. You want a good one to keep your lawn as healthy and nice looking as possible. However, even an inexpensive one will do a decent job for a while. Remember, you can afford a better-quality machine if you plan ahead and use a bit of strategy. Perhaps the best time to buy a lawn mower is when you discover you need one.
So, When Is the Best Time to Buy a Lawnmower?
There are two schools of thought on this subject. Some think your best bet is to look for lawnmower sales in the off-season. The logic is simple. If people are shoveling snow, the demand for grass mowers goes down and, often, so do the prices. Some manufacturers offer off-season discounts to retailers. These are often slower moving mowers or models that they are about to replace or upgrade. If you don’t mind last year’s model, retailers can pass a bit of those savings on to you.
Some outlets hold “pre-season” sales. To get the jump on the competition, some retailers mark down many models just prior to the grass cutting season. Again, sometimes these sales involve slower moving mowers or soon-to-be obsolete models. Pre-season could be the best time to buy a lawn mower if you don’t need the latest models.
However, it isn’t always that simple. There are bargains to be found virtually year-round if you know how to time your purchase just right. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some different seasons for the best time to buy a lawn mower and save some cash.
Autumn may be the best time to buy a lawn mower. As temperatures and mower sales begin to cool, lawn mower sales are low, and backlog can still be high. After September, retailers are trying to unload present models. Not only in anticipation of next year’s mowers but also to clear the warehouse for Christmas items. Even lawn centers and big box stores want to make room for snow removal equipment. All the chain stores, even ones where it doesn’t snow, are directed to participate in nation-wide sales. Because of this, they are more willing to deal, and that means savings for you!
As we mentioned, pre-season sales can result in big savings. With retailers trying to get a jump on the competition and the low demand, you can save a bundle. Memorial Day sales can be the best time to buy a lawn mower, as the calendar heads toward summer months.
At the height of the season, retail stocks can also stop moving. This slump happens because most potential customers already have their new mowers. Sales can plummet, and restocking orders can begin to take up valuable warehouse space. The retailers need to move lawn mowers at a time when no one is buying. How do they do this? They have seasonal-sales!
These sales usually take the form of pushing for you to upgrade to a better model. If your old reliable mower is getting hard to start or stalling out in high grass, they have just what you need. A low sales price, combined with this frustration, makes mid-season sales attractive to retailers. If your mower isn’t as efficient as it once was, but it will hold out until about mid-June, you may be in luck. That may be the best time to buy a lawn mower if you’re looking to upgrade your lawn equipment.
One of the best times to look for mid-season sales is on Father’s Day. Nothing will make old Dad happier than making his yardwork easier. Short of cutting the grass yourself, a new lawn mower for Father’s Day is about as good as it gets. Retailers know this and will mark down mowers considerably to get you to make that choice. So, mid-June may be the best time to buy a lawn mower during these incentive sales.
End of the season
In late August, most retailers are getting their stores ready for the fall stock changeover. They need floor and storage space for other things. Heavier winter clothing, coats, school supplies, and Halloween items take up a lot of space. These days, most retailers start gearing up for Christmas in September. Even if they do not have holiday items on the floor yet, they probably need space in the warehouse. Lawn mowers, even the ones sold in boxes, take up a lot of floor space in the store and in the warehouse.
The end of the season is certainly the best time to buy a lawn mower if you live in a warmer climate. Many of the big box stores schedule their garden inventory according to cooler zones. That means that if you live in the South, Southwest, or other mild climates, you can grab a lot of deals long before mowing season ends in November or even December.
Other Ways to Save on Your Lawn Mower
There are a few tips for getting the most lawn mowing bang for your buck at any time of the year.
Buying a model that is on the block to be discontinued can be a great value. For the most part, they are still high-quality mowers that the company is upgrading somehow. A new ignition system or some other minor upgrades may be enough to discontinue the older version. This, in no way, means that they have suddenly become inferior machines. It does mean that manufacturers and retailers will try to clear them out for the newer edition. Either way, don’t worry about the warranty. It will still be honored by both the retailer and the manufacturer even if the model is obsolete.
However, if a major change has been made, you may eventually have trouble finding replacement parts. Accessories may also become problematic. Not all baggers or other upgrades are universal. Over time, the ones for your model may not be available. However, your mower is likely to reach the end of its normal lifespan before that.
Used lawn mowers
Just like buying a new mower, purchasing a used model can also save you money if you time it right. Normally, the best ones are available at the same times as buying a new one. Why? Because people who are upgrading a mower have no more use for their old one. Sometimes, the only thing wrong with it can be that is isn’t fancy and new. That is the same logic that produces millions of quality used cars every year. So, the best time to buy a lawn mower from a previous owners falls within those same time frames listed above.
If you look for a few clues, you may be able to get a great deal on a “good as new” mower. Here are a few things to look for when buying a used lawn mower. They can answer some of the questions when looking at any mower with a potentially dubious history.
Check the engine
Not just for cracks, or oil leaks, but for pedigree. Not only are more popular engines usually more reliable, but they are also easier to have serviced. Almost everyone has had a mower powered by Briggs and Stratton. That is because they have proven to be reliable and easy to maintain or repair. For that reason, many manufacturers of lawn equipment over the years have used them as their power source.
Who is selling?
You can sometimes find a used mower on sale from a repair shop. Normally these mowers have been serviced for whatever reason and not picked up by the customer. Usually, after hearing the repair price, they have opted to just buy a new mower. In any case, ask if there is any kind of warranty associated with the mower. Often, repair shops have little trouble in placing a warranty on something they know they can fix. They may consider it may be a small thing for them to offer just to get it out of the way.
Naturally, when purchasing anything previously owned, your first consideration should be its condition. Whether it is a used car or a bicycle, you should always give it the once over and check for issues. When you are dealing with something as potentially dangerous as a power mower, it is doubly critical.
Always perform a full and complete function test on all the mower features before laying down your money. Some used mowers have become hard to start, smoke, or make excessive noise. These are all indicators that this mower may not be the deal you thought it was.
Used lawn mower checklist
Have the seller start it in front of you and then, after turning it off, try to start it yourself. If you need some excessive throttle setting or other “trick” to get it to run, maybe you should keep looking.
Check the wheels for cracks, wear, and stability. If they are cracked, it may have been stored outdoors. Loose wheels may indicate minimal care or neglect. And if they have lost most of their tread, that could be a sign of a hard life, and it may be on its last wheels. Also, check to see that the wheels are easy to adjust. On mowers left out in the weather, the height adjustments may be rusted or seized up.
Check the handles. Like the wheels, they can be an indicator of the mower’s history. If they are excessively worn or loose, it can be a sign of hard pushing. This wear and tear can indicate a rough life in excessively tall grass.
Check the oil. If it is excessively dirty, that is another indicator of lack of scheduled maintenance. Just like a car, the oil will break down over time. If it is very dark, feels like it has lost its viscosity, or feels gritty, you may want to pass.
Check the air filter: not just the filter itself, but the connections and seals around the filter holder. If the filter is dirty on both sides, something isn’t right. An engine that has been sucking dirt is an engine that may have issues. Some engines require the air filter to be dipped in fresh oil before use. If your potential mower is one of these, make sure that has been the case.
Is Now the Best Time to Buy a Lawn Mower?
Here are a few extra tips to help you get the best deal possible. Even if it is the best time to buy a new lawn mower, you can still save a bit more if you follow these tips.
After you see a mower on sale in a flyer or in a store, do a bit of homework. Check with the manufacturer’s site online. You can often see if a model is about to be discontinued (or already has been).
Compare prices. The best time to buy a lawn more is a universal concept. All the retailers will have sales at these same times of year for the same reasons. When you notice the sale at one retailer, that is a pretty good indication that there will be others. These sales may be in progress or just around the corner. Don’t be afraid to call retailers and ask if sales are pending. Most would rather give you that information than lose a customer.
As a general rule of thumb — and we hate to admit this — the bigger the chain retailer, the smaller the price. However, when it comes to what causes sales prices, the impact on smaller stores can be more acute. Small, privately owned garden and hardware stores have a tighter profit margin and much less storage space. They need to move seasonal merchandise even more than big box chains with national warehouses. It is better for the community you have chosen to live in when you purchase locally. Also, they are more likely to negotiate, because you may have direct contact with the actual owner. Along with choosing the best time to buy a lawn mower, consider the best place to buy your lawn mower, as well.