The first mower I ever owned was a Craftsmen and I got 10 years out of it before bending the shaft. The last mower I had was a $99 Poulan and believe it or not it started and still will start first or second pull but the rear part of the deck where the rear wheels are rotted out. My Poulan lasted 5 years so at 20 a year I still think it was a great deal. Now on to the craftsman I have been looking for a replacement since last year and decided I could not wait any longer. I knew I wanted a bigger motor than the 4.5 hp briggs on the the Poulan but was not set on a brand. I was leaning towards a Cub Cadet or a Lawnboy and I did research, I've read reviews out the wazzoo and I've compared prices too. Finally I decided to look at Craftsman again and found the prices online change everyday. Finally I found this mower at 211.99 craftsman club price and with 30.00 of other incentives making it 181.99 plus ************* I decided to go with this one. It comes with a free sample for your first fillup of stabil and from what I've read, you do need to use it. Stabil markets regular and daily use but comparing the ingredient they are the same and yes I meant ingredient singular. I got almost a half an acre with my first fillup and that ran it bone dry. It has a no prime system and It took me two pulls both times from a cold engine to start it. Once it started it was a one pull start from a warm engine. The first start though it had a rough idle for a good 30 - 40 secs before smoothing out and running nicely. Not thinking I did not raise the height adjustments on the more and I left the mulching system on ( that I meant to do ) and I went straight over wet grass as we had rain the night before. This mower showed no signs of bogging down but was hard to push. I cleaned and mowed the tested area and then set the height adjustments to the 4th notch, for me this was two high so I changed it to the 3rd notch and that was perfect. I proceed to do all the close work as I planned on using my riding mower. I then took a break and ate me something. Coming back to a cold mower two pulls and she fires right up. I then mowed until she quit. I have an acre yard and I was roughly half done. I tried the side discharge and quickly went back to mulching because my grass was high and I didn't want to rake and the mulching looked great. Now when the box arrived from ups it looked like it had been through WWII and I was a little leary of what shape the mower would be in but luckily it looked great. Two things to note that is really amazing about this mower is just how easy to pull start it. If you are use to older mowers you will probably throw your arm out of socket. LOL It's just that easy to pull, I'm going to say 1/3 the effort if not less. The other is the power of this mower, in wet grass that hadn't been cut in two weeks and mulching, it did not bog down, it did not struggle in the least and the lawn looked great.
In the first 6 months of owning this lawnmower I would have given it great ratings. After owning the mower a year now I have to agree with most of the negative feedback. My height adjustment broke just before rolling over my sprinkler. Sprinkler didn't survive. It took nearly 2 weeks but Sears fixed the mower. A week later the mower failed to start after several pulls. I returned the mower to Sears and they fixed it within a week. Two months later (today 11/11/14) it won't start again. I am losing faith in the Craftsman name. My last mower lasted over 18 years without one problem.
I have had to take this to the shop last year and this year because of issues with the fuel system. A lot of it comes from the problem that these machines are being built with such a low tolerance for error (not great gas, small amounts of particulates in gas, etc) then it shuts down if anything gets in there. I had to put an extra fuel filter on. Part of the problems is that the gas cap doesn't seal great-so if any junk gets down in there you are s.o.l. I use this mower to mulch my leaves--I guess this is a bad idea with this mower! I am not sure anything being made today is better, tho!
I bought this to make my life simple. I have a very small lawn that I thought I could just mow myself so I bought this. Turns out the instructions were extremely difficult to understand to set it up, and it was even more difficult because it seemed already assembled. I started using it, and not having understood the directions I messed up the blade. So when it wouldn't start I took it back to Sears and they couldn't help. Luckily I had bought insurance but the place to fix it was an hours drive away. They fixed it and charged me for a part even though Sears was supposed to cover everything. I used it maybe twice since I've bought it because every time I go to use it, it does not work, and I have to take it to the mechanic to get it to start. I feel like I just threw away my money.
This mower starts everytime when using fresh fuel (I think that this might be the problem that everyone is having with their mower not starting). With all of the ethanol in the gasoline now it is best to only put enough fuel in the mower to do the job you need to do. If you have excess fuel either run it dry or poor the fuel out. I have had this since Jan 2015 never had a problem starting sometimes it take 2-3 pulls but much better than 15yr old mower that took 5-10 pulls.
Item works as advertised