ReCycler 22 in. Personal Pace Variable Speed Self-Propelled Spin-Stop Blade Stop System Gas Lawn Mower with Briggs & Stratton Engine. For homeowners seeking a lawn mower with high quality, a user-friendly design and excellent mulching capability. Toro products are known for Smart Features and Proven Dependability. Count On It.
(1774 reviews) 1774
84%of customersrecommend this product1,435 of 1,715reviews
Rating Breakdown1,774 reviews
Ease of use
84%of customersrecommend this product1,435 of 1,715reviews
First off, this is a very lengthy review. I have summarized my issues at the bottom if you don't want or need to read the details. About me: I am a decently mechanically inclined individual who performs most of my own automobile and power equipment maintenance; usually with good results. With that being said, the problems with this mower has bested my ability and desire to keep fixing it. About my mowing: My yard is between 1/4 and 1/2 acre with a 3% grade over most of the yard, however there is a steep (45 degree) hill about 6 feet tall at the top of my property. My grass is Centipede and I mow it to a height of 2" once a week.
I bought this mower in 2010 from HD based on extensive research and, of course, Consumer Reports rating it very high. Initially I liked the mower.....easy starting, decently clean cut, decent mulching and the personal pace self-propelled system was very smooth. Soon thereafter is where the trouble began. Before I detail the bad I will quickly spell out the good.... Good: 1-Personal Pace System is comfortable and when it works, is very smooth and does a great job of effortlessly adjusting to your speed. 2-Blade Brake Clutch is great: Very nice to start the mower and let the drive pull the mower around without the blade being engaged. Also, convenient if you need to let go of the handle to move something out of the yard without needing to restart the mower. 3-Deck clean out allows you to attach water hose to clean out the deck. Simply turn on the water, and engage the blade and it cleans itself.
Now for the BAD and there is a LOT:
Problem 1- Carburetor/fuel filter/air filter design: Within 2 months it wouldn't start. After talking to Toro, I was told that if it was due to contaminated fuel, dirt in carburetor, etc, the Guaranteed to Start "guarantee" wouldn't be much of a guarantee after all. Finally had to take the carburetor off, disassemble, clean and blow it out with an air compressor to get it back running. When I had the carburetor apart I was surprised at the amount of debris in the bowl that a fuel filter should prevent. Unless it is built in the tank, there is no fuel filter that I could find, which is asking for trouble. I installed an inline fuel filter on the fuel line and it ran great after that for a year and a half. Just rebuilt the carburetor this year after the same issues and it runs fine again. One very poor design problem is the air flow and the air filter location. The way the blade affects the airflow, you get a LOT of small clippings and dust/dirt that swirl around the right front tire. Guess where the air filter is? That's right...right in the mass of dirty air. After 1 mow, the air filter looks like its gone an entire season. I have to remove it and blow it out each use.
Problem 2- Self propelled system is prone to breakdown and expensive to repair: After having the mower 1 year the drive didn't seem to be pulling the mower effectively. Adjusted the cable and did not fix the problem. Decided to replace the drive belt and cable thinking either or both had possibly stretched since I do have a yard with a steep hill. Replaced both and still nothing. Frustrated, I took it to a repair shop to find out that a plastic piece on the handle had stripped out and was preventing the tension from being applied by the cable. Apparently, there was a recall by Toro with a fix of drilling a hole through the plastic piece and metal bar and inserting a cotter pin. 5 minutes later, it worked like a dream. Fast forward to this year (approximately 1 year after the above-mentioned repair) it began making a horrible grinding sound. Suspected the transmission and replaced it. Still grinding so I started inspecting the wheels and found that the drive wheels have plastic gears on them. You cannot replace the plastic gears, so I purchased 2 wheels ($25 each) and installed them. Worked for less than 1 mow and one of the wheels stripped again. Local Toro dealer would not warranty the parts because I "didn't replace the metal pinion gears on the axle shafts at the same time". Went to another dealer and bought new pinion gears, 2 new tires, new thrust washers and new wheel covers(basically everything that could affect the drive wheels). Lasted through mowing the front yard before it started grinding again. Removed the wheels and both plastic gears are stripped again.
Problem 3- Engine kill switch is placed in horrible position and is easily broken off: The engine kill switch bracket is plastic and mounted on the outside of the handle. This same bracket is fixed in place by a bolt that holds the drive belt tension adjustment on the inside of the handle. Since the switch housing extends about an inch from the handle, I have broken it twice by it catching on the fence or a fence post when I turn the mower.
Problem 4-Gas tank vent is too small and causes fuel spills when refilling: The gas tank has a very small vent that is designed to allow air in the tank to escape as you fill it. The problem is that once the tank is half full you have to trickle the fuel in to fill it the rest of the way or else the vent can't keep up and fuel will overflow momentarily. Stop pouring and you see the tank still isn't full. Frustrating!
Problem 5- Poor clipping bag design and efficiency: The clipping bag is prone to falling off as it is only held in place by 2 small metal tabs. If you bump into anything or drive over rough ground, the bag will fall off. Also, the bag doesn't seem to fill to capacity. When the mower starts to leave clumps or lines of clippings on the ground I suspect the bag is full. Remove the bag and find it is only half to 3/4 full. Much worse when grass is wet.
Problem 6- Engine is underpowered: I have been disappointed with the lack of power, especially noticeable when mulching. The drive system doesn't seem to bog the motor down, but I must mow when the grass is dry or I have to mow EXTREMELY SLOW!
Problem 7: No built in oil drain: There is no oil drain on the bottom of the engine, so you must turn the mower almost upside down to drain the oil. This means you have to drain the fuel or it will leak out also.
Overall, I do not recommend this model and will be replacing it today with a Honda. That is after spending $350 on the mower and over $150 on parts in the last 3 years. The very smooth and easy to use self propel system is ruined by low quality and poor reliability. Plastic gears are a show stopper on the drive wheels and are definitely the weak link in an otherwise nice system. The engine is normally easy to start but is under powered and not easily maintained with numerous design flaws including air filter location, lack of oil drain, and lack of fuel filter.
Cons: Not Durable, under powered engine, weak plastic gears on drive wheels
5out of5found this review helpful.
Review 2 for Personal Pace Recycler 22 in. Variable Speed Self-Propelled Gas Lawn Mower with Blade Stop System
I have purchased actually three of these this year (two for relatives). The initial one was for my aunt who due to wrist problems has difficulty pull-starting a lawn mower, and needs an electric start model. After researching and reading reviews on the Toro Model # 20334, I decided it was a good candidate. The mower is mostly assembled, and only requires the installation of the handle, and filling of the oil sump (oil is supplied). After filling with gas, the mower started on the first pull!
The personal pace feature works great. Walk slower over the thicker areas of you lawn to allow the mower more time to properly mulch thicker sections. I did not notice any of the gear grinding noted in a few older reviews. Actually the personal pace system seems quite ‘fluid’ and smooth. I did read in other reviews that the self-propelled feature worked on concrete, but did not pull on grass. I did experience this, but it is easily resolved with a simple adjustment of the drive cable. This information is on page 16, Fig 28 & 29 of the User care manual. Taking the slack out of the cable, will adjust how much the self-propelled feature is engaged. Once readjusted, the self propel feature worked fine. Note: If after adjusted, it pulls to quickly, readjust with a little more slack in the cable.
After having the self-propel feature adjusted, it was my aunt’s turn to try out her new mover. You should really charge the battery for 24 hours before using the electric starter feature, but I let her try it out, and she showed a real smile as it easily started the mover by a simple turn of a key.
I like the quality, features, and cut of the mower so much, that I bought another for myself. I am 55 and don’t really require the electric start, but for $40 more I could not pass up the value. The electric start seems to work really well. I have had it for 2 months and haven’t recharged it yet, since the initial 24-hour charge. The manual advises recharging after 25 hours. I have read some of the older reviews which spoke about the battery compartment being unsealed, and as a result of clippings getting into the compartment and corroding the terminals, becoming unusuable. I checked my battery compartment after about 10 cuttings. There were clippings within the compartment, but no corrosion. I clean the compartment, and sealed the plastic where it meets the deck w/ silicone. There is still a vent on the top of the plastic battery tray, and would think this is normal to enable some circulation of air within the compartment. Would advise cleaning this compartment at least once or twice a year, to prevent any corrosion. I will keep an eye on mine.
With a flip of a lever, you can switch to the bagging mode. I will use the bagger during the autumn when the leaves begin falling. If your grass is very high initially, you either bag or use the side discharge when cutting. The side discharge chute attaches very easily in 5 seconds. I found the mulching performs very well. I have read reviews on which the mower either stalls or drops or when you change direction it will drop clumps of grass when changing direction. The mower does seem to carry in it’s upper chamber to enable mulching (cutting of the grass clippings several times). My uncle found it best to delay a few seconds before reversing direction to allow the mulching action to complete. The manual advises only cutting the top 1/3 of your grass. I adjusted the height as per manual to cut only about a third of the grass blade at a time, and haven’t experience stalling the mower when mulching. During the summer, when it rains often, I like to cut my grass every 4-5 days. In back of yard, is a vacant field which I cut the first five feet of. The side discharge chute attached really quickly and I am able to cut this every 2 weeks with no problems or stalling.
The mover has a quick-wash port, which in my experience is only slightly useful. Usually I do not have any clipping under the mower is the grass was cut when dry. The I will connect to the quick-wash port with a “quick disconnect” I added to the port. Start the mover and then turn on the hose. After no clippings are being washed away, shut off the hose and keep the mower running for a few minutes to dry out the underside. My experience has shown you can avoid a big clump of wet clippings, if you first remove the bulk of the clippings first by hand, and then use the quick-wash port. Would also advise you to perform the wash over your lawn, or a spot on the concrete that you can easily wash off.
Overall, I am very happy with my purchase(s), and would strongly recommend it to a friend. It is an great array of features and is an extreme value at the price.
Pros: Cuts Well, All In One, Easy to Use, Great Engine, Self-Propelled
Cons: battery compartment may require occassional clean.
0out of0found this review helpful.
Review 3 for Personal Pace Recycler 22 in. Variable Speed Self-Propelled Gas Lawn Mower with Blade Stop System
from Chicago, IL
Terrible Toro Quality! Beware!
PostedJune 5, 2011
No, I do not recommend this product.
Believe it people, this is an accurate story. I bought the Toro #20333 on May 12, 2011 to replace my aging Craftsman front-wheel drive mower which began to leak oil after 12 years. After researching mowers on CR, I decided either this Toro or a Craftsman. I really wanted the blade-stop system so I could pick up kids toys and trash in the yard without stopping the mower. I rigged my old Craftsman with a bungee cord on the old one - not too safe. I didn't like the brake-like grips for the variable speed control on the Craftsman version and it was more than the Toro. So I went with the Toro because of price, personal pace feature and the CR ratings.
On the first mow, the mower assembled easily, and started on one pull. My 1/2 acre lawn was fairly high and the mower mulched through that with no problem. The personal pace system worked great. A lot easier than I thought. It kept pace with my step. Very impressed! Didn't have any issues with my wrists hurting as some have posted. The one thing I didn't like was how difficult it was to back up when going around air conditioners, etc. Felt like the wheels weren't disengaging. The back yard was taller, and I used the side discharge, which allowed me to not have to bag the grass. Worked well. Really liked the blade stop system, but the engine would 'surge' louder and softer when the blade wasn't engaged. Did not use the grass bag. Overall I was impressed, although the rear-wheel drive took some getting used to on turns. After I was done, I called Toro about the 'surging' and they told me that wasn't normal and to exchange the mower, which I did. Afterward, I wondered if that had something to do with the gas being 2 months old. Not sure. Never had that problem with my Craftsman, so I didn't think of it before I exchanged it.
When I got my second Toro a week later, I decided to bag the grass. As I was about 1/4 complete and thinking how much I like this mower, it seemed like it was starting to drag and get harder to push. Thought maybe it was because of a full grass bag. Numerous times the opening was blocked (dry grass) and the bag was only half full. Had some grass trails as the bag got half full. Then it got really hard to push, even though I only had a slight incline to my yard at that point. As I mowed a flat surface, I had to actually lean into the mower to get it to move. Frustrated, I lifted the back end and tried to engage the rear-wheel drive, and to my shock, the self-propelled system had failed completely! The wheels didn't turn at all. I couldn't believe the rear-wheel drive went out after mowing 1/4 of my lawn on the mower's first mow! I had to finish the rest of the mowing pushing this mower, which required a lot of stamina because it was very difficult to push through the grass. NOT fun. I did notice the mower had left quite a bit of grass trails, now, but that could have been because I was pushing too hard for the amount of grass because I just wanted to finish mowing my lawn and exchange this mower!
Result: The salesman looked under the mower and noticed the drive parts were all loose. I was nervous about Toro quality after two mowers so I ended up buying the comparable, more expensive, Honda mower. I only mowed 1/4 of my yard with the new Honda. It cut well, lighter, blade stop system worked well, and the mower isn't as hard to push and is more easily pulled backward. However, the 'paddle' variable drive system doesn't seem as 'slick and easy' to use as the Toro. But after 12 years of a Craftsman without any trouble other than maintenance items, I'm in no mood to be in a repair shop with terrible Toro Customer service as many have posted here. By the way, I would have replaced the Toro with a Craftsman if it weren't for the brake-like variable drive system which I felt was more cumbersome than the paddle system on the Honda.
23out of25found this review helpful.
Review 4 for Personal Pace Recycler 22 in. Variable Speed Self-Propelled Gas Lawn Mower with Blade Stop System
When the drive system of my 21 year old Toro lawn mower died on me last year, I knew it was time to get another mower. Since my last one lasted so long and worked so well, there was no question about which brand I was going to get. I was absolutely getting another Toro.
After looking into the various Toro models for a couple of months, I narrowed my search down to this model (with the blade over-ride system) and the model with the electric start. I went with the blade over-ride system and I'm so glad I did. I love it. It comes in really handy when you stop for a minute to move some sticks out of the way, empty out the bag, or when you just want to move the mower into your garage from the backyard without having the blades move. I've mowed my lawn a few times now and the engine started up incredibly easy on the first pull every time. My wife couldn't believe how easy it was to pull the cord and start it.
So how well does it cut the grass?
Well when bagging, I'd say it's very good. Cuts very crisp and clean and works great even when the bag gets full. My lawn looked great the first time I bagged with it. Very easy to put on or remove the bag, and the lever to change from bagging to mulching is a fantastic idea! Takes a second to make the switch. The only thing I'd knock the mower for when bagging is the bag's capacity. It's a decent size, but could be bigger. I had to dump 4 bags full of grass just to finish the front lawn. That's a little too much for me. Not bad though.
So the next couple of times I mowed, I tried mulching, and I don't think I'm going to go back to bagging again. The mulching worked great. I set the deck height to about 2 1/3" if memory serves (the manual has a grid to help you determine the right height to set the wheels). The first pass over the lawn left a little bit of loose clumps of grass which I could have left, but I decided to "criss cross" the lawn by mulching it quickly going the opposite direction. That's supposed to be very good for the lawn and it shows. Looked awesome when I was done. My backyard is bigger so instead of criss-cross mulching a 2nd time over the backyard grass, I just went out back with my Toro leaf blower and blew away the loose grass....took 5 minutes. I didn't have to use the blower, but I just wanted it to look pristine. So you could say that right now I'm totally sold on the mulching thing!
The engine is very strong and I love the Personal Pace system. It truly does go as fast or as slow as you walk. Really nice! My old mower was just one speed so this is a huge revelation. Also, my old mower was front wheel drive, and this mower is rear wheel drive. I was nervous about the rear wheel drive thing, but man I'll tell you, I'll never go back to front wheel drive. With the rear wheel drive you have so much more traction - especially with a full bag of grass, or when going up hill.
The combination of the rear wheel drive, very strong engine, Personal Pace drive system, blade over-ride system, very good bagging or mulching capabilities (which you can switch on the fly) makes this mower a winner in my book. Highly recommend!
BTW - I don't plan to use the wash out port system. I just don't think it's a good idea to introduce water to a lawn mower. As I did with my last Toro mower that lasted 21 years, I'll just blow it off with my leaf blower when I'm done using it and wipe it down a little with a rag. Also, if you mulch, It's fairly easy to scrape away the built up grass underneath the deck with your hand or a small rounded garden tool. No problem. The wash out port system may be valuable to some folks though.......I just prefer not to use it. At least not right now.
5out of5found this review helpful.
Review 5 for Personal Pace Recycler 22 in. Variable Speed Self-Propelled Gas Lawn Mower with Blade Stop System
I am a homeowner with a single lawn that I cut roughly once a week. I purchased this lawn mower in the spring of 2012 after finally deciding to retire my 15 year old mulching mower that was made by a different manufacturer.
The mower is easy to use and does an adequate job cutting grass in all three configurations: mulching, side discharge, and bagging. I mostly used it as a mulching mower. In the mulching configuration, the mower has an annoying tendency to concentrate cut grass on the right side of the mower. This leaves a trail of grass clippings in the lawn that becomes even more evident as the grass clippings dry and turn brown. I overcame this by mowing my lawn in a clockwise rotation which allowed the linear grass clipping trail to be recaptured by the subsequent pass. Therefore, even though I was annoyed by the uneven distribution of grass clippings, I could make it work and felt the mower was acceptable.
What is not acceptable is that my mower has had a number of problems. About two-thirds of the way through the 2012 lawn cutting season, the mower experienced its first problem. I started the mower and began cutting grass for 5 minutes when the mower began to run rough. I stopped the mower and checked the fuel and oil levels and also checked to undercarriage for grass build up. Everything appeared normal. I went to restart the mower and it wouldn't start. I attempted to restart the mower for several days and it finally restarted after the fourth day. The mower ran rough for for a couple of minutes then it seemed to return to normal and functioned for the rest of the season. At the end of the season I ran the mower out of gas to make sure that no fuel was varnishing in the tank over the winter.
At the beginning of the 2013 season, I changed the oil, changed the air filter, put on a new blade, and filled the tank with fresh premium gasoline. Again the mower ran rough and would not restart after shutdown. I let it sit again for several days and it kept refusing to start. I removed the carburetor, inspected it (clean as a whistle), and reinstalled it. Still wouldn't start. Finally, I replaced the spark plug which solved the problem.
Now it is August of 2013 and the mower has been running fine until today. While mowing downhill, the mower engine started to sound as if it was straining in very sparse grass. At the bottom of the hill the mower began to produce a thick cloud of smoke that appeared to emanate from the undercarriage near the left rear wheel. I stopped the mower and found that it was difficult to push suggesting that the personal pace transmission system has seized up. I manipulated the personal pace control to try to get it to disengage, but it appears to be destroyed. Pulling on the start cord is met by increased resistance. I checked the oil level and it was perfect. Other reviews of this mower have mentioned a tendency for these engines to burn oil, but I have not experienced this. I am preparing to take this albatross in for service where I will likely learn exactly what the problem is. Hopefully all the personal pace mowers are not going to exhibit this problem or Toro will have a real mess on their hands.
Anyway, the Toro lasted a season and a half. It is the worst mower of the five that I have ever used, in both cut quality and durability. I strongly recommend that you seriously consider the problems that I have had when purchasing a new mower.
Pros: Easy to Use, Good Size & Weight, Self-Propelled, Light Weight
Cons: Not Durable, epic fail
3out of3found this review helpful.
Review 6 for Personal Pace Recycler 22 in. Variable Speed Self-Propelled Gas Lawn Mower with Blade Stop System
To sum it up, this mower (Toro Recycler, model 20333) is PERFECT. I am a female in my mid-20's and our yard is a big hill in the back and is ridiculously uneven. I spent last summer dreading mowing the backyard because it was so difficult - and waiting to mow it made it even worse (we live in NC where the grass grows very fast). I swore up and down to my husband that we would be purchasing a riding lawn mower this year because I refused to push mow the backyard ever again.
After several hours of research I decided that a self propelled mower may be a better option for us for three reasons: 1) we are still young enough for the physical activity involved 2) more cost effective (the mower with bagger is about as much as a bagger for a riding mower) and 3) our yard is only about an acre, total.
I could not be happier with this mower. I slid the box out of the truck using a motorcycle ramp (my husband is overseas, so I had to do this by myself with a preschooler "helping"), reviewed the assembly instructions, and got to work. All that needed to be done was attach the handle (no tools), fill it with oil (included), and pop on the bagger. To my shock, it started on the VERY FIRST pull. I'm used to having to do the "prime, pull, pull, pull, prime, pull, pull" ritual with our old mower so I had a huge smile on my face and literally said "wow" out loud.
It had rained overnight and a little this morning so I didn't mow the entire yard, but I did test it out on a large pile of leaves that had gathered in a corner, and the dreaded hill in the back. If my neighbors could have seen my face they would have thought I was on some sort of drug because I was smiling from ear to ear. That dreaded hill is no longer a problem and the pile of leaves was no match for this mower. I didn't have to struggle up the hill or back off because it was getting bogged down - I just walked and it mowed. I know it sounds too good to be true, but I seriously just walked and it mowed (I was skeptical when I first started researching these types of mowers)! It is heavier than our old mower (one of the cheapest push mowers you can buy) but I didn't have trouble turning or pulling it.
I can see how some people would feel awkward with the personal pace feature at first, but I thoroughly enjoyed it!
After I was done testing it out, I wanted to try the wash out port. This is a great feature too! You don't have to struggle to tip and hold the mower back to wash the deck. You just attach the hose, turn the water on, start the mower and wait til the water runs clear. Easy!!
All of this took me less than an hour. That's even with me checking and double checking to make sure I had everything right before I started it up the first time.
Like I said in the title, I cannot say enough good things about this mower.
4out of4found this review helpful.
Review 7 for Personal Pace Recycler 22 in. Variable Speed Self-Propelled Gas Lawn Mower with Blade Stop System
I've had my Toro 20333 for a month now and have four mows on it. I did a lot of research before selecting this mower. After quitting smoking for 6 months I figured I'd save $900 so rewarding myself with a $400 mower seemed well earned. Being 50, I've had my share of mowers in my life and after getting 14 years out of my Lawnboy, I thought that I'd replace it with another one, however it seems that Toro has put their Lawnboy brand down a notch. Obviously from all the reviews it would be hard for you to not chose the Toro 20333 or the 20332. I really wanted the blade stop system so that's why I went with the 20333. Yea, it was $45 more, but for me it was worth it. I have few complaints about this mower, 1) the bag is white, so after one mow the bag is stained. This is only cosmetic but I wish the bag was black. 2) it has a bumper on the front and the side discharge cover on the right, but the left part of the frame is unprotected. I have a lot of landscaping bricks and one rub and I have a scrape in the paint. I put on a black rubber floor molding strip on the side and fixed the problem and it looks like it belongs there. That's it for the bad, I know that's not much. Now for the good; 1) it took 10 minutes out of the box and I was mowing. It's nice to finally get a product that doesn't take 2 hours to assemble. 2) it started on the first pull and has continued to start on the first pull every time. 3) the self pace system was a bit odd at first and I had my reservations about getting this mower because of it, but I have to say I love it. It allows you to go as fast or slow as you want, all you do is walk. By the way, unless you want to go on a slow jog, you will not be going full throttle. 4) The switch from mulching to bagging is great. On my old Lawnboy you had to kinda disassemble it to switch over. 5) I wanted the blade stop system and it works as it should and I do really like it. 6) bagging is a lot better than my Lawnboy. This mower really mulches up the grass and packs it in the bag. I haven't mowed when the grass is damp so I can only describe what a dry mow is like. That's about it. I really like this mower and hope it has as much longevity as my Lawnboy, which still is running fine. At $399 or $359 with a military discount like I got, it's a fair deal. Yea you can buy three cheap mowers for $400 but I would rather buy one nice mower every 10-15 years than a cheap one every 3-4 years.
4out of4found this review helpful.
Review 8 for Personal Pace Recycler 22 in. Variable Speed Self-Propelled Gas Lawn Mower with Blade Stop System
Ordered online and had one delivered. I used it 2x and on the third time, it wouldn't start. Toro had me take it to Earl's Saw Shop in Boulder where I had to leave a $50 warranty deposit and put up with them reminding me that they would have to be sure it was not something I did, and they would go through the mower and then discuss with Toro again to make sure it was not my fault!
I went home seething - thought about it - retrieved the mower and my check and returned it to Home Depot. The tool department did get it to start but thought there might be something wrong with it as it did not sound right, so, they refunded my money - no problem - and, because I needed a mower, I ordered another one, thinking the first was a fluke
The mower arrived quickly and I put the handle on and - IT WOULD NOT START! This time, back to Home Depot where they made an adjustment and I took it home. Next day - IT WOULD NOT START! So, back to Home Depot where I left it for them to do warrant work (still on store warranty) and they required no deposit. They had it about 4 days and the only thing they found wrong was the internal choke was too far forward and they adjusted it. It is now starting, at least so far, so I hope that was all that was wrong.
So, bravo to the guys at Home Depot - good job. Ordering online and having it delivered is OK but, I did miss out on having it store tuned before I brought it home. I would recommend doing that as things can no doubt become loose, etc. in shipping. I am glad this thing started as, if I would have had to return this second one, I would not have reordered the Toro. I will not take it to Earl's Saw Shop in Boulder if I need warranty work in the future but will take it to a place in Lafayette. A little farther, but, hopefully I can avoid that attitude. FYI I was told Earl's Saw Shop the place NOT to go - good work I think, but rude, slow, nasty, and repairs usually cost way more than the estimate. I think I would rather pay for repairs than go back there!
I would have bought a Honda that was online if I had to take the Toro back. I hope it continues to work, now, as I like the mower. Just not happy I hade to haul this thing - I had to get help putting in and taking it out of my trunk each time - but at least the Home Depot Tool Dept. guys fixed it and I will take it there for general maintenance!
Pros: Cuts Well, Easy to Use, Sturdy, Good Size & Weight, Durable, Powerful, Great Engine, Self-Propelled, Mulches Well, Easy to Store
Cons: had starting problems at first
1out of2found this review helpful.
Review 9 for Personal Pace Recycler 22 in. Variable Speed Self-Propelled Gas Lawn Mower with Blade Stop System
I bought this lawnmower because it had all the features I wanted: simple variable speed, blade control and easy to start. The variable speed was awesome. I have a small yard about, 6000sq ft to mow. I live in Southeast Tx, so mowing is a year round event.
The mower lasted for about 1 year, but then started having issues with the gears in the back drive train. It has a 3-year warranty so I took it in for repair. The repair shop told me that they constantly replace the back wheels because it has plastic gears that wear out quickly. So that was repair #1. About 3 months later, the left wheel was worn again. Back to the shop it goes. The next time it makes it through the winter because mowing slows to every 3 weeks. In the spring it fails with both back wheels this time. I called Toro to complain. They were not very helpful, just said take it back to the shop. Back to the shop, but I try a new shop. This place tries to charge me (although its still under warranty) for extra stuff like a tune up. Finally the service manager said just take it, we were trying to make a few $$ and earn a customer. Wow, not going back there. Finally 1 week before the warranty expires, it fails again. I called Toro and expressed my concern. They were NOT helpful at all. Just said you made it 3 years and that’s all they were willing to do. I wanted a new drive train, but there was no doing. I took it to the original shop that worked on it and explained my concern. They said that Toro was not easy to work with and I even offered to pay for the repair if it would be better performed. I got the lawnmower back and they replaced the wheel and did some adjustments on one of the metal tabs that holds the wheel. So far 2 months later it’s still going, knock on wood.
My biggest issue was the fact that Toro was so non-caring about their issue. They blew me off even after going to the supervisors. When it breaks again, it’s going to the junk yard and I will buy a better lawnmower. Toro has sold me their last mower. I’ve had 2 other Toro’s, no issues. This one cost me more than I paid for it with back and forth trips and missing work. Toro needs to get some customer service that cares!!!
Pros: Cuts Well, Self-Propelled, Mulches Well
Cons: Not Durable, power train is weak
0out of0found this review helpful.
Review 10 for Personal Pace Recycler 22 in. Variable Speed Self-Propelled Gas Lawn Mower with Blade Stop System
I own a 2001 Toro Self Paced Electric Start lawn mower that worked well for the first 8 years. Last year, the mower started stalling out when I would pull the mower backwards. After 2 seasons of this, I decided to upgraded to a newer model after numerous attemts to resolve the stalling issue. I liked my old model and decided to try the Toro self paced with blade stop. I tried to start the NEW mower for 20 minutes and it would start occasionally and run slowly before stalling out. After numerous tries I packed it up and returned it to my local Home Depot for the Honda VXR Nexlite self propelled model. GREAT MOVE!!!
I can't believe how much better the Honda is compared to my old Toro self paced mower and obviousy the new one. The Honda easily starts with one pull. When mowing, the Honda completely fills the bag with grass clippings. My Toro never filled the bag more than 2/3 full before it started droppping clipping on the lawn. Forget about wet grass with the Toro, then you are looking at 1/4 to 1/3 full before having to empty it. The Toro clippings shute that feeds the grass bag becomes blocked and the bag no longer fills. Another advantage of the Honda is that it has much more power than the Toro. You can feel the Honda pull you along at higher speeds which never occurred with the Toro. Great for uneven lawns and hills. The Honda is also much easier to push forward and baclwards when the self propelled mode is not engaged or the engine is off. The Toro is difficult to push forwards and backwards when not powered and being self propelled.
My final test was to see how long it would take for the Honda vs the Toro self propelled model. The Honda let me mow my entire lawn in 35 minutes at my pace. The next week I mowed the lawn with the grass at the same hieght with the Toro and it took 65 minutes. The pace with the Honda was much faster thanks to the power of this mower.
Overall, I would rate the Toro self propelled mower a 3 to 3.5 out of 5 versus a 4.5 to 4.8 out of 5 for the Honda VXR model. Honda is worth the extra cost over the life span of the mower.
2out of4found this review helpful.
Review 11 for Personal Pace Recycler 22 in. Variable Speed Self-Propelled Gas Lawn Mower with Blade Stop System
I had two of these. The first hit a brick (someone tossed a the brick sometime over the winter onto my sideyard & I didn't see it, I was heart broken) and completely bent the shaft. NOT the mowers fault but I didn't really didn't expect to pay the cost of a new mower to get the bent one fixed. So, anyway I got the second 20333 & had nothing but problems with it from the start. I would always have a small blue plume of smoke when I would turn it off. Didn't really think anything of it after checking everything after I'd mow. Half way into the season I went out to mow, & the whole engine seized. Took it down to the "authorized dealer" & he was able to get it loose so I asked about warrenty info because I've been mowing lawns for 25 years and am an avid DIY'er . NEVER had a problem like this. Do all the maintenance myself and am adamant about it. Don't know about you but I don't have extra $$ toss around. Anyway, fixit guy looked at me like I was crazy. He said it was my word against his & he thought I'd done something wrong. It's a freakin' lawn mower. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to follow the maintenance schedule, & check it during the season. So, I contacted Toro's customer service (what a joke). They didn't even read my email and sent me a mindless & helpless reply to take it to an authorized dealer. Such a bummer because it was an articulate explanation of the events that took place and not some expletive-ridden rant. So much for being reasonable. Guess ya' gotta' freak out & throw a fit to get anywhere. I'm just not that kind of guy... So, I'm done. I'll never buy another Toro again. I know people say that a lot, but when you get nowere with poor "customer service" & an intact "warrenty" where do you have to turn? I got the Honda HRR216VKA & like it a lot so far. Too soon to tell if I'll have any problems with this mower, but I DO know where I'll get if I buy another Toro. I'm sure there are units out there that are fine, but if you get this little guy & you have problems, don't say I didn't warn ya'. Hope this helps you out.
15out of19found this review helpful.
Review 12 for Personal Pace Recycler 22 in. Variable Speed Self-Propelled Gas Lawn Mower with Blade Stop System
had problems with this mower out of the box, and returned it
PostedJanuary 6, 2013
Ease of use
No, I do not recommend this product.
Purchased this mower in March 2012. My prior mower was 15 years old. The B&S motor on my old mower ran fine, but the deck was rotting out and I was due for a third set of wheels, so figured it was better to buy something new than repair an older mower.
I decided to purchase a Toro version with an electric start to encourage other family members to help with the lawn. After assembling the mower, which was very easy, and charging the battery overnight, the starter wouldn't turnover. I called Toro and they asked me to bring it to an authorized dealer for service and to not return the mower. I decided to trace the wires for the starter, and found that the fittings were not installed properly. These were factory installed and not part of the owner assembly/setup. Saved the trouble of dragging this in for repair and a return trip.
The mower worked well into the early fall, when we it died one day. Turned out that the airflow coming off the right front wheel is right past the aircleaner, and the the aircleaner was completely clogged after 6 months. A quick fix, and we were back in business.
Several weeks later, I was using the mower and it died again. The sparkplug wire had somehow come off while I was mowing. Not sure why this happened after 20 minutes of use that day, but again, a quick fix.
After the fall season, I put some fuel stabilizer in the gas and ran it through the system. Eight weeks later, last weekend, I took the mower out to get the last of the fall leaves up, and it wouldn't start at all. I changed out the gas, checked the aircleaner, and it still wouldn't start. I also noticed a small pool of oil on top of the deck, right under the spark plug. Checked the sparkplug and it looked ok. Tried to get it going again, but nothing.
I packed the mower up and returned it to Home Depot for store credit yesterday. I've never had problems with a B&S motor before, but felt that I'd done my homework on this machine, and shouldn't have to oversee the unit through warranty work. I plan to buy a Honda to replace this Toro.
Pros: Easy to Use, Good Size & Weight, Powerful, Self-Propelled
Cons: Not Durable, won't start ... at all, poor location for aircleaner
3out of6found this review helpful.
Review 13 for Personal Pace Recycler 22 in. Variable Speed Self-Propelled Gas Lawn Mower with Blade Stop System
I decided to replace rather than try to fix an old lawn-boy mower after my wife bent the deck by mowing the curb. I wish she had done it years ago.
The old mower had 3 speeds: Much too slow, too slow, and too fast. Our yard has lots of obstacles, so it was always a pain trying to maneuver around while the mower was running at its fixed speed. The "personal pace" feature on the Toro gets around this. the handle controls the speed, so the faster I walk the faster it goes. I could not exceed its top speed, so there is no need to push, and if I stop, it stops. No pulling or slipping wheels. No need to take it out of gear. When I come to a tight spot, I simply push the mower to the edge, pull it back, push forward again, etc, all without having to stop the blade.
I agree that some of the pieces look a bit cheap, so I'll have to see how it lasts. Switching from bagging to mulching simply requires moving a lever: no plug to place like the old mower, no need to remove the bag. The only piece to store is the side discharge chute. So far it has started on the first pull every use, even the first one.
I did have problems with the mower stalling while mulching, but it is hard to blame it: I was trying to mulch 6 inches of wet grass. When it did stall, there were several pounds of clotted clippings around the blade. I should have used a higher setting or one of the discharge chutes, but i wanted to see what it could do. Which was make 4 inches of wet clippings disappear into the lawn and make it look like I bagged. Just not 6 inches of wet clippings, at least not if I cut a full swath. The hose washout port rinsed out a fair amount of green soup, but I still needed to remove some gunk by hand.
In summary, it would be hard to be more pleased. We cut our own lawn, while most of our neighbors use a lawn service, and this mower will pay for itself in a few months. My teenage daughters, who claimed to be too weak to handle the old mower, will need a better excuse. This one is too easy.
2out of2found this review helpful.
Review 14 for Personal Pace Recycler 22 in. Variable Speed Self-Propelled Gas Lawn Mower with Blade Stop System
Easy assembly out of the box. Rear wheel adjustment lever had a broken plastic knob -- just an inconvenience in terms of getting that fixed. I have only used it three times so far. I'm getting used to the self propel system, but my opinion so far is that I prefer the traditional variable speed handles. I very well may feel differently after more use. After all, it's 30 years of using traditional self propel to three uses of the new Toro system. I do like the blade stop and the mulch-to-bag lever -- very handy. This one is also much quiter and tracks straighter than my two-stroke Lawnboy. In terms of mulching performance, the first and second mows were decent -- not too many visible grass clipping lines or piles. The grass was a little longer on the second mow and left more visible clippings. I do have the deck set fairly high. For the most part, I was hoping (realistically or not) for better mulching. Though there may be better mulching mowers, I am telling myself (for now) that mulching is not bagging; when you don't bag your clippings, you are going to see some clippings on the lawn. And the amount of clippings is directly related to length of grass, mowing frequency, and deck height. (If this mower was a year or more old, blade speed and sharpness might also play a part.) I am going to set the deck one notch higher for the next mow and see how that goes. On a related note, I did see some mohawking on the second mow as well. Higher deck height (when the grass is longer) and a little wider overlap on my passes will hopefully take care of that. Lastly, the mower does become more difficult to maneuver as the bag fills with clippings, but also in general, there seems to be more resistance to 180-degree turnarounds than my previous Lawnboy. I am highly adaptable, so I believe that I will end up making adjustments to the equipment and my habits to make this Toro my new favorite lawn mower. (NOTE: I had my previous two-stronke Lawnboy for 12 seasons.)
0out of0found this review helpful.
Review 15 for Personal Pace Recycler 22 in. Variable Speed Self-Propelled Gas Lawn Mower with Blade Stop System
Age Range:55 to 64
toro personel pace
PostedApril 15, 2012
toro vs honda.
My nine year old Toro broke so I figured it was time to replace it. I did alot of research and read alot of reviews on different types of mowers. Just for your info, John Deere is discontinuing its walk behind series due to constant break down and quality issues. So anyway, I wanted to go with a mower with the blade dissconect so I would not have to restart everytime I changed the bag. I figured I had good luck with the Toro, but had read lots of good stuff about the Honda GVC 160. I decided to buy the Toro 20333. I figure this would perform at least as good as the old Toro. Wrong. The engine was sputtering and missing right out of the box, and seemed to lack cutting power. The personal pace drive was o.k. as long as you were on the sidewalk. Once in the grass I was doing more of the pushing than the mower. It seems the wheels have a lot of drag on them, even when pushing it on concrete. Maybe they went with a different bearing but its hard just to push or to pull backwards when cutting around trees. Way too much work. The mower vibrates alot also and rattles your arms as you are mowing.
I took it back and bought a Honda 160. Its a hundred bucks more, but the difference was like night and day. Both the kids, and the wife tried both and they all agreed. The Honda engine is really quiet and smooth compared to the Toro. No deck vibration. The paddle control for the self propel is adjustable and easy to use. This thing will run away from you. What power. No pushing at all or fighting with it. The rear chute for the grass catcher has a bigger mouth than the Toro. Holds more grass and is easier to dump. To sum it up, the Toro sad to say can't hold a candle to the Honda. I ran a side by side comparison. The Toro went back. The Honda also has a twin mulching blade that turns the grass into dust just about. Quality wise and durability, I'll have to see.
37out of42found this review helpful.
Review 16 for Personal Pace Recycler 22 in. Variable Speed Self-Propelled Gas Lawn Mower with Blade Stop System
In March of 2011, after nearly a year of research and comparison, I purchased the Toro Personal Pace 22" Walk Behind with blade clutch, model 20333. My extensive research included leafing through countless reviews from many websites (including those you are reading now), consultations with enthusiasts’ websites and of course reading major consumer publications which by-the-way rated this mower as a “best buy.” However, I am disappointed to say that mechanical issues have plagued the Toro from very early on. The first problem erupted about three months into the season with hard starting and irregular idle. This was exacerbated by the Briggs & Stratton’s surprising intolerance for lower octane fuel. I could expect a demand for mid-grade fuel from a higher end OHV engine, but not so much from the 20333’s more seasoned technology. Shortly after this came the mystery leak under the head causing enough concern to take it back to Home Depot. I would not recommend this, however. While the staff at your local HD are likely friendly and helpful enough, most are not small engine aficionados. Their efforts to get your machine logged, tagged and shipped out to a dealer will compete with 17 other customers looking for 5/8” drywall and a bag of potting soil; then there is the cart of go-backs to contend with before their shift is over. I learned after my second attempt at warranty repair it is best to take it to the nearest service dealer recommended on Toro’s website. While all repairs thus far have been covered by the two year warranty, the time and frustration have involved have not made me whole. I learned in my post Toro purchase discussions that its major competitor, while potentially overpriced, has far fewer returns and repairs than comparable Toro models. Doh! If only I researched a little more.
13out of14found this review helpful.
Review 17 for Personal Pace Recycler 22 in. Variable Speed Self-Propelled Gas Lawn Mower with Blade Stop System
I've never owned a self propelled before, I did a lot of research. I tried some out. I thought this BBC Personal Pace Walk Power Mower would be hard to control because the speed is controlled by the sliding handle, especially when backing up. This was not the case at all when I finally bought it and set it up. It was much easier to back up and turn than the sample model which seemed to resist backing up. The sample must not have been setup correctly. Anyways, aiming/controlling movement of this mower is practically effortless.
I contemplated buying something with more torque, just because. However, this has plenty more than I expected. The cut was nice and even as well. The speed is so much faster than I care to run when I'm mowing and the tires moved easily through the grass.
Overall I recommend it for it does, which is cut lawn very well and aid the user with a lot of power to the rear wheels making mowing effortless. Just need to walk behind it and direct it.
The only thing that needs work is the handles and wires. It needs better storage by way of easier folding handles and the wires seem to be somewhat in the way when changing the grass bag. It looks like some marketing scheme not to provide the storage function, but if mower companies really want to stand out I would making easy folding storage handles the standard on all models.
Also, I didn't think the wash port worked very well. This is a nice idea, but not worth looking for in a mower. I ended up scrapping most of the grass that didn't come off with a stick anyways. Trying to use the wash out port added one more thing to do with the mower and I really don't care to do all that extra work for nothing.
2out of2found this review helpful.
Review 18 for Personal Pace Recycler 22 in. Variable Speed Self-Propelled Gas Lawn Mower with Blade Stop System
This is definitely an improvement over the Sears Craftsman mover it replaced. The variable speed self-propelsion took some getting used to, but once you do it's pretty nice. Due to a back injury that plagued me this summer, my wife has to mow the lawn until my back heals. She could not really use the old mower, but she really likes this one. And the blade stop system is an extremely important feature -- I don't understand why it's not required on all powered mowers.
Why Toro did not include a fuel line shut-off valve is beyond me. You would think they would be required by law.
The mower is difficult to maneuver if you do not keep the bag in place. Without the bag, the plastic lip at the rear of the mover makes it very difficult to back up and sometimes even turn. Keep the bag in place, even if you don't use it and the mower will be easier to maneuver.
There are several negatives about this mover that seem to be common to a lot of gas mowers: (1) Poor ways to drain oil and gas from their tanks. Seriously, I don't think any consumer would mind paying a few dollars more for a mower where you don't have to tip if over to drain the oil (for an oil change) or siphon out gas for the winter. (2) Blind gas filling. It's worth a few bucks extra to have a small window so that when you pour gas you can see how much room in the tank is left so you don't overflow the tank when filling it. (3) Construction is cheap -- all too common a problem.
All in all, we're moderately satisfied with this mower. Given the range of gas mower prices, this was the most decent one we could afford.
Pros: Cuts Well, Great Engine, Self-Propelled
Cons: Limited Features, lacks fuel-line shut-off valve, cheap construction
0out of0found this review helpful.
Review 19 for Personal Pace Recycler 22 in. Variable Speed Self-Propelled Gas Lawn Mower with Blade Stop System
After 20+ years of using nothing but Honda mowers, I thought I would always use Hondas. Well, the last one I bought was... not the Honda that I used to know. Nothing but problems. When I tried to use it today to cut the grass, and it would not run, I headed to Home Depot.
I had read a lot about Toros, and liked what I read about them. I had borrowed my neighbor's mower when my Honda quit running (again). I liked it, and it was one of the more basic models. The guy at HD tried to steer me towards the Hondas again, but I wasn't going there again. Decided I had to get a Toro.
This model caught my attention because of it's "blade-stop" feature, plus it's solid Briggs & Stratton engine. Not having to restart the engine every time you empty the bag is an awesome feature! One of the reasons that I had always purchased Hondas in the past. I don't know why they do not put this on ALL mowers!
Engine is very strong. Had no issues powering through tall grass, without even bogging down. Starts on the first pull, and is nice and quiet when it is running.
The Personal Pace system is also very easy to use, and is so much more intuitive to use than the Honda system. Even propulsion, and it matches your stride perfectly. The arch of the handle is very comfortable, and still makes for easy turns with the mower.
The bagger and suction are quite good. Picks up everything, and bags it neatly. Bag is very easy to remove/install, and empties easily. Have not tried the mulcher yet, but the side discharge works very well.
Very happy with this mower, and look forward to many years of use!
Pros: Cuts Well, Easy to Use, Sturdy, Accurate, Good Size & Weight, Durable, Powerful, Great Engine, Self-Propelled, Long-Lasting, personal pace system, blade stop system
5out of5found this review helpful.
Review 20 for Personal Pace Recycler 22 in. Variable Speed Self-Propelled Gas Lawn Mower with Blade Stop System
I was skeptical of the "personal pace" feature on this mower but it works like a charm! It really does sense how fast you want to go, but more importantly it gives you that extra juice to power up hills, and lets you back off coming back down.
I replaced an older Craftsman 22" self-powered mulcher and was pleased that this Toro exceeds what I was used to. I used to pop up the front wheels on the front-wheel drive Craftsman to reverse direction, on this one just pull back on it (stopping the rear-wheel drive) and turn.
Blade-stop feature is fantastic! Don't have to turn off the motor to pause, and can drive it forward to a new location with the blade stopped.
I can't testify to the longevity but I can tell you that this mower exceeded my expectations. One of the wheel-elevation-lever handles was broken on delivery but Home Depot quickly replaced it via email correspondence. I opted for the pull-start instead of the electric because I live in a wet climate (Oregon) and reviews were negative for the battery in wet climates. Doesn't matter though because it REALLY DOES start on the 1st pull (without priming) every time!
Mulching is about the same as the Craftsman was, leaves some clumps especially when the grass is wet or too long. But chances to mow are unpredictable here in Winter and Spring, so I'm used to bagging when conditions dictate. Sometimes I mulch then make a second pass with the bag to "vacuum" up the leavings. Clumping is alleviated altogether if I raise the level of the mower taking less grass in.
Great mower, especially for the money.
Pros: Cuts Well, Easy to Use, Accurate, Good Size & Weight, Powerful, Self-Propelled, personal pace feature, blade-stop feature, single pull start