Craftsman 37430 21″ 140cc Briggs & Stratton Gas Powered Push Lawn Mower Review
The gas-powered Craftsman 37430 lawn mower may have done the vaunted hardware manufacturer’s trusted reputation far more harm than good. Tragically, when everything actually functions as intended, its specs don’t do its performance justice on paper. This modestly proportioned mower often effectively punches a good bit above its weight. Sadly, the combination of perfectly avoidable design oversights coupled with suspect quality assurance holds this budget-priced model back from being upheld as a respectable value proposition instead of a dodgy disappointment.
- 140CC Briggs & Stratton Silver Series 5-Torque Engine with 5.0 ft./lb. of torque
- Steel 21-inch deck with seven-inch wheels in front and 11-inch wheels in back
- Mulch, bag or side-discharge your clippings
- Dual front and rear height-adjustment levers with six settings each
- Weighs only 65 pounds
Performance is certainly not what drags down overall impressions of the Craftsman 37430. In fact, it stands as proof that hinging too many perceptions of a lawn mower’s practical power on the dimensions of its engine is a blanket fallacy. A 140cc engine is the basement floor of the average size range for gas-powered mowers, but this Briggs & Stratton OHV cranks out a decidedly impressive 5.0 ft./lb. of torque to power a 65-pound machine. A pair of seven-inch front wheels turn tightly around obstacles and slip in and out of narrow spaces with ease. Meanwhile, the larger 11-inch rear wheels complement that nimble maneuverability by providing needed stability over uneven terrain and tall, heavy grass.
Ease Of Use
The Craftsman 37430 is what I like to call a “family-friendly” mower, a model created for any and every individual with a small to medium-sized spread of fairly flat turf to tame. You couldn’t ask for a more manageable push mower when it fires on all cylinders, but issues tend to first pop up when trying to get it started. According to no less than Craftsman’s own instructions, compressing the priming bulb three or four times should be enough to start the engine on the first or second pull of the cord. That sounds reasonable on paper, but expect to prime anywhere from eight to a dozen times before successfully firing up. The cord itself sometimes to has to be pulled at a very specific angle itself or the engine won’t fully start, making sore shoulders and innovative new curse words frequent parts of a complete Craftsman user experience. Being light as a feather is absolutely useless if there’s a strong possibility of not even getting the blade moving.
Cut Quality & Options
Incredibly, I don’t have a single unkind word to offer concerning the way the Craftsman 37430 cuts. Provided it actually starts, this somewhat disappointing mower slices with power and finesse that handles even notoriously heavy and high growth without repeated extra passes to achieve an overall consistent, clean-cut finish from beginning to end. The 1.9-bushel optional clipping bag’s dust filter is a merciful boon to seasonal allergy sufferers and the finely tuned cutting system mulches and side-discharges shreds of grass with equally impressive efficiency. With six front and rear height settings to choose from with dual adjustment levers, you have plenty of options to choose from when confronted with slopes, exceptionally dense grass and craggy ground. Although I steadfastly insist that a set of several height controls is rarely preferable to raising or lowering all four wheels with a single lever, that isn’t my chief issue in this case. Each lever has a habit of slipping out of position during mowing, a preventable and fixable defect that breeds not only frustration but potential safety issues.
Here comes the deal-breaker: the Craftsman 37430 is an unreliable mower. For starters, whoever positioned the oil fill tube beneath the blower housing inside the engine block and beneath the muffler should not be allowed to assemble a jigsaw puzzle, much less a piece of machinery someone else will have to maintain. This location turns taking off the oil cap and using the dipstick into taxing tests of fine motor skills. It isn’t unusual for reviews to also note major malfunctions within months of use and engine replacements after only a year. As breakdown-prone as the Craftsman 37430 is, it astounds me that it comes with only a two-year general warranty. I wouldn’t ordinarily associate Craftsman with the adjective “disposable,” but I haven’t much of a choice here.
Should you need to stop mowing immediately – say, when your adjusted deck height slips – you can release the bailout bar at any time to kill the engine instantly.
To put it mildly, the Craftsman 37430 is an inadvisable gamble. This mower might catch you off-guard with just how much torque its unassumingly small engine produces, but anybody could and should explore any of several more powerful, proven-dependable electric or gas-powered competitors similarly priced between $300 and $350. For that matter, a number of mowers under $300 boast more versatile cutting prowess and trustworthy durability backed by more extensive warranties. While I can appreciate the merits of a lightweight-but-efficient gas mower an entire family could operate with ease, this could generously be called a lazy half-effort built to coast on Craftsman’s mainstream reputation.
- Light enough for anyone to push comfortably
- Handles smoothly
- Larger rear wheels overcome uneven turf
- EZ Empty bag with dust filter
- Surprising cutting power
- Doesn’t always start easily
- Oil cap is tricky to access
- Height levers shift out of position at will
- Two-year general warranty
- Notoriously unreliable