New vs Used Lawn Mowers

New vs Used Lawn Mowers

Where to Buy Used Lawn Mowers

Dale, the Lawn Mower Expert
Lawn Mower Expert

So, your old lawn mower kicked the bucket and your budget won’t allow you to spend hundreds of dollars on a new machine. It’s not uncommon for folks to seek out used lawn mowers in these situations. Used riding mowers are especially popular due to the higher cost of buying new. 

But the process of buying a used product is very different from buying a new one. We’re here to guide you through the labyrinth of used mower purchasing, helping you navigate the many risks and pitfalls. You can apply similar principles to other used lawn equipment such as used string trimmers, brush cutters, etc.

Buying a Used Mower

When buying a used mower, do your research, inspect the machine, and assess the risks.

garage sale


Do Your Research

Research is always the first step in any buying process. There are plenty of online marketplaces, such as eBay, Craigslist, or Facebook, where you can buy pre-owned lawn mowers.

Alternatively, you could buy from a friend, family member, or someone in the community. Many times, local newspapers will have classified sections where people advertise their used items. Libraries are also known to have sales bulletin boards. Of course, garage sales are another opportunity to buy a used mower.

Wherever you decide to buy, we highly recommend you physically inspect the used mower (see next section) before purchasing. If you blindly order from an anonymous stranger online, you have little recourse if you get sent a broken mower. In the best-case scenario, you’d have to go through the hassle of shipping it back. Always go inspect the product in person and bring a friend for safety.

Once you’ve found a used lawn mower you think you want, research how much it would cost brand new. Knowing that, you’ll have a better idea of whether you’re being taken for a ride.


Inspect the Mower

Before buying a used machine, here’s what to check:

  • How old is it? The older the mower, the more it’s been used, the greater the chance something is wrong, or that something will go wrong.

  • Does it start? Pull the cord to make sure it starts. If it doesn’t start on the first few tries, you need to investigate why or pass on the purchase.

  • Is the pull cord in good condition? Look for frays, splices, and other damage to the pull cord.

  • What is the condition of the deck/body? The more rust, flaking paint, and scratches there are, the more the mower has been used.

  • Is there smoke? If the mower starts and there’s black smoke, that’s not a big deal (it’s probably just burning too much gas). However, if the smoke is blue or white, that means it’s burning oil and there’s likely a serious problem.

    smoking mower
  • What is the oil quality? Remove the oil dipstick and check the oil color. It should be light brown. Black oil means it’s been in there a long time and you may have engine damage from improper lubrication.

  • Is the spark plug worn? Remove the spark plug and inspect it. If it’s badly burnt, cracked, or smothered in deposits, it’s an indication the owner didn’t maintain the mower well.

  • How does the air filter look? Take out the air filter to see how dirty it is. Again, if it’s black or caked in dirt, the owner did not perform regular maintenance.

  • What is the condition of the blade? Tip the mower over and inspect the blade. A bent, chipped, or heavily dented blade will soon be useless, if it isn’t already.

Buying Used Riding Mowers

Be particularly careful when looking at used riding mowers. They are usually a big investment, so you want to make sure you're getting a quality product at a fair price. Try to learn about the used riding mower's history and why the owner is trying to get rid of it.

Take the used riding mower or zero turn for a test drive around the yard. Make sure it starts and runs smoothly, the brakes work, and the tires are in good shape.  Also, check the fluids, belts, and battery.

Used zero turn mowers are particularly popular because of how much money you can save. Still, take extra care to inspect used zero turn mowers before making the investment. Like a car, make sure you like how it rides.


Assess the Risks

After inspecting the pre-owned mower, if you give it a passing score, be sure to assess the risks. Ask yourself the following questions before handing over your money:

  • Why is the owner selling the mower? Usually, nobody sells something that they love, so try and find out the real reason this mower is for sale. Many times, a mower is sold if it has a problem that the owner doesn’t want to bother fixing.

  • Are you ready to make necessary repairs? The chance you’ll get any kind of warranty from a private individual is virtually zero. If the mower breaks soon after purchase, it’ll be on you to repair it or buy a new mower.

  • Is the payment method secure? If you’re buying through an online marketplace, the first problem is you’re not able to inspect the mower. The second problem could be an insecure payment method which could result in identity theft. Be very vigilant.

    handing over money
  • Is the price worth it? Are you only saving $100 off a brand-new machine? Everyone has a different sense of value, but if you’re going to have to buy another used mower in a year, why not just go new?

  • What about transportation? Buying used may mean a lack of convenient shipping options. You’ll probably have to transport the mower yourself. Do you have the right vehicle for this, especially if it’s a riding mower?
  • Are you getting what you need? When buying used, your selection is limited. It may be tempting to buy something just because it’s cheap, but it may not be the best long-term solution.

Check Out Available Scratch & Dent Lawn Mowers

Lawn Mower Rental

Instead of buying a used lawn mower, you may be considering renting one. Some of the benefits of renting a lawn mower include:

  • No big expenditures
  • No required maintenance
  • No fears of a defective mower

Renting a mower eliminates all the risk associated with buying a used mower. The downside is, over time, the rental fees could add up to the price of a brand-new machine. If you can get good financing on a new mower, you might as well go that route instead of paying someone every time your grass needs cutting.  

lawn mowers on display

Buying a New Mower

You may be dead set on buying a used mower or renting, but it’s worth considering the opportunity cost of not getting a new machine.

Wide Selection

When you buy new, you have a wealth of options to choose from. You’re no longer limited to choosing from a small selection of 10 or 20-year-old equipment. Find a mower that meets your exact needs and specifications, whether it’s a reel, self-propelled, rough cut, or other type of mower.

A Trusted Source

A used salesman will tell you anything to get the mower off his hands. In contrast, an official retailer, like Mowers Direct, selling new equipment has a vested interest in making sure you’re satisfied with the purchase to avoid returns. Product experts will walk you through the buying process, and you can even get how-to articles and buyer’s guides to help with the purchase. You can verify the company’s and product’s reputation by researching other customers’ reviews, and the checkout process is secure.

Financing, Open-box, and Deals

The biggest reason people buy used or rent is because they don’t have the money upfront for a new mower. To make buying a new mower simple, we’ve developed attractive financing offers that make owning possible.


We also have weekly specials, as well as deals on open-box and scratch and dent lawn mowers where you can save big and still get a fully functional new mower.

Warranties and Technical Assistance

When you buy used equipment from someone, you’ll probably never hear from them again. New lawn mowers come with factory-backed warranties, so if something is defective after purchase, you have a recourse. You can also get technical support, and the new mower will come with a product manual where you can find the information you need, when you need it.

Shipping Options

Unlike used equipment, where the most common shipping method is the back of your pickup truck, new mowers can be conveniently shipped by ground or air. You can even choose white glove service to get the equipment moved from the curb to your garage. The stress of transportation is off your hands.


NEXT: How to Pick the Perfect NEW Lawn Mower

Dale, the Lawn Mower Expert
Lawn Mower Expert
Was this article helpful?